Back when I was in school my teachers always said there was a difference between hearing and listening. The same is true in terms of seeing and reading. As a fantasy hockey player you probably look at stats often and try to decide what to do. But in looking at the stats do you really read and see the stats?

If you really did read the stats you could argue that Sidney Crosby should not be compared to Alexander Ovechkin, that being an NHL captain might affect your point totals and that a player does not always average the same range of stats every season.

Below is a chart with six of the top eight current scoring leaders in the NHL. I organized these players into two groups. I know you can see it, but can you read it?

Player POS GP G A PTS PPG PPA GW SOG
Crosby C 52 25 62 87 7 36 4 146
Thornton C 56 15 59 74 6 34 3 147
Savard C 55 18 52 70 9 27 3 149
Ovechkin LW 57 34 38 72 14 16 6 286
Heatley RW 57 32 38 70 10 16 7 209
Hossa RW 60 33 39 72 15 19 4 261

Crosby/OveyIn a quick glimpse it appears they are organized based on position. An assumption would be the nature of the position would thus always result in the stats being similar. However in reality it is much more than that. It is really based on playing style and how well balanced they are as an offensive threat. Some players look to shoot first while others look to pass first. Some players are not known to be passers at all. Ovechkin, Heatley and Hossa have a much more balanced game. Players such as Simon Gagne, Glen Murray, and Ryan Smith rely on having great passers to get their goals.

Just so you do not believe that trends are based strictly on position, here are two players and their stats that break the mold.

Player POS GP G A PTS PPG PPA GW SOG
Lecavalier C 58 37 39 76 13 14 6 223
Jagr RW 56 21 48 69 4 26 2 222

Since we have already compared Jaromir Jagr and Vincent Lecavalier I thought it would be interesting pose an additional question that relates to both of them. Does having the title “Team Captain” add extra pressure that it affects their stats? Maybe we should also ask Patrick Elias.

Player Season GP G A CAPTAIN
Jagr 2005-06 82 54 69 no
Jagr 2006-07 56 21 48 yes
           
Lecavalier 2005-06 80 35 40 yes
Lecavalier 2006-07 58 37 39 no

The Atlanta Thrashers still lead the Southeast Division. They have played strong right from the start of the season. Goalie Kari Lehtonen has 25 wins and 17 losses. That sounds good right? Sorry, the stats do not end there. I bet you would be surprised to know that he has allowed the most goals of any goalie in the league, even more than Philadelphia’s Antero Nittymaki.

Player POS W L GA
Lehtonen G 25 17 141
Nittymaki G 8 25 134

Prior to the season many people predicted the Calgary Flames to win the Stanley Cup. One of the reasons why the Flames were so highly thought of was because of their goaltender Mikka Kiprusoff. Without a doubt he is a great world class goalie, but did you realize who his current stats mirror this season? This was definitely not true last season.

Player POS GP W L SO
Kiprusoff G 52 28 16 6
Fleury G 46 27 12 4

Marc Andre Fleury is not the only one who drastically improved their stats this season. Take a look at Chris Drury and Justin Williams.

Player Season GP G A PPG
Drury 2005-06 80 30 37 16
Drury 2006-07 56 30 23 14
Jus.Williams 2005-06 82 31 45 8
Jus.Williams 2006-07 59 29 25 12

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