Bob Wage's analysis of Canes' scoring consistency in 2009-10 made me wonder if Staal scored more consistently when the Canes had more complementary scoring. I'd suggested that the Canes' lack of complementary offensive threats had depressed Staal's scoring, but I wasn't sure. I went back and checked Staal's 100-point season in 2005-06 to see.
Staal scored in 59 of 82 games in 2005-2006, or 72%. That compares with scoring in 61% of his games in 2009-10. Staal's 72 percent performance in 05-06 isn't up there with Ovechkin's 78% last year, but it's better than Heatley's 67%.
Last year, Ovechkin had the benefit of Backstrom's 33 goals and 101 points and Semin's 40 goals and 84 points. The Caps had seven players with more than 50 points. Heatley had the benefit of Thornton's 89 points and Marleau's 82. The Sharks had six players with more than 50 points.
On the Canes, Jokinen had 30 goals and 65 points. Whitney had 21 goals and 58 points. The Canes had a total of three players with more than 46 points, including Staal. Back in 2005-06, the Canes had eight players with more than 50 points and another player with 49. It seems the more threats the opposing defense faces, the easier it is to score. That doesn't seem surprising.
I doubt this proves that Staal would score better and more consistently if the Canes had more offensive firepower, but it strongly suggests it. The most likely explanation for Staal's offensive decline is the decline of Brind'Amour and Cole because of age and injury and the departure of Cory Stillman and Justin Williams. Ray Whitney and Matt Cullen were here last year, but they were also on the 2005-06 team. Back then, Whitney and Cullen were the 8th and 9th leading scorers on the Canes. Last year, that was LaRose and Kostopoulos with 28 and 21 points.
Staal will score more if and when he has a team around him that is closer in firepower to the 2005-05 Canes.