clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Stats And Surprises From Around the NHL

New, comments

As many already probably know, I can sometimes get lost in quirky stats and trends from around the league. Here's a bunch that might be of interest:

• The most boring team in the league? How about New Jersey. In their four games played, the teams playing have scored only 14 total goals! That's 3.5 goals per game. Gotta love those 3-1 and 2-1 games. The low-scoring efforts can probably be attributed to the Devils' top two blueliners — Colin White is a plus-4 in 20 minutes per game while Paul Martin is eating up 26 minutes a night.

• On the opposite side of things, how in the world have Stars allowed 24 goals in six games? Look no further that Marty Turco's stats: His save percentage is a woeful .844 and his goals against is at more than four per game. Dallas is lucky to be 2-3-1 so far this year.

• The Alex Burrows-Ryan Kesler-Jannik Hansen line in Vancouver has been the surprise of the season. If this line can continue to perform like a legitimate second line, the Canucks might finally have a complement to the Sedin twins.

Drew Doughty — who Canes fans got to see last week on TV — has been very impressive, logging 21 minutes a game and registering a plus-3 on a bad team. Toronto rookie Luke Schenn has also lived up to the hype, eating up 21:39 per game for the Leafs. The big disappointment in the early part of the season — or rather big mystery — is the pointless Steve Stamkos, who is getting an average of only 10:41 a game through six games. Surprisingly, the best of the bunch has been Chicago's Kris Versteeg, whose six points (one goal, five assists) in six games leads all rookies, and he's also tied with Doughty and St. Louis newcomer Patrick Berglund for the early season lead in plus/minus with a plus-3.

Mike Smith has been stellar for the Lightning, going 1-1-2 with a 1.92 GAA and .943 save percentage. I figured the Lightning would stink, but I thought it would be the other way around — high-scoring games that resulted in Tampa Bay losses. Instead, Smith and Olaf Kolzig are getting shelled but standing tall. The offense, in the meantime, has been terrible.

• On the flip side, goalie Martin Biron has been dreadful, sporting a 5.74 GAA and .824 save percentage for the winless Flyers. Antero Niittymaki may very well steal the starting job from him.

• The Canadiens have gotten points in all six of their game thus far, winning five. Look no further than their blueline for the reason why: Mike Komisarek leads in the NHL in hits (30) and blocked shots (27), while Andrei Markov is near the top in the league in plus/minus at plus-seven. Curiously, Markov also leads the league in giveaways with 12 — not usually the way to go about a good plus/minus. Montreal has also benefited from Saku Koivu's play. The Habs' captain has three goals and six assists — plus is a league-leading plus-8 — while playing only 15 minutes a night through six games.

• Saku's brother Mikko Koivu has been a revelation for the Wild. His nine points— eight of which come from assists — in just four games gives him the top points-per-game numbers on the young season (2.25). Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Koivu's teammate in Minnesota, and Boston's Chuck Kobasew are the only other players averaging two points per game.

• Out in the Western Conference, there haven't been bigger disappointments than Anaheim and Calgary. The Ducks problems are on offense, where Ryan Getzlaf, Chris Kunitz, Brendan Morrison, Teemu Selanne and Corey Perry have totaled one goal and five assists and are a combined minus-21. Calgary has had troubles in net, but having Andre Roy as your only plus player is a good indicator of the team's overall struggles.

• Bizarro Ducks? How about those St. Louis Blues?! The Blues' top five forwards (Brad Boyes, Paul Kariya, Andy McDonald, Keith Tkachuk and David Perron) have a combined 12 goals and 22 assists. That's 34 points in five games — 6.8 points per game from that fantastic five. Think Anaheim wouldn't like MacDonald or Kariya back in a Ducks uniform right about now?

• San Jose's acquistion of Rob Blake and Dan Boyle was all the hubbub leading into this season, but it's been youngster Marc-Edouard Vlasic's play that has been the most impressive. Through five games he has a goal and four assists in an average 23:13 a night, and he's a team-high plus-4.

• Speaking of impact defensemen, Florida and Nashville have to be thrilled with a couple of young blueliners that have been among the league's best in the early going. Keith Ballard, acquired for franchise player Olli Jokinen in the offseason, has been a rock on the Panthers blueline. He's played 25 minutes a night and has chipped in a point per game. Nashville's Shea Weber leads the Preds with 18 hits, is tied for first on the team with 15 shots and has three goals and four assists while registering a plus-4 through six games. Both might be Norris contenders sooner rather than later if they can keep up this pace.

• Also on the back end, Ottawa newcomer Filip Kuba has logged 25 minutes a night and already has seven assists in the Sens' five games. Andrej Meszaros, the guy Kuba was traded for, has just three assists and is minus-2.

• Two guys not known for scoring a lot have had big starts. The Islanders' Trent Hunter has four goals already while still filling his role as a penalty killer and checker, while new Ranger Aaron Voros has five goals and four assists in just 12:36 of ice a night through nine games.

• Two veterans are early candidates for comeback player of the year. Miro Satan (four goals and two assists in seven games) is thriving with the Penguins — but who wouldn't playing with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin? In Edmonton, captain Ethan Moreau has been great this year after struggling with injuries the past two seasons. He has a goal and three assists, helping fuel the Oilers' 4-0 start. They're doing it with balance (no one on the team has more than two goals) and defense (they've allowed just nine goals in those four games).

• The MVP? It has to be Alex in Washington. But not Ovechkin ... Alex Semin. Semin has six goals and four assists in just six games. Of those 10 points, only one was notched on the power play. Impressive, to say the least.

• The Least Valuable Player? Little-known Andrew Murray's number aren't impressive. The journeyman is minus-6 in six games for the Blue Jackets despite getting just 14 minutes on the ice each night, while notching just a goal and an assist. But his (lack of) contribution is nothing compared to Toronto's Ryan Hollweg. Hollweg's stat line this season:

1 game, 4 minutes, 15 PIMs and five games suspended (broken up over two separate suspensions)

We have a winner!

• I didn't think Patrick Kane would be a superstar when he went first overall in the 2007 NHL Draft. I was horribly wrong. Kane already has four goals and four assists for the Blackhawks. In the meantime, the already over-publicized Jonathan Toews has just three assists. I like Toews, and he's incredibly talented and already Chicago's captain. But I really don't need to here about how great he is anymore, especially when Kane looks like he might be better.

• A final fun fact: Since Chris Chelios is recovering from injury, the oldest person to play this year is 42-year-old Tampa Bay winger Gary Roberts. The youngest? Atlanta's Zach Bogosian, who edges out Columbus' Nikita Filatov. Bogosian was born July 15, 1990.