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Debunking Puck Daddy and the "Mystery" of Eric Staal

On Monday, a new author over at Yahoo's Puck Daddy Blog took the time to write a spiteful editorial about Eric Staal.   While most of his facts seemed to be accurate, one might ask, why Staal and why now?  In the author's viewpoint, is Staal the only inconsistent superstar in the league?

The timing of the article is kind of weird because Staal is certainly not in a slump.  Carolina's franchise player was just named the NHL's first star of the week.  He recently scored more points in one game, (six),  than any other player in the league has scored in a single game this season.

"Puck Daddy" informs it's readers that Staal has scored 10 of his 32 goals against "bad" teams, apparently implying that the NHL All Star is a choker?  Then he goes on in an attempt to discredit him even further.

He also benefits heavily, of course, from playing in the Southeast Division, where two of the worst three teams in the league play his Carolina Hurricanes six times a year each.


Apparently, Alexander Ovechkin, Mike Green, Ilya Kovalchuk, Vincent Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis, Jay Bouwmeester, and every other player in the division doesn't share this same benefit.  

The author goes on to analyze which teams the center scored against the most.  But let's be fair.   Eric Staal led the entire NHL in scoring during the 2006 playoffs with 28 points in 25 games played.  He could have easily been awarded the Conn Smythe.  Does that not count for anything?  Were all those playoff teams "weak sisters"?

If "Puck Daddy" wanted to write up an Expos'e about Staal, why not at least make an attempt to sound somewhat unbiased and impartial? 

They could certainly find a few positive things to add if they wanted to.  How about the fact that Staal has played in 322 consecutive games, the second longest streak currently in the league?  The 24 year old has only missed ONE game in his entire NHL career.   But something like that is certainly insignificant compared to how many goals he has scored against Tampa Bay. 

Staal also has four consecutive 30 goal seasons, a rarity no matter what division you play in.  He is presently tied for sixth in the league with eight game winning goals.  (Patrick Marleau is first with 10).  One could go on and on with the player's attributes and achievements, but let's see just how "poorly" Staal stacks up against a few of the other superstars in the league.

First we will compare salaries of some of the highest paid players this season:

  • Brad Richards: 7.8 million
  • Marian Gaborik: 7.5 million
  • Dany Heatley: 10 million
  • Danny Briere: 8 million
  • Vincent Lecavalier 7.1 million
  • Jason Spezza: 8 million
  • Scott Gomez: 8 million
  • Chris Drury: 7.1 million
  • Ryan Smyth: 7.2 million
  • Eric Staal: 5 million

Now compare total goals scored over the past four year period, (including YTD):

  1. Heatley: 173
  2. Lecavalier: 155
  3. Staal: 145
  4. Smyth: 114
  5. Gaborik: 113
  6. Spezza: 110
  7. Drury: 108
  8. Briere: 93
  9. Richards: 84
  10. Gomez: 76

Now compare total points for the same players during the same period, (including YTD):

  1. Heatley: 351
  2. Lecavalier: 337
  3. Spezza: 323
  4. Staal: 310
  5. Gomez: 261
  6. Richards: 260
  7. Smyth: 251
  8. Drury: 236
  9. Briere: 234
  10. Gaborik: 211

What have you done for me lately?  Compare total points year-to-date:

  1. Lecavalier: 62
  2. Heatley: 61
  3. Staal: 58
  4. Smyth: 56
  5. Spezza: 54
  6. Richards: 48
  7. Gomez: 47
  8. Drury: 42
  9. Briere: 9
  10. Gaborik: 5

So let's get this straight.  Eric Staal is the inconsistent one who is not living up to his contract?  (besides the fact that he has not even started his new contract yet).  If you take the time to actually look at the numbers and see what he is doing compared with what other highly paid players in the league have done, he is near the top in every category. 

Is Eric Staal inconsistent at times?  Of course, but is he any worse than most of the other highly compensated in the league?  Why wouldn't "Puck Daddy" do an in-depth analysis about what teams Scott Gomez scores against?  Or Brad Richards?  Or Ryan Smyth

It's not the first time our friends at "Puck Daddy" have slammed Carolina. They have gone from calling the Glen Wesley retirement ceremony a joke, to even saying that the team, (as well as the division), should be contracted.

The very popular blog can be called a lot of things, but unbiased is not one of them.