Time for a look at who is delivering the mail (and who isn’t) so far this season.
There have been some remarkable early season performances by some of the top guns in the league and by some young players who are tearing up the league thus far.
Here’s a look at the top 30 scorers (minimum 10 games played) in the WC 5V5 P/60 thanks to Behind the Net.
Tyler Toffoli – 4.57
Jeff Carter – 4.27
Nick Bonino – 3.89
Chris Higgins – 3.75
Tyler Seguin – 3.74
Jamie Benn – 3.70
Vladimir Tarasenko – 3.62
Tanner Pearson – 3.62
Filip Forsberg – 3.46
Joe Colborne 3.43
Ryan Carter – 3.36
Zach Parise 3.12
Corey Perry – 3.12
Ryan Getzlaf – 3.11
Martin Hanzal – 2.98
Blake Wheeler – 2.98
Jason Pominville – 2.95
Brandon Saad – 3.91
Thomas Vanek – 2.87
Mike Ribiero – 2.83
Jiri Hudler – 2.75
Justin Abdelkader – 2.73
Brian Bickell – 2.72
Joe Thornton – 2.69
James Neal – 2.61
Mason Raymond – 2.61
Taylor Hall – 2.59
Alex Burrows – 2.51
Joe Pavelski – 2.46
Jaden Schwartz – 2.46
A few observations.
There are some interesting names who didn’t make this list…Henrik (2.24) and Daniel (2.27) Sedin are absent although they are reasonably close. But what is striking is how much the Canucks second line has been contributing. Nick Bonino , Chris Higgins and Alex Burrows are all on this list supporting the notion that Willie Desjardins has the Canucks playing an effective 4 line game and silencing critics who thought the Canucks were a one line team without secondary scoring.
We’ve said it before but it bears repeating…the Kings “That 70’s Line” has been a dominant force thus far. They’ve slowed down recently so it will be interesting to see how they’re performing after another month but I think it’s fair to say that Tyler Toffoli has to represent one of the biggest 2nd round draft steals in recent memory.
The Dallas Stars appear to be on the verge of wasting a spectacular season from Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn. Going into the season, we all knew the Stars had issues on D but to add to their woes, their goaltending has been pretty bad too. Kari Lehtonen has been below par at .904 while Anders Lindback has been nothing short of horrible at .852. You have to wonder how long Jim Nill will let that situation fester?
Likely the biggest surprise here is the absence of Jonathan Toews (1.43) and Patrick Kane (1.05)! Since the Hawks are leading the league is shots/game, I wouldn’t read too much into this right now but it’s certainly worth keeping an eye on.
Watch out for the Wild. The Wild have 3 players on this list and have the best team shot differential in the league. Despite that, they remain 10th in the WC and. at some point, that dam is going to be breached.
Some interesting numbers and trends emerge when you look at how teams are performing by this metric.
If we use 2.00 P/60 as a demarcation point for players who are performing adequately offensively and then see how many players teams have who are at or above that mark, we see the following:
Anaheim – 3 (Perry, Getzlaf, Silfverberg) Obviously the Ducks are relying on one line to do almost all their scoring)
Arizona – 4 (Hanzal, Boedker, Doan, Erat) Not bad but, when Martin Hanzal is your scoring leader, you’re likely in a spot of trouble)
Calgary – 5 (Colborne, Hudler, Raymond, Gaudreau, Giordano). Gaudreau and Giordano are pleasant surprises for Flames fans here. I wonder though how Colborne and Raymond will fare when they return from injury.
Chicago – 3 (Saad, Bickell, Versteeg) I don’t think it will be long before Toews and Kane join this party.
Colorado – 3 (Iginla, Tanguay, Duchene) What’s remarkable here is who is missing. Top guns Nathan MacKinnon (1.77), Ryan O’Reilly (1.14) and Gabriel Landeskog (0.84!) are having miserable seasons. No wonder the Avalanche are struggling.
Dallas – 6 (Seguin, Benn, Roussel, Spezza, Garbutt, Eaves) The Stars are having a superior offensive season but if you can’t keep the puck out of your own net, it doesn’t matter much.
Edmonton – 4 (Hall, Eberle,Hopkins, Pouliot) the Oilers “superstars” are all at the low end of the range and their performance has come against a steady diet of EC teams. Once their schedule balances out and they play the big boys in the WC, I think it’s possible they won’t have anyone in the top 30 and may have only 1 or 2 above the 2.00 marker. Also notable here is that former 1st round pick Nail Yakupov is at a dreadful 1.66 (134th in the league) substantially behind Flames 4th round pick Johnny Gaudreau (2.12) who is the same age.
Los Angeles – 3 (Toffoli, Carter, Pearson) It’s a good thing for the Kings that trio is shooting out the lights because no one else on the team is scoring much at all. Kopitar (1.68), Richards (1.48) and Justin Williams (0.68) have been dreadful thus far.
Minnesota – 6 (Carter, Parise, Pominville, Vanek, Zucker, Fontaine) The Wild have been killing it at even strength this season but their PP has only recently shown some signs of life. At a staggering 5%, you just know that won’t last and the Wild will shoot up the standings.
Nashville – 4 (Forsberg, Ribiero, Neal, Roy) The 4 offensive players acquired by Nashville are doing what is required of them and considering the Predators are giving up fewer than 2 GPG, that should easily be enough to win them a playoff spot.
San Jose – 3 (Thornton, Pavelski, Couture) There is a huge drop off behind these 3 which would seem disappointing for the Sharks.
St. Louis – 3 (Tarasenko, Schwartz, Lehtera) Like Anaheim, the Blues have been relying on 1 line to carry the mail. Steen, Berglund and Backes have almost dropped off the face of the earth.
Vancouver – 5 (Bonino, Higgins, Burrows, Sedin, Sedin) and with Richardson at 1.99, The Canucks are battling the Wild for the most balanced attack in the league.
Winnipeg – 1 (Wheeler) This won’t end well.