Enter November

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October is in the books and some definite storylines for the season are beginning to emerge.

  1. As I predicted before the season started…the Dallas Stars are the best team in the NHL. They’re off to their best start (9-2-0) in team history and seem to be able to outscore any lingering issues they have on the defensive side of the game.

Jamie Benn leads the league in scoring at a torrid 1.54 PPG and lineman Tyler Seguin is right behind him at 1.45 PPG. Benn’s pro-rated points total for a full season is an eye popping 126 points and Seguin projects at 119 points.

Flying somewhat under the radar for the Stars is sophomore defenseman John Klingberg with 11 points in 11 games. And now that Patrick Sharp is finding the range (4G 4A) the high octane offence should perform at an even higher level.

2. Some would argue the Canadiens should be deemed the best team in hockey but once again the Habs have been riding Carey Price goaltending so far this season so their record masks a few issues with the team. And now, there is this:

Canadiens coach Michel Therrien told reporters that Price suffered the injury in Montreal’s 4-3 loss in Edmonton on Thursday.

Rookie Mike Condon will make a second consecutive start in the Canadiens’ home game tonight against Winnipeg.

The Habs have three more home games coming up. Ottawa is at Montreal Tuesday, followed by the New York Rangers on Thursday and archrival Boston on Saturday.

Price is 7-2 with a 2.01 goals-against average this season for Montreal.

It’ll be interesting to see how the Habs fare without their best player.

3. Of course the biggest surprise of the season’s first month is the Anaheim Ducks. The Ducks are amongst the most talented and deepest teams in the league so it’s not inconceivable they could soon go on winning streak but some are already questions why GM Bob Murray made so many changes to last season’s powerful roster.

from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,

… The Ducks made six or seven significant changes to the roster, they fired assistant coach Brad Lauer and brought in former Ottawa coach Paul MacLean, presumeably to take over from Boudreau if the club didn’t get off to the kind of start Murray expected this season.

If Boudreau voiced concerns about the roster changes, and nobody is sure how much say he has, then it must have fallen on deaf ears. Remember, it took awhile before Murray even confirmed that Boudreau was going to be back behind the bench in the first place. Not all is well there.

The word is Murray is trying desperately to make a roster move before somebody gets fired. We’ve been told he’s listening to offers for defenceman Cam Fowler but will only consider a move to an Eastern Conference team and will want a boatload in return to make that deal happen.

4. As bad as the Ducks have been, a couple of wins would get them right back into the Pacific Division race since both Calgary and Edmonton are pretty mediocre and I doubt Arizona can hang out in the top 3 for much longer. They will, however have to leapfrog San Jose if they want a chance at a playoff berth.

5. Speaking of Calgary and Edmonton, the Oilers should be thoroughly embarrassed by losing to the Flames last night. The Flames were playing their 5th game in 7 nights but out hustled and outplayed the Oilers for much of the game.

The song remains the same for the Oilers…an over rated offence, putrid defense and spotty goaltending. The Oilers once again went to war with two goaltenders who had not established themselves as NHL starters and the results have been predictable with Cam Talbot (.897) and Anders Nilsson (.902) finding out what it’s like to play behind such and atrocious defence.

Once again were getting affirmation that the Oilers don’t have even one passable top pairing D and until they realize they’re going to have to move at least one of their prized top draft picks to get one, they will remain in the crapper.

6. The Flames have also been abysmal this season for many of the same reasons the Oilers have done a faceplant. Shoddy defensive play and spotty goaltending have sunk the Flames so far, but the return of their best defenseman, TJ Brodie, from injury should help immensely with the former but all 3 of their goaltenders have a save percentage under .870 so, unless that changes, the Flames are sunk.

Amid all the doom and gloom in Calgary, Johnny Gaudreau is still scoring at a PPG pace and I expect he’ll exceed that this season as he is riding a 4.3 shooting percentage so far. You know that won’t last.

7. The rookie scoring race isn’t too surprising with Connor McDavid leading the way (but not by much).

What is interesting, though, is some of the underlying numbers since not all teams have their rookies playing as much or given as much rope as the Oilers always do with their youngsters.

P/60 5V5

Artemi Panarinin – Chicago 4.07

Oscar Lindberg – NYR  3.77

Jared McCann – Vancouver 3.24

Connor McDavid – Edmonton 3.07

Max Domi – Arizona 2.56

Anthony Duclair – Arizona 2.55

Dylan Larkin – Detroit 2.35

Nikolaj Ehlers – Winnipeg 1.99

Jack Eichel – Buffalo 0.73

It must also be noted that McDavid is running a shooting percentage of 22.7% and that isn’t going to last so the Calder Trophy race is much closer than it appears.

Also of note, Jack Eichel has generated the most shots by any rookie (40) but they just haven’t been going in. By way of contrast, McDavid has generated only 22 shots.

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3 thoughts on “Enter November

  1. P/60 has to be the most useless stat out there. People think it gives a more granular view of someone’s offensive ability but it’s really the most pointless stat. What it shows is the amount offensive scored by the existing time on ice, which some seem to assume means their offensive efficiency but what it means the real underlying value is ice time. i.e points per 60 minutes played if you increase ice time you will see the offensive per 60 minutes decrease and the opposite true.

    Here is the same list with their average ice time and their ranking of ice time

    P/60 5V5

    Artemi Panarinin – Chicago 4.07 – 18:36 – 6th

    Oscar Lindberg – NYR 3.77 – 12:21 – 15th

    Jared McCann – Vancouver 3.24 – 10:45 – 17th

    Connor McDavid – Edmonton 3.07 – 18:32 – 5th

    Max Domi – Arizona 2.56 – 17:02 – 8th

    Anthony Duclair – Arizona 2.55 – 14:09 – 12th

    Dylan Larkin – Detroit 2.35 – 16:44 – 5th

    Nikolaj Ehlers – Winnipeg 1.99 – 14:35 – 14th

    Jack Eichel – Buffalo 0.73 – 18:51 – 5th

    So I suspect if your revisit this list in 10 or 20 games time you won’t see Lindberg and McCann in the top 5 on this metric because they will either slow down offensively for their roles they are playing or their ice time will increase and the P/60 will go down. And based on their +25 shooting percentages I would suspect the latter.

    The race is McDavid and Panarinin and then Domi and Larkin. I think Eichel will catch on sooner than later.

    Here the top 10 based on points per game, I suspect this list will stay the same for the top 5, order may change a bit but after the season is done I can’t imagine any new entrants except for Eichel but has to get hot soon to catch up

    McDavid 1.0
    Domi 1.0
    Panarin .91
    Ehlers .75
    Larkin .73
    Lindberg .64
    Duclair .64
    McCann .56
    Janmark .45

    And just for reference, here are the top 5 P/60 over the last 5 years, gives you idea of how much sustain the list above should have

    Crosby – 3.78
    Malkin – 3.45
    Stamkos – 3.08
    Datsyuk – 3.01
    Kane – 3.01

    And the top scoring rookies for the last 5 years

    2010 – Skinner – 2.76
    2011 – Nugent-Hopkins – 2.86
    2012 – Gallagher – 2.75
    2013 – MacKinnon – 2.66
    2014 – Stone – 2.82

    So no rookie in the last 5 years has produced above 3.0/60. If I was a betting man I would put my money on McDavid.

    Sorry for the long post, I think I lost my own thread on this other than I don’t like points per 60 even though I don;t have a good argument against it 🙂

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  2. There is no perfect way to assess efficiency but P/60 does smooth out some of the issues regarding role and ice time.

    If you prefer to use PPG, that ignores those issues and will automatically favour those rookies who are on poorer teams since the rookies on those teams will be featured more prominently. (see Sam Gagner for reference).

    Another example is Jared McCann who has scored 5 goals (yes, unsustainable shooting percentage) but has scored this goals while playing on Vancouver’s 4th line.

    I would also keep an eye on Lindberg since he has been racking appoints on NYR’s 3rd line.

    You can make the argument that players will see their production drop as their ice time increases but it isn’t necessarily so since they will likely also be playing with better line mates while likely facing stiffer competition.

    I like to use P/60 5V5 since it also rewards players who can produce at even strength and ameliorates the effects of PP sucks who don’t perform well at evens.

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  3. Thought I would revist this as we are bit further down the road. Looks like McCann dropped off, and Eichel is ticking back up. No surprise the Lindberg and Panarinin numbers came down to earth, still good players having good seasons but anything over 3 would have been silly.

    P/60 5V5

    Artemi Panarinin – Chicago 4.07 – 18:36 – 6th

    Oscar Lindberg – NYR 3.77 – 12:21 – 15th

    Jared McCann – Vancouver 3.24 – 10:45 – 17th

    Connor McDavid – Edmonton 3.07 – 18:32 – 5th

    Max Domi – Arizona 2.56 – 17:02 – 8th

    Anthony Duclair – Arizona 2.55 – 14:09 – 12th

    Dylan Larkin – Detroit 2.35 – 16:44 – 5th

    Nikolaj Ehlers – Winnipeg 1.99 – 14:35 – 14th

    Jack Eichel – Buffalo 0.73 – 18:51 – 5th

    As of Dec 11

    Dylan Larkin – Detroit 2.83 +

    Connor McDavid – Edmonton 2.72 injured –

    Max Domi – Arizona 2.50 –

    Oscar Lindberg – NYR 2.39 –

    Artemi Panarinin – Chicago 2.37 –

    Anthony Duclair – Arizona 2.04 –

    Nikolaj Ehlers – Winnipeg 1.51-

    Jared McCann – Vancouver 1.44 –

    Jack Eichel – Buffalo 1.24 –

    Points per Game

    Panarin – .97
    McDavid (IR) – .92
    Domi – .82
    Larkin – .76
    Gostisbehere – .62
    Lindberg – .59
    Duclair – .54
    Parayko – .52
    Eichel – .48
    Bennett – .48

    The race has stayed the same Panarin, injured McDavid, Domi and Larkin. I think at this point unless someone goes supernova that’s probably how things end for the year with those guys in the top 4.

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