Scott Cullen of TSN posted some of his award picks and some interesting stats through the first three quarters of the NHL season today. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in season totals, milestones and league leaders for the “big” stats that we forget about the bruisers and scrappers.
Using Cullen’s list as my guide, here are some of the most interesting, bizarre and amusing stats you’ll come across.
- 27:12 minutes per game give Joni Pitkanen the NHL’s league lead in average time on ice. (I guess that’s what happens when you’re a half-decent defenseman on a nowhere near decent team.)
- David Koci gets beaten down enough in most of his career fights, but his ego should be bruised even more because he has the league’s lowest per game time on ice average of just three minutes. Essentially, you could go get a beer and never see Koci play for an entire game. (I guess you can’t really blame him for a league low 2 blocked shots since he’s rarely on the ice.)
- Cal Clutterbuck owns one of the NHL’s funniest last names as well as the league lead in hits at 256. He’s a little banged up, though, so he better watch Ryan Callahan who’s only one hit behind him at 255.
- The Sedin twins keep ascending the NHL’s ladder of elite players, but you’ll never call them the Clutterbuck Cousins. Daniel has a league low 6 hits while Henrik has 11. That combines for, what, a week of Callahan hits?
- Dennis Seidenberg’s nickname should be “puck sponge” (although that sounds kind of bad now that I think of it). He is by far the NHL’s leader in blocked shots with 186.
- I used to associate the Red Wings with faceoff dominance, but the Sharks are clearly the class of the league now. Manny Malhotra leads the league with a 61.8% faceoff percentage but his teammate Scott Nichol is just behind him with 61.5%. Joe Pavelski is sixth in the league with a 60.1% rate. Both Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau are solid in the dot too.
- Two Montreal players lead the league in the shameful category of giveaways; Roman Hamrlik is the “champion” with 77 turnovers. It’s not surprising that Pavel Datsyuk is the league leader in takeaways with 101 but his lead is staggering. The closest competitor is certified man crush Ryan Kesler with 68.
- Finally, one of my favorite lesser-known stats is penalty differential. Dustin Brown is an artist at drawing penalties with a league leading 31. Rugged Calgary defenseman Robyn Regehr probably doesn’t draw too many penalties, so it’s not that jarring that he ranks last in differential with a minus-19.
(H/T to Kukla’s Korner)
The preseason is well underway and Josh Anderson is still without a contract.
Anderson, who scored 17 goals and 29 points last season for the Columbus Blue Jackets, is one of two remaining restricted free agents without a new deal. The other is Andreas Athanasiou of the Detroit Red Wings.
While there were reports this summer about Athanasiou potentially going to the KHL for this season, John Shannon of Sportsnet reported on Thursday that Anderson’s representatives have reached out to Hockey Canada’s staff about the 2018 Olympics.
Anderson’s entry-level contract, with an AAV of just over $894,000, expired at the end of last season.
Meanwhile, here is the latest on this ongoing contract situation.
Mikhail Sergachev has, over the summer, stated his belief he can play in the NHL this season.
He had a small taste of NHL action last season, appearing in four games for Montreal — the team that selected him ninth overall in 2016 — before getting sent back to junior and then being traded in June to Tampa Bay, as part of a blockbuster involving Jonathan Drouin to the Habs.
Well, Sergachev made a statement Wednesday in his preseason debut for the Lightning.
He scored once. He also played more than 22 minutes, which led all Lightning players on the night. That included time on the power play and penalty kill. If he was looking to make a favorable impression, to show that he belongs at the NHL level when the regular season begins, this seems to be another step in that direction.
“You watch this kid skate, shoot, stickhandle, he’s got NHL written all over him,” Tampa Bay’s associate coach Rick Bowness told the Tampa Bay Times. “Now we’ve got to give him experience. How much can he handle?”
There is competition on the blue line, with eight defensemen under contract in Tampa Bay for this season. That includes Sergachev, who is still only 19 years old. After getting sent back to junior last season, he recorded 43 points in 50 games with Windsor and then won the Memorial Cup that spring. That said, he’s made it a point of saying going back to junior “is not an option” for him.
Looking to make the leap: Mikhail Sergachev
Joffrey Lupul issued a statement Wednesday, saying he wouldn’t seek a second medical opinion after the Maple Leafs announced he didn’t pass his training camp physical.
A day later, reports have surfaced that the 33-year-old forward will, in fact, undergo another, independent medical test.
That is according to James Mirtle of The Athletic:
Earlier this week, Lupul made accusations against the Maple Leafs on Instagram.
“I’m ready … just awaiting the call,” Lupul wrote in the comments section of the Instagram post, per a screen grab. “haha failed physical? They cheat. Everyone lets them.”
Lupul, who didn’t pass his physical for a second year in a row, issued an apology yesterday. But those comments — which have since been deleted — seem to have grabbed the attention of the league.
Darren Dreger of TSN added to that, saying it’s the NHL pursuing a second medical opinion on this matter.
“The National Hockey League has that right to pursue the second opinion. That’s exactly what they’re engaging in right now,” Dreger reported Thursday.
“The reasoning behind it is because of the comment that Lupul made on social media. I’ll go back a year ago. The league didn’t step in a year ago but Lupul stayed quiet at that point. So they want to make sure — ‘They’ being the National Hockey League — that the medical evaluation from the Toronto Maple Leafs is 100 per cent above the board.”
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) General manager Jim Johannson has ruled out the possibility of the U.S. men’s hockey team having NHL draft-eligible prospects competing at the Winter Olympics in February.
Johannson tells The Associated Press he doesn’t view anyone from the 18-and-younger pool of prospects capable of cracking the projected lineup of non-NHL players, many of whom are opening this season playing in Europe.
USA Hockey’s assistant executive director says he’s also targeting a number of established college players, and would not rule out keeping a spot or two open for members of the U.S. team competing at the World Junior Championships this winter.
Johansson spoke in Buffalo, New York, on Thursday, where he is attending USA Hockey’s sixth annual All-American Prospects game. The game features the top 42 U.S.-born players eligible to be selected in the NHL draft in June.