I tackled the typical points/goals/plus-minus leaders in an earlier post, so I thought I’d take a look at some of the odd stats from the first week of hockey. Small sample sizes can make for some strange numbers, so enjoy this look around the league. (Feel free to spout some strange stats of your own in the comments, too.)
- Anaheim Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller leads the league in saves by a wide margin. He’s made 150 in four games played, 40 more than Washington Capitals goalie Michal Neuvirth made in the same amount of starts.
- Dustin Brown and Chris Kunitz are tied for the league lead in hits with 19, but Brown did it in three games while Kunitz produced that many in four. Both are frequent hitters, but Brown has the best chance to land in the top 10 this season. Considering his ability to score between 20 and 30 goals, Brown could be a very valuable player in fantasy hockey leagues that include hits as a stat category.
- To echo an earlier post about the Ducks’ tendency to take too many penalties, three Ducks lead the NHL in penalty minutes. Bobby Ryan has 27 so far this season, followed by Corey Perry (25) and Sheldon Brookbank (24). Paul Mara also ranks No. 8 in the league with 18. The first non-Duck is (wait for it) a member of the Philadelphia Flyers: Scott Hartnell (23).
- Mikko Koivu is the best faceoff winner from a quantity standpoint so far this season. (I value total faceoff wins more than faceoff percentage because better centers take more draws and naturally will lose more than situational centers.) Despite playing in one less game than second place man Jonathan Toews (who went 54-38 for a 58.7 percent success rate in four games), Koivu succeeded in winning 55 out of 80 draws so far this season. That 68.8 winning percentage is not sustainable for a full season, but it’s the kind of stat that shows how valuable the underrated (but not underpaid) Finn really is.
- Steve Montador leads the league in blocked shots with 15 in four games. There’s an “El Matador” pun in there somewhere, but I’m far too dignified to make it (naturally).
- The Boston Bruins lead the league in shots per game with 39.5 (although they’ve only played two games so far) while the red-hot Dallas Stars average the least shots per game with just 21.7. The St. Louis Blues have given up the fewest shots per game so far (22) while the Ducks (46) and Phoenix Coyotes (39.5) have some work to do.
- The Minnesota Wild converted a league-leading 43.8 percent of their powerplay opportunities so far this season, while the Florida Panthers and Montreal Canadiens are the only teams without a power-play goal in 2010-11.
So those are some interesting stats from the first week in the NHL. It should be interesting to see if any trends are forming or if a few players/teams are simply playing over their heads.
The Washington Capitals have re-signed defenseman Christian Djoos to a two-year, $1.3 million contract.
It’s a two-way deal in 2017-18, and a one-way deal the following season.
Djoos, 22, is expected to push for an NHL spot next season, along with Madison Bowey and possibly Tyler Lewington.
That’s because Karl Alzner and Kevin Shattenkirk, both unrestricted free agents, aren’t expected to re-sign with Washington.
On top of that, the Caps lost d-man Nate Schmidt in yesterday’s expansion draft.
Djoos, a seventh-round pick in 2012, had 13 goals and 45 assists in 66 games for AHL Hershey this past season.
It was his second full season in the AHL.
Commissioner Gary Bettman says the NHL will look to enforce slashing penalties more next season.
Following the league’s board of governors meeting, Bettman said pointless slashes to players’ hands will be called more. Ottawa’s Marc Methot and Calgary’s Johnny Gaudreau were among the players to miss time last season with hand injuries from slashes.
Related PHT coverage:
— Gaudreau (finger) out six weeks, Treliving says Staal slash the culprit
— Flames made ‘mountain out of a molehill’ over Gaudreau slash
— Methot ‘out for weeks’ after suffering a shattered finger from Crosby slash
— Melnyk blasts ‘whiner’ Crosby, who won’t face hearing for Methot slash
Here. We. Go.
According to Frank Seravalli of TSN, the Vegas Golden Knights have sent defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk to the Carolina Hurricanes.
Van Riemsdyk was among 15 defensemen taken by the Golden Knights in Wednesday’s expansion draft, however, general manager George McPhee made a point of saying that, as a result of having this sudden surplus at the position, he was going to have to move some of those blue liners.
McPhee has been busy over the past few days, making deals with a number of teams ahead making his expansion selections, stockpiling draft picks, including three in the top 15 of the first round.
More to come.
Dallas filled out Ken Hitchcock’s coaching staff on Thursday, with a host of familiar faces.
Hitchcock’s longtime assistant, Rick Wilson, has come aboard, as has former Stars forward Stu Barnes. In announcing those hires, GM Jim Nill also revealed the club would retain the services of assistant Curt Fraser, who has been with the club since 2012.
“The three have a unique familiarity with the club from the time they spent here,” Nill said in a release. “We’re excited for the wealth of knowledge and experience they will add to our coaching staff.”
Wilson, 66, worked with Hitch in Dallas from 1995-2002 and, together, captured the Stanley Cup in ’99. He also worked with Hitchcock in St. Louis over the last few years.
Barnes, 46, finished his 17-year NHL career in Dallas, then quickly transitioned to the coaching side of things in 2009, spending two years as a Stars assistant under Marc Crawford.