Just about every team in the league has played at least half of its schedule for the 2017-18 season. There have been a lot of surprising results.
Let us take a quick look at a few of the more stunning ones.
1. Dustin Byfuglien only has one goal
Over the previous four seasons Byfuglien scored 70 goals, the fifth most out of any defenseman in the league. So far this season? He has one. Granted, he has also missed 12 games due to injury but still only have a single goal in 31 games is pretty stunning for Byfuglien given his track record. Especially since he still has one of the most powerful shots in the NHL and is still averaging close to two-and-a-half shots on goal per game.
2. Josh Bailey … potential 90-point scorer?
I wrote a couple of weeks ago about how the 100-point scorer is trying to make a comeback this season with a handful of players all flirting with that pace. As of now Nikita Kucherov, Nathan MacKinnon and Claude Giroux are the only three still on that pace, but that would still be a stunning development given that only five players have done it since 2010-11. After them there are another five players on pace for at least 90 points — John Tavares, Steven Stamkos, Jakub Voracek, Blake Wheeler … and Josh Bailey?
Bailey is a solid player. This is his 10th season in the league. Before this season he has topped 40 points just two times, and only 50 points once (56 a year ago). He is just six points away from matching his career high with still half a season to play.
3. Everything involving Vegas
William Karlsson already with 22 goals after scoring only 18 in his career before the season. They’re also the fourth highest scoring team in the league. How about already having four different goalies that have each won at least three games? Or how about the simple fact they have already won 29 of their first 41 games. The 29 wins is already more than Nashville, Atlanta, Columbus, Minnesota, Ottawa, Tampa Bay and San Jose all won in their first seasons. They are only four behind what Florida and Anaheim did in their first seasons.
4. Michael Grabner has more empty net goals than assists
Michael Grabner is still chasing an obscure NHL record with all of his empty net goals. As of Tuesday he has more empty net goals (six) than assists (4). He has one of the most lopsided disparities between total goals and assists in the league (18-4) after doing the same a year ago (27-13).
Another surprising Grabner stat: Since the start of the 2016-17 season his 44 even-strength goals are the fourth most in the NHL, trailing only Auston Matthews (49), Nikita Kucherov (47), and Vladimir Tarasenko (45).
5. Andrei Vasilevskiy has been unbeatable for the Lightning
The Tampa Bay Lightning have a pair of MVP candidates in Kucherov and Stamkos, a Norris Trophy contender in Victor Hedman, and, very quietly it seems, a Vezina Trophy front-runner in Andrei Vasilevskiy.
Given how great their offense has been it can be easy for Vasilevskiy to get lost a little bit, but his play this season has been nothing short of spectacular.
He is already on top of the league with 26 wins (in 32 starts) and he is also carrying a .935 save percentage into the second half.
In the history of the league only six goalies have played at least 30 games in a season and finished with a save percentage above .935 — Jacques Plante in 1968-69 and 1970-71, Brian Elliott in 2011-12, Tim Thomas in 2010-11, and Cory Schneider in 2011-12.