During the 2019-20 NHL season we will take an occasional look at some stunning numbers from around the league. Here is what has stood out to us over the past few weeks.
As of Saturday there are nine players in the NHL on pace for at least 100 points this season.
- Leon Draisaitl (127 point pace)
- Connor McDavid (114 point pace — in 76 games)
- Artemi Panarin (114 point pace)
- David Pastrnak (113 point pace)
- Nathan MacKinnon (110 point pace)
- Nikita Kucherov (103 point pace)
- Brad Marchand (102 point pace)
- Patrick Kane (100 point pace)
- Jack Eichel (100 point pace)
This stands out because as recently as two years ago the 100-point scorer seemed like it was an extinct species in the NHL.
A year ago six players ended up reaching the century mark. But in the years between 2010-11 and 2017-18 (a span of eight seasons) it was done just eight times by seven different players. In a couple of those years nobody did it.
The last time the NHL had at least nine 100 point scorers in a single season: The 1992-93 season, when 21 players reached it.
Another Golden Knights’ winning streak and another piece of history
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) February 29, 2020
The Rangers’ goaltending situation
The two biggest factors in the New York Rangers’ climb back into playoff contention have been the MVP caliber play of free agent acquisition Artemi Panarin, as well as the play of their two young goalies, Igor Shesterkin and Alexandar Georgiev.
The latter two have been so good that they have almost completely pushed a Rangers legend out of the picture.
As noted by NHL.com’s Pete Jensen on Friday, Henrik Lundqvist has not started a game for the Rangers since February 3 and has only made five starts in the new calendar year. During that time both Shesterkin and Georgiev have started both sets of back-to-back situations.
During that stretch the Rangers are 16-9-0 (the seventh best points percentage in the NHL), while their goaltenders have combined for an all situations .922, a mark that is tied for the second best in the NHL (with Tampa Bay and behind only Colorado).
Shesterkin and Georgiev alone have combined for a .930 mark in those games.
With Shesterkin sidelined for the time being due to injuries suffered in a car accident it seems likely that Lundqvist will at least get a couple of starts here in the coming weeks, but it is pretty clear which direction the Rangers’ net is headed in for the immediate (and long-term) future.
One more David Ayres stat
Carolina’s emergency backup goalie played a little more than 30 minutes and stopped 8 out of 10 shots to get the win exactly one week ago today.
Something to keep in mind: There are 21 goalies in NHL history that have played in at least four NHL games and have recorded zero wins.
Mike O’Neil, a former backup goalie with the Winnipeg Jets in the 1990s, is at the top of this list having appeared in 21 games without recording a single win. Bruce Racine, a backup with the Blues in 1995 and 1996, appeared in 11 games without a win.
Among active goalies Zane McIntyre has made eight appearances (with three starts) without a single win to his credit.
Chicago’s bright spot
It has been another tough year for the Chicago Blackhawks, but they have had one surprising development — the rapid emergence of rookie winger Dominik Kubalik.
With 29 goals in his first 62 games he is already one of the top rookie goal scorers in franchise history (sixth on the list) and is currently on a 38-goal pace.
The only Blackhawks rookies to ever top that mark were Steve Larmer (43 in 1982-83) and Darryl Sutter (40 in 1980-81). Considering the different eras and how different the goal-scoring climate is today, that is a pretty impressive season.
Granted, Kubalik still has to reach that mark (I wouldn’t bet against him the way he is going right now) and he is a couple of years older than all of those players were in their rookie seasons, but it remans an impressive performance.