During the 2021-22 NHL season we will take an occasional look at some stunning numbers from around the league. Here is what is standing out to us as the NHL enters the All-Star break this weekend.
Give Jake Guentzel more attention
Jake Guentzel is heading to the 2022 NHL All-Star game in Vegas for the Pittsburgh Penguins, and he is very worthy of that honor. Along with being the team’s top goal scorer and point producer, he has developed into one of the best pure goal scorers in the league over the past four seasons. Just about the only thing that has held him back is shortened seasons and the occasional injury. Since the start of the 2018-19 season Guentzel has averaged a 40-goal pace per 82 games and is one of the game’s top producing wingers.
Even more impressive is this stat in the context of his 2013 draft class.
With an assist on Bryan Rust's second goal, Jake Guentzel (77th overall) became the fastest player from his 2013 draft class to record 300 career points in 338 games. pic.twitter.com/T9APPJxYZF
— Penguins PR (@PenguinsPR) January 30, 2022
Pretty good draft class, and pretty impressive start to Guentzel’s career.
The counter point here will be that Guentzel spends so much time playing next to Sidney Crosby, and how much of an impact that has. It does have an impact. But there have been a lot of wingers over the years that have played next to Crosby for significant periods of time and never come close to scoring goals and producing points the way Guentzel has. He is an outstanding player on his own merits.
The four goals per game club
The Colorado Avalanche and Florida Panthers both enter the All-Star break averaging more than four goals per game this season. They have the best offenses in the league, and they are both capable of completely embarrassing teams in any given game.
What is so significant about the four goal per game number?
No NHL team has averaged more than four goals per game over a full season since the 1995-96 season when the Penguins averaged 4.41 per game.
Since then, no team has averaged more than 3.90 goals per game.
The closest anybody has come since then was the 2018-19 Tampa Bay Lightning (3.89), 2009-10 Washington Capitals (3.82) and the 2005-06 Ottawa Senators (3.80).
Big individual game team performances
Some more stunning offensive numbers from the first half include….
• The Panthers eclipsing the 50-shot mark four times in the first half, while the Calgary Flames reached it two different times, including a 62-shot effort against the Columbus Blue Jackets. There have only been 11 50-shot games across the entire league. Those two teams have accounted for six of them. Nobody else has more than one such game.
• Florida also owns NHL’s only two nine-goal game performances this season, and three of the league’s 10 eight-goal performances.
• The Avalanche have scored seven goals a league-high seven times.
Big individual player numbers
• The New York Rangers are 22-5-2 when Igor Shesterkin is the goalie of record. They are 8-8-2 when he is not. Since his NHL debut they are 48-21-5 in his games, and only 46-43-10 in games started by other goalies. He is a one-man game-changer.
• There are currently 43 players (minimum 25 games played) averaging more than a point per game this season. They were only 22 players to reach that mark a year ago, only 22 during the 2019-20 season, and 32 during the 2018-19 season.
• Anaheim Ducks forward Troy Terry has already obliterated his previous career highs offensively, with 25 goals and 41 total points in 43 games. Before this season he never had more than seven goals and 20 total points in a single season, and had just 15 goals and 47 total points in his entire career.
• Chris Kreider is the NHL’s leading goal scorer at the all-star break with 33 goals. His previous career high before this season: 28 goals in two different seasons. He is currently on pace for 58 goals over an 82-game season.