Ah, April 1, aka April Fools Day. In a time when real headlines feel like sick jokes from The Onion, the world presents a day when it is vaguely acceptable (plus totally hilarious and not at all desperate) to make up fake garbage.
If you manage to scroll past the worst of the worst, maybe you’ll also find a few decent nuggets to chew on. To make things hockey-related, my guess is that you may come across top players for March.
Why not reach back a bit further, though?
This series of posts spotlights the hottest scorers, defensemen, during the calendar year of 2022 (in other words, since Jan. 1). Let’s start with the top NHL point producers and goal-getters of 2022.
Marner, Tkachuk, Gaudreau, Crosby, Josi, and other top point producers in 2022
NHL points leaders in 2022 (since Jan. 1)
1(t). Mitch Marner: 58 points in 34 games played
1(t). Johnny Gaudreau: 58 points in 38 GP
3. Matthew Tkachuk: 57 in 38 GP
4. Jonathan Huberdeau: 56 in 36 GP
5(t). Auston Matthews: 54 in 35 GP
5(t). Patrick Kane: 54 in 38 GP
7. Sidney Crosby: 53 in 39 GP
8. Roman Josi: 52 in 35 GP
9(t). Kyle Connor: 50 in 37 GP
9(t). David Pastrnak: 50 in 41 GP
9(t). Mikko Rantanen: 50 in 41 GP
For many, it’s a reflex to dismiss what Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews accomplish, at least until the Maple Leafs pull off a deep playoff run. At this point, can we admit that’s a little unfair?
Truly, Mitch Marner deserves attention for his red-hot run. Tying Johnny Gaudreau for the most points in the NHL since Jan. 1 (58) is already impressive. Marner reached that point in just 34 games, too, translating to 1.71 points per game. That’s the equivalent to a mammoth 140-point season. Jonathan Huberdeau’s point pace is second in the league in 2022 at 1.56, which would project to about 129 points. Lofty stuff.
It’s worth mentioning that the London Knights once boasted the line of Mitch Marner (58 points in his past 34 games), Matthew Tkachuk (57 in 38 GP), and Christian Dvorak (not at their level, but he commanded a first-rounder in a trade this past offseason). Seems a little unfair to their competition in juniors those days, huh?
More notes, other top scorers
Here are some other takeaways, including tidbits on those who just missed that top group of point producers since the calendar turned 22 (since Jan. 1).
- Roman Josi is the only defenseman who managed 50+ points (52) in 2022. Cale Makar barely missed the mark, collecting 49 points in 41 games.
[Stay tuned for more on top defensemen in 2022. For more on Makar and Josi, check out this post.]
- Connor McDavid recently reached 100 points yet another time. McDavid (48 points) and Leon Draisaitl (46) aren’t in the top 10 since 2022 began, but they’re close.
- By Sidney Crosby’s standards, his hot streak’s sneaking under the radar. That goes for a number of Penguins, though. With 47 points in his last 35 games, Bryan Rust deserves more attention. Kris Letang‘s also quietly been a point-per-game player lately (39 points in as many games).
- Remarkably, J.T. Miller matched Nathan MacKinnon with 46 points, and Miller did so in one fewer game (34) than MacKinnon (35).
- In the likely event the Jets miss the playoffs, people may miss how strong a season Kyle Connor is enjoying. Mark Scheifele‘s on a torrid pace, too, with 45 points in his past 39 contests.
- After a stunning start, Nazem Kadri hasn’t really hit much of a wall. He’s scored 45 points in his past 41 games.
- Here’s hoping that Clayton Keller can bounce back healthy after a scary injury. Keller scored 40 points in 37 games, while Nick Schmaltz has been more than just one big night, generating 41 points in his past 37 contests.
Want to thank my teammates, the fans, and medical personnel for the love and support last night! Unfortunately the season’s over for me, but I’m resting comfortably at the hospital in good spirits. I will be back better than ever for day 1 next season!!!! 🙏
— Clayton Keller (@ClaytonKeller37) March 31, 2022
- Don’t assume the Wild are just the Kirill Kaprizov show, even if his episodes are the most star-studded. When Mats Zuccarello‘s been healthy, he’s been productive for the Wild. That’s especially true as of late, as Zuccarello’s collected 43 points in just 34 games. Kevin Fiala could see a big raise soon in part because he’s collected 41 points in his past 36 games.
Matthews, Pastrnak, other top NHL snipers in 2022
NHL goals leaders in 2022 (since Jan. 1)
1(t). Auston Matthews: 30 goals in 35 games played
1(t). David Pastrnak: 30 goals in 41 games played
3. Chris Kreider: 27 G in 36 GP
4. Kirill Kaprizov 26 G in 35 GP
5. Leon Draisaitl: 25 G in 37 GP
6(t). Filip Forsberg: 23 in 31
6(t). Elias Lindholm: 23 in 38
6(t). Kyle Connor: 23 in 37
9(t). Matt Duchene: 22 in 35
9(t). Brock Nelson: 22 in 38
9(t). Mitch Marner: 22 in 34
Some quick goals notes
- Quite a few of these top snipers have also piled up assists. That said, there are a few who linger as specialists. Twenty-seven of Chris Kreider’s last 38 points have been goals, versus 11 assists. Alex Ovechkin‘s been a more versatile sniper this season, but there’s still a lean toward goals (18G vs. 10A). Gabriel Landeskog‘s 21 goals almost double his 11 assists.
- Since Jan. 1, 19 different players have scored at least 20 goals.
- The numbers are neat and tidy for Auston Matthews lately. While he just passed the 50-goal plateau, he’s also scored 30 goals since the calendar reached 2022.
[More on Auston Matthews reaching 50 goals this season.]
- Two players stand out for scoring a lot of goals without particularly high shooting percentages. Nathan MacKinnon generated 19 goals on 177 shots on goal (10.7 shooting percentage), while his teammate Nazem Kadri scored 15 goals on 153 SOG (9.8%).
- Some top goal-scorers you might find surprising: Tage Thompson (16G in his past 32GP), defensive wiz Phillip Danault (17G in his past 38GP), and Jeff Skinner (18G in his past 36GP).
All around, some interesting nuggets to chew on. Stay tuned for defensemen and goalies who’ve been on a roll in 2022.
James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.