Statistics don’t lie. But sometimes they distort the true picture. For example, Chicago Blackhawkscaptain Jonathan Toews is on a pace to register eight goals and 40 points this season.
Given that Toews has history of consistency and being a slow starter, it still seems like a good bet that he will score 20 or more goals this season.
Here are other early season statistics that should be discounted:
Ben Bishop’s .891 save percentage and 3.30 goals-against average: The Tampa Bay Lightning goalie was a Vezina Trophy finalist last season. It’s not as if he has forgotten how to stop pucks. He is going to be an unrestricted free agent this summer, and that can pollute an athlete’s focus. It seems likely that Bishop’s save percentage will be .915 or above by the end of the season.
Chicago Blackhawks are last in penalty killing at 58.3%: You may be surprised to know that the talented Blackhawks were 22nd last season in penalty killing. But they were at 80.4% last season. Their penalty killing inefficiency can’t possibly continue. They have allowed 15 goals on 36 opportunities. Last season, the NHL’s worst penalty-killing team (Calgary Flames) was at 75.5%. By season’s end, the Blackhawks will be close to 80%.
Dallas Stars rank 27th in scoring at 2.22 goals per game: Injuries are the only reason why the Stars have struggled offensively. Some injured players are back, although Patrick Sharp, Ales Hemsky, Mattias Janmark and Cody Eakin are still out. Last season, the Stars were No. 1 in scoring at 3.23 goals per game. Once Sharp and Eakin return, their average will creep back up toward three goals per game.
Overall power play efficiency of 18.89% is highest it’s been in eight years: The World Cup players were in midseason form and that put power play performers ahead of the penalty killers in the early going. The power play efficiency is already starting to dip.
Brad Richardson leads the Arizona Coyotes in scoring with eight points:Richardson has played well for the Coyotes over the past two seasons, but the Coyotes are in trouble if he leads them in scoring. His high water mark for points is 31, recorded last season. The Coyotes need Max Domi and Anthony Duclair to find the net and Shane Doan to pick up his offensive production.