Hype: it’s not for everybody. Enable your self to get overly excited a couple of given participant stat or a crew’s place within the standings too early in a given season and also you’ll get roasted by the #WellActually society.
However we attain a degree within the hockey calendar at which we are able to begin devoting consideration to sure standout performances and questioning what they’ll appear to be, from a legacy perspective, by season’s finish if the tempo holds up.
I’ll arbitrarily say we’ve reached that time within the NHL season, roughly a 3rd of the way in which by. And we thought final yr was particular for offense! It gave us probably the most scoring per recreation in 26 years, however this season mentioned: “Maintain my beer” to final season. In 2022-23, we’re seeing the best scoring price since 1993-94, a 29-year excessive.
Because of this, now we have some actually thrilling on-pace stats to type by. Listed below are the potential feats I’m most excited to trace as 2022-23 progresses.
Connor McDavid: The millennium’s first 150-point scorer
McDavid’s pandemic-shortened 2020-21 was concurrently breathtaking and disappointing. He rattled off a hilarious 105 factors in 56 video games. Reaching the century mark by Recreation 53, making him the quickest to get there since Mario Lemieux in 1995-96. However, ugh, what might McDavid’s whole have been in 82 video games? He was on tempo for 154. Had we been robbed of his statistical peak?
Final season, he “solely” received the scoring race with 123 factors. Coming into his age-26 season, was he about to enter his “scoreless, win extra” veteran years? Not but, seems. The online game mode stays lively. McDavid by 27 video games: has a comical 24 objectives and 52 factors. The tempo: 73 objectives and 158 factors. GIDDYUP. The one gamers in NHL historical past to attain 150 factors in a season: are Wayne Gretzky (9 instances, LOL), Lemieux (4 instances), Steve Yzerman (as soon as), Phil Esposito (as soon as), and Bernie Nicholls (as soon as).
Gretzky and Lemieux are the one two to exceed 155. May McDavid turn into the third? I wouldn’t wager towards McJesus. Even when he doesn’t, he ought to simply ship the best level whole of the wage cap period, surpassing Nikita Kucherov’s 128 from 2018-19. At McDavid’s present tempo, he’ll hit that mark by recreation 67.
Sidney Crosby: Most factors by a participant 35 or older in 50+ years
The nice wine analogy doesn’t fairly apply right here. It’s not like 35-year-old Sidney Crosby is superior to 25-year-old Sidney Crosby. The nice wine isn’t getting higher with age. However the nice wine is…cryogenically preserved? Refusing to ever go unhealthy?
You get the concept. Most NHL gamers expertise a major decline lengthy earlier than they hit 35. However right here Crosby is, main the NHL in even energy factors, on tempo for 47 objectives and 110 factors over an 82-game schedule, averaging his most factors per recreation in 10 years. The Pens get 56 % of the scoring probabilities at 5-on-5 with their captain on the ice.
So, sure. He’s good. He’s an all-time nice. That ain’t information. However Crosby is performing some historic stuff for his age. Producing at a 110-point tempo is extremely irregular. Just one different has bested it at that age. Johnny Bucyk hit 116 in 1970-71, his age-35 season. Solely two different 35-or-older gamers have even scored 100 factors within the NHL: Joe Sakic and Gordie Howe. Crosby has an actual probability to be the fourth.
Jason Robertson & Connor McDavid: 70-goal scorers
Auston Matthews delivered an exciting 60-goal season in simply 73 video games final yr. He averaged 0.82 objectives per recreation, the best price of any participant in 26 years. The complete-season tempo over 82 video games would’ve given Matthews 67 objectives and topped Alex Ovechkin for probably the most objectives by any participant this century in a single season. And but, amazingly, McDavid and Dallas Stars left winger Jason Robertson are monitoring at 0.89 and 0.85 objectives, respectively, placing them on tempo for 73 and 70 objectives.
They’d turn into members 9 and 10 of the 70-goal membership, becoming a member of Gretzky (4 instances), Lemieux (twice), Brett Hull (3 times), Teemu Selanne (as soon as), Alexander Mogilny (as soon as), Esposito (as soon as), Jari Kurri (as soon as) and Nicholls (as soon as). It has been 30 years since anybody hit 70. Mogilny and (rookie!) Selanne had been the final, scoring 76 objectives every in 1992-93.
So do McDavid and Robertson have life like probabilities to make historical past? Truthfully, no, as a result of the chances are towards anybody scoring 70 objectives in each season, yearly. McDavid’s capturing share sits means above his profession norm at 22.6, so regression looms. Robertson is above his norm at 19.5, however he was already a high-percentage shooter, so he appears a bit extra prone to maintain his tempo. No matter occurs, we must always simply benefit from the journey. In the meantime, the Buffalo Sabres’ Tage Thompson and the Vancouver Canucks’ Bo Horvat are monitoring for 60-goal campaigns. What a wild season.
Rasmus Dahlin: 100-point defenseman
Nashville Predators defenseman Roman Josi was so shut final yr, and his 96 factors stand as probably the most by any D-man since Brian Leetch tallied 102 in 1991-92. So we hit 30 years with out a 100-point blueliner. A pure assumption can be that Cale Makar, the quickest defenseman in NHL historical past to achieve 200 factors, would finish that drought.
However it’s Rasmus Dahlin of the Buffalo Sabres monitoring to be the primary. It’d really feel like a shock this season, however within the leadup to his first-overall choice on the 2018 Draft, lest we neglect, he was hyped as the very best ‘D’ prospect since Nicklas Lidstrom. So, relative to the potential Dahlin at all times possessed, it’s not a jaw-dropping shock to see him averaging probably the most factors per recreation of any defenseman since 1994-95. Dahlin is scoring at a 105-point tempo. The final defenseman to hit 105: Paul Coffey in 1988-89. Astounding.
Additionally extremely spectacular: grizzled Erik Karlsson is monitoring for 99 factors at 32 years previous.
Boston Bruins & New Jersey Devils: highest factors percentages of the fashionable period
The Montreal Canadiens dynasty positive was unbelievable to observe within the late 1970s, hitting a excessive watermark of .825 factors share within the 1976-77 season. The 2012-13 Chicago Blackhawks, who opened their season 21-0-3? .802 on the yr.
A number of the biggest groups ever, proper? But they don’t maintain a candle to the tempo of the 2022-23 Boston Bruins and New Jersey Devils, at present scorching the NHL at .860 and .827, respectively. Each can be the best marks of the fashionable period. The 1929-30 Boston Bruins have the all-era document at .875, whereas the 1943-44 Montreal Canadiens hummed alongside at .830.
In the event you informed us within the offseason that two groups can be successful at this price, we’d’ve assumed it was the Colorado Avalanche and perhaps the Tampa Bay Lightning. Carolina Hurricanes? New York Rangers? Nope. An getting older, injury-laden Bruins crew and a Devils crew that missed the playoffs final yr. Music to the ears of anybody who loves cap-era parity.
It’s robust to think about both crew sustaining its unbelievable tempo to this point, however, at worst, the Bruins and Devils have established themselves as clear Stanley Cup contenders going ahead.