The other guys on the list include a couple of Canadiens (Pacioretty and Gallagher), a couple of Islanders (Strome and Tavares), a Blue Jacket (Dubinsky), a Jet (Little), and a Capital (Williams).
So quick aside here: Who are the most effective players in the league who happen to also be the most exciting? Well, they’re mostly Stars. You want to be in the upper right here as well (the gridlines here obviously represent 50 percent):
On the other hand, won’t it be interesting to look at the people who fall on the opposite side of the first graph? The guys who suck all fun out of the game are also easily identified by their denial of attempts and chances are easy to identify as well, simply because they fall in the bottom left quadrant, giving up fewer than 109.5 shot attempts and 16.5 scoring chances per 60 minutes of ice time.
From that initial pool of 560 players with at least 500 minutes since the start of 2015-16, but the bottom left quadrant only had 121 players in it. That’s about 17.5 percent of the players in the league, a little less than 1 in every 6.
But once you look at those 121 players on their own separate graph, you find that five are really in the depths of the truly most boring players in the league, with incredibly little actually happening when they’re on the ice. They come from four different teams, and all are pretty low-quality at this point in their careers. Nashville was the only club with two entrants on the list: Austin Watson and Paul Gaustad. The other three were Florida’s Derek MacKenzie, Minnesota’s Ryan Carter, and St. Louis’s Ryan Reaves.
And just because it’s worth mentioning, the guys who are the best in the league in terms of being on the ice for the most goals are pretty much all high-level players on teams that are considered not-great defensively. McDavid, Seguin, Benn, Jagr and Hudler are your top five in that regard. Of that group, only Jagr can really be said to be on a stalwart defensive team, but Florida still tended to give up a decent number of goals, even as the ageless wonder led the league in goals-for over the last 90ish games.
So the lesson here: If you think hockey needs to be more exciting, and want to make the league more fun in general, swap out low-skill players like Watson, Reaves, Carter, and Co. for good players. And maybe watch more Stars games.
What We Learned
Anaheim Ducks: And believe me folks, Randy Carlyle knows “nowhere near NHL caliber” hockey when he sees it. Because he’s seen it for the last 200 games of his career or so.
Arizona Coyotes: Speaking of which, this is a question that could have been asked at any point in the past five years and you’d have been right to ask it.
Boston Bruins: My ultimate dream for beautiful Tuukka Rask is that he’s like .925 this season but the Bruins miss the playoffs anyway and he gets traded at the deadline straight-up for Pekka Rinne because the Bruins want to get out from under that $7 million cap hit a few years early and also they think Rinne is still good even though he isn’t and then Rask wins a Cup with Nashville.
Calgary Flames: If you mean “Will the Flames be as bad as they were to start the year?” the answer is “probably not.” If you mean “Will the Flames make the playoffs?” I’m gonna say “well, their division is awful, so maybe.”
Florida Panthers: Luck can really turn against you in a hurry, eh? Not a great team last year, and they break 100 points. Much better team this year, and they can’t figure out the winning component. Would you believe their PDO is in the toilet?
Las Vegas No-Names: It would certainly be interesting to see Vegas go with someone out of college hockey or the ECHL, but I’m not sure it would actually happen.
New York Islanders: You could literally just change the Islanders’ team name to “Sidney Crosby goal leads Penguins past Islanders.” Crosby torches the Islanders like no other team in the league; 96 points in 55 career games, and the next closest is 83 in 56 against Philly. Good thing those teams play him 15 times a year.
Philadelphia Flyers: At what point do we start to worry that the Flyers have little to no defensive structure? Lots of shots against, third-lowest 5-on-5 save percentage in the league so far, etc. etc.
St. Louis Blues: Colton Parayko is breaking a lot of sticks this year: about 12 in eight games. Doesn’t he know the Blues are a budget team?
Tampa Bay Lightning: Oh uh… hmm. That’s… good?
Toronto Maple Leafs: Mitch Marner owns. Period. Incredibly fun to watch.
Play of the Weekend
Gold Star Award
Here’s undrafted UNH freshman Peter Grasso scoring four goals on Saturday night, including a hat trick in the first 9:44 of the game. He has eight goals in six games. Seems good.
Minus of the Weekend
Can something just happen with Jacob Trouba already? Good lord.
Perfect HFBoards Trade Proposal of the Year
User “Jaynki” wants to save the Islanders some money.
Straight up for
2016 and 2017 first round pick
Who’s that goat-legged fellow? I like the cut of his jib.
Ryan Lambert is a Puck Daddy columnist. His email is here and his Twitter is here.
(All stats via Corsica unless otherwise noted.)