That time when the Islanders had three of the NHL's top goal scorers

Yesterday's post fawned over the Islanders goalscoring heroes during their hot run since the All-Star Break. I think even the more analytical-oriented fans need that every now and then: Just a good old fashioned step back and marvel at who's putting up the kind of big numbers that make hockey cards collectible and hockey fans excitable.

This post is a bit more of a data dump, but also a snapshot to see where the Islanders' top scorers rank in the league on this date in the season. After the list of top goal scorers, a gentle sprinkling of context for John Tavares, Michael Grabner and Matt Moulson, who together represent the variety of ways and luck an NHL team needs to build for the future: A top draft pick, a waiver gift, and a prescient under-the-radar free agent signing.

Total Goals as of March 9, 2011

Guess which team has three players on the NHL's top 30 goalscorer's table? (Alright, Toronto does, too. Maybe this isn't great company after all.)

Generally, since the Islanders have played a few more games than most teams, their standings ranks have a slightly inflated bump. But on the individual level, Tavares and Grabner each missed a few games, so they fit in with most of the league's iron men.

The following table is lifted from ESPN's stat page. You can see other categories there as well, which shows just how impressive Grabner's production has been, since he only has 1 powerplay goal (and three shorthanded ones). Also, while people have the impression that he has trouble finishing because he gets such exciting chances, his shooting percentage this year is right in line with his peers.

(On that note, wow does Alex Ovechkin's 8.5% figure stand out. That can't last. Meanwhile Milan Lucic, who ranks high on these lists, has a 21% shooting rate. That, too, cannot last.)

RK PLAYER TEAM GP G A PTS +/- PIM PTS/G SOG PCT GWG G A G A
1 Steven Stamkos, C TB 67 42 39 81 8 68 1.21 232 18.1 7 16 16 0 0
2 Daniel Sedin, LW VAN 68 34 50 84 23 28 1.24 211 16.1 8 14 20 0 0
  Patrick Sharp, C CHI 67 34 29 63 -3 34 0.94 249 13.7 6 12 11 2 1
4 Corey Perry, RW ANA 67 33 38 71 -1 96 1.06 217 15.2 6 10 11 3 1
  Ryan Kesler, C VAN 68 33 26 59 21 50 0.87 204 16.2 6 10 12 3 0
6 Sidney Crosby, C PIT 41 32 34 66 20 31 1.61 161 19.9 3 10 9 1 0
7 Bobby Ryan, RW ANA 67 31 27 58 5 53 0.87 223 13.9 5 4 4 1 0
8 Jarome Iginla, RW CGY 69 30 36 66 0 30 0.96 241 12.4 4 6 14 0 0
  Jeff Carter, C PHI 64 30 27 57 21 35 0.89 262 11.5 6 8 8 0 0
10 Eric Staal, C CAR 66 29 33 62 -12 60 0.94 242 12.0 7 10 13 2 0

PP SH
RK PLAYER TEAM GP G A PTS +/- PIM PTS/G SOG PCT GWG G A G A
  Rick Nash, LW CBJ 65 29 30 59 5 24 0.91 259 11.2 7 6 8 0 0
  Danny Briere, C PHI 63 29 24 53 12 77 0.84 206 14.1 6 6 6 0 0
  Milan Lucic, LW BOS 63 29 21 50 24 101 0.79 138 21.0 7 5 6 0 0
14 Jonathan Toews, C CHI 66 28 40 68 24 20 1.03 198 14.1 6 9 13 1 1
  Matt Moulson, LW NYI 68 28 15 43 -11 20 0.63 195 14.4 3 8 4 0 0
16 Alex Ovechkin, LW WSH 68 27 45 72 17 41 1.06 317 8.5 10 6 15 0 0
  Patrick Marleau, C SJ 67 27 24 51 -10 10 0.76 220 12.3 7 8 10 2 1
  Phil Kessel, RW TOR 67 27 23 50 -20 18 0.75 280 9.6 4 10 9 1 0
  Johan Franzen, LW DET 65 27 20 47 6 46 0.72 212 12.7 5 10 4 0 0
  Michael Grabner, RW NYI 64 27 14 41 13 8 0.64 174 15.5 3 1 1 3 1

PP SH
RK PLAYER TEAM GP G A PTS +/- PIM PTS/G SOG PCT GWG G A G A
21 Brenden Morrow, LW DAL 67 26 19 45 -3 64 0.67 177 14.7 3 7 4 1 0
  Drew Stafford, RW BUF 48 26 14 40 5 30 0.83 144 18.1 4 9 6 0 0
23 Martin St. Louis, RW TB 67 25 53 78 1 8 1.16 207 12.1 5 3 28 0 0
  Andrew Ladd, LW ATL 66 25 25 50 -6 35 0.76 160 15.6 2 8 9 2 1
  Mikhail Grabovski, C TOR 66 25 25 50 13 50 0.76 199 12.6 3 9 4 0 0
  Nikolai Kulemin, RW TOR 67 25 23 48 10 20 0.72 154 16.2 5 4 7 1 0
  Alexander Semin, LW WSH 53 25 21 46 17 59 0.87 164 15.2 4 6 10 1 0
  Logan Couture, C SJ 64 25 19 44 17 35 0.69 209 12.0 8 8 3 0 0
29 Brad Richards, C DAL 57 24 39 63 3 24 1.11 215 11.2 3 7 18 0 0
  John Tavares, C NYI 65 24 31 55 -17 41 0.85 204 11.8 4 8 12 0 0

 

Even-Strength Goals and Points per 60 minutes TOI

Here, from Behind The Net, are the leaders in even-strength goals per 60 minutes of even-strength TOI. Again Grabner and Moulson look nice. Tavares's rate is 0.87, which ranks him 67th among NHLers who have played 60 games.

These are ranked by goals per 60 minutes, but you can also see their primary and secondary assists per 60, as well as points per 60 in the final column. Lucic ranks tops here -- he's having a great year -- but history tells us 21% shooting rates eventually come back down to earth.

RK SEASON NAME TEAM G/60 A1/60 A2/60 P/60
1 2010-2011 Season MILANLUCIC BOS 1.66 0.55 0.49 2.70
2 2010-2011 Season STEVENSTAMKOS T.B 1.53 1.10 0.31 2.94
3 2010-2011 Season DANIELBRIERE PHI 1.52 0.72 0.40 2.64
4 2010-2011 Season MICHAELGRABNER NYI 1.46 0.54 0.31 2.31
5 2010-2011 Season JEFFCARTER PHI 1.44 0.55 0.69 2.68
6 2010-2011 Season RICKNASH CBJ 1.44 0.79 0.66 2.89
7 2010-2011 Season BOBBYRYAN ANA 1.35 0.79 0.45 2.59
8 2010-2011 Season NIKOLAIKULEMIN TOR 1.34 0.27 0.74 2.35
9 2010-2011 Season CURTISGLENCROSS CGY 1.30 0.53 0.30 2.13
10 2010-2011 Season RYANKESLER VAN 1.25 0.56 0.25 2.07
11 2010-2011 Season MARTINST. LOUIS T.B 1.23 0.82 0.65 2.70
12 2010-2011 Season DAVIDJONES COL 1.23 0.58 0.29 2.10
13 2010-2011 Season JAROMEIGINLA CGY 1.22 0.72 0.50 2.43
14 2010-2011 Season DANIELSEDIN VAN 1.22 1.10 0.67 3.00
15 2010-2011 Season JEFFSKINNER CAR 1.19 0.56 0.56 2.31
16 2010-2011 Season PATRICKSHARP CHI 1.18 0.56 0.50 2.23
17 2010-2011 Season MATTMOULSON NYI 1.17 0.19 0.43 1.79
18 2010-2011 Season SCOTTIEUPSHALL CBJ 1.17 0.29 0.44 1.90
19 2010-2011 Season PATRICEBERGERON BOS 1.16 0.80 0.65 2.61
20 2010-2011 Season SCOTTHARTNELL PHI 1.16 0.48 0.61 2.24
21 2010-2011 Season BRIANGIONTA MTL 1.15 0.32 0.13 1.60
22 2010-2011 Season BRADMARCHAND BOS 1.14 0.73 0.41 2.27
23 2010-2011 Season BRENDENMORROW DAL 1.12 0.53 0.40 2.05
24 2010-2011 Season MARTINHAVLAT MIN 1.11 1.11 0.43 2.65
25 2010-2011 Season DAVIDBACKES STL 1.09 0.49 0.42 2.00
26 2010-2011 Season JONATHANTOEWS CHI 1.09 1.21 0.36 2.66
27 2010-2011 Season CALCLUTTERBUCK MIN 1.09 0.62 0.23 1.94
28 2010-2011 Season EDWARDPURCELL T.B 1.08 0.42 0.42 1.91
29 2010-2011 Season LOGANCOUTURE S.J 1.07 0.53 0.47 2.07
30 2010-2011 Season RYANJONES EDM 1.06 0.09 0.35 1.50

 

Again, we know Grabner's even-strength goalscoring rate has been great. But while Moulson's 30-goal chase benefits from 8 powerplay goals, it's good to see his high production at even-strength keep pace with last year, when his 22 even-strength goals were tied for 17th-best in the league.

 

On Ice +/- per 60

Finally, just so we don't get too ahead of our selves -- gentlemen, let's not start taping each other's hockey sticks just yet, The Wolf and our own mikb might say -- here is a link to Behind the Net's table of on/off-ice +/-. I'm not pasting the table because the table would go on forever before you found an Islander.

At +13 on the season, Grabner obviously has the highest +/- per 60 (this is 5-on-5 only, so shorthanded goals don't count), but he only ranks 53rd among NHL forwards with minimum 60 games played, with a 0.54 figure. Frans Nielsen is predictably next at 76th among the same group, with a 0.33 figure. The other Islanders forwards don't show up until P.A. Parenteau at 146th among NHL forwards (minimum 60 GP).

Now as most know, all of that plus/minus stuff is affected by quality of competition and quality of linemates (and defensemen, and your goaltending). You need advanced microstats to dig in for further context in that department.

So my main points here are:

  • Yes, the Islanders have some goal scorers having fantastic years. This bodes well. Enjoy it, hope it continues, and if it does...jackpot.
  • Tavares puts up a lot of points, but his coaches put him out there a lot and in offensive situations to do precisely that (not just through ample powerplay time, but in offensive zone situations and such). He's getting better before our eyes, but at 20 years old there is still a learning curve there. That's fine, and to be expected -- and obviously his talent and the attention he draws has helped Moulson's success.
  • For the opportunity and assignments they're given, Grabner and Nielsen (and now, Kyle Okposo) deliver a bang for the buck no one else on the team.

In other words, when remembering that the goal in hockey is to both score and not be scored upon, the Nielsen-Grabner-Okposo is still the Islanders' best at outscoring the opposition at 5-on-5. But if that line continues to do what it does defensively, and Tavares's line continues to both produce and JT get better at his overall game, then that's a solid "top six" to start with.

And we haven't even mentioned 21-year-old Josh Bailey, whose underlying defensive numbers were looking good even before the Isles' February run began...

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