When scanning the NHL’s scoring leaderboard, you’ll notice at least five things that’ll make you go…”rrrreally?”
I’ve ranked them in terms of the severity in which they make your jaw-drop - feel free to let me know what you’d have changed/added to the list.
5. Anze Kopitar
Kopitar currently sits tied for 20th in NHL scoring with a number of other names at 28 points in 29 games. Good numbers, but he’s mostly just hanging on after a great start.
Most notably, his goal output is way down. On November 8th (roughly a month into the season), Anze Kopitar had 8 goals. Well over a month later, he’s sitting at 10. The Kings are dead-last in the NHL in goals-per-game (a jaw-dropping stat when you consider Kopitar, Mike Richards, Simon Gagne, Drew Doughty and a host of other capable forwards play there), and that isn’t going to change unless Kopitar gets back on the pace I so wrongly thought he was on.
Also in the not-so-good department – he’s one of two names in the minus column on that page (at -4), sharing the dubious honor with Nicklas Backstrom.
4. Teemu Frickin’ Selanne
“Who gon’ stop me? Who gon’ stop me, huh?” – Kanye West or possibly Teemu Selanne.
I’m sure I’ll be bombarded with “you’re surprised Teemu Selanne is a top NHL scorer???” tweets for this, but YES DAMMIT, I’m shocked. This just cannot continue for all eternity (can it?), and at some point, I keep expecting the guy to slow it down a notch or two.
The Anaheim Ducks are only ahead of the Los Angeles Kings with the League’s second worst goals-per-game output (what the hell is with these two California teams? They can’t score as much as the Hurricanes, Islanders, Blue Jackets…somebody?), and his teammates’ stats are down significantly. Yet once again, he’s unaffected – a point-per-game pace of 29 points in 29 games, tied for 18th with Tomas Vanek.
You have to go back to page three (t-58th) of the NHL leaderboard to track down the healthy Ovechkin. He hasn’t missed a game yet this season (28), yet he’s only managed a mere 9 goals and 12 assists for 21 points.
Yes, there are other big names I’d expect to see on page one that aren’t – Corey Perry (24 points) and Rick Nash (21 points) come to mind – by this is Alexander the Great, right?
It’s insane to think how far he is statistically behind, say…Jordan Eberle (31 points in 30 games). Or Tomas Fleishmann (30 points). Or even Scott Hartnell (26 points).
What. The hell.
2. Tyler Seguin
The 19 year old Seguin is leading the defending Stanley Cup Champions in points (and is the only player on the B’s in the top-30), possibly because he gets more sleep than everyone else.
The massive improvement in his quality of play has been a sight to behold. Seguin has accumulated 26 points in 27 games, which is impressive enough, but even moreso when you consider that he has the lowest average time-on-ice (16:39) of any of the 30 players on the front page of the scoring leaderboard, and he has the highest plus/minus on it. Check that, he has the highest plus/minus in the whole League, at +19.
Not toooo shabby.
And last but not least…
1. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
The Nuge has racked up 32 points so far, in a year where “will the Oilers keep him after nine games?” was an oft-asked question. I myself have written that people should expect him to start falling off (in October). I was wrong, and I’m fully on board now. He’s an amazing player.
When you consider the expectations on #1 picks, and the progress of other recent top picks (like his teammate Taylor Hall), nobody can claim to have seen this level of success coming this early. Not even RNH himself. And, fortunately, he’s a modest kid, too – he doesn’t.