Comparing Hockey Stats

Jim Gunther

2007-02-17

Back when I was in school my teachers always said there was a difference between hearing and listening. The same is true in terms of seeing and reading. As a fantasy hockey player you probably look at stats often and try to decide what to do. But in looking at the stats do you really read and see the stats?

If you really did read the stats you could argue that Sidney Crosby should not be compared to Alexander Ovechkin, that being an NHL captain might affect your point totals and that a player does not always average the same range of stats every season.

Below is a chart with six of the top eight current scoring leaders in the NHL. I organized these players into two groups. I know you can see it, but can you read it?

Player POS GP G A PTS PPG PPA GW SOG
Crosby C 52 25 62 87 7 36 4 146
Thornton C 56 15 59 74 6 34 3 147
Savard C 55 18 52 70 9 27 3 149
Ovechkin LW 57 34 38 72 14 16 6 286
Heatley RW 57 32 38 70 10 16 7 209
Hossa RW 60 33 39 72 15 19 4 261

Crosby/OveyIn a quick glimpse it appears they are organized based on position. An assumption would be the nature of the position would thus always result in the stats being similar. However in reality it is much more than that. It is really based on playing style and how well balanced they are as an offensive threat. Some players look to shoot first while others look to pass first. Some players are not known to be passers at all. Ovechkin, Heatley and Hossa have a much more balanced game. Players such as Simon Gagne, Glen Murray, and Ryan Smith rely on having great passers to get their goals.