Wild West: Post Christmas Trends
Weekly Western Leaders (January 12th through the 19th)
Goals – 5 – Dominik Kubalik – Chicago (back to back)
Assists – 6 – Jonathan Toews -Chicago
Points – 9 Jonathan Toews – Chicago
Shots on Goal – 17 – Patrick Kane – Chicago
Best plus/minus – plus 6 – Jonathan Toews – Chicago, Slater Koekkoek – Chicago
Worst plus/minus – minus 4 – Timo Meier –San Jose, Evander Kane – San Jose, Joe Thornton – San Jose, Clayton Keller – Arizona, Patrick Marleau – San Jose, Matt Dumba – Minnesota, Brent Burns – San Jose, Mattias Ekholm – Nashville, Dmitry Kulikov – Winnipeg, Esa Lindell – Dallas, Erik Karlsson – San Jose, Luca Sbisa – Winnipeg (the week was not kind to the over 40 crowd)
Hits – 19 – Neal Pionk – Winnipeg
Blocked shots – 13 – Connor Murphy – Chicago (back to back)
FOW – 41 – Bo Horvat – Vancouver
FOL – 39 – Joel Eriksson Ek – Minnesota
Giveaways – 8 – Dmitry Kulikov – Winnipeg
Takeaways – 7 – Alex Pietrangelo – St. Louis
5 on 5 SH%(min 3 games) – 22.22 – Alex Nylander – Chicago
CF% (min 3 games) – 70.1 Nicholas Hague – Vegas
Highest PDO (min 3 games) – 118.3 Alex Nylander – Chicago
Lowest PDO (min 3 games) – 80.2 Luca Sbisa – Winnipeg
Save percentage (min 2 starts) – 95.7 Alex Stalock – Minnesota
Quality starts – 2 – Alex Stalock – Minnesota, Jacob Markstrom – Vancouver, Corey Crawford – Chicago, Robin Lehner – Chicago, David Rittich – Calgary, Connor Hellebuyck – Winnipeg, Adin Hill – Arizona, Ben Bishop – Dallas
Since Christmas, the Chicago Blackhawks are the hottest team in the West with nine wins in 12 games, with the Vancouver Canucks next with eight wins in 11 games. We will look at each team in the West and see how they have fared since Christmas and if a few players are trending up or down. All stats are from 12/25/19 to 01/19/20.
The Ducks are 26th in the league since the holiday break and have only four wins in 11 games. They are 30th in the league in goals for at 2.27/game (GF/G) and 21st in goals against with 3.27/game (GAA). They are scoring less and letting more pucks in. Not a good recipe for success. The only good news is that the power play has been middle of the pack recently, which is an improvement.
A player I would focus on is Ondrej Kase, as he only has two goals and two assists in the past 11 games, but he had 37 SOG, a CF percentage of 51.7 and had only received 46.8 percent of starts in the OZ. One would think pucks will go in eventually for him as his PDO was 97.3.
The Coyotes are having a bit of tough stretch since the holiday break and have five wins and 11 points in 12 games. Their 2.83 GF/G is on pace with their overall year, but 3.17 GA/G over the past 12 games has dropped them from first to fourth and raised their overall goals against to 2.65/game. They have been hit with injuries with the top two goalies but Adin Hill has been decent, so it is more of a team issue than goaltending at this point. The acquisition of Taylor Hall has had the desired result of adding scoring, but the side-effect has been letting in more goals than usual.
It appears that the biggest beneficiary on offense has been Conor Garland who had four goals and seven assists over his last 12 games, while Nick Schmaltz and Clayton Keller are struggling. Schmaltz was bound to slow down as his 5-on-5 shooting percentage and PDO are both high at 9.3 and 102.0 respectively, but Keller’s lack of production is worrisome. Garland will be hard pressed to maintain his current form with or without Taylor Hall and Phil Kessel.
Calgary has won seven of their past 11 games, while only scoring 2.64 g/game and allowing 2.83 g/game, both of which are slight improvements on the year. The much-anticipated goal explosion from Johnny Gaudreau, Matthew Tkachuk, and Sean Monahan has failed to materialize. The power play has struggled all season, but even more so since Christmas, posting a 13.8 success rate as compared to their season rate of 18.5.
Elias Lindholm has five goals in his past 11 games and has now reached 20 goals for the year. He is perhaps the only legitimate threat to score 30 goals this season on the Flames.
The Blackhawks are the hottest team in the West with nine wins from the past 12 games. They averaged 3.50 GF/G, raising their season average to 3.00 GF/G, and did so mostly at 5-on-5 as their power play is still struggling at just over 15 percent. Dominik Kubalik has 11 goals in the past 12 games and not one has been with the man advantage. The team is shooting 11.3 percent at 5-on-5 and has a PDO of 104.3, two numbers that are more than likely unsustainable over the course of the season. Enjoy the points while you can.
Erik Gustafsson is trending back up. He has two goals and five assists in his past 12 games, but is still giving up most of his power play minutes. With the power play continuing to struggle, perhaps Gustafsson will get another shot after the All-Star break?
The Avalanche have four wins and 11 points over their past 11 games, and they were able to maintain 3.55 GF/G to match their season’s pace as the 2nd best offense in the NHL. They are struggling to keep the puck out of the net and have now fallen to 22nd in the league in GAA at 2.90.
Gabriel Landeskog has five goals in 11 games, and more importantly had 38 SOG during this stretch. After scoring 34 goals last year with 243 SOG (3.33/game), he was only averaging 2.33/game before Christmas. Because he has missed 16 games this season, he won’t reach 34 goals again but he might get to 25-30.
Dallas won seven of their past 10 games with good goaltending and team defense as they only managed 2.40 GF/G, like most of their season so far. Their power play clicked at 30 percent over the 10 games (season is now 19.7), taking the pressure off their struggling 5-on-5 scoring. Admittedly their 5-on-5 shooting percentage has to improve from the 4.4 it has been during this stretch.
What has happened to Alexander Radulov? He had three goals and an assist in 10 games, but only on 13 SOG. He is producing almost next to nothing at even strength, especially for someone so sheltered (61.8 percent OZ starts).
The Oilers have found their groove again with 13 points in their past nine games. Aside from Florida (4.27 goals/game), no team has scored as much as they have since Christmas (4.22 goals/game). They have raised their season GF/G to 3.12 which is now 12th in the league. The power play still leads the league at 29.7 percent and has seen very little drop-off if any.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has six goals and seven assists in his past nine games and should see 60 points again. Six goals on 17 shots won’t happen that often, so take the goals as a gift.
The Kings are having an expected season (more or less) and have only three wins to show for their last 11 games. They are near the bottom at 29th with 2.50 GF/G and 21st with a GAA of 3.12. Their power play has been improving and is 32.0 percent since Christmas, raising them to 26th overall at 16.2 percent for the season. Other than Anze Kopitar, there isn’t much offense on this team right now.
The Wild managed nine points on four wins in their last 10 games. Their power play was 29.0 percent throughout those 10 games, which raised their season total to 19.7 percent. This team is on the outside looking in leading up to the All-Star break and might be sellers at the trade deadline if things don’t turn around in a hurry.
Zach Parise has four goals and four assists in his past 10 games, giving him 18 goals for the year. He has an outside chance to get 30 goals for the seventh time in his career.
The Predators have a 5-on-5 shooting percentage of 6.6 in their past 11 games, in which they only had four wins and nine points. Their penalty kill abandoned them during this stretch and only had a 61.6 percent kill rate, consistent with the team’s struggles throughout the season, and now is 29th overall at 73.7 percent.
Calle Jarnkrok has come down to earth with only one assist in his past 11 games. He is now on pace for a 47 point season after flirting with a 65 point season before the holiday. He still had 30 SOG during the stretch and was only just taken off of the power play. He could be had very cheaply as some might want to drop him from their roster altogether.
With five wins and 12 points in their past 12 games, the Sharks were all over the map. They struggled to score with 2.42 GF/G but did manage to improve their defense over that stretch to 3.32 GAA. Their power play improved to 25th in the league at 16.7 percent by going 25.0 percent in those 12 games.
With the injury to Logan Couture, it appears that Kevin Labanc might benefit the most. He has two goals and two assists in the five games since Couture went down and has seen his ice time increase quite a bit.
The Blues have six wins and 14 points in their past 11 games, while scoring 3.62 GF/G. The power play contributed with a 31.3 percent success rate. They are head and shoulders above the other teams in the West.
Robert Thomas has put up 23 points in his past 28 games after having a slow start. His PDO of 103.8 and 10.6 5-on-5 shooting percentage indicate this might be a little high, but he is having a very good stretch. Enjoy.
Vancouver has 16 points and eight wins in their past 11 games (including getting demolished in Florida). Their power play has struggled of late, 15.4 percent over the 11 games, and their CF percentage of 46.3, combined with a team 5-on-5 shooting percentage of 10.2, indicates they are overachieving and might be in for a little dip.
Brock Boeser has gone without a point for his past three games and has three goals and four assists in his past 11. He has 40 SOG and no power play points in that span. He has been removed from the top line, not for anything he has or hasn’t done, but more to try to spread out the scoring. The team needs to be better on the power play and he is an important factor in that.
Vegas has 11 points on five wins in their past 11 games and if PDO and CF percentage had any say, the Golden Knights would have had a few more victories. They lead the league in CF percentage at 59.4 and had a team PDO of 96.9, but their goaltending let them down. With Gerard Gallant being fired, who knows what direction the team will go in?
Shea Theodore has one goal and 10 assists in his past 11 games and played over 23 minutes/game. He now has 22 points in his last 29 games as well and is currently on pace for 50 points.
The Jets are going the wrong way and their thin defense is becoming transparent. They only managed four wins and 10 points, while giving up 3.75 GAA in their past 12 games. Their power play was decent at 25.8 percent but even strength was their Achilles’ heel this stretch.
Josh Morrissey has one goal and one assist in his past 12 games, while being minus eight. He was having a career year points wise and is still on pace for 44 points. It’s the multi-category stats that have abandoned him, as he has only 23 hits and 46 blocks in 47 games. He’s changed his game, but perhaps not for the better.
Next week will be a quiet week because of All-Star Week.
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