Eastern Edge: Strong Starts from Fox, Stamkos, Batherson, and Others

Brennan Des

2021-12-28

In this week's Eastern Edge, we'll discuss players who had strong showings in 2021. We'll be looking at regular season stats from this past calendar year (i.e. January 1st, 2021 to December 27th, 2021). As such, it's worth highlighting that this year-long sample includes games from both last season – where we only saw divisional matchups – and this season, which features normal interdivisional play. I mention this because statistically, it probably makes more sense to separate these two samples and analyze them separately. However, for the purposes of a casual, year-end review, this unconventional window gives us a unique sample to look at.  

Adam Fox

The 23-year-old blueliner established himself as one of the league's premier players in 2021. As I write this, he leads all defenseman with 78 points through 85 appearances. Even if you look at points per game, Fox still ranks second among defensemen (0.92 points/game), bested by only Cale Makar (1.04 points/game).

Fox has been especially good with the man advantage this year, racking up 36 power-play points. Only Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl have more PPPs in 2021.

Steven Stamkos

I feel like Tampa Bay's captain doesn't get the respect he deserves. Expectations were sky-high for Stamkos after he scored 60 goals in 2011-2012, but public perception gradually fell as he failed to break the 50-goal mark since then, taking a backseat to Tampa's other superstars in recent years. While public perception may be skewed, he clearly remains a superstar, posting a 90-point pace in five of his last six seasons. In 2021, he's tallied 69 points in 67 outings. That's 1.03 points per game, which ranks 20th among NHL skaters. He's been especially good this season, tallying 35 points in 29 games. That production becomes all the more impressive when you consider Stamkos has spent a large chunk of the campaign without Brayden Point and Nikita Kucherov.

Drake Batherson

The 23-year-old forward has