Habs Point Paces Through 41 Games: How the Power Play is screwing with counting stats.

With half a season gone and some disappointing results for the Habs the time is ripe to take a look at who has met or exceeded expectations offensively and who has disappointed. Also it is important to look at scoring by game situation to look at which results are due to poor general play, poor 5 on 5 play or the specifically the result of the a bottom ranked power play. For our purposes here, scoring other than even strength and powerplay is treated as irrelevant since the main drivers of the traditional counting stats are these two game states.

Forwards Even Strength:

Forwards

This Season

82 game pace

Games

ESG

ESGG

ESP

ESPG

ESG

ESP

Max Pacioretty

38

11

0.29

22

0.58

23.7

47.5

Erik Cole

41

10

0.24

20

0.49

20.0

40.0

Tomas Plekanec

41

5

0.12

19

0.46

10.0

38.0

David Desharnais

41

5

0.12

19

0.46

10.0

38.0

Michael Cammalleri

36

9

0.25

16

0.44

20.5

36.4

Andrei Kostitsyn

31

8

0.26

15

0.48

21.2

39.7

Lars Eller

38

6

0.16

14

0.37

12.9

30.2

Travis Moen

39

9

0.23

14

0.36

18.9

29.4

Brian Gionta

30

6

0.20

12

0.40

16.4

32.8

Louis Leblanc

14

2

0.14

5

0.36

11.7

29.3

Mathieu Darche

41

2

0.05

5

0.12

4.0

10.0

Scott Gomez

13

0

0.00

4

0.31

0.0

25.2

Petteri Nokelainen

38

2

0.05

4

0.11

4.3

8.6

Mike Blunden

18

1

0.06

2

0.11

4.6

9.1

Aaron Palushaj

15

0

0.00

0

0.00

0.0

0.0

Andreas Engqvist

8

0

0.00

0

0.00

0.0

0.0

General rule of thumb, top six players score 30-40 even strength points per 82 game season, star even strength forwards exceed 40. Bottom six forwards tend to be below 30 points unless they are having an incredibly good/lucky year.

As a whole this paints a pretty good picture about Montreal's even strength offense. Only Pacioretty is performing at what one would call a star level but the top nine is quite solid. 8 players are within top 6 forward range while Moen and Leblanc for his short stay have been at the edge of that level. The highest number of 30 ES point pace forwards Montreal has had in a season during the past decade is 6 (only twice) so this is a sign of Montreal's marked increase in scoring depth. So is the fact that Montreal could construct 2 complete lines of 35+ point paced forwards and still leave enough talent to form a solid two-way third line with the remains (Moen-Eller-Gionta).

The 4th liners however are weak even for 4th line players. Roling 4 lines doesn't seem to be good strategy with this bunch.

Forwards Power Play:

Forwards

This Season

82 game pace

Games

PPG

PPGG

PPP

PPPG

PPG

PPP

Tomas Plekanec

41

3

0.07

11

0.27

6.0

22.0

Erik Cole

41

7

0.17

10

0.24

14.0

20.0

David Desharnais

41

1

0.02

7

0.17

2.0

14.0

Michael Cammalleri

36

1

0.03

6

0.17

2.3

13.7

Max Pacioretty

38

1

0.03

6

0.16

2.2

12.9

Brian Gionta

30

2

0.07

3

0.10

5.5

8.2

Andrei Kostitsyn

31

2

0.06

3

0.10

5.3

7.9

Lars Eller

38

0

0.00

0

0.00

0.0

0.0

Travis Moen

39

0

0.00

0

0.00

0.0

0.0

Mathieu Darche

41

0

0.00

0

0.00

0.0

0.0

Louis Leblanc

14

0

0.00

0

0.00

0.0

0.0

Petteri Nokelainen

38

0

0.00

0

0.00

0.0

0.0

Scott Gomez

13

0

0.00

0

0.00

0.0

0.0

Mike Blunden

18

0

0.00

0

0.00

0.0

0.0

Aaron Palushaj

15

0

0.00

0

0.00

0.0

0.0

Andreas Engqvist

8

0

0.00

0

0.00

0.0

0.0

In contrast to the strong even strength results, the power play numbers are much weaker than Montreal is accustomed to. In a typical post-lockout Montreal year there will be at least one or two power play stars that paced for well over 20 PP points (Cammalleri, Kovalev, and Koivu have all been that player) as well as 4 or 5 players above 15 point pace and 6 or 7 above 10. Even accounting for the decrease in the number of power play opportunities over the years this is a much poorer showing then we've come to expect. I was especially expecting more from Pacioretty, who was excellent at point and shot production last year on the power play. This year he still generates loads of shots and chances but appears snake bitten, although that largely evens out his greater than normal conversion on even strength.

Forwards Total 82 Game Pace:

Forward Total 82 Game Scoring Pace

ES Goals

ES Points

PP Goals

PP Points

Total Goals

Total Points

Max Pacioretty

23.7

47.5

2.2

12.9

25.9

60.4

Erik Cole

20.0

40.0

14.0

20.0

34.0

60.0

Tomas Plekanec

10.0

38.0

6.0

22.0

16.0

60.0

David Desharnais

10.0

38.0

2.0

14.0

12.0

52.0

Michael Cammalleri

20.5

36.4

2.3

13.7

22.8

50.1

Andrei Kostitsyn

21.2

39.7

5.3

7.9

26.5

47.6

Brian Gionta

16.4

32.8

5.5

8.2

21.9

41.0

Lars Eller

12.9

30.2

0.0

0.0

12.9

30.2

Travis Moen

18.9

29.4

0.0

0.0

18.9

29.4

Louis Leblanc

11.7

29.3

0.0

0.0

11.7

29.3

Scott Gomez

0.0

25.2

0.0

0.0

0.0

25.2

Mathieu Darche

4.0

10.0

0.0

0.0

4.0

10.0

Mike Blunden

4.6

9.1

0.0

0.0

4.6

9.1

Petteri Nokelainen

4.3

8.6

0.0

0.0

4.3

8.6

Aaron Palushaj

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

Andreas Engqvist

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

As a whole the forwards has done well on ES and poorly on 5 on 5. Still, if you were to tell me that Montreal would have a 60 point average first line, a 50 point average 2nd line and a 33 point average 3rd line going into this season with 5 20+ goal and 1 30+ goal paced forwards I probably would be content if not ecstatic about that kind of result. which is fairly typical for an decent scoring NHL team and the Boston Bruins were a Cup-winning team with pretty similar results from their top-nine last season.

Veteran Forwards:

Established Forwards 82 Game Pace

This Year

Last 4 Years

ES

PP

Total

ES

PP

Total

Erik Cole

40.0

20.0

60.0

36.7

10.7

47.4

Tomas Plekanec

38.0

22.0

60.0

37.7

20.2

57.9

Michael Cammalleri

36.4

13.7

50.1

40.7

26.4

67.1

Andrei Kostitsyn

39.7

7.9

47.6

34.0

14.3

48.3

Brian Gionta

32.8

8.2

41.0

37.2

15.4

52.6

Travis Moen

29.4

0.0

29.4

13.1

0.3

13.4

Scott Gomez

25.2

0.0

25.2

36.3

21.3

57.6

Mathieu Darche

10.0

0.0

10.0

24.4

4.6

29.0

Looking at the track records of the veteran forwards we can see who is over or underperfoming what we could expect from their career. Cole is the only one of the top scorers to significantly exceed expectations, largely from the topsy-turvy result of the weakest career power play scorer having one of the top results with the man advantage while almost everyone else suffers. Plekanec is basically dead on his usual performance points-wise, which is as a solid 60 point center (basically that of a 1a/1b centerman) and the weighted average between a 70 point dynamo and 37 point disappointment. That he's doing this with a brutal defensive load, (by far the toughest quality of competition metrics and a brutal 42.2% ozone start) is a testament to his incredible two-way ability. Likewise Kostitsyn is having a pretty typical Kostitsyn year, with stronger ES numbers compensating for weaker power play results.

Cammalleri and Gionta are the twin under perfomers offensively. Neither is doing that badly at even strength, although they are on the lower side, considering both are probably playing a tougher ES role than normal, with Gionta playing the same role as Plekanec and Cammalleri also being pressed into a tough minutes role (without the defensive faceoff responsiblities though). Both are getting about half the power play points they typically would, and this is the biggest reason a 60+ point winger is pacing for 50 and a 50 point winger is pacing for 40+. The one consolation is that Cole is having a decent Cammalleri scoring season while Cammalleri is having a decent Cole year.

Moen's atypical offensive outburst has essentially replaced Darche as a depth scoring winger. Gomez is way lower than normal but has only played 13 games so there is too little data to make definite conclusions whether he will be as low scoring as last season if he plays.

Averaging out the totals of the pace of all the veterans but Gomez (whose barely played) and you essentially get a veteran group that is performing almost exactly at the level to be expected of them. Scoring wise, the loss of Gomez is pretty much cancelled out by new scoring from Desharnais and Eller. So collectively it is probably fair to say that Montreal's forwards are doing about as well offensively as they can be expected to do. On the power play however, this group is only doing about 2/3rds as good as their track record, although that goes up to 4/5ths excluding Gomez.

Overall, switch the seasons Cole and Cammalleri, as well as Gionta and Kostitsyn and Moen and Darche, are having and put Gomez where Desharnais is while Desharnais has the combination of Leblanc and Gomez's totals and the scoring results from the forwards are about what I would have guessed going into the season.

Defensemen Even Strength:

Defense

This Season

82 game pace

Games

ESG

ESGG

ESP

ESPG

ESG

ESP

P.K. Subban

40

2

0.05

12

0.30

4.1

24.6

Tomas Kaberle

41

1

0.02

11

0.27

2.0

22.0

Josh Gorges

41

2

0.05

11

0.27

4.0

22.0

Raphael Diaz

39

2

0.05

8

0.21

4.2

16.8

Hal Gill

36

1

0.03

7

0.19

2.3

15.9

Yannick Weber

34

0

0.00

6

0.18

0.0

14.5

Chris Campoli

9

1

0.11

1

0.11

9.1

9.1

Frédéric St-Denis

8

1

0.13

1

0.13

10.3

10.3

Alexei Emelin

30

0

0.00

1

0.03

0.0

2.7

Much like the forwards this is a group that has no one exceptional at even strength but quite a few good producers for their position. Last season 22 points would put you in the top 30 for even strength scoring among blueliners and most years being on that pace will put you in the top 60. Having three defenders who can score at that rate is pretty good if unspectacular. Getting above 30 ES points is a rarity for defenders, which only happens to a few each season. Big offensive numbers for defenseman are almost always a result of strong powerplay production.

Defenseman Power Play:

Defense

This Season

82 game pace

Games

PPG

PPGG

PPP

PPPG

PPG

PPP

Yannick Weber

39

3

0.09

6

0.18

7.2

14.5

Tomas Kaberle

41

0

0.00

6

0.15

0.0

12.0

P.K. Subban

40

1

0.03

5

0.13

2.1

10.3

Raphael Diaz

41

0

0.00

3

0.08

0.0

6.3

Josh Gorges

36

0

0.00

0

0.00

0.0

0.0

Hal Gill

34

0

0.00

0

0.00

0.0

0.0

Chris Campoli

9

0

0.00

0

0.00

0.0

0.0

Frédéric St-Denis

8

0

0.00

0

0.00

0.0

0.0

Alexei Emelin

30

0

0.00

0

0.00

0.0

0.0

If there is one place Montreal has been particularly subpar this half season it is here, especially keeping in mind that most of Kaberle's points were in Carolina. Montreal has become accustomed to having strong power play quarterbacks that put up big point totals every year. Be they Wisniewski and Subban (29 and 18), Bergeron and Markov (22 in 60 and 16 in 45), Markov and Schneider (39 and 19), Markov and Streit (32 and 34), Souray and Markov (48 and 32 one year, 21 and 24 the other). Without an elite power play defenseman like Markov or Wisniewski to lead the way it seems the power play has become completely incapable of scoring goals, although they produce plenty of shots and chances. Perhaps the Kaberle-Subban combination or a shift in luck can turn it around but it is here that Andrei Markov's absence seems keenest felt and it may be fair to say that the resulting loss in powerplay efficiency is the reason why Montreal finds itself out of a playoff spot.

Glossary: ESG: Even strength goal. ESP: Even strength point. PPG: Power play goal. PPP: Power play point. ESGG: Even strength goal per game. ESPG: Even strength point per game. PPGG: Power play goal per game. PPPG: Power play point per game.

Stats are calculated from numbers from NHL.com

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