Big Numbers: Fun with small sample sizes

Every now and then we like to take a break from all the words and just post some numbers. And some words describing the numbers, as otherwise it would just be a whole bunch of numbers with no context, which would be really weird. Big Numbers is a weekly feature on Pass it to Bulis in which we identify the numbers and statistics that really matter or, frequently, the ones that don’t matter at all but are still pretty interesting.

One week into the season, we only have three games to work with, which means this edition of Big Numbers will be all about having fun with small sample sizes. Some members of the Canucks are on pace for career seasons, while others, it seems, will never score again. And if that sounds silly, it is, but some people were already writing off the Canucks’ third line after their game one loss to the San Jose Sharks, which was just as silly.

We’ll take a breath and be reasonable later. For now, it’s numbers time.

110 | Jason Garrison is on pace for 55 goals and 55 assists through three games, for a total of 110 points. That would be the highest point total from a defenceman since Paul Coffey’s 113 points in 1988-89. Side note: Mario Lemieux had 85 goals and 199 points in 76 games that season. Holy crap.

136 | Henrik Sedin, on the other hand, is on pace for 136 points, all assists, which would break his own franchise record, but would stil be 27 assists short of Wayne Gretzky’s record of 163 assists in a season.

54 | Through three games, the Canucks have blocked 51 shots, for an average of 17 per game. The New York Rangers, under Alain Vigneault, blocked 18 shots in their one game this season. It’s worth point out that the Rangers under Tortorella, despite the emphasis on shot-blocking, never lead the league in the statistic, though they were frequently in the top-10.

1 and 2 | Against the Calgary Flames on Sunday, both David Booth and Mike Santorelli matched their goal totals from all of last season, with 1 and 2 goals, respectively. Brad Richardson did the same with his goal against the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday.

14 | The Canucks have killed off 14 straight penalties to start the season. That’s a nice improvement over the start of last season, when they gave up 3 goals on 3 power play opportunities on opening night against the Anaheim Ducks. The Canucks last killed off 14 straight penalties to start the season in 2008, giving up a goal on the 15th opportunity to the Washington Capitals in their third game.

21 | The last time the Canucks went the first three games of the season without giving up a power play goal was in 2002, when they actually went four straight games with a perfect penalty kill, killing off 21 straight opportunities.

38.27 | Dan Hamhuis has looked shaky to start the season, with uncharacteristic turnovers in the defensive zone leading to dangerous scoring chances. And yet, his Corsi/60 minutes of 38.27 leads all Canucks defencemen and is good for 8th among NHL defencemen. The small sample size means that doesn’t necessarily mean that much just yet, but when Hamhuis has been on the ice this season, the Canucks have dominated the opposition. Despite the giveaways, Hamhuis has still arguably been the Canucks’ best defenceman.

66.7% | Brad Richardson was signed to potentially fill the Canucks’ need for a third-line centre. At the very least, he’s doing the job in the faceoff circle, leading all Canucks’ centres with a 66.7% success rate, going 18-for-27 through three games. He’s taken twice as many faceoffs in the defensive zone as in the offensive zone and the third most total faceoffs on the Canucks, behind Ryan Kesler and Henrik Sedin, who have taken 67 and 60.

1:47 | Daniel Sedin has played 1:47 shorthanded so far this season, with Henrik right behind at 1:41. Sure enough, John Tortorella kept his promise to play the Sedins on the penalty kill. For those fearing injuries, neither Sedin has recorded a blocked shot through three games.

13 | Ryan Kesler and Chris Higgins lead the Canucks in shots on goal to start the season, with 13 each. And yet, Higgins has yet to score a goal and is the player with the most shots in the league without a goal.

5 | That’s the number of Canuck skaters who have appeared in a game but have yet to record a point. Alex Burrows, Tom Sestito, Zac Dalpe, Chris Tanev, and Yannick Weber have yet to hit the scoresheet, which means that 14 Canuck skaters have recorded at least 1 point.



  1. ajhockey
    October 7, 2013

    I laughed out loud at just reading the title, haha. Another quality post by the guys at PITB.

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  2. Mike
    October 7, 2013

    I love you guys.

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  3. steveB
    October 7, 2013

    oooo! small sample sizes!
    How about Taylor Hall’s current -5 rating projected over 82 games? ;-)

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    • steveB
      October 10, 2013

      according to TSN, Taylor Hall is on pace for: a +/- of -137

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  4. Kenji
    October 8, 2013

    They are not blocking shots but I am liking the Sedins on the pk. Daniel, I thought, defended particularly well – neither aggressive nor lazy, he more or less attacks the empty areas where passes could go through to the slot, keeping his stick moving, and the defenceman just rims it down low. I don’t mind that, it’s a jump ball at best.

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