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.
22:16 | Ryan Kesler’s average icetime per game, which is ten seconds ahead of Sidney Crosby for tops in the NHL. Kesler has been playing a lot of minutes all year, but he’s going to see the ice even more for the next little while thanks to injuries to, well, pretty much every other centre on the roster.
187 | Kesler’s total shots on goal, good for fifth in the league behind Alex Ovechkin, Phil Kessel, and Patricks Sharp and Marleau. Sadly, however, Kesler’s shooting percentage is the only one of the five that’s below ten per cent.
9 | And among the top 30 forwards in the NHL in shots, Kesler is one of just 9 with a shooting percentage below 10. Here’s the frustrating part, though: the Canucks have 3 of these 9. Daniel Sedin and Chris Higgins are 17th and 26th in shots among forwards, and they boast shooting percentages of 7.6% and 9.3%. No other team has two such guys in the top 30. In other words, the Canucks lead the league in guys that shoot often and only score occasionally.
4 | Canucks scoring at a 20-goal pace. That’s Canucks producing .24 goals per game or higher, enough for 20 goals over 82 games. Unsurprisingly, three of the four guys are the forwards cited above: Kesler, Daniel, and Higgins. The fourth guy? Kellan Lain, with one goal in four games. But he’s probably not going to get there.
20.5 | Thing is, Daniel Sedin is only projected to barely get there. He’s on pace for just 20.5 goals, and that’s only thanks to his early season scoring. Using just January, he’s on pace to score zero goals, as the Canucks’ go-to guy hasn’t scored once this month. Factoring in December, to be slightly more fair, Daniel has 3 goals in his last 25 games, a pace of .12 goals per game. Over his final 29 games, that equates to 3.48 goals, putting him at 16, or 17 on the year. Even a 17-goal season would be his worst in terms of goal-scoring since 2003.
40 | Even more concerning is that this doesn’t appear to be a blip. Daniel’s sitting at 40 points in 53 games at the time of this writing, which is where he finished the 47-game lockout-shortened season. The statlines are eerily close: Daniel has 13 goals and 27 assists this season. Last year, he has 12 goals and 28 assists. Sobering thought: this could be who Daniel Sedin is now. Sober second thought: he’s had a truly terrible January, with just five points in the month, which has brought his overall production down to last year’s pace. It could just be a bad run.
6 | The number of the beast, and fittingly, points for Zack Kassian, who is a beast, in the month of January. Kassian has registered 3 goals and 3 assists this month, which is one more point than he put up in January of last year, when he scored five goals in the first month coming out of the lockout and got everyone’s hopes way up. It’s the most productive month of his short NHL career. How productive is it? Kassian’s outproducing Daniel Sedin this month. Way to go, Kass!
6 | Six is also the number of games played in a Canucks uniform by Marco Sturm. The German-born winger officially retired Monday, telling German “Eishockey News” that his battery was empty. Sturm’s forgettable final NHL season, 2011-12, began in Vancouver, but only six games into his one-year deal, the Canucks traded him to Florida in a package for David Booth. That was probably frustrating for him. But in my opinion, the frustrating aspect of Sturm’s NHL career is that he only made it to 938 NHL games. He had some knee problems late in his career that caused him to miss large chunks of three seasons, but even despite those issues, if the 2004-05 NHL lockout didn’t rob a season from him, he’d have hit the 1000-game milestone.
86% | After praising the penalty-kill two weeks ago in this spot for its historic pace, I was called out by a commenter who accused me of jinxing it. He came correct. Midway through January, the Canucks were flirting with a 90% kill rate and fewer than 30 powerplay goals against, a modern-day NHL record. Since I said that, seven games ago, they’ve given up 10 PPGA. Ten! They’ve dropped from first in PPGA to fourth. It’s 86% on the season, but over this seven-game span, the kill is humming along at a terrifying 75%.
14% | The Canucks powerplay percentage this year. On the bright side, Buffalo and Florida are worse, but of course they are. The Canucks are basically the worst powerplay team among hockey’s real teams. On the real bright side, the Los Angeles Kings aren’t much better at 14.4%.
19 | Guys in the NHL with a faceoff winning percentage of 100. But it should be 20. The league never acknowledged the draw Kevin Bieksa took and won against Kevin Westgarth, and this is unconscionable. Westgarth had no interest in the puck, but dammit, Bieksa still won it clean. The league needs to give him credit for it. #JusticeForJuiceTags: Big Numbers, Justice for Juice