Regardless of where you stand in the analytics-versus-eye-test debate that's encompassed the hockey world over the past several years, advanced statistics in the NHL undeniably create some interesting talking points.
For example: How can a 29-year-old with under 90 NHL contests to his name rank in the same breath as two of the most prolific goal scorers the league has to offer? Well, let's find out.
Below are five individual-based advanced statistics and the five league-leaders in that category so far in the 2017-18 season, followed by a few takeaways to digest what we learned.
(All stats at 5-on-5, minimum 200 minutes. Per 60: 60 minutes of even-strength play. All stats courtesy: Corsica)
Goals per 60
|Nikita Kucherov (TB)||2.14|
|Alex Ovechkin (WSH)||2.07|
|Brock Boeser (VAN)||2.03|
|Brian Gibbons (NJ)||1.85|
|William Karlsson (VGK)||1.82|
- Gibbons, the aforementioned anomaly, leads the NHL in shooting percentage by a wide margin (19.51 percent on all attempts), and probably won't find himself beside the league's elite as the season wears on.
- Perhaps most impressive is Boeser, as the Canucks rookie is now up to 15 goals in 29 career games.
- Only two players eclipsed 1.5 goals per 60 last season, so expect some regression from everyone.
Primary Assists per 60
|Jaden Schwartz (STL)||1.73|
|Jonathan Marchessault (VGK)||1.69|
|Sebastian Aho (CAR)||1.67|
|Steven Stamkos (TB)||1.64|
|Jakub Voracek (PHI)||1.61|
- Considering Schwartz is playing with Vladimir Tarasenko and Brayden Schenn, his lead in primary helpers may hold up all season.
- Perhaps the Panthers (24th in goals for) wish they kept Marchessault around.
- Watch out for Aho, who's scored 13 points in November and has underlying numbers to suggest he's capable of even more.
|Jaden Schwartz (STL)||3.81|
|Jakub Voracek (PHI)||3.4|
|Nikita Kucherov (TB)||3.3|
|Claude Giroux (PHI)||3.17|
|Adrian Kempe (LA)||3.1|
- Kings rookie Kempe is by far the most interesting name here, as he averages just 12:46 of ice time per game.
- The Flyers' dynamic duo remains one of the NHL's most potent combinations, too bad no one else on the team can score.
|Player (Team)||iCF/60 (icSh%)|
|Vladimir Tarasenko (STL)||24.75 (6.16)|
|Jeff Skinner (CAR)||22.68 (5.41)|
|Brent Burns (SJ)||22.54 (0.67)|
|Jonathan Marchessault (VGK)||20.04 (3.61)|
|Brendan Gallagher (MTL)||19.78 (6.12)|
- Poor Burns, who is one of only two defensemen in the top 20 in this category, yet is converting under one percent of all his attempts. History would suggest that changes for the better soon.
- Gallagher has quietly enjoyed a nice bounce-back season, and has been one of the Canadiens' top producers.
Individual Expected Goals For
|Evander Kane (BUF)||7.06|
|Zach Hyman (TOR)||6.68|
|Jonathan Marchessault (VGK)||6.42|
|Taylor Hall (NJ)||6.18|
|Auston Matthews (TOR)||6.14|
- Kane shoots more than anyone in the NHL not named Ovechkin, and he could be building quite a case for a significant raise in free agency come July.
- Hyman and Matthews are two-thirds of one of the most dominant lines in the NHL, and the thought of each player being expected to score even more makes Toronto's offense that much scarier.
- There's that Marchessault fellow again - it turns out he's quite good, and is the only player to appear in three of the five stats listed.
(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)