Monday, December 15, 2008

Dethroning the Champ

There is a lot of ink and storage space being devoted to the exploits of several NHL players this year… Buffalo’s Thomas Vanek and his 24 goals… Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin and his 49 points… even Tim Thomas and his microscopic goals-against average. But if you’re looking at early Hart and Pearson Trophy contenders, you’d better bring your “A” game to dethrone the champ.

Alexander Ovechkin, through 29 games played, is 17-23-40, +10, which ranks him third among scorers, behind Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. But here is where things get interesting and reflect the next step in the development of Ovechkin…

Goals: T-4th
Assists: T-5th
Hits: 3rd
Time on ice: 1st (among forwards)

Ovechkin is the only player in the NHL who ranks in the top-five among all players in goal, assists, points, and hits. More to the point, he is in some respects outpacing his results over a comparable number of games last year:

And he has been even more productive lately. Over his last 18 games, he is 15-17-32, +4. If he was to keep up that pace through the rest of the year, Ovechkin would finish at 60-71-131, +15.

Vanek is on a pace for 66 goals in his race for the Richard Trophy (and fewer assists -- 14 -- than Ovechkin has right now). Malkin is on a pace for 134 points in his race for the Ross Trophy. But given Ovechkin’s remarkable consistency over his career, if someone else is going to win the Richard, the Ross, or even the Hart, or the Pearson, they’ll have to earn it.


Dougeb said...

It's too early to "crown" anyone with an end-of-year trophy. Ovechkin gets hot in extreme spurts. Who knows.......

matzohboy said...

Good analysis as always. Other than maybe the first ten games of this season, Ovechkin has been remarkably consistent in his 10 game blocks over his 3+ year career (as you've duly noted in the past). I think we can all expect a ridiculous 10 game stretch that will make us all forget the start of this season, and put him clearly in the running for the Richard and Ross, as opposed to a aemi-distant 3rd.