Visualising team scoring across the NHL halfway through the 2019-20 season

The 2019-20 regular season has officially passed its halfway point, as 638 of 1271 total regular season games have been played by the end of January 2, 2020. Now was a good a time as any to take a look at how Point Share Shells so far this season have turned out.

Looking at the conclusion of the 2019-20 season versus now, there has been plenty of changes in team offence. Some teams improved their offence and others have started the first half of the season with offensive struggles.

Let’s take a look at how teams have fared.

NHL Point Share Shells

The point share shells are below, which includes all data from the first 638 games of the season. Click the image to see the full size.

Top of the league Offence

The three highest scoring teams in the league are the Colorado Avalanche, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Florida Panthers. Each team boasts a plethora of players that can definitely find themselves on the scoreboard night in and night out. Having offence helps, but none of these three teams are in first place in their divisions. The Avalanche are five points back of the St. Louise Blues in the Central, and the Maple Leafs are six points back of the Boston Bruins in the Atlantic. The Panthers trail even further, being 10 points behind the B’s.

Offence is obviously a large factor in winning games, but despite having the top scoring in the league, these three teams are sixth, eighth, and sixteenth in the league standings. Let’s take a look at what’s gone right for these teams in terms of scoring.

Colorado Avalanche

The Avalanche, as pointed out in the image, were the first team to surpass 400 total team points. When looking at their shell, there’s a single player that’s been their MVP. Nathan MacKinnon (who else?) has led his team to victory most nights, and recorded 62 points, which is exactly double that of the second highest scorer on the team, Cale Makar.

When an elite player is that far above the rest of his team, there can be cause for concern. However, the Avs are getting contributions up and down their lineup. Despite injury woes, Mikko Rantanen is still averaging more than a point per game, and finds himself a part of the high-scoring core of the team nonetheless.

Three of the new guys Joonas Donskoi, Nazem Kadri, and Andre Burakovsky are all first-time Avs, and they’re all finding success with their new team. Joe Sakic went out and made these offseason acquisitions to improve their forward depth and is currently seeing his work pay off, as all three are on pace for 50+ point seasons.

On top of that, other players have chipped in. Matt Calvert, who’s on pace for a career season, J.T. Compher, and Samuel Girard have all scored at least 20 points. Seven others, most notably Gabriel Landeskog, have all reached double digit scoring as well.

The Avs are showing off their depth, and consistently get a full team effort. So when a team’s best player doubles the point pace of the second-best player, it might not actually be too big of a concern when said best player is MacKinnon and the rest of the team are all finding their way onto the boxscore.

Toronto Maple Leafs

The Maple Leafs have had quite the storied first half to the season, capped off with the firing of Mike Babcock when things seemingly looked like they’ve hit rock bottom. His replacement, Sheldon Keefe has righted the ship and the Leafs are back to meeting expectations.

The top four scorers for the Leafs are no other than Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, William Nylander, and John Tavares. Despite none of the four hitting the 50 point mark by the end of 2019, it goes without saying that they’ve done more than their fair share to help turn things around for the Leafs.

Having a bit of drop after the four, the Leafs have four other players that have reached 20 points or more. Morgan Rielly leads their defence, and Kasperi Kapanen and Ilya Mikheyev are finding their roles. Tyson Barrie (maybe more than anyone else) has seen much improved play ever since Keefe took over.

It is too early to say, but the Leafs are well on track and have a lot of work left to do. They are probably going to make the playoffs, but they still need to find a way to not meet the Bruins in the first round. We’ll see what happens come April.

Florida Panthers

Gotta give credit where credit is due. It’d be tough to find anyone that would have penned the Panthers as the league’s third-most potent offence at the midpoint of the season. Coaching a new team for the first time in a decade, Joel Quenneville has done great work with his roster and many players in the Panthers lineup are to thank for this.

Jonathan Huberdeau has led the way, followed by Aleksander Barkov. The duo has been Florida’s main drivers of offence, but the rest of the team have stepped up to the plate as well. Six other players have posted 20 points or more: Evgenii Dadonov, Keith Yandle, Mike Hoffman, Brett Connolly, Aaron Ekblad, and Vincent Trocheck.

A well-rounded team effort has put Florida right in the middle of the playoff race, and they’ll look to make it back into the postseason for the first time since 2015-16.

Misery meets company

The Calgary Flames, San Jose Sharks, and Chicago Blackhawks were second, third, and seventh in total team points last year. Now, the Blackhawks are 19th, and the Flames and Sharks are even worse off at 23rd and 22nd, respectively. For any team to see that steep a drop off in scoring, things must have gone sorely wrong.

Calgary Flames

The Flames were the best team in the Western Conference last year. Half a season later, they’re in the middle of the conference, struggling to find consistency in their game. They’ve gone through their off-ice issues this year with the departure of Bill Peters due to his racist remarks and abusive behaviour towards Akim Aliu and other previous players.

With the players refocused on their game, the Flames will still be hard-pressed to get a repeat performance of multiple career years for their top players. The Flames had five players surpass the 70 point threshold last year, which hasn’t been seen in the NHL since 2001. This year, the top players for the Flames are all on lower scoring paces and that’s a big reason they’re on the bubble right now.

Matthew Tkachuk, Sean Monahan, Johnny Gaudreau, and Elias Lindholm are the only Flames with at least 30 points, but none of them have yet to reach 40. Mark Giordano hasn’t been able to find the same success as he did during his Norris Trophy-winning campaign, but is still the team’s best defender in generating offence.

When everything goes right for a team one season as it did for the Flames last year, it’s expected that things will regress, but the Flames just have yet to be able to find consistency and it’s hurting the team. At the very least, they’re right in the playoff race and have time to figure things out.

San Jose Sharks

Alongside the Flames, the Sharks have toppled down even further in the standings and are likely already out of the playoffs unless they can put together a miracle run. Their best players have simply not been good enough.

Logan Couture and Tomas Hertl are the top two on the team, but neither have reached 40 points yet. Other players that are expected to contribute are not pulling their weight. Most notably, Brent Burns and Erik Karlsson aren’t having the greatest seasons. As the top defenders on the team and playing in roles expected to provide offence, they both need to perform better.

Speaking of duos, the 40-year-olds Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau just aren’t doing the Sharks many favours right now offensively. While Thornton was able to post 51 points last year, he’s on pace for just 34 this year. Marleau scored 37 points with the Leafs last season, and he’d be lucky if he hit 30 during his return to the Sharks.

With Peter DeBoer being fired after posting at 15-16-2 record, Bob Boughner took over and is currently 4-5-2. The Sharks need to figure out something out and quick. Metaphorically speaking, they’re already looking at a closed window and need to dig deep for a crack at reopening it for another run before things go even further south.

Chicago Blackhawks

Despite not making the playoffs in the previous three seasons, the Blackhawks were able to put up high scoring totals last year. After letting go of Quenneville as head coach early on in the the season last year, Jeremy Colliton took over for the Blackhawks. They saw a lot of goals being scored with few wins to show for it. They finished 36-34-12 and were sixth in the Central.

So far this season, they’ve dropped one spot further to seventh. Their playoff chances aren’t great, but they are trending up at the turning point in the season where teams decide whether or not they go for it or recede and look towards the future. Anything can happen in the ultra-competitive Central division, and the Blackhawks are making it interesting despite posting less than desirable results.

Patrick Kane continues to score and leads the team. The Blackhawks actually have 14 other players with double digit scoring. Jonathan Toews, Alex DeBrincat, and Dylan Strome own the secondary tier of scoring behind Kane, but other players just haven’t contributed as much as they would like to. Dominik Kubalik and Brandon Saad round out the relatively higher scoring forwards on the team.

Of the 15 total double-digit point scorers the Blackhawks boast, seven of them have between 10 and 12 points. It’s nice to have depth scoring, but the Blackhawks are in need of much more than that.

Far, far, far from ideal

The Anaheim Ducks and the Detroit Red Wings are looking at dark days ahead. Both teams have played poorly for their own reasons, and there doesn’t seem to be much hope. Things look bleak and there will probably be a lot more nights of sombre locker rooms with shaking heads.

Anaheim Ducks

The Ducks finished dead last in total team scoring last year. They might have made marginal improvements to sit at 30th so far (more on that later).

Not a single Duck has reached 30 points, and they’re not getting much help anywhere in the roster. Jakob Silfverberg leads the team with Ryan Getzlaf and Rickard Rakell following. However, their lineup night in and night out just isn’t one that comes off as a large threat. Adam Henrique is the only other forward with at least 20 points on the roster.

Forwards Ondrej Kase, Sam Steel, Derek Grant, Carter Rowney, and Troy Terry have all played over 30 games this season, and their individual point totals range between 14 and 8 points. That’s far from ideal.

Detroit Red Wings

Maybe the Ducks’ “improvement” could be seen more as the Red Wing’s total collapse. They’re playing historically bad hockey and are on pace to have a worse finish than the 2016-17 Avalanche.

Tyler Bertuzzi is the only player with at least 30 points on the whole team. They only have seven other players with double-digit scoring, with Dylan Larkin, Anthony Mantha, and Filip Hronek scoring more than 20 points and Andreas Athanasiou, Robby Fabbri, and Valtteri Filppula stuck in the teens.

For what’s been an absolutely awful season, the Red Wings may set a few records for the wrong reasons by the time the season’s over. They’re the only team that has yet to score 100 goals and they’ll probably need a few more games to finally hit that threshold. That’s far, far, far from ideal. Hockey Gods forbid it takes them 50 games, though there’s a real possibility of this happening.

Were there any other teams that stood out in the Point Share Shells? Leave a comment below or @wincolumnblog!

All data courtesy of Hockey Reference. Charts made with R using “ggplot2“. Original code modified from R Graph Gallery.

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