The NHL has seen a big increase in scoring in 2022–23. Across the league, goals are coming more easily than ever as teams are becoming more offensively driven and have the scoring ability to back it up. Well, at least some of the teams are seeing this. At the time of the 2023–23 NHL All-Star Game, the league’s leading scorer is Connor McDavid who has a massive 92 points in 50 games.
Looking at team scoring, some teams have fared really well by having their top scorers lead the way. Other teams have gotten depth upon depth and have made their positioning for the playoffs more solid by truly playing hockey as a team sport. And of course, some teams can’t score at all and they’re finding themselves in the league’s basement.
2022–23 NHL Point Share Shells
One way to look at team scoring and depth is with one of my data visualisations called NHL Point Share Shells. These shells are plotted to show how every team has gotten their scoring in terms of goals and assists. It takes a tradition column chart and wraps it around in a circular manner. Since an NHL team will typically use about 24 players across a season (sometimes more, sometimes less), the circular barplot can be visually divided into quarters to see whether a team’s top-six is scoring or if they’re getting more of their goals from depth players.
The plots are also depicted as small multiples, where the biggest value comes from visually comparing any two teams against one another, or taking in the league as a whole. The plots are sorted first into four columns based on the division the teams are in, followed by descending order in terms of total team points. Every plot is scaled to fit the league’s leading scorer, which as mentioned is McDavid. His individual bar is the largest in the whole league where he has 41 goals and 51 assists.
For a fun aesthetic flair, the NHL All-Star Miami Vice colours of pink and blue were also used and the four-point star mark from the All-Star logo was used to highlight the league’s leading team in terms of total points scored: the Boston Bruins. Without further ado, here’s the visualisation. You can click on the image to see it in full size.
Observations from the Point Share Shells
Here are some observations that I picked up from the shells.
- The Edmonton Oilers are the first team with four 60+ point scorers which is a significant milestone to hit at this point in the season. The team has a total of 504 points, good for second in the league.
- The Seattle Kraken are going the opposite direction as they’re second in the Pacific, but have no 60-point scorers. In fact, they have no 40-point scorers either as they’re led by Andre Burakovsky’s 39 points. The team’s depth is scoring in spades and it’s a big part of the team’s success. That’s evidenced by the shape of their shell as it’s very even throughout.
- The Boston Bruins, Dallas Stars, and Columbus Blue Jackets all have one star player doing the bulk of the scoring: David Pastrnak, Jason Robertson, and Johnny Gaudreau, respectively. However, the Bruins and Stars have solid secondary scoring the follows while Gaudreau is on his own in Columbus.
- A couple of teams have a one-two punch in scoring, most prominently seen with the Philadelphia Flyers with Travis Konecny and Kevin Hayes, and the Anaheim Ducks with Trevor Zegras and Troy Terry.
- Some teams are seeing good contributions from several top scorers, such as the Florida Panthers, Toronto Maple Leafs, New Jersey Devils, and Carolina Hurricanes.
- The league’s lowest scoring team so far are the Chicago Blackhawks. No one on that team is having a good season.
These are just a few of many observations from the Point Share Shell visualisation. Feel free to dive deeper into the chart and find your own if they aren’t listed here and leave it in the comments!