I dove into an exercise this weekend that wasn’t Colorado Avalanche-specific. My goal was to compare every team’s even-strength production from forwards, breaking points down by each line. This naturally comes with alot of asterisks, so let’s get them out of the way:
- Obviously determining which line was “1st” or “2nd” is iffy, so in cases where it wasn’t obvious based on every game’s starting lineup, I used the most-often-used combinations courtesy of Frozenpool by DobberHockey,
- These numbers do NOT adjust for games played or home/away splits. So some teams are going to look better or worse just because of the schedule so far,
- There is nothing I can do about injuries in the top-six affecting these numbers.
- Data was accumulated Friday night and Saturday morning.
With that out of the way, let’s look at some numbers! First, a look at the raw production of each team’s top line, 2nd line, and bottom-six (thank you Corsica for the data):
Some teams stand out immediately.
The top-line scoring of Philadelphia, Tampa Bay, and Toronto are the high points on the chart. The bottom-six scoring of Columbus, New York Rangers and Toronto are also noticeable peaks. It’s harder to pick out the middle columns, but the Islanders’ 2nd line scoring is leading the league in this count.
Colorado doesn’t come out particularly flattered in this chart, but that isn’t a terrible thing. While it would be nice to have more even-strength scoring from all forwards, the fact that d-men are contributing to the offense enough to lower the forwards’ totals a bit is fine.
Like I said earlier, these unfiltered numbers have a lot of factors affecting them. I want to see the breakdown of each team. So, let’s look at a modified chart, this one breaking down the above graph into contribution percentages of each group:
This is where we can start looking at how Colorado stacks up relative to other teams.
The average 1st-line % contribution is 37%; the Avs are exactly on that mark. So MacK and company are carrying the load as much as should be expected. Philly leads the league with a 58% contribution...no wonder the team is slumping now that the big boys have cooled down.
The average 2nd-line contribution is 27%; the Avs are at 33%. So overall the team’s top-six is absolutely pulling their weight relative to the bar set league-wide. Let’s hope this keeps up even with Duchene gone. Just for the curious - the highest in the league is Pittsburgh at 37% (a Malkin-Kessel 2nd line will do that).
Finally, the average bottom-six contribution is 36%; the Avs are well below that at 29%. This is a clear area in need of improvement. With Compher and Jost now responsible for 2nd line stats more than ever and Kamenev injured in game 1, players like Wilson and Soderberg need to start doing their share. If they’re still in the running by the trade deadline, the Avs should seriously consider some cheap (keyword) bottom-six help. Interesting to see that the league’s most helpful bottom-six is in Columbus at 53% of the squad’s scoring. The influx of youngsters like Bjorkstrand, Dubois, Milano, and Anderson (who roll between 1st-3rd lines) is clearly extremely valuable when it comes to having talent on every line.