The mark of a successful team not only measures by the stars on a roster but also their impact versus cost on that roster. But another important factor on that team are where the goal scoring is coming from. The Chicago Blackhawks have this little nugget via Sportsnet Stats:
Connor Bedard (CHI) – 26.5
Auston Matthews (TOR) – 24.5
Sam Reinhart (FLA) – 24.5
Kyle Connor (WPG) – 23.6
Frank Vatrano (ANA) – 23.4
— Sportsnet Stats (@SNstats) November 15, 2023
Let’s dig in.
Bedard Bulk of Blackhawks Goals
This is hardly surprising. But interestingly until Bedard went on a tear in his last two games scoring four of the team’s eight goals (50% clip now), things were a bit more balanced. Heading into the Tampa Bay game which resulted in a 5-3 victory, Bedard only had five goals on the season. That drops his proportional contribution to just 19.2%.
But it does speak a bit to his value to the team. This higher clip of 26.5% right now will likely stay in line as he continues to score at will–with seven goals in his past six games. Prior to that, however, he had two in his first seven games. So what’s the reality?
As the schedule eases, in theory, the Blackhawks phenom–as well as the rest of the team–should score more goals. In the same breath, the Hawks have had a strange schedule that has offered a chunk of off days between games. That won’t keep up either. So how do things break down on other levels beyond Bedard?
Of the 34 goals the Blackhawks have tabulated:
- Just five have been on the power play (14.7% of goals scored)
- Three have been empty net goals (8.8% of goals scored)
- One has been shorthanded (2.9% of goals scored)
- 25 have been even strength not counting the empty net (73.5%)
The last metric is interesting because the Blackhawks rank 30th in the league for goals scored. But nearly three-quarters of those goals have come at even strength, empty netters notwithstanding.
Imagine if they were converting more on the power play.
A breakdown by player:
- Bedard – 9
- Tyler Johnson – 4
- Corey Perry and Ryan Donato – 3
- Nick Foligno, Philipp Kurashev, Jason Dickinson, Taylor Hall and Taylor Raddysh – 2
- Kevin Korchinski, MacKenzie Entwistle, Cole Guttman, Reese Johnson, and Nikita Zaitsev – 1
- Only two defensemen this season have scored goals
- Guttman is currently in Rockford while it’s been a rotation at times of Reese Johnson, and Entwistle
- Of those who have scored multiple goals this season, only Dickinson hasn’t been on a line with Bedard at some point whether at even strength or on the power play.
So what’s the takeaway?
Goal Scoring Will Likely Be An Up and Down Thing
Since having a line that features Foligno-Bedard-Kurashev, the Blackhawks have looked stronger but surprisingly according to Natural Stat Trick, they’re dead even with six goals for and against. Of the combined 13 goals scored individually, six have come with that line which is definitely a good thing.
But the biggest takeaway here is that goal scoring may very well be difficult to come by this season outside of Bedard. That isn’t to take anything away from other players, especially when looking back a season ago. But the only 20-goal scorers last season still on the roster are Raddysh and Andreas Athanasiou.
With Bedard accounting for over a quarter of the goals, it will be interesting to see how that number fluctuates not only the rest of the month, but as games are played in closer proximity.
It’s exciting for Blackhawks fans to see Bedard scoring at a high clip. But as any astute hockey fan knows, it’s a balanced attack that delivers the strongest results.
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