As we sit here on the dawn of American Thanksgiving, we find ourselves just over a quarter of the way through the 2018-19 NEFHL season. The 20-25 game mark is still a relatively small sample on the whole, but it's around this time that we can start to make inferences based on performance to-date. For anyone who is interested, I am going to post a link to the viz that goes along with this article. If there is interest from GM's, I can look into updating it semi-regularly.
What do the numbers tell us so far? Let's star with special teams -
+ The Canucks are currently operating at a rate untouched by any other team, converting on 28.5% of their opportunities. Even after taking into account the immense firepower their roster boasts, one still has to figure they are due for a serious regression. It is no coincidence that they currently also rank 1st overall in goals per game. Other standouts on the man advantage include the Rangers, BJ's, and Hurricanes.
- At the other end of the spectrum, the Jets sit dead last in PP efficiency, running at a clip of 6.6%. I don't think even Jared himself would argue his team is destined for greatness this year, but with a group that includes the likes of Anze Kopitar, TJ Oshie, Travis Konecny, and Vladislav Namestnikov, among others, one has to believe that the Jets should see some more bounces go their way moving forward.
+ It's no secret that the Blues have been outright dominant on the penalty kill to-date, managing to keep opposition powerplays off the score sheet on over 95% of their opportunities. Consequently, the Blues also top the league in SV%. The Pens, Caps, and Avs are the only other teams currently operating above a 90% success rate on the man disadvantage.
- A quick glance down the list, and we find that a number of teams are struggling mightily on the PK. The Knights, Jackets, Ducks, Coyotes, Jets, Rangers, Stars, and Bruins are all operating below 80% on the year.
+ In terms of who is controlling play on the shot clock, there appears to be a great amount of parity across the league. The Blues and Caps lead the way at 55% shot share.
- Picking up the rear, we have the Jets and Wild at 43% and 44% respectively. You may notice a pattern start to emerge here. Fire up your Jack Hughes' tank machines...
+ How do these shot figures translate to goals? Again the Blues and Caps lead the way, both enjoying a 60% share of goals scored. Seeing as they are each dominating the shot clock, this comes as no surprise, although we may not expect this large a margin given a 55% shot share. It will be interesting to see if they can maintain this pace. It's also hard to say how special teams plays into these figures.
- More of the usual suspects with the Jets and Wild bringing up the rear yet again. Peter's boys are managing an impressive 29% goal share early in the season.
+ The Flames, Canucks, Canes, and Caps, as well as a few others may be due for some regression, but things have mostly settled in at this point in the year. Look for minor swings up and down as we move further along in the season.
- The Pens are one team that sticks out to me as having been the victims of some early season bad luck. I have no doubt the defending Cup champs will climb their way up the standings sooner rather than later.
+ Here we find some more answers as to why the Blues have been able to dominate play this early into the season. As Martin Jones comes back down to Earth, so will the Blues astronomic .922 save percentage. We also saw that the Caps were beneficiaries of some strong shooting, and again we see they have benefitted as well from some luck in their own end. The Sens, Jackets, and Isles may also be due for some extended cold stretches from their keepers.
- A number of teams have been sabotaged by poor starts from their netminders. Among those we find the Stars, Oilers, Bruins, Rangers, Flyers, and again the Pens.