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NHL Scoring through 117 games

I am a data person. Anyone who has been following this blog, my Twitter account, or has come in contact with me in real life already knows this. Whenever there is some kind of narrative in the NHL (and real life), I look at the numbers to see if the narrative matches reality.

One of the early story lines in the NHL Season is the high scoring we are seeing in some of the game. I remember a similar storyline at the beginning of last season. So I took a look at whether scoring is really up over last season?

Last season (2017-18) did indeed have a greater amount of goal scoring compared to the previous season. In fact, the biggest jump since they instituted the shootout in 2005. But this year goal scoring is relatively flat compared to last year. Since the 2015-16 season goal scoring has been climbing. It is hard to say what is leading to the increase in scoring, but if you look at the top 5 players by points per game this season, 3 of the 5 (McDavid, Matthews, Rantanen) were not in the league in 2015-16. The talent of the league continues to get deeper resulting in traditional 4th liners to slowly become extinct.

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For the heck of it, I took a look at what teams are up and what teams are down with respect to goals per game from last year.


John Barr
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