Crosby NOT “Most Efficient Scorer” in NHL . . .but who is?

5304You can consult any number of websites to see that Sidney Crosby is the leading scorer in the NHL with 39 points here at the halfway point of this truncated season. But. . .has he been the most efficient scorer through the first half? Going beyond just raw “points” to “points per game” reveals he also tops the league in that category as well, as shown in this chart (columns: games / points / points per game):

1  Crosby         24     39      1.625            6  Ribeiro    22     28      1.273
2  Stamkos     24     35       1.458            7  Getzlaf     22     27      1.227
3  Vanek          22     29       1.318            8  E. Staal    23     28      1.217
4  Kunitz         24     31       1.292            9  Voracek   25     29      1.160
5  St. Louis     24     31       1.292          10  Malkin     20     23      1.150

Here, Thomas Vanek is 3rd in scoring efficiency while only 5th in the scoring race. Even more dramatic is Evgeni Malkin’s being 10th in scoring efficiency despite only being 19th in scoring. However, even this consideration of points per game does not provide the whole picture of scoring efficiency, because it does not take into consideration the key factor of “ice time”, for surely, a player who gets two points in 20 minutes of ice time is not being as efficient as a player to gets two points in only 10 minutes.

A more accurate gauge of scoring efficiency would be “points per 20 minutes of ice time” to even the playing field from player to player. The following chart sets out the league leaders in “points per 20min,” with a 10-game minimum, to eliminate anomalies like the Stars’ Colton Sceviour whose one assist in only 4:51 of ice time yields him a whopping 4.124 points per 20min (20min units / points / points per 20min unit):

1  Frattin        6.44    10      1.553         6  Vanek            21.47     29       1.351
2  Crosby     25.98    39      1.501         7  Stamkos       26.44    35       1.324
3  Kunitz      21.60    31      1.435         8  Kadri             19.13     25       1.307
4  Ribeiro    19.62    28      1.427         9  Pacioretty   15.80    20       1.266
5  Voracek   20.98   29      1.382       10 St. Louis       26.24   31        1.181

Seven of the players in the “points per game” chart also appear here, though Stamkos and St. Louis are each five spots lower. . .not surprising, given they rank second and third, respectively, in ice time among the top fifty forwards in the scoring race.

More noteworthy are the new names that draw in here. Max Pacioretty has just 20 points, but also, he only gets an average of 15:48 of ice time per game. Nazem Kadri has done even better, getting 25 points on only 15:18 per game. But the biggest surprise is Matt Frattin. Not making the Leafs’ roster out of training camp and then being  knocked out of the lineup with a knee injury once he was given a chance to play has kept his profile low. But he does have the distinction of being an even more efficient scorer than Crosby, amassing 10 points in 10 games on a mere 12:53 of ice time per game.

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