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Cullen: The best and worst even-strength goal-scorers

Scott Cullen
7/18/2011 5:15:28 PM
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When it comes to lighting the lamp, all goals are not created equally. That is, not all are scored while both teams are at even strength.

Scott Cullen digs into the numbers to see who did the most damage, on a per-60-minutes basis, during the 2010-2011 NHL season.

A few things stand out from the leaders list.

Naturally, Sidney Crosby finished at the top, but Michael Grabner's goal-scoring prowess shines even more using any metrics that take ice time into account, while Alex Burrows' lack of power play presence makes him an even-strength goldmine.

Some rarely-used players, including Dustin Jeffrey, Bobby Butler and Matt Calvert, showed offensive promise in the time they were allotted.

While many of the names among the leaders are to be expected, it can be informative to see players that don't necessarily play significant roles on their teams yet are still productive in secondary (or, in some cases, tertiary) roles.

Whether it's Danny Cleary having a big year for the Red Wings, Curtis Glencross and David Moss getting the job done for the Flames or Nikolay Zherdev scoring for the Flyers when he was allowed off the bench, there are players that don't necessarily conjure images of big goal-scoring seasons that made their mark in 2010-2011.

Here are the top 50 even-strength goal-scorers for the 2010-2011 NHL season, on a per-60-minutes basis:

(minimum 25 games, ESG = Even-strength goals; ES TOI = Even-strength time-on-ice, in seconds; ESG/60 = Even-strength goals per 60 minutes)

Rank PLAYER TEAM POS ESG ES TOI ESG/60
1. Sidney Crosby Pittsburgh C 21 39408 1.92
2. Michael Grabner N.Y. Islanders RW 26 57625 1.62
3. Drew Stafford Buffalo RW 20 49242 1.46
4. Alex Burrows Vancouver RW 24 59419 1.45
5. Danny Briere Philadelphia C 28 70093 1.44
6. Jeff Carter Philadelphia RW 28 70337 1.43
7. Alexander Semin Washington RW 21 54278 1.39
8. Rick Nash Columbus LW 26 67451 1.39
9. Corey Perry Anaheim RW 32 84425 1.36
10. Nikolay Zherdev Philadelphia RW 15 39619 1.36
11. Milan Lucic Boston LW 25 66547 1.35
12. Jeff Skinner Carolina RW 25 66552 1.35
13. Dustin Jeffrey Pittsburgh C 6 16032 1.35
14. Steven Stamkos Tampa Bay C 28 75389 1.34
15. Danny Cleary Detroit LW 21 56788 1.33
16. Nikolai Kulemin Toronto LW 24 67596 1.28
17. Jarome Iginla Calgary RW 29 82798 1.26
18. David Backes St. Louis RW 26 75056 1.25
19. Martin St. Louis Tampa Bay LW 27 78716 1.23
20. Bobby Ryan Anaheim RW 28 81848 1.23
21. Vaclav Prospal N.Y. Rangers LW 7 21200 1.19
22. David Jones Colorado RW 21 63875 1.18
23. Ryan Kesler Vancouver C 23 70384 1.18
24. David Moss Calgary RW 12 36922 1.17
25. Scottie Upshall Columbus RW 20 62447 1.15
26. Logan Couture San Jose C 22 68946 1.15
27. Brenden Morrow Dallas LW 23 72488 1.14
28. Curtis Glencross Calgary LW 19 60085 1.14
29. Bobby Butler Ottawa RW 9 28519 1.14
30. Patrick Marleau San Jose C 24 76066 1.14
31. Daniel Sedin Vancouver LW 23 73005 1.13
32. Devin Setoguchi San Jose RW 18 57150 1.13
33. Matt Calvert Columbus LW 8 25461 1.13
34. Patrick Kane Chicago RW 22 70030 1.13
35. Alex Ovechkin Washington LW 25 79818 1.13
36. Matt Duchene Colorado C 24 76909 1.12
37. Thomas Vanek Buffalo LW 21 67330 1.12
38. Erik Cole Montreal LW 22 70750 1.12
39. Pavel Datsyuk Detroit C 16 52020 1.11
40. Patrick Sharp Chicago C 20 65632 1.10
41. Rene Bourque Calgary RW 20 65636 1.10
42. James van Riemsdyk Philadelphia LW 18 59218 1.09
43. Lauri Korpikoski Phoenix LW 17 55995 1.09
44. Nathan Gerbe Buffalo LW 14 46137 1.09
45. Brad Richards Dallas C 21 69314 1.09
46. Nathan Horton Boston RW 20 66476 1.08
47. Sergei Kostitsyn Nashville LW 18 59870 1.08
48. Matt Moulson N.Y. Islanders LW 22 73402 1.08
49. Ales Hemsky Edmonton RW 12 40239 1.07
50. Chris Stewart St. Louis RW 16 54150 1.06

Goal-scoring is hardly the measure of a defenceman's value, but it's interesting nonetheless to compare the productivity of the leading defencemen, if only to see which names are surprisingly mixed in with the likes of Nicklas Lidstrom and Lubomir Visnovsky.

To that end, Steven Kampfer, David Schlemko and Nick Leddy are among those defencemen not considered primetime offensive contributors who did find the net at a rate comparable to the best in the game.

Here are the Top 20 defencemen in even strength goals, on a per-60-minutes basis (minimum 25 games):

Rank PLAYER TEAM ESG ES TOI ESG/60
1. Steven Kampfer Boston 5 35778 0.50
2. Lubomir Visnovsky Anaheim 13 95784 0.49
3. Dustin Byfuglien Atlanta 12 93180 0.46
4. David Schlemko Phoenix 4 36140 0.40
5. Nicklas Lidstrom Detroit 9 82391 0.39
6. Erik Karlsson Ottawa 9 82722 0.39
7. Eric Brewer Tampa Bay 9 83510 0.39
8. Nick Leddy Chicago 4 38066 0.38
9. Jordan Leopold Buffalo 8 76700 0.38
10. Brent Burns Minnesota 9 92472 0.35
11. Cody Franson Nashville 6 63214 0.34
12. Shea Weber Nashville 9 96237 0.34
13. Christian Ehrhoff Vancouver 8 86718 0.33
14. Marek Zidlicky Minnesota 4 44970 0.32
15. Alex Pietrangelo St. Louis 7 80647 0.31
16. Tyler Myers Buffalo 7 81433 0.31
17. Carlo Colaiacovo St. Louis 5 58816 0.31
18. Kevin Shattenkirk St. Louis 6 71189 0.30
19. Jamie McBain Carolina 6 71712 0.30
20. Alex Goligoski Dallas 7 84108 0.30

Finally, to get some value out of the even-strength goals per 60 minutes when looking at the bottom end of the spectrum, I decided to only use forwards that scored at least 10 goals in the 2010-2011 NHL season. Not that 10 goals is the benchmark for a competent scoring forward, but it would at least eliminate the bulk of the fourth liners that don't typically hit that mark (nor are they expected to score that much).

There are some surprises on this list, at least based on name recognition. It's understandable, to some degree, that setup men like Joe Thornton and Henrik Sedin might find themselves on this list, but a little more surprising to find highly-regarded offensive performers like Joe Pavelski or Shane Doan producing relatively few goals at even strength.

In both cases, Pavelski and Doan can attribute some of their goal-scoring woes to their supporting cast. According to the good folks at www.dobberhockey.com, Pavelski spent more time playing with Torrey Mitchell and Kyle Wellwood than anyone else at even strength, while Doan's most frequent linemates were Eric Belanger and Scottie Upshall.

Considering Upshall's place on the leaders list, 10-time 20-goal scorer Doan just may not be a top finisher anymore.

Here are the forwards with the lowest goals per 60 at even strength (minimum 25 games, 10 total goals in the 2010-2011 NHL season)

Rank PLAYER TEAM POS ESG ES TOI ESG/60
1. Matt Cullen Minnesota C 3 60349 0.18
2. Joel Ward Nashville RW 5 65697 0.27
3. Ryan Shannon Ottawa RW 5 49766 0.36
4. Daniel Winnik Phoenix LW 7 64670 0.39
5. Josh Bailey N.Y. Islanders LW 6 54931 0.39
6. Steve Ott Dallas C 7 63183 0.40
7. Tyler Bozak Toronto C 8 71408 0.40
8. Frans Nielsen N.Y. Islanders C 6 52186 0.41
9. Joe Pavelski San Jose C 8 63683 0.45
10. Manny Malhotra Vancouver C 7 54666 0.46
11. Ryan Malone Tampa Bay LW 5 38896 0.46
12. Mark Recchi Boston RW 8 61719 0.47
13. Nick Foligno Ottawa LW 9 67805 0.48
14. Michal Handzus Los Angeles C 8 60261 0.48
15. Travis Zajac New Jersey C 10 74380 0.48
16. Joe Thornton San Jose C 10 73406 0.49
17. Brandon Prust N.Y. Rangers LW 8 58201 0.49
18. Niklas Hagman Calgary LW 7 50698 0.50
19. Tim Connolly Buffalo C 7 50431 0.50
20. Shane Doan Phoenix RW 9 64817 0.50
21. Jason Chimera Washington LW 8 57317 0.50
22. Jiri Hudler Detroit RW 7 49996 0.50
23. Antti Miettinen Minnesota RW 8 56838 0.51
24. Anthony Stewart Atlanta RW 9 63417 0.51
25. Henrik Sedin Vancouver C 11 76314 0.52

Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.



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