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Cullen: The best and worst of November

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Scott Cullen
12/2/2011 4:44:44 PM
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As the calendar turns to December, how about a look at some splits, with the best and worst of November?

First up, the leading scorers. Some familiar names, but definitely some surprises too. Breakthrough players like Joffrey Lupul and Kris Versteeg, the Oilers' kids, Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, making an appearance and the Wild's Mikko Koivu rebounding after a slow start.

Leading Scorers

RANK PLAYER TEAM POS. GP G A PTS
1. Joffrey Lupul Toronto LW 14 7 12 19
2. Jonathan Toews Chicago C 14 9 18 18
3. Steven Stamkos Tampa Bay C 13 10 6 16
4. Evgeni Malkin Pittsburgh C 12 7 9 16
5. Jordan Eberle Edmonton RW 12 6 10 16
6. Johan Franzen Detroit LW 14 6 10 16
7. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Edmonton C 14 6 10 16
8. Kris Versteeg Florida RW 13 7 8 15
9. Mikko Koivu Minnesota C 15 4 11 15
10. Tyler Seguin Boston C 13 8 6 14

Not a bad month for the Bruins. No losses for the entire month, so it's not surprising that they fared so well in plus-minus. Really, just included this to emphasize the Bruins' dominance.

Plus-Minus Leaders

RANK PLAYER TEAM POS. GP +/-
1. Brad Marchand Boston LW 13 +14
2. Zdeno Chara Boston D 13 +14
3. Patrice Bergeron Boston C 13 +13
4. Dennis Seidenberg Boston D 13 +13
5. Tyler Seguin Boston C 13 +12
6. Chris Kelly Boston C 13 +12
7. Ian White Detroit D 10 +12
8. Joe Corvo Boston D 13 +12
9. Stephen Weiss Florida C 13 +10
10. Nicklas Lidstrom Detroit D 14 +10

At the other end of the spectrum, the Ducks have some of their big guns taking up residence down here. It's not the first time that James Wisniewski and Dennis Wideman have encountered plus-minus woes, but it's a little more surprising to see an ace checker like Bolland, who is plus-41 over the last four seasons, on this side of the ledger.

Plus-Minus Trailers

RANK PLAYER TEAM POS. GP +/-
548. Joakim Lindstrom Colorado RW 8 -8
549. Mike Knuble Washington RW 14 -8
550. Chad LaRose Carolina RW 15 -9
551. Bobby Ryan Anaheim LW 13 -9
552. Jiri Tlusty Carolina LW 15 -9
553. Dave Bolland Chicago C 11 -9
554. Ryan Getzlaf Anaheim C 13 -11
555. Cam Fowler Anaheim D 13 -11
556. James Wisniewski Columbus D 12 -12
557. Dennis Wideman Washington D 14 -13

Leaving the arbitrary end point of a single month out of the consideration, it's unsustainable for a player to shoot at such a high percentage over the long haul. In short, don't expect these players to keep finishing with the same measure of success.

Shooting Percentage Leaders (min. 3 goals)

RANK PLAYER TEAM POS. G %
1. Andrei Kostitsyn Montreal LW 3 50.0
2. Nick Foligno Ottawa LW 5 38.5
3. Travis Moen Montreal LW 4 36.4
4. Joey Crabb Toronto RW 5 33.3
5. Milan Lucic Boston LW 7 31.8
6. Clarke MacArthur Toronto LW 5 27.8
7. Tyler Seguin Boston C 8 27.6
8. Guillaume Latendresse Minnesota RW 3 27.3
9. Eric Nystrom Dallas LW 7 26.9
10. Chris Kelly Boston C 7 25.0

On the other hand, it's also unlikely for a player to keep generating shots on goal and still fail to light the lamp. Eventually, those shots are going to start going in, so look to Justin Williams, Nikolai Kulemin and Sam Gagner to improve their production -- they can hardly get worse, right?

Shooting Percentage Trailers

RANK PLAYER TEAM POS. G SHOTS
548. Milan Jurcina N.Y. Islanders D 0 24
549. Zach Bogosian Winnipeg D 0 25
550. Martin Hanzal Phoenix C 0 25
551. Erik Johnson Colorado D 0 26
552. Brad Boyes Buffalo RW 0 26
553. Nikolai Kulemin Toronto RW 0 26
554. Sam Gagner Edmonton C 0 27
555. Joe Corvo Boston D 0 30
556. Justin Williams Los Angeles RW 0 32
557. Erik Karlsson Ottawa D 0 40

For players that are more likely to sustain their offensive production, a look at the players that keep generating shots on goal. Many of the leaders are expected -- they've been among the most productive in the game for years -- but it's noteworthy that Ovechkin isn't on the leader board, but rising star Evander Kane is.

Leaders in Shots Per Game

RANK PLAYER TEAM POS. GP SOG SOG/GP
1. Evgeni Malkin Pittsburgh C 12 64 5.3
2. Marian Gaborik N.Y. Rangers RW 11 49 4.5
3. Dustin Byfuglien Winnipeg D 13 57 4.4
4. James Neal Pittsburgh LW 12 52 4.3
5. Rick Nash Columbus RW 12 52 4.3
6. Corey Perry Anaheim RW 13 53 4.1
7. Evander Kane Winnipeg LW 13 52 4.0
8. Vincent Lecavalier Tampa Bay C 13 52 4.0
9. Steven Stamkos Tampa Bay C 13 50 3.8
10. Zdeno Chara Boston D 13 50 3.8

Hal Gill: playing like it's the postseason.

Leaders in Blocked Shots Per Game (min. 8 GP)

RANK PLAYER TEAM GP Blocks Blocks/GP
1. Hal Gill Montreal 9 33 3.7
2. Niklas Kronwall Detroit 14 42 3.0
3. Ryan McDonagh N.Y. Rangers 11 33 3.0
4. Dan Girardi N.Y. Rangers 11 31 2.8
5. Andrew MacDonald N.Y. Islanders 13 36 2.8
6. Rostislav Klesla Phoenix 13 36 2.8
7. Jay Harrison Carolina 12 33 2.8
8. Filip Kuba Ottawa 12 33 2.8
9. Josh Gorges Montreal 14 38 2.7
10. Niklas Hjalmarsson Chicago 14 37 2.6

Just as it is unsustainable for forwards to keep scoring at an unusually high rate, goaltenders aren't likely to stop pucks at such a high rate for long. That's what made Tim Thomas' .938 save percentage last season so remarkable. Beware regression, Niklas Backstrom and Mike Smith.

Save Percentage Leaders (min. 5 GP)

RANK PLAYER TEAM GP SV%
1. Niklas Backstrom Minnesota 9 .948
2. Mike Smith Phoenix 11 .945
3. Tim Thomas Boston 9 .941
4. Henrik Lundqvist N.Y. Rangers 9 .937
5. Antti Niemi San Jose 9 .935
6. Jose Theodore Florida 9 .933
7. Pekka Rinne Nashville 11 .931
8. Jimmy Howard Detroit 14 .930
9. Carey Price Montreal 11 .929
10. Jonathan Quick Los Angeles 11 .924

 

Not an unusual list, but Girardi has obviously been extremely important for the Rangers in the absence of Marc Staal and Francois Beauchemin can still eat up minutes in Anaheim.

Leaders in Time on Ice (min. 8 GP)

RANK PLAYER TEAM GP ATOI
1. Dan Girardi N.Y. Rangers 11 27:28
2. Francois Beauchemin Anaheim 13 26:35
3. James Wisniewski Columbus 12 26:28
4. Duncan Keith Chicago 12 26:26
5. Ryan Suter Nashville 13 26:23
6. Brian Campbell Florida 13 26:21
7. Kris Letang Pittsburgh 11 26:21
8. Zach Bogosian Winnipeg 13 26:16
9. Zdeno Chara Boston 13 26:02
10. Shea Weber Nashville 13 25:44

Of course, the list is tough guys and those on the fringe of the lineup. McLeod, though, played nearly 13 minutes per game a couple of years ago.

Trailers in Time on Ice (min. 8 GP)

PLAYER TEAM POS. GP ATOI
Zenon Konopka Ottawa C 10 7:01
Jay Rosehill Toronto LW 8 6:20
Ryan Reaves St. Louis RW 12 5:57
Brad Staubitz Minnesota RW 15 5:51
Zac Rinaldo Philadelphia LW 10 5:25
Cody McLeod Colorado LW 12 5:21
Brad Mills New Jersey C 12 5:15
Andre Deveaux N.Y. Rangers LW 8 5:12
Brian McGrattan Nashville LW 8 5:10
Cam Janssen New Jersey RW 14 4:37

Toews adds some star power to this list, while the Wild and Blue Jackets each have a couple of face-off aces.

Faceoff Leaders (min. 50 Face-offs)

RANK PLAYER TEAM FO %
1. Warren Peters Minnesota 52 67.3
2. Adam Hall Tampa Bay 82 67.1
3. Matt Cullen Minnesota 218 64.7
4. Rich Peverley Boston 90 64.4
5. Antoine Vermette Columbus 83 63.9
6. Joe Pavelski San Jose 69 62.3
7. Jonathan Toews Chicago 256 60.9
8. Scott Nichol St. Louis 57 59.6
9. Andrew Desjardins San Jose 57 59.6
10. Derek MacKenzie Columbus 89 59.6

It takes time to learn how to take draws in the NHL, five of the bottom six in November were rookies.

Faceoff Trailers (min. 50 Face-offs)

PLAYER TEAM FO %
Patrick Kane Chicago 142 41.5
David Backes St. Louis 205 41.5
Cory Emmerton Detroit 62 40.3
Patrik Elias New Jersey 269 40.1
Craig Smith Nashville 113 39.8
Anton Lander Edmonton 85 38.8
Roman Horak Calgary 119 38.7
Matt Ellis Buffalo 65 38.5
Stephane Da Costa Ottawa 83 34.9
Cody Hodgson Vancouver 63 34.9

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.

Joffrey Lupul  (Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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