NHL

Cullen: Geoffrion Scoring Like No Other

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Scott Cullen
3/21/2011 5:24:58 PM
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Nashville Predators winger Blake Geoffrion tallied a hat trick Sunday, with two goals in the final 2:33 to push the game to overtime, where the Predators promptly won it.

While this was an impressive showing in his 11th NHL game, it's worth noting that Geoffrion has not just six goals in his first 11 games, but six goals in under 90 minutes of playing time.

Such is the fragile state of a rookie's ice time that he's playing a paltry 8:11 per game -- for the offensively-starving Predators (25th in the league with 2.52 goals per game) -- since getting called up to the big club in late February. His hat trick effort against the Sabres came in just 10:45, which represented a career high.

It's that kind of production, in such little time, that got me wondering which players are scoring most efficiently in terms of their ice time.

Obviously, players that spend a lot of time killing penalties and playing a checking role aren't necessarily expected to provide offence, so it's understandable if they're not all that productive on a per-minute basis.

On the other hand, when looking at the list of leaders below, there's a pretty good indication which scorers are most effective and then provides some players with smaller sample sizes that might warrant a little more ice time, like Geoffrion.

Even if they can't maintain their per-minute level of production -- and Geoffrion surely can't -- they might still represent an upgrade on teammates that are playing more minutes.

Note that Columbus rookie Matt Calvert started with 10 goals in his first 21 games (approx. 206 minutes), but has slowed recently, scoring once in his last 11 games.

While many of the names are to be expected, it's those that aren't as high profile that provide some intrigue. Max Pacioretty was clearly a productive contributor to the Canadiens before getting crunched by Zdeno Chara and same goes for the early-season production of Blues winger David Perron, before he was concussed by Joe Thornton.

Pittsburgh's Dustin Jeffrey has been making the most of his opportunities, tallying seven goals in 23 games, while playing 12:58 per game.

Of course, having an efficient goals per minute (or goals per 60 minutes in the chart below) isn't always enough, as Nikolay Zherdev wasn't deemed important enough to keep in Philadelphia.

Some in the extreme small sample size for this group include Carolina call-ups Zac Dalpe and Jonathan Matsumoto, who combined for five goals between them but played so little that there isn't enough to glean from their inclusion on this list aside from how little they've played in the NHL.

So maybe Geoffrion isn't on his way to 20 goals by season's end, but he has the pedigree (28 goals in 40 games as a senior at Wisconsin, 37 points in 45 AHL games this year) to indicate that he can be an effective offensive performer, if only he'd get more ice time to show it.

Top 30 Forwards (minimum 10 GP)

No. Player Team Pos. Goals/60 mins.
1. Blake Geoffrion Nashville C 4.00
2. Sidney Crosby Pittsburgh C 2.14
3. Matt Calvert Columbus LW 1.97
4. Drew Stafford Buffalo RW 1.84
5. Steven Stamkos Tampa Bay C 1.75
6. Michael Grabner N.Y. Islanders RW 1.75
7. Daniel Sedin Vancouver LW 1.68
8. David Perron St. Louis LW 1.63
9. Jeff Carter Philadelphia RW 1.59
10. Milan Lucic Boston LW 1.53
11. Zac Dalpe Carolina C 1.51
12. Danny Briere Philadelphia C 1.50
13. Corey Perry Anaheim RW 1.48
14. Patrick Sharp Chicago LW 1.48
15. Dan Cleary Detroit LW 1.46
16. Chris Stewart St. Louis RW 1.45
17. Alexander Semin Washington RW 1.53
18. Ryan Kesler Vancouver C 1.43
19. Max Pacioretty Montreal LW 1.43
20. Dustin Jeffrey Pittsburgh C 1.41
21. Nikolay Zherdev Philadelphia RW 1.40
22. Rick Nash Columbus LW 1.39
23. Marian Gaborik N.Y. Rangers RW 1.37
24. Johan Franzen Detroit RW 1.34
25. Bobby Ryan Anaheim LW 1.32
26. Ryan Callahan N.Y. Rangers RW 1.32
27. Pavel Datsyuk Detroit C 1.31
28. Matt Moulson N.Y. Islanders LW 1.31
29. Jonathan Matsumoto Carolina C 1.31
30. Logan Couture San Jose C 1.29

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

Blake Geoffrion (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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