NHL stats: Blue-line point production
Canadian teams among the leaders
The Colorado Avalanche topped the San Jose Sharks in overtime on Sunday, a matchup of the league's two most "top-heavy" teams in the league in terms of offensive production.
In other words, when Jan Hejda of the Avalanche got a point on the winning goal, it was a rare thing indeed. The Sharks and Avalanche have each received just 29 points from their collection of defencemen. That's tied for worst in the league, with Colorado fans witnessing their blue-liners score goals just twice through 24 games.
So at more or less the halfway mark of the season, it's fun to look at this statistical category in and of itself. There's no grand sweeping conclusion, but it's worth pointing out that eight of the top 10 teams in scoring by defencemen are in playoff position, with the Jets close at ninth place
Caveats apply, as they often do with these type of things. New Jersey ranks near the bottom in points, but that's in no small part a reflection of the system they've chosen to play. If a team plays a forward on the point during their power plays, that will also likely depress the totals.
The point totals aren't always an accurate reflection of the symbiosis between defence and offence. You'd have to watch the tape to find out which teams generate the most "third assists" from defencemen. Meanwhile, with all respect to the fine Kris Letang, Pittsburgh's defence probably doesn't rank anyway near third if not for Sidney Crosby's ability to singlehandedly generate points for all of his teammates.
Team scoring: Defencemen
It's true that Montreal has played more games than most teams, but leading defenceman scorer P.K. Subban missed six of the team's games.
Ottawa has still managed an impressive total despite the absence of last year's Norris Trophy winner, Erik Karlsson. Patrick Wiercioch is no Karlsson, but he's managed a respectable eight points in 21 games since the call up.
Minnesota is kept from the bottom of the list by Ryan Suter, whose goal and 17 assists are good for nearly 45 per cent of the Wild's defencemen total.
And where would Edmonton be without first-year standout Justin Schultz, with 15 of the blue-line's 33 points?
If you believe that goals are a more impressive measurement of back-end offensive support, the top five ranks as follows: Montreal (17), Tampa Bay (15), Vancouver (15), Pittsburgh (14), and Ottawa (14).