Saturday, December 21, 2013

Top Guns

Maverick and Goose are in good company. Photo: Nino Niederreiter
On Halloween, young players Mikael Granlund, Nino Niederreiter, and Charlie Coyle all took to dressing up as characters from the movie Top Gun. And as we look back nearly two months later, the wardrobe is rather ironic considering what the three young players have done this season.

So far this season, the trio has combined for just 38 points in a combined 86 games played (both Granlund and Coyle have missed time with injuries). But a look into some deeper stats would prove that these three are more valuable than you are lead on to believe.

Thanks to the lovely site Extra Skater, we are able to see who performs better when the team is on the power play or at even strength. And since noted stars Koivu, Parise, and Pominville dominate the power play time, you dont get to see much of this trio out there when the Wild are a man up.

But something this trio has in common, is their even strength scoring ability. The stat P/60 measures how many points a given player is scoring over 60 minutes of ice time. Filtering through the Wild roster, even strength scoring, and a minimum of 19+ games played, you will find this trio up there as team leaders.


Up until the Pittsburgh game, Coyle was in the top three with Niederreiter and Granlund. But as you can see, he took a bit of a dive on the list. But still very impressive that the trio are pacing this team in even strength scoring, something that has been badly lacking in games lately.

The P/60 totals on this team are rather atrocious. Most elite teams have a player with an average of two points per 60 minutes played. But the fact the Wild are being lead by their young stars and not their more noted stars is kind of a nice surprise (although I could easily argue that this is concerning for the team's highest paid players). Once they can get their bearing on the power play, their point totals on the season should get a nice spike, if they actually get some power play time.

These three may not have the point totals we all want, but take a closer look at the stats and you see that they are actually doing quite nicely this season. So now that Granlund is due to return tomorrow or Monday, we should see a nice boost in scoring, right?

Its not guaranteed, but it is something nice we all can hope for.


Follow Giles on Twitter @gilesferrell

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