Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Art Ross Trophy Snail Race


The current NHL scoring race is in truth more of a casual walk in the park than an actual race. Teammates Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom are tied for first with 67 points through 65 games. That pace would result in 85 points leading the NHL in scoring. There are 7 guys within 3 points of the lead. However, only one back of the two Capitals is Sidney Crosby who has 64 in 58 games. If he plays the remaining 20 games and continues at that pace he'll end up with 86 points. Anyway you cut it, the Art Ross winner may have the fewest points in a full season in perhaps 50 years.

In 1967/68 and 1964/65 Stan Mikita was the leader with 87 points, in 1962/63 Gordie Howe led with 86 points. To look even further at the relative lack of point accumulating this year, let's look at the top five point scorers from this year compared to other seasons.

The combination of  Ovechkin, Backstrom, Tavares, Voracek and Patrick Kane (who's technically ahead of Crosby and Malkin for fifth place) have scored at a 1.025 point per game rate. The following are the lowest point per game numbers of  the top five NHL scorers over the years:

Season
GP/Pts  Pts per GP

2014/15
320/328  1.025
2003/04
403/434   1.08
1967/68
367/ 408  1.11
1966/67
343/377   1.10       
1955/56
350/374   1.07
1954/55
341/350   1.026
1953/54
334/316   0.95
1952/53
345/350   1.02
1951/52
350/338   0.97
1950/51
334/336   1.01
1949/50
348/339   0.97
1948/49
287/291   1.01
1947/48
300/288   0.96
1941/42
239/264   1.10
1939/40
235/218   0.93
1938/39
226/215   0.95
1937/38
238/225   0.95
1936/37
234/218   0.93
We're talking historically low totals to lead the league in scoring this season. As it stands now the last time the top five scorers scored at this low a rate was 61 years ago. In 1953/54 the leaders were Gordie Howe (81), Maurice Richard (67), Ted Lindsay (62), Bernie Geoffrion (54) and Bert Olmstead (52). Their total of 316 points in 334 games works out to 0.95 points per game.

Unless someone gets on a hot streak over the last twenty or so games, this season's leaders will be as low as they've been in most of our lifetimes.


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