So there I was, daydreaming about the 210 pound center the Hawks can suddenly afford but can’t find, and I started doodling some numbers for the current roster.
The table below summarizes average goals scored over each player’s career (regular plus post-season games, normalized to an 82 game season) for current Blackawks players:
Grand total: 279 goals. Now, last year the Vancouver Canucks led the league with 258 goals. I must be overlooking something obvious here, right?
The grim reaper (morbidity setting)
The wild card, of course, is injuries. The above numbers might be realistic expectations for any one of the players, but not for all of them, because that would be an injury-free season.
Fair enough. And when a guy goes down, especially a key guy, it can have ripple effects throughout the roster. Last year, the Hawks weren’t so good when not at full strength.
If the Hawks suffer multiple serious injuries to big names above, it would prolly be a long season regardless. This team does not, I believe, have the depth of, say, Pittsburgh. So, let’s just ignore that scenario.
However, the 2011-12 Blackhawks have upgraded their depth to withstand a single big injury, or a smattering of lesser injuries, better. Note three forward names missing above: Kruger, Morin, and Smith. All three of these guys logged minutes, including some big minutes, for the Hawks last season. They’re all a year older and more seasoned, and should be able to fill in credibly as needed.
Over the hill?
Still, 279 goals is crazy talk, isn’t it? Aren’t Brunette, Hossa, and Mayers past their prime?
Well, let’s think about those three. First off Mayers is barely worth talking about. His 8 goals could easily be achieved by Kruger.
As for Brunette, it’s true that his goal total fell to 18 last year. But his numbers are amazingly consistent. He’s missed only nine games over the past eleven years, and scored at least 15 goals in every one of those years. He netted 25 just two years ago. And he’s likely going to be playing with Toews and Kane and on the first power play unit, so…
What about Hossa? Prior to joining the Hawks, he had averaged 36 goals per year over the prior nine years. With the Hawks, 24 and 25. What happened, kemosabe? Well, injuries. Hoss only played in 57 and 65 games the past two seasons. The fact is, these numbers translate to a scoring clip with the Hawks of about 33 goals per full season (although the clip drops to 29 if you include Hoss’s underwhelming playoffs.)
So 35 may be a stretch for Hossa- 30 may be more realistic.
“What is a yute?”
But this argument can be turned around. Surely, Toews, Kane, Bolland and Seabrook are on an upward trajectory, while Sharp and Keith still have several prime years in front of them.
Overall, it seems to me if there is a “trajectory” adjustment to the historical numbers, it is upward.
Top of the pops?
I guess I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Hawks put up 270 next year. In all likelihood, they will be at or near the top of the league in scoring.
Which shouldn’t surprise anyone. The 2010-11 Blackhawks, that team that drove fans to exasperation, was fourth in the league with 252 goals. In fact, the Hawks have finished in the top four each of the past three seasons, scoring 260 and 262 the two previous seasons.
Now just imagine if Stan puts the rest of that moolah to good use.