Chicago Blackhawks’ Saad, Kane Among Leaders As NHL Scoring Up

By Kirk Bennett
GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 21: Patrick Kane
GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 21: Patrick Kane /

As the 2017-18 schedule NHL schedule hits 10 games for most teams, scoring is up, which is welcome news for Chicago Blackhawks and other fans. I thought this would be a good time to look at my version of the top offensive studs early this season.

No, it’s not our imagination. NHL scoring is indeed up by approximately 8 percent from last season at last count. Today, I will look at the forwards — from the Chicago Blackhawks and beyond — who have impressed me in this young season.

Nikita Kucherov

The Tampa Bay winger leads the class. The sniper, who potted 40 goals last season, seems well on his way to besting that total. He has already scored 11 goals in his first 10 games this season. The 24-year-old Russian sports a 29.7 shooting percentage, placing him near the top of the league. Kucherov’s 17 points are second in the league only to the total of his linemate, Steven Stamkos.

Alex Ovechkin

The Washington Capitals winger has returned to the Ovi of old this season. He began the season with back-to-back hat tricks, has a whopping 50 shots on goal in his first nine games and has 10 goals to show for it.

Steven Stamkos

The Tampa Bay center is healthy again. He leads the entire league with 20 points and is a large reason for Kucherov’s blazing start to this season. The two-time 50-goal scorer is showing his playmaking side. His 17 assists are league leading.

Jaden Schwartz

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The 25-year-old left winger has been a pleasant surprise for the St. Louis Blues this season and is a big reason why they are atop the highly competitive Central Division. His seven goals and seven assists leads a team that at times struggles to score.

Evander Kane

The controversial winger, who has had his fair share of critics, has done his talking on the ice this season. His 54 shots on goal are league leading. The Buffalo Sabres forward has accumulated 11 points in nine games.

Brandon Saad

Saad’s homecoming to Chicago has been a good-news story for him and the team. He has six goals in this young season, and four of those goals are game-winners. His addition has re-energized center Jonathon Toews, and his presence has transformed the Blackhawks’ first line into a force once again.

Brad Marchand

It wasn’t long ago that Brad Marchand would best be described as a pest, an agitator, a pain-in-the-butt, even dirty. But something clicked for him in the 2016 World Cup, when he led Team Canada to the championship. He has been riding that momentum ever since. His Boston Bruins have only played seven games this season, but Marchand is on fire with 11 points, and his shooting percentage is an impressive 33.3.

Auston Mathews

The Toronto Maple Leaf sophomore continues his exceptional play this season. He leads the team in all offensive categories with seven goals in nine games and is a plus-10. He shares fourth place in the NHL scoring race with 12 points.

Alex Pietrangelo

Pietrangelo leads a strong defensive corps in St. Louis and should be in the early conversation as a Norris Trophy candidate. Two of his four goals are game-winners, and his 12 points lead all NHL defensemen.

James Neal

The big winger came out of the gate flying for the Vegas Golden Knights. Neal has quickly established himself as the leader of the expansion team. His six goals in eight games, three of which are game-winners, are a big reason for the team’s early success.

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Wayne Simmonds

The underrated Simmonds has a penchant for scoring big goals in Philly. His four game-winning goals in this young season is a big reason the Flyers are hanging tough in the highly competitive Metropolitan Division.

Anze Kopitar

The L.A. King center is off to a fine start with 11 points and two game-winners in his first nine games. The center’s offensive resurgence is one of the reasons his team heads up the Pacific Division.

Filip Forsberg

Forsberg flies somewhat under the radar in Nashville. He has quietly put up 12 points and leads the league with five powerplay markers.

Nikolaj Ehlers

The Winnipeg Jet winger has six goals in just eight games to begin this season, and two of those goals are game-winners. Ehlers has emerged as yet another offensive weapon on a team that is loaded with young guns.

Patrick Kane

The Chicago Blackhawk superstar is off to a quiet start by his standards. However, a quick look at the scoring leaders finds the winger at 12 points, tied for fourth in the NHL scoring race. I reckon Kaner is just warming up.

Next: Blackhawks' DeBrincat Up, Hartman Down On New Lines

I could go on, as there are quite a few players with excellent numbers who I could give honorable mention to. In fact, the top 40 players in the scoring race are on pace for 80 points or better. There is nothing more exciting than seeing these fine athletes put their offensive abilities on display. I don’t think I’m alone in hoping the trend of more goals continues.