Sunday, October 28, 2007

Waiting For Godot Nicky

File this one under "Stats, Utterly Meaningless," but in case you were wondering about the ten-games (and counting) goal drought in which Nicklas Backstrom finds himself to start his NHL career, it's obviously far from unprecedented, even in recent years and among players with similar pedigrees.

In fact, in the 2000-2006 Entry Drafts, there were 31 skaters drafted among the top five picks. It took fewer than eight games for twenty-one of those skaters to score his first NHL goal (and Blake Wheeler and Benoit Pouliot could still join that group), and only four forwards took more than seven games to do so. But take heart - among those four are a 30- and a 40-goal scorer. Of course, goal-scoring will never be Backstrom's forté, but at least we know it's a long way before Nick is in Raffi Torres territory.

The raw data - number of games it took for the player to score his first NHL goal:
  • 1 game - Jonathan Toews, Bobby Ryan, Alexander Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin, Rick Nash, Stephen Weiss, Stanislav Chistov, Marian Gaborik
  • 2 games - Erik Johnson (D), Cam Barker (D), Nikolai Zherdev, Ilya Kovalchuk, Rostislav Klesla (D)
  • 3 games - Jordan Staal, Sidney Crosby, Andrew Ladd, Jason Spezza
  • 4 games - Joni Pitkanen (D)
  • 5 games - Dany Heatley
  • 6 games - Eric Staal
  • 7 games - Phil Kessel
  • 12 games - Nathan Horton, Alexander Svitov
  • 14 games - Jack Johnson (D)
  • 15 games - Thomas Vanek, Ryan Whitney (D)
  • 16 games - Jay Bouwmeester (D)
  • 32 games - Raffi Torres
  • ?? games - Blake Wheeler (0 NHL games played), Benoit Pouliot (3 NHL games played), Nicklas Backstrom (10 NHL games played)


focality said...

Backstrom's first goal will be something else. He's still getting used to the NHL right now.

Maybe Darcy Tucker will assist on Backstrom's first NHL goal.

DMG said...

Backstrom's not scored for two reasons: (1) he's always looking to pass, even when he has a good shot and (2) Plain ol' bad luck. He's had some nice shots that have barely missed.

(Tucker is out with a knee injury)

focality said...

Is is penchant for passing due to his experience at C prior to NHL play? At any rate, he's had some nice chances that everyone (but the goalies) thought were going in.

"(Tucker is out with a knee injury)"

Darn the luck. I was looking forward to watching him tomorrow night.

Toronto's one of the few teams I don't pay attention to anymore. Ever since Tie Domi and Pat left, it's not the same. Sigh.