The Canadian, err North, Division has played 20% of its schedule and, as expected, it is the highest-scoring division in the league. The North had 31% of the top scorers who averaged at least 0.75 points/game the past two seasons, and while many pundits will claim the defence is lacking in the division, I’d argue the offensive talent within the division is a big factor as well.
In 40 games the North division is averaging 3.33 goals/game.
Through 38 games the Central is averaging 2.94, while the East is at 2.88 in 40 games and the West sits at 2.83 in 39 games.
The North possesses five of the top 12 teams in goals per game.
Montreal sits first at 4.18, Toronto is fourth at 3.64, Winnipeg sixth at 3.55, Edmonton eighth at 3.50 and Vancouver is 12th at 3.36. Calgary sits 24th at 2.60 and Ottawa 28th at 2.45.
However, defensively only three teams are in the bottom half in goals/against per game.
Ottawa is 31st at 4.55, Vancouver is 30th at 3.93 and Edmonton 26th at 3.58.
Montreal is eighth at 2.64, Calgary 11th at 2.70, Winnipeg 15th at 2.82 and Toronto is 16th at 2.91.
Another reason the North has more goals this season is because there are more penalties and power plays in its games.
Calgary (second), Ottawa (fourth), Montreal (12th), Edmonton (15th) and Winnipeg (16th) are all top-16 in powerplays/game, and five North teams are 20% or better on the man advantage:
Toronto: 40%
Edmonton: 27.3%
Calgary 22.7%
Montreal 21.4%
Winnipeg 20%
The Central also has five (DAL, FLA, CHI, CAR and TB), the East has four (BOS, WSH, PHI and BUFF) and the West has two (COL and LA).
Conversely, they are no Canadian teams in the top-10 on the PK. Winnipeg is the best, sitting 12th at 81.3%.


— Was I ever wrong on @Patrice Bergeron and the Boston Bruins. With the loss of Zdeno Chara and Torey Krug, along with @David Pastrnak missing the first few weeks, I thought the Bruins would struggle. Nope. They are killing it, and Bergeron at 35 years of age is leading them with 15 points in 10 games. Pastrnak returned recently and he’s sniped 5-2-7 in three games.
— @Joe Pavelski is one year older than Bergeron, and he’s off to an ever better start with 7-8-15 in eight games. The Stars are second in the NHL with 4.00 goals/game, and they are doing it without Tyler Seguin, who is out for a few more months, and Jamie Benn has only played four games. The Stars have nine players with two or more goals and they’ve only played eight games. Vancouver has played 14 games, they are 10th in goals/game, and they too have nine players with two+ goals. The Stars have been getting contributions from every spot in the lineup.
— @Connor McDavid has 24 points in 12 games. Pastrnak had 24 in his first 12 games last season, so McDavid’s hot start isn’t that much of a surprise. He and @Leon Draisaitl each had 21 points in their first 12 games last season, but McDavid has 17 points in his previous six games, while Draisaitl has 15. After scoring seven points respectively in the first six games, both have heated up. I’m interested to see where they will be at after 24 games. Last season both had identical 16-28-44 at the 24-game mark.
— How about @Patrick Kane? He has 6-9-15 without @Jonathan Toews or @Kirby Dach in the lineup. Kane has played 196 minutes at 5×5 and his most common linemates have been:
Pius Suter: 89:43
Alex Debrincat: 79:30
Mattias Janmark: 79:10
Dylan Strome: 39:40
Philipp Kurashev: 31:33
Carl Soderberg: 21:30
Suter, Strome, Kurashev and Soderberg have been their most regular top-three centres in Chicago. Not exactly what you’d call first line centres.
Kane has been the best “freedom fighter” in the NHL for years. He produces more with less than any other offensive player. People will look at his possession numbers this season and think he is struggling, but he is carrying a team offensively without much offensive support. He is tied for fifth in the NHL with nine 5×5 points and fifth overall in total points. Imagine what he could produce if he got to play with a legit first line centre.
— James Van Riemsdyk and Jordan Kyrou are tied with Draisaitl for second in the NHL with 10 points at 5×5. In his third season, Kyrou is off to a great start and has fit in well on a line with Jaden Schwartz and Brayden Schenn. If you don’t have him in fantasy hockey, you should try to get him. He has 5-5-10 at 5×5 this season, which matches what he produced in his first 44 NHL games over the previous two seasons.
JVR is humming along at a 4.46 P/60 at 5×5. His career best in one season was 2.38 with Toronto in 2017 and 2.27 last year in Philly. He will slow down, but he could set a career best this year.
— There are always some numbers that jump out, good or bad, early in a season. Before his injury, Nathan MacKinnon didn’t have a goal at 5×5 in 22 shots. He had 18 goals last year on 212 shots.
Rikard Rakell only has one 5×5 goal on 26 shots, Jack Eichel has one on 25 and Dominik Kubalik has zero on 24. Those guys will start scoring more goals soon.
— On the other end, these players can’t miss right now. Brandon Saad has five goals on 15 shots at 5×5. @Brock Boeser has five goals on 17 shots, Kyrou has five on 21 shots and Joel Farabee has six on 22 shots.
— Pavelski and Bergeron are crushing it on the powerplay this season, but they will likely cool off, while McDavid and Draisaitl are below their PP scoring rates from last season. Something for fantasy people to watch.
— Montreal defenceman @Jeff Petry has five goals. Only four other teams have more than five goals from their entire defence corps.
Montreal and Washington have 10 goals
St.Louis has eight.
Edmonton has seven and Buffalo has six.
Petry is tied with Colorado, Dallas, Florida, Minnesota and Tampa Bay.
Carolina has a very solid blueline, but they’ve scored zero goals thus far. Winnipeg and Detroit have one goal from their blueline.
— Not many NHL teams could be without their starting goalie for much of the season and not miss a beat, but the Washington Capitals are 7-2-2 with Ilya Samsonov only playing twice. Not to mention Alex Ovechkin (4), Dmitri Orlov (5) and Evgeny Kuznetsov (7) have missed games due to COVID protocols as well. Vitek Vanacek has started nine games for the Capitals and has a respectable .911sv% and is 5-2-2. When the Capitals are completely healthy they will be a Cup contender despite their youth in goal.
— I give credit to Kevin Woodley. At the start of the season he said watch out for Kevin Lankinen in Chicago. He expected him to win the starting job and said he would give the Blackhawks a chance to be competitive. In eight starts Lankinen is 4-1-3 with a .928sv% and a 2.32 GAA. In Chicago’s other four games Malcolm Subban (.889sv% and 3.95 GAA) and Colin Delia (.863sv% and 5.00 GAA) each made two starts. Behind the same team, Lankinen has faced 31 shots/game, while Subban faced 32 and Delia 31.5. Lankinen’s numbers illustrate how well he has played. Look for him to push for a spot with team Finland at the 2022 Olympics.
— Mika Zibanejad is off to a terrible start with only three points in 10 games. After 74 points in 2019 and 75 points last season in only 57 games, the Rangers were expecting much more from him. The Rangers are only one point back of Pittsburgh for fourth in the East division despite Zibanejad producing very little. I don’t expect him to produce close to the 1.31 points/game he had last season, but if gets close to the 0.92 P/GP he averaged the past three seasons the Rangers will be in the mix for a playoff spot in the East.
— The Penguins have used 11 D-men in their first 10 games. And all of them have played at least two games. John Marino is the only defender to play all 10 games, and Kris Letang is now out a few weeks with a lower body injury, while Brian Dumoulin is on LTIR along with Marcus Pettersson. Can the Pens stay in the race with so many of their top defenders out?
— With Minnesota and Colorado joining Buffalo and New Jersey in having their games postponed, I sense the NHL will end up having some divisions player fewer games than others. The North hasn’t had any games postponed yet. So either the other three divisions will have teams play a very condensed schedule, or the North will finish the season on May 8th, and then have time off while the others divisions complete the regular seasons. It isn’t ideal if the North teams play 56 games and the other divisions play 48-52 or something, but the NHL might have no option.

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