How the League Would Look if Shutouts Never Occurred

Good news: James Reimer gave another solid performance on Saturday night, posting his second shutout in just his fourteenth NHL game.

Bad news: The Leafs were also shut out, losing to newly acquired Craig Anderson in the shoot-out after failing to score on 47 attempts.

In just their 59th game, Toronto managed to be shut out for a league high tenth time, six higher than the league average. What is the cause for this confounding level of inconsistency? Well, there are dozens of reasons, most of which could be found in a blog almost daily or in comments in Leaf threads. The Leafs lack of consistent scoring is arguably the biggest reason why Toronto is on the outside of a playoff spot looking in. If Toronto had even taken just one point in five of those contests, they would only be two points out of a playoff spot and ninth in the Eastern Conference.

How would the Leafs fare if they have never been shutout like Atlanta or St louis? Better yet, how would the league look if none of the teams have been shut out? Lucky for you I have the answers.

Step 1: Find the total amount of goals a team has scored at this point in the season.
Step 2: Subtract the amount of games a team has been shut out from their total games played.
Step 3: Calculate goals per game based on the total goals scored divided by games that don’t include being shut out.

Teams/Goals/Games Played/ Times Shut Out/ Goals Per Game Without Being Shut Out

Teams G GP G/G TSO GPG-WOSO
Anaheim Ducks 169 60 2.75 3 2.96
Atlanta Thrashers 173 60 2.83 0 2.83
Boston Bruins 185 59 3.12 5 3.42
Buffalo Sabres 166 58 2.78 4 3.07
Calgary Flames 185 60 2.92 3 3.24
Carolina Hurricanes 174 60 2.83 4 3.1
Chicago Blackhawks 186 59 3.08 1 3.2
Colorado Avalanche 173 59 2.88 6 3.26
Columbus Blue Jackets 159 58 2.67 2 2.83
Dallas Stars 164 59 2.7 3 2.92
Detroit Red Wings 199 59 3.32 3 3.55
Edmonton Oilers 150 59 2.52 3 2.67
Florida Panthers 154 58 2.6 3 2.8
Los Angeles Kings 163 59 2.64 5 3.01
Minnesota Wild 154 59 2.58 3 2.75
Montreal Canadians 154 60 2.53 6 2.85
Nashville Predators 156 59 2.54 5 2.88
New Jersey Devils 128 59 2.14 4 2.32
New York Islanders 161 59 2.68 6 3.03
New York Rangers 168 61 2.66 4 2.94
Philadelphia Flyers 196 59 3.29 5 3.62
Phoenix Coyotes 172 60 2.82 5 3.12
Pittsburgh Penguins 178 60 2.9 4 3.17
Ottawa Senators 132 59 2.22 6 2.49
San Jose Sharks 167 60 2.73 7 3.15
St. Louis Blues 160 57 2.75 0 2.75
Tampa Bay Lightning 179 59 2.95 3 3.19
Toronto Maple Leafs 150 59 2.48 10 3.06
Vancouver Canucks 202 60 3.33 3 3.54
Washington Capitals 164 60 2.7 8 3.15

Now Obviously it’s impossible this will ever happen to the NHL, but this chart shows what it would look like if teams played the same 82 games a year. This is what the league would look like in order from most goals per game to least:

Teams GPG-WOSO
Philadelphia Flyers 3.62
Detroit Red Wings 3.55
Vancouver Canucks 3.54
Boston Bruins 3.42
Colorado Avalanche 3.26
Calgary Flames 3.24
Chicago Blackhawks 3.2
Tampa Bay Lightning 3.19
Pittsburgh Penguins 3.17
San Jose Sharks 3.15
Washington Capitals 3.15
Phoenix Coyotes 3.12
Carolina Hurricanes 3.1
Buffalo Sabres 3.07
Toronto Maple Leafs 3.06
New York Islanders 3.03
Los Angeles Kings 3.01
Anaheim Ducks 2.96
New York Rangers 2.94
Dallas Stars 2.92
Nashville Predators 2.88
Montreal Canadians 2.85
Atlanta Thrashers 2.83
Columbus Blue Jackets 2.83
Florida Panthers 2.8
Minnesota Wild 2.75
St. Louis Blues 2.75
Edmonton Oilers 2.67
Ottawa Senators 2.49
New Jersey Devils 2.32

Astoundingly, Toronto moves from third worst in the NHL to fifteenth in goals per game, and seventh in the East. Suddenly the Leafs find themselves in a playoff spot. Like I said, this could never happen, but the numbers show that consistency favours the Leafs. When they’re at their best, they play at a level that’s good enough for a playoff spot. But the youngest team in the NHL goes through a lot of growing pains, causing them to forget the blueprints of a good hockey team every few games or so.

Also, these charts obviously don’t factor in the defensive aspect of the game, as even though the Leafs may score at a higher clip, they still may give up more in the process. However, when the Leafs score consistently they tend to play a more well-rounded game, meaning that with this much improved goals per game average it’s not unrealistic to say that the Leafs could be sitting in eighth. With Reimer playing as well as he is, potting three goals a game could be the difference between chasing the eighth spot and defending it.

In a perfect world, this would be the case. Sadly, it will never happen. If you notice anything else interesting about the charts, such as Minnesota’s major decline, drop a comment below.

By: Kyle Larkin

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