Sunday, November 15, 2015

Putting Johnny Gaudreau's First 100 NHL Games into Perspective

Talented Flames left winger Johnny Gaudreau played his 100th NHL game Sunday night when Calgary wrapped up a four-game road trip with a 4-1 loss in Chicago.

For his career, Gaudreau has 82 points (29 goals, 53 assists). To put what the 22-year-old has accomplished in perspective, he is the first Flames player in over 20 years to hit the 100-game mark and have more than 60 points, never mind 80.

Jarome Iginla and Dion Phaneuf, who each had 60 points exactly at this same juncture in their career, are the only two players from the past 20 years to make the list of the 20 most productive first 100 NHL games in Calgary Flames history.

Most Points after 100 NHL Games - All with Calgary
(Listed is the season in which they played game No. 100)

1. Joe Nieuwendyk (1988-89), 69-56-125
2. Sergei Makarov (1990-91), 30-77-107
3. Carey Wilson (1985-86), 33-57-90
4. Ed Beers (1983-84), 44-45-89
4. Al MacInnis (1984-85), 18-71-89
6. Theoren Fleury (1989-90), 39-49-88
7. Dan Quinn (1984-85), 30-53-83
8. Johnny Gaudreau (2015-16), 29-53-82
8. Gary Suter (1986-87), 20-62-82
10. Hakan Loob (1984-85), 39-37-76
11. Joel Otto (1986-87), 30-45-75
12. Jiri Hrdina (1989-90), 29-42-71
13. Colin Patterson (1984-85), 35-32-67
13. Robert Reichel (1991-92), 30-37-67
15. Paul Ranheim (1990-91), 34-32-66
16. German Titov (1994-95), 37-26-63
17. Jarome Iginla (1997-98), 26-34-60
17. Dion Phaneuf (2006-07), 24-36-60
19. Richard Kromm (1984-85), 27-31-58
20. Jim Peplinski (1981-82), 22-34-56

Comparing to Current Flames

Given the lack of impact young players to come up through the system recently for Calgary, it should come as no surprise that Gaudreau's first 100 games have been considerably better than anyone else on the current roster.

Only Sean Monahan is remotely close, although Sam Bennett could give Gaudreau a run for his money. Should he stay healthy, Bennett will hit 100 games in November 2016. Through 19 games, Bennett's 12 points is one back of the 13 that Gaudreau has accumulated after the same number of games.

Most Points after 100 NHL Games (Current Flames)

1. Johnny Gaudreau (2015-16), 29-53-82
2. Sean Monahan (2014-15), 30-20-50
3. Mikael Backlund (2011-12), 11-24-35
4. Mark Giordano (2008-09), 9-23-32
5. TJ Brodie (2012-13), 3-22-25

In Progress

Josh Jooris (TBD), 14-13-27 (75 games)
Markus Granlund (TBD), 10-11-21 (56 games)
Sam Bennett (TBD), 4-8-12 (19 games)

Comparing Around the NHL

Curious to see how Gaudreau's first 100 games stacked up against various players from around the NHL, I rolled up my sleeves and got down to some serious research. As it turns out, Gaudreau's start has been pretty darn good and he ranks inside the top 10 of all active players.

Of course, a factor to take into consideration is Gaudreau's first NHL season came at age 21, which is two or three years older than many of the players on the following list. Nonetheless, it's interesting to see where he's at compared to other notable NHL stars.

Points after 100 NHL Games - Various active players
(Listed is the season in which they played game No. 100)

Sidney Crosby (2006-07), 50-82-132
Alex Ovechkin (2006-07), 64-64-128
Evgeni Malkin (2007-08), 42-72-114
Patrick Kane (2008-09), 31-65-96
Nicklas Backstrom (2008-09) 17-69-86
Jonathan Toews (2008-09), 33-50-83
Johnny Gaudreau (2015-16), 29-53-82
Anze Kopitar (2007-08), 32-48-80
Jaromir Jagr (1991-92), 34-44-78
Nathan MacKinnon (2014-15), 29-45-74
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (2012-13), 21-53-74
Taylor Hall (2011-12), 36-36-72
Steven Stamkos (2009-10), 38-32-70
Mark Stone (2014-15), 26-41-67
Ryan Getzlaf (2006-07), 30-36-66
Ondrej Palat (2014-15), 26-40-66
Gabriel Landeskog (2012-13), 28-35-63
Eric Staal (2006-07), 25-37-62
John Tavares (2010-11), 26-35-61
Rick Nash (2003-04), 35-25-60
Vladimir Tarasenko (2013-14), 27-32-59
Claude Giroux (2009-10), 21-38-59
Blake Wheeler (2009-10), 26-29-55
Jamie Benn (2010-11), 26-27-53
Nail Yakupov (2013-14), 27-24-51
Evgeny Kuznetsov (2015-16), 14-34-48
Tyler Seguin (2011-12), 24-23-47
Phil Kessel (2007-08), 20-26-46
Daniel Sedin (2001-02), 22-19-41

2011 NHL Draft Class

In his draft class, Gaudreau currently ranks 12th in points but is rising fast. Since he went to Boston College for three seasons, he was later to the NHL than many. For some context, Gaudreau is on the cusp of 100 NHL games while second overall pick Gabriel Landeskog will play his 300th NHL game this week for Colorado.

To level the playing field, the better way to rank the players would be points-per-game and when you slice the numbers that way, Gaudreau slots in at No. 1 with a considerable cushion over first overall pick Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

Points Per Game - 2011 NHL Draft Class (as of Nov. 15, 2015)

1. Johnny Gaudreau (4th round, 104th), 0.83
2. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (1st round, 1st), 0.73
3. Ondrej Palat (7th round, 208th), 0.72
4. Gabriel Landeskog (1st round, 2nd), 0.69
5. Brandon Saad (2nd round, 43th), 0.61
6. Nikita Kucherov (2nd round, 58th), 0.60
7. Jonathan Huberdeau (1st round, 3rd), 0.57
8. Ryan Strome (1st round, 5th), 0.56
9. Mark Scheifele (1st round, 7th), 0.53
10. Mika Zibanejad (1st round, 6th), 0.52

Final Word

No disrespect to Theoren Fleury or Kent Nilsson but for my money, Gaudreau has already established himself as the most exciting player to ever play for Calgary.

He's not the best player of the last 35 years. He may eventually work himself into that conversation some day but that's many, many years away.

But in terms of creativity and wizardry with the puck, an ability to turn nothing into something, I haven't seen someone better. While the 'Magic Man' was pretty fun to watch back in the early 80s, Gaudreau's ability to dominate in a completely different era of the NHL where the defence are faster, bigger and stronger and it's so much more difficult to score goals, doing what he does every night takes a very special talent.

Enjoy him Calgary, these kinds of players don't come around very often.

By the way, have you liked Flames From 80 Feet on Facebook yet? Go there and do so now. It's just another way to be alerted to new Calgary Flames articles that I've written.


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1 comment:

  1. A great read and a reminder to serious hockey fans that every game is worth watching whether they win or lose.