A Balanced Attack

"Secondary scoring" is one of those phrases that gets thrown around the hockey world a lot - yes, even right here - to determine and define what makes a deep team, offensively. It generally refers to whatever offense is produced by anyone other than the superstar(s), the top line, etc.

Still, secondary scoring is a somewhat blurred notion, hard to define based on the simple fact that what constitutes secondary scoring on one team is what passes for primary on another. For example, Mike Knuble has five goals on the year - the 6th highest total on the Capitals, it would be among the top three for a number of other teams.

Rather than this convoluted idea of secondary scoring, what teams are really looking for is balanced scoring - a balanced attack, with the offense distributed as evenly as possible throughout the lineup.

So how do the Caps stack up with the rest of the league? 

For comparison's sake we'll look at the following: the total number of goals scored by each team (GF), the number of goals coming from the top 3 scorers (T3G), the % provided by the top 3 (% of Ttl), the number of multi-goal scorers (MGS) and the number of players contributing at least one goal (GS).**

**Totals through 11/15/09

Team GF T3G % of Ttl MGS GS
*Tampa Bay Lightning 44 28 63.64% 8 11
Anaheim Ducks 52 27 51.92% 7 14
*Columbus Blue Jackets 55 27 49.09% 10 14
*San Jose Sharks 73 34 46.58% 13 18
Vancouver Canucks 62 28 45.16% 10 15
*Los Angeles Kings 65 29 44.62% 10 14
Atlanta Thrashers 63 28 44.44% 9 14
*New Jersey Devils 51 22 43.14% 10 14
*Dallas Stars 59 25 42.37% 11 14
Ottawa Senators 48 20 41.67% 9 17
St. Louis Blues 41 17 41.46% 8 17
*Washington Capitals 75 31 41.33% 12 18
Montreal Canadiens 49 20 40.82% 9 16
*New York Rangers 61 24 39.34% 15 18
*New York Islanders 56 22 39.29% 13 17
Florida Panthers 46 18 39.13% 8 16
*Calgary Flames 59 23 38.98% 10 17
Edmonton Oilers 58 22 37.93% 13 16
Toronto Maple Leafs 45 17 37.78% 12 15
*Philadelphia Flyers 59 22 37.29% 12 17
*Colorado Avalanche 60 22 36.67% 12 19
Nashville Predators 39 14 35.90% 10 15
*Detroit Red Wings 62 22 35.48% 13 20
*Pittsburgh Penguins 61 21 34.43% 13 15
*Buffalo Sabres 46 16 33.33% 11 15
*Chicago Blackhawks 57 19 33.33% 11 17
Minnesota Wild 49 16 32.65% 10 6
Boston Bruins 46 15 32.61% 11 17
Phoenix Coyotes 50 16 32.00% 12 16
Carolina Hurricanes 42 11 26.19% 10 15

* - teams currently in playoff contention

A couple of things of note:

  • The Caps are right around the middle of the pack when it comes to balanced scoring.
  • However, they also lead the league in goals scored (75), and are tied for third in both the number of multi-goal scorers (12) and the number of goal-scorers in general (18).
  • The Predators have scored just eight more goals as a team than the number of goals produced by the Caps' top three goal-scorers.
  • Under the header of "Numbers Can be Deceiving": the Hurricanes would appear to have the most balanced attack in the league...but check out their goal total. 
  • Under the header of "It's Exactly How it Looks": the Lightning are currently getting almost 64% of their offense from their top 3 scorers, providing 28 of the 44 total goals. All but three of those goals have come from just two players - Stamkos and Malone.
  • The top two teams in the league, San Jose and New Jersey, are in the top ten when it comes to more offense from fewer players.

Of course, any discussion involving the Caps and balanced scoring right now has to take into account the fact that their most primary scorer, Alex Ovechkin, has been out for six of the twenty games so far. The Caps scored twenty-three goals during that stretch, with goals coming from eleven different players.

And that is pretty darn impressive.

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