clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

NHL Playoffs: Offense isn't everything when it comes to making it in

A surprising percentage of playoff teams in the last five seasons lacked a high-end point scorer.

The Phoenix Coyotes are in the midst of a playoff run, two points ahead of the Dallas Stars for the eighth and final spot in the Western Conference.

A quick look at Phoenix's stat sheet reveals a lack of elite offensive talent, as no Coyote is on pace to reach the 60-point plateau. Defenseman Keith Yandle leads the team with 50 points, on pace for 58.

While the Stanley Cup Playoffs are often associated with strong defensive play and goaltending, to get there, teams need to have at least one high-end point scorer to get in.

Maybe not.

This week's Monday Morning Musings look into the Coyotes' offensive numbers and reveals a surprising number of teams that make the playoffs despite lacking an elite offensive force.

- In all likelihood, the Coyotes will lack a 60-point player and quite possibly, a 55-point forward. Why does that matter? Phoenix plays a defensive-minded system anyway.

- It matters because it is uncharted territory, even for the Dave Tippett coached Coyotes. In 09-10 they had Wojtek Wolski (65 points), in 10-11 they had Shane Doan (60 points) and in 11-12 they had Ray Whitney (77 points) and Radim Vrbata (62 points) for their playoff runs.

- While one can argue the 60-point mark is an arbitrary number, it's a benchmark that sits just below 3/4 of a point per game and a number reached by an average of 55 players per season in the past five seasons (08-09 through 12-13*).

- However in the last five years, eight of the 40 playoff teams (20%) lacked a 60-point scorer.

- Those teams were: 08-09 New York Rangers (Nikolay Zherdev and Scott Gomez - 58 points), 09-10 Nashville Predators (Patric Hornqvist and Steve Sullivan - 51 points), 09-10 Boston Bruins (Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci - 52 points), 10-11 Nashville Predators (Sergei Kostitsyn and Martin Erat - 50 points), 10-11 Montreal Canadiens (Tomas Plekanec - 57 points), 11-12 St. Louis Blues (David Backes and T.J. Oshie - 54 points), 11-12 Nashville Predators (Martin Erat - 58 points), 12-13 Ottawa Senators (Kyle Turris and Cory Conacher - 29 points*).

- Of the eight teams listed above, none made it to a conference final, but five won a playoff series.

- This season, the Minnesota Wild and Detroit Red Wings could make the playoffs without a 60-point scorer as well.

- The Coyotes sit in the middle of the pack offensively (ranked 16th with 2.69 goals per game), despite having the best power play in the Western Conference (20.8%).

- Phoenix has been above average 5-on-5 with a 1.03 GF/GA ratio, 12th in the NHL, too.

- So despite having above-average goal scoring 5-on-5 and an elite power play, the Coyotes still have a negative goal differential (-5) because of their putrid penalty kill that ranks in the NHL's bottom five.

*Note: numbers from lockout-shortened 12-13 season were adjusted to a 60-point, full-season equivalent of 35 points.