A player’s points per game is a useful statistic as well, and relatively simple. Obviously, the presence of a player on a power play unit or penalty kill can influence the value. It makes sense, then, to only focus on even-strength points produced each game. I do understand that some of a player’s inherent value is in his contribution to uneven situations. However, in terms of predicting a player’s overall impact to his team, I feel much more comfortable when only even-strength situations are considered. After all, the vast majority of a season will be spent at five on five.
James Neal certainly has the advantage here. Over his eight full NHL seasons, he has produced an average of 32.75 ± 9.5 points per season at even strength. Järnkrok, through three complete seasons, has averaged 22.0 ± 4.4 points at even strength. When standardized for number of games played, here’s how each player looks:
So far this year, Neal is producing a career-best points-per-game. Järnkrok, meanwhile, is basically in line with his performances over the past few years. This figure, especially, is not a great look for Calle Järnkrok. While Neal’s value will certainly decrease as the year continues, he clearly has the better average, and has never dropped below Järnkrok during any single season.
However, this graph does set up nicely for my final point.