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RED HOT

Gaudreau leads team in points, is in the top-10 in league scoring - and the numbers show his production could get even better

by ARI YANOVER @NHLFlames / calgaryflames.com

Johnny Gaudreau is off to a career-best start to the season and his advanced stats show it may get even better. 

His two goals and 10 assists in 10 games has him ninth in league scoring and fourth in helpers, trailing just Steven Stamkos (17), Jakub Voracek (12) and Evgeny Kuznetsov (12) in the latter category.

He's one of just six players to have already hit double digits in assists.

And there's reason to believe Gaudreau's scoring may tick further upwards. Presently, his shooting percentage is 8.3% - 4.4 points off of his career average of 12.7%. His 24 shots have him fifth on the Flames, so he's getting the puck on the net - now, it just has to start going in more often.

In the meantime, he's been in on exactly half of the Flames' 24 goals scored thus far.

It isn't just his scoring totals that indicate Gaudreau is having a good start to the season, though. Presently, he has a 5v5 Corsi-for of 52.92%, according to Corsica.hockey - good for sixth on the team, behind only the formidable 3M Line and Mark Giordano - Dougie Hamilton pairing, all five of whom thrive in the stat.

It's one thing that Gaudreau is posting positive numbers thus far, but it's another that these are some of the best advanced numbers of his career. In his first two seasons, Gaudreau was a sub-50% CF player; last year, he clocked in at 51.04%. 

Not only that, but Gaudreau is simply generating more offensive opportunities. So far this season, his CF/60 is 61.68; the previous three seasons, he wasn't yet able to hit the 60 mark.

His rookie season in 2014-15 saw him place second in Flames scoring and since then, he's been the team leader - including his second season, during which he was nearly a point-per-game player, scoring 78 points in 79 games.

Gaudreau took a little longer to get going as a rookie, scoring just one goal and three assists in his first 10 games. His sophomore season also saw him with one goal in 10 games played, but 10 assists as well. And last season, he had two goals in his first 10 games, but only five assists.

While Flames fans have come to expect eye-popping totals from Gaudreau, it's important to remember that, even though this is already his fourth season, he's still only 24 years old. Gaudreau has been steadily improving with each passing year, creating more and more offence and proving increasingly better at moving the puck up the ice.

He has 216 points in 242 NHL games. He's seventh in scoring out of all 2011 draft picks, despite being picked in the fourth round, and having played anywhere from 50-200 fewer games than those above him. 

And the way this season has started, there's likely plenty more to come.

 

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