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31 in 31

St. Louis Blues key statistics

Defense keyed by penalty kill; Tarasenko among elite goal-scorers

by Rob Vollman / NHL.com Correspondent

NHL.com is providing in-depth analysis for each of its 31 teams throughout August. Today, three key statistics for the St. Louis Blues.

 

[BLUES 31 IN 31: Season preview | 3 Questions | Top prospects | Fantasy breakdown]

 

1. Shorthanded success

The St. Louis Blues continue to be among the best penalty-killing teams in the NHL. They were third in the League last season (84.8 percent), on par with their six-season average of 85.0 percent, the best in the NHL.

Some teams kill penalties by limiting the number of shot attempts, and others rely on great goaltending. According to Natural Stat Trick, St. Louis was solid in each area last season. The Blues allowed an average of 89.93 shot attempts per 60 minutes and had a team save percentage of .889 while shorthanded, ranking fifth in each category.

 

2. Vladimir Tarasenko among elite scorers

Tarasenko scored 116 goals in 239 NHL games the past three seasons, second in the League behind Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin, who scored 136 in 242 games. 

Tarasenko's 39 goals were tied with Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand for fourth in the League last season behind Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby (44), Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (40) and Tampa Bay Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov (40).

A player's goal-scoring totals can be inflated by getting a lot of ice time, especially on the power play. But even when adjusting for such factors, Tarasenko remains the second-best goal-scorer in the League.

Based on calculations that forwards scored an average of 0.69 goals per 60 minutes at 5-on-5, 1.57 at 5-on-4, and 0.39 at 4-on-5, an average forward with Tarasenko's ice time would have scored 59.6 goals during the past three seasons. Tarasenko's actual goal total of 116 is 94.4 percent higher than that League average. He trails only Ovechkin (98.3 percent) among players who have scored at least 50 goals during that time.

Video: 31 in 31: St. Louis Blues 2017-18 season preview

 

3. Alexander Steen's shot-based struggles

Individual shot-based metrics are generally predictable and not subject to sudden, radical changes. Steen is one of the rare exceptions to that rule.

Steen had solid shot-based metrics for most of his NHL career. From 2010-11 through 2014-15, the Blues outshot their opponents 4,256-3,345 with Steen on the ice. That's a shot attempts percentage (SAT%) of 55.99, compared to 51.2 percent without him.

But in the past two seasons, the Blues were outshot 1,792-1,716 at 5-on-5 with Steen on the ice. That's a 48.92 SAT%, down from 51.3 percent when he wasn't on the ice.

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