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31 in 31

Minnesota Wild key statistics

Dubnyk, Niederreiter's consistency vital to another playoff appearance

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 Minnesota Wild.

 

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

 

1. Foreshadowed success

When the Minnesota Wild acquired goalie Devan Dubnyk in a trade with the Arizona Coyotes on Jan. 14, 2015, nobody was sure what to expect. He was coming off a poor 2013-14 season split between the Edmonton Oilers and Nashville Predators, when his .891 save percentage ranked last among goalies who played more than 20 games.

As documented in "Hockey Abstract 2014," Dubnyk's imminent success may have been foreshadowed by his home plate save percentage of .873 from 2012-14, which ranked eighth among those who faced 1,000 shots in that time span. Those numbers indicated he was highly effective against shots taken from up close, inside the home plate area, and that his numbers could thrive in the right environment.

Dubnyk's .924 save percentage with the Wild ranks third among goalies who have started at least 20 games since the day he was traded to Minnesota, behind Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens (.929) and Matt Murray of the Pittsburgh Penguins (.925).

Video: 31 in 31: Minnesota Wild 2017-18 season preview

 

2. Shot-based difference

Nino Niederreiter's NHL career got off to a rough start. In his rookie season with the New York Islanders in 2011-12, he scored one point in 55 games, becoming the ninth forward in history to score so few points in as many games in a single season.

After spending the following season in the American Hockey League, Niederreiter rekindled his career after being traded to the Wild on June 30, 2013. Since then, he has scored 173 points (83 goals, 90 assists) in 325 NHL games.

Niederreiter's most remarkable achievement is his shot-based metrics. Over these four seasons, Minnesota has outshot its opponents 3,759-3,307 with him on the ice at 5-on-5, for a shot-attempt percent of 53.20. That is 5.3 percent higher than how the Wild have performed while he was on the bench (47.9 percent). That boost ranks 14th among forwards who have played at least 20 games over that time span.

 

3. Modern-day Scotty Bowman

Coach Bruce Boudreau could be worth an extra 9.8 points in the standings per season. That's the highest average among active coaches and isn't far removed from Scotty Bowman's 11.2.

Over the long term, a coach's contributions can be estimated by comparing his team's points in the standings to the previous season's points regressed to the NHL average by 35 percent. That means an effective coach has to keep good teams good, improve weaker teams by more than they would have improved naturally and boost average teams into legitimate contention. The first and last conditions describe Boudreau perfectly.

In 763 games for the Washington Capitals, Anaheim Ducks and the Wild, Boudreau's teams have 1,004 points in the standings, which is 91.5 points more than expected. That ranks sixth all-time.

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