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Behind The Numbers

Pageau, Miller, Hellebuyck, analytic all-stars at Thanksgiving

Underlying numbers suggest Senators, Canucks forwards, Jets goalie making under-the-radar impact

by Rob Reese @NHLReese / NHL.com Fantasy Editor

Thanksgiving is one of the unofficial points during the NHL season to take stock of where teams and players stand. With that in mind, NHL.com is going behind the numbers to identify three advanced statistical all-stars at the Thanksgiving holiday.

 

Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Ottawa Senators

Plus-minus is not known as an advanced statistic, but Pageau is plus-17, tied for third in the NHL with Zdeno Chara of the Boston Bruins; Boston's Brad Marchand leads the League at plus-20. But Pageau's plus-minus number is noteworthy considering the Senators (11-13-1) are 28th in points (23). Pageau's 15 even-strength points lead the Senators and his 11 even-strength goals are tied for fourth in the NHL with Boston's David Pastrnak, Jakub Vrana of the Washington Capitals and Brett Connolly of the Florida Panthers. Pageau's plus-minus is even more impressive considering his most frequent linemates this season (Connor Brown and Nick Paul) have combined to score four goals. Part of Pageau's positive impact this season is his all-around play; he's third among Senators forwards in hits (40) and first in blocked shots (22). His ability to play in all zones is contributing to his plus-minus rating, which could be maintained the rest of the season regardless of where Ottawa finishes in the standings (his previous career high was plus-17 in 2015-16).

 

Connor Hellebuyck, Winnipeg Jets

He's tied for first in wins (12), fifth in save percentage (.930) and has the second-most saves at even-strength (502) among goalies who've played at least 10 games. Hellebuyck's success is commendable considering the Jets' turnover among defensemen in the offseason: Tyler Myers signed with the Vancouver Canucks, Dustin Byfuglien is suspended from the team for not reporting to training camp, Jacob Trouba was traded to the New York Rangers and Ben Chiarot signed with the Montreal Canadiens. Despite playing for a team that lost four of its top six defensemen from last season, Hellebuyck's efforts have the Jets in third place in the Central Division. Hellebuyck's statistics are especially remarkable considering the Jets are 24th in the NHL on the penalty kill (75.0 percent) where he has a .892 save percentage. If the Jets improve their penalty kill and qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Hellebuyck could be considered among Vezina Trophy finalists.

Video: WPG@TBL: Hellebuyck robs Palat with the glove

 

J.T. Miller, Vancouver Canucks

The impact of Miller, who went to the Canucks from the Tampa Bay Lightning in perhaps one of the more underrated trades of the offseason, cannot be understated. He's 14th in the NHL with a plus-108 shot attempts differential, a big reason why the Canucks are 11th in that statistic; they haven't finished in the top 10 since 2013-14. Miller has skated on the top line with Elias Pettersson and Brock Boeser for most of the season. He's also part of the top unit on the power play, which is fourth in the NHL (26.7 percent). Miller's 10 power-play points are tied with Boeser for third on the Canucks, and his 19 power-play shots on goal are fourth behind Boeser (34), Pettersson (28) and Bo Horvat (23). Miller's impact at 5-on-5 and the power play have helped the Canucks occupy third place in the Pacific Division, putting them in position to qualify for the playoffs for the first time since 2014-15.

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