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Behind The Numbers

Hossa among top goal-scorers of expansion era, statistics show

Blackhawks forward, ending his playing career, was consistent threat

by Rob Vollman / Correspondent

Marian Hossa of the Chicago Blackhawks has played his final game after 19 NHL seasons, he told Slovak newspaper Novy Cas. 

According to the underlying numbers, the 39-year-old forward was one of the 20 most accomplished goal-scorers in the NHL expansion era (since the 1967-68 season), in the regular season and in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. He was known for his consistency and defense and had strong shot-based metrics.

Here is a look at five key elements of Hossa's game:



Hossa scored 525 goals, ranking 35th in NHL history and 29th in the expansion era, in 1,309 games for the Ottawa Senators, Atlanta Thrashers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Detroit Red Wings and Blackhawks. He was third among active players behind Alex Ovechkin (607) and Patrick Marleau (535). 

Given the changes in scoring levels over the years, it's important to make adjustments when comparing players across eras. Hossa scored his first NHL goal Dec. 9, 1998, when goal-scoring rates had begun dropping from more than three per game throughout the 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s to about 2.7 per game in the 2000s.

As an example of the impact this can have, compare Hossa to Michel Goulet, who ranks 29th in NHL history with 548 goals in 1,089 games. In the decade beginning Jan. 1, 2000, Hossa scored 317 goals, third most behind Jarome Iginla (360) and Ilya Kovalchuk (320). In the decade beginning Jan. 1, 1980, Goulet ranked third, but with 441 goals, behind Wayne Gretzky (637) and Jari Kurri (460). Hossa undoubtedly would have scored more if he debuted in the NHL 20 years earlier.

The most common way to compare players across eras is to divide each player's total goals by the average player's goals-per-game average that season, then multiply that number by the modern standard of 0.15 goals per game.

When making that adjustment for every NHL player since the 1967 expansion, Hossa's modern equivalent of 531 goals ranks 18th.

Video: CHI@PIT: Hossa buries Hartman's feed on the rush



In his 19 NHL seasons, Hossa finished in the top 10 in goals four times. His highest finish was fourth in 2002-03, when he scored an NHL career-high 45 for the Senators. 

That was one of three times Hossa scored at least 40 goals, and he is one of eight players to do it for three teams. He scored 43 for the Thrashers in 2006-07 and 40 for the Red Wings in 2008-09. 

Hossa scored at least 30 goals eight times and finished one goal short twice. 


Playoff scoring

Hossa, a three-time Stanley Cup champion with the Blackhawks, ranks 27th in playoff points since 1967-68 with 149 (52 goals, 97 assists) in 205 games. When that total is adjusted by era, he ranks 17th in that span with the equivalent of 147.7 points (52.1 goals, 95.6 assists).

He is one of eight players to score at least 15 playoff points six times and one of three players to do so with four teams.

Video: CHI@STL, Gm5: Hossa streaks down ice, buries SHG


Shorthanded scoring

There aren't as many statistics that measure defensive play, but shorthanded goals are an indicator of a player's ability to kill penalties while posing a scoring threat. Hossa led the NHL in shorthanded goals with seven in 2005-06 and five in 2009-10. With 34 shorthanded goals, he is tied for 11th since 1967-68 with Derek Sanderson and Pavel Bure.

When adjusted by era, Hossa scored 33.3 shorthanded goals, which ranks third in that span behind Gretzky (47.6) and Mark Messier (42.9).


Shot attempts

Since 2009-10, when figures were first available, Hossa's teams has outshot opponents 7,218-6,007 with him on the ice, for a shot attempts differential (SAT) of plus-1,211 that ranks 18th among forwards. 

The key to these totals is Hossa's ability to get the puck away from opponents and on net. He has 748 takeaways since the metric was first recorded in 2005-06, ranking third behind Pavel Datsyuk (926) and Joe Thornton (833). In that time, Hossa took 2,866 shots, ranking 10th.

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