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Behind The Numbers

Golden Knights fueled by overachievers

Karlsson, Schmidt, Marchessault having surprising impact, statistics show

by Rob Vollman / Correspondent

With a record of 14-1-1 in their past 16 games, the Vegas Golden Knights (29-10-2) have 60 points at the NHL season halfway point of 41 games.

The Golden Knights have achieved this success because several of their players are having NHL career-best seasons. Of the 14 who have played at least 20 games and who had at least 82 games of previous NHL experience, nine have NHL career highs in points per game. Of those nine, here are three overachieving players whose contributions have been the most surprising and have had the greatest impact:

William Karlsson, F

Given his previous NHL career scoring rate of 0.27 points per game, Karlsson was expected to have 11 points after 41 games. Instead, he has 36 points (22 goals, 14 assists). That difference of plus-25 ranks second to New York Islanders forward Josh Bailey, who is plus-30 with 50 points (12 goals, 38 assists).

Most of Karlsson's points have come from his Vegas-high 22 goals, which were scored on 85 shots in 41 games for a League-high shooting percentage of 25.9 percent (minimum 40 shots). Previously, Karlsson scored 18 goals on 233 shots in 183 games for a shooting percentage of 7.7 percent. 

Additional ice time has been another important factor in Karlsson's scoring rate. He leads Golden Knights forwards with an average of 18:13 per game (including 1:41 on the penalty kill). That's up from an NHL career high of 14:28 with the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2015-16. 

The extra scoring has boosted Karlsson to a plus-20 rating, tied for sixth in the NHL, and has improved his NHL career rating to plus-24. And his shot-based metrics confirm that he has been tilting the ice in the Golden Knights' favor. Karlsson has boosted his team's share of all on-ice shot attempts at 5-on-5 from 48.99 to 54.36 percent for a Relative SAT of plus-5.37 percent.

Video: TOR@VGK: Karlsson completes Vegas' first hat trick


Nate Schmidt, D

Schmidt has an NHL career-high 19 points (two goals, 17 assists) after 41 games. Based on his previous scoring rate of 0.22 points per game, Schmidt is plus-10 points, which ranks seventh among NHL defensemen.

Schmidt has received a big boost in ice time in all manpower situations. At even strength, it has increased from a previous NHL career average of 15:39 to 18:18, has gone up from 0:48 to 2:00 when shorthanded, jumped from 0:05 to 2:20 on the power play, and gone from 16:34 to a Vegas-high 22:38 overall. These have been tough minutes against top opponents and have come in all zones; Schmidt's zone start percentage of 43.41 percent is second-lowest on the Golden Knights to Luca Sbisa's 39.82.

Video: FLA@VGK: Schmidt nets one-timer off nice passing play


Jonathan Marchessault, F

Marchessault leads the Golden Knights with 40 points (16 goals, 24 assists) in 38 games. Based on his previous scoring rate of 0.56 points per game, he is plus-19 points this season.

In rating, Marchessault has improved from minus-21 with the Florida Panthers in 2016-17, which was tied for the 21st lowest, to plus-17 this season, tied for 13th best. His shot-based metrics are also strong; he has an SAT of plus-103 and a Relative SAT of plus-5.67 percent, each of which ranks second on the Golden Knights to defenseman Colin Miller (plus-112, 6.45 percent).

Video: VGK@CHI: Marchessault nets one-timer from high slot


Honorable mention

Forward David Perron has scored a point in seven straight games, giving him 34 (nine goals, 25 assists) in 35 games, which is plus-14 points, based on his previous scoring rate of 0.58.

Forward Erik Haula has 28 points (15 goals, 13 assists) in 37 games, which is plus-16 points based on his previous scoring rate of 0.33 points per game. He has averaged 17:20 of ice time per game this season, which is up 4:55 from a previous NHL career average of 12:25.

Limited to 12 games because of injury, goalie Marc-Andre Fleury has an NHL career-high .945 save percentage, which ranks second in the League to teammate Oscar Dansk (.946 in four games).

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