Through the first 10 games of the Predators' season, the most important stat is Nashville's eight wins in 10 contests. After all, as Preds Head Coach Peter Laviolette likes to say: "this is a results-oriented business."
But in today's NHL, there are numbers that can help define why a team or a player is successful. There are also stats that can help project whether a player will continue to be successful. These analytics can be vast and as in-depth as you want them to be, but let's try a couple that hopefully won't fry your brain.
Saros has found himself in the spotlight for the moment because of the injury to Pekka Rinne, though Rinne likely will not be out too much longer (he returned to practice on Friday). Saros finds himself at the top of the League in the most basic of stats - wins (5). But here are a couple of notable things about his budding career:
At age 23, despite this being his third full season, he is still the second-youngest goalie to start an NHL game this season.
Saros has the most wins in the NHL among active goalies 23 years old and younger with 26. This is despite being the backup to Rinne and only making 54 appearances.
His basic career numbers look very solid: 26-15-10 record, 2.42 goal-against average and a .923 save percentage. But look a bit closer at the win-loss record and consider this - despite Thursday's overtime win in New Jersey, Saros is only 3-10 in games decided in OT. Of those, he is 0-5 in shootouts. Overtime success is partially on the goalie, but it is also to an extent a reflection of his team (goal support, defense, etc.). If Saros can begin to conquer overtime, that record will look even more impressive.
The points speak for themselves. The line of Ryan Johansen, Filip Forsberg and Viktor Arvidsson has combined for 16 goals and 15 assists in the first 10 games. But the context of how they're doing it is perhaps even more impressive. They play a high percentage of time against the top-scoring line of the opposition. Therefore, it's important to note how they are defending as well as how much they are scoring.
According to naturalstattrick.com, when the three of them are on the ice together during 5-on-5 play, they are getting the best of their competition by their "scoring chance" metric.
On all scoring chances that have taken place while JOFA has been on the ice, 58 percent belong to them, as opposed to 42 percent for the opposition.
On "high-danger scoring chances" it is even a more pronounced edge for Forsberg, Johansen and Arvidsson - 68 percent to only 32 percent.
Most goals come as a result of scoring chances. The more you get and the less you allow, the better your chances of winning, especially when considering you are matching strength versus strength most nights (top lines head to head).
Based on the numbers from Natural Stat Trick, it's no surprise that Nashville has been extremely successful while Forsberg, Johansen and Arvidsson have been on the ice. If this keeps up, it's going to be a big year for the trio.