Statistically Speaking is an inside-the-numbers look at the Minnesota Wild's season that was. Today, Wild.com examines defenseman Jared Spurgeon and the impact he had on Minnesota's 2018-19 campaign:
If there was any doubt (and there shouldn't have been) on the value defenseman Jared Spurgeon brings to the Wild, he put that to rest with a career year this past season.
It's remarkable to think about, but the 5-foot-9, 170-pound blueliner just continues to get better year after year. Now at age 29, the much-younger-than-that-looking Spurgeon has established himself as perhaps the best player in the NHL that nobody seems to recognize.
Video: MIN@BUF: Spurgeon swats puck out of air
The folks in Minnesota do, however, as does Wild coach Bruce Boudreau, who has repeatedly said that if Spurgeon played in a market on the East Coast, he'd probably garner more headlines than he probably does.
Spurgeon could create some headlines this summer, however, as he heads into the final year of a four-year, $20.75 million contract extension he signed in December of 2015. At some point the Wild is expected to approach Spurgeon about a long-term deal to stay in Minnesota, something to keep an eye on as next season approaches.
For now, check out some of the eye-popping numbers Spurgeon put up during the 2018-19 season:
For the first time in his career, Spurgeon put in a full 82-game season. Injuries and illnesses over the years have cost Spurgeon some time from the lineup. In 2017-18, he missed 21 games because of various ailments, including a lower-body injury which cost him nearly a month. He came close to putting together full campaigns in both 2015-16 and again the following year, missing a total of 11 games in those two seasons.
Finally blessed with a year of complete health, Spurgeon had his best season yet.
For the third time, Spurgeon reached double digits in goals. Getting to 14 was a new high for Spurgeon, however, topping the 11 he tallied in 2015-16. If not for missed games, it's likely Spurgeon would have a five-season streak of reaching double digits. He scored nine times in 66 games in 2014-15, reached 11 and 10 goals, respectively, the following two seasons, and scored nine again, this time in 61 games in 2017-18.
For the fifth consecutive season, Spurgeon saw his assist production rise from the year before. Over the past handful of seasons, Spurgeon has gone from 16 helpers, to 18, then up to 28 in each of the past two seasons (he played in 15 fewer games the second season) before reaching 29 this year. If that trend continues, Spurgeon will reach the 30-assist plateau next season, something that has been done by just three defensemen in team history (Ryan Suter, Marek Zidlicky, Matt Dumba).
Spurgeon "gooned" it up this season to the tune of 20 penalty minutes, which tied a career high. In all seriousness, it's remarkable that Spurgeon hasn't even been a finalist for the Lady Byng Trophy in his career, considering how many minutes he plays and how little time he spends in the sin bin. His 20 minutes in penalties averaged out to about one minor penalty every eight games or so. Spurgeon's 24:09 average time on ice ranked 17th in the NHL this season and only Dallas' John Klingberg played more minutes with fewer penalty minutes (12) than Spurgeon ... although Klingberg played in just 64 games.
A big reason for Spurgeon's offensive success this past season? His 9.2 percent conversion rate on 152 shots on goal. A career 7.4 percent shooter, Spurgeon scored on more than nine percent of his shots for just the second time in his career and the first since he converted 10.5 percent in his rookie season of 2010-11, a year he had just 38 shots on net in 53 games.
Spurgeon secured his first career faceoff win this season on March 11 against San Jose. Spurgeon has just two faceoff attempts in 591 NHL games, with his other coming in 2017-18. Who did Spurgeon out-draw you ask? It was San Jose's Tomas Hertl, one of the NHL's better men in the circle. Hertl won 51.5 percent of his faceoffs on the season and finished 26th in the League in faceoff wins (609).