Times are good with the Buffalo Sabres currently. Yesterday's
win slaying of the Phoenix Coyotes brought the team past the New Jersey Devils and into a tie with the Washington Capitals for first place in the Eastern Conference. With a game in hand, Buffalo is playing the type of hockey they saved for April in the last two years when it was too little, too late.
Ryan Miller is the engineer of it all; the heart that breathes life into the group. But it's been a total effort throughout the line-up with 16 players registering more than ten points and seven scoring double digits in goals. The defensemen have taken hits, blocked shots and a Calder Trophy candidate on the blue line helps. Is there a more complete team in the league?
Then, there are squads who depend on a single player for a lot of their scoring. While that person is unstoppable sometimes, defensemen can shut him down putting expectations on others to pull their own weight or more. I've decided to look at the leading goal-scorer on each NHL organization and calculate how much of their work accounts for the overall total. If two individuals are tied, the tie-breaker will take into consideration who's taken part in less games.
We'll go through the league alphabetically.
Buffalo Sabres: 134 goals for/ Thomas Vanek/ 13 goals= 9.7%
Montreal Canadiens: 128 goals for/ Michael Cammalleri/ 22 goals= 17.18%
New Jersey Devils: 131 goals for/ Zach Parise/ 20 goals= 15.26%
Phoenix Coyotes: 133 goals for/ Radim Vrbata/ 16 goals= 12.03%
Washington Capitals: 182 goals for/ Alexander Ovechkin/ 30 goals= 16.48%
Marian Gaborik takes the first prize at just under 23%, Steven Stamkos is second with a very nice and even 20% and third place goes to Patrick Marleau at 19.7%. These three have definitely earned their salary for 2010 and possibly might earn their teams a player berth. Keep shooting.