Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Best Offence In The NHL

I have been quite skeptical about Buffalo's start. Sure they are in first place with 15 wins in their 17 games (one loss was not in regulation so they got a point for losing). I just don't think they have as good a group of players as some other teams in the NHL. I feel that with the NHL's enforced parity there is no team that is as good as Buffalo's record makes them look.

However, I must give credit where credit is due. They have had a great balanced offence so far this season. They have scored 4.47 goals per game. That is almost a goal per game better than the second place team the Toronto Maple Leafs (who have a 3.53 goals per game). That is an astounding lead they hold over the rest of the league.

Buffalo has not done this with a couple superstars. So far, they have had a very balanced attack. They currently have 8 players with 14 or more points (Briere, Vanek, Afinogenov, Drury, Pominville, Hecht, Roy and Campbell). No other team has more than six. If they can maintain this balanced attack, they will have no trouble maintaining the best offence in the league, but I am uncertain if that will happen. All of their eight top scorers are currently on pace to post career best seasons. That seems too perfect. I cannot remember any time ever when something like this has happened. It just doesn't happen that all your best players post career years simultaneously. This is a fluke that likely will not last all season. Nevertheless, Buffalo deserves congratulations for the wonderful start their offence has had.

The only team I can think of that would be close is the Habs of about 74-75. Guy Lafleur had a monster year and it ignited the offense throughout the top 9 forwards.

Peter Mahovlich, Steve Shutt, Yvon Lambert, Guy Lapointe, Larry Robinson, Serge Savard all had huge seasons by their own (at that time) standards and even veterans like Lemaire and Cournoyer were close to career highs.

That became a very famous team of course as the decade rolled out.
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