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Draft Guide

Backstrom owns the circle

by Corey Abbott
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET



Calgary's Garnat Hathaway led the way with 19 hits in the first four games of his NHL career. He also picked up seven blocks, two assists six penalty minutes and a plus-3 rating. Chris Kunitz and Deryk Engelland accounted for 17 hits in four games apiece. Kunitz went into this week in seventh place in the league with 220 body checks in 63 contests. Engelland also had 10 blocks last week, so he has amassed 93 hits and 88 blocks after 57 appearances. Toronto rookie Nikita Soshnikov was credited with 16 collisions in four games. The 22-year-old forward made his NHL debut on Feb. 29 against Tampa Bay. He also produced two goals, six penalty minutes and 12 shots.




Francois Beauchemin paced all skaters with 15 blocks in three contests. He had six blocks against Minnesota in a 6-3 loss last Tuesday. Beauchemin, who leads the league in blocks, surpassed the 200-mark last week and enters the week with 210 on the season. Dan Girardi had 14 stops in four games to give him 158 blocks in 60 contests this year. He had 184 in 2014-15 and 174 the season before that. He appears to be poised to finish a bit ahead of that range. Fellow Rangers defenseman Kevin Klein had 13 blocks in his four appearances. He has averaged 2.3 blocks per game and he has 120 on the 2015-16 campaign. Edmonton's Matt Hendricks topped all forwards with nine blocks in four matches. He is third among forwards with 66 stops in 55 outings.




Nicklas Backstrom won 48 draws and lost just 29 in three games. He dominated the circle against Toronto (83.3%) and the Rangers (71.4%), but struggled against the Boston Bruins when he won seven of 18. Backstrom leads the Capitals with 567 faceoff wins this season and he owns a 49.4 winning percentage. Mikko Koivu had 44 wins on 77 puck drops in four outings. He has taken 1,450 draws this season, which ranks him fifth overall, and he has a 55.8 winning percentage this campaign. He enters this week's action in fourth place in victories in the circle with 809 in 67 games. Claude Giroux won 42 faceoffs and lost only 19 in three matches. The bulk of his wins came against Edmonton last Thursday when he had 25 on 31 attempts. Giroux is third in the NHL with 835 wins in the faceoff circle and he has an impressive 57.4 winning percentage this year. Sidney Crosby was the only player who topped 50 wins last week. He won 59 of his 113 faceoffs during his four matches. The Penguins center ranks second in the league with 1,515 faceoffs taken in 2015-16 and he has won 52.3 percent of them.

Corey Abbott

Corey Abbott is an Editor for Hockey on Rotoworld. Feel free to follow him on Twitter @CoreAbbott.