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Stunning NHL numbers from 2021: McDavid, Ovechkin, and more

NHL Stats

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 19: Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals looks on against the Los Angeles Kings during the second period of the game at Capital One Arena on December 19, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

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From time to time like to take an occasional look at some stunning numbers from around the league. Here is what has stood out to us from the past calendar year….

Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl leading the league in offense all year

The Edmonton Oilers’ superstar duo were the top offensive performers in the league during 2021, combining for more than 290 total points since January 1. Not only were they on top of the league individually, one of them was the top scoring in the NHL for 193 out of the 208 regular season days throughout the year. That is more than 93 percent of the time that at least one of them was the league’s leading scorer. They both had more than 130 points individually, making it just the seventh time -- and the first time in 30 years -- that two teammates had more than 130 points in a calendar year. Brett Hull and Adam Oates for the St. Louis Blues in 1991 were the most recent to do it. No other player in the NHL had more than 100 points (Auston Matthews had 99 points for the Toronto Maple Leafs).

(Numbers via the NHL.)

Alex Ovechkin keeps climbing the all-time leaderboards

Alex Ovechkin is not slowing down, scoring 46 goals in 77 games during the calendar year. That total saw him pass several hall of famers on the NHL’s All-time goals (he has passed Mike Gartner, Phil Esposito, Marcel Dionne and Brett Hull in 2021) to move to fourth on the all-time list. He should pass Jaromir Jagr for third on the all-time list this season.

He also has 14 power play goals in 2021 to move him into a tie with Dave Andreychuk for first on the NHL’s all-time list with 274 power play goals.

More milestones this past year

Patrick Marleau set the NHL record for most NHL games played, passing Gordie Howe for first on the all-time list.

Marc-Andre Fleury joined some exclusive company and won his 500th career game, further cementing his Hall of Fame legacy.

Phil Kessel and Keith Yandle continued their climb toward matching Doug Jarvis’ NHL record for consecutive games played. Yandle is at 953 games and is just 11 behind Jarvis, while Kessel is at 930 games. Barring injury or an unexpected healthy scratch both should surpass Jarvis before the end of the regular season.

The best regular season teams

The Carolina Hurricanes had the NHL’s best points percentage in 2021, finishing the year with a .727 points percentage in 86 games. That is a 120-point pace over 82 games.

The Vegas Golden Knights won the most regular season games in 2021, winning 61 of them. They are the sixth team in NHL history with 60+ regular-season wins in a calendar year (also Pittsburgh: 65 in 2013; Chicago: 64 in 2013; Philadelphia: 60 in 1985; Detroit: 60 in 1995; Montreal: 60 in 1978). (Via the NHL). Vegas won those 61 games over 89 regular season games.

Connor Hellebuyck put in work

The Winnipeg Jets goalie played more minutes (4,008) and faced more shots (2,081) in the regular season than any other goalie in 2021. Only two other goalies played more than 3,800 regular season minutes and only two faced more than 1,800 shots.

On the skater front, San Jose Sharks defenseman Brent Burns played more minutes (2,293) than any other forward or defender in the regular season. Seth Jones was second at 2,188 minutes.

Other leaders from 2021

  • Most goals: Auston Matthews: 61 in 79 games
  • Most assists: McDavid: 105
  • Most even-strength goals: Matthews: 43
  • Most power play goals: Draisaitl: 28
  • Most shorthanded goals: Cam Atkinson: 6
  • Most shots on goal: Matthews: 343