Inside NHL's goal-scoring increase: Who benefits the most?
Through the first month-plus of the season, the NHL has given fans a more entertaining product in the form of increased scoring.
This season, goal scoring is at its highest since the 2005-06 season, with games averaging 6.04 goals per game. That’s exactly a half-goal more per game than last season. If the league keeps up its torrid scoring pace, it will result in an uptick of 635 more goals across the NHL:
There are a number of possible explanations for the increased number of pucks beating goaltenders, but the most glaring is an increase in penalties; power plays are at their highest since 2010-11. Not only do more penalty calls result in power-play goals, it also gives offensive players more room to work at even strength, with defenders playing a cleaner game to try to avoid infractions.
Who has benefited the most from this uptick in scoring? Will those numbers sustain? Let’s have a look.