Going into last night’s Game 3, Jean-Gabriel Pageau had one of the highest postseason goals per 60 since 2007-08, when advanced stat tracking began.
In fact, it placed 11th a few hundred players who had played at least 200 minutes in their respective postseasons, which is really good. But where Pageau kind of stands out from the crowd near the top of that group is that his postseason goals per 60 (2.02) exceeded his regular-season goals per 60 (0.54) almost four times over.
As detailed in Monday’s What We Learned, going from 12 goals in 82 games to eight in 15 is very impressive. So impressive, in fact, that they put him on the damn rally towels for Ottawa’s first Conference Final home game.
Of course, he’s not the only player to have that kind of offensive explosion in the postseason. Here are six others who similarly turned into playoff scoring machines while playing similar minutes to Pageau: at least 1,000 in the regular season and at least 200 in the playoffs. Only 375 other guys have done it in the past decade.
6 – Dustin Byfuglien for Chicago, 2009-10
This is a bit of a cheat since Byfuglien played most of the regular season as a defenseman, but he went from 17-17-34 in 82 games (which isn’t bad at all from the blue line) to 11-5-16 in 22 games at the forward position simply because Chicago had too many good defensemen in offensive roles on the roster.
Which, man, when Brian Campbell’s your No. 4 and you’re like, “Guess we gotta put 24-year-old Dustin Byfuglien up front,” you’re in really good shape.
Byfuglien, always the shot machine, had 211 shots in the regular season (2.57 per game), but getting him closer to the net paid off. Five of the 11 goals he scored in the postseason — and this is in only a little more than 16 minutes a night — were game-winners.
From the regular season to the playoffs, his goals per 60 minutes of ice time jumped from 0.76 to 1.85, an increase of more than 140 percent. It should come as no surprise at all, though, that his shooting percentage more than tripled.
We of course know by now that David Krejci has a history of being a clutch playoff performer. This is where it started. Why? Well, because the Bruins won the Cup and he would have won the Conn Smythe if Tim Thomas hadn’t had maybe the best postseason of all time.
But also because, damn, look at that stat line. Krejci was always a pretty good scorer — his lowest career points-per-game number was a respectable 0.48, and that was when he was a rookie — but in the Bruins’ Cup year he had a somewhat muted 62 points (and only 13 goals) in 75 games.
Then the playoffs started. He went from 13 goals in 75 to 12 in 25, which I don’t need to tell you is almost a three-fold improvement in pace.
Now, is it because he shot more than 21 percent in that postseason? Of course it is. But he also shot only 8.3 percent in the regular season, which is too low for a player this good. So maybe you just say things evened out.
Krejci saw his goals per 60 climb from 0.55 to 1.43 between the regular season and playoffs, thanks in large part to that shooting percentage that shot up 160 percent. When you’re scoring on basically one out of every four shots, you’re going to develop that kind of clutch sniper’s reputation.
Getzlaf kind of gets overlooked in these playoffs both because we expect him to be great and because he had a kind of ho-hum regular season.
For the second year in a row, he scored 15 goals or fewer, but both times out he also cleared 50 assists. He just doesn’t shoot the puck much, and in this way you might say he’s becoming a younger, beardless Joe Thornton. But man, he’s shooting the puck in the playoffs. He’s already up to 43 damn shots in just 14 games, after only putting together 138 in 74.
The result is in the goal totals: From 15 from October to mid-April to eight in the past month. It’s an increase in goals per 60 of almost 164 percent, from 0.58 (not ideal) to 1.53 (very ideal). And he actually had the smallest increase shooting percentage of this entire group.
What a guy!
3 – Patrick Maroon for Anaheim, 2014-15
Connor McDavid’s new buddy Patrick Maroon is the classic Guy Who Rode Ryan Getzlaf To A Big Goal Total. In this way, too, Getzlaf is like Joe Thornton.
Maroon went from nine goals in 71 games in the regular season in a lesser role (only 14:17 a night for the guy) to seven in 16 because he ended up getting a decent amount of ice time with Getzlaf. Indeed, Getzlaf assisted on six of those seven postseason goals.
You play with Getzlaf and you’re going to get quality looks by the bushel, and it’s just up to you not to blow it. That increase in goals per 60 from 0.54 to 1.47 tells the story: Maroon didn’t blow it at all.
2 – RJ Umberger for Philadelphia, 2007-08
Man, I guess Philly had a knack for this for a little while. Claude Giroux, back when everyone said, “Oh maybe he’s the best player in the world and not Crosby,” finished 15th on this list of players (as well as 21st for 2009-10). And we all know about Ville Leino, who didn’t have enough minutes to qualify here.
But anyway, here’s RJ Umberger, who had 13 goals as a 25-year-old in that regular season. Like a lot of guys on this list, he had a little bit of bad luck for the long haul, shooting only 7.5 percent in 74 games.
Once the playoffs rolled around, it was a different story. He had 10 goals in 17 games, with all but one coming at even strength. Helps that he shot 25 percent.
Nonetheless, that’s a 256 percent increase in goals per 60, from 0.59 to 2.1.
(And by the way, not including last night’s game, Pageau slots in right here in terms of “percent increase in goals per 60” from regular season to playoffs among this group. He’s second, jumping from 0.54 to 2.02. This next guy is first, and it’s a huuuuuuuge leap.)
1 – Jussi Jokinen for Carolina, 2008-09
Jussi Jokinen was traded from Tampa to Carolina mid-season, having scored only six goals in 46 games. He added just one more for the Hurricanes in 25 appearances. Sub-optimal. You typically want to score more than seven goals in 71 games.
So Jokinen fixed the problem, by scoring seven goals in just 18 games in the playoffs. His shooting percentage jumped from 6.9 percent to 25.
The goals per 60 did, skyrocketing 313 percent. An increase from 0.39 to 1.61? That’s big.
And despite that huge increase, his ice time and shooting rate effectively did not change. And also that Carolina team really wasn’t that good to begin with, so, y’know.
But hey, good job Jussi!
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