Early 2023 Expected Goals Leaders

Mark Barbour (@18sktrs, 18skaters.com)

This week I’m going to discuss the skaters who have the most expected goals since the start of 2023. I think most readers will be surprised by a few of the names. Let’s take a look.

Expected Goals Since January 1, 2023

The plot below has a couple of features that I want to mention right at the outset. Starting with the obvious: the plot is animated. I find the animation mesmerizing but I do wonder if it actually adds value. Your feedback on this is welcome. Would you like to see more animated plots in the future? They can be useful in showing changes over time, so there are many possibilities.

The second feature of the plot that I want to mention is less obvious. The plot shows data for expected goals. I did not pull this data from an external source like Natural Stat Trick. I computed the expected goals myself. If you want to learn more about my method, or if you just want to learn more about the expected goals metric itself, you can read my explanation over at 18skaters.com.

OK, with that out of the way let’s look at this plot. It shows the skaters who have the most expected goals at 5v5 since the start of 2023. Both the size and colour of each skater’s dot provide information about his actual goals scored. A big blue/purple dot means the skater has scored more goals relative to the other skaters in the plot.

Some of the skaters on this list are not surprising. I won’t talk about those skaters since I’ve already covered many of them in recent articles (for example, see last week’s article on the Skater Projections All-Stars). Instead, let’s take a look at some of the surprises.

  • Brock NelsonAnders Lee, and Zach Parise are all on this list. The Islanders have received lots of attention recently and most of it goes something like “nobody scores on the Islanders”. While there is some truth to that (they have one of the lowest goals/60 rates since the start of 2023) the expected goals data is not quite so bleak. With Bo Horvat on the team now perhaps we see a little more scoring from the Islanders down the stretch. Something to watch.
  • Evan Rodrigues is the second highest Avalanche skater on this list, right behind Nathan Mackinnon. Not making the list are Mikko Rantanen, Valeri Nichushkin and Artturi Lehkonen. The Avalanche have a fantasy hockey playoff schedule to target so you might want to get Rodrigues on your team if that’s an option. There’s a good chance he’s a free agent in your league.
  • My model has Matt Boldy a little higher than Natural Stat Trick when it comes to expected goals, and I’ll note that his other shooting metrics also look strong. Meanwhile, Boldy’s counting stats have been fairly weak since the start of the new year. Now might be a good time to acquire him at a solid discount.
  • Michael Eyssimont might not be on your radar but maybe he should be, especially if you’re in a deeper league. You can see from the plot that he scores high in my model. He’s also one of the top xGoals/60 skaters over at Natural Stat Trick (since January 1). Will he get an elevated role after Timo Meier is traded? If he does get that opportunity will he do something with it? I don’t know. He’s played 34 NHL games and the Sharks are a team in transition. There’s uncertainty when it comes to projecting his future performance. I’ll tell you that he’s now on my roster in a deep dynasty league and I’m curious to see where things go from here.

The End Of The Article

That’s all for this week. I’ll be back here next week with another original data-driven article. In the meantime you can find my daily posts on 18skaters.com. Follow me on Twitter at @18sktrs if you want to be notified about the content I’m creating here, there and anywhere.


Mark (18 Skaters)

The Data

The data for this article include games played on or before 2023-02-14.

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