Rick Nash Dominates Even Strength Scoring – Again

USATSI_8206459_154158418_lowresHere’s an interesting statistic: since being traded to the New York Rangers, Rick Nash has been the most prolific even-strength scorer in the National Hockey League.

Sure, he’s traditionally struggled to score in the post-season when it’s mattered most. In the 2014 playoffs, Nash popped in just three goals on 83 shots over the course of 25 games. But in the regular season, he’s as sure a bet as you can get with respect to putting up solid numbers. With the 2014-2015 season passing its quarter mark, the numbers for the Brampton lad are solid.

In 23 games, Nash has 16 goals and nine assists for a total of 25 points. Going into Saturday night’s action, he led the NHL with 2.76 goals for every 60 minutes of play at five-on-five. The next closest scorer at even strength is Tyler Seguin with 2.22 goals for every 60 minutes. That’s a pretty big discrepancy.

A dozen of Nash’s 16 goals are even strength goals, while two have come on the power play and two have come shorthanded. That suggests that Nash is adept at creating offence, which is a pretty key talent to have. Those watching the Rangers this season are already aware of his ability to create momentum leading from the neutral zone, where he starts rushes and makes plays.

Nash’s consistency over the years has often come under fire for some odd reason, but he’s right up there in terms of pure numbers. From 2003 to 2012, only four players have posted at least seven 30-goal seasons. Nash is one of them, along with Ilya Kovalchuk, Jarome Iginla and Alex Ovechkin. That’s pretty good company.

One of the guiding lights for Rick Nash thus far this season is his shooting percentage, where he’s proving tremendously effective. He’s at about 20 percent efficiency, with 80 shots to his name thus far. He’s picking quality shots, in other words, and making high-percentage plays. That makes a difference and it suggests an intelligent hockey player. Nash certainly fits the bill.

In 23 games this season, the Rangers find themselves with a record of 11-8-4 with 68 goals for. Nash has been a big, consistent piece of the puzzle for the Blueshirts since his arrival and they’ll need his continued consistency in order to enjoy success. Now if only they can get him to that level in the post-season.


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