Alexander Steen: only 3rd NHL player in last 20 seasons to score 11 goals in his team’s first ten games pic.twitter.com/U8Mnhba2VY— John Buccigross (@Buccigross) October 30, 2013
All hail Alexander the Great! Alexander Steen that is. He is on top of the NHL in the number of goals scored as of this morning. He has managed to score 11 goals in just 10 games played so far this season and only the 3rd player in the last 20 season to do so. Quite impressive. How does his goal scoring prowess stack up against the rest of the NHL right now?
As you can see, Steen is currently at the top of the chart with 11 goals. But he also has the best shooting percentage of the top 10 goal scorers with 35.5% and is scoring 1.1 goals per game. Wow! As Arctic Ice Hockey said before last night's game...
Alex Steen has 10 goals, but he has only taken 26 shots. That... is... stupid...— Arctic Ice Hockey (@arcticicehockey) October 29, 2013
Stupid like a goal scoring machine you mean! *ahem* But seriously, it is great to see Steen, who was recognized by his fellow players as under-rated, really shine at the beginning of the season. Not to be a wet blanket or anything, but I'm sure I don't have to tell you that this level of production is probably not sustainable. Last season the league shot percentage for all players was 9.11%. We can expect to see some regression from Steen throughout the season.
Another Look at Steen's Goal Scoring Performance
So thanks to YOU, the faithful readers of St. Louis Game Time and specifically Blues by the Numbers, I have be designated as a Tableau Public super user. What this means is that the software company that makes the software that I use to create all these interactive visualizations is impressed that you all like my interactive data visualizations. So much so that they invited me to be a part of their beta test of their latest upgrade. Part of this new release includes a new chart type: box plots.
If you are not familiar with box plots, take a look at the tab that is labeled "How to Read a Box Plot". This is an over-simplistic explanation of how to read and interpret this visualization. So I am sure some of the advanced stats guys are going to roll their eyes and gnash their teeth at that explanation, but for our purposes, for this one time, I think this example will suffice.
This data comes from Behind the Net so it only includes 5v5 data. That means no power play goals are included. The Goals/60 stat is the number of goals divided by the number of 60 minutes of ice time the player has (goals / (time on ice/60)). Using a per 60 minutes of ice time for this stat allows us to compensate for the amount of ice time each player has experienced. Only including 5v5 data creates an even playing field in case a certain player or team sees more power play time than other players.
As you can see from this visualization, Steen has been a relatively "average" or "above average" player for the past several seasons. This season though he is up at the top of the G/60 which is to be expected. However, if you take a look at this season so far, you will see the box plot is a bit more elongated than previous seasons. In fact there isn't too much difference between the previous seasons. If I was going to keep updating this chart on a regular basis, we would see the box plot for this season start to condense and some of the players who are above the top whisker of the box plot start to drop into the "above average" segment and maybe as far as the "average" segment.
So the question is, where will Steen end up? Will he remain on the top or will he drop to above average like he was in prior seasons (except for 2012-13). Given the St. Blues need of goal scorers, Steen needs to stay on top of the whiskers or at the very least above average in order to give the Blues the competitive edge in Conference III.