Oh, I probably should go into it a little more, huh? Fair. This isn’t an MVP or Not-MVP discussion. I’m frankly tired of them and they don’t usually add up to any sort of logic. As I’ve said repeatedly, to me it should just be a “Player Of The Year” award, and on that status it’s really hard to not give it to Nikita Kucherov because he’s going to have a 130+ points and that’s stupid. He’s a big reason he plays on the best team in hockey, the best team in years, and he shouldn’t be punished for it. So let’s turn the talk.
What you might be watching is the best season a Hawk has ever had. The team record for points in a season is 131 by Denis Savard in ’87-’88. You might not have known that, and honestly I had to look it up. It’s not a celebrated number around here, which is weird, and might have to do something with it not being held by Eddie Olczyk and thus can’t be proclaimed through his own megaphone what an accomplishment it is because he did it. So yeah, 131.
And Kane is on a pace to get almost there without any adjustment for era or atmosphere, which we’ll get to. Right now he’s no his way to 125 points, by far a career-high, and the most any Hawks has managed since Savard. No Hawk has cleared 110 points since Savard’s record-breaker, and the most since is Roenick’s 107 in ’93-’94. Clearly, no one’s seen this in a very long time around these parts.
So let’s try and adjust for the different environments Savard was in and Kane is in. When Savard put up his 131, teams averaged 3.7 goals per game. This year, even with the bump in scoring, teams are averaging 3.06 goals per game. This is pretty crude, but we’ll try it: Savard averaged 1.59 points per game, hence he was a part, either scoring or assisting, of 42% of the goals per game. Kane is averaging 1.53 points per game, which means he’s a part of exactly half the goals taking place for the Hawks each game. So if Kane were zapped back to 1987, he would be averaging 1.85 points per game, which over a full 82 would equal out to 151 points. So yeah, there you go.
If Kane were to somehow get even more nuclear somewhere around here, he would have an outside shot at the club record of 58 goals (and Garbage Dick taking a record from the Drunk, Wife-Punchy Nazi would be a pretty wonderful symbol for the Hawks organization). Right now he’s on course for 51, and he’ll be the first Hawk to get to 50 since Roenick did it in 1993. But again, different scoring environment. And it’s actually a better scoring atmosphere now than it was in ’68-’69 when Hull put up 58, which is really shocking because goalies then were just newspaper guys they pulled in off the street and threw pads on. Obviously, Kane would score 439 goals if he were transported back to 1968. Let’s leave it at that.
Kane’s also likely to set a career-high in power play points. It’s 37 in his MVP year, and he’s already at 28 now. He’s at least on pace to match it. Where Kane is really making a difference is that he’s on pace to shatter his personal record for shots in a year, as he’s averaging over four per game for the first time in his career. In all situations Kane is averaging 10.8 shots/per 60, and the 15.7 per 60 on the power play are the highest since he won the Hart. His 8.91 per 60 at evens is actually lower than it was last year, so that’s where he’s making up the ground.
However you break it down, this is the best season Kane has had, and it’s at 30. Which is just ridiculous. Only he and Sidney Crosby are above 30 among the top-10 scorers in the league (Stamkos is 29). While he may still represent a special kind of scumbag, what he’s doing on the ice hasn’t been seen in this city in a very long time, and very well might not again. But the way he’s going, he might just do it all again next year.