Jamie Benn has officially been crowned the Art Ross Trophy winner, cementing the Dallas Stars winger's place in the NHL record books after a career-best offensive season. The title is awarded on a very objective statistic - who has the most points once the NHL's regular season comes to a close. But injuries, luck and other factors play a big role raw points, so how does Benn and his partner-in-crime Tyler Seguin compare to the NHL's best scorers on multiple factors?
We ran these numbers about a week ago to examine the place of both Seguin and Benn among the NHL's scoring elite this season. But with Benn's dramatic win of the Art Ross on Saturday, it calls for a season-ending examination of the statistics.
So lets's start with the general scoring numbers for all NHL players who played at least 50 games and finished with a point-per-game average or better, ranked by points per game.
For the record, Seguin and Crosby are actually separated by .006 points per game (Seguin's 1.084 rounds down, as does Crosby's 1.090), a different that equates to less a point over the course of a season. Each was on pace for an 89 point season if he had been able to play 82 full games, and Seguin would have had the goal tiebreaker in the Art Ross race.
Benn finishes ahead of Tavares and Kane by the strength of that final assist against the Predators. And while people may claim that Malkin was held back only by games missed, it's clear he didn't quite have the same caliber of season as the very top players. It's also worth nothing that Crosby and Seguin both played significant time after injuries that undoubtedly affected their ability to score, and Benn needs offseason hip surgery to fix a chronic injury that bothered him most of the season.
What if we discounted secondary assists? After all, while they are often important (such as Benn's skate forcing the turnover that led to Cody Eakin's late goal on Saturday), there are also some that are simply routine possession-retaining passes that end up on the stick of a player who makes breakaway pass.
Seguin's marvelous season is clearly a cut above the rest in this regard. He finished the season with only seven secondary assists among his 77 total points. Ovechkin also only had seven second assists, though his ratio of primary to secondary assists is much lower since he primarily racks up points as a goal scorer.
Sidney Crosby was the only of the top eight scorers to finish in the top 10 in secondary assists (26 total, tied for sixth overall with Jason Spezza, among others). That means he drops significantly in this particular ranking while Tavares just edges out Benn.
Finally, how well does the scoring correspond to the possession stats, and which players are taking advantage of easy minutes? All statistics are calculated in 5 v. 5 situations and taken from War-on-Ice, except for QualComp, which comes from BehindTheNet.ca.
Points per 60 is a measure of even-strength points per 60 minutes of ice time. CorsiForRel is a measure of how much a player drives shot attempts for his own team while preventing shot attempts for the other, as measured relative to his own teammates. ScoringChanceForRel is a similar concept, just involving shots taken from the "dangerous" area of the ice. In all cases, larger positive numbers are better.
PDO is an attempt to measure luck, with the idea that 100.00 is average. All players on this list are within reasonable distance to not be considered overly lucky or unlucky. Offensive zone start percentage is self-explanatory, with the idea that the more starts you get in the offensive zone, the easier your minutes are and the better chance you have to score. Finally, QualComp quantifies the quality of competition faced - the higher and more positive the number, the more difficult the competition.
For the record, Benn had the fifth-best P/60 in the league among players with at least 50 games, behind Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Rick Nash of the New York Rangers. Seguin was seventh, just behind Vladimir Tarasenko.
Every player among the top eight scorers except for Kane drives possession for his own team, and Kane is the only player who faces generally easy quality of competition as well. And while John Tavares saw strong competition, he essentially lived in the offensive zone, meaning he started in good position to score more times than any other player on this list.
In terms of zone starts, Tavares had the fifth easiest deployment this season of players who played more than 50 games, trailing Brad Richards, Bryan Bickell, Filip Forsberg and Mike Ribeiro. Patrick Kane was sixth in this category.
In fact, the only two top scorers who were not in the top 100 of offensive zone start percentage were Benn and Seguin (of note, teammate Jason Spezza is in the top 100). That's extremely impressive.
Benn also faces the most difficult competition on this list, and that doesn't include his time spent on the penalty kill.
In summary, the point remains the same as last time. Benn and Seguin are clearly among the elite NHL scorers and quite possibly the league's best offensive duo - you can make a good argument that they were the more dominant offensive pairing than any of the others typically brought up as superior - Crosby and Malkin, Kane and Jonathan Toews, and Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf.
Of course, those three duos have made their name in the playoffs as well, something neither Benn nor Seguin will be able to say this year (though it's hard to fault either of them for that fact). And perhaps that's all that's left to cement their legacies as some of the greatest offensive forces of this generation. It's certainly something that should be on the Stars minds as they continue to have both players under extremely reasonable contracts for the next two seasons.