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Number Munchers: Spooky statistics from Blackhawks’ dreadful October

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We take a deeper dive into the numbers from Chicago’s 3-6-2 start.

Los Angeles Kings v Chicago Blackhawks Photo by Chase Agnello-Dean/NHLI via Getty Images

Through the first 11 games of the 2019-20 season, the Blackhawks have won only three games. And, as we revive our Numbers Munchers series for the first time during this campaign, a deeper dive into the numbers reveals those figures look as ugly as the Blackhawks current 3-6-2 record.

According to Natural Stat Trick, Chicago ranks near the bottom of the league in the majority of the possession metrics available.

At even-strength play

  • 26th — 47.52 CF%
  • 28th — 45.86 xGF%

Switch the statistics from “counts” to “rates” and the news doesn’t get any better

  • 28th — 59.89 CA/60
  • 31st — 35.32 SA/60
  • 30th — 2.65 xGA/60

We can also examine how they’re faring in special teams situations. It’s still bad!

  • Power play: 24th at 86.25 CF/60; 28th at 5.06 xGF/60
  • Penalty kill: 24th at 104.65 CA/60; 27th at 7.08 xGA/60

Finding encouraging signs among the Chicago roster is difficult to do as well. Only six players are above 50% CF at even-strength play: Slater Koekkoek (56.71), Connor Murphy (55.25), Brandon Saad (52.59), Dominik Kubalik (51.79), Dylan Strome (51.79), Andrew Shaw (50.36). It should be noted Strome and Shaw have each started a majority of their shifts in the offensive zone (61.9% and 72.7%, respectively).

The xGF% statistic also finds only six players above the 50/50 line: Murphy (59.22), Koekkoek (56.17), Kubalik (53.69), David Kampf (53.50), Saad (53.01) and Strome (52.54). The Saad-Kampf-Kubalik line’s metrics back up the eye test: it’s been the best line, by far, through the first 11 games.

Chicago’s defensemen are allowing shot attempts at an alarming rate. Among NHL defensemen who’ve played at least 50 minutes of even strength ice time this season, three Blackhawks are in the top 25 of CA/60 in the league:

  • Calvin de Haan: 8th at 69.05
  • Erik Gustafsson: 16th at 65.3
  • Brent Seabrook: 23rd at 63.13

The xGA/60 statistic suggests even worse news for Gustafsson and De Haan, who have the second and third highest rates in the league, respectively, at 3.3 and 3.08, respectively. Further down the list, Olli Maatta is 30th (2.61) and Brent Seabrook is 31st (2.6).

Look at the on-ice play, standings or advanced statistics and they all paint the same picture: it was a miserable October for the Blackhawks.