It’s no secret that Henrik Sedin has always been far more of a set up man than a goal scorer. Even when the twins were being scouted prior to the 1999 NHL Entry Draft, he was the passer, while twin brother Daniel was the shooter. That’s always been status quo throughout his career. In all but his sophomore season, in which he scored 16 goals and 30 assists, Henrik has had at least twice as many assists as he’s had goals. 10 times, he’s had more than three times as many assists as goals. Over the course of his prestigious career, he’s fashioned an assists-to-goals ratio of 3.45.
But this season, Henrik is taking things to the extreme, and it’s going to earn him one last bit of NHL history, with one of the most impressively lopsided goals and assists splits ever recorded.
Henrik is no stranger to setting records: he owns half the records in Canucks franchise history after all – the half his brother doesn’t preside over. He currently sits first in all-time points, assists, games played, power play points, and plus-minus in that regard, not to mention owning the franchise single-season records in many of those categories as well.
In the NHL at large, Henrik has paced the league in several categories, most notably in points in 2009-10 with 112. He also led the NHL in assists (surprise surprise) for three consecutive seasons between 2009-10 and 2011-12.
This year, his 48 points don’t put him very high up the league rankings (he’s tied for 114th in fact), though his 45 assists are tied for 36th. The discrepancy there is due in large part to the fact the assists make up 94% of Henrik’s point total this year – the Canuck captain has just three goals.
This has been a storyline for much of the year. He recently broke a goal-scoring drought that stretched more that 50 games. You probably heard about that, but the reason that it was referred to more with fascination than with criticism is that he continued to pile up assists in the mean time. In the whopping 55 games between his second goal on November 14th and his third goal on March 22nd, Henrik collected 36 helpers. The assists he got between those second and third goals would have been enough the lead the Canucks this season.
Why he only has three goals this season is a conversation all on its own. In short form, it has a lot to do with him shooting less (who knew that was possible): his current total of 62 shots are the lowest of his career by a decent margin – his next lowest is 70, which he achieved in 48 games in the lockout shortened season of 2012-13.
On top of that, his shooting percentage is just 4.8 percent, way under his career average of 13.0. Strictly operating as an opportunity shooter, Henrik has had a markedly high shooting percentage each and every year before this one, shooting above 10 percent in 13 of his 18 seasons.
The fact of the matter is, Henrik has lost even more mustard off a shot that wasn’t that impressive to begin with, and is in opportunities to pass it into the net (his preference) far less often than he used to be.
With those three goals and 45 assists, Henrik has 15 times as many assists as goals, which is truly rarefied territory. Forwards, on average, tally 1.38 assists per goal. Even defenders, which are prone to a more lopsided ratio by virtue of their positions, still only average 3.34 assists per goal.
Narrowing it down to the extreme cases, there are just 13 players this season that have at least 10 times as many assists as goals. All but one (Henrik of course) are defencemen. The next highest forward is New York’s Boo Nieves, with eight assists and a single goal, followed by former Canuck Jannik Hansen, with 12 assists and two goals.
|Player||Team||Position||GP||Goals||Total Assists||Total Points||A/G|
|Brendan Leipsic||VAN, VGK||L||56||4||16||20||4.00|
With such a commanding lead of the field this season, I couldn’t help but wonder how this exceedingly lopsided production stacks up in NHL history.
It’s a bit time consuming to gather the necessary relevant data to create these ratios all the way back to the league’s inception, but I do happen to have NHL data on hand back to 1970. In that time frame, only two NHL forwards have put up a higher assist-to-goal ratio: Glen Metropolit in 2002 and Doug Weight in 2010 both collected 16 assists and a single goal. If we’re looking at multiple goals, Oleg Petrov in 2000 and Dallas Drake in 2006 both tallied two goals and 24 assists for 12-to-1 ratios. Henrik easily has the highest ratio of anyone in the sample with more than 30 points.
I decided to dig for something a little more impressive, something that would make a big bit of trivia down the road. A search on Hockey Reference’s season finder found nine players in NHL history that have completed a season with at least 45 points and less than five goals. Henrik Sedin is the only forward on the list.
Then I opened it up a little bit. There are 31 players in NHL history that have tallied at least 40 points with less than five goals. Once again, Henrik Sedin is the only forward on the list.
So let’s take it a step further further. There are 66 players that have put up at least 35 points with less than five goals. Henrik Sedin is still the only forward on the list.
Lastly, I moved onto a list of players with at least 30 points (which really doesn’t seem like many, relatively speaking) and less than five goals. There are 166 players on this list, and finally Henrik has some company. In 2014-15, Jonathan Drouin scored four goals and added 28 assists for 32 points. Still, Henrik is nearing 50 points, and has just three goals.
There are a couple of ways to look at this. Henrik is the first forward in NHL history to score at least 30, 40, or 45 points with fewer than five goals.
There’s one more way of looking at it that I think is even more impressive. There are only a couple of players on the above lists with more points than Henrik, and both of them scored four goals.
So, in the NHL’s one hundred year history, Henrik Sedin has the most single-season points of anyone with just three goals.
For reference, the next forward on this list is Martin Erat, who, in 2013-14, scored three goals and 26 assists for 29 points.
As lopsided, and maybe odd, as Henrik’s production has been this season, I think this is actually a fitting way to finish up his career. Not only is it highlighting his famous preference for passing, but it earns him one last bit of obscure NHL history as he and his brother ride into the sunset.
Of course, he still has a couple of games to go and could hypothetically pot a goal or two in that time (as unlikely as that seems given his season). I’d certainly be alright with that (the roof might come flying right off Rogers Arena in light of such an event), though I think I’d prefer if he gathered a handful more of assists and padded his lead in this unusual category.
There are a multitude of things that I will always remember about the Sedins’ time in the NHL, and funny little things like this are one of them. They always find a way to leave a lasting impression. For that, I’ll always be grateful. #ThankYouSedins