Minor Distractions - Boxing Day

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

The leagues shut down for the Christmas break, with both the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and the Wheeling Nailers last playing on Saturday December 21st and coming back to play again on Friday December 27th.

The story we looked at last time was how the injury situation has caused a lot of moving and shaking in the lineups throughout the Pittsburgh Penguins organization. So let us expand on that and look at the stats up through the Christmas break.

The AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins have played 28 games so far this season, and during that time they have had 9 players recalled to the NHL who have missed a combined 82 AHL games because they were up in the NHL at the time. So far this season the WBS Baby Pens have scored a total of 84 Goals and 135 Assists for a total of 219 Points this season.

Of the 84 Goals scored, 44 were scored by players that have been called up to the NHL at some point this season, 7 of whom, for a combined 34 Goals scored, are currently still up in the NHL. Of the 135 Assists scored, 61 were scored by players that have been called up to the NHL at some point this season, 7 of whom, for a combined 51Assists scored, are currently still up in the NHL. That is a combined 105 Points out of 219 total Points scored this season by players who were recalled to the NHL, 85 Points of which were scored by the 7 players who are still in Pittsburgh.

If the raw numbers don't seem shocking enough, let us take a look at it from a percentage standpoint. 52.4% of the Baby Pens Goals, 45.2% of the Baby Pens Assists, and 47.9% of the Baby Pens Points this season were scored by players that were recalled by Pittsburgh. 40.5% of Goals, 37.8% of Assists, and 38.8% of Points come from the 7 players that remain in Pittsburgh.

Standings

Yet despite the large number of man games lost due to call-ups, and that number doesn't even include any of the injuries suffered by WBS players themselves, they have continued to be a successful team. The Baby Pens are currently 17-8-1-2, sitting at #1 in the East Division, #3 in the Eastern Conference, and #6 in the AHL.

As we saw, a very large portion of their goal scorers were called up to the NHL, so a promising offensive powerhouse at the start of the season has slowed to the point where they are now #13 Goals For in the AHL. However, they do continue to be quite solid defensively, their 69 Goals Against is #4 in the AHL. That gives them a +15 for the #7 Goal Differential in the AHL.

The Baby Pens Power Play has been a bit lackluster as of late, partly due to having lost a lot of key players due to injury and call-ups. They are currently #20 in the AHL at 15.9%. Their Penalty Kill, once one of the best in the league, has also fallen off a bit, now sitting at #12 in the AHL with 83.9%. However, their 6 Shorthanded Goals is #2 in the league.

Goals

Amongst the players that remained in WBS the leading Goal scorer is Tom Kostopoulos with 10 Goals scored. The next highest Goal scorer amongst players that remained in WBS is Tom Kuhnhackl with 6 Goals. However, tied for the overall lead so far this season is Harry Zolnierczyk, who was just recently returned to WBS, and his 10 Goals come in 4 fewer games than Kostopoulos. There are an additional 4 players that remain in Pittsburgh who have fewer Goals than Kostopoulos but as many or more than Kuhnhackl: Brian Gibbons with 9, Jayson Megna with 7, and both Andrew Ebbett and Chris Conner with 6.

Kostopoulos is also the team leader with 6 Power Play Goals, good for #9 in the AHL, while the next highest is Kuhnhackl with 3, who also happens to be tied with Gibbons who remains in the NHL. All 4 of the players who scored shorthanded have been in the NHL this season, although with Zolnierczyk being returned he is now the leading SH Goal scorer with 1. The actual leaders, Gibbons and Megna with 2 each, are tied for #2 in the AHL. Ebbett is the other SH scorer who is tied with Zolnierczyk at 1.

Amongst D the leading Goal scorer is Brendan Mikkelson with 3 Goals while Scott Harrington comes in at #2 with 2 Goals. However, Simon Despres, who was recalled by Pittsburgh, is actually tied with Mikkelson at 3 Goals as well. For PP Goals there is a tie between Mikkelson and Harrington at 2 PP Goals a piece.

Assists

Amongst the players that remained in WBS the leader in Assists is Mikkelson with 15, while Nick Drazenovic is the highest amongst Forwards with 11 Assists. The next highest, being the 2nd highest Forward, is Kostopoulos with 9. Then the 2nd highest D is Harrington with 8. However, the true Assist leader on the team remains in Pittsburgh, Gibbons who has 18 Assists which is #9 in the AHL. Despres is tied with Harrington as the 2nd highest Assists amongst D while Ebbett is tied with Kostopoulos for what becomes the 3rd highest Assists amongst Forwards.

Power Play Assists the leader is Mikkelson with 11, good for #3 in the AHL. The next highest is Drazenovic at 6, while Kostopoulos and Harrington come in as the #2 F and D respectively with 5 PP Assists each. Shorthanded Assists, like the SH Goals, are almost all still in the NHL. Mikkelson who still remains in WBS as well as Megna, Gibbons, and Ebbett all have 1 SH Assist.

Points

Amongst the players that remained in WBS the leader in Points is Kostopoulos at 19, with Mikkelson coming is as #2 overall and the leading D scorer with 18 Points, which makes him the #8 D in the AHL. The 2nd highest scoring Forward is Drazenovic at 15 Points while the 2nd highest scoring D is Harrington at 10 Points. However, the true Points leader on the team remains in Pittsburgh, Gibbons with 27 Points who is currently #8 in the AHL. In addition, Ebbett, who remains in the NHL, is tied with Drazenovic as what is now the 3rd highest scoring Forward and Despres is the 2nd highest scoring D with 11 Points.

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