Brian Flynn is a very clean player who doesn’t make many mistakes out there on the ice. The Berlin Smurf fourth-line right wing has played every game this season for his team and he has yet to commit a penalty. That squeaky-clean record and conservative style of play could change in the second half of the season. Here’s why: (stick with me) Do you know who leads the league in scoring at the half-way point? No, it’s not Flynn. It’s Copenhagen Trident center Stephen Weiss, with 58 points in 42 games. Steven Stamkos, the Frankfurt superstar, is a point behind Weiss, but has played in 3 fewer games. Weiss averages 26 minutes per game; Stamkos 24 minutes per game. If you take their season point total and divide it by their average TOI (time on ice), Stamkos actually has a better point-scoring rate – 2.38 to Weiss’ 2.23 rate. But do you know what Flynn’s point-scoring rate is? It’s 3.0. That’s better than anyone’s. Flynn has 18 points in just 6 minutes per game. And he can’t even get off coach Adam Oates’ fourth line, let alone draw a single all-star vote. And since Flynn – the league’s most efficient point scorer so far this season – got snubbed by the all-star voters, that meant he didn’t even get a chance to see Miss Slovakia at the game on Sunday, let alone slip out of the arena with her. Talk about your Angry Smurf! Now that the world has watched the hockey wizardry of Ryan Kesler, Phil Kessel , Alexander Ovechkin and the other EURO All-Stars, it’s time to shine the spotlight on players like Flynn and other no-stars. The top players in the league certainly deserve the publicity, but there are other men who are making important contributions even though they didn’t get votes on the all-star ballot. We’re mainly talking about the third and fourth liners who aren’t counted on for point production but whose play sometimes makes the difference between wins and losses. You might call it depth. Matt Duchene, for example, is 31st in league scoring, ahead of some big names like all-stars Jamie Benn, Corey Perry and Olivier Roland. But the Belfast Giant second-line center averages just 15 minutes per game. Copenhagen’s Drew Shore has 24 points, more than anyone else who has averaged only 10 minutes or less of ice time. Right behind him on that list is his third-line linemate Boyd Gordon, with 23 points. Here are the leading scorers in the league at each level of ice time from 15 minutes per game (mpg) down to 4: 15 mpg – Duchene, Belfast, 42 points 14 mpg – Thomas Powell, Minsk, 34 13 mpg – Matt Moulson, Belfast, 34 12 mpg – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Prague, 30 11 mpg – Wei Yang Zhang, Bratislava, 25 10 mpg – Shore, Copenhagen, 24 9 mpg – Vladimir Tarasenko, Belfast, and Nail Yakupov, Prague, 21 8 mpg – Tomas Tatar, Zurich, and Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Edinburgh, 19 7 mpg – Josh Holden, Berlin, 16 6 mpg – Flynn, Berlin, 18 5 mpg – Ryan Strome, Zurich, 12 4 mpg – Mikael Backlund, Gothenburg, 8 Top defensemen (20 mpg to 13 mpg) 20 mpg – Paul Martin, Bratislava, 16 points 19 mpg – Jeff Petry, St. Petersburg, 22 18 mpg – Travis Hamonic, Paris, 18 17 mpg – Jason Krog, Paris, 16 16 mpg – Tim Gleason, Athens, 13 15 mpg – Nick Holden, Copenhagen, 17 14 mpg – Sami Vatanen, Frankfurt, 15 13 mpg – Nicklas Hjalmarsson, Berlin, 11 Points aren’t everything in hockey. Here are the top players in other statistical categories, using only forwards who have averaged 15 minutes or less per game and defensemen who averaged 20 minutes or less.
Forwards Goals: Matt Moulson, Belfast, 18; Matt Duchene, Belfast, 14; Alexander Semin, Paris, 14. Notable: Andreas Jamtin, Bratislava, 10 goals in 7 minutes per game (mpg). Assists: Duchene, Belfast, 28; Thomas Powell, Minsk, 23; Miko Koivu, Paris, 22. Notable: Boyd Gordon, Copenhagen 20 assists in 10 mpg. Points: Duchene, Belfast, 42; Moulson, Belfast, 34; Powell, Minsk, 34. Notable: Flynn, 18 points in 6 mpg; Bobby Butler, Athens, 16 points in 6 mpg; Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Prague, 30 points in 12 mpg. Plus/Minus: Duchene, Belfast, +22; Josef Vasicek, Paris, +21; Nathan MacKinnon, Belfast, +20. Notable: Jamtin, Bratislava, +15 on a losing team, mainly as a fourth-liner. Hits: Brian Boyle, St. Petersburg, 86; Lance Bouma, Bern, 66; Artem Anisimov, St. Petersburg, 64. Notable: Bobby Butler, Athens, 47 hits in 6 mpg. Game-winning goals: Matt Cooke, Munich, 4; Aleksey Morozov, Moscow, 4; Jordan Staal, Madrid, 3; Notable: Jay McClement, Copenhagen, 2 in 5 mpg. Blocked shots: Marcus Johansson, Stockholm, 35; Mike Fisher, Geneva, 27; Martin Hanzal, Bratislava, 26. Notable: David Desharnais, Geneva, 22 in 11 mpg. Takeaways: Brandon Saad, London, 50; Darren Helm, Geneva, 47; Desharnais, Geneva, 45: Notable: Jaden Schwartz, Milan, 39 in 9 mpg. Points per minute (season points divided by average minutes per game): Bryan Flynn, Berlin, 3; Duchene, Belfast, 2.8; Butler, Athens, 2.67.
Defensemen Goals: Nick Holden, Copenhagen, 8; Marc Staal, Zurich, 8; Dmitri Kalinin, St. Petersburg, 7. Notable: Sami Vatanen, Frankfurt, 5 in 14 mpg. Assists: Niklas Kronwall, Athens all-star, 19; Jeff Petry, St. Petersburg, 18; Maxim Chudinov, Minsk, 15. Notable: Vatanen, Frankfurt, 10 in 14 mpg. Points: Kronwall, Athens, 22; Petry, St. Petersburg, 22; Travis Hamonic, Paris, 18. Notable: Holden, Copenhagen, 17 in 15 mpg. Plus/Minus: Dan Boyle, Belfast, +20; Ossi Vaananen, Paris, +19; Victor Hedman, Belfast, +18. Notable: David Schlemko, Bratislava, +15 on a losing team. Hits: Johnny Boychuk, Milan, 110; Eric Gryba, Munich, 107; Braydon Coburn, Madrid, 106. Notable: Jared Cowen, Helsinki, 101 in 14 mpg. Game-winning goals: Gerhard Unterluggauer, Berlin, 3; Stephane Robidas, Geneva, 2; Jason Krog, Paris, 2. Notable: Shea Weber, Copenhagen, 0. Blocked shots: Karl Alzner, Edinburgh, 59; Jamie McBain, London, 57; Carlo Colaiacovo, Helsinki, 47. Notable: Ron Hainsey, Bern, 40 in 12 mpg. Takeaways: N. Kronwall, Athens, 35; Colaiacovo, Helsinki, 33; Chudinov, Minsk, 33. Notable: Matt Greene, Geneva, 27 in 15 mpg. Points per minute (season points divided by average minutes per game): Petry, St. Petersburg, 1.16; Holden, Copenhagen, 1.13; N. Kronwall, Athens, 1.10. *This list makes Niklas Kronwall’s statistics look even more impressive. He was voted to the all-star game even though he plays behind teammates Dustin Byfuglien and Ian White in Athens.