On scoring his 14th goal of the 2021-22 season Dazzling move against the Chicago Blackhawks, blue line Kyle Macal of Colorado Avalanche A defender has extended his lead in goals this season.What’s more, the overtime winner brings Makar one step closer to challenging the single-season scoring record set by a defender (48), set by Paul Coffey Edmonton Oilers in the 1985-86 season.
With just over half the season left to play, Makar’s shooting luck has plenty of time to back off and drop from Coffey’s record pace. But what if he doesn’t? Get an inside look at whether Makar can replace the current Hall of Famer defender at the top of the all-time leaderboard and put his name in the history books in the process.
Coffey, Orr and Potvin dominate single-season scoring charts
Coffey has 8 of the top 20 most prolific Defensive goal scoring season and three of the top five. Bobby Orr (4) and Dennis Portwin (3) is his only comparability in that regard, although neither of them enjoyed the benefits of sharing the ice with Wayne Gretzky or Mario Lemieux for most of their careers.
Doug Wilson (39 goals), Kevin Hatcher (34 goals), Mike Green, Phil Howesley, and Ray Burke (31 points apiece for all three) are five other defensive players with 30 or more points in a single season. In the NHL’s 104-year history, it’s an exclusive club with fewer than 10 members, and cracking it is a remarkable feat in itself.
When searching for the top 20 scoring seasons, it became clear that frequent brute force deployments were necessary to break down the all-time leaderboards. In 15 of those 20 games, players scored 10 or more goals by virtue of their man-to-man advantage, taking advantage of the attacking freedom afforded by power play. Interestingly, Coffey’s record season only saw him score nine power goals, the fewest of the top five. Markal had three strong plays in 26 games and was on track to finish the year with nine, which happened to match Coffey’s output. Does that bode well for the budding superstar, especially given his relative aversion to powerful targets?
Coffey’s record goes untouched in the 21st century
Of the four, Only Green surpassed 30 goals In a single season, in the 2008-09 season, he played 68 games for the Washington Capitals and scored 31 goals. In a full 82 games, Green’s pace kept him ahead in 37 markers, a hypothetical count that tied him for fifth in total with Orr in 1971-72.
A clear trend among the top five is their ton of ball shots, with Sule’s 2.76 shots per game the lowest of the group. For reference, Makar is currently taking a career-high 2.81 field goal attempts per night, which puts him on track for his 213 field goal attempts this season.
Notably, Makar’s current shooting percentage (SH%) of 19.2% is 6.4% higher than the most prolific of the top five. Such conversion rates are unlikely to be maintained throughout the season, so Makar is set for a return that could dent his record-setting efforts. Still, if Makar’s season ends today, his 14 goals are tied with Tyson Barry for the 142nd single-season goal-scoring by a defensive player since 1999-00 (19 put him in the top 25). With 52 games remaining in the 2021-22 season, how high can he climb?
Markal’s scoring speed allowed him to break Coffey’s record
So, how does Makar’s pace at the start of the season allow him to challenge Coffey at the end of the season? The Avalanche blueliner took 73 shots in 26 games (2.81 per game), which adds up if extrapolated from what I consider a perfectly healthy season (52 games remaining in Colorado) 146 shots. If Makar continues to convert at 19.2 percent, he will score 28 more goals, which brings him to 42, which is below Coffey’s all-time record but good enough to reach third all-time. In this case, Makar found himself sandwiched between Bobby Orr’s 46 points in 1974-75 and Coffey’s 40 in 1983-84, a strong partner for the third-year guard.
To get a reasonable estimate of Makar’s potential output over the remaining 50 or so games, it’s worth noting the most potent single-season scoring campaign in recent history. Sandis Ozolinsh, a former Avalanche linebacker himself, owns Highest all-season shooting percentage Among defensive players, take at least 100 shots in a season. In the 1993-94 season, he scored 26 goals on 157 field goals, or 16.6 percent. Surprisingly, Trevor Daly has the highest conversion rate since the 2004-05 season was suspended, shooting 14.2 percent from the field in 2014-15.
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Markal’s 19.2% SH% this season is over both marks, but he’s unlikely to maintain such a blistering pace for another 52 games. Instead, let’s use the performance of these two individuals as an example and use that as a guide to predict the remainder of Markal’s 2021-22 season. When applying Ozolinsh’s and Daley’s percentages to his current shooting percentage, Makar has scored 38 and 35 goals respectively. In both cases, Makar is inferior to Coffey, but either would represent a new record for the 21st century, an astonishing feat in itself. Whatever happens, Makar is doing something extraordinary – keeping your eyes on the screen.
Times adjustment brings Makar to record speed
use Stathead tool from Hockey Reference, we can list the most impressive defensive players in the NHL by scoring a single season, adjusted for each player’s scoring percentage in that season. Why use epoch-adjusted totals? Quite simply, the number of goals scored in a given NHL game has fluctuated over the decades, a phenomenon that has contributed significantly to the list of legendary names synonymous with the sport.
For example, the 2021-22 season averages about 5.9 goals per game, about a quarter less than the typical matchup (7.9) in Coffey’s historic 1985-86 season. Whatever the underlying reason for the difference in scoring, goals are easier to achieve, and Makar and his positional contemporaries should not be penalized for this independent variable.
I limit my parameters to the original six era and beyond (Stathead thinks it started in 1943-44) as Introducing the red line This led to what historians consider the birth of the modern NHL game. The table below shows a different historical leaderboard, normalized by goal rate. Stathead defines the process as “normalizing stats to 82 games, 18 skaters and league averages of 6 goals and 1.67 assists per game”. It’s also a reminder that Bobby Orr was a good hockey player at the time.
|season||actual goal||The goal of time adjustment|
While the first five seasons didn’t deviate much from the actual record books, Stathead spit out several interesting results that might change your perception of some players’ dominance. Using era-adjusted totals, Mike Green’s 31-ball season was the sixth-best season of all time, with Brent Burns’ 2016-17 (seventh) and 2015-16 (10th) seasons in the top 10. Jakob Chychrun (20th), Oliver Ekman-Larson (24th) and Shay Weber (No. 25) also made the top 25, showing off their offensive prowess in a historically stingy era.
Historical exchange rates mean players are currently scoring 1.02 times as many goals in 2021-22 (era-adjusted 6 goals divided by 5.9 goals per game this year). As a result, Makar must have scored 39 goals this season to set an era-adjusted record.Some will ignore this result because Makar has not scored more actual goals than Coffey, but he An era more inclined to defense, which is more impressive in my opinion.
If you remember, if Makar shot with Ozolinsh’s record SH% of 16.6% (lower than his current rate, even if it’s unsustainably high), he could have scored 39 goals, putting him in an era-adjusted record within a reasonable range. Whether or not to accept this as a true merit test is a matter of opinion, but one thing is for sure – Makar is doing something special this season.
Can Makar break Coffey’s all-time record?
Technically, yes. Unfortunately, shooting luck can go backwards, and Markal has missed time this season (every game counts), which means he’s likely to fall short. While disappointing, it’s a testament to the longevity of Makar’s individual talent and Coffey’s historical record that we even had this discussion. If the NHL decides to change the rules to improve scoring, Makar could set a new benchmark for future defensemen. Unfortunately, that day (or season) may not be today, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the ride.
Marko is an aspiring sports writer with a passion for creating stories that combine visual testing and (shuddering) analysis, complemented by an academic background in criminology and political science.
When not covering the Colorado Avalanche and the Pittsburgh Penguins hockey writer, also sees him devoting countless hours to various sports video game franchises, indulging in science fiction, and running long distances in his community.