The Noon Number: 248

Aaron Rome, in his natural habitat: a goal celebration. Also pictured is Ben Eager in his natural habitat: being escorted to the bench by a linesman.

248.

The Vancouver Canucks allowed 185 goals last NHL season, which is the lowest goals against total in the NHL since the lockout, except for the 2008 Detroit Red Wings, who conceded 184. While Chris Osgood regressed the next season and his save percentage dipped to an .887, the Red Wings gave up 244 goals the next season. The Canucks are icing a very similar defensive lineup and Roberto Luongo is a much more stable goalie than Osgood, so I don't expect the 185 number to change.

Well, I do, but not by a whole heck of a lot. I would be pretty surprised to see the Canucks concede more than 200 goals, particularly considering what they went through last season can't repeat itself: Injuries to Dan Hamhuis, Alexander Edler, Manny Malhotra et. al. Having at least one of those guys for the full season should make up for the inevitable Luongo regression.

So, since I'm discussing 200, where does 248 come in? Well, if you remember our Pythagorean Expectation applied to the National Hockey League, 248 is the number of goals the Vancouver Canucks will need to score if they want to earn the first overall seed in the Western Conference again.

(To calculate Pythagorean points, I went with the more "accepted" interpretation, rather than buzzing around with overtime games. I simply multiplied GF ^ 2 / [ GF ^ 2 + GA ^ 2 ] by the number of games in a season, 82 to come up with the wins total, then assumed 10 points of overtime losses)

This number represents a couple of different things: One is that 185 goals is obviously not very much given up the previous season and the Canucks deserve a huge pat on the back for being able to ice such a good offensive roster and still manage to keep up play in the other half. Two is that the average number of the 2nd place team in each conference since the lockout (and the added bonus points from the shootout came to be) is a little over 108 points.

248 goals for and 200 against is a good barometer for this team and would earn them a little over 109 points, which should win them the conference. The Canuckleheads scored 262 last season (again, those totals reflect shootout goals) so it's a very reasonable expectation, even without Ryan Kesler for a while. In the comments, you can shoot numbers at a wall and predict how many each Canuck will get to give us a round total of 248.

Personally, I think Christopher Tanev will score 40 goals, leaving the remainder of the team to battle for the remaining 218, but if Tanev wants to score more to lighten the load on the rest of the team, that's fine by me as well. Just save a few tallies for Mark Mancari.

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