The Noon Number: 21

21.

The number of assists that Henrik Sedin had after 19 games last season. He has only 15 to start this campaign over the same stretch of games.

More surprising than that, he is two behind Daniel Sedin. So why is this happening? Has Henrik stopped being good at passing the puck? No, that can't be right, because the team is averaging nearly 1 shot per 60 minutes more when Henrik is on the ice than they were last season (35.47 this season, 34.56 last).

I'm looking through the data and I'm finding a number of interesting potential causes. Other than the fact that the team seems to be taking more shots when Henrik is on the ice as to previous years, this has to do with the fact that it is Sedin himself who is doing the shooting.

In his Hart season, Henrik took 1.82 shots per 60 minutes at even strength. Last year, it was down to 1.22. But Henrik seems to have taken it upon himself to score more goals, as he now is shooting 3.83 times per 60 minutes on his own. There's only a certain amount of shots to go around—You can't have three linemates each taking 35% of the available on-ice shots, because that doesn't add up. Henrik may have fewer assists because the team less Henrik is only shooting 31.64 times per 60 minutes, down 1.7 from last season.

Whether or not Henrik Sedin influences shot quality is also a conundrum, but his teammates (excluding Henrik) are now shooting at just 7.1% when he's on the ice, down 10.5% from his Hart season and 9.1% last.

All things considered, Henrik is running out of assists because his teammates are running out of shots, and he hasn't met the same positive variance as he had in previous years.

By the way, after 19 games in 2010, how many assists did Henrik have? Brother Daniel Sedin was hurt, and Henrik only had 11 assists. He finished with 83.

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