New York Islanders: Why Clutch John Tavares Is the NHL MVP

March 16th, 2012 by Marc Rubin Leave a reply »

Clutch performance measures abound in baseball, as statistics for both hitters and pitchers are available in "runners in scoring position" situations, late-inning one-run game situations, etc.

But football, basketball and especially hockey have not evolved as much with assessment of meaningful, clutch play.

Hockey player appraisals in particular hone in on points scored and perhaps "game-winning goals" but the emphasis is clearly on quantity of scoring, and not the "quality."

John Tavares does have eight game-winning goals, tied with fellow MVP candidate Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin. Those two trail a third MVP candidate, Tampa's Steven Stamkos who has 10 game-winners, as does Detroit's Johan Franzen and Phoenix' Radim Vrbata.

I have examined the top 33 NHL scorers and then eliminated three who have produced negative +/-s.


What distinguishes Tavares' season from the other 29 remaining top scorers is the following:

1. Every single one of his 70 points has been a significant score in a tight game. Most of the top players have padded their numbers by five-six "garbage-time" po ...

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