Uncovering the Deceptive Beginnings of the NHL Season: A Quarter-Mark Analysis

An Update on the NHL: Deceptive Results and Misleading Starts in 2023-24

As the NHL season progresses into its third month, the ‘it’s early’ excuse no longer holds water for struggling players and teams. However, those that are performing well have reason to feel confident about their success.

While we have a good understanding of the competitive landscape at this point, there are still outcomes that appear deceptive due to the oddities a relatively small sample size brings.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the most misleading results from teams and players so far in 2023-24.


Pittsburgh Penguins: Despite a less than stellar record, the Penguins are showing signs of promise. With a solid goal differential, a strong power play talent, and a trustworthy starting goalie, there’s reason to believe Pittsburgh is better than its current record suggests.

Detroit Red Wings: While the Red Wings are off to a good start, their performance may not be as sustainable as it appears. They’ve benefited from an inflated 5v5 shooting percentage, and certain possession metrics suggest that they may not drive play at even strength as well as their record indicates.

Carolina Hurricanes: The Hurricanes’ impressive possession metrics warrant better results. Despite their strong play, their goal differential has been affected by goaltending struggles, which are likely to improve as the season progresses.


Alex Ovechkin: Ovechkin’s low shooting percentage and power-play underperformance are likely to see positive progression as the season continues. While it’s unfair to expect prime-season production from him, he should expect to finish the season with significantly more goals than his current pace suggests.

J.T. Miller: Miller’s strong start is notable, but his high shooting percentage and inflated on-ice shooting percentage suggest that his current numbers may not be entirely sustainable for the remainder of the season.

Seth Jarvis: Despite initial appearances, Jarvis may not be experiencing a significant breakthrough in his performance this season. His shooting percentage and assist totals are deceiving, indicating that his current production may not be indicative of a newfound level in his game.

In conclusion, with the NHL season in full swing, the true potential and performance of teams and players is still unfolding. As we delve deeper into the season, it will be interesting to see how these early performances continue to evolve.


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