Colby’s Corner meets Connor for divisional MVP’s. It will be a four part series, where Connor Keith and I (Colby) will pick, by division, the MVP of the forwards, defensemen and a goalies. This week, the two of us will discuss the Pacific division.
Of the three Pacific Division teams to qualify for the playoffs, only San Jose plays an offensive game. Who better to lead that charge than Captain Pavelski, the Pacific forward MVP. This guy does absolutely everything. He’s the leading goal scorer in the division, successful on 17% of attempts, and takes second in points. Oh yeah, on the other end, he also has 67 blocks to his credit (leads San Jose forwards), not to mention his 147 hits.
His closest competition for the honor was actually line-mate Joe Thornton, who leads the division in assists and points. Since they are on the same line, the Joes have the same +25, but the reason Thornton falls off for me is his only taking half the shots Pavelski does while still having a shooting percentage over 15.7%. I know he’s north of 35-years-old, but I feel like Thornton still has a lot to give and could benefit by being on his own line, but that hasn’t happened since the 2013-’14 season if I’m not mistaken.
Colby: Joe Thornton
I like Pavelski, but I had to go with big Jumbo Joe on this one. This year he had 63 assists and 82 points. I have to give it to the man who has been setting up Pavelski all year long. The two of them couldn’t stop connecting all year long and now we are seeing them connect in the playoffs. Both Pavelski and Thornton would be deserving of the reward, I just wanted the assist king to get some love, so I picked big Joe.
Connor: Defender- Brent Burns
Was there much doubt here? This is another man that does everything for the Sharks. He’s scored the second most goals and assists for his entire team to rank third in points, and all of those totals are tops in the division for defensemen. While being a threat to score, he also maintains his blue line presence, having the most blocks on his squad.
Burns’ main detractor is the exact same as Erik Karlsson, an offensive D-man cut from the same cloth. Neither players have positive +/-, which is a price they pay for being more involved on the opposite end of the ice. When it works like it has been this season for the Sharks to get into a playoff spot, it is certainly an issue they can deal with.
Colby: Brent Burns
I can’t argue Brent Burns at all; this man and his beard are both amazing. Burns is a defenseman that the other team has to keep their eye on at all times. He played all 82 games this year and put up 75 points. That means he had a point in 91% of his games. Teams couldn’t stop him or keep him off the scoresheet. If the Sharks have a deep run it’s because of the 3 players we have mentioned so far this year. A nice honorable mention will go to Drew Doughty who put up 51 points and had a plus minus of +24 tops in the top 10 Defenseman by points.
Connor: Goaltender- Jonathan Quick
Quick has some of the strongest numbers in the league, much less the division, and has led his team to barely missing out on their second division title. He leads the division in wins and fell one short of tying for shutouts. Going along with that, he also has 38 quality starts and a .559 quality start rate, which leads those stats of both the remaining goaltenders for the other division qualifiers.
I toyed with choosing Martin Jones for a minute, based simply on how much more work he has to do compared to Quick and John Gibson due to the defense in front of him, but decided against it since save percentage and goals against average were the lowest of the three netminders.
This one may be a shock but if you look at save percentage and goals against average, John Gibson actually beats Jonathan Quick. Quick was second in the league for wins, however, as he had a .918 save percentage and 2.22 goals against average. Gibson had .920 save percentage and 2.07 GAA, thus edging out Quick. Now I also look at the games Gibson played, but the thing to remember is he didn’t start the year with Anaheim. He was in the AHL and earned a spot on the team and during the run at the end of the year he was the number one goalie. Gibson needs some credit for Anaheim’s huge comeback this season.