No team dominates the 2013-14 NHL plus-minus charts more than the San Jose Sharks. Two Sharks sit atop the charts, tied for the league lead. Another looms one point behind, and four others are within three.
That's seven players in the top 20, for those keeping track at home.
The plus-minus statistic could be considered the gateway statistic of hockey. Its true value is a hotly contested point, and it has provoked a series of more complex statistics aimed at more accurately analyzing the on-ice value of a player.
But in a world of increasingly complex statistics, plus-minus is an easy-to-understand statistic that analyzes the events that occurred while the player was on the ice.
Unlike goals and assists, which can only be attributed to one and two players, respectively, all players on the ice get credit for goals scored and goals allowed in the form of a plus or minus.
Here’s the simplest explanation for the newbies: A player receives a plus-one if he is on the ice for an even-strength (five-on-five) or short-handed (five-on-five) goal scored by his team, regardless of his involvement. A player receives a minus-one if he is on the ice for an even-strength or short-handed goal scored by the opposing team.
With that explanation, it shouldn’t be surprising to see so many Sharks on the plus-minus leaderboard. San Jose’s combination of potent offense and stingy defense creates a perfect recipe for success.
Here are the five Sharks you can expect to see atop the team’s plus-minus chart in the long run.