Look around the Central Division and even the NHL and odds are good that you’ll be able to think of two players that really shine for those clubs. Sidney Crosby and Evgani Malkin in Pittsburgh, Jakub Voracek and Claude Giroux in Philadelphia, John Tavares and Kyle Okposo on Long Island, and many others.
In the Central Division you have two of the most popular players on the planet on the same team in Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, who are of course exceptional players. Yet it is now time to recognize the best one-two punch in the division, and the crown doesn’t automatically get handed to Kane and Toews due to the fact Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin also skate in the Central.
We have to start things off with Kane and Toews in Chicago. Kane is sidelined with an injury he suffered on February 24 against the Florida Panthers and will not play for the remainder of the regular season. He had 64 points (27G, 37A) in his 61 games played this year; incredible numbers. Toews has 60 points (23G, 37A) through 71 games played. For what it’s worth, at the point of Kane’s injury on February 24, he had 48 points (17G, 31A) in those 61 games.
Now for the Seguin and Benn numbers. Seguin has played in only 63 contests this year after missing ten with a knee injury, which coincidentally happened against the Panthers as well. In his shortened season, the 23-year-old forward has scored 33 times and added 32 helpers for 65 points. Seguin has been very impressive since his return on March 7, adding six points in eight games.
Benn has not had too bad of a year either.
I believe his play is a bit overlooked with Seguin having such a good year, but it shouldn’t be. Benn has found the back of the net 26 times and added a whopping 44 assists for 70 points in 73 games. He had a nice February with 15 points and has added 10 already in March for 25 total points over the last 24 games.
For the sake of the argument against Kane and Toews, Seguin had 64 points (33G, 31A) in his first 61 games while Benn had 60 points (23G, 37A) in the same time frame. That is a total of 104 points combined in 61 games for the boys in Dallas compared to 102 for the guys in Chicago.
It’s pretty remarkable how similar these four superstars’ numbers are. Something has got to give, so what about time on ice? Kane averaged 19:51 of ice time per night before going down with injury while Toews is averaging 19:39 of ice time. Seguin skates 19:30 per contest and Benn 19:50. The Kane and Toews duo has them by a whopping 10 combined seconds a night.
Seguin: 11 power play goals, 14 power play assists, 5 game winning goals -1 +/- rating
Benn: 7 power play goals, 10 power play assists, 2 short handed goals, 5 game winning goals, -4 +/- rating, 1:28 of shorthanded ice time/game
Kane: 6 power play goals, 16 power play assists, 5 game winning goals, +10 +/- rating
Toews: 6 power play goals, 10 power play assists, 4 game winning goals, +27 +/- rating, 1:24 of short handed ice time/game
(Seguin and Benn each average just two seconds of short handed ice time per night)
All stats via NHL.com
So, as we have taken a bit of a look at the offensive side of things for the two duos, which combo would you give the edge to? We’ve depicted the two players in essence of which is the better of the one-two punch looking at the offensive side of things and the incredibly similar seasons the four players have had. There is no wrong answer, because you’d take any one of the duos, let alone just one of the four skaters.