As he continues to blow past his career best numbers, Viktor Stalberg continues to emerge as a legitimate offensive threat in Chicago. He hasn’t scored this many goals since he was at the University of Vermont, and his 30 points is already six more than his best season (which was 24 points last year).
But have Hawks fans seen this before?
As we have done in the past, here is a blind comparison between two players. We’ll go ahead and blow our cover on the second player, which is Stalberg (through the Vancouver game on Tuesday night).
But look at how he compares to the mystery player here:
|$$||$ 1,550,000||$ 875,000|
This is a pretty good comparison on paper. Stalberg has almost scored as many goals, and is closing in on as many assists as the mystery player through 51 Blackhawks games (48 appearances). Also, the ice times are almost identical, and both players aren’t producing on special teams (one total point between them).
The mystery player was a bit more physical, but assuming Stalberg continues hitting at his current rate, he’ll finish this year somewhere around 88-90 total hits. Stalberg has fewer penalty minutes, and has already blown away the mystery player in game-winning goals.
While the mystery player was younger, he was also almost twice as expensive as Stalberg is against the cap this season.
Overall, at least on paper, this proves to be a pretty solid comparison.
So who is the mystery player?
Player A is Andrew Ladd’s 2009-10 season.
Obviously the biggest difference between Stalberg today and Ladd during that great Cup season is the fact that Ladd had a Cup ring when he came to Chicago.
And the year before the Hawks ran all the way to glory, Ladd had posted his best professional season-to-date with 49 points (15 goals, 34 assists) and a plus-26 rating.
Some doubters might say “Yeah, but Stalberg’s got stone hands,” or “Stalberg can’t finish.” For the sake of the comparison, we looked at Stalberg’s shooting percentage against Ladd’s in 2009-10, and were surprised once again. Stalberg is scoring on 12.5 percent of his shots this year, which is better than the 11.5 percent posted by Ladd during the Cup season.
Perhaps a more interesting comparison is looking at the member of that 2010 Championship team that was traded to Toronto for Stalberg.
Kris Versteeg is having a nice season in Florida, and received some consideration for the All-Star Game in Ottawa. Yet heading into Wednesday night’s action, Versteeg’s numbers aren’t overwhelming Stalberg’s performance to date. So far this year, Versteeg has 43 points (19 goals, 24 assists) and is plus-1o in 47 games, while hitting the cap for $3,083,333 with the Panthers.