Originally authored on: 2006-05-06 10:29:30
Published incomplete because I doubt I'll finish it any time soon. I will update if I ever do complete it though.
Primary scoring is usually the team's top forward line - they're the top offensive threats, so of course you want them out as much as possible. Thornton and Cheechoo are the cogs there[0], with Nils Ekman[0] providing support. Most teams have a defenceman they expect to score a fair bit too: he'll play the point on the first PP unit and generally get 25ish minutes a game. His partner may or may not be expected to score bunches too. Early in the season for the Oilers, Chris Pronger and Marc-Andre Bergeron could have been considered to be primary scorers. MAB has fallen out of favour, and I'm not sure why - obviously his game has gone a bit sideways, but for what reason I don't know. I'm sure he'd like to know too.
Secondary scoring is everybody else. Sometimes a team won't load up their top line with their top scorers: Edmonton vs Detroit moved Ales Hemsky to the second line, and mostly went with Brad Winchester on the RW with Horcoff and Smyth. Great move by MacTavish, I think - moving Hemsky, I mean, not necessarily going with Winchester. But hey, Winnie seems to thrive up there, so go with the hot stick.
So, succinctly, primary scoring comes from the guys you *expect* to score. Secondary scoring comes from the guys you *need* to score. You won't win if your primary scorers don't, and you can't win if your secondary scorers don't.
In today's NHL, if your primaries aren't approaching a PPG during the regular season, they're disappointing. I don't care how they get the points - ES is the most important, but if they can't score on the PP, you don't want them out there. The Oilers have 4 expected primaries and one surprising one: Hemsky, Horcoff, Smyth, and Pronger you expect scoring from, and Jarret Stoll is the surprise. All of the forwards had 20 goals (ok, Hemsky had 19) and scored at least 66 points. Pronger had 12 goals - a bit of a disappointment, but he found his game late-season - and 56 points, pretty respectable. Not surprisingly, that's their top line, their second line centreman, and their #1D.
The best of your forward line secondary scoring should be 0.2 - 0.5 points per game.