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Ilya Kovalchuk is Playing like a MVP

Very early in the season I wrote that Ilya Kovalchuk was playing performing like an MVP but that no one was taking notice because of the team's struggles. Well the NHL season is now roughly 1/6 complete and Ilya Kovalchuk not only has back-to-back hat tricks but he is almost single-handily willing this team back into the playoff race.

His offense ranks him in the top half dozen of the NHL and his defense has taken massive strides forward (zero goals against when on the ice killing penalties so far this year). Kovalchuk is even in plus/minus category--which doesn't sound that impressive until you consider the fact that the Thrashers have been outscored by 22 goals this year! Kovalchuk is just 3 back of the team leader in plus/minus.

Just how valuable has he been to the Thrashers so far this season? Consider this fact: Ilya Kovalchuk has scored or assisted on over half of all the Atlanta Thrasher goals this season. Furthermore, as of today he leads the NHL in the percentage of his team's gaols he helped to create. Simply but the Kovalchuk has been more valuable to his team than any other forward in the NHL so far this season.

Percentage of Team Goals Scored Created by a Player
  1. 54.3% Kovalchuk
  2. 54.1% Crosby
  3. 50.0% Zetterberg
  4. 48.6% Malkin
  5. 47.7% Iginla
  6. 44.2% Alfredsson
  7. 41.5% Stastny
  8. 40.4& Sundin
  9. 37.7% Brind'Amour