Happy helpers

In what is fast becoming a trend, this week’s Top 10 works in conjunction with last week’s list. 

This week we look at the players leading the league in assists as a percentage of total points. For our purposes, we’ll call it the Chris Chelios Award.

Chelios – currently in his 25th NHL campaign and, at 46, the second oldest player in league history – sits 36th all-time in assists with 763 and 82nd all-time in points with 948. For his career, 80 percent of Chelios’ points have come via the assist. In 1997-98 while with the Blackhawks, Chelios racked-up 42 points, an astounding 93 percent of which – or 39 – were helpers. Only two players on this list are on pace to reach or better that figure.

Please note: Only players with 20 or more assists – the top 60 – are eligible for the list. Ties are broken by the number of assists players would be on pace to record over a full, 82-game schedule.

10. Andrei Markov, Defense, Montreal – 22 assists, 27 points
Markov is on pace for 58 points, 81 percent – or 47 – of which would be assists.

9. Nicklas Lidstrom, Defense, Detroit – 22 assists, 27 points
With 82 games played, the six-time Norris Trophy-winner would tally 49 assists, a far cry from his career-best 64 in 2005-06.

8. Henrik Sedin, Center, Vancouver – 30 assists, 37 points
Henrik ‘The Assist Machine’ Sedin is doing it again this year, with 81 percent of his points coming by way of the assist. He’s on pace for 60 in all.

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7. David Perron, Left Wing, St. Louis – 21 assists, 25 points
The 20-year-old sophomore has seen 84 percent of his points come via helpers.

6. Brian Rafalski, Defense, Detroit – 26 assists, 31 points
Rafalski is leading all blueliners in assists and is tied for 13th overall. If he keeps it up, he’ll reach 54 for the season.

5. Kimmo Timonen, Defense, Philadelphia – 22 assists, 25 points
So far this season, 88 percent of Timonen’s points have come from assists.

4. Dion Phaneuf, Defense, Calgary – 23 assists, 26 points
Apparently Phaneuf is ‘phed-up’ with scoring goals; he’s on pace for a career-low six, but a career-high 47 helpers.

3. Tomas Kaberle, Defense, Toronto – 23 assists, 25 points
The long-time Maple Leaf has tallied 92 percent of his points with assists this season.

2. Jaroslav Spacek, Defense, Buffalo – 20 assists, 21 points
At 95 percent, Spacek is the first of our listees to better Chelios’ career-high percentage.

1. Filip Kuba, Defense, Ottawa – 21 assists, 22 points
Kuba finished in a percentage-tie with Spacek, but has missed some time this year. Over a full schedule he’d be on pace for 56 assists – 13 more than Spacek – making the Senator the first-half favorite to take home the Chris Chelios Award.

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