Who is the NHL's best penalty killer?
Picking up on something Matt Fenwick was talking about over at The Battle of Alberta, I've been working on an analysis of the league's best penalty killers.
The results will probably surprise you.
Using data from Behind the Net and taking only players who have played at least 120 minutes shorthanded as of Feb. 18 (approximately two minutes per game), the player with the lowest number of power-play goals scored against per two minutes short-handed ice time is Vancouver Canucks forward Josh Green.
In fact, the Canucks — owners of the league's top-ranked penalty kill — have the four highest-ranked players in the category, and five of the top seven players. This isn't a measurement that takes into account the strength of a player's teammates or the goaltender (hello Roberto Luongo!), so take it for what it's worth.
A look through the chart toppers reveals a list of players you likely wouldn't name off the top of your head if pressed for defensive dynamos: Green, Fernando Pisani, Jeff Friesen, Alex Burrows, David Legwand, Jozef Stumpel and Todd White lead the way for forwards, while Lukas Krajicek, Sami Salo, Mattias Ohlund, Daniel Tjarnqvist, Kim Johnsson and Branislav Mezei top the blueliners.
Here's a look at the top 30 overall. I'll do my best to get a full spreadsheet up later on if there's enough interest:
|Player||Team||Pos||PPGA||MINS||PPGA per |
two mins SH
The list looks pretty solid at first glance, albeit there are a lot of surprising names on there. What we're missing are some of the biggest minute penalty killers, who are probably seeing some of the toughest PK minutes.
Here's a brief list of some of the other biggest minute PKers (250+ for defencemen, 180+ for forwards) and where they rank among the 250 players with a minimum of 120 shorthanded minutes:
Defence - Jay Bouwmeester, 303 minutes (53rd); Jason Smith, 251 minutes (61st); Chris Phillips, 309 minutes (70th); Bryan Allen, 260 minutes (75th); Dan Hamhuis, 275 minutes (104th); Kevin Bieksa, 242 minutes (105th); Derian Hatcher, 370 minutes (110th); Chris Chelios, 266 minutes (115th).
Forwards - Mike Johnson, 193 minutes (44th); Niklas Hagman, 191 minutes (46th); Jamal Mayers, 204 minutes (47th); Brian Sutherby, 199 minutes (52nd); Manny Malholtra, 195 minutes (56th); Anton Vermette, 189 minutes (72nd); Rod Brind'Amour, 222 minutes (78th); Stu Barnes, 210 minutes (79th).
Who are the worst penalty killers in terms of power-play goals allowed per two minutes?
Among those who have played 120 minutes shorthanded, Ryan Johnson from the St. Louis Blues ranks last among 242 players. The bottom 20, in order: Johnson, Dustin Brown, Paul Ranger, Rob Blake, Derek Morris, Niclas Havelid, Francois Bouillon, Bobby Holik, Shawn Bates, Aaron Miller, Bryan McCabe, Kyle McLaren, Brad Larsen, Keith Ballard, Brad Richards, Mattias Norstrom, Karlis Skrastins, Dallas Drake, Mike Peca and David Vyborny.
UPDATE I've put some of the raw data up on Google Spreadsheets.