Sunday, December 09, 2007

The best penalty killers

I'm of the reasoning that, when you're shorthanded, the only thing that matters is keeping the puck out of your net. Shot blocking's nice, and so are penalty kill chances, but really the best measure of players doing their jobs in 4-on-5 situations is that they are rarely scored on.

There are quite a few 'specialists' in this regard throughout the league, players you rarely hear of otherwise, but quite a few stars are also out there killing penalties every night.

Here's a look at the leaders in this regard so far this season:

Top penalty killers
(among top 90 forwards in PK ice time)



NAME TM GP TOI/60 GF GA GA/60
1 CURTISBROWN S.J 10 2.71 0 0 0.00
2 PATRICKSHARP CHI 26 2.62 7 1 0.88
3 RICKNASH CBJ 29 2.31 1 1 0.90
4 MICHAELPECA CBJ 21 2.72 1 1 1.05
5 RENEBOURQUE CHI 16 2.42 6 1 1.55
6 NIKLASHAGMAN DAL 30 2.45 4 2 1.63
7 STUBARNES DAL 30 2.86 3 3 2.10
8 DANIELCLEARY DET 28 2.93 1 3 2.19
9 DEREKROY BUF 27 2.51 3 3 2.66
10 HENRIKZETTERBERG DET 28 2.41 1 3 2.67
11 BRETTMCLEAN FLA 17 2.48 0 2 2.84
12 MICHAELGRIER S.J 26 3.24 1 4 2.85
13 CHRISDRURY NYR 29 2.89 1 4 2.86
14 DAVIDSTECKEL WSH 29 3.84 3 6 3.23
15 TRENTHUNTER NYI 27 2.74 0 4 3.24
16 MICHAELSILLINGER NYI 27 3.17 0 5 3.50
17 RYANJOHNSON STL 25 3.4 1 5 3.53
18 MARTINST. LOUIS T.B 28 2.4 1 4 3.58
19 KRISDRAPER DET 24 3.26 1 5 3.83
20 ANTOINEVERMETTE OTT 27 3.41 2 6 3.91


(among top 90 defencemen in PK ice time)


NAME TM GP TOI/60 GF GA GA/60
1 SERGEIZUBOV DAL 30 2.94 3 2 1.36
2 ANDREASLILJA DET 27 2.95 1 2 1.51
3 MATTIASNORSTROM DAL 17 3.27 1 2 2.16
4 MATTIASOHLUND VAN 25 2.71 0 3 2.65
5 ERICBREWER STL 20 3.37 1 3 2.67
6 KYLEMCLAREN S.J 22 2.64 0 3 3.1
7 MARC-EDOUARDVLASIC S.J 28 3.46 0 6 3.72
8 BARRETJACKMAN STL 25 3.23 1 5 3.72
9 BRYCESALVADOR STL 23 3.37 2 5 3.87
10 LADISLAVSMID EDM 20 3.86 0 5 3.89
11 BRENTSOPEL CHI 25 4.2 6 7 4
12 GREGDE VRIES NSH 27 2.77 0 5 4.02
13 STEVESTAIOS EDM 29 3.49 0 7 4.14
14 ANDREWGREENE N.J 27 2.63 1 5 4.23
15 HENRIKTALLINDER BUF 21 3.95 1 6 4.34
16 SHAONEMORRISONN WSH 29 3.8 1 8 4.35
17 ADAMFOOTE CBJ 29 4.73 2 10 4.38
18 TREVORDALEY DAL 30 2.74 4 6 4.38
19 NICKLASLIDSTROM DET 28 4.88 1 10 4.39
20 CRAIGRIVET S.J 26 2.6 2 5 4.43

Quite a few guys from strong penalty killing teams, but there are a few outliers as well. Steckel, De Vries, Greene and Morrisonn all play on teams down in the basement in terms of shorthanded play.

The other way I can think to measure this is to see which players improve their team's performance the most, taking into account team goals against with and without them on the ice. The leaders in that metric (among top 90 players in shorthanded ice time) turn up some interesting results:

FORWARDS TM GP GAON/60 GAOFF/60 Change
1 PATRICKSHARP CHI 26 0.88 7.74 -6.86
2 ADAMHALL PIT 26 4.25 10.42 -6.17
3 SAMIKAPANEN PHI 23 4.18 10.17 -5.99
4 DAVIDSTECKEL WSH 29 3.23 8.96 -5.73
5 MARIANHOSSA ATL 26 4 9.64 -5.64
6 CURTISBROWN S.J 10 0 5.42 -5.42
7 RICKNASH CBJ 29 0.9 6.09 -5.19
8 RENEBOURQUE CHI 16 1.55 6.55 -5.00
9 DEREKROY BUF 27 2.66 6.77 -4.11
10 MICHAELPECA CBJ 21 1.05 5.01 -3.96
11 PER JOHANAXELSSON BOS 27 6.17 9.95 -3.78
12 NIKOLAIANTROPOV TOR 29 5 8.4 -3.40
13 ANTOINEVERMETTE OTT 27 3.91 7.28 -3.37
14 ALEXANDERSTEEN TOR 29 5.04 8.36 -3.32
15 BRETTMCLEAN FLA 17 2.84 6.13 -3.29
16 TODDWHITE ATL 29 6.28 9.42 -3.14
17 CHRISDRURY NYR 29 2.86 5.95 -3.09
18 NIKLASHAGMAN DAL 30 1.63 4.63 -3.00
19 JORDANSTAAL PIT 29 5.59 8.51 -2.92
20 MARCUSNILSON CGY 22 6.93 9.78 -2.85


NAME TM GP GAON/60 GAOFF/60 Change
1 CHRISPRONGER ANA 31 4.98 11.23 -6.25
2 HALGILL TOR 29 5.07 11.05 -5.98
3 MATTIASOHLUND VAN 25 2.65 8.13 -5.48
4 SCOTTHANNAN COL 28 4.79 9.24 -4.45
5 NICLASWALLIN CAR 19 7.14 11.39 -4.25
6 JAROSLAVMODRY L.A 28 5.74 9.66 -3.92
7 SERGEIZUBOV DAL 30 1.36 5.16 -3.8
8 STEVESTAIOS EDM 29 4.14 7.57 -3.43
9 SHAONEMORRISONN WSH 29 4.35 7.75 -3.4
10 KIMJOHNSSON MIN 28 4.65 7.82 -3.17
11 TOBIASENSTROM ATL 29 6.34 9.37 -3.03
12 BRENTSOPEL CHI 25 4 7.01 -3.01
13 GREGDE VRIES NSH 27 4.02 6.89 -2.87
14 ANDREWGREENE N.J 27 4.23 7.07 -2.84
15 ANDREASLILJA DET 27 1.51 4.06 -2.55
16 CORYSARICH CGY 29 6.39 8.69 -2.3
17 ANDREIMARKOV MTL 29 6.43 8.67 -2.24
18 MARTINSKOULA MIN 29 5.07 7.19 -2.12
19 PAVELKUBINA TOR 19 6.08 8.19 -2.11
20 JAROSLAVSPACEK BUF 19 5.28 7.36 -2.08

There's a little bit of overlap there, but we also get guys like Chris Pronger, who are playing on teams that have been rotten on the penalty kill, but that would be much, much worse if not for their contributions.

Patrick Sharp's numbers so far this season have been quite amazing, with seven shorthanded goals scored when he's been on the ice. We've also got some offensive stars like Marian Hossa, Rick Nash, Derek Roy, Nik Antropov, Sergei Zubov and Andrei Markov showing up as top penalty killers.

Other items of note? How about Scott Hannan showing up high here, despite the fact he's definitely had a hard time at even strength this season (-15 in 28 games before tonight's goalfest against St. Louis). Jaroslav Modry has very quietly been the Kings best defenceman this season (not that there's been a ton of competition), while Hal Gill and Kim Johnsson continue to be two of the league's more underrated defensive players.

And how about Brent Sopel showing up here? (And I seem to recall he had good shorthanded numbers in more limited minutes last season.)

One of the things that this on ice/off ice metric helps with is to eliminate the goaltending factor, as one assumes netminders would play the same regardless of which penalty killers are on the ice. There are still the matters of strength of competition and strength of teammates, but given we're only looking at team's top five or six PK players, it's a safe bet these are the top unit members for the most part.

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2 Comments:

At 3:12 PM, December 10, 2007, Blogger NeuroJoe said...

I have to believe that Lilja is a statistical anomaly on the PK. He is one of the worst defensemen in the history of the universe and has nearly single handedly killed the Wings' playoff run the last 2 years. If Darrien Hatcher and Uwe Krupp could produce a slower, more lumbering love child it would be Andreas Lilja. My hatred for him as a player knows no boundaries.

 
At 6:18 PM, December 10, 2007, Blogger Andrew Bucholtz said...

Nice to see Sopel here: I always thought he was pretty good defensively as well as offensively, but the prevailing opinion in Canucks' circles was usually that he couldn't defend at all.

 

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