The 'shorty' specialists
NHL leaders in shorthanded goals per minute:
Shorthanded points per minute:
Patrick Sharp has really made a name for himself as a defensive player this season by scoring on the penalty kill, which strikes me as a bit of a strange situation. I've always regarded shorthanded goals as statistical anomalies, occurrences that really don't happen often enough to justify having a "threat" killing penalties.
It seems to me that, if a player has scoring ability, he should be out there when the team scores 28 per cent of its goals — not when they're as rare as empty netters.
(Then again, the Blackhawks' goal-scoring rates when Sharp's on the ice aren't that different on the power play (4.92), even strength (3.36) and penalty kill (3.76).)
I guess I've always looked at shorthanded situations as a one-way street: You're basically out there to prevent goals, and if that's all you accomplish, it's a job well done.
Take someone like Mike Peca, who has played 2.53 PK minutes per game and been on the ice for two goals for and six against. He's the second best forward in the league this season, behind Stu Barnes, in 4-on-5 situations (among regulars) at 3.09 goals against per 60 minutes.
Sharp's defence has been a little worse, at 3.76 per 60, but with a league-leading nine shorties scored when he's on the ice, he's been more valuable than anyone at the wrong end of the rink.
A statistical anomaly? Or just plain old good penalty killing?
And what does it tell us when perennial Selke winner Rod Brind'Amour always has some of the worst 4-on-5 goals against rates in the league?