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The Ups and Downs of NHL Penalties

Welcome to all the visitors stopping by today via the Hockey News, and thanks to Rand Simon for his kind words. His note that some of the stuff I'm doing this season related to his arbitration work for Sean Avery over the summer is just the sort of thing I was hoping would be picked up on, the fact that statistical analysis can help answer some interesting questions related to team and individual performance in the NHL. From Simon's blog at the Hockey News today:

Through analyzing shift charts and box scores we were able to determine that Avery was a "plus" in the penalty department last season as he drew more power plays than his penalties caused shorthanded situations.

The statistic helped counteract the Rangers' argument that Avery was an undisciplined player who was hurting his team by taking too many penalties.


I've been tracking Penalties Drawn so far this year, and while Sean Avery has missed most of the early action he's a player that I plan on following through the course of the season, to answer just that question. Which agitators succeed in goading their opponents into taking penalties more often than they themselves leave their team shorthanded?

As a further wrinkle to the Penalties Drawn numbers I've been working on so far, I thought I'd bring Penalties Committed into the mix to come up with a Penalty Plus/Minus figure. In doing so, I exclude coincidental penalties, so if you see a discrepancy in Drawn or Committed, check that out first. Here's a quick snapshot of what I've got so far in that realm, with the leaders and laggards in this category (data through the games of Sunday, November 4). See, Rangers fans, Scott Gomez is at least leading the NHL in something for all that dough!


PlayerDrawnCommittedPen +/-
NYR #19 GOMEZ12111
L.A #13 CAMMALLERI11011
L.A #11 KOPITAR12210
WSH #8 OVECHKIN1129
DET #13 DATSYUK1028
PIT #87 CROSBY1477
EDM #83 HEMSKY927
CAR #13 WHITNEY707
CBJ #61 NASH1046
CAR #17 BRIND'AMOUR1046
MTL #21 HIGGINS936
DET #40 ZETTERBERG936
STL #22 BOYES826
PHX #11 HANZAL826
MTL #73 RYDER826
BUF #19 CONNOLLY826
PHX #34 WINNIK716
NYR #25 PRUCHA716
N.J #16 ZUBRUS716
VAN #17 KESLER1055
BUF #61 AFINOGENOV945
FLA #12 JOKINEN835
DAL #15 HAGMAN835
CAR #12 STAAL835
VAN #15 RITCHIE725
ANA #32 MOEN725
T.B #26 ST. LOUIS615
ATL #13 KOZLOV615
OTT #44 EAVES615
BUF #29 POMINVILLE505
FLA #10 BOOTH505

And at the bottom end of the list...
(EDIT: Initial post missed those who had drawn 0 penalties, I've corrected that)

PlayerDrawnCommittedPen +/-
TOR #56 WOZNIEWSKI011-11
CAR #11 WILLIAMS19-8
DET #3 LILJA210-8
NYR #51 TYUTIN08-8
PHX #13 CARCILLO08-8
PIT #55 GONCHAR19-8
TOR #31 KUBINA19-8
ATL #28 HAVELID07-7
CAR #6 HEDICAN18-7
L.A #3 JOHNSON18-7
MIN #8 BURNS29-7
PHI #22 KNUBLE18-7
S.J #10 EHRHOFF18-7
ATL #16 HOLIK17-6
BOS #91 SAVARD17-6
CBJ #97 KLESLA17-6
CGY #17 GODARD06-6
CHI #7 SEABROOK06-6
DAL #43 BOUCHER06-6
EDM #23 TARNSTROM06-6
OTT #25 NEIL28-6
VAN #2 OHLUND410-6
WSH #2 POTHIER17-6
WSH #4 ERSKINE28-6


See, this is why I picked Sergei Gonchar up for my Fantasy Hockey team. He's not just an offensive producer from the blue line, but he picks up the PIMs as well. Heck, I like to call him the "Happy Hooker" since he's led the NHL in Hooking penalties for the last two seasons.

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