For general managers looking to beef up their rosters before the February 26 NHL Trading Deadline, there are plenty of factors to consider already; positional fit, contract status, goal-scoring, etc. In addition to those elements, however, how might a potential acquisition generate power play opportunities for their new team, or to look at it another way, will they leave them shorthanded by constant trips to the penalty box? Outside of goals being scored for or against, penalties are perhaps the most significant events in a given hockey game, so an understanding of how often players commit penalties (or draw them from the opposition) provides a more thorough understanding of the value they provide.
That's where the Penalty Plus/Minus statistic comes in. I've updated the numbers over at this publicly-available spreadsheet through the Rangers-Canadiens tilt just prior to yesterday's Super Bowl, and there are some interesting figures in there relative to players rumored to be available in the next few weeks. The following players are currently listed on TSN's Dirt Sheet as likely suspects (take with appropriate size grain of salt), so here they are, along with Penalties Drawn, Penalties Committed, and (thus) Penalty Plus/Minus. Goaltenders have been excluded.
Mats Sundin: 26 Drawn, 19 Committed, +7. Fine numbers for the Maple Leafs captain. Not league-leading by any stretch, but solid nonetheless.
Marian Hossa: 26 Drawn, 12 Committed, +14. Excellent numbers for the Atlanta RW, 2nd behind Ilya Kovalchuk's +17 on the team.
Brian Campbell: 7 Drawn, 3 Committed, +4. These are actually excellent numbers for a defenseman. Blueliners typically go negative in this stat, because they often have to Hold or Hook an opposing forward who has beaten them, so Campbell's doing quite well on this score.
Rob Blake: 4 Drawn, 28 Committed, -24. Yikes! Blake's -24 is tied for 2nd worst in the NHL, behind only Florida's Ruslan Salei at -27. Now granted, Blake plays major minutes for a lousy team, but this should make any inquiring GM take a hard look at why he's spending so much time in the box.
Vaclav Prospal: 17 Drawn, 17 Committed, 0. You'd like to see your offensively-oriented forwards on the positive side of this measure, so Prospal doesn't stand out here. At least he's not sharply negative.
Dan Boyle: 1 Drawn, 3 Committed, -2: Boyle has only played 8 games so far this year, so not much can be said for this result.
Olli Jokinen: 25 Drawn, 22 Committed, +3. Not the greatest of numbers for a stud #1 centerman, but like Prospal, at least he's not hurting his squad too much.
Alex Tanguay: 12 Drawn, 17 Committed, -5. Tsk, tsk, tsk, Mr. Tanguay. Watch that temper of yours! Jarome Iginla leads the Flames with a +11 rating, so don't tell us that drawing attention from the opposing D is too much for you to stand.
Michael Ryder: 14 Drawn, 9 Committed, +5: While the goals aren't going in for Ryder this year, at least he's generating a few PP opportunities for his teammates. An adventuresome GM gambling on Ryder to regain his scoring touch could use this as further incentive to make a deal.
Marek Malik: 4 Drawn, 15 Committed, -11. It's pretty typical for a defensive defenseman to be on the negative side of this mark, you know what you're getting here.
Jarret Stoll: 17 Drawn, 22 Committed, -5. Stoll's -5 is worst among Edmonton's forwards, and if he's brought in to add two-way responsibility to a team's lineup, he can't do that very well from the penalty box.
Darryl Sydor: 8 Drawn, 7 Committed, +1. For any defenseman to come out positive in this measure is a real benefit (the average across all D is -5.5). Stay tuned, however, there's more to come below.
Patrick Marleau: 15 Drawn, 8 Committed, +7. Solid numbers for the veteran center, but I just don't see him being dealt after signing an extension this last summer.
John-Michael Liles: 15 Drawn, 7 Committed, +8. Liles' +8 is 2nd among NHL defenseman to Daniel Girardi of the New York Rangers. Any team looking to acquire Liles is hoping to see him work the power play, and he'll create a few of those opportunities himself.
Jaromir Jagr: 24 Drawn, 21 Committed, +3. The Moody One is drawing a decent number of calls, but committing quite a few as well, negating that advantage.
Glen Murray: 7 Drawn, 12 Committed, -5. Doesn't draw many penalties from his opponents, but he's been such a reliable scorer for so long that he's still a highly coveted player.