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Ranking the NHL's best PP and PK units

Mar 22, 2010, 11:10 PM EDT

In the last post, I discussed special teams plus/minus, my guess at what might be the best way to judge a team’s overall work in man advantages and disadvantages combined. Still, I understand that many people may also want to look at an individual PP or PK unit as well. Next week, I might even “treat” you fine folks to my other creation “True” PP and PK percentage. (I can practically feel your heart racing right now.)

So, here’s the spreadsheet for power play plus minus, which is simply PP goals scored minus SH goals allowed. (Click on the spreadsheet to enlarge it. All stats are taken from pp plus minus nbc.PNG

If anything, I think sheer totals show just how great the Washington Capitals’ PP has been. They lead the league in PP p/m and percentage. Notice that although Montreal has the league’s second highest percentage (23.4%), they received the league’s lowest amount of opportunities (227) and allowed a discouraging 7 SH goals. Second best powerplay in the league? Not according to my numbers. 

Florida’s PP is a real sorry sort with only a +34 despite getting 30 more opportunities than second-worst Ottawa.

One interesting number: Carolina leads the league in PP opportunities with 303. I’d say that’s curious, wouldn’t you? (Does this mean that there’s a pro-Hurricanes, anti-Canadiens conspiracy? Put on the foil hats, crazies.)

After the jump, let’s take a look at the league’s best and worst when it comes to penalty kill plus minus.


First, here’s the spreadsheet. Again, click it to make it bigger. This number is shorthanded goals scored minus powerplay goals allowed. As you may guess, special teams plus/minus is the result of these two numbers.

pk plus minus nbc.PNG

Chicago’s aggressiveness on the kill makes them the number one team, but they also are wise to take few penalties. The New Jersey Devils might be the best at simply avoiding these situations though, because although their PK % isn’t that great (82.3) they’ve been shorthanded less than any team in the league (215). You have to hand it to the Blues, though, as they’ve only allowed 4 more PP goals while being shorthanded 85 more times than the Devils.

Of course, it’s not all good news. The Maple Leafs are the worst in the league with a staggering -66. As many might have guessed, the Capitals need a great PP with all powerplay goals they allow. The Predators are lucky that they don’t take that many penalties, because they’re only shutting down three out of every four (or 75 percent) of the powerplays they face this season.

So, there you have it. Do these stats make you feel any better or worse about your team’s playoff chances (or failed seasons)? Share your thoughts in the comments.

  1. Kent Wilson - Mar 23, 2010 at 10:28 AM

    Interesting thing about the Hurricanes is they routinely finish amongst the leagues leaders in PP opportunities.

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