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Sharks dominated special teams differential in 2013-14

Jun 29, 2014, 5:50 PM EDT

Brent Burns, Dan Boyle, Joe Pavelski, Thornton, Patrick Marleau AP

The San Jose Sharks don’t own a Stanley Cup, but it appears that they’re the best team in the NHL at drawing more penalties than they take. Honestly, the numbers are pretty stunning.

San Jose drew 291 power-plays opportunities and were only shorthanded 219 times during the 2013-14 season, making for a differential of 72 power plays. That’s almost an extra power play per game.

To give you an idea of how much better they’ve been than any other NHL team in that area, consider this: they match the second-best (Carolina Hurricanes, +40 chances) and third-best (New York Rangers +32 chances) combined.

Here’s the full chart of how the 30 NHL teams fared whistle-wise in 2013-14 (TS stands for times shorthanded, hopefully other abbreviations are self-explanatory):

Team Total diff 2013-14 Home PP Opp Road PP Opp 13-14 PP Opp Home diff Road diff 13-14 home TS 13-14 Road TS 13-14 total TS
SJS 72 162 129 291 40 32 122 97 219
CAR 40 154 127 281 41 -1 113 128 241
NYR 32 132 132 264 27 5 105 127 232
DAL 27 158 132 290 33 -6 125 138 263
PIT 24 136 142 278 25 -1 111 143 254
CGY 14 121 128 249 14 0 107 128 235
NYI 11 145 131 276 27 -16 118 147 265
PHX 10 145 137 282 21 -11 124 148 272
CHI 9 143 114 257 32 -23 111 137 248
FLA 7 127 142 269 -2 9 129 133 262
WSH 7 148 143 291 5 2 143 141 284
ANA 5 152 123 275 17 -12 135 135 270
COL 3 131 121 252 13 -10 118 131 249
MIN 2 129 123 252 16 -14 113 137 250
NSH 1 121 118 239 6 -5 115 123 238
CBJ 0 142 138 280 -1 1 143 137 280
TBL 0 140 130 270 6 -6 134 136 270
EDM -9 148 123 271 13 -22 135 145 280
MTL -10 140 139 279 1 -11 139 150 289
STL -10 157 126 283 12 -22 145 148 293
LAK -12 154 130 284 14 -26 140 156 296
DET -13 149 133 282 5 -18 144 151 295
TOR -16 119 133 252 6 -22 113 155 268
VAN -17 131 126 257 8 -25 123 151 274
BUF -18 129 127 256 -3 -15 132 142 274
PHI -22 159 135 294 6 -28 153 163 316
NJD -23 123 118 241 -11 -12 134 130 264
WPG -32 151 108 259 1 -33 150 141 291
BOS -33 112 118 230 -26 -7 138 125 263
OTT -49 135 136 271 -15 -34 150 170 320

A few interesting takeaways from that:

  • The crowd in Carolina clearly steers things in the Hurricanes’ direction. They had the highest home differential at +41, one more than San Jose. The ‘Canes were -1 on the road, so it’s not like it was just a matter of an aggressive style.
  • The Boston Bruins easily had the worst home differential at -26. Odd, huh?
  • Could fewer penalties in the postseason be a big reason why San Jose seems to struggle in the playoffs? It’s at least a theory.

In case you’re wondering if this is just a one-time thing, the Sharks really tower over the pack when you count the last three seasons:

Team diff last 3 seasons Total diff 2013-14 diff 12-13 diff 11-12
SJS 139 72 22 45
CAR 86 40 4 42
CHI 62 9 9 44
NYR 57 32 5 20
CBJ 54 0 11 43
PIT 46 24 3 19
FLA 45 7 -9 47
DET 32 -13 21 24
NYI 32 11 14 7
TOR 18 -16 9 25
PHX 12 10 0 2
CGY 10 14 4 -8
NSH 8 1 1 6
MTL 6 -10 30 -14
TBL -7 0 8 -15
NJD -8 -23 7 8
MIN -9 2 16 -27
LAK -11 -12 5 -4
WSH -13 7 1 -21
PHI -19 -22 -13 16
VAN -19 -17 -4 2
STL -23 -10 -1 -12
BUF -32 -18 -15 1
ANA -34 5 -27 -12
DAL -40 27 -8 -59
EDM -49 -9 -6 -34
WPG -66 -32 7 -41
BOS -84 -33 -41 -10
COL -94 3 -43 -54
OTT -99 -49 -10 -40

Let’s consider a few other points:

  • Just in case you missed it, the Sharks finished at +139 while no other team cracked +90.
  • Again, Carolina seems to get a nice amount of PP chances. If Bill Peters can make a difference in that unit, he could see some huge gains even if the rest of the team stays in neutral.
  • One would be wise to consider the 2011-12 season the least since a 48-game slate can be misleading. Quite a few of the “middle” campaigns above indeed seem to make for breaks in patterns.

It should be interesting to see if teams can break these cycles or keep up these positive advantages going in 2014-15. The Sharks certainly hope so and the Ottawa Senators would absolutely prefer not.

  1. pj608 - Jun 29, 2014 at 6:25 PM

    That’s very impressive… Too bad they choked

  2. pj608 - Jun 29, 2014 at 6:25 PM

    And that’s not to say they did a good job killing the penalties or even scoring on the pp.

    • jjl9999 - Jun 30, 2014 at 2:29 AM

      The reason is because when the powerplay was great, the PK sucked, so we needed a great differential. But this past season, the PK was very good but the PP was relatively bad.

  3. pj608 - Jun 29, 2014 at 6:27 PM

    I would be more interested in seeing what team scored the most pp goals. Most SHE goals and best pp and pk % combined. That just means they would probably be better at basketball…

    • James O'Brien - Jun 29, 2014 at 6:55 PM

      That’s literally coming later tonight. Stay tuned!

      • pj608 - Jun 29, 2014 at 7:23 PM

        sweet. I will be looking forward to that.

      • pj608 - Jun 29, 2014 at 7:26 PM

        As a Devils fan i know that the PK itself can make up for the lack of “drawing” a penalty. Look where drawing penalties got Montreal in the play offs. It literally looked like Lebron James was on the ice with all those fish flopping around. Its sad that hockey players are now resulting in cheap, Sissy like tactics like that. People should be fined for embellishment not only a penalty. This is Hockey… a real mans sport. Lets keep it that way please.

  4. sjsharks66 - Jun 29, 2014 at 6:32 PM

    Yeah, the Sharks were good at drawing penalties. Too bad they couldn’t score to save their lives on the PP in the last 4 games.

  5. davebabychreturns - Jun 29, 2014 at 7:36 PM

    Fellow PHT commenters… why are there seven comments on this story already and not a single one accuses the Sharks of being a pack of diving pansies who would be better off on the (soccer) pitch than the ice?

    No Joe Thornton diving .gifs? No snide comments about Logan Coutures, um, penalty drawing prowess and rodent-like appearance?

    Sheesh..

  6. savior72 - Jun 29, 2014 at 8:54 PM

    Yeah, I think a better story would be on teams diving %

  7. norcalsportsknowledge - Jun 29, 2014 at 10:33 PM

    Sharks are mid pack at best when it comes to diving, now back to the article. Why don’t refs have balls enough to call playoff hockey like they do in regular season? Call every game the same!

  8. blomfeld - Jun 30, 2014 at 1:31 AM

    YESTERDAY’S PAPERS ?

    yes sir … and look for the Sharks to miss the playoffs this coming season !

  9. kingsomab - Jun 30, 2014 at 2:01 AM

    A more insightful peace information would be how many PPs they’ve scored on and how many penalties they’ve killed, percentage wise. You can have 737384729 PPs per season, but that won’t help you if you suck at scoring.

    • skr213 - Jun 30, 2014 at 2:43 AM

      Peace out bro. (Kings fans – forgive them, English is their second language)

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