Jun 29, 2014, 5:50 PM EDT
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|
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|
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.
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