Penalty Differential

One seldom-looked-at statistic is penalty differential. The NHL keeps track of each penalty taken, but it also tracks how many penalties each player draws. These are important to note -– with the Oilers powerplay/penalty-kill operating at its current level (18.8% PP, 73.6% PK), roughly every five penalties should result in a goal for, and every four penalties against should result in a goal against. Thus, a player like Erik Cole in the midst of a bad offensive year is still helping the Oilers offensively -– his eight penalties taken and 20 penalties drawn means the Oilers should score four goals and allow two on special teams. Here are the totals for the rest of the Edmonton Oilers, along with the special-teams goals they’re generating: (these are penalties that result in a man advantage situation only; off-setting minor/major penalties are not included)


Erik Cole: -8/+20 = +12

Ales Hemsky: -2/+11 = +9

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Andrew Cogliano: -5/+8 = +3

Shawn Horcoff: -8/+10 = +2

Robert Nilsson: -4/+6 = +2

Fernando Pisani: -2/+4 = +2

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Dustin Penner: -5/+5 = Even

Kyle Brodziak: -3/+2 = -1

Sam Gagner: -8/+4 = -4

Ethan Moreau: -15/+9 = -6

Most forwards should end up better than even at this; as a rule, defencemen take far more penalties. Cole and Hemsky are doing a good job of creating powerplay opportunities, while the players ranked +2 or +3 are doing just OK. Brodziak and Penner have been poor, while Sam Gagner and Ethan Moreau have been awful. Ethan Moreau’s 15 penalties taken is fourth-worst in the league, behind Corey Perry (although Perry also draws penalties at a high rate), Daniel Carcillo, and Ryan Getzlaf (Getzlaf has 20 penalties to his name; by the numbers he’s the least disciplined forward in the league, and only one defenceman has taken more penalties than him).


Lubomir Visnovsky: -10/+9 = -1

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Denis Grebeshkov: -8/+5 = -3

Ladislav Smid: -6/+3 = -3

Jason Strudwick: -3/+0 = -3

Tom Gilbert: -7/+1 = -6

Steve Staios: -12/+3 = -9

Sheldon Souray: -12/+2 = -10

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As noted above, it’s very difficult for a defenceman to end up with a positive number here; Souray and Staios have been bad for this, but given their respective ice-times and opponents, I think this reflects much more on Staios than Souray. Jason Strudwick has been surprisingly good, as has Ladislav Smid; for physical players, they don’t take many bad penalties.

  • Hippy

    A little off topic but I am curious about stats on 5 on 3 man advantage. For example, how often is a power play goal scored ?

    Last night, it just seemed obvious that Calgary was going to score when Suray blasted the puck out of the rink.

  • Hippy

    Last time I looked (stats from last season), players who were involved in fights had both a penalty drawn and a penalty taken. Is that still the case? If so, I'd pull those out, unless there's also an instigator or an extra 2 for roughing / unsportsmanlike included.

    I guess they'd balance out, but it still doesn't feel right to leave them in.

  • Hippy

    Moreau seems to be THE sacred cow for the Oilers when it comes to on-ice matters, off-ice it's Kevin Lowe who holds the belt, so I can't think of anything this guy could do that would pull a disparaging word from either the media or the muckey-mucks.

  • Hippy

    Moreau's specialty is a good two handed whack on the gloves or arm… Ethan, just exactly what are you trying to accomplish? Do you think the puck carrier will just hand you the puck and skate away? Or perhaps you haven't noticed there are now 2 referees on the ice? Good leaders lead by example Ethan… you are a p*ss poor example of a leader. If you had any 'nads my friend you would rip that "C" off you shoulder in a New York second and hand it over to the real leader of this team… Sheldon Souray.

  • Hippy

    This should put the argument by the diehard "Steady" Steve Staios supporters that he doesn't take bad penalties. I can see it from a mile away, esp. with his stick infractions, and the stats reveal the same.

    Time to dump #24 in favour of a real shutdown defenceman.

  • Hippy

    This should end the argument put forth by the diehard “Steady” Steve Staios supporters that he doesn’t take bad penalties. I can see it from a mile away, esp. with his stick infractions, and the stats reveal the same.

    Time to dump #24 in favour of a real shutdown defenceman.

  • Hippy

    @ MikeP:
    MikeP wrote:

    Clarkenstein, you know where his nickname came from, right?

    Being called "Chopper" was OK 3 or 4 years ago when they didn't call that stuff but evidently our "leader" didn't get the memo!!