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Photo Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Got any Penalty Killers?

The Edmonton Oilers are going to need to improve the penalty kill this coming season and I wonder about how management and coaching staff plan on deploying forward personnel on the PK. Let’s begin by looking at last year’s most used forwards on the PK, I’m using shots-against per 60 minutes as the measuring stick.

OILERS 2016-17 PK SA/60

To give you an idea about what outstanding penalty-killing forwards post, Lars Eller (37.55) and Daniel Winnik (39.11) were very strong among all NHL forwards, plus both of those men played over two minutes a game. All of this is via NaturalStatTrick.

If you drill down on the NHL as a whole, Benoit Pouliot was an excellent PK man a year ago, perhaps underutilized truth to tell. Of course, the first comment after I post this will be “they would have used him more if BP had stayed out of the damned penalty box” and that’s worth entering into the record for sure.

It’s also true that the two youngsters (Connor McDavid and Drake Caggiula) had some success and perhaps that’s something to build on. Six PK forwards are needed (three sets of two forwards) and maybe you need an extra just in case one of the 4×5 men gets into trouble with the zebra’s.

THE COMING SEASON

One of the areas Edmonton needs to improve from last season is on the PK. Edmonton finished No. 17 overall a year ago and need to tighten up. The goalie is always going to be the biggest part of a penalty kill but the Oilers can do themselves an enormous favor by improving personnel and deployment.

So far this summer, the team has added veteran Jussi Jokinen via contract and Chris Kelly via invite. How did these men do at the discipline one year ago?

  • Jussi Jokinen 1:20TOI/game; 46.20 SA/60
  • Chris Kelly 2:06TOI/game; 50.14 SA/60

Jokinen can be added to McDavid, Caggiula, Nuge, Kassian and Letestu, and perhaps Kelly makes the team based on his experience in this area. Iiro Pakarinen posted 47.62 in 1:09/game one year ago, he may also be in the mix. One thing we might want to brace for: Connor McDavid as a brilliant penalty killer. Makes sense, that speed is going to be effective everywhere. As a rookie, 97 posted 31.28 SA/60 on the PK in 48 seconds a game. Oh my.

  • OriginalPouzar

    I have no interest in Chris Kelly – he is well past his prime from all accounts and that major knee injury a couple years ago certaintly didn’t help.

    I’d rather get some PK help on D at this point – Looking at the Vegas roster (9 d-men, 8 of them waiver eligible – they will trade one or two on the cheap) and Deryk Engelland makes a bit of sense. One year at $1M – right show. Played 3min/game on the PK last year. Some extra injury depth. Likely could be had for a 6th rounder or so.

    Maybe send them Greg Chase to lose a contract on the 50.

  • belair

    Although he didn’t light up the SA/60 stat, Brian Gionta seems like a decent fit for what the Oilers are looking for. He can slide into the middle six RW role, he PKd 1:50 a game and he played all 82 last year. For a guy late in his career, he can still move as well.

  • Ranford.85

    I’d be interested in seeing if Puljujärvi could be an effective PKer. I have nothing to base this off, but he does have a good hockey IQ and a big frame/reach.

    • El Petrolero

      I also want to see this. He’s an excellent backchecker. Took a near breakaway goal from Ovechkin in our first game against the Caps last year by hustling hard and stretching out to hook his stick away at the perfect moment, no infraction called. Later in the same game he robbed Ovi again, did this move I’ve seen Drai do where he stops up real hard with his back to the opponent while tying his stick up in the air on his backhand. The kid is fast, and very strong.

  • Jaxon

    I’d keep my eye on Magnus Paajarvi this season, too. Last year of his contract, then he’s a UFA. He’s 26. He played 0:40 on PK last season and only had 27.65SA/60. He’s very fast and has decent size. He could be a good compliment to Jokinen and Puljujarvi. His other metrics at 5-on-5 play were decent too. He scored 1.69 primary pts /60 at 5-on-5 and shot at a rate of 8.09 shots/60 at 5-on-5. Paajarvi’s speed would fit in nicely with the Oilers and would give Puljujarvi a solid Finnish mentor as a big (both are over 6’3″, 203lbs), top 10 Finnish draft pick (#4 & #10) with speed. If he ends up on waivers at some point maybe the Oilers can snap him up or make a trade for him before he goes on waivers.

    • Jaxon

      Paajarvi and Puljujarvi are both Fins born on the East coast of Sweden, 1.5-2 hour drive on either side of Stockholm. So they’d probably have a lot in common. Jokinen was born in Finland.