NHL's best and worst in special teams plus/minus

At my old blog, I introduced (or at least I think that I introduced) some other ways to look at hockey teams. Much of that focus was on the way the league focuses on percentages to judge a team’s powerplay and penalty kill.

Personally, I think totals matter more than percentages. For one thing, those numbers do not take shorthanded goals into consideration. So, a team that rolls the dice with five forwards on the PP (like Carolina often did in the past) looks better than they should since only the happy goals count. Also, let me ask you: would you rather your team score 2 goals out of 10 opportunities or 1 goal out of four opportunities?

In the next two posts, I’ll throw some of my concoctions at you. The first is my favorite stat of the three: Special Teams Plus/Minus. The formula is so simple I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s been used before (so tell me if you’ve seen it); all I do is take the good special teams goals (PP goals for, SH goals for) and subtract them by the bad special teams goals (PP goals against, SH goals against).

Click on the spreadsheet below to see how all 30 teams shape up. I’ll provide some simple analysis after the jump. (Note: these stats are from before tonight’s games andspecial teams plus minus nbc.PNG

So, the top six teams are the only ones to be in the double digits in ST plus/minus (in order): Detroit, Chicago, San Jose, Buffalo and Vancouver.

You can see a clear Nicklas Lidstrom effect on the Wings’ powerplay: they’ve scored 51 goals with the man advantage and only allowed one shorthanded goal so far this season. Conversely, the Blackhawks are dangerous to another team’s PP with an impressive 10 shorthanded goals.

Want one number to explain why the Toronto Maple Leafs remain in the NHL outhouse? Their league-low minus-30 ST p/m is lower than than the other worst teams (Edmonton and Florida) combined. The Predators are the best team in the ST p/m’s lower ranks, as they need to be great on 5-on-5 to make up the 12 goals they’ve lost in uneven situations.

So what do you think? Does this stat have some legs? I’ll focus on each team’s PP and PK unit as a whole in the next post.

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    Forbes: Rangers most valuable NHL franchise at $1.2 billion

    Rick Nash
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    NEW YORK (AP) The New York Rangers are the most valuable NHL franchise at $1.2 billion, taking the top spot on the Forbes list for the first time since 2004.

    The magazine said Tuesday that Montreal is second at $1.18 billion, followed by Toronto at $1.15 billion. The Maple Leafs had been the most valuable team since 2005, but they’ve reached the playoffs only once since 2006 and their 13-year home sellout streak ended in March.

    Chicago, winner of three of the last six Stanley Cups, is fourth at $925 million, with Boston next at $750 million. Completing the top 10 are Vancouver, Philadelphia, Detroit, Los Angeles and Washington.

    The Rangers reached the Stanley Cup Finals in 2014 and the conference finals in 2015. Madison Square Garden recently underwent a $1 billion renovation.

    Online: http://www.forbes.com/nhl-valuations

    NHL on NBCSN doubleheader: Flyers-Isles, ‘Hawks-Sharks

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    Wednesday night is a busy one in the NHL — 13 games all told — and that’s reflected on NBCSN with a pair of games:

    Philly taking on the Isles in Brooklyn, followed by the Blackhawks taking on the Sharks in San Jose.

    Tonight’s games will be available online via NBC Sports’ Live Extra.

    First up, Flyers-Isles.

    Philly’s looking to win back-to-back games for the first time in a month, after beating the ‘Canes 3-2 on Monday. The club will, however, have to try and get that win without the services of forward Sam Gagner, who was injured on a Brad Malone hit the other night.

    Former Islander Colin McDonald was called up to replace Gagner, and is likely to draw into the lineup at Barclays.

    The Isles, meanwhile, haven’t played since a 4-2 loss to Montreal on Sunday. In that game, goals from Anders Lee and John Tavares were for naught as New York struggled mightily with special teams; Montreal scored three times on the power play and once shorthanded, sweeping its season series with the Isles in the process.

    After Isles-Flyers, it’s onto Sharks-Blackhawks.

    Wednesday’s game will be the first of four meetings between the two sides this season. Chicago comes in having lost 6-3 to Vancouver on Saturday, a game in which Daniel and Henrik Sedin torched the Blackhawks for nine combined points.

    It looks as though head coach Joel Quenneville is making a lineup change against San Jose — Andrew Shaw appears ready for first-line duties next to Jonathan Toews and Ryan Garbutt. That would drop Marian Hossa down to the third unit.

    As for the Sharks, the big (well, relatively speaking) news this week is that 37-year-old veteran Dainius Zubrus signed a one-year pact with the club. Zubrus, who spent time under San Jose head coach Peter DeBoer while the pair were together in New Jersey, hasn’t played this year but successfully converted a PTO with the Sharks into a new contract.

    Sens match season-high for goals, beat Dallas 7-4

    Bobby Ryan, Antti Niemi
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    DALLAS (AP) Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored two third-period goals and the Ottawa Senators held off the Dallas Stars for a 7-4 victory Tuesday night.

    Ottawa was outshot 37-20 but scored three unassisted goals after takeaways, one on the power play and another short-handed, by Pageau.

    Craig Anderson made 33 saves in his third straight win, including two shutouts. He had his scoreless streak snapped at 147:04, when Patrick Sharp scored in the second period.

    Pageau scored on two breakaways, including his league-leading third short-handed, and added an assist. He has six goals this season.

    Dallas goalies Antti Niemi and Kari Lehtonen combined to make only 13 saves.

    The Senators’ Mike Hoffman also had two goals, one into an empty net. Mark Stone had a goal and two assists. Bobby Ryan and Milan Michalek also had goals.

    NHL leader Jamie Benn scored his 15th and 16th goals for Dallas. Benn assisted on Tyler Seguin‘s goal.

    The Senators are 4-0-2 in their last six games. Dallas’ loss ended the Stars’ five-game winning streak.

    Ottawa didn’t have a shot on goal for the first 7:10, but its attempt went in for a 1-0 lead. Ryan took away the puck in the left faceoff circle, skated in front of Niemi and tucked the puck into the right corner.

    Michalek scored at 18:49 of the first period for a 2-0 lead. Stone won a battle along the left-wing boards, and the puck went to Pageau. He passed to Michalek in the center of the left circle, and Michalek sent a wrist shot past Niemi into the upper right corner.

    Sharp finally got to Anderson at 7:04 of the second. Cody Eakin tapped a pass ahead to Sharp, who sent a slap shot past the goalie.

    The Senators regained a two-goal lead, when Stone intercepted a pass from the Stars’ Patrick Eaves at the blue line, stepped to the top of the slot and scored on a wrist shot at 12:33.

    Lehtonen then replaced Niemi, who had allowed three goals in nine shots. The first shot Lehtonen faced was Hoffman’s goal from the top of the left circle on the power play.

    Niemi re-entered the game at 1:05 of the third period, after Lehtonen made two saves. On the first shot Niemi faced, he allowed a short-handed breakaway goal by Pageau on a shot that trickled between the goalie’s legs.

    Benn scored on a short-handed breakaway at 6:07. Just 1:57 later, Seguin scored from the right circle.

    NOTES: Ryan has at least one point in nine straight games (4 goals, 7 assists, 11 points). … Anderson came into the game with two shutouts in a row after an overtime loss. … Dallas D Jason Demers (lower-body injury) was scratched from the lineup, but D Jordie Benn returned after missing Saturday’s game because of illness. … The Stars’ John Klingberg took the NHL lead with his 20th assist on Sharp’s goal. He and Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson, who assisted on Hoffman’s goal, are 1-2 in scoring among the league’s defensemen. . Dallas had won the previous seven games against the Senators.

    Coyotes GM ‘called right away’ on Hamonic

    Don Maloney
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    You can add Arizona to the list of teams that tried to get in on the Travis Hamonic sweepstakes.

    “[He’s] a talented player,” Coyotes GM Don Maloney said, per the Arizona Republic. “We certainly called right away, but we do not have a good fit for them right now.

    “That’s the bottom line. They’re looking for a ready-made complement player.”

    Hamonic, who requested a trade out of New York, is garnering plenty of interest across the league. TSN’s Darren Dreger reported five clubs — Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton, Colorado and Minnesota — were in the mix, with Sportsnet floating potential trade chips like the Jets’ Jacob Trouba, and the Flames’ T.J. Brodie.

    It’s unsurprising the Coyotes didn’t have a fit for Isles GM Garth Snow.

    It’s hard to imagine — nearly impossible, really — to think Oliver Ekman-Larsson would be on the move, and the rest of the Arizona defense is comprised of unheralded youngsters (Michael Stone, Connor Murphy) or grizzled vets (Nicklas Grossmann, Zbynek Michalek).

    But Maloney’s remarks are still noteworthy, because he more we hear about the Hamonic situation, the clearer the asking price gets.

    Related: Hamonic willing to finish season with Isles