Penalty Kill Plus/Minus: The best (and worst) shorthanded units to this point (October 31)

In case you weren’t following PHT in its first month, I introduced some new special teams stats because I’m not satisfied with the common percentage-based rankings for power plays and penalty kill units.

Earlier tonight, I provided the NHL’s best PP units based on Power Play Plus/Minus.

If you want a quick explanation for why I prefer totals over percentages for special teams stats, consider these facts.

1. Some teams take more penalties than others, so they might kill penalties more often but allow more PP goals overall. Shutting down a high percentage of man advantages is great and all, but if you’re on the kill too often then totals tend to matter more.

2. Penalty kill percentage doesn’t factor shorthanded goals scored, which is faulty because a dangerous PK’er such as Philadelphia Flyers center Mike Richards could be a real difference maker.

Penalty Kill Plus/Minus is a simple stat: simply subtract shorthanded goals scored by power-play goals allowed. Obviously, only a superhuman group could manage a plus rating in this situation, so you’re looking for the lowest minus rating as the best units.

Along with SHG earned, PPG allowed and PK plus/minus, I’ve also provided times shorthanded (TS), games played and the traditional PK percentage for context.

(click to enlarge)

Now, some observations regarding these stats.

  • Boston remains atop the rankings, although you have to wonder if those numbers are misleading since they’ve only played eight games.
  • Washington is tied for the top spot despite allowing five PP goals already this year. That’s because they’ve been dangerous going the other way, scoring three SH goals already. Philadelphia is in a similar spot, allowing seven goals but putting up four on the PK.
  • Vancouver might own the quirky stat of the moment: they haven’t allowed or scored a SHG so far this season.
  • Buffalo and Colorado are really awful. That being said, Edmonton should worry as they’ve allowed 13 PP goals in only nine games.

So those are some interesting PK-related numbers. Later tonight I’ll put them all together for Special Teams Plus/Minus.

Derek Roy signs in Swiss league

Derek Roy, Jeremy Smith, Chris Kelly
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Derek Roy has finally found work — but it’s not in the NHL.

Roy, who spent the entire preseason in Washington’s camp on a PTO, has signed with SC Bern of Switzerland’s National League A, the club announced on Friday.

The news comes after Roy narrowly missed out on making the Caps roster, and just one year after he had something of a bounce-back campaign in Edmonton, scoring 22 points in 46 games while developing chemistry with young winger Nail Yakupov.

A 12-year NHL veteran, Roy is one of the more prominent names to be squeezed out of work this season, and head overseas. The 31-year-old has scored over 500 points in 738 career contests, and has twice represented Canada at the World Hockey Championships.

With Bern, Roy will play on one of Switzerland’s stronger teams, alongside a trio of ex-NHLers: Chuck Kobasew, Andrew Ebbett and Cory Conacher.

Lehner’s injury ‘doesn’t look like it’s short term’

Robin Lehner
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Robin Lehner might not be back anytime soon.

Making his debut with the Buffalo Sabres, the 24-year-old goaltender couldn’t complete Thursday’s game against his former squad, the Ottawa Senators, due to what has now been revealed to be a right leg injury.

When he left the arena, he was wearing a walking boot on that nearly went up to his knee.

“It doesn’t look like it’s short term,” Sabres coach Dan Bylsma told the Buffalo News. “It’s more than day-to-day at this point, but we need to evaluate further.”

It’s a rocky start to what’s an important campaign for Lehner. He has been given an opportunity to demonstrate that he’s ready to be a starting goaltender after being acquired by the Sabres over the summer, but it looks like that will have to be postponed.

While he’s sidelined, Chad Johnson is likely to be leaned on heavily.