Wrong side of the whistle: NHL teams hit hardest by penalties


Earlier this week, PHT looked at the teams who tend to go on the power play far more often than they enter the penalty box, with the San Jose Sharks clearly leading the way. By a lot.

What about the other end of the spectrum? Well, it depends upon how you look at things.

Most time in the box

Chalk it up to strong coaching, great goaltending, or other factors, but some teams are hit harder by poor discipline than others.

Let’s start off in looking at sheer volume of penalty box trips, with help from’s many handy stats.

Team Times shorthanded PPGA
1 Anaheim Ducks 281 43
2 Calgary Flames 277 51
3 Winnipeg Jets 275 62
4 Colorado Avalanche 274 64
5 Washington Capitals 272 44
6 Boston Bruins 265 38
7 St. Louis Blues 263 40
8 Arizona Coyotes 260 59
9 New Jersey Devils 260 53
10 Tampa Bay Lightning 258 48
11 Pittsburgh Penguins 257 52
12 Toronto Maple Leafs 251 44
13 Dallas Stars 249 65
14 Montréal Canadiens 249 47
15 Philadelphia Flyers 247 50

As you can see, the Ducks were shorthanded more than any other NHL team. Even so, they only allowed 43 power-play goals in 2016-17, tying them with the Edmonton Oilers for the 10th-fewest given up.

What if you expand the view beyond last season and look at how teams fared since the lockout? You got it, and in this case, here are numbers for all 30 NHL teams.

Winnipeg Jets 376 1294 256
Arizona/Phx Coyotes 376 1284 284
Anaheim Ducks 376 1277 210
Philadelphia Flyers 376 1275 236
Detroit Red Wings 376 1253 230
Ottawa Senators 376 1242 236
Washington Capitals 376 1241 219
St. Louis Blues 376 1239 188
Blue Jackets 376 1229 227
New Jersey Devils 376 1225 218
Los Angeles Kings 376 1224 213
Montréal Canadiens 376 1222 213
Toronto Maple Leafs 376 1214 223
Pittsburgh Penguins 376 1212 206
Boston Bruins 376 1205 194
Colorado Avalanche 376 1205 236
Tampa Bay Lightning 376 1197 213
Dallas Stars 376 1193 241
Vancouver Canucks 376 1181 210
Florida Panthers 376 1176 243
Buffalo Sabres 376 1164 243
Edmonton Oilers 376 1151 221
Nashville Predators 376 1097 218
New York Islanders 376 1084 211
Calgary Flames 376 1082 215
New York Rangers 376 1081 197
Chicago Blackhawks 376 1044 192
Minnesota Wild 376 1040 193
San Jose Sharks 376 1037 190
Carolina Hurricanes 376 998 173

The Arizona Coyotes are easily the most assaulted by the broader numbers, which makes sense since they’ve dealt with some of the leanest years. The Buffalo Sabres are fittingly in the top ranks by similar logic.

It’s more interesting to consider teams who seem to go to the box more based (arguably) on style, and who suffers from poor PK units the most.

Remarkably, the Ducks once again find themselves in the lower third of the NHL as far as goals allowed, even though they take a lot of penalties.

Unfortunately for Anaheim, those wild ways hurt them when it mattered the most. They gave up a whopping 15 power-play goals during the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs, easily the most of the postseason. (Somehow, Nashville only allowed seven while the Penguins won it all despite yielding 12.)

Other observations

Let’s rattle off a few other notes, then.

Calm Hurricanes- The Hurricanes have already been tabbed as a team that could break through soon. If they can keep up their tendency to avoid penalties, they really might be onto something.

They’re the only team under 1,000 times shorthanded in that list above. Meanwhile, they join the Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings as the only three teams with less than 100 major penalties since the last lockout.

It’s no surprise, then, that the Hurricanes allowed the fewest power-play goals with 173 during that span.

Hitchcock the key for Stars turnaround?- That said, the Blues stand out as the most efficient PK unit of that span.

Here are the top seven PK percentages from 2012-13 to 2016-17, with PPG allowed and times shorthanded:

1. Blues – 84.8 percent (188 allowed on 1,239 TS)
2. Bruins – 83.9 (194 allowed, 1,205)
3. Ducks – 83.5 (210 allowed, 1,277)
4. Penguins – 83 (206 allowed, 1,212)
5. Hurricanes – 82.7 (173 allowed, 998)
6 (t) Kings – 82.6 (213 allowed, 1,224)
6 (t) Canadiens – 82.6 (213 allowed, 1,222)

Meanwhile, the Coyotes, Sabres, Panthers and Stars are the only teams under an 80-percent kill rate.

A lot can go into a unit being successful or unsuccessful. Even so, could Ken Hitchcock whip the Dallas Stars into shape? It’s at least a possibility.

Carlyle loves the rough stuff- Randy Carlyle might be a changed man in Anaheim, but he still loves his ruffians.

If you look at teams with the most major penalties in individual seasons since the lockout, Carlyle-helmed teams dominated the top list:

1. His 2013-14 Maple Leafs (48 majors)
2. His 2012-13 Maple Leafs, with 46 majors in just 48 games.
Tied for third: Last season’s Ducks, with 46 in 82 games.

Now, it’s true that Bruce Boudreau’s 2015-16 Ducks were pretty ornery with 43 majors of their own, but it does seem like Carlyle is OK with a bit of carnage either way.

On the other end, there are five seasons’ worth of teams under 10 majors for a full campaign.

Penguins (2015-16) and Red Wings (2013-14) – nine majors
Red Wings in 2014-15 and 2015-16 – eight majors
Fittingly, Hurricanes in 2016-17: six majors.


Much like with most studies in an age of parity, the majority of teams seem to fall in the middle when looking at penalties (either from a pessimistic or optimistic standpoint).

Interestingly, there are teams that can survive their own mistakes and others who aren’t always exploiting their advantages, but perhaps we’ll see changes in 2017-18 and beyond?

All-Rookie, All-Star Teams and rest of 2018 NHL Awards

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Let’s recap the remaining winners from the 2018 NHL Awards. Before we do so, here are the other big winners and corresponding links.

Hart Trophy

Taylor Hall

GM of the Year

George McPhee

Vezina Trophy

Pekka Rinne

Selke Trophy

Anze Kopitar

Jack Adams Award

Gerard Gallant

Norris Trophy

Victor Hedman

Calder Trophy

Mathew Barzal

Bill Masterton Trophy

Brian Boyle

Ted Lindsay

Connor McDavid

Lady Byng

William Karlsson


P.K. Subban named cover star for “NHL 19.”

Humboldt Broncos reunite to honor late coach Darcy Haugan (Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award).


Now, let’s jump into the remaining awards and honors.

Mark Messier Leadership Award

Deryk Engelland (see video above this post’s headline)

King Clancy

Daniel and Henrik Sedin

William Jennings

Jonathan Quick with Jack Campbell

Of course, Alex Ovechkin won the Maurice Richard Trophy and Connor McDavid took the Art Ross.

First NHL All-Star Team

Left Wing: Taylor Hall
Center: Connor McDavid
Right Wing: Nikita Kucherov
Defense: Drew Doughty and Victor Hedman
Goalie: Pekka Rinne

Second NHL All-Star Team

Left Wing: Claude Giroux
Center: Nathan MacKinnon
Right Wing: Blake Wheeler
Defense: Seth Jones and P.K. Subban
Goalie: Connor Hellebuyck

All-Rookie Team

Forwards: Clayton Keller, Brock Boeser, and Mathew Barzal
Defense: Charlie McAvoy and Will Butcher
Goalie: Juuse Saros

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Humboldt Broncos reunite to honor late head coach

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Ten members of the Humboldt Broncos reunited on Wednesday night during the 2018 NHL Awards in Las Vegas. The survivors of the April 6 bus crash that killed 16 players and staff were on stage to help give out the first Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award to their late head coach Darcy Haugan.

The award, presented “to an individual who – through the game of hockey – has positively impacted his or her community, culture or society,” was voted on by the public after fans submitted candidates, and the field was then narrowed down to three finalists.

From the NHL:

Haugan left a lasting impact in Humboldt, Sask., as well as every other community that was fortunate enough to have him as a resident or involved in junior hockey. He changed the lives of many of his players, always being there for each one of them and never hesitating to give them a second chance. He fought for his team and had their backs – he was the coach and mentor everybody wanted. Haugan believed strongly that the game is not about making hockey players; it is about making amazing human beings. He did just that, building up young leaders who also developed strong hockey skills along the way. His presence would fill the room and his love for the game was undeniable. Haugan died doing what he loved, surrounded by the young people he dedicated his life to. Haugan left behind, in all of those he touched, his spirit and passion for the game, his love for his beautiful family, and his example of dedication to his community.

Haugan’s wife, Christina, accepted the award in his honor.

The other finalists were Debbie Bland of the Etobicoke Dolphins Girls Hockey League and Neal Henderson of the Fort Dupont Hockey Club.

The NHL Foundation is donating $10,000 in Haugan’s memory to the Saskatchewan Brain Injury Association, a charity important to the coach.

On Tuesday, the NHL and NHLPA announced that Washington Capitals forward Chandler Stephenson will bring the Stanley Cup to Humboldt on Aug. 24 that will involve a skills competition at the Broncos’ home rink.


Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

Hall beats MacKinnon for first Hart Trophy


Being that Art Ross and Ted Lindsay winner Connor McDavid wasn’t even a finalist, it’s clear that being indispensable to your team factored heavily into the 2017-18 Hart Trophy voting.

With those unspoken parameters in mind, it makes sense that the MVP race ended up being so close between runner-up Nathan MacKinnon and winner Taylor Hall. Anze Kopitar ranked a distant third, but he could take comfort in being a finalist and also taking home his second Selke.

Sometimes you need to dig deep into “With or Without You” stats to realize how much a player stands above his teammates. You merely need to glance at the gap between Hall’s scoring (93 points, sixth-best in the NHL) and the next highest-ranked Devil (Nico Hischer with 52). Hall clearly dragged the Devils to an unlikely playoff berth, scoring that many points in just 76 games.

Nathan MacKinnon, meanwhile, finished with 97 points in 74 contests, yet he enjoyed a bit more help as Colorado’s top line was rounded out by fantastic wingers in Mikko Rantanen (84 points) and Gabriel Landeskog (62).

Now, the trickier part is figuring out if McDavid deserved to either win it or at least be a finalist. Ultimately, the PHWA viewed Hall as the “player adjudged to be the most valuable to his team,” no doubt weighing a playoff appearance in their decision:

As you might expect, the deeper voting is quite interesting. Kopitar narrowly edged Claude Giroux for third place, while there’s an interesting list of players who managed a single vote: Patrice Bergeron, Sidney Crosby, Victor Hedman, and Eric Staal. Drew Doughty got a fourth place vote while Hedman receive one fifth, yet Hedman ended up the Norris winner.

During certain seasons, the Hart Trophy is an easy call. This was one of the tougher years to truly pinpoint a top season, but the beauty for hockey fans was because there were so many great choices.

However you feel about who should have been the actual winner, Taylor Hall generated an absolutely brilliant season.

For a player who was traded for flawed reasons and blamed far too often for his teams’ failings, it must be awfully sweet to receive such high recognition. It can’t hurt that this award came after his first-ever postseason appearance, either.

Naturally, Hall has his eyes on the sort of celebration that Alex Ovechkin is enjoying right now, but Hall’s 2017-18 season was “a long time coming” in its own right.

And, yes, the Oilers must weep at the thought that they voluntarily gave up an opportunity to deploy the 2018 Hart winner (Hall) and the 2018 Art Ross winner (McDavid) on the same team.

GM of the Year George McPhee adds another award for Golden Knights

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George McPhee of the Vegas Golden Knights continued a big night for the franchise as he was named 2017-18 General Manager of the Year during Wednesday’s NHL Awards show in Las Vegas. Earlier, Gerard Gallant won the Jack Adams Award for top coach, William Karlsson was named winner of the Lady Byng and captain Deryk Engelland took home the Mark Messier Leadership Award.

The NHL’s 31 GMs and a panel of League executives, print and broadcast media voted on the award following the conclusion of the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Using the NHL’s expansion draft rules to his advantage, McPhee made shrewd deals to add draft picks and impact players while creating the franchise’s first-ever roster. Success came right off the bat and the Golden Knights ended their inaugural season by becoming the first modern-era expansion team from the four major North American professional sports league to win its division. By advancing to the Stanley Cup Final, Vegas became the third team in NHL history to win multiple playoff rounds in their first season.

McPhee was presented with the award by actress Lynda Carter and Nicklas Backstrom, the player he drafted in fourth overall 2006 while GM of the Washington Capitals.

Kevin Cheveldayoff of the Winnipeg Jets and Steve Yzerman of the Tampa Bay Lightning were the other finalists this year.


Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.