Do The Thrashers Have Large Talons?

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Penalty Minutes Earned Updated Thru December

Now that I'm back in Atlanta for a few days I've had a moment to update the Thrashers Penalty Drawn statistics, which I have been tracking all season. I decided this time to present the information with separate tables for Forwards, Defensemen and Others because forwards have a much greater opportunity to earn power play opportunities for their team compared to defensemen who must take a penalty now and then to prevent a prime scoring chance from developing.

I have taped virtually every game and gone back to watch which Thrasher drew the penalty which gave the team a favorable change in the on ice manpower situation. Off-setting penalties have not been included in these tallies because they don't give an advantage to either team.

Among the forwards Jon Sim continues to shine as one of GM Don Waddell's better off season additions drawing a team-high 42 man-advantage minutes from the opposition with his gritty, speedy and irritating ways (I'm glad he plays for us!). Sim has played on a variety of lines this season but has remained very effective. Skilled players like Kozlov and Hossa have been strong all season in terms of drawing penalties and this month they were joined by Ilya Kovalchuk, who led the entire team with 16 man-advantage minutes earned in December. It is good to see that while Kovalchuk isn't scoring as much this month, he has contributed by putting his team on the power play. The checking line of Holik, Slater and Vigier has been strong this month as well cycling the puck down low and forcing the opposition to take penalties.

On defense, Hnidy and Havelid both had good months in terms of drawing man advantage minutes, which is hard to do given the position they play.

Man Advantage Minutes Earned

Forwards

Player Oct. Nov. Dec. Season
Sim 16 16 10 42
Slater 15 16 10 41
Hossa 16 12 10 38
Kozlov 9 10 14 33
Holik 12 6 14 32
Kovalchuk 6 6 16 28
Vigier 4 8 8 20
Metropolit 2 6 8 16
Rucchin 14 0 2 16
Kapanen 4 6 4 14
Larsen 2 10 0 12
Boulton 0 2 4 6
Mellanby 0 6 0 6
Krog 0 0 4 4

Defense

Player Oct. Nov. Dec. Season
Hnidy 0 10 8 18
de Vries 6 6 4 16
Vishnevski 8 2 4 14
Havelid 4 2 8 14
Exelby 2 4 0 6
Sutton 2 4 0 6
McCarthy 2 2 0 4
Popovic 0 2 0 2
Coburn 0 0 0 0

Goalies/Bench

Player Oct. Nov. Dec. Season
Bench 12 12 12 36
Lehtonen 0 2 4 6
Hedberg 0 2 2 4

A player can help his team by drawing penalties from the other team, but if that player also takes a lot of penalties then his net effect is greatly reduced. So I also keep track of net man-advantage minutes over the course of the season. For example, Holik and Kovalchuk both take penalties that wipe out the positive effect of the penalties committed against him.

While Jon Sim leads in total minutes drawn from the opposition, but when you look at net minutes we see that the seldom-penalized Slava Kozlov is at the top of the list with +25 minutes so far on the year. You can see why the Kovlov-Hossa combination is very troublesome for other teams because they can either score on you, or they can cause you to take a penalty when trying to contain them.

None of the defensemen (other than the seldom-used Popovic) has a net positive rating. Sutton is the worst of the group in terms of taking a lot of penalties. Hnidy has done well in terms of net minutes since replacing Sutton on the top pairing with Havelid.

Net Man-Advantage Minutes (Season)

Player Net Minutes
Kozlov +25
Sim +22
Hossa +16
Slater +7
Vigier +6
Metropolit +4
Rucchin +4
Boulton +2
Kovalchuk 0
Holik -2
Kapanen -2
Krog -2
Larsen -2
Mellanby -14

Defense

Player Net Minutes
Popovic +2
Hnidy -6
de Vries -8
Vishnevski -10
Coburn -10
Exelby -14
McCarthy -16
Havelid -16
Sutton -21

Goalies

Player Net Minutes
Bench +12
Lehtonen +4
Hedberg +2

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