Do The Thrashers Have Large Talons?

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Who Has the Most Costly Penalties for Atlanta?

Last night Captain Bobbly Holik took a dumb penalty late in the third period that put Carolina on the power play. It was a stupid slash that did nothing to prevent Carolina from scoring. There are good penalties (i.e. those that prevent breakaways) and bad ones (actions that will not prevent any goals) and it was certainly the latter.

Carolina went on to tie the game and earn themselves a point because of that dumb penalty. While the Thrashers did get the extra point in OT they allowed the opposition to gain an extra point that might prove crucial at the end of the season if we are chasing the Hurricanes.

So I decided to look through all of the boxscores and see who was in the penalty box so far this season when the Thrashers have given up PP goals against. I wanted to know which player has hurt the team the most with penalties so far this season. (In the case of a 5>3 the "credit" went to the player who took the first penalty since they are the one that exits the box.)

Your leader is Nic Havelid with 5 power play goals against while he was sitting in the box, after him there are four players tied with 4 costly power play goals against: Holik, White, Zhitnik, and Klee.

As a defeseman myself I know that there are times you simply must take a penalty in order to prevent goal scoring chances--it is part of the job. You could also make an argument that it is Holik's job to stir the pot and play tough. So that leaves Todd White as the most surprising guy to make this list. He is a skill guy who is not a pest or agitator.

Now some readers might point out that most of the names on our "costly penalties" list are also guys who get a lot of ice time, so I've put up the full list of all roster players (including goalies) and their Time On Ice (TOI) and they Power Play Goals Against (PPGA) while they were sitting in the box (see below).

Here we see that of that the 5 worst offenders in terms of costly penalties Holik receives the least amount of ice time (on the other hand you could argue that his role requires more PIM). What really jumps out is that Enstrom has only been in the box for 2 so far while leading the team in ice time and being the smallest defender on the blueline. The other thing is that none of Kovalchuk's penalties have resulted in a goal for the opposition so far this season.

1146 1 Hedberg
986 1 Lehtonen
986 2 Enstrom
919 0 Kovalchuk
843 1 Hossa
840 5 Havelid
796 4 Klee
789 4 White
753 4 Zhitnik
751 2 Exelby
713 1 Perrin
697 1 Kozlov
629 4 Holik
572 1 Dupuis
527 0 Recchi
442 1 Little
414 1 McCarthy
347 0 Pavelec
338 2 Slater
321 0 Larsen
278 0 Boulton
258 0 Thorburn
234 0 Popovic
188 1 Haydar
124 1 Sterling
036 0 Stuart


  • Interesting.

    It's probably also worth noting that when Havelid takes a penalty, it's a double-whammy - not only is he leaving his team a man down, but he's also denying the team one of its best (at least most frequently used) penalty killers - himself - for that PK.

    In fact, all of the guys who have been in the box for more than two PPGs against are among the team's top 10 in shorthanded time on ice per game, which makes the Kovalchuk stat slightly less impressive - when he takes a penalty the team's top PKers are all there to pick him up, whereas when White takes one, the PK unit is worsened by his absence, as he has the second-most ice time of all Thrash forwards on the PK.

    Do you have the stats for costly penalties as a percentage of penalties taken? That would be interesting to see as well.

    By Blogger JP, at 1:50 PM  

  • Zhitnik has officially became last years Sutton. He takes dumb penalties, is slow and ineffective. I cross my fingers every time he steps on the ice, the same way I did with Sutton last year.

    By Anonymous Kozlov, at 4:03 PM  

  • I could run the numbers on costly penalties/all penalties. I was trying to keep the post short to be honest.

    Your point about the having a member of the PK unit sitting the in box is very astute. It also illustrates how little depth the team has in terms of forwards who can pitch in on the PK.

    Of course the other factor here is just plain old luck. If Enstrom is the team's most effective PK Defensemen then I would expect that it would really hurt the team whenever he is in the box--however he's only been in the box for two PP goals against--maybe the Thrashers were just lucky those times--hard to tell.

    By Blogger The Falconer, at 4:05 PM  

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