Drawing and taking penalties

One thing that doomed Carolina in their 4-3 shootout loss to the Islanders was the team giving up two powerplay goals on three opportunities and this has been a weak area for the team all season. The Canes penalty kill is in the bottom-ten in shots prevented and have killed off only 78.2% of their penalties this year. The good news is that Carolina has taken the ninth least amount of penalties this year so they haven’t been in this opportunity much, but when they are shorthanded, they aren’t doing a spectacular job at preventing shots and goals so what we’re going to do here is find out who is taking the most penalties on the Hurricanes. This doesn’t matter too much in terms of how effective the penalty kill is, but it will be nice to get a look at who is putting the Canes at a disadvantage by constantly taking penalties.


We’ll dig deeper after the jump

Thanks to Gabe Desjardins’ Behind The Net site, we can see who frequently draws and takes the most penalties on every team. We’ll start off by seeing which players are taking the most penalties.

Bryan Allen 1.4
Chad LaRose 1.3
Alexei Ponikarovsky 1.2
Tuomo Ruutu 1
Jussi Jokinen 1

These are the five players who frequently take the most penalties and some of it is no surprise, particularly Bryan Allen at the top. Allen is known to get into scraps and drop the gloves at times so he ends up taking a lot of penalties. A good example comes only two days ago in the Islanders game where he took an early penalty for roughing up Matt Martin which led to a powerplay goal. I am glad that we have him on this team, though because he makes sure that no one takes liberties with the team’s younger, less physical players. However, he still ends up taking more penalties than any other player and it hurts the team more in his case because he is one of our best penalty killers and if he is in the box, then our PK is a lot more vulnerable.

Chad LaRose is another one who takes a lot of penalties and it isn’t a coincidence that he leads the team in hits. He is having a great season but his offensive zone penalties are one thing that’s hurting the team this year. Also, I noticed that he is killing penalties less and I think this might be the reason why. Ponikarovsky and Ruutu also play a physical game and end up being sent to the box more than others.

Now, who draws the most penalties and creates favorable situations for the Hurricanes? Here’s the top five.

Jeff Skinner 2.9
Tuomo Ruutu 1.8
Eric Staal 1.3
Drayson Bowman 1.2
Alexei Ponikarovsky 1.1

Carolina is regularly among the top of the league in powerplay opportunities and a big reason for that is their top players all draw a lot of penalties. Staal manages to draw at least one penalty per 60 minutes and Skinner is  also helping the Canes get a lot of powerplay opportunities this year. You can say that Skinner embellishes a little bit, but he is also helping his team by drawing penalties. This is another reason why him being on the IR is a huge loss. Bowman has been impressive in his most recent call-up and drawing penalties is another area that he’s excelled at.

Ruutu and Ponikarovsky might take a lot of penalties, but they draw a good amount too and that’s where this next section comes in. Some of the most valuable players are ones who draw a lot more penalties than they take. To figure out who is doing that on the Canes, we simply take the difference from their penalties taken from their penalties drawn. Here’s how the leader board looks.

NAME Difference
Jeff Skinner 2.1
Drayson Bowman 1.2
Tuomo Ruutu 0.8
Brandon Sutter 0.7
Eric Staal 0.6
Patrick Dwyer 0.5
Andreas Nodl 0.5
Tim Gleason 0.3
Derek Joslin 0.3
Jamie McBain 0.3
Jaroslav Spacek 0.2
Anthony Stewart 0
Jiri Tlusty 0
Alexei Ponikarovsky -0.1
Joni Pitkanen -0.3
Tim Brent -0.4
Jay Harrison -0.5
Justin Faulk -0.5
Chad LaRose -0.6
Jussi Jokinen -0.7
Bryan Allen -1

Carolina has more guys that are drawing penalties than taking them, which is good and not too much of a surprise when you remember that they are fifth in the league in powerplay opportunities. Skinner is leading the pack by a mile and that is likely due to how many penalties he draws. You can also see that Ruutu draws a lot more penalties than he takes, so he is usually helping his team more than hurting them. Same goes for Staal, Sutter and Dwyer. The same can’t be said for Ponikarovsky but his difference isn’t too extreme.

It’s a little disappointing to see that Justin Faulk in the negative column but that is mostly because he doesn’t draw a lot of penalties (.1 PDraw/60). He isn’t sent to the box as often as Allen or LaRose, but it would be nice if he could draw more calls to off-set the ones he does take. Speaking of LaRose, he is 10th on the team in PDRAW/60, but that is almost nullified by the amount of penalties he commits.

Jussi Jokinen is great at a lot of things but drawing penalties is not one of them. He is one of the worst players on the team in that category and he takes at least one penalty per sixty minutes, so he ends up being the second lowest rated player here. Jokinen is also one of the team’s better penalty killers so he is similar to Allen in the sense that him being in the box instead of killing penalties hurts the team a lot more than others. Actually, if you look at the Canes bottom-five players on the last chart, they are all players who kil penalties regularly so that could be one of the reasons why the team’s PK has struggled so much. Maybe they should take an example from Patrick Dwyer, Tim Gleason and Brandon Sutter by not committing so many penalties? That would definitely help.