More Canes Powerplay Analysis

About a week ago, I made a post addressing an article on Pro Sports Talk where they came up with system for ranking a team’s powerplay going by how many goals they scored instead of using conversion rates. The Canes powerplay looked better through this because they scored 55 goals with the man advantage. I don’t think this is a bad system to go by but I was very skeptical of how much validity there was to a system like this because of how much it rewarded teams who could draw penalties. Teams who have more opportunities on the powerplay are obviously going to score more goals and Carolina drew more penalties than any other team in the league last year. They converted at a low rate of 15.3%, good for 25th in the league and they had only 46.2 shots per 60 minutes when they were 5-on-4 and that was also in the bottom-five of the NHL. So, Carolina apparently had a “good” powerplay because they scored over 50 goals on a lot of opportunities despite not getting the puck on net that much or creating much pressure. Makes sense. I did a little more investigating to see just how good “or in this case bad” our powerplay was last season.

Let’s just say we could do a lot better….


Powerplay Stats:

PP Shots For

per Opportunity


PP Scoring Chances

per Opportunity


PP Scoring Chances

per 15 mins.

PP Shooting Pct. 12.30%

In case you were curious, those numbers are not that good and the powerplay shooting percentage was tied with the Islanders and Sabres for 15th in the league. The 1.34 shots per opportunity is 26th in the NHL and I wish I could compare the scoring chances with other teams but I think the fact that we didn’t even create one chance per opportunity on the powerplay isn’t a good thing. The Oilers blog, Copper and Blue looked at similar information for their powerplay during the middle of the season and compared their powerplay scoring chance stats with how many chances they gave up on the penalty kill. Let’s see if the Canes powerplay looks any better now:

PK Shots Allowed

per 60 Minutes


Scoring Chances

Allowed per PK


PK Scoring Chances

Allowed per 15 Mins.



They aren’t giving up that many chances short-handed in the long run but the powerplay isn’t outperforming the penalty kill by much at all, which is a problem. For the record, the Canes penalty kill was ranked second worst in the NHL giving up over 55 shots per 60 minutes so I’m a little surprised that the numbers here didn’t look worse.

Time to single out some players:


Player PP TOI PP SCF PP SCF/15 Mins.
Erik Cole 221.6 96 6.498
Eric Staal 361.61 146 6.061
Jussi Jokinen 243.81 88 5.414
Tuomo Ruutu 255.28 88 5.171
Jeff Skinner 260.15 86 4.959
Brandon Sutter 63.53 19 4.486
Sergei Samsonov 211.5 60 4.255
Cory Stillman 209.48 34 2.435

Now we see where losing Cole hurts…he created more chances frequently than any forward who got significant powerplay time. A good sign here is that the players who got the most ice-time on the powerplay were the ones creating more chances on the team. However, when you realize that Carolina’s penalty kill gave up as many chances as every single one of these forwards created, you start to realize that there are some big problems here. So, while it’s good that the top-six guys are creating the most chances on the powerplay, it would be nice if they did more. I was also a little disappointed to see Skinner kind of low on this chart.Also, note how Sergei Samsonov was outperformed by Brandon Sutter despite playing much less minutes on the powerplay.


Player PP TOI PP SCF PP SCF/15 Mins.
Derek Joslin 38.96 18 6.930
Tim Gleason 82.95 36 6.510
Joe Corvo 330.08 137 6.226
Jamie McBain 208.28 81 5.833
Joni Pitkanen 297.23 114 5.743

The defensemen look about the same only the guys who got more ice-time were at the bottom and not the top like you would expect them to be. Pitkanen being at the bottom is pretty disappointing and I didn’t expect Gleason to end up second on the list either. This is exactly why we acquired Tomas Kaberle. The puck-movers on the blue-line were under-performing and bringing in someone whose specialty is working a powerplay should help pick things up just a little bit.

So, while the Canes had no problem drawing penalties last season, converting on the powerplay and creating chances was a struggle for them and hopefully the addition of a new powerplay quarterback can help them take steps towards fixing this.