Special teams, the pride of some teams, and the nemesis of others. The powerplay and penalty kill are increasingly becoming a vital aspect of a team’s success in the modern era of the National Hockey League. One of the ways to judge a team’s special teams success is through the PP/PK “index”. This is done by adding the percentage of the team’s efficiency on the powerplay and penalty kill, and adding the two together. Generally, a total of 100% or higher is considered “successful”, although some argue that this season, anything over 98% is adequate. What team is best in the index? Where do the Habs rank? These questions, as always, will be answered in the chart seen below:
|Team||PP %||PK %||Index %|
|5) St. Louis||22.6||84.2||106.8|
|6) San Jose||18.5||86.7||105.2|
|7) New Jersey||16.7||87.9||104.6|
|15) Tampa Bay||13.2||87.1||100.3|
|17) New York I.||14.1||84.5||98.6|
|26) New York R.||14.4||80.9||95.3|
|29) Los Angeles||13.5||78.2||91.3|
As of games played through January 2nd, 2004.
So, the Flyers are at the top of the ‘index’, and where are they in the standings? Right around the top of the league. Ottawa, Colorado, Detroit and St. Louis? Not at the top, but sitting comfortably nonetheless. As a matter of fact, 11 of the top 16 teams in the index are in playoff spots, meaning that only 5 in the bottom 14 are in the postseason as of now (one of them is the Habs, don’t worry…)
The preceding paragraph can conclude one simple thing, a thought that didn’t really need to be proven in the first place, it’s common sense – special teams play a key role in a team’s success. Carolina has the worst powerplay, and where are they? 13th in the Eastern Conference, out of the playoffs. Edmonton has the worst penalty kill, and where are they? 12th in the Western Conference and out of the postseason. Philly has the top powerplay, and are tied for second in the NHL. New Jersey has the best penalty kill (no surprise there), and of course, are sitting comfortably in the standings. The Habs? Fairly high on the PP, low on the PK, but it seems to balance out, as they’re currently in the playoffs.
Later on in the season, I will analyze the powerplay and penalty kill in further depth, as separate stats.
Questions/comments? E-mail me at [email protected].
Statistics courtesy of the National Hockey League.