Canadiens GM Lennart Westman and Detroit GM Mathias Lundgren combine their efforts to rank the 32 BEARD Hockey teams by likelihood of taking trips to the sin bin.
This is the first of three articles focusing on special teams in BEARD Hockey. This article will be ranking the teams’ risk of taking penalties. The following two will look at their ability to fight the penalties off when they occur (PK) and the third article will be ranking their ability to score on the man advantage (PP).
As every analysis like this ours will also have flaws. You may not agree on the grounds we based our rank on, you may object that we should have weighed in that first lines get more ice time than fourth etc. We just thought this could still be a fun reed and you may always redo/rebalance the figures for your own team.
To rank the risk of taking penalties we used a formula applied to the top 12 forwards and the tops six defenders adding the averages for CK and FG dividing the sum with the average DI (CK+FG/DI). That means we believe that the more an undisciplined guy checks and is inclined to get into fights the higher the likeliness to get penalties.
The formulas for PK and PP will be explained in those articles.
With that said – here we go! Enjoy!
Mathias & Lennart
The teams that will generate most penalties are:
#32 ARIZONA (1,269) The former Coyotes have now become pussycats. It seems like the players are afraid a check or two might ruin their hairdo and that a fight would risk their Crest 3D white-commercial smiles. Unless you manage to step on one of their sticks to fake a tripping penalty your PP-strategy won’t come to use here.
#31 DALLAS (1,294) The most disciplined team is also the team with the third lowest stats for checking and fighting. The only possible penalty this team is gonna take is ”Too many men on ice”!
#30 WINNEPEG (1,329) There will be many many more that passes through the ”gate to the West” than through that penalty box door. Then again it might all depend on how much ice time Brady Tkachuk gets…
#29 PITTSBURGH (1,347) GM Swackhammer might need to change his name to Swackcushion. Their hits will be like a pillow fight and they will want to sit on something soft after getting their asses whipped by the more physical teams. Unless they will score on their penalties instead? No wait, you need someone who can score to do that…
#28 NEW JERSEY (1,388) They don’t wanna check. They don’t want fight. Their DI average of 81 tells you they really don’t wanna take penalties. But don't mistake their ”kindness” for weakness! This is a team that will punish the teams in front of them in this rank hard, given the opportunity! But more about that in the next article.
#27 PHILADELFIA (1,402) Another GM with a misleading name. GM Wolf has not done much to gather a wolf pack for his first year in BEARD hockey. Beside Luke Schenn, just about every player on this team may be a candidate to the Lady Byng Trophy. And with the oldest set of defenders and the young Saros between the posts that might just be the only trophy going to Philly this year…
#26 SEATTLE (1,404) GM Springgay has built a young team afraid of physical contact and highly disciplined. The forward average of 86 DI is beaten only by Dallas and implies you won’t be helped by man advantage if you want to beat them. Then again, you might not need it anyway…
#25 EDMONTON (1,406) One of the lowest FG-averages in the league and an obvious focus more on skating skills and defensive mind than physical combat might be a winning strategy. Or will the physicality of the other teams wear the Oilers down?
#24 CALGARY (1,410) Well, a nonchecking blue line with the highest discipline average in the league won’t give many penalties, but is that really where you want the absence of physical mindset to be? GM Pepper hopes the great skating and good puck handling skills will be enough to put salt in the wounds of the opposition.
#23 WASHINGTON (1,415) With two 80 plus checkers on the entire roster, combined with high DI and a really low fighting average this team won’t give up many penalties. GM Davis can just hope that all the one year contracted players (9!) understand they will need to do more than stay out of the box to stay on the team!
#22 FLORIDA (1,417) 1968 the Russians invaded Czechoslovakia. The Russians on this team will invade your D-zone, but certainly not the penalty box. Just as reluctant to fight as the Texans the players on this team will too do anything they can not to hurt others, or themselves. At least not physically.
#21 CHICAGO (1,418) OK, Tanev can check and Smith will pick a fight or two, but to be honest – how much ice time will those two get? In fact, Pacioretty will most likely gather most PIM on this team. With that said you understand why Chicago stops at place 21 here.
#20 MINNESOTA (1,427) The second most disciplined blue line, a really disciplined bunch of forwards, not a very impressive checking-average and still as high as place 20? You know what that means. Tom Wilson will hunt you down and use the force from his 6’4” tall and 206 lbs of muscle to not only stop you, but to fight and hurt you. This is the most likely winner of the PIM-league, but with that surrounding on the team, this is as high as it gets on this rank.
#19 COLUMBUS (1,428) Very much like for instance Edmonton this is a team that believes more in skating skills and a defensive mind more than checking and fighting. Oddly enough the checking abilities are more to be found among forwards like Hathaway, Kuraly and Miller rather than on the blue line. Either way – not many penalties to expect.
#18 VANCOUVER (1,431) Really hard to predict whether our model with average values are valid for this team. It seems like they shouldn’t take many penalties, but with guys like Wagner (personal index 2,141) and Motto (personal index 1,545) there could be quite a number after all. It all depends on how much ice time the two will get.
#17 OTTAWA (1,447) Third lowest forward CK in the entire league, a low FG and still a DI average close to 80 tells us this team believes more in peace and political solutions than in violence – and penalties for that matter. If diplomacy is the way to win the Cup remains to be seen.
# 16 LOS ANGELES (1,447) Only the fourth decimal separates the Kings from the Senators and place them last on the upper half of this rank. And as expected these teams in the middle don’t have a distinct profile as physical or more skill oriented. Where the Kings end up in the final PIM stat depends a lot on whether Tyler Myers will be able to control his temper, because he will get a lot of ice time…
#15 BOSTON (1,468) Next to Arizona the Bruins have the least checking inclined blue line of all teams. Still they are found to be on the upper half of teams likely to get more penalty minutes than others. The explanation is to be found in a much lower DI-average among the forwards than many other teams. So taking on the Bruins you should expect not so many fights as more cheap shots like crosschecking, hooking and tripping calls, Now that in turn may cause your guys to throw the gloves so we do get a fight anyway…
#14 NEW YORK RANGERS (1,486) It’s their blue line and individuals like Kreider, Foligno and Stewart that take the Ranges to this spot in the ranking. But you can tell that GM McAndrews trust that good skating skills and a good keeper will take care of the problems created by the troublemakers. If that is likely to happen we will look at in the next article.
#13 NASHVILLE (1,509) It’s been debated how important high DI is for the success in SIM hockey. I guess now we’ll find out. A rare combination of high checking and low discipline is to be found on this roster. In fact there's not a single hard hitting player with DI even close to 80. Looking at stats that will be further analyzed in the next article it seems like Nashville might be one of teams that will really suffer from the consequences.
#12 DETROIT (1,512) Another team with a hard hitting blue line and lower DI than many others. Moving Grumpy old men like Abdelkader and Getzlaf would send the Red Wings way down in the PIM race and this rank.
#11 SAN JOSE (1,513) High checking and low DI up front, and then a tad more fight prone than average players all over the ice – there you go! The Sharks risk being on the upper third of the PIM league with Ritchie and Shaw competing for the first place within the team.
#10 VEGAS (1,527) Vegas might struggle with the goal scoring as well as the goal keeping this year, but here’s a race where they might come in high! The whole purpose of Ryan Reaves existence is to take out, the opposition - and by that we mean take out of the rink and into the hospital! But even guys like McNabb, Chiarot and Gudbranson will generate loads of time in the penalty box. As a team the Golden Knights come in as #10 here, but we wouldn’t be surprised if they end up in first place!
#9 TAMPA (1,532) A team with exceptional forward grit! There are only two teams that show a higher forward CK average in the entire league. If only the checking ability and strength of Lowry, Crouse, Cernak and Hague had come with an ounce of discipline – what a team this would have been! They have great scorers of course, but a lot of their skill will not come to use as they will play more box play than most of the teams.
#8 BUFFALO (1,537) One of the teams with more forward grit than Tampa is Buffalo. With a slightly worse DI stat and more fight prone defenders the Sabres get the higher rank. How bad will it hurt the team? That remains to be seen – and analyzed in the next article.
#7 MONTREAL (1,542) ”Strong and disciplined”. Those were GM Westman’s word as he described how he was going to build his team as he applied to be a GM in BEARD Hockey. Boy, did he fool the commissioner! There’s not much checking or strength up front. And the only three physical wingers all lack discipline. And while the roster still might change with this seemingly trade-addicted GM fact remains – there will be a lot of minutes spent in the penalty box this season!
#6 COLORADO (1,547) While teams with many checking forwards at least should count on some good coming out of their play, not counting the penalties taken Colorado might find that their not only checking, but also fight prone forwards may do them more harm than good. They will most certainly be one of the teams that will keep the situation room busy this year.
#5 CAROLINA (1,548) The very high DI average om the blue line is good, but it helps little in the analysis as the forwards as Goodrow will be looking to throw his body and fists around whenever he finds an opportunity to. The combo of guys like Biega, Trocheck and Smith doesn’t exactly help either…
#4 ANAHEIM (1,553) Considering the low checking stats on the blue line and the presence of only two hard hitting wingers this might be surprising to some. But the by far highest FG average and even further lowest DI average among the defenders is enough to bring this team down on the ice and up in this rank. This is a team that risk a real struggle because of the amount of penalties about to be taken.
#3 NEW YORK ISLANDERS (1,600) OK, so here they are – the team with the highest checking average on forwards. But once again, wouldn’t you have preferred to have at least one hard hitting defender as well? Kassian, Cizikas, Martin and Ferland can’t wait to prove they bleed orange, but just about the entire team lack discipline and the risk is the German Gretzky will need to help his new team kill off more penalties than he’ll be playing constructive five on five hockey.
#2 TORONTO (1,616) Have you looked at their blue line? We ask again: HAVE YOU LOOKED AT THEIR BLUE LINE? Some GM:s may chose to rest their top players against this team to avoid injuries. It will hurt to play the Maple Leafs! However there’s also a great risk the blue line will hurt their own team as well. A checking average of 87 and the third lowest DI (73) will generate of lot of PK, and if it’s the defenders that rest in the box – who will stand up for one of the most unexperienced starting goalies in the league?
#1 ST LOUIS (1,662)
The highest fighting average, the third highest checking average AND the lowest discipline average among forwards in the entire league. Add to that the fourth highest checking average, the third highest fighting average and the sixth lowest discipline average for defenders and there you have it – the team that was built to create mayhem. But 22 year old netminder Carter Hart will be put to the test as there will be many, many, many man advantages against to fight off and we predict that Hart, his teammates and GM Snider will learn the hard way that you do not win games in the penalty box.