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Habs Sin Bin statistics: A closer look at who took and drew the most penalties in 2016-17

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Who took the most penalties last year? Who drew the most? And who had the best penalty differential? Time to find out.

Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

At five-versus-five, the Montreal Canadiens took 215 penalties last season and drew 231. Their penalty differential of +16 was ninth-best in the league. Unfortunately, their power-play efficiency was 25th in the league, and they failed to gain much momentum in the opportunities presented. For reference, War-on-ice.com found that, on average, teams get 0.17 goals per penalty plus/minus, which roughly translates to one goal per six power-play or penalty-kill situations.

Drawing penalties is an underrated aspect of today's NHL, where every team fights for an inch, but are given a mile by certain players. Seeing as goals are getting rarer around the league, there's significant value to be found when discussing discipline. Unfortunately we don't have access to every player's penalty differential per 60 minutes, but we should keep in mind each player's usage as we evaluate their raw differential.

Let's take a look at how individual players performed in regard to discipline last season. All numbers are 5v5. Data sourced from Corsica.hockey.

The Defencemen
Player GP Penalties Taken Penalty Drawn Penalty Differential 5vs5 TOI
Nathan Beaulieu 64 5 8 3 949.51
Mark Barberio 30 3 2 -1 134.34
Joel Hanley 10 1 0 -1 396.87
Greg Pateryn 38 7 5 -2 553.44
Darren Dietz 13 4 1 -3 172.84
Tom Gilbert 45 5 2 -3 641.42
Victor Bartley 10 3 0 -3 115.68
Jeff Petry 51 8 3 -5 816.78
Andrei Markov 82 11 5 -6 1367.41
P.K. Subban 68 16 7 -9 1204.59
Alexei Emelin 72 19 7 -12 1228.56

  • As per usual, the defenders took the most penalties on the team, which is due to the higher level of difficulty involved in playing the position.
  • Beaulieu is the only defender who managed a positive penalty differential last season. It's a relatively impressive feat, considering playing defense in the NHL is conducive to taking penalties.
  • Emelin ended up with the worst penalty differential by a wide margin, despite drawing a fair amount of calls.
  • Subban was once again a big minus in the penalty differential category. For all his skill, it's hard to say that discipline was at the forefront during his tenure with the Canadiens. Last year he was a -13. Of course, we can't ignore that he played more minutes than anyone else on the roster.
  • Predictably, the three most used defenders had the the worst differentials.
  • The rest of the defensive squad finished between -1 and -3, which, truth be told, is a reasonable number throughout the course of the season.

The Forwards
Player GP Penalties Taken Penalties Drawn Penalty Differential 5vs5 TOI
Brendan Gallagher 53 5 14 9 678.74
Paul Byron 62 2 11 9 695.26
David Desharnais 65 5 12 7 828.35
Sven Andrighetto 44 1 7 6 539.01
Alex Galchenyuk 82 7 12 5 1027.08
Devante Smith-Pelly 64 7 9 2 467.38
Dale Weise 71 9 10 1 674.56
Lars Eller 79 11 12 1 953.81
Brian Flynn 56 3 3 0 535.62
Max Pacioretty 82 12 12 0 1067.88
Stefan Matteau 32 2 2 0 125.79
Daniel Carr 23 3 2 -1 247.60
Jacob de la Rose 22 2 1 -1 234.66
Lucas Lessio 12 1 0 -1 119.47
Phillip Danault 51 3 1 -2 231.15
Tomas Fleischmann 76 11 8 -3 730.48
Alex Semin 15 5 1 -4 148.81
Tomas Plekanec 82 9 4 -5 1065.92
Michael McCarron 20 6 0 -6 204.90
Torrey Mitchell 71 17 7 -10 745.58

  • Both Byron and Gallagher produced an impressive +9 penalty differential. For context, the league leader in that department is Anze Kopitar with +14.
  • Galchenyuk, Andrighetto, Gallagher, Byron and Desharnais were the best players when it comes to overall discipline.
  • McCarron will need to improve in this department. Obviously he's being used in somewhat of an enforcer role, but the fact of the matter is he won't learn to be a better hockey player while costing his team scoring opportunities.
  • Semin didn't do himself any favours by running up a -4 differential in just 15 games.
  • Mitchell had a career year in terms of goals, but it must be said that he clearly lacked discipline throughout the year. -10 is among the worst results for all forwards in the NHL. His lack of discipline cost the Canadiens up to two goals last season.
  • For those wondering, the worst forward last season was the recently bought out Antoine Vermette, at -19.
The new guys
Player GP Penalties Taken Penalties Drawn Penalty Differential
Andrew Shaw 78 15 16 1
Bobby Farnham 53 14 20 6
Shea Weber 78 7 3 -4
Zach Redmond 37 5 1 -4

  • Surprisingly Farnham had a fantastic penalty differential last year, although it's worth noting that he was suspended for four days in January.
  • Shaw had the exact same differential as Eller, although he took and drew more penalties overall.
  • For all his physical prowess, Weber finished with a -4, which is quite respectable. The discipline difference between himself and Subban should help the Canadiens next season, albeit marginally.
  • We don't have Radulov's differential numbers from the KHL, but we do have numbers for his 2007-08 season with the Predators. He took 21 penalties and drew 15, for a differential of -6.
The Canadiens improved their discipline compared to last season, and what really kept them from taking advantage of their opportunities was a below average power play. The system put in place by the Habs was pathetic to say the least, and with the addition of Radulov, Weber, and more importantly Kirk Muller, the Canadiens should be in better shape next season.