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.
|Player||GP||Penalties Taken||Penalty Drawn||Penalty Differential||5vs5 TOI|
- 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.
|Player||GP||Penalties Taken||Penalties Drawn||Penalty Differential||5vs5 TOI|
|Jacob de la Rose||22||2||1||-1||234.66|
- 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|
- 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.