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Special Teams Plus/Minus - Early season results (October 31)

bruinsspecialteams plusminus oct 31

James O’Brien

In case you weren’t following PHT in its first month, I introduced some new special teams stats because I’m not satisfied with the common percentage-based rankings for power plays and penalty kill units.

Earlier tonight, I provided the NHL’s best PP units based on Power Play Plus/Minus and then took a look at the PK leaders and losers.

Special Teams Plus/Minus is quite simple: you just add PP plus/minus and PK plus/minus together. (Although since every PK total is negative, it’s essentially subtraction.)

I’m not 100 percent sure this stat is quite as useful as the individual sets, although perhaps fan bases can rail on a coach (or point to a single number) when a team tumbles. Here’s the spreadsheet. The highlighted column is special teams plus/minus.

special teams plusminus oct 31

James O’Brien

(click to enlarge)

Now, some observations:

  • You could probably categorize the top five teams as “elite” at this moment: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Detroit and NY Islanders.
  • Conversely, the worst five: Buffalo, Colorado, New Jersey, Edmonton and Dallas.
  • Buffalo (-9) and Colorado (-7) are the anti-cream of the crop.
  • Atlanta is on top because of their high-powered PP (13 goals scored, zero allowed) while Boston did so because of a great PK (only two PP goals allowed).

So, there you have it, the best and worst special teams units in the NHL. Obviously, 8-12 games is a small sample, so we’ll update these once the season is about 25 percent finished. We hope that you enjoyed this dorky numbers exercise.