Monday, July 18, 2011

NHL's Most Complete Special Teams Forwards 2011

Which players in the NHL were the best on both the power play and penalty kill in 2010/11? As it happens I ranked the best power play producers and ranked the best penalty killers; then narrowed in on the best at both. The list is very exclusive, with an average age of 27.8, 7.3 years of experience, and an average annual salary of $5.27M per season. Clearly these players who can play both sides of the special teams dynamic are very valuable, very coveted, experienced, and can productively log very critical minutes of hockey games.

Who are they?

1) Ryan Kesler, Van: You could have made a strong argument for Ryan Kesler winning the Hart Trophy last season, but the Selke Trophy is still a great honour. He might have benefited from a strong power play more than he contributed to it, but 30 PP PTS is a great number. Scored 4 short handed points.

2) Mike Richards, LA: I don't see how discarding Mike Richards makes Philly a better team. Of Philly and LA, we will see which team improves or regresses the most. If your fantasy hockey league includes a category or bonus for SH PTS, you must boost Richards' value in your rankings (scoring 6 SH PTS).

3) Corey Perry, Ana: 31 PP PTS, 5 SH PTS. Your Hart Trophy winner does it all.

4) Tomas Plekanec, Mtl: Ranked first in group for the most minutes spent penalty killing (2.8 mins per game) and was only scored on once for every 12 minutes on the PK. 18 PP PTS.

5) Joe Pavelski, SJ: 28 PP PTS, 3 SH PTS. Pavelski should probably have received more consideration for the Selke, and is one of the more valuable Sharks. I must point out that he greatly disappointed my friend in his playoff pool after spending a high pick to select him.

6) Matt Cullen, Min: The oldest, lowest paid, highest ranked penalty killer, and most under appreciated player on this list. Kicked in with 21 PP PTS and 4 SH goals. Seems to have improved with age.

7) Loui Eriksson, Dal: 25 PP PTS, best in group in terms of being scored on with the man disadvantage, scored on every 15 minutes of penalty killing. That's incredible, but at 1.4 minutes a game he was likely on the 2nd PK unit facing the opposing team's 2nd PP unit.

8) Eric Staal, Car: The highest paid player on this list had 29 PP PTS and 3 SHG. He is a very valuable player in this league, though his team was not able to make the playoffs.

9) Marian Hossa, Chi: I'll admit he's productive, but I don't like that contract. The cap hit is reasonable, but 10 more years for a 32 year old? Those final years should count on the cap if he retires before the end of his contract. 19 PP PTS, 3 SH PTS.

10) Jonathon Toews, Chi: Selke nominee, 25 PP PTS, 2 SH PTS (including one huge short handed goal in game 7 against Vancouver to force overtime).

Honourable mention: Ryan Callahan, the only player to survive my rigorous spreadsheet filter and not make the list.

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