Ranking the NHL's 10 Best Penalty-Killers in the 2014-15 Season

Allan Mitchell@@Lowetide_Featured ColumnistDecember 3, 2014

Ranking the NHL's 10 Best Penalty-Killers in the 2014-15 Season

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    NHL teams rely heavily on a few important players for successful penalty-killing. These men play tough minutes and are in constant chaos, and success means the score stays the same. It's a thankless job.

    The best penalty-killers are usually easy to spot—their time-on-ice totals shorthanded lead their respective teams. However, the most successful penalty-killing teams are often those who possess the best goaltending in shorthanded situations. As a for instance, the Chicago Blackhawks rank No. 1 overall in penalty killing with much credit to their goaltenders. Corey Crawford ranks very high in short-handed save percentage this season.

    This list puts great value on preventing shots and on playing significant time on the penalty kill, with no credit for playing in front of outstanding goalies. Here are the 10 best penalty-killers in the NHL this season.

10. Mark Fayne, D, Edmonton Oilers

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    How Much Is He Penalty-Killing? Mark Fayne plays almost three minutes a night when the Edmonton Oilers are shorthanded. 

    How Much Does He Help? Fayne ranks No. 10 among NHL defensemen in shots against per 60 minutes, according to Puckalytics.com. He was also effective with the New Jersey Devils in 2013-14.

    How Successful Is His Team? The Oilers rank No. 15 overall in the NHL this season on the penalty kill.  Much of the blame lies with the goaltending, specifically Ben Scrivens who has struggled badly in this area.

9. Dennis Seidenberg, D, Boston Bruins

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    How Much Is He Penalty-Killing? Dennis Seidenberg plays almost three minutes a night for the Boston Bruins as a penalty-killer. 

    How Much Does He Help? Seidenberg ranks as the No. 9 defenseman in shots against per 60 minutes, according to the latest from Puckalytics.com. The Bruins allow fewer than 45 shots against per 60 minutes while Seidenberg is on the ice.

    How Successful Is His Team? Boston ranks No. 18 overall this season on the penalty kill, with the team's goaltenders having some issues in 2014-15.

8. Daniel Winnik, C, Toronto Maple Leafs

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    How Much Is He Penalty-Killing? Daniel Winnik plays well over three minutes a night on the penalty kill for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

    How Much Does He Help? Puckalytics.com ranks Winnik No. 7 among forwards in shots against per 60 minutes this season on the penalty kill. Winnik also leads NHL forwards in time on ice shorthanded.

    How Successful Is His Team? The Leafs rank No. 8 among NHL teams in penalty-killing efficiency this season. That represents a marked improvement from one year ago when the club ranked No. 28 among the 30 NHL teams. 

7. Carl Hagelin, LW, New York Rangers

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    How Much Is He Penalty-Killing? Carl Hagelin plays over two minutes a game on the penalty kill for the New York Rangers.

    How Much Does He Help? Hagelin ranks No. 3 in the NHL among all forwards in shots against for each 60 minutes, according to Puckalytics.com. He's playing almost a full minute more at the discipline this season compared to a year ago.

    How Successful Is His Team? The Rangers are the No. 19 team currently in penalty-killing efficiency, with goaltending being the primary issue as shown by save percentage. Hagelin and teammate Dominic Moore represent the best available tandem among forwards in the NHL in 2014-15.

6. Dan Girardi, D, New York Rangers

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    How Much Is He Penalty-Killing? Dan Girardi plays over three minutes per game for the New York Rangers as a penalty-killer. 

    How Much Does He Help? Girardi ranks No. 4 among defenders overall in shots against per 60 minutes, according to the latest from Puckalytics.com. It's a big part of his considerable value to the team.

    How Successful Is His Team? The Rangers rank No. 19 overall this season on the penalty kill. Goaltender Henrik Lundqivst has struggled—as shown by save percentage—but should recover as the season rolls along.

5. Alex Pietrangelo, D, St. Louis Blues

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    Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

    How Much Is He Penalty-Killing? Alex Pietrangelo is a big part of the St. Louis Blues' penalty kill, playing over three minutes a night in shorthanded situations. 

    How Much Does He Help? A very useful shorthanded metric is the one that measures shots against per 60 minutes of penalty kill. Pietrangelo is the No. 8 overall defenseman in the NHL, according to updated stats at  Puckalytics.com.

    How Successful Is His Team? The Blues rank No. 20 overall this season on the penalty-kill. The problem for St. Louis lies in Brian Elliott's struggles to stop the puck shorthanded.

4. Drew Miller, LW, Detroit Red Wings

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    How Much Is He Penalty-Killing? Drew Miller is employed for three minutes a night as a penalty-killer for the Detroit Red Wings. He leads the team's forwards in the category. 

    How Much Does He Help? Miller ranks No. 5 in the NHL among forwards based on the latest from Puckalytics.com. Miller is one of six forwards who allow fewer than 45 shots per 60 minutes on the penalty kill. 

    How Successful Is His Team? The Red Wings are No. 4 overall in penalty-killing so far this season. Miller's work along with Luke Glendening is a big reason for their success.

3. Dominic Moore, C, New York Rangers

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    How Much Is He Penalty-Killing? Dominic Moore spends well over two minutes a game on the penalty kill for the New York Rangers. He leads the team's forwards in the category. 

    How Much Does He Help? Puckalytics.com tells us that Moore ranks No. 2 in the NHL among all forwards in shots against for each 60 minutes when he's on the ice penalty-killing.

    How Successful Is His Team? The Rangers rank No. 17 overall in penalty-killing efficiency so far this season. Part of the problem for New York is a sketchy save percentage for starting goalie Henrik Lundqvist. Moore and his linemates are performing well in their roles.

2. Bryan Little, C, Winnipeg Jets

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    How Much Is He Penalty-Killing? Bryan Little has spent just over two minutes a night penalty-killing this season for the Winnipeg Jets. 

    How Much Does He Help? According to Puckalytics.com, Little leads NHL forwards in fewest shots against per 60 minutes on the penalty kill. He is the least likely to receive a shot against in the NHL so far in 2014-15.

    How Successful Is His Team? The Jets rank No. 6 overall in penalty-killing efficiency. The club has given up 14 power-play goals and scored three shorthanded tallies, including one by Little.

1. Zach Bogosian, D, Winnipeg Jets

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    How Much Is He Penalty-Killing? Zach Bogosian spends over three minutes a night penalty-killing for the Winnipeg Jets. 

    How Much Does He Help? Puckalytics.com ranks Bogosian No. 2 among defensemen in shots against per 60 minutes this season on the penalty kill. Bogosian ranks No. 1 on this list due to a combination of success and number of minutes played shorthanded.

    How Successful Is His Team? The Jets rank No. 6 when shorthanded among NHL teams. Bogosian is a big part of their achievement in this area. He's a young shutdown defenseman who's a crucial component to an important part of the game.