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01-10-2013, 01:56 AM
Draft Guru
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Let's discuss the Penalty Kill

One topic that I think has been overlooked by many is the departure of four key penalty killing forwards from last season (Fedotenko, Prust, Dubinsky and Anisimov) and how much that could affect us early on - especially with a shortened training camp.

I am well aware that your most important penalty killer is your goaltender - and we obviously have the best one in the league. But our PK was a definite strength of our team last season. 5th overall in the league at 86.2% and tied for 7th in the league with 8 shorthanded goals.

The Departures:

Artem Anisimov 1:03 TOI SH/Game last season
Brandon Dubinsky 1:15
Ruslan Fedotenko 1:15
Brandon Prust 1:40

The Additions:

Jeff Halpern 1:44
Rick Nash 0:39
Aaron Asham 0:00
Taylor Pyatt 0:00

The Returnees:

Brian Boyle 1:59
Ryan Callahan 1:48
Derek Stepan 1:17
Carl Hagelin 0:25
Brad Richards 0:10
Marian Gaborik 0:05
Mike Rupp 0:00
Chris Kreider 0:00

We pretty much relied on 7 forwards last season on the PK - Boyle, Callahan, Prust, Stepan, Dubinsky, Fedotenko and Stepan. We've lost 4 key guys, and have added 1 in Halpern.

Pencil in Boyle, Callahan, Stepan and Halpern as sure things. That means we need 3 more. And you're looking at a group that has very little experience playing shorthanded.

With the condensed schedule and being fed tons of minutes at even strength and on the power play, I'm not sure I see Torts putting Richards, Gaborik or Nash out there on the PK.

Hagelin would be one clear option, especially due to his speed and work along the boards. He has the all tools you would look for from a PKer.

The rest? I'm not so sure.

Kreider has the speed, but a TON to learn defensively at the NHL level.

Asham hasn't killed penalties for a team since 05/06. Lacks foot speed. Rupp hasn't killed penalties regularly either. Again, lacks foot speed.

Pyatt has some experience in his career going back two and three seasons ago.

Perhaps I'm just nitpicking and over analyzing this since every other area of our team looks extremely solid on paper. With our defense and goaltending being so strong, perhaps we get away with some growing pains up front on the PK while they learn the system. But there's very little time to learn the system. Special teams are so key in hockey and often are the difference between winning and losing.

I just think this is something to watch for as this season starts. We'll be playing against a lot of teams with major firepower on their power plays. A bad start by our PK could put us behind the 8 ball early.

Last edited by Draft Guru: 01-10-2013 at 02:21 AM.
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