After having endured such a terrible PK that the Leafs had, there's no way in hell I would sacrifice it for a top PP.
The way I see it is that a bad PP leads to missed opportunities, but a bad PK can directly lose you games. I remember a game last year where the Leafs lost to Washington 4-2, and Washington scored all 4 goals on the PP.
I remember a game where the Leafs won 9-3 and Brett Lebda was a -3.
It might lack any relevance to this thread but I truly believe that this hilarious statistical anomaly was a very accurate portrayal of of just HOW bad Lebda was with the Toronto Maple Leafs. It might just be the greatest single stat of all time
You can't get by without a good PK. If the option was the #1 PP vs #1 PK, I'd take the #1 PP but being a poor penalty killing team is unacceptable.
This a good point. When it comes to preventing goals, there is a law of diminishing returns and there is only so good a penalty kill can get. But a dominant power play (like the Penguins in 1996 with Mario Lemieux, Ron Francis, and Jaromir Jagr all on it) can differ itself from the 2nd best PP in the league by a wide margin.
But overall, a weak PK will kill your team much more than a weak PP will.
Reasons are that it's a lot more entertaining and it has a tangible effect on the opponents' game plans. If they know they'll get burnt for straddling the line too much, they'll be less dirty throughout the game. Having a top PK does no such thing because no one actually thinks "Eh, if I take a penalty it's no big deal; we're good at killing them".
Toronto is maybe the best team to pose this question to. Last year we had a tremendous PP and an atrocious PK.
Trust me, you lose a lot more games with a ****** PK than you do by not scoring on the PP.
Last year Montreal had the #2 PK and the #28 PP and still finished behind Toronto. This year we have a really good PP and a below average PK and are a top 5 team in the league. You can't just throw blanket statements out there.