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Cullen: NHL Takeaway Leaders in 2010-2011

Scott Cullen
7/20/2011 3:58:37 PM
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Tracking giveaways and takeaways in the NHL can be tricky business, as it does require some judgment on behalf of the scorer, certainly much moreso than goals, assists and plus-minus.

For that reason (and as you'll see below), giveaway and takeaway numbers have to be taken with a grain of salt, yet there can be interesting information gleaned from the results.

Scott Cullen looks at the numbers and comes up with the leaders and trailers in takeaways per 60 minutes of even strength play last season in the NHL.

While it's no surprise that Pavel Datsyuk, a three-time Selke Award nominee that has led the league in takeaways in three of the last five seasons, would rank among the leaders, it's more noteworthy that Joe Thornton would finish with the most takeaways in the league, as well as the best rate at even strength.

There are a couple of high-profile two-way players that rank among the leaders, including Jonathan Toews and Nicklas Backstrom, yet there is an interesting mix in style of play and calibre of player that ranks among the takeaway leaders.

Checkers like Frans Nielsen, Ryan O'Reilly and Dave Bolland aren't terribly surprising, yet the list also includes offensive talents like John Tavares and Alexander Semin that might be a tad more surprising.

Among forwards that played at least 25 games, then, here are the Top 25 in takeaways per 60 minutes of even strength play:

Rank PLAYER TEAM POS ES TAKE ES TOI ESTAKE/60
1. Joe Thornton San Jose C 93 73406 4.56
2. Pavel Datsyuk Detroit C 62 52020 4.29
3. Derek Roy Buffalo C 32 30130 3.82
4. Philippe Dupuis Colorado C 35 33145 3.80
5. Frans Nielsen N.Y. Islanders C 55 52186 3.79
6. Jonathan Toews Chicago C 74 75441 3.53
7. Mathieu Perreault Washington C 21 21770 3.47
8. Bryan Little Atlanta C 62 65098 3.43
9. Ryan O'Reilly Colorado C 55 57824 3.42
10. Josh Bailey N.Y. Islanders LW 52 54931 3.41
11. Matt Halischuk Nashville RW 15 15981 3.38
12. Peter Regin Ottawa C 38 40607 3.37
13. Kyle Wellwood San Jose C 26 27851 3.36
14. Greg Mauldin Colorado C 15 16093 3.36
15. Jeff Skinner Carolina RW 62 66552 3.35
16. T.J. Oshie St. Louis RW 40 43249 3.33
17. John Tavares N.Y. Islanders C 68 73853 3.31
18. Alexander Semin Washington RW 49 54278 3.25
19. Jamie Benn Dallas LW 52 58341 3.21
20. Nicklas Backstrom Washington C 64 73131 3.15
21. Dave Bolland Chicago C 41 49207 3.00
22. Cal O'Reilly Nashville C 27 32615 2.98
23. Matt Stajan Calgary C 47 56787 2.98
24. Alexander Burmistrov Atlanta C 43 52237 2.96
25. J.P. Dumont Nashville RW 33 40119 2.96

Among those players that weren't big in the takeaway department, naturally, there are quite a few enforcers. They tend not to move particularly well, which makes it difficult to get in quickly on the forecheck to create turnovers.

At the same time, not registering a lot of takeaways doesn't inherently prevent a player from being a useful checker. For teams that tend to have possession of the puck a lot, there aren't many opportunities to take it away from the opponent.

That's part of the reason that checking forward like Drew Miller and Danny Cleary for Detroit, Gregory Campbell for Boston, Michael Rupp for Pittsburgh, Blair Betts for Philadelphia and Ryan Johnson for Chicago end up at the low end of the scale. However, since they have teammates that obviously take the puck away more, there is still room for improvement in all cases.

Here are the Bottom 25 forwards in takeaways per 60 minutes of even strength play (minumum 25 games):

 

Rank PLAYER TEAM POS ES TAKE ES TOI ESTAKE/60
397. Ryan Johnson Chicago C 4 18156 0.79
398. Brad Staubitz Minnesota RW 6 27544 0.78
399. Brandon McMillan Anaheim C 9 41907 0.77
400. Danny Cleary Detroit LW 12 56788 0.76
401. Adam Hall Tampa Bay RW 12 58364 0.74
402. John Scott Chicago LW 3 14600 0.74
403. Tanner Glass Vancouver LW 7 34142 0.74
404. Michael Rupp Pittsburgh C 9 43964 0.74
405. Matt Calvert Columbus LW 5 25461 0.71
406. Blair Betts Philadelphia C 6 30598 0.71
407. Travis Moen Montreal LW 10 51220 0.70
408. David Desharnais Montreal C 5 25994 0.69
409. Cam Janssen St. Louis RW 3 15741 0.69
410. Vaclav Prospal N.Y. Rangers LW 4 21200 0.68
411. Ryan Reaves St. Louis RW 2 11275 0.64
412. Marc Savard Boston C 3 19106 0.57
413. Cody McLeod Colorado LW 6 38805 0.56
414. Gregory Campbell Boston C 8 55150 0.52
415. Trevor Gillies N.Y. Islanders LW 1 7037 0.51
416. Steve MacIntyre Edmonton LW 1 7144 0.50
417. Michal Repik Florida RW 3 22052 0.49
418. Paul Bissonnette Phoenix LW 2 15069 0.48
419. Drew Miller Detroit LW 5 37957 0.47
420. David Koci Colorado LW 1 8558 0.42
421. Colton Orr Toronto RW 1 13820 0.26

On defence, Dustin Byfuglien is far and away the leader in the category, but the most glaring result is that seven Islanders defencemen rank among the leaders at the position, which could be a reflection on how liberal they are in recording takeaways on the Island, but also perhaps an indication that the Islanders have many, many opportunities for their defencemen to take the puck from the opposition.

Here are the Top 25 defencemen in even strength takeaways per 60 minutes (minimum 25 games):

Rank PLAYER TEAM ES TAKE ES TOI ESTAKE/60
1. Dustin Byfuglien Atlanta 76 93180 2.94
2. Andrew MacDonald N.Y. Islanders 40 64691 2.23
3. Kevin Bieksa Vancouver 43 71562 2.16
4. Justin Braun San Jose 14 24223 2.08
5. Erik Karlsson Ottawa 46 82722 2.00
6. Jack Hillen N.Y. Islanders 34 61863 1.98
7. Travis Hamonic N.Y. Islanders 35 64741 1.95
8. Shea Weber Nashville 50 96237 1.87
9. Bruno Gervais N.Y. Islanders 22 44482 1.78
10. Kevin Shattenkirk St. Louis 35 71189 1.77
11. John Carlson Washington 43 89085 1.74
12. Marc Staal N.Y. Rangers 44 92247 1.72
13. Victor Hedman Tampa Bay 39 82158 1.71
14. Joe Corvo Carolina 42 88819 1.70
15. Milan Jurcina N.Y. Islanders 19 40194 1.70
16. Dan Hamhuis Vancouver 32 68949 1.67
17. Jim Vandermeer Edmonton 26 58241 1.61
18. Mike Weaver Florida 38 85272 1.60
19. Radek Martinek N.Y. Islanders 30 67891 1.59
20. Chris Tanev Vancouver 10 22890 1.57
21. Johnny Oduya Atlanta 36 82753 1.57
22. Brent Burns Minnesota 40 92472 1.56
23. Andrej Sekera Buffalo 33 78362 1.52
24. Dylan Reese N.Y. Islanders 9 21458 1.51
25. Ryan McDonagh N.Y. Rangers 17 41067 1.49

Among defencemen at the low-end, it obviously doesn't reflect well on part-timers Joe Callahan, Matt Smaby and Brett Lebda to have so few takeaways, but being low on takeaways doesn't necessarily mean a defenceman can't be effective.

Dennis Seidenberg was obviously very effective shutting down the top lines of Boston's opponents in the postseason, but he's one of five Bruins defencemen to rank low on the takeaway chart.

Here are the Bottom 25 defencemen in even strength takeaways per 60 minutes (minimum 25 games):

 

Rank PLAYER TEAM ES TAKE ES TOI ESTAKE/60
196. Nick Schultz Minnesota 9 76414 0.42
197. Matt Greene Los Angeles 7 60864 0.41
198. Steven Kampfer Boston 4 35778 0.40
199. Johnny Boychuk Boston 8 71590 0.40
200. Matt Niskanen Pittsburgh 6 53940 0.40
201. Anton Volchenkov New Jersey 6 54553 0.40
202. Keith Ballard Vancouver 6 54784 0.39
203. Dennis Seidenberg Boston 10 92869 0.39
204. Tim Gleason Carolina 9 84747 0.38
205. Bryan McCabe N.Y. Rangers 6 60253 0.36
206. Keith Aulie Toronto 4 40380 0.36
207. Adam Foote Colorado 4 42123 0.34
208. Adam McQuaid Boston 5 53714 0.34
209. Brian Lee Ottawa 4 45237 0.32
210. Alec Martinez Los Angeles 4 48505 0.30
211. Oliver Ekman-Larsson Phoenix 3 37779 0.29
212. Sami Salo Vancouver 2 25260 0.29
213. Andreas Lilja Anaheim 3 43345 0.25
214. Paul Mara Montreal 3 47774 0.23
215. Andrew Ference Boston 4 66316 0.22
216. David Schlemko Phoenix 2 36140 0.20
217. Sheldon Brookbank Anaheim 1 26859 0.13
218. Brett Lebda Toronto 1 27554 0.13
219. Matt Smaby Tampa Bay 0 12632 0.00
220. Joe Callahan Florida 0 24477 0.00

Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.



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