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Cullen: 2010-2011 NHL giveaway leaders, trailers

Scott Cullen
7/21/2011 4:31:31 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 giveaways per 60 minutes of even strength play last season in the NHL.

Just after giving Joe Thornton praise for his high takeaway rate, we're left to deal with Joe Thornton's league-leading giveaway rate. Obviously, Jumbo Joe had the puck on his stick a lot, which creates many opportunities to turn it over, but he's well ahead of all other contenders in this category.

One of the factors to note, whenever dealing with giveaways and takeaways, is that the subjectivity of the statistic leads to more questionable results. From my Twitter exchange with CTV's Arpon Basu last night, the feeling was that Montreal was particularly harsh in their treatment, rarely crediting takeaways and more liberally counting giveaways for the Habs.

Jaroslav Spacek and Yannick Weber were two Habs that made it into the dubious leaderboard for giveaways, but there were also a couple Montreal forwards that fared quite well, so a much more thorough examination would be required to establish the rinks with the most questionable recording practices when it comes to giveaways.

Looking at the numbers with that remain, Edmonton has five and Toronto four representatives among those with the most giveaways per 60 minutes, but there is an interesting mix of players on the list. From playmaking centres like Thornton, Ryan Getzlaf and Jason Spezza, to enigmatic wingers like Ilya Kovalchuk, Alex Kovalev and Dustin Penner to enforcers like Steve MacIntyre and Krys Barch, there is a variety of player types represented.

Among players that played at least 25 games, then, here are the 25 with the most giveaways per 60 minutes of even strength play:

Rank PLAYER TEAM POS ES GIVE ES TOI ESGIVE/60
1. Joe Thornton San Jose C 81 73406 3.97
2. Steve MacIntyre Edmonton LW 7 7144 3.53
3. Keith Aulie Toronto D 39 40380 3.48
4. Nazem Kadri Toronto LW 22 22942 3.45
5. Alex Kovalev Pittsburgh RW 55 60602 3.27
6. Ilya Kovalchuk New Jersey LW 80 88649 3.25
7. Jordin Tootoo Nashville RW 34 37799 3.24
8. Krys Barch Dallas RW 12 13485 3.20
9. Gilbert Brule Edmonton C 27 30385 3.20
10. Luke Schenn Toronto D 81 91749 3.18
11. Dustin Penner Los Angeles LW 59 67578 3.14
12. Tyler Sloan Washington D 21 24072 3.14
13. Jaroslav Spacek Montreal D 48 55333 3.12
14. Ryan Getzlaf Anaheim C 62 71561 3.12
15. Mike Komisarek Toronto D 46 54138 3.06
16. Linus Omark Edmonton LW 33 38902 3.05
17. Yannick Weber Montreal D 28 33473 3.01
18. Justin Williams Los Angeles RW 51 63493 2.89
19. Jason Spezza Ottawa C 44 54905 2.88
20. Francois Beauchemin Anaheim D 71 90393 2.83
21. Brian Rafalski Detroit D 49 62906 2.80
22. Theo Peckham Edmonton D 53 68045 2.80
23. Rob Schremp Atlanta C 36 46318 2.80
24. Tom Gilbert Edmonton D 66 86041 2.76
25. Derek Roy Buffalo C 23 30130 2.75

When it comes to those that didn't record a lot of giveaways, some probably need to thank their local scorer. I quite like Andrew Murray as a checking forward, for example, but find it hard to believe that, in 290:15 of even-strength ice time, he had one giveaway. Either that's some serious puck-protection ability that needs to be cultivated, or he and other Blue Jackets grinders are getting pretty lenient treatment.

The fewest giveaways doesn't seem particularly instructive, however, since many of these players likely have few giveaways because they don't have the puck on their stick all that often, so there is room to dig a little further.

For now, here are the 25 players with the fewest giveaways per 60 minutes of even strength play (minumum 25 games):

 

Rank PLAYER TEAM POS ES GIVE ES TOI ESGIVE/60
619. Ben Lovejoy Pittsburgh D 6 39569 0.55
620. Danny Briere Philadelphia C 10 70093 0.51
621. Trevor Gillies N.Y. Islanders LW 1 7037 0.51
622. Ruslan Fedotenko N.Y. Rangers LW 7 51912 0.49
623. Derek Dorsett Columbus LW 7 52681 0.48
624. Matt Bradley Washington RW 5 37865 0.48
625. Tom Pyatt Montreal C 4 30766 0.47
626. Shawn Thornton Boston LW 6 47025 0.46
627. Cam Janssen St. Louis RW 2 15741 0.46
628. Chris Conner Pittsburgh RW 5 40284 0.45
629. Jack Skille Florida RW 5 41894 0.43
630. Travis Moen Montreal LW 6 51220 0.42
631. David Koci Colorado LW 1 8558 0.42
632. Daniel Paille Boston LW 3 25858 0.42
633. Bryan Bickell Chicago LW 7 60444 0.42
634. Samuel Pahlsson Columbus C 7 61103 0.41
635. Mats Zuccarello N.Y. Rangers LW 3 29310 0.37
636. Jon Sim N.Y. Islanders LW 2 20225 0.36
637. Cam Barker Minnesota D 4 44246 0.33
638. Ethan Moreau Columbus LW 2 23742 0.30
639. Patrick Dwyer Carolina RW 4 49799 0.29
640. Cody McLeod Colorado LW 3 38805 0.28
641. Blair Betts Philadelphia C 2 30598 0.24
642. Jay Beagle Washington C 1 17203 0.21
643. Andrew Murray Columbus RW 1 17415 0.21

Taking a page from basketball, a sport that uses assist-to-turnover ratio regularly with point guards, NHL players can similarly be grouped in that manner, comparing assists to giveaways.

From this group, plenty of those involved, including the top-ranked Bryan Bickell, are players that don't handle the puck that often and not for long periods of time, so it's understandable that he wouldn't have a lot of giveaways.

What's more interesting is getting a look at players that tend to drive offence, like Danny Briere, Rick Nash (Columbus effect?), Henrik Sedin and Jonathan Toews. Those players have the puck on their stick quite a bit and they make creative plays in the offensive zone that can lead to giveaways if the right decisions aren't made.

Here are the Top 25 forwards in even-strength assist-to-giveaway ratio (minimum 25 games, 10 even-strength assists):

Rank PLAYER TEAM POS ESA ESGIVE ESA/ESG
1. Bryan Bickell Chicago LW 19 7 2.71
2. Danny Briere Philadelphia C 25 10 2.50
3. Ryan Callahan N.Y. Rangers RW 18 8 2.25
4. Jack Skille Florida RW 11 5 2.20
5. Andy McDonald St.Louis C 18 9 2.00
6. David Desharnais Montreal C 10 5 2.00
7. Ben Lovejoy Pittsbugh D 12 6 2.00
8. Alex Burrows Vancouver RW 21 11 1.91
9. Jordan Staal Pittsburgh C 13 7 1.86
10. Ruslan Fedotenko N.Y. Rangers LW 13 7 1.86
11. Samuel Pahlsson Columbus C 13 7 1.86
12. Mason Raymond Vancouver LW 20 11 1.82
13. Artem Anisimov N.Y. Rangers C 21 12 1.75
14. Rick Nash Columbus LW 26 15 1.73
15. Michael Frolik Chicago RW 22 13 1.69
16. Shawn Thornton Boston LW 10 6 1.67
17. Travis Moen Montreal LW 10 6 1.67
18. Henrik Sedin Vancouver C 48 29 1.66
19. Niclas Bergfors Florida RW 18 11 1.64
20. Vladimir Sobotka St. Louis C 18 11 1.64
21. Brandon Dubinsky N.Y. Rangers LW 21 13 1.62
22. R.J. Umberger Columbus LW 27 17 1.59
23. Matt Hendricks Washington LW 15 10 1.50
24. Jonathan Toews Chicago C 28 19 1.47
25. Nathan Horton Boston RW 25 17 1.47

When it comes to defencemen, there are few standouts, though Ben Lovejoy's ratio, in limited time, is a real outlier.

Here are the Top 25 defencemen in even-strength assist-to-giveaway ratio (minimum 25 games, 10 even-strength assists):

Rank PLAYER TEAM POS ESA ESGIVE ESA/ESG
1. Ben Lovejoy Pittsburgh D 12 6 2.00
2. Kevin Shattenkirk St. Louis D 22 18 1.22
3. Michael Sauer N.Y. Rangers D 12 12 1.00
4. John-Michael Liles Colorado D 25 26 0.96
5. Tobias Enstrom Atlanta D 18 21 0.86
6. Adam McQuaid Boston D 12 14 0.86
7. Adrian Aucoin Phoenix D 17 20 0.85
8. Kris Russell Columbus D 12 15 0.80
9. Joni Pitkanen Carolina D 19 24 0.79
10. Alex Pietrangelo St. Louis D 21 27 0.78
11. Alexander Edler Vancouver D 13 17 0.76
12. Dennis Seidenberg Boston D 15 21 0.71
13. Ian White San Jose D 17 24 0.71
14. Johnny Boychuk Boston D 12 17 0.71
15. Jack Hillen N.Y. Islanders D 16 23 0.70
16. Matt Carle Philadelphia D 37 54 0.69
17. Ryan Suter Nashville D 18 28 0.64
18. Toni Lydman Anaheim D 20 32 0.63
19. Brian Campbell Chicago D 18 29 0.62
20. Andrej Meszaros Philadelphia D 21 34 0.62
21. Lubomir Visnovsky Anaheim D 24 39 0.62
22. Ryan Whitney Edmonton D 16 26 0.62
23. Mike Lundin Tampa Bay D 11 18 0.61
24. Nick Schultz Minnesota D 12 20 0.60
25. Chris Campoli Chicago D 16 27 0.59

Finally, a look at the forwards that come in with the worst assist-to-giveaway ratio. It's important to note that there was a minimum of 10 even-strength assists to qualify, so that helped to limit the fourth-line/part-time player involvement on the list.

It certainly doesn't reflect well on Ilya Kovalchuk, as though we needed giveaway numbers to know that he didn't have a good season in 2010-2011, but there is a difference to be seen between elite playmakers Henrik Sedin, who ranked among the best and Joe Thornton, who was among the worst. With only 25 even-strength assists in the 2010-2011 season, Thornton had his fewest even-strength assists since 1998-1999. Combined with the league's highest giveaway rate, the numbers don't come out too favourably.

Here are the Bottom 25 forwards in even strength takeaways per 60 minutes (minimum 25 games, 10 even-strength assists):

 

Rank PLAYER TEAM POS ESA ESGIVE ESA/ESG
252. Alexander Burmistrov Atlanta C 13 31 0.42
253. Kevin Porter Colorado C 10 24 0.42
254. Lars Eller Montreal C 10 24 0.42
255. Andreas Nodl Philadelphia RW 11 27 0.41
256. Colin Wilson Nashville C 14 35 0.40
257. Brenden Morrow Dallas LW 19 48 0.40
258. Mattias Tedenby New Jersey LW 11 28 0.39
259. Daniel Alfredsson Ottawa RW 12 31 0.39
260. Blake Comeau N.Y. Islanders RW 15 39 0.38
261. Ben Eager San Jose LW 10 26 0.38
262. Jason Blake Anaheim LW 12 32 0.38
263. Curtis Glencross Calgary LW 16 44 0.36
264. Steve Ott Dallas C 11 31 0.35
265. Dany Heatley San Jose RW 18 51 0.35
266. Rene Bourque Calgary RW 12 34 0.35
267. Michal Handzus Los Angeles C 11 32 0.34
268. Dustin Penner Los Angeles LW 20 59 0.34
269. Devin Setoguchi San Jose RW 13 40 0.33
270. Joe Thornton San Jose C 25 81 0.31
271. Josh Bailey N.Y. Islanders LW 10 34 0.29
272. Jordin Tootoo Nashville RW 10 34 0.29
273. Tyler Bozak Toronto C 12 41 0.29
274. Rob Schremp Atlanta C 10 36 0.28
275. Alex Kovalev Pittsburgh RW 14 55 0.25
276. Ilya Kovalchuk New Jersey LW 17 80 0.21

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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