Backchecking: Power Play Observations

Scott Cullen

11/7/2009 9:20:37 AM

The NHL season is far enough along to get a feel for how teams are distributing their power play minutes.  In most cases, it's obvious, or at least readily apparent, who is going to get that precious playing time, but here are some observations with regards to each team's power play ice time.

LW Bobby Ryan is a second-unit power play guy, getting 2:28 per game, less than both veteran Finns Teemu Selanne (3:08) and Saku Koivu (2:47).

Despite little production, LW Vyacheslav Kozlov ranks third on the Thrashers with 3:57 of power play time.  D Tobias Enstrom is the mainstay on the blueline (4:48), with Zach Bogosian (2:00) and Pavel Kubina (1:59) splitting time.  Ron Hainsey (0:59) is pretty much on the outside looking in.

Derek Morris is getting 3:12 of power play time per game, which seems like quite a bit given his production in recent seasons, particularly considering Matt Hunwick only gets 25 seconds of power play time per game.  RW Michael Ryder, who has three goals in 14 games, ranks second among Bruins forwards with 3:10 per game.

D Chris Butler gets 3:50 of PP time per game, which seems like a lot for little offence.  The Sabres also take a balanced approach, with ten players getting at least 2:47 of power play time per game.  But, if you just happen to have an extra power play quarterback on the blueline, the Sabres will probably take your call.

LW David Moss qualifies as a first-unit power play guy with 2:16 per game, ranking fifth on the Flames, just ahead of C Daymond Langkow and LW Nigel Dawes, who are both ahead of team-leading scorer Rene Bourque.

Not a lot of surprises, aside from team-leading scorer Jussi Jokinen ranking 10th with 2:51 per game -- less than Matt Cullen, Rod Brind'Amour, Tuomo Ruutu and Sergei Samsonov, each of whom has just six points on the season.

While he only gets 13:38 of ice time per game, D Cam Barker is a first-unit power play defenceman, skating for 3:07 with the man advantage.  RW Tomas Kopecky, who has a total of two points through 15 games, ranks 10th on the team with 2:06 of PP time per game, well ahead of LW Andrew Ladd (0:04).

Rookie C Matt Duchene is fifth on the Avs at 3:25 per game and RW Marek Svatos is at 2:30, both of whom are ahead of LW Wojtek Wolski, the team's leading goal scorer.  Rookie C Ryan O'Reilly ranks 12th on the squad at 1:03 per game.

Anton Stralman leads all Blue Jackets defencemen with 3:38 of power play time per game.  LW Nikita Filatov isn't one on of the top two units, getting just 41 seconds per game with the man advantage.  LW Kristian Huselius leads the Jackets in PP time with 3:48 per game, 20 seconds more than RW Rick Nash.

Agitator Steve Ott (2:27) sees more power play time than Fabian Brunnstrom (1:10) and seven-time 20-goal scorer Jere Lehtinen has seen a total of 36 seconds in the four games he's played this season.

Removing an injured Johan Franzen from the equation, LW Dan Cleary ranks sixth on the Wings in power play time, with 3:10 per game, yet has just two points with the man advantage.  Jonathan Ericsson, who leads Red Wings defencemen with eight points, has a total of one second on the power play.

LW Patrick O'Sullivan and RW Ales Hemsky are tied for the lead among Oilers forwards, with 3:20 per game, and D Tom Gilbert only gets one second less (2:43) per game than the more productive Denis Grebeshkov (2:44).

Rookie D Dmitry Kulikov ranks fifth on the Panthers at 3:17 per game.  Leading scorer Steven Reinprecht ranks seventh at 3:00 per game, while D Keith Ballard only gets 34 seconds per game, falling behind such luminaries as Ville Koistinen, Dennis Seidenberg and Jordan Leopold.

Jack Johnson, who has five points in 16 games, ranks second among Kings D-men with 3:14 per game, while RW Teddy Purcell ranks tenth, rounding out the second unit, at 2:05 per game.

The Wild aren't blessed with a lot of scorers, so the usual suspects lead, though it's somewhat surprising that RW Antti Miettinen (1:59) sees slightly more power play time than RW Petr Sykora (1:55) and D Nick Schultz is ill-suited for the 2:26 he plays with the man advantage.

The off-season acquisitions -- Michael Cammalleri, Scott Gomez and Brian Gionta -- rank 1, 2, 3, while injuries on the blueline leave veteran Roman Hamrlik with the most power play time (3:00 per game), ahead of Marc-Andre Bergeron (2:52).  C Glen Metropolit gets better than two minutes per game, which speaks to Montreal's lack of scoring depth up front.

RW Patric Hornqvist is getting first unit PP time, at 3:20 per game, and LW Martin Erat hasn't been far behinid (2:41) despite managing one point in 11 games and both are ahead of LW J.P. Dumont (2:12).

Undersized D Cory Murphy gets 3:27 per game, when he dresses, leaving Andy Greene and Paul Martin tied (2:50) for tops among regular blueliners.  RW David Clarkson and rookie RW Nicklas Bergfors are both getting more than two minutes per game on the second PP unit.

Taking RW Rob Schremp (2:08) and RW Trent Hunter (3:37) out of the discussion, because they've played six and two games, respectively, C Josh Bailey ranks sixth on the Isles with 2:08 of power play time per game, so he should have more than four points on the season.  Suddenly-hot sniper Jeff Tambellini gets 1:18 per game.

Rookie D Michael Del Zotto leads the Blueshirts at 4:04 per game, and LW Ales Kotalik is a first unit performer at 3:58.  RW Ryan Callahan is also a first-unit guy at 3:27, ahead of Chris Higgins (2:11) and Brandon Dubinsky (2:10).  After that, rookie D Matt Gilroy ranks second among Rangers defencemen at 1:39, leaving Michal Rozsival less than a minute per game and Wade Redden and Dan Girardi fewer than ten seconds of PP time per game.  LW Sean Avery gets 21 seconds per game.

Sent down to the AHL, D Erik Karlsson ranked fifth on the team at 2:45 per game, while RW Ryan Shannon is somewhat of a specialist, ranking seventh at 2:32 per game, even though he plays fewer than 13 minutes a night.

Four defencemen -- Chris Pronger, Matt Carle, Kimmo Timonen and Braydon Coburn -- get at least 3:27 of power play time per game as youngs forwards Claude Giroux, David Laliberte and James van Riemsdyk get between two and three minutes per game.

D Adrian Aucoin leads the Coyotes, at 3:48 per game, and RW Peter Mueller ought to be more produtive (three points in 14 games), considering he ranks sixth in PP time with 2:24 per game.

Though not surprising, it's a very top-heavy group, with Sergei Gonchar, Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby, Bill Guerin, Alex Goligoski and Kris Letang each getting more than four minutes per game.  RW Tyler Kennedy, who ranks third on the Penguins with five goals, still gets only ten seconds of PP time per game.

David Backes, who has one goal, ranks sixth on the team at 2:43 per game, ahead of young forwards Patrik Berglund (2:21), David Perron (2:11) and T.J. Oshie (2:04).

Rookie D Jason Demers has taken first unit time (3:10 per game), ahead of Rob Blake (2:15) and Marc-Edouard Vlasic (1:59).  Another team that goes with a top-heavy approach, leaving little time (but some) for young fill-ins like Ryan Vesce (1:57), Jamie McGinn (1:03) and Benn Ferriero (0:45).  The balance may change once C Joe Pavelski is healthy.

The Lightning have a defined PP unit, with Martin St. Louis, Vincent Lecavalier, Steven Stamkos, Ryan Malone and Victor Hedman each getting more than four minutes per game.  Part-time D Kurtis Foster (3:08) is the only other one getting more than LW Alex Tanguay (2:49) and D Mattias Ohlund (2:25).  RW Steve Downie gets 1:47 per game, so there is some offence attempting to be cultivated in his game.

The recently active Phil Kessel (5:22) and D Tomas Kaberle (5:01) dominate the PP and after that, opportunities abound.  RW Lee Stempniak gets 3:32, to lead the rest, but a dozen players (not including one-gamer Tyler Bozak and two-gamer Jiri Tlusty) get more than a minute of PP time per game.

Three defencemen -- Alexander Edler, Kevin Bieksa and Christian Ehrhoff -- get more than three minutes per game, while Mathieu Schneider and Sami Salo both get more than two minutes per game.  C Kyle Wellwood was effective with the man advantage last year, but despite getting 2:14 of power play time per game this year, he has just one point through 14 games.

It's no shock that LW Alexander Ovechkin (6:16) and D Mike Green (5:38) lead, but LW Brooks Laich (3:38) gets first-unit minutes, while Tom Poti (1:34) ranks second among Caps defencemen.

Notable Recent Healthy Scratches
Jeff Finger, D, Toronto; Michael Nylander, C, Washington; Petr Sykora, RW, Minnesota; Lukas Krajicek, D, Tampa Bay; Scottie Upshall, RW, Phoenix; Peter Mueller, RW, Phoenix; Ville Leino, LW, Detroit; Mathieu Schneider, D, Vancouver;

Scott Cullen can be reached at