We’re getting close to the end of this look at benchmarks, and the next specialty is penalty killing.
Bet you weren’t expecting that as a benchmark.
On the matter of shorthanded goals, the Senators had nine different players score them. 17 teams scored fewer total shorthanded goals than the Senators had players who scored them. It was a dangerous unit.
It was a rocky road
The balance between consistent performance, depth, and a team dangerous in shorthanded situations made
Capitals (projected): uhhhh…..
I have no idea who will man the top penalty killing group. The Peerless is tempted to pencil in the Pettinger-Gordon-Clark trio in the forward slots, but the defensemen are a head-scratcher. Morrisonn-Juricna? Maybe. Pothier-Eminger? Perhaps. Mike Green saw next to no time on the penalty kill last year; if he makes the squad, does he get some time there? A player to be named (that is, acquired) later?
There is a lot of work to be done here. Based on The Peerless’ rating tool, the Caps finished 24th in penalty killing effectiveness last year. Only one team ranked lower (
Part of the problem is getting into those shorthanded situations in the first place. The Caps were tied for 13th in the league in total shorthanded situations faced. Only three of the 12 teams higher on the list (
The Caps also had trouble with multiple power play goal games. 18 times opponents scored at least two power play goals. And it was a consistent kind of difficulty. In their first 32 games, after which they were 15-10-7, the Caps had seven games in which they gave up at least two power play goals. After that, in the last 50 games, they did so 11 times.
There is another element to this as well, although it can be overstated, that being that a club’s best penalty killer is its goalie. The whole issue for penalty killing is that the opponent has an extra man, and much of the effort for the opponent is to free that extra attacker for a clear shot. If a skater is left unaccounted for, or if a rebound finds itself on the stick of an unmarked attacker in scoring territory, the goaltender is at his mercy. But if the penalty killers attend to business – sound positioning, determined clearing of the crease, blocking shots without sacrificing position, efficient clearing of the puck when they gain possession – the goaltender ends up being less of a penalty killer of necessity.
* By the way, for the attentive reader,