Malkin led the Penguins in TK/60 this year. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
I've been taking a look at how our boys from this past season measured up in certain areas of play. This time, I'm going to look at how the players stacked up in the giveaway and takeaway departments. The data below is for all on-ice situations (ES, PP, SH) because NHL.com only reports total numbers on the season.
How do we look at who's the most effective in terms of giveaways and takeaways? I think the first place to start is to develop a rate statistic, so that we're looking at giveaways and takeaways per 60 minutes of play. This will control for differences in ice time and allow us analyze all players on the same level. The next step should be to subtract giveaways/60 from takeaways/60. The reasoning is that getting a lot of takeaways means nothing if you're also giving the puck away a lot. The most effective players will minimize giveaways and maximize takeaways. Here are the totals for this past regular season:
I'm very upset because the case for Alex Goligoski as the most underrated Penguin this year takes a massive blow with this chart. While he did a lot of things right that he didn't get credit for, these numbers reinforce what we already knew: Gogo gave the puck away way too much. Guerin and Eaton also continue to do poorly when their numbers are broken down.
It's not surprising to see Crosby, Gonchar or Letang toward the bottom because those that possess the puck the most will always have the most giveaways. However, Letang and Crosby will need to get that differential up in the future because you can't have core players making key mistakes. This becomes even more true when you factor in the reality that shots off of giveaways are almost always more dangerous than comparable shots not off of giveaways.
In better news, Craig Adams and Pascal Dupuis don't get enough credit for how responsible they are with the puck. This is an underrated talent, and it's nice to see from the grinders. Staal is also near the top, which isn't surprising, but seeing that Malkin and Feds are in the positive is really shocking to me. Given the down year Malkin had and the horrible campaign Fedetenko put together, I was expecting both of them to occupy the bottom two positions. Malkin's TK/60 is first on the team, and it's safe to say that he has a real talent for stealing the puck, but he'd make me even more happy if he brought down his GV/60.