Minor penalties in the NHL since 2008-2009 season and how I learnt to ...

Rangers vs Penguins coverage

As we are discussing player performances and the perceived increase in clutching/grabbing allowed in the NHL, I wanted to take a look at the number of these and all minor penalties in the NHL in the cap era. I found the minor penalty stats at:

ESPN NHL penalty stats

Unfortunately the detailed minor penalty stats went as far as 2008-2009 season. So, I used the last 6 regular season to break down overall number of minor penalties and clutch/grab penalties. I define clutch/grab penalties as hooking, slashing, holding, holding the stick and interference.

The glossary is as follows:

  • PIM: Penalty Minutes
  • MINOR: Minor Penalties
  • HK: Hooking
  • TR: Tripping
  • RGH: Roughing
  • HLD: Holding
  • INT: Interference
  • SLH: Slashing
  • HS: High Stick
  • CC: Cross Check
  • HLDST: Holding Stick
  • GLINT: Goalie Interference

Below is the main table for the minor penalties in the NHL:

Table 1. Summary of Total Minor penalties in the NHL

13-14 9076 1482 1287 1196 881 906 701 770 432 116 170 4086
12-13* 9092 1249 1336 1146 774 1218 596 704 410 111 226 3948
11-12 9082 1343 1364 1245 740 893 717 789 408 121 270 3814
10-11 9593 1594 1319 1240 867 985 754 763 487 141 247 4341
09-10 10306 1750 1412 1502 953 1065 783 844 484 163 233 4714
08-09 11442 2466 1378 1608 1105 1170 821 844 448 183 220 5745

*12-13 is adjusted for 82 game season.

Figure 1. Total minors per year.

Figure 1 shows the total minors per year since 2008 with a linear fit. We see that the total number of minors kept decreasing since 2008 and also somewhat leveled off in the past 3 seasons.

If we look at the grab/clutch penalties:

Figure 2. Grab/clutch penalties by year.

We see that there is a decrease until 11-12 season. Then the past three seasons there is a slight increase in the calls.

I, next, took the 2008-2009 season as the baseline and calculated the change in total, clutch/grab, hook,hold,interference and slashing penalties.

Table 2. Percentage of Minor penalties normalized to 2008-2009 season.

13-14 79 71 60 80 77 85
12-13* 79 69 51 70 104 73
11-12 79 66 54 67 76 87
10-11 84 76 65 78 84 92
09-10 90 82 71 86 91 95
08-09 100 100 100 100 100 100

Overall, the past 3 seasons are at about 80% level of 2008-2009 season total minor levels (rounded). We see the small increase in the clutch/grab penalties called in the past 3 seasons and the biggest contribution to that is the number of holding penalties called. Interference call in the lockout shortened season may be skewing the data (104 % of the 2008-2009 season), but the overall trend in the past 3 seasons seems consistent.

In summary, there is a 20 % drop in the number of penalties called in the past three seasons compared to 2008-2009 that seems to level of (some consistency by the refs in the last 3 years). The grab/clutch type of penalties dropped to 66 % of 2008 levels in 2011 and started to increase again mainly due to increased number of hooking and holding calls.

I have also looked at the mean, standard deviation and median penalties per team for these years and it seems they are constant with the total observations shown above.

It'll be interesting to see how the post-season numbers look, that will be part two!

I hope this small post with simple analysis would help to put our scoring in perspective. If same number of penalties were called this season as in 2008-2009 the Pens would have scored 78 goals in PP as opposed to 65 the scored this year. May be this could explain part of Sid's not reaching 114-120 points this season.

The content expressed in fanposts does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the staff here at FanPosts are opinions expressed by fans of various teams throughout the league but may be more Pittsburgh-centric for obvious reasons.

Log In Sign Up

Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join PensBurgh

You must be a member of PensBurgh to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at PensBurgh. You should read them.

Join PensBurgh

You must be a member of PensBurgh to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at PensBurgh. You should read them.




Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.