Ethan Moreau has been ushered out of town, ending his run as captain of the Edmonton Oilers. Edmonton fans will now hear Kevin Quinn's ridiculous "theexcaptainethanmoreau" call only four times next season, a welcome respite for all. Moreau's time as captain coincided with the worst three-year run in the history of the franchise. Was it mere coincidence that the two occurred simultaneously, or was Moreau the victim of bad luck?
Behind The Net Hockey recently looked at the skill of drawing penalties and how that skill correlated to goals for and wins. The first article focused on penalty differential by position and showed just how valuable Dustin Brown is to the Kings through his ability to draw penalties and not take any himself. The second was an article on Patrick Kaleta's value solely based on drawing penalties.
In those articles, Desjardins establishes a goals value of .2 for penalties drawn. Using that value, I set about to find out who were the least valuable players to their respective teams over the last three years of penalties taken to penalties drawn ratios.
Below is a list of the of twenty-five least-valuable players in the NHL based on penalty differential. The final two columns, GDIFF/82 is the goal differential directly attributable to the player over an 82 game season; Wins/S is the number of wins per season that the player costs his team solely based on taking penalties.
Moreau keeps company with some beauties at the bottom of this list - Ivanans, Artyukhin, Orr, and Shelley are renown lunkheads and Ryan Getzlaf is a hot-head with the ability to make up for it on the ice. Of note - there are three players in the bottom ten that were New York Rangers in the last two seasons. The Rangers are happy to give up wins this way and sometimes it comes back to bite them, like last season when they missed the playoffs by a single win.
That Moreau's ability to lose games simply by taking penalties is in the same class as some world-class goons is not a surprise to Oiler fans. Moreau took penalties in the offensive zone at an alarming rate and found no reason to take any blame.
David Staples looked at Moreau's exit interview and found more of the same. When asked about moving to Columbus he said:
"It's a good fit. I'll be used the way I'm supposed to be used. It was definitely time to move on. I need a fresh start. I need a team that's going to use me where I'm most valuable and I don't think that was the case the last few years. And my play suffered because of it. But no regrets."
No remorse, no regrets, just penalty after penalty. For anyone that follows the Blue Jackets, the numbers above should be taken as a warning -- Moreau's game isn't changing and he's not getting any younger.
By the way, a big thank you to the Calgary Flames for signing Raitis Ivanans, he should be a great help to the rest of the division next season.