I thought it’d be a good time to look at special teams and see what has happened this season vs last.
Last season our PP was 9th overall with a 21.1% conversion rate:
This season our powerplay is 1st with a 29.9% conversion rate:
So what happened? Did everyone just get better?
Here are last seasons top PP guys:
Here are this seasons PP players:
To keep it simple. Yes, Connor and Drai got better. The other big difference is that James Neal is good for 17 powerplay points. Most of the other components are the same except that we added Neal to an already good Top 10 powerplay. Our top guys remained the same. Chiasson is producing at a similar rate. Our 6 to 10 guys went from Lucic, Rattie, Benning and Strome to Gagner, Bear, Kassian and Neal. Small changes but they have also helped a little. Basically, swapping Neal for Lucic has paid big dividends on the powerplay this season.
Sidenote: Klef has more than 50% of his points on the powerplay (222 mintues) with 18 points (33 total points). Nurse has 5 points on powerplay (72 minutes) and 30 points total on the season. Anyone that wants to argue that Nurse gets his points because of pristine ice time with McDavid might want to take a look at at Klef’s first line PP time which triples Nurse. Their powerplay points per 60 are 4.85 (Klef) to 4.14 (Nurse). Bear is at 2.35.
Now the PK is a little more interesting:
Last season our PK was 30th in the league with a 74.8% kill:
This seasons PK is a little better at 2nd overall at 84.4% (who would’ve guessed Shark’s were number 1?)
So our PK went from 30th to 2nd. That has to be a huge part of our playoff contention this season. So what happened?
Here is last years PK crew:
Here are this years guys:
Unlike the powerplay, there was a lot change in the Top 10.
GONE: Benning, Rieder, Kassian and Brodziak. Larsson and Drai also saw a deduction in their minutes.
IN: Sheahan, Archibald, Bear and Khaira.
To my eye the biggest difference is the addition of Sheahan and Archibald to the PK. Moving Klef up the PK while moving Russel/Larsson further down the PK depth chart has also been good.
So the PP was sparked a little by Neal. The PK was sparked a lot by adding Sheahan and Archibald. All 3 of those were Holland acquisitions.
The other big thing was hiring Tippet who was also a Holland acquisition.