by PuckStopsHere on 08/31/12 at 07:32 AM ET
I am continuing my look at the current era in the NHL. This period is the time since the 2004/05 lockout until the end of the current CBA with the likely lockout this season. I have posted the top players by goals, assists, points and +/- ratings. I have also posted the worst players by +/- rating in the time period. Today I am looking at the penalty minute leaders in the time period.
Many of these players are largely a group of goons, although several of them have significant ability and made key contributions to their teams. What is interesting about this group of players is this group of players had more regular NHL employment than the worst +/- group by a significant margin. These goons tend to have remarkably safe NHL roles.
Here are the 20 players who got the most penalty minutes since the 2005 lockout:
This isn;t a strong group of players but all have had relatively consistent NHL work. Zenon Konopka has the fewest games played on the list with 250 and played in the league each of the seasons of this time period, though he played only 16 games in the three seasons from 2006/07 to 2008/09. Five of the players on this list (Neil, Hartnell, Burrows, Mayers and Phaneuf) have over 500 games played.
Chris Neil is the significant leader on this list. He spent more than 200 more minutes in the penalty box than anyone else. While that statistic doesn't help his team, Neil has not been a liability to his team. He is a solid role player for the Ottawa Senators. Daniel Carcillo and Sean Avery are the other players who spent over 1000 minutes in penalties in this time period. Both were solid role players for their teams - though Avery had some significant off-ice issues which reduced his games played total.
Some of the players on this list are significant NHL players. Dion Phaneuf and Scott Hartnell appeared in All Star Games in the time period. Alexandre Burrows had the eighth highest +/- rating in the time period. Most of these players are not as significant as this group. Seven of these players scored fewer than 50 points in this time period. Cam Janssen is the lowest scorer with 11 points in seven years. Nevertheless he got to play 308 games ineffectively. I picked him as the worst regular in 2010/11. It is somewhat alarming how many games he got to play with such a limited contribution to his team.
The penalty minute leaders since the 2004/05 lockout is a diverse group. It includes a few players who were significant contributors to their teams. It includes several more who are strong role players. It also includes as significant number of goons who contributed little else besides the penalty minutes. Nevertheless all of these players played a significant number of NHL games in the time period. It seems that goons have relative job security despite a lack of success.
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