Ducks Stat-urday: Our Special Teams Are Terrible

Remember this? Can we have more please? - Rich Lam

Whether it's the PP or PK, the Ducks have been completely ineffective on special teams this season.

Since I wrote a positive post last week and we promptly shit the bed, I’m trying a different approach this time around. Similar to last week, this post is current as of Thursday (Jan. 31) and won’t take into account the results of Friday night’s contest against the Wild. [Ed. Note: Way to pander to those Hockey Gods Robby! -CK]

Power Play

You may have forgotten, because it seems so implausible now, but the Ducks started the season by converting on their first three power play attempts. It’s been all downhill since then. The Ducks have failed to score on their next 12 (and counting) opportunities, good for a 20 percent conversion rate on the season. The sad thing about this is that Anaheim ranks 15th in the league in terms of conversion rate. So while our PP has been all sorts of awful, there are a lot of teams that have been even worse. The Kings only have one goal in 27 (!!!) tries.

Who do we blame for this mess? Here are the top ten players in total PP time through the Ducks’ first five games of the season.

Player

TOI

PP Points

Ryan Getzlaf

16:46

0-1=1

Corey Perry

14:43

1-0=1

Teemu Selanne

13:52

1-2=3

Cam Fowler

12:12

0-0=0

Sheldon Souray

12:07

1-0=1

Bobby Ryan

10:18

0-0=0

Nick Bonino

7:51

0-0=0

Saku Koivu

7:36

0-0=0

Kyle Palmieri

6:34

0-0=0

Matt Beleskey

4:29

0-0=0

And if Behind the Net is to be believed, the Ducks have a grand total of seven PP shots all season. This is obviously a problem, and it reflects the fact that since the first game against Vancouver, Anaheim has been absolutely unable to establish their power play. The Ducks are rarely able to get setup with the extra man and end up spending most of their time getting stood up at the blue line and chasing clearing attempts down the ice.

So what can we do? In the first game against Vancouver, the top unit consisted of Getzlaf, Perry, Selanne, Ryan, and Souray. Since then, Fowler has been swapped for Ryan, and nothing great has happened. Hell, we even saw Matt Beleskey on the top unity in San Jose, something that had most of us shouting at our TVs.

I’d say it might be time to give someone like Vatanen and Rakell a shot. Both of them have exhibited strong puck-handling skills, which seems to be the biggest detriment to the PP right now. After all, seven shots in 15 attempts tell me that we’re not even able to get setup. Once we can establish some prolonged time in the zone, we can worry about who is going to score the damn goals.

Penalty Kill

Unlike the power play, the kill has been terrible all season. As Jen somberly noted going into Tuesday’s game, the Ducks ranked 30th in Penalty Killing percentage. Sadly, we still rank dead last in the league at 66.7%. The worst thing about this is that the Ducks have only been shorthanded 21 times this season, which is good for fourth best in the league. So it’s not even that the Ducks are putting themselves on the kill a lot, they’re just getting torched any time they are shorthanded.

Like we did with the power play, here are our PK leaders in ice time and the amount of goals they’ve been on ice for.

Player

TOI

PK Goals Against

Francois Beauchemin

17:14

5

Daniel Winnik

15:41

2

Toni Lydman

14:40

4

Saku Koivu

14:27

3

Luca Sbisa

10:43

2

Bryan Allen

10:05

1

Ryan Getzlaf

9:51

2

Corey Perry

9:26

1

Sheldon Souray

8:19

2

Andrew Cogliano

7:13

1

So maybe Beauch and Lydman should not be killing penalties. Because they’re not very good at it. Koivu has also been on the ice for quite a few goals against, but he sort of has to be out there since nobody else can win a draw to save their life. This data does suggest, however, that Daniel Winnik has earned his minutes and that the Corey Perry PK experiment has not been awful either. I’d still prefer to see Cogliano get more shorthanded time than Perry (we need Perry in the offensive zone), but they haven’t been the problem.

Surprisingly, Bryan Allen has fared deviently well on the PK, with the best TOI to PK ratio of anyone on the team. Though Cam Fowler has only played 4:01 on the PK, he's not given up a goal either during his time on the kill.

Hopefully the Ducks can turn their awful special teams around. With their relative lack of penalties thus far, getting the PP started would seem to be more important than fixing the PK, though improvement in either would help significantly.

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