The Top 10 power-play ice time surprises…

 

At this stage of the season, it's fun to look at what NHL teams are doing and trying to figure out what is the start of a trend.

One of the most interesting things to look at is power-play time. It's important to notice if a player is getting considerable more power play time than a teammate who we may have thought was going to get more. Any type of moderate success now will generate more power play time in the future.

Obviously we're dealing with a small sample size. But we're not comparing players across the NHL, but how they stack up against their teammates.

This list is looking at players who are getting lots of ice time and a couple who aren't getting any. It's worth keeping an eye on these players even though it's early in the season.

Here are the top 10 surprising PP TOI players.

 

10. T.J. Oshie

Oshie leads all Caps in PP TOI with a 3:39 average after four games and three of Oshie's four points has come on the power play. There may have been some concern that Oshie would be bumped down with the return of Nicklas Backstrom on Saturday night. Not only did Oshie remain with the top unit, he scored a goal and an assist as Washington went 2-for-2. Oshie has a great chance of a new career high in points if he can keep this up.

 

9. Alexander Semin

No one can say Montreal is not giving Semin a chance to succeed. Semin's 3:21 average PP TOI is second amongst Habs forwards despite not being on the team's number one unit. Even with the ice time, he has yet to net a power play point in six games. It's not helping that he has a total of eight shots this year. Expect Semin's ice time to eventually decrease, and with it, a chance at redemption.

                                                                                                                                              

8. Matt Tennyson

Technically Tennyson isn't a rookie, but the 25-year-old has only played 31 NHL games before this season. And somehow he now finds himself averaging two minutes per game on the second power play unit in San Jose. That's a little surprising since he's never put up offensive numbers in any league (and has no points yet this season). What's most interesting is that the Sharks were going with four forwards and one defenseman on the top power play. If Brent Burns goes down with an injury, does Tennyson move up? The Sharks went with three forwards and two defensemen on Friday night with Logan Couture injured. But then Paul Martin injured himself. Does Tennyson move up in his place? It's definitely worth keeping an eye on.

 

7. Max Domi

Arizona currently leads the league with an average of five power plays per game. However, they've only scored one power play goal. That's going to lead to a lot of Coyotes with a lot of PP TOI. Last year, the top three forwards were Mikkel Boedker, Antoine Vermette and Shane Doan. This year, its Boedker, Martin Hanzal and Max Domi. Domi is averaging 4:29 PP TOI per game. It will be interesting to see if he keeps getting the minutes if no one is producing or if the power play groups will be switched. It's also important to note that the Coyotes will not keep getting 10 power play minutes per game. So everyone's PP ice time is going to take a hit. If you can't produce in with four-plus minutes a night, what is going to happen when you're averaging around two minutes?

 

6. Artemi Panarin

Most poolies expected Marko Dano or Teuvo Teravainen to be the young stud on Patrick Kane's line this season. Instead, Panarin has filled that role both even strength and on the power play. Panarin has been excellent for the Hawks, although strangely enough, none of his seven points have come with the man advantage. Panarin is averaging 3:05 power play ice time per game, a minute more than Andrew Shaw, Artem Anisimov and Teravainen. With the Hawks in sixth in their division and a middle-of-the-pack power play, no one should feel comfortable with the rookie staying in his power play role for too long.

 

5. Jacob Trouba

There's a theory going around that if the Jets were to trade Dustin Byfuglien, that Trouba could easily slide in to replace him. But the problem is Trouba isn't getting a chance to prove that he could replace Buff. In five games, Trouba has averaged 11 seconds on the power play. That's a long way down from the 1:56 he averaged last season. Keep your expectations on Trouba in check until he finally gets power play time.

 

4. Victor Rask

Carolina probably could have truthfully taken up four spots on this list. Kris Versteeg has averaged 4:13 power play time per game. John-Michael Liles has averaged 3:19, the second highest defenseman. Noah Hanifin is averaging only 49 seconds and Jordan Staal 41 seconds. But Rask is the name that sticks out the most. The 22-year-old sophomore is getting his opportunity in Carolina with 3:22 PP TOI average per game, up from 2:29 last season. So far he hasn't made good on that opportunity (zero power play points in five games). It might not take long to bump him, but it's worth keeping an eye on.

 

3. Carl Hagelin

You know who's getting more power play ice in Anaheim than Hagelin? Everybody. Hagelin is averaging just 15 seconds a game. There are nine Ducks forwards getting more man advantage ice time than Hagelin. So much for Hagelin being a bona fide top six player in Anaheim. The former Ranger can't even crack the team's power play, which is tied for worst in the league with the Pittsburgh Penguins (neither team has scored a man-advantage goal yet). If Hagelin can't get power play time when the offense is sucking, what chance will he have when it's rolling? It’s worth noting that Hagelin carries a reputation for pitiful production with the man advantage – in New York he could score on the PP to save his life. But odd that he’s been shut off the PP unit without being given a chance.

 

2. Dustin Brown

Here are the Kings' top power play forward lines so far this year, according to Frozen Pool (not including last night's game):

34.17%

PP

77 CARTER,JEFF – 12 GABORIK,MARIAN – 11 KOPITAR,ANZE

23.33%

PP

23 BROWN,DUSTIN – 17 LUCIC,MILAN – 73 TOFFOLI,TYLER

14.17%

PP

23 BROWN,DUSTIN – 12 GABORIK,MARIAN – 11 KOPITAR,ANZE

8.33%

PP

77 CARTER,JEFF – 17 LUCIC,MILAN – 73 TOFFOLI,TYLER

3.33%

PP

23 BROWN,DUSTIN – 11 KOPITAR,ANZE

2.5%

PP

23 BROWN,DUSTIN – 11 KOPITAR,ANZE – 17 LUCIC,MILAN

2.5%

PP

77 CARTER,JEFF – 11 KOPITAR,ANZE

2.5%

PP

22 LEWIS,TREVOR – 70 PEARSON,TANNER – 21 SHORE,NICK

 

That's a healthy dose of Brown. And it was during the Kings' game on Friday that he played with Gaborik and Kopitar. Many thought Brown was pretty much done after the Kings trading for Lucic. But it seems as if head coach Darryl Sutter is willing to give Brown the benefit of the doubt. Or maybe Sutter is trying to make something happen with an anaemic offense that has scored four goals in four games. Whatever the reason, Brown is getting plenty of power play time. At 3:26 a game, he's fourth on the Kings among forwards. It probably won't last, but if he's going to rebound, this is how he's going to do it.

 

1. Loui Eriksson

It wasn't too long ago that Eriksson was a sure-fire 70-point player. But he's struggled with injuries the last few years, and hasn't been that impressive on the ice. But the Bruins are giving him a long look this season. Eriksson has taken over Lucic's spot on the top power play unit. Eriksson has averaged 3:38 a game with the man advantage, and all three of his points have come on the power play. As long as Eriksson continues to get plenty of power play time, he's a prime candidate for a surprising rebound.