The NHL defines a giveaway as “a form of turnover where the player makes an unforced error that results in giving the puck up to the opposition”.
A takeaway is defined as “a form of turnover in which the player takes the puck from the opposition, rather than gaining possession through an opposition error”.
The NHL average for forwards with the Tk/Gv Ratio is 1.01, and for defencemen it’s 0.50.
The first report is forwards sorted by giveaways per 60 minutes (Gv/60) and I would say it’s fine for players who generate points to be on this list. It’s the players like Jason Spezza, Kevin Fiala and Andrei Svechnikov who cost their teams more than they help, by turning over the puck and not producing at a level that makes up for their number of giveaways. Svechnikov was a rookie and will undoubtedly increase his production, so his is more a case of just over-handling the puck and learning, rather than a cause for concern.
Johnny Gaudreau led NHL forwards with 124 giveaways, followed by Mathew Barzal at 117 and Leon Draisatl at 116. With Gaudreau putting up 99 points and Draisatl getting 105, I’m sure their coaches would gladly have those two follow the sage advice of the Red Hot Chili Peppers on a nightly basis. There might be a little more concern with Barzal going from an 85-point rookie season to a sophomore year of 62 points while increasing his giveaways from 85 to 117.
There is no reward without risk and most top forwards heed this, but it can be a fine line.
The next report is forwards sorted by takeaways per 60 minutes (Tk/60), and Mark Stone is far and away the leader with 4.8, followed by both William Carrier (277 hits in 54 GP) and Filip Forsberg at 3.5. When it comes to just takeaways, Stone leads with 122, followed by Aleksander Barkov at 100 and Connor McDavid at 99. Forwards on this list appear to be very good two-way players or highly effective third- or fourth-line players, who are certainly not hurting their teams while on the ice. McDavid led the forwards in 2017-2018 with 110, and in third that year was Nick Schmaltz with 85 in 77 GP, which is a good sign if he can stay healthy.
Now we come to defencemen sorted by Gv/60. Mike Matheson leads the defencemen in both the number of giveaways (135) and Gv/60 (4.8). He is followed in giveaways by Jeff Petry at 129 and Aaron Ekblad at 122. These players at least provide some sort of offense from the back end, but still seem on the high side for what they produce. I’m not sure what the Leafs got with the acquisition of Ben Harpur as he had the third highest Gv/60 with 4.0 and provides no offense whatsoever.
We don’t want to see defensive defencemen on this list at all but Brent Burns is the classic risk/reward player and will always be near the top. Much like Miro Heiskanen with 96 giveaways in 82 GP in his rookie season, we can expect Cale Makar and Quinn Hughes to be on this list next year if they play a full year.
The top three defensemen in the Tk/60 report are Shea Theodore at 3.1, followed by Jaccob Slavin and Erik Karlsson at 2.7, and four of the top five defencemen in the Norris Trophy voting are on this list. The only player not on the list who was in the top five Norris voting is Victor Hedman, who had 32 takeaways in 70 GP with a Tk/60 of 1.2. Some of the notable young players who have a very good Tk/Gv ratio are Brett Pesce at 1.80 and Troy Stecher at 1.31.
I would have figured there was a correlation between physical players and takeaways but it seems that hockey sense, anticipation, hard work and skating are the keys to being leaders in this category for both forwards and defencemen.
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