Top 10 Worst Players for Giveaways/Takeaways

Tom Collins


There are some fantasy leagues out there that count almost every conceivable statistic.

I was once in a league that not only counted shootout goals, but also game-winning shootout goals. Yes, the latter is an actual NHL category that some leagues use. (For the curious, the career leader is Frans Nielsen, who has 23 shootout game-deciding goals). That's why it doesn't surprise me that some leagues include giveaways and takeaways.

It should go without saying that players who handle the puck more will generally turn it over more. However, many of those guys are great at getting the puck back as well. By assigning each giveaway a minus-one, and each takeaway a plus-one, we can look at a player's net total. Over the past three years, for example, Patrick Kane had 128 giveaways and 132 takeaways. That gives him a net of plus-four. Logan Couture is a plus-40 in those three years, while Sebastian Aho is a plus-36. Ryan O'Reilly leads the league with an insane net of plus-134.

However, this list is looking at the reverse. Which players have far more giveaways than takeaways, and which players are hurting you in leagues that count these statistics?

10. Filip Hronek

Hronek has played much fewer games than everyone else on this list, but he's not trending very well to start his career. In 46 rookie games last year, he had 10 takeaways and 47 giveaways. In 65 games this year, he's up to 18 takeaways and 76 giveaways. That's a total of 28 takeaways and 123 giveaways in 111 games (a net loss of minus-95). Since he's not contributing much else in your fantasy league, those giveaway and takeaway numbers look even worse.

9. Leon Draisaitl

The way Draisaitl is trending, he'll be the worst forward for the giveaway/takeaway net loss within a year or two. In his first four seasons, he had a net loss of minus-29. In his last two seasons, he is a minus-76. Last year, he had 116 giveaways and this year he had 91 (on pace for 105). He and Mathew Barzal are the only two forwards with at least 200 giveaways the last two years. Draisaitl's linemate, Connor McDavid, has a net giveaway/takeaway number of a plus-32 the last three years, compared to Draisaitl's negative-82.

8. Duncan Keith

It will be interesting to see if Keith's giveaway numbers will decline if he starts to lose ice time, although no guarantee that will happen any time soon (his average of 24:23 ice time per game this season is his highest since 2016-17 and almost a minute-and-a-half per game higher than last year). While many on this list have a high number of giveaways, Keith's poor takeaway/giveaway statistics are explained by his low takeaways. His giveaways hover around 70 per season (which isn't too bad), but this year's 42 takeaways was his highest since 2014-15. Because of that discrepancy, Keith has a giveaway/takeaway net loss of minus-111 over the past three seasons.

7. Jonathan Huberdeau

Huberdeau was never that bad when it came to giveaways and takeaways for his first few seasons in the league. In his first five years, only once did he have more than 30 giveaways, and for a couple of years, he had more takeaways than giveaways, during which he had a combined net loss of minus-12. The last three seasons have been a different story, with a combined net loss of minus-103. He was on pace for 83 giveaways this season, and had at least that many in each of the previous two campaigns.

6. David Pastrnak

Strangely enough, that top Boston line loses the puck more than it gets it back. While Patrice Bergeron has a net-50 in the giveaway/takeaway categories over the last three years, Brad Marchand is a minus-71 (which barely put him in the top 30 for worst numbers). Pastrnak is even more horrific, with a net loss of minus-119. Not only has he experience a net loss in every year of his career, this season saw him on pace for 103 giveaways, which would have been the worst of his career.

5. John Carlson

As mentioned above, players that handle the puck a lot tend to have higher giveaways. However, Carlson seems to buck that trend as he was a giveaway machine before he became the Capitals top defenseman back in 2014-15. He had 80 giveaways as a rookie and then 92 as a sophomore. Now that he's matured, he's still giving the puck away, with at least 80 giveaways in five of his last six seasons. In the last three seasons, he has a giveaway/takeaway net loss of negative-109, thanks to 264 giveaways.

4. Aaron Ekblad

In his first couple of years in the league, Ekblad's giveaway/takeaway number was a negative, but it wasn't that bad (about 15 more giveaways per campaign). However, the last few years have seen a huge negative downturn. He's had a giveaway/takeaway net loss of minus-171, led by a negative-75 in 2018-19. In his six seasons, he's never seen a positive season in those categories, and his career record of 188 takeaways and 435 giveaways gives him a score of a negative-236.

3. Mathew Barzal

In the last three years, he's had a giveaway/takeaway net loss of minus-107, eighth-worst in the league and third-worst among forwards. Even worse, he's been giving the puck away more and more each season. In his rookie campaign, he had 88 giveaways, which jumped to 117 last year. This year, he had 103 giveaways in 68 games, which was worst in the league and put him on pace for 124 giveaways in 82 games.

2. Johnny Gaudreau

The funny thing with Gaudreau is that he doesn't contribute in a lot of fantasy categories. If he's not getting you points, he's not helping your fantasy squad. In categories such as giveaways and takeaways, he's hurting you. Gaudreau's three-year net loss of a negative-153 is the worst among forwards. His negative-31 net loss this year isn't as bad as in previous years. His minus-66 last year was the worse of his career, and he's has a net loss of at least a minus-42 in the four seasons before 2019-20.  

1. Jeff Petry

I've been a big fan of Petry for a while, and think he is grossly underrated in many fantasy leagues. This is a player that has at least 10 goals, 40 points, 167 hits and 11 power-play points in each of the last three seasons. He also contributes in shots and blocked shots. Unfortunately, he's awful in plus/minus and giveaways/takeaways. In the last three seasons, he has an astonishing 319 giveaways (worst in the league) to go along with only 110 takeaways. Keith is the only other player with at least 200 giveaways and 110 or fewer takeaways. Petry's net loss of minus-209 is easily the worst in the league, and he's the only player with at least a negative-200 net loss over that timeframe.


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