Penalty Analysis: The NHL Teams And Players That Tend To Skate On Very Thin Ice

Penalty Analysis NHL Teams Players

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With the puck dropping on the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs, I thought this would be the perfect time to take a look which NHL players and teams have the most trouble keeping things under control when it comes to penalties, suspensions and fines.

As every real hockey fan is aware, the NHL has been trying to become a more “friendly” sport, yet there are still plenty of players willing to cross the line. But what does it end up costing them? The team over at conducted a fascinating study where they collected statistics related to officiating and disciplinary actions in the NHL over the last two seasons and then analyzed suspension and fine data.

Here’s some of what they found…
• They may come from the City of Brotherly Love, but the Philadelphia Flyers racked up the most suspensions over the last two years with seven.
• When it comes to cashing out, the New Jersey Devils had to pay up on six occasions, double the amount of the next biggest spender.
• What charges have cost players the most? Abuse to officials and illegal checks to the head have combined cost players over $1,000,000 in lost salary.

Also, it should come as little surprise that Brad Marchand was the most fined player in the NHL based strictly on penalties (not suspensions), losing a total of $15,000 for his antics. However, when it comes to being relieved of the most salary overall, Dennis Wideman lost over half a million dollars in 2016 thanks to a a 20-game suspension for abusing linesman Don Henderson.

The most common infractions for NHL suspensions and fines…

Hmmm… illegal checking to the head doesn’t seem very “friendly.” Especially in the case of San Jose’s Raffi Torres whose shot to the head of Anaheim’s Jakob Silfverberg resulted in a 41-game suspension for the Shark.

The most frequent suspensions and fines by NHL teams…

The Philadelphia Flyers’ spot at the top of this leaderboard was helped immensely by defenseman Radko Gudas having been suspended for a combined nine games over his misbehavior on the ice. Meanwhile, New Jersey players must have had a little of the devil in them with twice as many players being fined than any other team.

The top NHL salary losses due to suspensions…

A suspension in 2016 for cross-checking didn’t stop Colorado Avalanche forward Gabriel Landeskog. In 2017, he paid the price again with another cross-checking suspension, bringing his total salary losses for the time period to a robust $263,000.

Highest overall fine totals, unrelated to suspensions, in the NHL…

Boston Bruins’ winger Brad Marchand’s reputation for dirty play is more than just a reputation as he was the most fined player over this span. While the NHL officials are really not fans of diving or embellishment easily being the penalty that drew the most fines. Not that any of the dollar amounts listed are going to severely diminish an NHL player’s bank account.

Methodology used by for this study…

We collected data from, a repository of statistics related to officiating and disciplinary actions in the NHL. Our analysis of suspensions includes data from the 2015-16, and 2016-17 seasons. Data for fines were only available for the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons.

No statistical testing was performed, so the claims listed above are based on means alone. As such, this content is purely exploratory, and future research should approach this topic more rigorously.

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