Stu Hackel Week on Arctic Ice Hockey: Penalties Drawn aka "Stats the NHL ought to keep"

PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 15: Kimmo Timonen #44 of the Philadelphia Flyers commits a high sticking penalty against Dustin Brown #23 of the Los Angeles Kings on October 15, 2011 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Kings defeated the Flyers 3-2 in overtime. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Stu Hackel wonders: "Who draws penalties. Real time play-by-play notes when a player is penalized. Knowing against whom he committed an infraction would be a very useful stat to compile leaguewide. You’d see which players are so dangerous that extralegal means are needed to stop them, or so annoying that they break down their opposition’s discipline."

The NHL has been recording which players draw penalties since before the lockout, but it was done a bit inconsistently for several years. Recording has been fairly solid over the last five seasons at the very least, if not seven. Cumulative and annual league leaders in drawing non-coincidental penalties follow:

Post-Lockout Pens 2005-06 Pens 2006-07 Pens 2007-08 Pens
Dustin Brown 380 Sidney Crosby 62 Dustin Brown 55 Dustin Brown 53
Alexander Ovechkin 255 Dustin Brown 47 Sean Avery 50 Evgeni Malkin 52
Erik Cole 251 Nikolai Zherdev 47 Evgeni Malkin 46 Eric Staal 50
Sidney Crosby 243 Ryan Malone 41 Sidney Crosby 46 Alexander Ovechkin 49
Evgeni Malkin 242 Sean Avery 40 Erik Cole 46 Sidney Crosby 48
Eric Staal 235 Erik Cole 40 Alexander Ovechkin 42 Erik Cole 47
Rick Nash 234 Alex Kovalev 39 Alexander Semin 41 Derek Roy 46
Mike Richards 210 Ryan Smyth 38 Eric Staal 37 Pavel Datsyuk 46
Derek Roy 205 Darcy Tucker 38 Daniel Briere 37 Rick Nash 45
Jarome Iginla 201 Marian Gaborik 38 Rick Nash 36 Mike Richards 45
Pavel Datsyuk 200 Eric Staal 37 Tuomo Ruutu 35 Dion Phaneuf 44
Henrik Zetterberg 199 Jarome Iginla 37 Joe Thornton 35 Anze Kopitar 44
Sean Avery 198 Justin Williams 37 Derek Roy 34 Alex Kovalev 43
Zach Parise 195 Mike Richards 37 Zach Parise 34 Brenden Morrow 43
Tuomo Ruutu 194 Nils Ekman 37 Marian Hossa 33 Alex Burrows 41
Joe Thornton 193 Alexander Ovechkin 36 Ryan Smyth 32 Henrik Zetterberg 41
Alex Burrows 188 Daniel Briere 36 Martin Havlat 32 Ryan Kesler 41
Daniel Briere 186 Matt Cullen 36 Mats Sundin 31 Nikolai Zherdev 39
Alex Kovalev 182 Keith Ballard 36 Kyle Calder 31 Jarome Iginla 38
Ryan Smyth 181 Marian Hossa 34 Henrik Zetterberg 30 Tuomo Ruutu 38

2008-09 Pens 2009-10 Pens 2010-11 Pens 2011-12 Pens
Dustin Brown 76 Dustin Brown 68 Jeff Skinner 50 Dustin Brown 34
Evgeni Malkin 53 Ryan Kesler 48 Dustin Brown 47 Evgeni Malkin 28
Cal Clutterbuck 44 Zach Parise 46 Steven Stamkos 42 Rick Nash 27
Jarome Iginla 44 Daniel Carcillo 43 Taylor Hall 40 John Tavares 25
Alex Burrows 42 Mike Richards 40 Erik Cole 38 Alexander Ovechkin 24
Eric Staal 42 Evgeni Malkin 39 Claude Giroux 38 Ryan Callahan 24
Erik Cole 42 Alex Burrows 37 Darren Helm 37 Zack Smith 24
Rick Nash 41 David Perron 37 Alexander Ovechkin 36 T.J. Oshie 24
David Perron 40 Steve Downie 36 David Booth 36 Jeff Skinner 24
Derek Roy 40 Patrick Kaleta 36 Bobby Ryan 33 Tuomo Ruutu 23
Alexander Ovechkin 40 Evander Kane 35 Ryan Kesler 33 Eric Staal 23
Tuomo Ruutu 39 Niklas Hagman 35 Martin St. Louis 33 David Clarkson 23
Henrik Zetterberg 39 Rick Nash 34 Ryan Callahan 32 Darren Helm 23
Patrick Kaleta 37 Pavel Datsyuk 34 Corey Perry 32 Corey Perry 22
Joe Thornton 37 Patrick Kane 33 Evander Kane 32 Evander Kane 21
Patrick O'Sullivan 37 James Neal 33 Daniel Briere 31 Erik Cole 20
Mike Richards 36 Alexander Semin 33 Tuomo Ruutu 30 Jonathan Toews 20
Alex Kovalev 36 Joe Thornton 31 Jonathan Toews 30 Justin Abdelkader 20
Corey Perry 36 Nikolai Kulemin 31 Rick Nash 29 Alex Burmistrov 20
Mike Ribeiro 35 Derek Roy 31 Jason Blake 29 Zach Parise 19

I'm always on the lookout for players who manage high counting standings in limited ice time, so you can see these numbers as a rate stat at 5-on-5:

2011-12 penalty drawing rate leaders

2010-11 penalty drawing rate leaders

2009-10 penalty drawing rate leaders

2008-09 penalty drawing rate leaders

2007-08 penalty drawing rate leaders

Dustin Brown clearly out-classes the rest of the league.

Edit: incidentally, 380 non-coincidental penalties drawn is worth roughly $33M in 2012 dollars relative to the league average and quite a bit more relative to replacement-level. Forwards draw more penalties than defensemen, so their replacement-level is a little higher, but still likely not much into positive territory. Dustin Brown has made roughly $15M so far in his career, making him one of the biggest deals in the entire league.

Verdict: the NHL 100% absolutely, positively should keep penalties drawn as an official stat.

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