Dallas Stars Year in Review: Who Took and Delivered the Most Hits?

Tis the season for reviewing the Dallas Stars hockey year that was (for those of us who can't busy ourselves with the playoffs) and as the summer wears on we'll tackle little statistical tidbits from 2010-2011. Today's topic is a trivial one at best but one you may find a little interesting for a team whose mantra was "hard to play against" last year: Hits.

Hits are one of those (nearly arbitrary) stats that the league keeps track of via off-ice officials during the game in real time that appear in the official play by play. The league makes hits available on their web site but not who gets hit and how many times, so I created a program to suck the play by play into a database and spit out the numbers, which I thought might be interesting on a news-less Tuesday such as this one.

The Stars tend to get preferential treatment on hits recorded by them on home ice, for whatever reason, and the stat as a whole is largely meaningless. Many nights a team badly outhitting another indicates extreme imbalance in puck possession (see a Red Wings or Canucks game). Some teams can do both (see the San Jose Sharks).

Stars fans often use hits to gauge performances by players such as Steve Ott, Brenden Morrow or Mark Fistric and some of Nicklas Grossman's early season hit totals were very noteworthy (nearly always at home, of course).

Unsurprisingly, Steve Ott led the team in hits with Morrow in tow, and the two have a positive hit differential that no one on the team comes even close to matching. Adam Burish started the year as someone who might go bang some bodies and "make some room" out there for Morrow and Ribeiro, but in the end Brenden Morrow makes his own room...

2010-2011 Dallas Stars Hits Given vs Hits Taken

Player  Hits Hits/60 MIN TOI Hits Taken Hits Taken/60 MIN TOI DIFF
Ott 252 10.75 126 5.37 +126
Morrow 225 8.56 106 4.03 +119
Robidas 216 6.52 235 7.09 -19
Fistric 173 12.67 131 9.59 +42
Grossman 161 9.00 118 6.59 +43
Benn 124 5.99 118 5.70 +6
Neal 120 6.89 63 3.62 +57


Full table after the jump, including which Stars take the biggest beating on the team without dishing it back out...

2010-2011 Dallas Stars Hits Given vs Hits Taken

Player  Hits Hits/60 MIN TOI Hits Taken Hits Taken/60 MIN TOI DIFF
Ott 252 10.75 126 5.37 +126
Morrow 225 8.56 106 4.03 +119
Robidas 216 6.52 235 7.09 -19
Fistric 173 12.67 131 9.59 +42
Grossman 161 9.00 118 6.59 +43
Benn 124 5.99 118 5.70 +6
Neal 120 6.89 63 3.62 +57
Niskanen 97 8.22 96 8.13 +1
Ribeiro 95 3.48 123 4.51 -28
Segal 91 14.33 50 7.87 +41
Burish 77 5.11 105 6.96 -28
Sutherby 70 11.11 46 7.30 +24
Wandell 65 4.42 137 9.33 -72
Langenbrunner 63 5.86 42 3.90 +21
Petersen 56 5.58 56 5.58 0
Skrastins 55 2.48 134 6.05 -79
Barch 53 13.88 21 5.50 +32
Woywitka 43 2.28 157 8.33 -114
Vincour 36 9.55 28 7.43 +8
Daley 32 1.04 76 2.47 -44
Eriksson 26 0.96 115 4.24 -89
Goligoski 24 1.02 56 5.60 -32
Richards 20 0.767 74 2.83 -54


The table is organized on the total hits made, and it's no surprise that the gentlemanly Brad Richards and his many Lady Byng considerations over the years is down at the bottom of the list. That's Brad Richards hockey. He's also quite good at avoiding contact with only a -54 differential despite his 20 hits thrown.

Loui Eriksson was the champion of really taking it in the shorts last year with the biggest differential, but he comes in only second this year with a -89 and actually threw a couple of more hits than Richards did.

The grand prize goes to Jeff Woywitka and his -114 differential. While the always heroic Stephane Robidas gets hit the most on the team by far overall (235 taken), Mr. Woywitka doesn't dish them out nearly as much as Robi does and gets hit the most per 60 minutes on the ice at 8.33 hits per. For a player that so seldom has the puck, he is quite a target out there.

Trevor Daley wins the most elusive surprise with the smallest hits taken per 60 minutes on ice. He doesn't hit much either but considering how much time he spends out there, he is quite slippery and he has the puck a LOT more than Jeff Woywitka does.

Kudos go to rookie Tomas Vincour for staying on the right side of the line as a European playing his first significant minutes in the NHL.

And then there's Jamie Benn, who is even near the top of this list, though one can assume his differential took a hit as March wore on and the league was alerted to his Jedi act. How he responds next season to more of that full time defensive attention and increased physicality will have a great deal to do with the course of his career, but for now it appears he's a sniper AND he's not afraid to put a body on you.

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