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Penalty Report Card: How Dallas Stars Players Measure Up in Minors for 2013

Ryan Garbutt and Jamie Benn are the Stars leaders in unmatched minors called on and drawn by, and several other big names have been making moves on the list.

Jason O. Watson-US PRESSWIRE

Earlier this month, I posted my monthly summary of where the Dallas Stars stand on the penalty front. And even though the Stars are currently mired in a six-game losing streak, there is some good news to be found when examining the minors on an individual level.

On my giant spreadsheet of Stars penalties, I have pages where I record each unmatched penalty called on and drawn by a Stars player, and to the best of my ability, I also try to note when the penalty is called on the wrong player. I concentrate mostly on unmatched minors, since those affect manpower.

The numbers as they stand are quite telling. Today's numbers are for all games through the end of 2013, which will end up being roughly the first half of the season (39 games in total). If you want to look at how this compares to the team statistics, here's the full post on December from a team standpoint.

Here's the chart for which players have taken the most unmatched minors, with the number of matching calls added on the right side for reference.

Name Total Safety Obstruction Other Matching
Ryan Garbutt 14 7 (2 slash, board, cross check, high stick double, illegal check to head, knee) * 3 (hook, interference, trip) 4 (3 delay of game, unsportsmanlike) 0
Shawn Horcoff 12 4 (2 high stick, board, slash) 8 (6 hook, hold, interference) 0 1
Brenden Dillon 11 7 (2 high stick, board, cross check, slash, rough, knee) 2 (hold, hook) 2 (delay of game) 3
Trevor Daley 11 0 11 (5 hold, 3 hook, 2 interference, 1 trip) 0 1
Antoine Roussel 11 6 (3 cross check, 2 rough, elbow) 3 (2 trip, hold) 2 (unsportsmanlike, instigator) 7
Alex Goligoski 10 5 (2 cross check, high stick. slash, rough) ** 5 (2 hook, hold, interference, trip) 0 1
Alex Chiasson 7 4 (3 cross check, high stick) 3 (2 hook, interference) 0 1
Vernon Fiddler 7 2 (slash, rough) 3 (2 hook, hold) 2 (delay, closing hand on puck) 1
Stephane Robidas 6 0 6 (2 hold, 2 interference, 2 trip) 0 0
Jamie Benn 6 3 (cross check, high stick, slash) 3 (hold, hook, trip) 0 2
Cody Eakin 5 1 (high stick) 4 (2 hook, 2 trip) 0 0
Jordie Benn 5 2 (elbow, slash) 1 (interference) 2 (delay of game, closing the hand) 1
Sergei Gonchar 5 1 (cross check) 4 (2 hold, hook, trip) *** 0 0
Kevin Connauton 4 0 4 (2 trip, hold, interference) 0 0
Ray Whitney 3 1 (high stick) 2 (2 hook) 0 0
Rich Peverley 3 0 3 (hold, hook, trip) 0 0
Erik Cole 3 0 3 (2 interference, hook) 0 0
Tyler Seguin 2 0 1 (hook) 1 (delay of game) 0
Jamie Oleksiak 1 0 1 (trip) 0 0
Aaron Rome 1 1 (rough) 0 0 0
Kari Lehtonen 1 0 0 1 (delay of game) 1
Valeri Nichushkin 1 1 (high stick double) **** 0 0 0

* Does not include uncalled charge that resulted in five-game suspension ** Slash really by Fiddler *** Does not include penalty shot given up for hook **** High stick really by Garbutt

These numbers don't quite match up with the excellent analysis of offensive-zone penalties that Brad posted Saturday for a couple reasons.

The first is that he is covering five more games in his totals. The second is that my "total" number doesn't include matching minors, while I'm pretty sure his does.

So with that, and to I'm sure no one's surprise, may I present your new king of unmatched minors, Ryan Garbutt. Not only does he lead in this category, but the type of penalty he's taking is going to eventually get him in trouble with the league again. They don't look kindly on players who, after a substantial suspension, continue to throw things like illegal checks to the head.

Forwards frankly shouldn't take as many or more safety minors as defensemen, no matter how irritating they're trying to be to the opponent. The only exception to this is high sticks, which are almost never intentional - they're mostly careless - so a little easier to discount when it comes to style of play. While slashing can be more of an obstruction call depending on the nature (was it on the stick or the hands?), Roussel and particularly Garbutt are demonstrating a really dangerous trend here.

And in the case of Garbutt, it doesn't even appear to be working that much in terms of irritating opponents into taking calls against him. We'll get into this a little more in the calls drawn section, but the relatively low number of matching minors (as compared to, say, Roussel) indicates that his safety calls are usually a one-sided affair.

As for the other high players, most of Horcoff's hooking calls came early in the season, but he's also way too high on this list. It's also always interesting for me to see the differences in the types of penalties the defensemen take. To some extent, it's a difference of playing style (and youthful enthusiasm). Some of it is matchups. And some of it is risk-taking. Defensemen who jump up in the play are more likely to have to recover against odd-man rushes against, and they're more likely to reach out with a stick.

For some good news, because god knows we need some around here right now, here's a look at the players who are drawing calls.

Name Total Safety Obstruction Other
Jamie Benn 15 6 (2 high stick, cross check, high stick double, slash, rough) 9 (3 trip, 2 hold, 2 hook, 2 interference) 0
Ryan Garbutt 13 4 (2 rough, elbow, high stick double) 9 (4 interference, 3 hold, hook, trip) 0
Tyler Seguin 9 2 (high stick, rough) 7 (2 hold, 2 hook, 2 trip, interference) 0
Brenden Dillon 8 3 (2 rough, high stick) 5 (2 hold, 2 hook, interference) 0
Erik Cole 8 0 8 (3 interference, 2 trip, hold, holding the stick, hook) 0
Antoine Roussel 7 3 (cross check, high stick, slash)* 3 (holding the stick, hook, interference) ** 1 (instigator)
Alex Goligoski 7 6 (4 high stick, high stick double, slash) 1 (hook) 0
Vernon Fiddler 7 2 (board, slash) 5 (3 trip, hold, hook) ** 0
Valeri Nichushkin 7 1 (high stick double) 6 (5 hook, hold) ** 0
Alex Chiasson 6 1 (rough) 5 (3 hook, interference, trip) ** 0
Cody Eakin 6 2 (board, slash) 4 (2 hook, interference, trip) 0
Shawn Horcoff 5 2 (high stick, rough) 3 (hold, hook, trip) 0
Jordie Benn 5 3 (2 high stick, rough) 2 (interference, trip) 0
Stephane Robidas 3 3 (2 cross check, slash) 0 0
Dustin Jeffrey 3 1 (board) 2 (hold, hook) 0
Rich Peverley 3 2 (high stick, slash) 1 (trip) 0
Kari Lehtonen 3 1 (slash) 2 (goalie interference) 0
Sergei Gonchar 3 1 (slash) 1 (trip) 1 (unsportsmanlike)
Trevor Daley 2 2 (board, high stick) 0 0
Jamie Oleksiak 1 0 1 (hook) 0
Ray Whitney 1 1 (board) 0 0
Kevin Connauton 1 0 1 (interference) 0
Cameron Gaunce 1 0 1 (trip) 0

* Also drew unmatched fighting major **Also drew a penalty shot on a hook (plus a second penalty shot on a trip in the case of Roussel)

I'm going to subtitle the top of this chart "speed kills." Eight of the top nine players could easily be considered quick at worst and among the fastest in their position in many cases.

Sometimes that's merely a coincidence, like in the case of poor Goligoski, who apparently has a very high stick-able face. In others, particularly the top four forwards, you can really see the correlation of the speed to penalties drawn. Speed begets obstruction fouls, and even players like Garbutt, who tries his hardest to draw physical calls by being obnoxious, earn most calls through creating offensive possession and beating players one-on-one.

Let's talk about Garbutt again for a minute, since he's been such a point of contention recently. Once you exclude the (usually accidental) high stick, he's got a 1:3 ratio of calls drawn by being an irritant to the other team versus calls drawn with his speed. He's a smart guy, and one would hope he evolves as the season and his career continue to stop with some of the antics and concentrate on what really makes him valuable.

Two players who have made big jumps up this list in the past month are Nichushkin and Seguin. Frankly, it's a little surprising to me that's it's taken Seguin so long to move up this list, but I expect him to be right at the top when the season ends. Nichushkin will also work his way up, though as a rookie he's a little more inconsistent as a skater and not given the same benefit of the doubt from the officials just yet.