Not all NHL players are created equal. Some players finesse their way onto rosters, and some play a shutdown brand of hockey, neutralizing opposition. In contrast, others must play with truculence to assure themselves of a spot. Wherever players land on the spectrum, penalties are an unavoidable part of the game. Inevitably, certain players accumulate more penalty minutes just by the nature of their role, but they all feel the same amount of shame, no matter who ends up in the box.
We’re tracking which players have the most PIMs across the NHL.
Who Leads the NHL in Penalty Minutes This Year?
Tampa Bay Lightning
Toronto Maple Leafs
Columbus Blue Jackets
New Jersey Devils
New Jersey Devils
The NHL’s tough guys overcompensated for last week’s docile performances with some aggressive efforts. Montreal Canadiens defenseman Arber Xhekaj moved back into the league lead in penalty minutes after throwing down with Nashville Predators winger Tanner Jeannot. Jeannot appeared to get the better of Xhekaj early, but the Canadiens’ blueliner responded and had the upper hand at the end of the scrap.
That was one of two fights for Jeannot this week after he had a go with the Ottawa Senators’ Mark Kastelic a couple of nights before. Although he remains well back of the top of the list, Jeannot made a significant jump over the past week, accumulating 12 minutes altogether.
Xhekaj isn’t the only Habs player getting comfortable in the penalty box. Since our last check-in, defenseman Chris Wideman recorded 14 penalty minutes, joining his teammate in the top five. Wideman had two minors, with the bulk of his time coming thanks to a misconduct against the Seattle Kraken last Monday. The 10-minute punishment came after Joel Armia was assessed a minor for boarding, and Wideman was not shy in sharing his opinion on the matter.
We also need to extend a warm invite to Jeremy Lauzon, who moved onto the top 25 list thanks to an unglued effort against the Boston Bruins. The Preds’ defender was assessed four minor penalties in the same game, nearly matching the 14:25 he spent on the ice. Nevertheless, he still found the back of the net against the B’s, recording just his third goal of the campaign.
Lastly, Brendan Smith makes his first appearance on the top 25 most penalized players list. He and Anaheim Ducks forward Sam Carrick sorted things out the old-fashioned way when the New Jersey Devils visited town. Smith appeared reluctant to shed the mitts, but Carrick instigated enough that he finally obliged. Smith may have regretted the decision, with Carrick being declared the unofficial victor.
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