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 York Islanders
It was a relatively quiet week for NHL tough guys. Only one player re-emerged at the bottom of the list, while most players held steady in their spot in the standings. Nicolas Deslauriers needed just two minor penalties to usurp Arber Xhekaj for the league lead in PIMs. Similarly, Matthew Tkachuk added two minutes to his tally this week, becoming the third player to cross the 60-minute threshold. Although some of the most frequent offenders had a quiet week, some notable movers were on the list.
Toronto Maple Leafs winger, Michael Bunting, had a remorseful week, spending time in the sin bin in all but one of four contests. He only accumulated six penalty minutes, but it was enough to put him on the edge of the top ten most penalized players.
Similarly, Radko Gudas accumulated a pair of minor infractions, boosting his season-long PIMs total to 49. Although modest, it was enough to move him a few spots up the list. That means the Florida Panthers now have three players within the top 15, with Ryan Lomberg the lone player falling out of the top 25.
He was replaced by Tanner Jeannot, who re-appears after a brief absence. The Nashville Predators forward is up to 43 PIMs on the season, enough to emerge at the bottom of the list.
The concerning trend among defensemen is holding steady. Ten rearguards remain on the list, which would be the most since 2003-04 if the season ended today. Xhekaj is the pacesetter, but Brandon Montour, Luke Schenn, and Matt Dumba also have spots in the top eight. As such, this could be a banner year for defensemen as we race toward an exciting conclusion to the season.
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