Noon Number (October 16th)

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Another day, another Noon Number.

Today's number is 68, as in, 68%, which is the Wild's success rate on the penalty-kill so far this season. That is the 4th worst in the league, with only Calgary, Edmonton and Anaheim having performing worse.

Last year's PK wasn't amazing, finishing 18th in the league with an 80.7% success rate, but the drop-off this year has been quite incredible. The most obvious difference is the personnel, so I'm gonna look and see just how much it has changed:

2012-2013

PLAYER

SHORTHANDED TOI

SHORTHANDED TOI/G

SUTER

102:44

2:07

BRODZIAK

91:43

1:54

BRODIN

90:33

2:00

KOIVU

75:33

1:34

STONER

73:58

1:32

PARISE

69:49

1:27

CLUTTERBUCK

68:18

1:37

GILBERT

63:38

1:28

MITCHELL

57:33

1:16

CULLEN

56:26

1:20

SPURGEON

51:37

1:19

FALK

45:38

1:16

There was a fairly large overhaul of the roster during the offseason, and as a result, 4 of the players from the list above, Gilbert, Cullen, Clutterbuck and Falk, are now no longer with Wild.

2013-2014

PLAYER

SHORTHANDED TOI

SHORTHANDED TOI/G

COOKE

19:48

2:49

BRODZIAK

18:55

2:42

SPURGEON

18:31

2:38

SUTER

17:37

2:31

BRODIN

16:26

2:20

STONER

13:11

2:11

MITCHELL

10:52

1:33

KONOPKA

9:29

1:21

KOIVU

7:41

1:05

PARISE

7:25

1:03

BALLARD

6:48

1:08

SCANDELLA

5:38

1:24

New players Cooke and Ballard have stepped-in to fill the void left by the likes of Clutterbuck and Cullen. Konopka has taken a big step forward in PK time this year, and Scandella is now playing more regularly and is chipping-in nicely. Koivu and Parise have seen their PK roles diminish slightly in an effort to give them a rest.

Theoretically, Cooke for Clutterbuck, Konopka for Cullen, Ballard for Gilbert and Scandella for Falk should make the PK a little bit better, or at least not worse. Konopka for Cullen is a bad trade-off, but should be negated by the other upgrades. Unfortunately, it hasn't worked-out that way. One wonders if Matt Cooke is the premier penalty-killing forward he was advertised to be.

A big problem this year in shorthanded situations has been the lack of pressure from the forwards. The best way to disrupt a powerplay is to be speedy and aggressive, but the Wild have been unable to do this and as a result, the opposition have been able to get set-up and make easy passes to the front of the Wild's net, resulting in several goals already this year.

The Wild are playing great 5v5 hockey, but they won't be able to find success unless they get at least a somewhat adequate performance from their special teams.

Follow me on Twitter for more hockey-ness, and leave your thoughts in the comments section.

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