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Part IX (Final) in a Series

Full disclosure: Classifying any current NHL player in the Power Play Specialist bucket is bound to ruffle a few feathers, to draw the ire of those listed. [Ducks] That’s because it’s not in the nature of hockey players to want to be the hero on the man-advantage. They’d rather be known as the Clutch player or the Franchise pillar.

But those are exclusive categories. And therein lies the difficulty of the exercise: As with the first eight parts of our Archetype Rankings series, each player in the league can only reside in one classification category.

With 155 players slotted across eight different archetypes already, naturally that precluded the majority of the league’s most prolific power play point producers.

Still, it is an important facet of the game to recognize, because so many games swing on the special teams. How often it is that we hear a coach rail about the importance of the power play or penalty kill? Nightly.

To be classified as a Power Play Specialist, this forward or defenseman must reliably and consistently create goals. And the first player that came to mind was Edmonton Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Yes, he is also a defensively conscientious skater who frequently draws tough assignments, but he’s earning his paycheck as a critical piece to Edmonton’s vaunted power play unit. He is in-sync with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, flowing in and out of the bumper position, and able to seamlessly find teammates for incredible scoring chances often without looking. He is a power play maestro, even if he is far from the most dangerous player on the ice.

When researching Nugent-Hopkins’ impact on the power play, a few metrics stood out. Most power play specialists with similar skillsets had the power play account for 40 or more percent of their point production and they played somewhere in the neighborhood for 60 percent or more of their team’s total power play time.

With that definition serving as our guiding light, and the help of five anonymous NHL front office executives, here are Daily Faceoff’s Top 10 Power Play Specialists projected for the 2022-23 season:

RankPlayerPosAgeTeamPP PtsPP Pts %PP TOI/GP
1Ryan Nugent-HopkinsC/W29EDM2346%80%
2Teuvo TeravainenRW28CAR3148%65%
3Ryan JohansenC30NSH2438%62%
4Noah DobsonRD22NYI2243%64%
5Tony DeAngeloRD27PHI2039%68%
6Tyson BarrieRD31EDM2151%64%
7Torey KrugLD31STL1944%61%
8Sean DurziRD24LAK1556%50%
9Anthony DuclairLW27FLA2136%52%
10Kevin ShattenkirkRD33ANA1440%44%

LEGEND
PP Pts: Total power play points scored in 2021-22.
PP Pts %: Percentage of total points scored in 2021-22 which came on the power play.
PP TOI / GP: Percentage of the team’s total power play time was allotted to the player in 2021-22.

Some of the names are the exact players you might suspect, quality contributors who didn’t fit neatly into one specific box of the other archetypes. For instance, Torey Krug was considered for the Puck-Moving Defenseman archetype, but fell just short. Same thing with Tyson Barrie and Tony DeAngelo.

Nashville’s Ryan Johansen and Carolina’s Teuvo Teravainen ranked well because of their ability to score on the power play. They combined for 20 goals scored on the power play last season.

The surprising newcomer to the list was Sean Durzi, who racked up 15 power play points after only playing 64 games for the Los Angeles Kings last season as a call-up. He’s earned his place quarterbacking the Kings’ second unit this season and that has accounted for half (nine) of his 18 points this season.

Yes, no player sets out in their career to become a Power Play Specialist per se, but there ain’t no shame in making this list. It means they’re one of the Top 165 players in the NHL based on varying skillsets, all incredibly valuable to overall team success.

Daily Faceoff Archetype Rankings Series

Part I: Explainer / Franchise Players
Part II: Clutch
Part III: Distributor
Part IV: Shooter
Part V: Power Forward
Part VI: Net-Front Scorer
Part VII: Puck-Moving Defenseman
Part VIII: Shutdown Defenseman
Part IX: Power Play Specialist

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