Ice Hockey’s Biggest Brutes

Ice Hockey Biggest Brutes
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Ice hockey is a high-impact sport known to be among the most dangerous for the risk of non-fatal injuries. Add the fighting element involved in the sport and your injury risk increases.

But which teams and players are the most physical in the NHL, resulting in the most penalty minutes accrued?

Our experts at Spin Genie have researched the answer to that question. We have looked at the latest statistics to see which players and teams in the NHL have the highest number of penalty minutes this season. We have also looked at the players with the most fines and suspensions for physical offences. In ice hockey, some of the biggest brutes are popular with fans. We’ve determined the most popular brutes in the NHL using Google searches and Instagram followers.

The NHL Players with the Most Penalty Minutes 2023/24 Season

Most Penalty Minutes NHL Players

1. Liam O'Brien

Penalty Minutes: 66

The NHL player with the most penalty minutes during the current season is Liam O’Brien, a left-winger for the Arizona Coyotes, a team which currently sits 5th in their division. O’Brien has accumulated 66 minutes in the penalty box, having committed four major penalty offences and eight minor offences. On one such occasion this season, he was placed in the penalty box for using abusive language whilst on the bench in a match against the St. Louis Blues.

2. Tom Wilson

Penalty Minutes: 63

Tom Wilson comes in second for penalty minutes accrued during the current NHL season, with 63 minutes spent in the penalty box. Wilson, a right-winger for the Washington Capitals, also has the highest number of minor penalties committed in the NHL this season, with 19 total. In a recent match against the Anaheim Ducks, despite facing many early penalties, Wilson went on to score three as his team beat the Ducks 5-4.

3. Austin Watson

Penalty Minutes: 60

And finishing off the three NHL players with the most penalty minutes during the current season, we have Austin Watson, a left-winger for the Tampa Bay Lightning, who had 60 minutes at the time of writing. Watson was fined in December 2022 as he was penalised for interference, for a total of $4,054, the maximum amount for this offence.

The NHL Teams with the Most Penalty Minutes 23/24 Season

most-penalty-minutes-nhl-teams

1. Anaheim Ducks

Penalty Minutes: 366

The Anaheim Ducks have accrued the most penalty minutes during the 23/24 NHL season, with 366 minutes. However, on the other hand, they have an 81% penalty kill rate. This means whilst they have a player in the penalty box, they’ve stopped the other team from scoring 81% of the time, which ranks them in the top 20 for that statistic. Despite this, they currently sit 7th in the Pacific Division, with a goal difference of minus 21.

2. Florida Panthers

Penalty Minutes: 335

In second place for  NHL teams with the most penalty minutes this season, we have the Florida Panthers, with 335 minutes spent at least one player down. The Florida Panthers also are in the top 20 for teams with the highest penalty kill percentage, with a rate of 81%.

3. Arizona Coyotes

Penalty Minutes: 332

Rounding out the NHL teams with the most penalty minutes during the current season, we have the Arizona Coyotes. So far, they have 332 penalty minutes and rank in the top 20 for penalty kill percentage in the league, at 81%. 

The NHL Players with the Most Fines

Most Fines NHL Players

1. Charlie McAvoy

Total Paid in Fines & Lost Salary: C$268,517 | US$197,917 | £157,740

Coming in the top spot for the highest amount paid in fines in the NHL during the 22/23 and 23/24 seasons, we have Charlie McAvoy, a defenseman for the Boston Bruins. Despite only being fined once in the last year, he was fined a total of C$268,517 in the form of lost salary. The fine was due to an illegal check to the head in a game against the Florida Panthers; he also received a 9-minute penalty during the game at the time of the offence.

2. Jeff Skinner

Total Paid in Fines & Lost Salary: C$198,007 | US$145,946 | £116,319

Jeff Skinner, a left-winger for the Buffalo Sabres, takes second place for NHL players with the most fines paid across the last two seasons. He received a C$198,007 fine for high-sticking when he struck Penguins forward Jake Guentzel in the neck and head with his stick in a heated exchange in December 2022.

3. Matthew Tkachuk

Total Paid in Fines & Lost Salary: C$146,122 | US$107,703 | £85,839

Matthew Tkachuk, a winger and alternate captain for the Florida Panthers, as well as being Brady Tkachuk’s older brother, has the third highest amount paid in fines in the NHL. He has been fined twice; the first instance was for cross-checking Boston Bruins player Garnet Hathaway. The second instance was for high-sticking Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick, for which he was fined C$146,122 of his salary.

The NHL Teams with the Most Fines

Most Fines NHL Teams

1. Boston Bruins

Total Paid in Fines & Lost Salary: C$280,892 | US$207,038 | £165,028

We have the Boston Bruins in first place for NHL teams with the highest fines over the past two seasons. Over the last two seasons, three Boston Bruins players have been fined for a total of C$280,892. 

2. Buffalo Sabres

Total Paid in Fines & Lost Salary: C$245,115 | US$180,668 | £144,009

The Buffalo Sabres have the second-highest fines paid over the past two NHL seasons. Only two of their players were fined during this period, accumulating to C$245,115.

3. Calgary Flames

Total Paid in Fines & Lost Salary: C$176,373 | US$130,000 | £103,622

The third spot goes to the Calgary Flames, who have been fined a total of C$176,373 over the 22/23-23/24 seasons; this was across three players.

The Most Googled NHL Brutes

Most Googled NHL Brutes

1. Matthew Tkachuk

Number of Google searches: 1,725,300

Matthew Tkachuk is the most Googled brute in the NHL, with more than 1.7 million searches worldwide between November 2022 and October 2023. Matthew has already ranked as the third most fined player over the last two seasons and has 26 minutes in penalties in the current season.

2. Leon Draisaitl

Number of Google searches: 1,441,100

In second place, we have Leon Draisaitl, who plays as a centre for the Edmonton Oilers and is the team's alternate captain. Over the last 12 months, Draisaitl has been Googled more than 1.4 million times. He has been fined once over the previous two seasons, amounting to $5,000 and has 24 penalty minutes during the current NHL season.

3. Evander Kane

Number of Google searches: 1,296,900

Taking third place is Evander Kane, a left-winger who also plays for the Edmonton Oilers. During the last 12 months, Kane has been Googled just under 1.3 million times, making him one of the most popular brutes in the NHL. He has the sixth-highest penalty minutes in the 23/24 NHL season yet has not been fined in the last two seasons.

The Most Googled NHL Teams

Most Googled NHL Teams

1. Toronto Maple Leafs

Number of Google searches: 31,180,000

The Toronto Maple Leafs are the most Googled NHL team over the last 12 months, with over 31 million searches. The Maple Leafs are one of the least brutish teams this season, as they rank 25th in penalty minutes, with 237 minutes total. 

2. Boston Bruins

Number of Google searches: 19,742,000

In second place, we have the Boston Bruins, who have been Googled almost 20 million times over the previous 12 months. The Bruins also ranked first for the number of fines accumulated for physical penalties over the last two seasons. 

3. Edmonton Oilers

Number of Google searches: 15,606,000

With more than 15.6 million searches, the Edmonton Oilers are the third-most Googled NHL team worldwide over the last 12 months. The Oilers rank 15th in the NHL for teams with the most penalty minutes, having accrued 269 minutes. 

The Most Followed NHL Brutes on Instagram

Most Followed NHL Brutes Instagram

1. Evander Kane | @evanderkane

Instagram Followers: 396,000

This time, Evander Kane takes the top spot amongst the NHL brutes with the most followers on Instagram. The Oilers winger has just under 400,000 followers on the social media platform.

2. Max Domi | @max

Instagram Followers: 389,000

Taking second place is Max Domi, who plays as a centre or left-winger for the Toronto Maple Leafs. He has just under 390,000 followers on Instagram, making him the second-most followed NHL brute on the platform.

3. Brad Marchand | @bmarch63

Instagram Followers: 324,000

And finishing off the top three most followed NHL brutes on Instagram, we have Brad Marchand, a left-winger and the captain of the Boston Bruins. His Instagram account currently has 324,000 followers.

The Most Followed NHL Teams on Instagram

Most Followed NHL Teams Instagram

1. Pittsburgh Penguins | @penguins

Instagram Followers: 2,800,000

The Pittsburgh Penguins are the NHL team with the most followers on Instagram. The Penguins, however, have the second-lowest penalty minutes, totalling 187 minutes. 

2. Chicago Blackhawks | @nhlblackhawks

Instagram Followers: 1,700,000

In second place, we have the Chicago Blackhawks, who currently have 1.7 million followers on their Instagram account. They rank 23rd in the NHL for teams with the most penalty minutes and haven’t received any fines for physical penalties over the last two seasons. 

3. Boston Bruins | @nhlbruins

Instagram Followers: 1,600,000

Rounding out the top three, we have the Boston Bruins, with 1.6 million followers on the social media platform. The Bruins ranked in the top 20 for NHL teams with the most penalty minutes this season and have the highest amount of fines for physical offences over the 22/23 and 23/24 seasons.

Methodology

We wanted to show which NHL players and teams had the highest penalty minutes during the current (23/24) NHL season.

We used CBS Sports’s “NHL Penalties Complete Stats” to get the penalty minutes for the top 100 players in the NHL for the 23/24 season, also taking the number of major and minor penalties for each player. We then ranked each player on their total penalty minutes. These figures were taken on 12/12/2023.

We then used ESPN’s “NHL Team Skating Stats 2023-24” to get the number of penalty minutes for each team in the NHL for the 2023/24 season. We then ranked each team on their total penalty minutes. These figures were taken on 12/12/2023.

Using Scouting the Refs “NHL Suspension/Fine Tracker 2022-23” and “NHL Suspension/Fine Tracker 2023-24” to get the total amount paid in fines or salary lost for each player during the two most recent NHL seasons. We only included physical offences in this section. These figures were taken on 12/8/2023. We used Google Finance for all currency conversions on 12/8/2023 and rounded to the nearest whole number.

We then took the name of each player and team in the rankings and used Google Keyword Planner to get the total worldwide search volume for each player between November 2022 and October 2023.

Lastly, we looked up the Instagram accounts for each player and team in the ranking and took their current follower count, ranking each player on the figure. Any players missing from this section didn’t have Instagram accounts. These figures were taken on 12/8/2023.


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