In ice hockey, PIM stands for Penalty Infraction Minutes. This statistic tracks how many penalty minutes each player (or team) accrues throughout a game. PIM doesn’t take into consideration how long a player served their penalty. Instead, it focuses on how many minutes each player was assigned.
How is PIM Calculated in Hockey?
The PIM stat calculates how many penalty minutes each player receives throughout a hockey game. A player may be released from the penalty box early if the team on the power play scores during a game. These scenarios don’t affect the PIM calculation. Instead, PIM tracks strictly how many penalty minutes are assigned to each player, regardless of whether or not that player serves the entire time.
Different Types of Penalties in Hockey
A player can get several different penalties during a hockey game, each with a different amount of penalty minutes associated with it.
Minor penalties include some of the most common penalties, like slashing or high-sticking, and are all two minutes long. Some players may get a double minor for egregious penalties, like if a high-stick causes someone to bleed. Double minors act like two minor penalties stacked and account for four penalty minutes. The minor penalty ends early if the opposing team scores while an offending player is in the box.
Major penalties are five minutes long and occur from significant violations like spearing or fighting. After a player receives a major penalty, they serve their time in the penalty box. If two players are guilty of fighting, they may get match penalties, which causes both teams to lose one player for five minutes. Neither team gets a power play in this scenario.
Game misconduct penalties are 10 minutes long. However, during game misconduct penalties, the player is removed from the game and replaced by another team player. There is no power play or penalty kill associated with a game misconduct. Although, there are PIM assigned to that player for creating that penalty.
Do Players Get PIM for Penalty Shots?
The last type of penalty that can happen in a hockey game is a penalty shot. A penalty shot occurs if a player interferes illegally with a breakaway attempt.
For example, a player can hold another skater, slash them on the hands, or trip them during a breakaway, ruining their shot on goal. There are no PIM with penalty shots. Instead, the player attempting a breakaway gets an unimpeded shot on goal, much like they’d get in a shootout.
Is PIM a Good Thing in Hockey?
Many hockey fans consider high PIM a good stat due to the popularity of fantasy hockey. Like most fantasy sports, fantasy hockey gives team managers points based on the success of their team. Many of the most popular hockey statistics include goals scored, shots on goal (SOG), power-play goals (PPG), plus-minus, game-winning goals (GWG), and so on.
However, some fantasy hockey leagues add PIM as an interesting statistic to spice up a league. Tracking PIM means that fantasy hockey players should draft penalty-prone players (or goons) to their team. These rules make NHL players like Trevor Wilson or Brady Tkachuk, who can score and fight, much more appealing.
Which Players Have the Most PIM?
David “Tiger” Williams leads all hockey players in penalty minutes. Over his 14 year career, he had over 3,971 penalty minutes. That means, in 962 games, he averaged just over four penalty minutes a game.
Dale Hunter is a distant second in penalty minutes by an individual player. In his long career, he racked up 3,565 penalty minutes. However, unlike Williams, Hunter was much more valuable on the ice. He had a plus-minus of +101, with 323 goals and 697 assists. He even had ten shorthanded goals in his career, showing how effective he was as an all-around player.
Canadian goaltender Ron Hextall, who spent most of his career with the Philadelphia Flyers, leads all goalies in career PIM with 569. Hextall also has the single-season PIM record for a goalie, which is 113 penalty minutes. Despite his penchant for penalties, Hextall was an accomplished goalie. He had a .895 save percentage and had 23 shutouts in his career, making him one of the best goalies in the game’s history.
Can a Goalie Receive PIM?
A goalie does not receive any minor or major penalties to sit out during a game. However, if any penalty occurs from a goalie, another player on the team will sit in the penalty box. However, the PIM stat will count against the goalie instead of the player sitting out the action.
Conclusion About PIM in Hockey
In summary, PIM is a unique stat in hockey that lets fans track how many penalty minutes their favorite players receive. This stat is relatively unique since hockey is one of the few sports where players serve time in a penalty box.
Finally, fantasy league owners like to add PIM to spice up the scoring. Having PIM helps fans root on their favorite goons and celebrate fighting in the sport. However, it is an ongoing debate between fantasy hockey participants if this is a trash stat!