The NHL is a copycat league for the most part, with teams that have success often seeing their route copied again and again by teams around the league. When a stingy, defensive team like the 2003 New Jersey Devils wins the Stanley Cup, teams tend to try to get more defensive. When a speed team like the 2022 Colorado Avalanche wins the Cup, other teams try to draft and sign quick players to up their team speed.
One route that has been taken less often lately is through size and physicality, although the Vegas Golden Knights this year won with a large top-six group of defensemen and were very physical all playoffs long. However, they kept their physicality legal as they were the least penalized team during the season.
Their opponents in the final, the Florida Panthers, weren’t as big. Still, they were perhaps even more aggressive in the playoffs, led by the ferocious Matthew Tkachuk, who now becomes the type of player teams will covet going forward.
Despite this success by these two teams this year, overall the league has been trending away from physicality with hits and fights dropping every year. The playoffs seem to be an outlier as the hitting picks up, but the fighting has become increasingly obsolete. It seems that grit and truculence are becoming less critical to team success every year, and with that trend picking up steam BetTennessee.com decided to hip check Tennessee sports betting updates to find the most aggressive teams of the 2022-23 regular season to see if it had any bearing on team success.
NHL’s Most Aggressive Teams Of 2022-23 NHL Season
We utilized MoneyPuck.com to compile the number of hits by each NHL team and HockeyFights.com to compile the number of fights by each NHL team in the 2022-23 regular season to find the most aggressive teams. You won't find this information listed on TN sports betting apps.
The Predators Live Up to Their Name
While there are certainly a couple of outliers, the chart shows that the number of hits and fights a team had during the season did not translate into wins, with six of the top ten teams on the list missing the playoffs entirely. One of those teams to rank high and miss the playoffs was the Nashville Predators, who finished just shy of a Wild Card berth in the Western Conference. The Predators ranked fourth on the list by placing third in hits and seventh in fights this season. They were led by Jeremy Lauzon on the hits front as the defenseman placed ninth in the league with 250 hits. Lauzon also led the team in total penalty minutes.
The Predators look to rank even higher on the list in 2023-24 as they signed last year's hit leader, Luke Schenn, in the offseason. Schenn delivered 318 hits to go along with 84 penalty minutes last year and ranks top five all-time in the NHL in hits.
With aggressive, gritty teams winding up near the bottom of the NHL standings more often than not, Predators fans might not be excited about new GM Barry Trotz’s desire to add more toughness in the offseason. Logically speaking, teams that deliver the most hits have the puck the least as there is no need to hit if you have the puck in your possession. With the Predators in a mini-retooling right now with their roster, making the playoffs is unlikely this year and Trotz seems aware of that as he’s signed players who excel without the puck like Schenn and defensive center Ryan O’Reilly. According to BetMGM Tennessee sportsbook, the Predators are +6600 to win the Stanley Cup this year. It appears that other oddsmakers are on the same page, so expect more hitting and fewer wins in Nashville this year.