April 30th, 2013 — Uncategorized
#1 Vs #8
The Chicago Blackhawks seemingly have everything going this season. They have two goalies putting up top flight numbers. they have an upgraded defense that has allowed Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook to reclaim the form that helped the team win the Cup a few years back. Better still, they have arguably the best forward group in the NHL; Toews, Kane, Hossa, Saad and Sharp.
The Minnesota Wild are that new kid in playoff town no one knows quite what to make of. On paper the Wild have every tool they need to be dangerous, and even contend. In reality, they lack playoff experience, especially with Pominville and Heatley on the shelf. Add that to five of six blueliners who have never seen the NHL playoffs, and you have a recipe for a dicey playoff series.
Players to watch:
For the Wild, don’t be surprised if rookie Charlie Coyle comes up big in spots, Setogouchi is a threat, and Mikko Koivu is never to be underestimated.
On the other side of the puck for the Blackhawks, Kane, Hossa and Toews can all take over games individually.
Chicago, it isn’t purely the quality that they lead in, it is the playoff experience, particularly on the blueline that will decide this series.
#2 vs. #7
Anaheim Ducks have almost no pressure this year. Sidney Crosby and the Penguins are drawing an inexplicable amount of attention, and Chicago was start to finish the best team in the NHL. The Ducks simply have to get on the ice and execute. They have savvy older veterans in Koivu and Selanne. They have high quality younger veterans still in their prime in Ryan, Getzlaf, and Perry. They also have a surprisingly strong backend in net and on the blueline. They don’t have any dominant or elite players there, but they do have several really good ones.
The Detroit Red Wings have made the playoffs again keeping their two decade long streak intact. They have Jimmy Howard who again very quietly put up impressive numbers, they have Datsyuk, and Zetterberg. These are not your Dad’s Red Wing’s though, they just don’t have even one elite talent on their blueline, much less two or three as they have had in years past.
Players to watch:
If the Wings don’t have Howard playing top notch goaltending, they don’t have anything, For them to win, guys like Tootoo, Smith, and other role players will have to elevate their game.
The Ducks need to have their defense continue to smother their opponents, and have at least one of their goaltenders show up and never take their eyes off of Zetterberg and Datsyuk.
Wings can’t win this if the Ducks show up and execute. It’s just that simple.
#3 vs. #6
Vancouver Canucks, it is put up or shutup time in Vancouver. They drama in their net has covered up the fact that this isn’t as good a team as it was in years past. They only won their division by four points, by comparison the Washington Capitals won by 6, and of the six division winners this is the team that scored the least this season. The Sedin twins combined for less goals than Jiri Tlusty. They put up the mediocre season numbers with three of the bottom four teams in their conference playing in their division.
San Jose Sharks are also at the point where if they don’t win the Cup it is tie to break up the band. Marleau, Boyle, and Thornton don’t have many more years left in them and behind them there isn’t much to write home about. What gives this squad a bit of believability is that Niemi, who was part of the Chicago cup run, has turned in the best regular season of his career and played in 43 of the teams 48 games.
Players to watch:
Ryan Kesler and Kevin Bieksa are two guys you should never ever count out, for the Canucks to do well, these two will likely be the biggest impact players.
Joe Thornton appears to have learned how to play big in the playoffs, and Raffi Torres (when he plays clean) is a surprisingly good playoff player.
This series is almost a push, but I give the edge to San Jose, Thornton, Marleau, Couture are are better right now than any three forwards you can name for the Sharks, and with Schneider’s injury and the general chaos in British Columbia I don’t like the Canucks chances.
#4 vs. #5
The Saint Louis Blues boast some damn fine players no one talks about because the team is too far south. David Backes is a game changer, Pietrangelo is one of the best defensemen in the game, and Chris Stewart turned in more points in 48 games this year than he did in 79 last year. Goaltending is clearly this teams weakness, but with Oshie coming back the team gains immediately in two way play.
The reigning champions the Los Angeles Kings have to get scoring from more people than just Jeff Carter and Dustin Brown, if for no other reason than Jonathan Quick is not as good this year as last. They’ve gotten a slight refresh adding Regehr and injecting Muzzin into the lineup, but the roster is really almost identical. You have to question the teams hunger a little.
Players to watch:
Drew Doughty emerged as an elite two way defenseman during last year playoffs establishing his bona fides in his own end in addition to the offensive ability he’s always displayed, he and Mike Richards who is frequently overlooked on this team will be crucial to this team going anywhere.
For the Blues, Vladimir Sobotka just finds an extra gear in the playoffs and he can tilt the ice, but he won’t be enough, Bouwmeester, Oshie, and Perron will have to show up and put in work.
This is a push, the Blues I think have the edge in hunger, the Kings have the edge in knowing how to win in the post season.
Total Wins by eliminated teams this round; 9
March 30th, 2013 — Uncategorized, What We Know
The deadline is coming!
The deadline is coming!
And it is a glorious thing, the western conference has a lot of interesting parts that make it hard to say who will be buyers or sellers. Some of the bottom teams have improved a lot, some of the middle teams aren’t as good as they look, and some of the top teams are just scary.
Chicago: If there’s anything this team could use other than better centers not named Toews, I’m not sure it really matters, they are scoring lots, allowing little, and beating people on a regular basis (at least the ones who aren’t from Anaheim). Extra depth for the playoffs wouldn’t hurt but how do you tinker with a team that’s lead the league since the word go?
Anaheim: With just one player in the top 40 in the NHL’s scoring race, and a defense where the TOI split between #1 and #6 is about four minutes, one wonders how this team has been the the second most consistent team in the NHL this season. This team doesn’t seem to have any weaknesses, unless it is a lack of playoff experience up and down the roster.
Vancouver: We know the Canucks are desperately trying to win he very last northwest division title. We know they have less ROW’s than Minnesota who also have a game in hand. We know the team traded away the talented young Hodgson even though Kesler is rarely healthy and they don’t have a viable 2nd center without them. We know after year of being at the top o the NHL’s scoring race, the Sedins who sat on the couch during the lockout are behind guys like Sam Gagner, Patrice Bergeron, Mikko Koivu, and Chris Stewart in the scoring race.
Minnesota: We knowWild will be the word for the emotions of fans in the state of hockey when they get to see their first playoff game in a few years. There’s still a good chance they win the division. We know that Mikko Koivu might finally get some of the adulation and national attention he deserves if they win a round or two in the playoffs. We know they need to do something pretty damned extreme to get their goalie and a respectable roster put together by opening night this fall. We know it is a crying shame Jonas Brodin won’t even make the long list for the Calder.
Los Angeles: We know the Kings who weren’t notoriously good at scoring last year are very quietly number seven in goals for this year. We know that their number one goaltender has had a performance dip year over year. We know this team will be a different variety of difficult to beat in seven games than last spring.
Detroit: With the trade of Huskins for a conditional 2014 draft pick, and hometown boy Danny DeKeyeser, we’re starting to get a look at what the team will look like in a year or two. We know that with 27 skaters having taken the ice in 34 games and just two players with 10 or more goals, long term answers need to be found.
San Jose: 82 goals for, 82 goals against tells us this team is rather mediocre. I can’t see a high price on some of their middling talent, but I can’t see this team selling big before the deadline, ownership has apparently decided to drive this core group into the ground, meaning Sharks fans can expect another year or two of making the playoffs and getting made into chum in the second season.
Saint Louis; Good news, bad news. We know the team is scoring better than last season, we also know the team is allowing more goals than last season. We know the team needs to find an identity, and see if they can get more recognition for Pietreangelo.
Dallas: We know this team needs to find defenders who can get the puck out of their own zone. We know this team has lots of old guys left and the team wouldn’t be made worse medium term to get rid of every forward over thirty.
Columbus: We know if this team won half their games on the road instead of one fourth they’d not only be a playoff team, they’d be poised for home ice advantage at least through the first round.
Nashville: What ails this team isn’t just the loss of Suter, they are missing some of the same drive the New York Rangers and Boston Bruins lack. They also still don’t know how to score.
Edmonton: We know the Oilers defense is made out of wet tissues, we know the offense is struggling despite the nearly point per game production of Sam Gagner, we know the team isn’t going to be fixed until the leadership is changed.
Phoenix: Like the desert they play in, this team is hot and cold, last season they won the division and went to the conference finals last season, and this season they are in the basement. We know the ownership drama may never end. We know the Coyotes need both depth and quality.
Calgary: We know handing out too many no movement clauses makes rebuilding difficult. We know failing to acquire good young talent makes rebuilding difficult. We know being publicly shown to have no clue, and no ability to make deals makes rebuilding difficult.
Colorado: We know if this team was playing in a top tier hockey market the media bludgeoning would make their record and team stats look pleasant. We know this team will probably draft a high end talent and then fail to develop them.
March 25th, 2013 — Uncategorized
Obviously it’d be nice for Calgary Flames fans if the general managers teams on Iginla’s list suffered some sort of stroke and had them offering up the whole farm system and three roster players. That is however unlikely to happen, even if you disagree with some of the choices, or even the general philosophy of the GM’s in question, all four have won a cup recently.
If I’m sitting in Jay Feaster’s chair, here’s what I’d ask from each team that is fairly reasonable:
Los Angeles Kings:
Centerpiece: Slava Voynov, an offensively talented defenseman who at 23 was part of the Stanley cup win and is still on his entry level deal through July first.
Tyler Toffoli a well regarded center prospect who has 3 games of NHL experience, and about a season in the AHL with good numbers.
a conditional 1st round pick either in 2013 or 2015, Calgary’s choice.
Defensive prospects Scott Harrington, and Derrick Pouliot
A first and a second round picks.
Centerpiece: Alexander Khokhlachev, a young center, a position the team is deep at.
Rich Peverley a versatile forward with speed, a bit of grit and who is affordable enough to be worth keeping around through the rebuild, Peverley does have a NTC, if he’s unavailable:
Niklas Svedberg who is 9th in the AHL in GAA and 7th in Sv%, with more games played than anyone ahead of him in the latter category except Curtis McElhinney who has never managed to stick in the NHL, this in Svedberg’s 1st season in North America.
A conditional 1st round pick either in 2013 or 2015.
Brandon Saad is technically a rookie, but he played two regular season games last season, two
Adam Clendening, a young defenseman with USNDTP experience, two years of college play at Boston University, and in his first year in the AHL.
A 1st and a 2nd round pick.
Given Jarome Iginla’s age, the fact that he will be a UFA in just a couple months, and the fact that the Penguins and Blackhawks as the number one and two offenses really don’t need him, not to mention the Morrow trade, I think these are fairly reasonable prices. If the bidding got heated, particularly if Iginla expands the list, I can see more being paid, but even as good as Iginla would be with a legitimate 1st or 2nd line center for the first time in a decade, there’s less than 20 games left in the regular season, and then the uncertainty of the playoffs. Each of theses teams should at least hit the second round. Also to be considered is when other teams decide to sell off. If for example Martin St. Louis becomes available, or if there’s suddenly a fire sale in a city whose GM has one foot out the door, prices could actually go down.
March 24th, 2013 — Junior./Collge Hockey, Rattling The Boards
Via Renaud Lavoie Jarome Iginla will or would waive his no movement clause for the Boston Bruins, Los Angeles Kings, and Chicago Blackhawks, and the Pittsburgh Penguins. A quick look at the offenses of the teams has Pittsburgh at the top of the NHL, the Blackhawks a close second, while the Los Angeles Kings and Boston Bruins are treading water in 12th and 13th place in goals per game. Chicago is ranked as having the deepest prospect pool by Hockey’s Future, while the Flames system is weak overall on depth, particularly at right wing.
Another coach firing on a teach with an ECHL roster lightly-speckled with NHL talent. When the Tampa Bay Lightning went to the Eastern Conference Finals two years ago, two things got them there, one was Dwayne Roloson, the other was Guy Boucher. Both of them are gone, and both were highly under rated for the jobs they did. If a dispersal draft were done on Lightning today, its an open question how many of their players would be picked and retained both other teams. It 31 games into the season and they have just one player to score more than 10 goals, and that player also has the second worst +/- on the team. Career backup Garon has the teams best sv%, depth center Nate Thompson is arguably the best defensive player on the whole roster, and none of the decisions that got them onto the clubs payroll happen at the coaches level. Guy Boucher goes out the door, in another time and place Steve Yzerman would be tossed out a window.
The CHL playoffs are under way and Fang Faction has taken a look a Predators prospects in the playoffs.
David Krejci is drawing heat is the Boston Bruins continue to tread water in fourth place in the east.
The North American Hockey League is producing some Division One NCAA, the Brookings Blizzard announced there’s Aidan Cavallini and you can get the rest of the leagues commitments right here.
And as we roll closer and closer to that most wonderful day of the year Draft day, a look at the US National Development Team is looking toward its own future of smiling eyes and wide smiles.
March 12th, 2013 — Uncategorized
There are four teams who have set themselves apart from this season. They play different styles, are split in two different conferences and have accomplished their dominance in different ways. The real question is, can they keep it up, and are they legitimate contenders?
The Chicago BlackHawks:
The Chicago Blackhawks have had the most spectacular season to date, they’ve attacked the league and gotten even non-hockey fans and media to take notice.
- Fifth in goals for.
- Second in goals against.
- Sixth in penalty kill.
- Fourteenth in powerplay.
How they can get better:
- Powerplay is only mediocre.
- Patrick Sharp is injured, when he returns at anything like his normal self the team is instantly deeper and instantly more dangerous.
How they can get worse:
- Emery and Crawford are playing way outside the zone of their normal skill set. Emery’s career save percentages is .908%, and his only season over 910 with more than 30 games played was back in 2005-06. Currently He’s at .917% Crawford in his previous two seasons has had sv%’s of .917% and .903%, for a career number of .912%, this season, with most of his numbers coming prior to the injury he’s at a.925%.
- No injuries to date on their defense.
- They can regress to something like last years road record where they were a .500 team.
Are they contenders:
- Yes, they’ve won with worse goaltending, the west is weaker now than it was then, and the short season means if they stay healthy they’ve got a better than 50% chance of being in the Western Conference Finals.
The Montreal Canadiens:
Many people are surprised the Canadiens are this good and that the Northeast Division is very good this season. On the first one they shouldn’t be, last season was the perfect storm of disasters for Montreal.
- Fourth in goals for.
- Tenth in goals against.
- Ninth in powerplay.
- Fifteenth in penalty kill.
How they can get better:
- Special teams are only average.
- They are quite bad at faceoffs at 23rd.
- Prust, Bourque, Diaz, can come back and contribute.
How they can get worse:
- Essentially a one goalie team with no real depth in the system, as goes Price goes the Habs.
- They are getting solid contributions from rookies, if Galchenyuk and Gallagher hit the wall, particularly i it is at the same time the team could suffer more than some expect.
- The NHL or officials could get serious about diving/embellishment and take a long hard look a the team that has had more than twice as many powerplay opportunities as their nearest rival in the division.
Are they Contenders?
- Maybe, not many of these players have been deep into the playoffs. More importantly, the goalie who last took them deep is no longer on the roster.
The Anaheim Ducks
Anaheim has been mighty this season. They added defense, they pulled a goalie surprise out of their back pocket, and they’ve not been shy about playing hard and fast.
- Third in goals for.
- Ninth in goals against.
- First on the powerplay.
- Twenty-Eighth on the penalty kill.
How they can get better:
- Penalty kill, penalty kill, penalty kill.
- Hiller needs to play better, a sub .900s% isn’t gonna cut it.
- At 25th in faceoffs, they absolutely need to get closer to 50%.
How they can get worse:
- Their scoring depth could vanish, they only have 1 player with 10 goals or more, but have eleven with more than five.
- The league could finally put together a book on Victor Fasth.
- Management/Ownership could panic on the Corey Perry front and drop him for little, no, or the wrong return.
Are they Contenders:
Probably, Selanne is awesome, Perry, Getzlaf, and Ryan together are more to handle than most teams have the blueline talent for. On the other hand, a lot of their team are either rookies or have no NHL playoff experience.
The Boston Bruins
New year but not much has changed in Boston, same coach, same top forward in Patrice Bergeron, same legitimate Norris contender in Zdeno Chara, and same physical, puck control style.
- Tenth in goals for.
- Third in goals against.
- Twenty-third in powerplay.
- First in penalty kill.
How they can get better:
- Milan Lucic and their third line could show up and start scoring.
- Their powerplay could get better.
- They need to get better when trailing.
How they can get worse:
- They’ve been phenomenally lucky on the injury front.
- Rask has not been the healthiest goaltender in team history.
- Scoring could decay.
Are they Contenders:
Yes, the goaltending remains a question but there is very little difference between this team and the one that won the Cup not so long ago.
March 2nd, 2013 — Feature: If I told you in September
This is a feature that will run about every two weeks with improbable stats and situations in the National Hockey League.
- that the Anahiem Ducks, the Montreal Canadiens and Carolina Hurricanes would all lead their divisions as we crept up on the halfway mark.
- that the Vancouver Canucks would lead the Northwest division and the Washington Capitals would be in the basement of the east with identical goals for per game at 2.74.
- the defensive minded Phoenix Coyotes would have have a goals per game advantage on the star studded San Jose Sharks of .59 goals per game.
- the Tampa Bay Lightning would lead the league in goals per game and be in 11th place in the east.
- of the top five powerplays by percentage, only two would belong to division leaders; Pittsburgh and Anahiem, while two more belong to teams outside the playoffs; Washington and the New York Islanders with the Saint Louis Blues leading the race for second in in the central division.
- the New Jersey Devils who finished last season wit the best penalty kill at 89.6% would be 25th on March 2nd with a 77.4% kill more than 2% lower than even the Columbus Blue Jackets of last season.
- on March 2nd three teams would be .500 or better when trailing after 2 periods; Chicago, Anahiem, Boston.
- four players would have drawn at least three penalties per 60 minutes played; Patrick Kaleta of the Sabres, Dustin Brown of the Los Angeles Kings, Mark Fistric of the Edmonton Oilers and Torrey Mitchell of the Minnesota Wild. (minimum of 10 games played)
- Jay Bouwmeester would finish 10.1% more shifts in the offensive zone than he started there while Shea Weber would finish 2.4% less shifts in the offensive zone than he started.
- Kevin Klien of the Nashville Predators would have played the most games without getting a single penalty at 21 while playing more than 20 minutes a night.
- of all players with at least 200 faceoffs, Paul Gaustad would lead the NHL in winning percentage at 63.8%.
- of the top ten points producers, only six would be on teams currently out of the playoffs: #1 Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning #3 Thomas Vanek of the Buffalo Sabres, #4 John Tavares of the New York Islanders #7 Martin St Louis of the Tampa Bay Lightning #9 Jakub Voracek of the Philadelphia Flyers #10 Matt Moulson of the New York Islanders
- Sam Gagner of the Edmonton Oilers would have more powerplay points than; Nicklas Backstrom of the Capitals, Pavel Datsyuk of the Detroit Red Wings, Daniel Sedin of the Vancouver Canucks and Teemu Selanne of the Anahiem Ducks.
- two time Stanley Cup champion Rob Scuderi of the Los Angeles Kings would lead the league in shorthanded time on ice per game at 4:24, an 11 second per game heavier load than last season leader Francois Beauchemin
February 23rd, 2013 — What We Know
The season was a long, long time coming and it seems amazing that we are one third of the way done. We know the Western Conference is never easy to predict. Today, we know which teams are better than we thought, which teams are worse, and which ones just don’t have a clue.
15: Columbus Blue Jackets: We know the more things change the more they stay the same. We know the team has a new General Manager. We know the new GM has a reputation as a great evaluator of draft-able talent. We know that despite all the changes, the roster is still a lottery team.
14: Calgary Flames: We know this is one of the most hamstrung teams in the league in terms of farm system and with no movement and no trade clauses. We know Jarome Iginla isn’t getting any younger, and that this is the last year of his contract. We also know he might just be their best player at faceoffs, which would be great if he were a center and not one of their numerous grindline centers.
13: Edmonton Oilers: We know they still don’t have a defense. We know they probably have the assets to trade for defense. We know if they end up drafting first they probably won’t be smart enough to draft Seth Jones. We know from watching Oil Change that Daryl Katz is more interested in being seen as the owner of a hockey team than he is being seen as the owner of a winning hockey team. We know that sooner or later Ralph Krueger will be scapegoated so that Tambellini and Lowe can keep their jobs.
12: Colorado Avalanche: We know the AVS are still as a collective head cases.Their win two lose two, rinse and repeat record says their is more wrong with this team than questionable defense, and an offense that really should be better than it is. We know Sacco will likely get sacked because he ran out of gold stars and lollipops for his collection of kids.
11: Los Angeles Kings: We Know the Stanley Cup Hangover is only part of the problem. They still haven’t fixed their deficient offense.
10: Detroit Red Wings: We know they lost Lidstrom and Stuart. We know Datsyuk isn’t as good as he used to be. We know this team should be blown the hell up and rebuilt while no one in Detroit can afford to come to games anyway. We know two or three years of tanking and recreating the team with top talent is preferable to adding mediocre talent to a team that has possibly three above average players.
9: Dallas Stars: We know the Stars were a bubble team last year. We know they are a bubble team this year. We know that when you add Old Dudes, no matter how good they are simply because of how good they were in the 90s, you probably need to re-prioritize and figure out the real holes in your team.
8: Minnesota Wild: We know they added more salary and years to their roster than anyone else over the long, long offseason. We know they had a ton and a half of injuries last year. We know Josh Harding deserves a standing ovation before every game. We also know this team isn’t playing to their potential with that much talent on the roster.
7: Phoenix Coyotes: We know the NHL still hasn’t settled an owner into the corner office. We know the team will get to hold onto Shane Doan a while longer. We know that Oliver Ekman-Larsson is pretty damn good.
6: San Jose Sharks: We know they aren’t as good as their 7-0-0 start, nor as bad as the six game losing streak that followed. We know you can’t ignore the contributions on the backend or count this team out of the playoff hunt no matter how far they fell last season.
5: Saint Louis Blues: We know last year wasn’t a fluke. We know that Alex Pietrengelo needs to be accounted among the top five defensemen in the NHL. We know the team has a talent for identifying goalies about to hit the zone. We know that its unlikely anyone will ever think of the names of any forward other than Taresenko or Backes without prompting, no matter how many goals the team scores.
4: Nashville Predators: We know Weber is every bit as good as everyone said and that he was for more deserving of the last two Norris Trophy’s than either guy who collected them. We know the team is third best in goals against. We know that despite being 30th in goals for, they are still a damned dangerous team.
3: Vancouver Canucks: We know they are once again leading the weakest division in the NHL. We know Kesler is back from his yearly injury. We know it could be years before anyone knows who the real starter is in the crease. We know they aren’t all that impressive on the road.
2: Anaheim Ducks: We know Teemu is Forever. We know adding Bryan Allen to this team made their goaltenders job easier. We know Victor Fasth could steal Hiller’s job as the number one netminder. We know this team is a lot more like the squad we expect than last year’s nearly identical roster.
1: Chicago Blackhawks: We know this team is incredible. We know the team is deep. We know the team isn’t playing 100% to their potential. We know they will never keep this pace up because guys are playing so far outside their normal range. We know they are incredibly fun to watch.
February 15th, 2013 — Uncategorized
Tonight the NHL’s oldest American NHL franchise will faceoff against their division rivals the Buffalo Sabres:
- The Bruins Brass have purged all the Americans they could from the roster, Chris Bourque is the son of a Canadain, Jay Pandolfo is the 13th forward, so take your pick.
- For the Buffalo Sabres, Nathan Gerbe and Ryan Miller lead the way with Marcus Foligno, Drew Stafford, Patrick Kaleta, TJ Brenna, Jordan Leopold,Tyler Myers, and Mike Weber filling out the roster.
The Winnipeg Jets and Pittsburgh Penguins will duel,
- Dustin Byfugelien, and Blake Wheeler are part of a large of a very American crew that includes Mark Stuart, injured goalie Al Montoya, Zach Bogosian, Zach Redmond, Ron Hainsey, former Pittsburgh Penguin Eric Tangradi, and Jim Slater.
- Facing them will be Brooks Orpik, Matt Niskanen, Joe Vitale, Brandon Sutter for the Penguins.
When the Flyers and Devils square off, they’ll have their own American compliment
- First round draft pick Stefan Matteau and Stephen Gionta will be joined by Bobby Butler, Mark Fayne, Andy Greene, and Peter Harrold are the Devils Americans.
- In Orange and Black are Tom Sestito, and Sean Couturier.
The Red Wings and Ducks will also play tonight.
- Jimmy Howard leads the Red Wings Americans, and travels with Brian Lashoff, Drew Miller, and Justin Abdelkader.
- Bobby Ryan and Nick Bonino will be in the lineup for the Ducks and Patrick Maroon, Kyle Palmieri, will be out there with Nate Guenin and Ben Lovejoy.
The Sharks look to get back on track against the Blackhawks.
- Patrick Kane highlights the Chicago side, with Nick Leddy and Brandon’s Sadd and Bollig.
- Missing from the Shark tank are Justin Braun, Tommy Wingels, Scott Gomez and Adam Burish.
Despite recent news coverage, the Blues have stars other than Taresenko, and the Flames have the odd American of their own.
- Lee Stepniak steps up under the red white and blue and brings Chris Butler, and Tim Jackman with him.
- David Backes is the Captain of the St Louis squad, TJ Oshie, Kevin Shattenkirk, and Ian Cole are on the ice as well while Jamie Langenbrunner is on the shelf.
The Canucks and Stars will square off on the left coast.
- Expected to return real soon now is Ryan Kesler, David Booth is down and out, Jordan Schroeder is however enjoying some ice time with Andrew Alberts, Keith Ballard and Cory Schneider for Vancouver.
- The Dallas American element is a three man threat with Alex Goligoski, Richard Bachman, and Eric Nystrom.
January 28th, 2013 — Uncategorized
The short answer to all questions of player value is: What ever they can get someone to pay for them. In this case, Subban is what every team needs and wants: a highly talented, mobile, young defender with offensive skill, defensive savvy, and his best years ahead of him.
Q: So where does he rank in terms of both actual skill, and potential:A: In my book, top ten for NHL defensemen.
In whatever order you like, you can put Chara, Keith, Weber, Pietrangelo, Suter, Doughty ahead of him. The next tier of his true comparables is harder to gauge as that group has more and variability in strengths and weaknesses as well as age. That group includes the Capitals John Carlson, the Jets Dustin Byfugelien, Chicago’s Brent Seabrook, Canucks blueliner Kevin Bieksa, and when used properly, Jay Bouwmeester of the Flames.
Of his comparables:
- John Carlson is the closest in age and accomplishments, Carlson is better defensively, Subban is a little faster and better offensively. Carlson is also 23 and signed a team friendly pretty fair contract with a cap hit of four million a year in a town where he was at the time about the sixth or seventh biggest name.
- Kevin Bieksa is the oldest of his comparables, is the fifth or so biggest name behind Kesler, the Sedins and whichever goalies the press is hectoring between pillar and post out in Vancouver. No Cup for Bieksa, but one of the NHL’s more dependable blueliners and is not the type to give up even if a game is out of hand. He’s got a talent laden blueline around him and has for years, not a natively gifted offensively, but knows where he fits in on his offensive minded team. Cap hit of $4.6 million.
- Jay Bouwmeester was when he signed his current contract with the floundering Panthers about the most talented player and arguably the biggest name on the team. He plays huge minutes including more than two minutes a night on each special team. He blocks over 100 shot each year. His cap hit is $6.8m
- Brent Seabrook is often overlooked in Chicago even if a good look at the numbers doesn’t bear that out. Skilled going in both directions, Seabrook would be the cornerstone of a lot of franchises in the NHL. He has similar offensive numbers, on a more offensively gifted team, to Subban. Was a big part of the Cup run for Chicago a couple years back. 5.8million.
- Dustin Byfuglien is the Jets most sizeable defeneman, played his part in hoisting the cup for the windy city, and aside from some injury issues has been a dynamic player since landing in Atlanta-now-Winnipeg. Less defensive acuity than Subban, just as good a skater with a lot more size, and possibly the best known player on his team. His cap hit is 5.2million.
A couple of contracts his agent is sure to bring up:
- Erik Karlsson, who was mysteriously awarded the Norris, has almost negative defensive ability, and a contract for a $6.8 million cap hit, despite never making it out of the first round of the playoffs and playing a very soft game.
- Dennis Wideman, the wildly inconsistent 29 year old now on his fifth NHL team was an All Star last season, carries a 5.25m cap hit, and no team he’s played for has ever made it out of the second round of the playoffs.
- Dion Phaneuf who is one of those guys who was billed as the second coming of god in his early years, and is still picked for a Norris yearly buy some pundits has a large cap hit at 6.5million, but hasn’t seen a playoff game since 2009 and has been above average if not elite for the Toronto Maple Leafs since arriving.
If you crunch the numbers on his true comparables and leave out the laughably overpaid Karlsson, the Semin-level-enigma that is Wideman, and Phanuef, you’ve got an average cap hit of 5,280,000. That’s not really an unfair number for a short term contract, but realistically with only modest improvement in the next three years he should be in the running for legitimate Norris win, and a couple 50+ point seasons.
If your considering an offer sheet or trade for Subban, what does a roughly five point three million dollar contract offer sheet cost? That depends on where you expect to draft, and how well you’ve done drafting. For any amount in the price range of his comparables, assuming Montreal doesn’t match it, you’d be giving up selections in each of the first three rounds of the draft.
If you expect to draft in the top 10 this year, it might not be worth it.
If you expect to draft 11-20, you have to consider it very, very strongly.
If you expect to draft 21-30 this season you’re probably derelict in your duty if you don’t.
An immediate impact player, especially at a reasonable price and especially long term (four+ seasons) is better than potential that is years away. If as an organization you think Subban is the player that can put you over the top for a cup win, or even just generate enough buzz to sell 3000 more tickets a game you almost have to go for him via offer sheet or trade. If you’re in the division you can doubly impact the Habs by lowering their level of talent and improving yours. As poorly as the Habs have drafted in the last decade, them muffing on the draft is almost a given.