Archive for the ‘Five Hole Fanatics’ Category

With the first pick in the NHL Re-Draft, Kent/Calgary selects …

July 21, 2009

The Calgary Flames select:

Apparently, Kent took Ovie’s imaginary Jimi Hendrix celebration as an omen

1. Alex Ovechkin
(Kent’s thoughts)

Cap Hit: $9,538,462 (according to Cap Geek.com)

Numerous brownie points will be awarded if anyone can come up with a decent Photoshop of Ovie in a Flames jersey. (send it to jamestobrien@hotmail.com)

Message board post
Snark thread

Five Hole Fanatics/Matchsticks & Gasolines’ Kent shares (pre-Bouwmeester signing) Flames FA thoughts

July 1, 2009
H/T to Vance from Bangin Panger for another great PhotoShop

Please keep in mind Kent sent me this post before it was announced that Jay Boumweester signed a big contract with the Calgary Flames. Congrats to Kent and Calgary fans for that; good luck to Sutter as he tries to make some kind of sense of the team’s cap situation.

Anyway, as always, we thank Kent for his considerable loyalty and generosity to CLS. Make sure to follow both Five Hole Fanatics (for the number cruncher in you) and Matchsticks & Gasoline (for the Flames information). Thanks, Kent!

1.) Which player, for the love of God, do you NOT want to see in your team’s sweater in the 09-10 season?

Todd Bertuzzi. And it’s not because he’s a violent criminal (this time). It’s because he’s an ineffective hockey player. His stats line may look alright from last year, but he was, for very long stretches, the worst player in the Flames top 9 forwards. Lazy and penalty-prone, Bertuzzi also favored the excessively fancy play to the right one. I dubbed him “sore thumb” for the manner in which he stuck out during amongst the Flames top 6 forwards. His inappropriate use of back-hand passes became a punchline in Flame circles. He’s big, but he plays like a man who’s had numerous back surgeries. He’s also injury prone. His offensive totals from this past season are almost totally based on Keenan feeding him lots of ice time and good line mates.

If the Flames re-sign Bertuzzi, I may have to turn in my fan card.

2.) Conversely, pick a potential move by another team that would just crush your soul/favorite team’s chances.

I would hate to see Marian Hossa land in Edmonton or Vancouver. He’s easily one of the best two-way forwards in the league and he instantly makes any team he’s on better.

Kent of Five Hole Fanatics/Matchsticks & Gasoline provides Calgary Flames draft perspective

June 25, 2009

Kent is one of the earliest supporters of Cycle like the Sedins … and certainly one of the most generous. Every time we’ve asked him to contribute something, he’s come through.

So, naturally, we asked him to provide some Calgary Flames draft thoughts. Since we knew that Kent takes a deep (but still coherent to the Average Joe Stain Shirt in all of us) look at stats at Five Hole Fanatics, we thought we’d ask him a specific question before we got to the general stuff.

Make sure to follow Kent’s work at Five Hole Fanatics as well as Matchsticks & Gasoline, the Calgary Flames blog at Sports Blog Nation.

1. We’ve asked a lot of bloggers about their given teams’ plans, but we’ve really enjoyed reading your statistical analysis-related works. So we thought we’d ask you: if you were a GM, which factors (intangible as well as statistical) would weigh most heavily for you when deciding on a prospect?

1.) In terms of statistical factors, a ton of good work has been done on this topic recently. Before we get to the more advanced material, I’ll discuss the basic numbers stuff I personally look for:

a.) Contextually based offense. Like in the big leagues, a prospect whose output is based on favorable circumstances (good linemates, lots of PP time) is a red flag to me. For example, I wrote this recently about Carter Ashton in a draft preview:

…while he was leading goal scorer on his club, he was actually 5th in terms of total points (50) and 6th in terms of PPG pace (0.71). Of the top 10 scorers on the Hurricanes, Carter scored the most PP goals (10) and had the worst plus/minus (-5). Remmerde also notes that Ashton slumped in the second half of the season after being taken off a line with leading assist man and point getter Colton Sceviour. The downturn was a marked one and visible by glancing at the game-by-game results: from January – March, a period of 31 games, Ashton scored just 9 goals and was a cumulative -18. Yikes. That slump continued into the post season where he scored just 1 goal and 3 points in 11 games (and was a team worst -8).

Link here.

Time will tell if my misgivings about Ashton prove correct. Point is, stats can suggest which players are driving results and which ones are riding coattails.

b.) Year-over-year Progression. A more “macro” approach to prospect evaluation is looking at how a given player improves every year. While a year or two isn’t a big issue for grown men, it can be significant for teenagers. In the CHL, a 16 year old rookie would be playing against 18, 19 and 20 year old guys for example. A kid who doesn’t take a few steps forward every year is another red flag: his numbers should improve just by virtue of aging and playing in a league with markedly younger and more physically immature guys. In addition, every prospect aside from the odd phenom has to improve by several orders of magnitude in order to eventually make the big league – and he only has a limited “development window” before he ceases being a prospect. A guy who isn’t moving in the right direction each season is bad news, right Angelo Esposito?

Now on to the advanced stuff. Oilers super blogger Lowetide had a good post recently on “NHLE” or NHL Equivalency ratings based on the stellar work of behindthenet.ca owner and operator Gabrieal Desjardins. Desjardins has created a method of converting a prospects junior stats to an equivalent output at the NHL level based on their age and what amateur league they played in. The methodology is a bit complicated, but basically it takes a players PPG (point per game) rate and multiplies it by a ratio to get the converted “expected” NHL output of the prospect in question.

Another Oilers blogger, Jonathan Willis, has started to look at the percentage of team offense to grade prospects. Basically, that means taking a kids point production in his draft season and dividing it by his club’s goals for total. It’s a simple calculation, but an elegant idea: it “corrects” for team circumstances and gives us an idea of the degree to which the guy contributed to his club’s offensive totals. His initial investigations into this method are encouraging, with the percentage ranking outperforming scouts in the ’98 and ’00 drafts.

As far as tools and intangibles, I prefer prospects who can skate well and have high utility (can contribute in more than one area of the ice). I’m also not as enamored with big guys as most scouts and fans seem to be meaning I would have no qualms taking a little guy who performs over a big guy that “projects well”.

2. Tell us about some of the steals and busts in Flames’ drafting history.

Steals:

1.) Joe Nieuwendyk, 27th overall, 1985.

The Flames picked a lanky center from Cornell University who managed 21 goals and 45 points in 29 games during his Freshman year. He went on to score 51 goals in his rookie season in 87/88 and won the Calder trophy as the NHL’s best rookie. He was a major part of the 1989 cup winning team and probably stands as one of the best Flames players and draft picks ever. The cherry on top is the fact that Nieuwendyk was dealt for a relatively unknown 11th overall pick named Jarome Iginla in 1995.

2.) Theoren Fleury, 166th overall, 1987.

Calgary scouts took a chance in the 8th round on a tiny, explosive dynamo who was ripping up the WHL at the time, but who was passed over by other teams due to “size concerns”. Fleury scored a mind-boggling 61 goals and 129 points for the Moose Jaw Warriors in his draft season and followed it up with a 68 goals, 160 point performance the next year. At the NHL level, it only took Fleury 3 seasons to breach the 50 goal, 100 point mark. Over the course of his career with Calgary, he’d score 30+ goals and 70+ points 6 times (it would have been 7 save for the lock-out in 94). He had held the Flames Franchise record for goals scored (830) which was recently broken only this past season by the aforementioned Iginla.

3.) Brett Hull, 117th overall, 1984.

Although he played just 57 games as a Calgary Flame, the hall-of-famer stands indisuptibly as the best pure scorer ever chosen by the organization. In addition, his trade to the St. Louis Blues brought Doug Gilmour to town, setting the stage for the Flames Stanley Cup win in ’89.

Busts:

1.) Trevor Kidd, 11th overall, 1990.

Tabbed as the future franchise goalie, Kidd was the first goaltender chosen in the 1990 entry draft. And while he did go on to have something of a decent if unspectacular 387 game career in the NHL, the real reason he’s on this list is the second goalie picked that year (at 20th overall) by the New Jersey Devils was Martin Brodeur. For more than a decade afterward, the Flames franchise floundered and sunk, due in no small part to on-going problems in net. In contrast, The Devils (backed by one of greatest puck stoppers of all time) became an NHL super power.

2.) Daniel Tkaczuk, 6th overall, 1997.

Another reason the Flames stunk in the mid-90’s was their woeful drafting record. Tkaczuk was a scoring winger out of the OHL that never managed to put things together at the next level, partially due to concussion issues. By taking him 6th overall, the Flames left Sergei Samsonov (8th), Marian Hossa (12th), Scott Hannan (23rd) and Brendan Morrow on the table.

3.) Rico Fata, 6th overall, 1998.

Another high value pick, another big whiff. A swift skating winger out of the OHL, Fata had a single good year as a Junior – his draft year (98) where he put up 43 goals and 76 points. The fact that he was an 11 and 19 goal scorer the previous two seasons (and was only the 4th highest scorer on the club during the year in question) should have been a tip-off to the hapless Flames scouts at the time, but alas. Fata bounced around the NHL for several years, cobbling together a 230 game career somehow, but never really made a dent to any significant degree. By taking Fata 6th, the Flames missed out on Manny Malholtra (7th), Nik Antropov (10th), Alex Tanguay (12th), Martin Skoula (17th), Robyn Regehr (19th), Simon Gagne (22nd) and Scott Gomez (30th). Luckily the org was able to save this draft year by moving Theoren Fleury for a yet un-tested Robyn Regehr in 1999. As for Fata, his name remains a punchline in Flames fan circles to this day.

Five Questions: Chicago vs. Calgary

April 16, 2009

Some really great stuff for the Flames vs. the Blackhawks at the satellite blog.

For the Flames, we enlisted our tenured scholar of Calgary, Kent of Five Hole Fanatics and Matchsticks and Gasoline fame. He provided us with yet another great contribution. Here’s a bite:

“The organization spent a lot of money this season and expectations were elevated by the club’s high budget and relatively good results in the middle of the year. If Calgary once again flames out in the first round, there’s going to be a lot of hard questions asked and I’d guess at least one head is going to roll.”

Once again, the Blackhawks bloggers gave us not one, but TWO great contributions. The first comes from Clare from All Hawks – who, by the way – might just edit our Calgary/Chicago mini-blog. Check out this excerpt:

“The Blackhawks web crew has really out-done themselves this year, and Burish has been a main part in many of the videos on the website. Between the Prankster Parts 1, 2 and 3 and the Ladies Man video it is hard to miss Burish. He can always provide a laugh and his overall likeability is what make him so endearing to Hawks fans.”

Finally, our buddy CT from Hockeenight wrote his responses, too. We had an absolute ball sharing our reflections on the Hawks (but more so on man boobs) with CT and forklift during the Hockee Night podcast if you haven’t heard it yet. Here’s a piece of CT’s post:

“For some reason, Joel Quenneville has got it into his head that journeyman defenseman Matt Walker is a top 4 guy. He’s been playing big minutes this season, often while paired with Brian Campbell, and he’s awful. His only tangible asset is his size, but he’s too slow to catch anybody and hit them. He’s pretty bad covering in his own zone, and even worse, as of late he’s gotten it in his head that he’s Phil Housely, making crazy cross ice passes to no one in particular.”

Just a great trio of posts. Read them all here.

All-Decade Team picks: Kent from Five Hole Fanatics

March 1, 2009

Center –

Lots of great potential picks at this position. Sakic. Thornton. Datsyuk. Fedorov.

But I think I have to go with Peter Forsberg:

Dude could do everything in his prime – from pass to score to knock opponents on their ass. Despite being almost constantly injured, Forsberg managed to win two Stanley Cups as well as the Hart, Art Ross and Calder trophies during his career. Not to mention a couple of Olympic gold medals.

Forsberg’s career PPG pace of 1.25 speaks for itself. It’s also a number that would no doubt be higher if he hadn’t played his last couple of seasons on one foot. He’s also one of those rare players with a more than a PPG pace in the play-offs (1.08) meaning Peter brought the pain even when the going got tough.

RW – Jarome Iginla

Yeah, Im a Flames fan.

LW – Alexander Ovechkin

The human highlight reel. While he’s just 23 years old, how do you argue against Alexander the Great? The guy is already setting records and he hasn’t even reached his peak yet. His combination of skill and passion makes him seem like an unstoppable force of nature on the ice. He almost singlehandedly resurrected hockey in Washington and has an infectious, fun-loving attitude to boot. Were I not a Flames fan, I’d be rooting for Washington. And that has almost everything to do with Ovechkin.

Defense – Niklas Lidstrom

Easily the greatest blueliner of our age. Six Norris trophies, four Stanley cups, first European to captain a team to an NHL championship. I think there’s a Conn Smythe in there too. His cumulative career plus minus rating is +378 and he’s 28 points away from breaching the 1000 point plateau. Part of me suspects he’s some kind of freaky, futuristic cyborg sent back from the future to teach our coarse, savage civilization what playing hockey is really all about.

Defense – Zdeno Chara

Yeah, I’m going a bit off the map with this pick. There’s lots of other great potential choices here (Pronger, Niedermayer, Ed Jovonovs…just kidding) but it’s hard to get around Zdeno. Literally…it’s hard to get around him. He’s the biggest player the NHL has ever seen and he’s also one of the best defensemen in recent memory. Chara has the hardest slapshot in the league, has scored 10+ goals in five straight seasons and routinely plays against the best the opposition has to offer. He is also regularly amongst the top five in terms of ice time in the league, despite having what I would call a “high potential for injury” given his large, lanky frame.

Oh yeah, having Chara also means you don’t have to employ a goon because – guess what? Chara will effing rag-doll players that get on his bad side:

Smart. Durable. Cannon shot. Physically imposing. Does it get much better?

Goaltender – Dominik Hasek

Forget the weird accent, the eccentricities and the unorthodox fish-flopping style: Hasek was perhaps the best goalie of the modern era. There’s all sort of reasons why this is true, but I think I’ll leave it to the Contrarian Goaltender to make my arguments for me:

From 1993-94 until 2001-02, Dominik Hasek faced 1,060 more shots than Martin Brodeur, and gave up 135 fewer goals.

I had to check those numbers again because I thought I had made a mistake at first. It is sometimes easy to shrug off save percentages, since there doesn’t look like that much of a difference between Hasek’s .926 and Brodeur’s .911, but the difference shows itself in the totals. To try to quantify the gap between Hasek and Brodeur, I looked for a goalie that faced about 1,000 fewer shots than Brodeur and gave up 130 more goals in the same time period. There wasn’t one, because no goalie that bad would get enough playing time to qualify. The two closest were Arturs Irbe (1870 fewer shots, 62 fewer goals against) and Jocelyn Thibault (1948 fewer shots, 77 fewer goals). Brodeur was much closer to guys like Irbe or Thibault than he was to Hasek in the 1990s. The Dominator was just on a completely different level.

Coach – Jacques Lemaire

I know, I know – everyone hates Lemaire for employing the trap and sucking the life out of hockey.

It’s hard to argue against the guy as a top notch coach, however. He consistently gets better than average results out of teams that often have no business winning games at all. His clubs are always disciplined and always have double plus good special teams, no matter the personnel. He’s also won the Stanley Cup a combined 11 times as a player/GM/coach. Eleven. Times. Plus there’s those two jack Adams awards…

Loudmouth – Jeremy Roenick.

Not only can JR talk, but he can (or could) play hockey. He’s also relatively entertaining in his “loudmouth-ness” in contrast to douchebags like Sean Avery.