Archive for the ‘NHL-wide’ Category

Links! Links! Thursday NW Division Link Time

November 5, 2009

Thanks to James for giving me the keys to CLS, I’m pretty sure he’s gonna regret it. My name is Vancity Canuck, and you may know me from previous CLS writings or my other blog tHB. I’m gonna start off small here with a little tour around the Northwest division. I didn’t realize that signing up to find some stories about the NW Division would actually require me to read about other teams besides the Canucks.

Let’s start our tour, shall we?

The KB has compiled a list of Getting to Know Your Backup Goalies. If you haven’t ever read the Kurtenblog before, well let me introduce the j-ckasses that are paid to write about sports and chat on messenger by the MSM. In this week’s list they introduce the Swedish backup, who learns that “The biggest difference in the NHL is how all the players can skate forwards and backwards.

Jibblescribbits has also complied a list! Their is about Why the Flames received their Flu shots. As a Canadian, Albertans seem like they would be the type to do anything for Kevin Sorbo’s Nerdy Little Brother, Jay Bouwmeester.

Hitting the Post did not have a list. Disappointing. But they did address the question: is their team the Least Intriguing team in the NHL? So what about this Wild team is interesting, right now? Their answer: nothing. Nada. Nathan. Nil. Bopkus. At least we’re all on the same page.

Low on Oil looks at being an Oilers fan and compares it to Myth Busters, exes and Mac Ads.

And if you want to read the latest issue of Tigerbeat, or Teen Beat or whatever they have Lipgloss/Tswizzle’s face all over, I put together a collection of underage, androgynous faces of popstars and teen actors attending recent hockey games, so I ask the question is the NHL celebrity trendy these days? Maybe I should have asked the question: why are these people famous?

Do you think that you’ve written something worthy of next week’s list? Are you a reader of a smaller blog and feel it deserves some attention? Drop me an e-mail at thevancitycanuck [at] and maybe you’ll end up in the next NW Links around the League, I promise to be relatively nice.

CLS shares its "NHL BCS" (First Week of Nov.)

November 5, 2009

I’ve been throwing some fun little statistics at you lately, but numbers are only fun when they lead to people writing angry comments. That (along with porn and pirating music/movies/ships) is what the Internet is for, right?

So to cause you a conniption or two, I took the composite average of each teams rankings in the four categories (Net Goals, True PP, True PK and Special Teams Plus/Minus). Granted, some stats are more important than others … and it is still a small sample … but let’s see where each team stacks up.

The Excel Spreadsheet will be listed at the bottom of this post so you can see for yourself.
Please Note: these rankings are based on stats taken before Tuesday’s games, just like the stats from yesterday’s post.

Final Note: This is a COMPLETELY impartial list based strictly off the numbers. There may be Power Rankings based on projections and opinions in the future, but for now this is just rankings along with commentary.

(The commentary is delightfully biased, however.)

The Elite

1. San Jose Sharks

Average: 5

My fearful Stanley Cup pick is doing pretty well so far. They’re the second ranked team in Net Goals and Special Teams Plus/Minus. Maybe they won’t stay at #1 all season but they’re likely to be an elite team in just about any numerical system barring catastrophes.
2. Philadelphia Flyers
Average: 5.25
Much like last year, the Flyers stand out once you consider True PP and True PK. They’re also pretty damn solid at 5-on-5, to boot. So far people who chose a SCF run for Philly are looking fairly bright.
3. New York Rangers
Average: 5.5
Their True PP and Net Goals Scored could be altered quite a bit if Marian Gaborik cannot stay healthy and their young D slows down. Still, their strong showing is a sign that Torts knows what he’s doing.
4. Colorado Avalanche
Average: 6.25
While only being solid on the PP, the Avs have been an elite team in the other three categories. Who knows how long they can keep this up, but so far the numbers say “top 10 team.”
5. Atlanta Thrashers

Average: 7
An Ilya-free team could drop precipitously, but the chink in Atlanta’s armor has been Net Goals instead of Penalty Kill. Can their out-of-nowhere strong goaltending continue? Who knows.
Strong Contenders

6. Pittsburgh Penguins

Average: 10.5
Injuries to Evgeni Malkin, Sergei Gonchar and others will probably mean that the Penguins’ numbers will fall a bit (or dramatically) across the board. It’s still pretty impressive that the Penguins have managed a 7-0 road record, so far.
7. (tied) Phoenix Coyotes
Average: 11.25
The only below average unit appears to be their Penalty Kill (seventeenth best True PK%). Phoenix might not be playing a crowd-pleasing style, but winning is a good thing, too. Good luck ‘Yotes.
7. (tied) Calgary Flames
Average: 11.25
A highly efficient (third best True PP) powerplay is what makes the Flames dangerous so far this season. I’d also like to say “not employing Mike Keenan” is another strength in their favor.
9. Columbus Blue Jackets
Average: 12.75
Oddly enough, the Blue Jackets are a little bit weak in Net Goals Scored (19th best) while having strong special teams. Don’t be shocked if this club makes the playoffs again this year.
10. Chicago Blackhawks
Average: 13.75
A surprisingly tepid PP (ranked 20th in True PP) underscores just how scary this group will be whenever they get healthy returns from Captain Serious and Marian Hossa. The John Madden acquisition looks like a smart move.
11. (tied) Ottawa Senators
Average: 14
The Heatley-free Senators are pretty weak with a man advantage (25th in True PP) but sport the best True PK in the league. Hell, they’ve only allowed seven PP goals while scoring four shorthanded!
11. (tied) New York Islanders
Average: 14
Perhaps the biggest hole in this ranking system, the Islanders have at least shown a notable friskiness so far this season. They’ve managed to stay in a lot of games with efficient special teams but lack the talent level to do much 5-on-5. You cannot ask NYI to do much better than 5-5-5 in 15 GP.
13. (tied) Vancouver Canucks
Average: 15
The Canucks’ numbers are all over the place, but ultimately they’re fittingly middle-of-the-road. It’s going to be tough for Vancouver to make the playoffs this year, let alone win their division, with the schedule and obstacles (Luongo injury) they are facing.
13. (tied) Minnesota Wild
Average: 15
The Wild make it this high because of their absolutely excellent PK and a respectable PP. The bottom line, though, is that they’re 27th in the NHL in Net Goals Scored. Middle-of-the-road is probably their ceiling at this point.
15. Washington Capitals
Average: 16.75
There was a time when it seemed like Washington might compile the greatest PP unit ever. That unit slowed down considerably, but the Caps rank highly in Net Goals Scored (7th) and should be a top-1o team in these rankings by the end of the season. Even if Ovie misses a few weeks.
16. (tied) Buffalo Sabres
Average: 18
Buffalo is playing over their heads right now, with the sixth best ranking in Net Goals Scored despite mediocre special teams numbers. Let’s hope Ryan Miller and friends can keep it together, though.
Ham and Eggers

16. (tied) Edmonton Oilers

Average: 18
Despite finishing with the same average as Buffalo, the Oilers are the quintessential mediocre NHL team. They rank middle of the road in all four categories. They average one point earned per game played (15). Yawn.
18. New Jersey Devils
Average: 18.25
Nothing surprising about these Devils, really. My guess is they make it to the playoffs and then find their thin defense unable to support anything more than a second round run at best. Still, with all the turnover in this decade it’s amazing this team can keep up year after year.
19. (tied) Los Angeles Kings
Average: 18.5
The Kings ultimately are brought down by a fairly awful penalty kill (28th ranked True PK%) but are around the top third in the league in Net Goals Scored and True PP. The Kings really could be primed for a playoff run this season.
19. (tied) Dallas Stars
Average: 18.5
Dallas is in an odd spot this year. Yes, they do have some serious talent but this team is far from elite. It’s ultimately unclear what direction the Stars want to take. Is simply making the playoffs the only goal year after year?
21. Detroit Red Wings
Average: 18.75
These stats were taken before Chris Osgood managed a nice shutout of the fledgling Boston Bruins, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that the Red Wings have left a lot to be desired in their own end. Their PP is still pretty damn deadly, though. They’ll be OK. Will they be great? That remains to be seen.
Government Cheese

22. Toronto Maple Leafs

Average: 21.5
Toronto is an odd duck in these stats: the best True PP% and the worst True PK% on one team. Let’s face it, though, those special teams numbers won’t really mean much if Toronto remains the fourth-worst team in Net Goals.
23. St. Louis Blues

Average: 21.75
Quietly one of the league’s most disappointing teams.
24. Carolina Hurricanes
Average: 23.25
The worst team in the league in Net Goals and that’s before the team was shutout. Yikes. Their plight shows that you shouldn’t make team building decisions based off of nostalgia.
25. (tied) Boston Bruins

Average: 25
An absolutely abysmal special teams and a general lack of firepower (not to mention some crucial injuries) leave the Bruins among the dregs of society. The truth is that this team is somewhere between their current state and their euphoric year in ’08-’09. My bet is that they make the playoffs, but it’s going to be tough.
25. (tied) Nashville Predators
Average: 25
Is there a team more in need of a top draft pick than the Predators? All those years of barely making/missing the playoffs left them with a shallow pool of genuine NHL talent. Time to tank, I’d say.
Just Ugly

27. (tied) Montreal Canadiens

Average: 25.25
All that money spent for a team that will need to fight and claw desperately to secure a 7th or 8th seed. Without Andrei Markov, the Canadiens don’t even have a particularly effective PP.
27. (tied) Anaheim Ducks
Average: 25.25
It’s been an ugly season for the quackers so far. With the league’s worst special teams plus/minus and some serious blueline issues, the Ducks will need even better work from their 14th-best powerplay. Anaheim managed a near-miraculous run to the playoffs last year, but can they really affordable to dig such a big hole with Los Angeles and Phoenix emerging and Dallas showing some life?
29. Tampa Bay Lightning
Average: 26.25
A real oddball team. Steve Stamkos looks like the real deal while I’m starting to wonder if Vincent Lecavalier is really overrated.
30. Florida Panthers
Average: 28.5
What happens to Florida if Vokoun walks? This team is grasping at straws as is, but without Vokoun’s elite-ish goaltending they would be in some serious trouble. Then again, I guess they already are?

Here’s the spreadsheet:

Links around the League (Nov. 1)

November 1, 2009

Things look like they may pick up around CLS lately, so keep your eyes open and your RSS feeds refreshing.

I announced this fairly recently, but just to clarify CLS will begin collecting interesting stories from the league (and its divisions) with the hopes of eventually doing so on a daily basis. The goal isn’t to match Kuklas Korner, Puck Daddy or any of the other blogs who provide links posts but rather to try to find a) things that fall through the cracks or b) things that are too weird/crucial/hilarious to ignore.

For the first week, however, I’m going to share links to posts from years past that made me more interested in hockey blogging or stuck with me for one reason or another. This will also hopefully provide a decent (though by no means rigid) guide for our other contributors.

Sacamano’s Epic Beard Piece

On some level, the Oilogosphere’s coverage of Edmonton’s Cinderella run to the SCF may not ever be matched for its sheer hilarity and insane genius. One could devote many a post (and many links) to the great portions of comedy that resulted from that special time but it ultimately just makes me sad that most of those guys are long gone.

Why Sidney Crosby should embrace the role of villain

One of the reasons I run a general NHL blog instead of a Penguins-related blog is that Pensblog covers the bases I would attempt to as a Penguins fan: they write over the top, offensive and funny things about the Penguins and include professional wrestling references. This post is my favorite of theirs and is generally just full of genius. Bonus points for the hilarious Photoshop of a bloodied Mike Richards.

Rudy’s Off-Season post about Dogs (and hockey)

I never actually watched a single episode of the show Rudy was talking about, yet I’ll always go back to this post as a rebuttal for people who say that they can’t write anything interesting during hockey’s off time. This is one of the best posts to come out of BoC and it was during a dead time in the year. Rudy: “It’s like someone put a camera inside my head and filmed my dreams.”

Bird Watchers Anonymous with an in-depth look at drafting

Anyone who wants to contemplate how much of a crapshoot drafting can be needs to look no further than this exhaustive take on how each NHL team fares in the draft. It’s also a great example of making deep stat analysis digestible for the unwashed masses.

Five Reasons Justin Bourne Loves Hockey

Puck Daddy often hits Internet-wide features out of the park and one of the best ones is their “Five Things I Love about Hockey” specials. What makes this piece especially interesting is that it takes a very humanistic approach to what makes hockey great and is written almost at a Ken Dryden’s The Game-level. This shows that players can come up with some truly great stuff every now and then.


Do you think that you’ve written something worthy of next week’s list? Are you a reader of a smaller blog and feel it deserves some attention? Drop me an e-mail at and maybe you’ll end up in the next Links around the League.

Jersey purchasing advice from someone who never buys jerseys

October 26, 2009

I saw some photo of a Packers fan wearing a Aaron Rodgers jersey and it made me think about how nice (but risky) of a gesture that is. That made me think further: what jersey(s) should fans of each NHL team consider?

Here is my criteria:
1. A solid crossroads of obscurity and talent
It’s not very exciting to wear a Crosby jersey if you’re a Penguins fan or an Ovechkin jersey if you’re a Caps fan … so you want to get a sweater that’s a little more unique. That being said, you don’t want to wear the number of a guy who can barely play 10 minutes a night. Finding a good compromise between the two is ideal.
2. Longevity
This is a big one in a sports atmosphere where players change colors so often. Trying to find a guy who either has a longterm deal or is unlikely to leave is a key component to finding the right jersey.
3. General Goodwill
More in line with your fellow fans, general goodwill is measured by how your peers would react to that jersey.
Optional Categories:
4. Sentimentality
To contrast #2, some players build up enough goodwill that you can permit people to wear a rosterly outdated jersey. This does not apply to guys who leave on bad terms (so just go ahead and burn that Heatley Senators jersey or that Pronger Oilers jersey).
5. Hilarity
Special bonus points go for players who were horrible. You get instant respect from me if you rock a Tommy Salo Team Sweden jersey, a Roman Cechmanek LA Kings jersey or something of that ilk.


Teemu Selanne
Jonas Hiller
Guy Hebert
Steve Rucchin

Bryan Little
Colby Armstrong

Milan Lucic (even though it’s pretty obvious)
Zdeno Chara (breaks the rules because he’s super tall)
Bobby Orr (obvious … but it’s Bobby effin Orr)
P. J. Axelsson (judging from Cornelius’s man crush)

Thomas Vanek
Derek Roy
Chris Drury
Daniel Briere

Jarmoe (he’s just too bad ass)
Robyn Regehr
Theo Fleury
Al MacInnis
Chad LaRose
Rod Brind’amour
Ron Francis – Hartford Whalers edition


Brent Seabrook
Kris Versteeg
Jeremy Roenick
Stan Mikita

Craig Anderson
Kyle Quincey
Pretty obvious, right?

Antoine Vermetteg
Jan Hejda

James Neal
Brenden Morrow (he’s just too bad ass)
Neal Broten – North Stars
Mike Modano – in his prime (just kidding)
Sergei Zubov

Darren Helm
Johan Franzen
There’s about a million

Sam Gagner
Ales Hemsky
Again, lots. See: the 1980’s

David Booth
Tomas Vokoun

Los Angeles

Dustin Brown
Drew Doughty
Kelly Hrudey
Luc Robitaille

Miikko Koivu
Brent Burns

Andrei Markov
Michael Cammalleri
New Jersey

Zach Parise
Scott Stevens
Scott Niedermayer
New York Islanders

John Tavares (before fans come back out of the woodwork?)
Kyle Okposo
See: Edmonton
New York Rangers

Ryan Callahan
Michael Del Zotto

Anton Volchenkov
Mike Fisher
Alexandre Daigle 🙂

Mike Richards (because he’s so bad ass)
Braydon Coburn
Someone who hurt a lot of people
Max Talbot
Tyler Kennedy
Beyond the obvious …
(to me anyway)
Straka, Kovalev, Wregget, Kasparitis, etc.
San Jose
M.E. Vlasic
Joe Pavelski IF he re-signs
St. Louis

T.J. Oshie
Erik Johnson
Adam Oates
Brett Hull
Al MacInnis
Tampa Bay

Steve Stamkos
Victor Hedman

Luke Schenn
Phil Kessel
Mats Sundin
Wendel Clark


Ryan Kesler
Alex Burrows
Trevor Linden
Pavel Bure

Nicklas Backstrom
Howeverhespellshisfirstnamenow Varlamov
Olaf Kolzig
Petr Bondra

Pro-cap-stination Continued: Montreal to Washington

July 10, 2009

For a typically excessive explanation of this series and the first half of NHL teams, click here.

Basically, this post should serve as a guide for those Armchair GMs who want to daydream about their team capitalizing on the shortsighted team management of opposing builders. Each entry includes the team’s CURRENT cap commitments, the number of players listed/being considered on the pro roster, some of the bigger names/bigger cap hits under contract, a list of the crucial UFA/RFAs to re-sign and finally an educated guess regarding whether or not the team will be a buyer in July 2010.

Naturally, this is for nerdy fun and speculation. As we saw from Philadelphia and Chicago, a lot can change in a week … let alone a year. That being said, this might give you an idea of where your team may stand during SALARY CAP JUDGMENT DAY.

Montreal Canadiens
Current 10-11 Cap Commitment: just under $42.5 million
Players under contract: 5 forwards, 6 D and no goalies
Noteworthy players: Gomez, Cammalleri, Gionta, Markov, Hamrlik, Spacek
Most important RFA/UFAs: Price,
Buyer potential: Mild buyer, depending on the cost of Price

Nashville Predators
Current 10-11 Cap Commitment: about $32 million
Players under contract: 7 forwards, 3 D and no goalies
Noteworthy players: Arnott, Erat, Dumont, Legwand, Sullivan, Weber, Suter
Most important RFA/UFAs: Rinne
Buyer potential: Strong, budget permitting

New Jersey Devils
Current 10-11 Cap Commitment: about $38 million
Players under contract: 7 forwards, 4 D and 1 goalie
Noteworthy players: Elias, Parise, Rolston, Brodeur, Oduya
Most important RFA/UFAs: Martin, Zajac (2009)
Buyer potential: Strong

New York Islanders
Current 10-11 Cap Commitment: about $28-30 million (Throwing in a flippant Tavares cap hit estimate)
Players under contract: 5 forwards, 4 D and 2 goalies
Noteworthy players: Tavares, Ricky D, Rolo, Streit, Witt (teehee), Alexei Yashin’s enormous buyout
Most important RFA/UFAs: Okposo
Buyer potential: Strong

New York Rangers
Current 10-11 Cap Commitment: about $44.5 million
Players under contract: 9 forwards, 3 D and 1 goalies
Noteworthy players: Gaborik, Drury, Kotalik, Redden, Rosival, Lundqvist
Most important RFA/UFAs: Dubinsky (2009)
Buyer potential: Sellers, unless someone takes Drury/Redden/Rosival

Ottawa Senators
Current 10-11 Cap Commitment:
about $46.5 million WITH HEATLEY
Players under contract: 9 forwards, 2 D and 1 goalies
Noteworthy players: Heatley, Spezza, Kovalev, Fisher, Alf, Kuba, Phillips, Leclaire, JAMES O’BRIEN (the one with talent)
Most important RFA/UFAs: Volchenkov, Foligno

“I’m so rone-ry …”

Philadelphia Flyers
Current 10-11 Cap Commitment: about $45.7 million
Players under contract: 9 forwards, 3 D and 1 goalies
Noteworthy players: Richards, Briere, Gagne, Carter, Hartnell, Timonen, Pronger, Carle
Most important RFA/UFAs: Emery(?), Coburn, Parent
Buyer potential: Treading water/Sellers

Phoenix Coyotes
Current 10-11 Cap Commitment: about $30.6 million
Players under contract: 7 forwards, 4 D and 2 goalies
Noteworthy players: Doan, Turris, Breezy
Most important RFA/UFAs: Supporting players
Buyer potential: Depends on their budget/owner/locale

Pittsburgh Penguins
Current 10-11 Cap Commitment: about $41 million
Players under contract: 10 forwards, 2 D and 1 goalies
Noteworthy players: Crosby, Malkin, Staal, Kunitz, Orpik, Fleury
Most important RFA/UFAs: Gonchar, Letang
Buyer potential: Treading water

San Jose Sharks
Current 10-11 Cap Commitment: about $35 million
Players under contract: 4 forwards, 5 D and 0 goalies
Noteworthy players: Thornton, Michalek, Clowe, Cheech, Boyle, Vlasic, Ehrhoff
Most important RFA/UFAs: Marleau, Nabokov, Pavelski, Setoguchi,
Buyer potential: BIG Sellers?

St. Louis Blues
Current 10-11 Cap Commitment: about $28 million
Players under contract: 7 forwards, 3 D and 1 goalies
Noteworthy players: McDonald, Boyes, Brewer, Jackman
Most important RFA/UFAs: Johnson, Kariya, Perron, Mason
Buyer potential: Buyers

Tampa Bay Lightning
Current 10-11 Cap Commitment: Somewhere between $36-40 million depending upon how Stamkos/Hedman count on the cap
Players under contract: 6 forwards, 4 D and 1 goalies
Noteworthy players: Lecavalier, St. Louis, Malone, Hedman, Stamkos, Meszaros, Ohlund
Most important RFA/UFAs: meh
Buyer potential: Who knows?

Toronto Maple Leafs
Current 10-11 Cap Commitment: About $31 million
Players under contract: 4 forwards, 5 D and 0 goalies
Noteworthy players: Blake, Hagman, Komisarek, Kaberle, Frenchie, Finger, Schenn
Most important RFA/UFAs: Toskala and the MONSTERRRAAWWRRR
Buyer potential: Buyers

Vancouver Canucks
Current 10-11 Cap Commitment: About $31 million
Players under contract: 7 forwards, 4 D and 0 goalies
Noteworthy players: Weird looking ginger twins, three average D making $3 million, Burrows
Most important RFA/UFAs: ROBERTO LUONGO, Kesler
Buyer potential: Mild buyers?

Washington Capitals
Current 10-11 Cap Commitment: About $36 million
Players under contract: 6 forwards, 5 D and 1 goalies
Noteworthy players: OV, Green, Nylander’s unpopular contract, Poti, Varlamov
Most important RFA/UFAs: Semin, Backstrom
Buyer potential: Mild buyers, depending on RFAs

The beauty of pro-cap-stination (Anaheim to Minnesota)

July 9, 2009

To make this more manageable, we decided to break this post up into two posts. Today, we’ll cover the first half of the NH-aLphabet with Anaheim through Minnesota. Tomorrow, we’ll put up the rest. Eventually, we’ll probably merge the two for one mega post/reference point. Maybe.

We’ve hit the Chicago Blackhawks pretty hard lately, but don’t get us wrong: there are plenty of teams that will be sweating bullets come July 2010. In fact, there probably aren’t many quality teams who won’t feel the pinch if the cap plummets to $50 million as some have said.

Still, like an advantageous liquidator or a savvy pawn shop owner, one GM’s emotionally crippling loss could be another GM’s team-building gain.

Naturally, no GM worth his fancy necktie would admit to waiting ’til next year to scavenge the rotting carcasses of poorly structured teams. Yet, that’s the tantalizing potential scenario:

“Oh, so you want to get rid of an overpriced player? Sounds good. To whom should I address this seventh-road draft pick and deluxe set of luggage?”

The smart teams are doing one of three things:

1. Stockpiling good value contracts for younger players and 1-year deals for veterans (best example: Anaheim).

2. Despite being close to the cap ceiling, there are obvious “tiers” for the team and they are only giving their core guys big contracts (Pittsburgh and Detroit are doing a solid job of this, even if it forces some tough departures).

3. Licking their chops by amassing a ton of cap space and adding high-value, entry-level contracts through the draft (the New York Islanders might be the champions of this strategy if they’re smart).

OK, now that we’ve introduced the concept and discussed the generalities, let’s take a brief snapshot of each team’s 2010-2011 cap commitments to see if we can target some potential “buyers.” Naturally, a lot can change in a mere week let alone twelve months.

(Cap commitments came mostly from, with serving as the occasional pinch hitter. Both are great resources for cap info.)

Current 10-11 Cap Commitment:
just under $29 million
Players under contract: 7 forwards, 2 D and one goalie
Noteworthy players: Getzlaf, Perry, Giguere (probable trade), Whitney, Lupul
Most important RFA/UFAs: Ryan, Hiller
Buyer potential: Strong, budget permitting

Current 10-11 Cap Commitment:
just under $20 million
Players under contract: 3 forwards, 4 D, no goalies (Kari Lehtonen still needs to be re-signed)
Noteworthy players: Antropov, White, Enstrom, Hainsey, Bogosian
Most important RFA/UFAs: Lehtonen, ILYA KOVALCHUK, Kubina
Buyer potential: Strong, budget permitting

Current 10-11 Cap Commitment:
about $35 million
Players under contract: 5 forwards, 2 D and one goalie
Noteworthy players: Bergeron, Ryder, Krejci, Chara, Thomas, Wideman
Most Important RFA/UFAs: Kessel still not signed, MARC SAVARD, Lucic
Buyer potential: Seller

Current 10-11 Cap Commitment: about $38 million
Players under contract: 6 forwards, 2 D and one goalie
Noteworthy players: Vanek, Pominville, Connolly, Roy, Miller, Rivet
Most Important RFA/UFAs: Support players
Buyer potential: Treading water or Seller

Current 10-11 Cap Commitment: about $42.8 million
Players under contract: 5 forwards, 5 D and two goalies
Noteworthy players: Iginla, Bouwmeester, Kipper, Phaneuf, Regehr, Langkow, Sarich
Most Important RFA/UFAs: Jokinen
Buyer potential: Treading water or Seller

Current 10-11 Cap Commitment: about $30 million
Players under contract: 8 forwards, 2 D and 0 goalies
Noteworthy players: Staal, Cole, Rod the Bod, Pitkanen,
Most Important RFA/UFAs: Ward, Whitney
Buyer potential: Mild Buyer or Treading water

Current 10-11 Cap Commitment: about $43 million
Players under contract: 7 forwards, 4 D and 2 goalies
Noteworthy players: Hossa, Campbell, Huet, Versteeg, Barker, Seabrook, Byfuglien, Sharp, Bolland, Sopel
Most Important RFA/UFAs: Kane, Toews, Keith
Buyer potential: Seller

Current 10-11 Cap Commitment: about $25 million
Players under contract: 4 forwards, 2 D and 1 goalie
Noteworthy players: Stastny, Smyth, Hannan, Lilies
Most Important RFA/UFAs: Hejduk
Buyer potential: Buyer

Current 10-11 Cap Commitment: about $34 million
Players under contract: 7 forwards, 3 D and 2 goalies
Noteworthy players: Nash, Mason, Umberger, Huselius, Commodore,
Most Important RFA/UFAs: Meh
Buyer potential: Buyer

Current 10-11 Cap Commitment: about $25 million
Players under contract: 4 forwards, 4 D and 0 goalies
Noteworthy players: Morrow, Richards, Ribeiro, Daley
Most Important RFA/UFAs: Turco, Eriksson, Ott, Neal
Buyer potential: Their owner might be having cash flow issues

Current 10-11 Cap Commitment: about $41.5 million
Players under contract: 8 forwards, 4 D and 2 goalies
Noteworthy players: Hank, Datsyuk, Franzen, Rafalski, blah blah they’re still loaded
Most Important RFA/UFAs: LIDSTROM
Buyer potential: Treading water/mild BUYERS???

Current 10-11 Cap Commitment: about $43 million
Players under contract: 7 forwards, 4 D and 1 goalie
Noteworthy players: Horcoff, Penner, Bulin Wall, Hemsky, Lubo, Souray, Gilbert
Most Important RFA/UFAs: The dudes Edmonton tried to trade for Dany Heatley, other supporting cast members
Buyer potential: Treading water/mild Sellers(?)

Current 10-11 Cap Commitment: about $45 million
Players under contract: 9 forwards, 4 D and 2 goalies
Noteworthy players: Booth, Horton, McCabe, Vokoun, Ballard, Weiss
Most Important RFA/UFAs: not really
Buyer potential: Treading water

Los Angeles (this one might need some double-checking, admittedly)
Current 10-11 Cap Commitment: about $41 million
Players under contract: 9 forwards, 4 D and 1 goalies
Noteworthy players: Brown, Kopitar, Smyth, Handzus, Doughty, Scuderi
Most Important RFA/UFAs: Frolov,
Buyer potential: Buyer

Current 10-11 Cap Commitment: about $32 million
Players under contract: 6 forwards, 2 D and 1 goalies
Noteworthy players: Havlat, PMB, Koivu, Burns, Schultz, Backstrom
Most Important RFA/UFAs: CLUTTERBUCK, Zidlicky
Buyer potential: Mild Buyer

(The rest on Friday!)

Bargain contract "bank"

May 24, 2009

To make your salary cap “team building” easier, here’s a “bank” of good contracts. Team-by-team. If your team isn’t represented, lobby to get the GM fired. All cap numbers from Keep in mind that rookies are not listed. (See my Salary Cap Dream Team post for more details)

Ryan Getzlaf (on my team): $5.33 million
Corey Perry: $5.33 million
Teemu Selanne: $2.63 million

Todd White:
$2.38 million
I assume Bryan Little is on his rookie contract. Is that right?

Marc Savard:
$5 million
Aaron Ward: $2.5 million
Andrew Ference (on my team): $1.4 million

Derek Roy: $4 million

David Moss:
$1.3 million
Craig Conroy (on my team): $1.05 million
Robyn Regehr (on my team): $4 million
Rene Bourque: $1.35 million

Cam Ward: $2.67 million

Dustin Byfuglien:
$3 million

Milan Hejduk:
$3.9 million
Marek Svatos: $2.05 million

Antoine Vermette:
$2.76 million

Mike Ribeiro: $5 million
Steve Ott
(on my team): $1.43 million
Toby Petersen
(on my team): .5 million
Stephane Robidas (on my team): $1.5 million
Trevor Daley: $2.3 million

Chris Osgood:
$1.42 million
Johan Franzen: $3.95 million
Tomas Holmstrom: $2.23 million
Kris Draper: $1.58 million
Daniel Cleary: $2.8 million
Henrik Zetterberg: $6.01 million
Pavel Datsyuk: $6.7 million

Ales Hemsky
(on my team): $4.1 million
Ethan Moreau: $2 million

Nathan Horton: $4 million
Stephen Weiss: $3.1 million

Los Angeles
Dustin Brown
(on my team): $3.18 million
Alex Frolov: $2.9 million

Mikko Koivu
: $3.25 million
Brent Burns: $3.5 million
Nick Schultz: $3.5 million

Andrei Markov:
$5.75 million


Jordin Tootoo: just under $1 million
Ryan Suter: $3.5 million
Dan Hamhuis: $2 million
(Is Dan Ellis still in a rookie contract?)

New Jersey

Zach Parise (on the team): $3.1 million
Jamie Langenbrunner: $2.8 million
Jay Pandolfo: $2.5 million
Martin Brodeur: $5.25 million

NY Islanders
Doug Weight:
$2.2 million

NY Rangers
Sean Avery
: (waiver discount) $1.94 million

Anton Volchenkov:
$2.5 million
Alex Auld (on the team): $1 million

Mike Richards
(on the team): $5.7 million

Shane Doan:
$4.55 million
Matthew Lombardi: $1.82 million
Ilya Bryzgalov: $4.25 million

Tyler Kennedy
(on the team): $725,000
Max Talbot: $1.05 million

San Jose
Marc Edouard Vlasic
(on the team): $3.1 million
Douglas Murray: $2.5 million

St. Louis

David Backes: $2.5 million
Chris Mason: $3 million

Tampa Bay
Martin St. Louis:
$5.25 million
Adam Hall: $.6 million

Tomas Kaberle: $4.25 million
Niklas Hagman: $3 million

Ryan Kesler (on the team): $1.75 million
Alex Burrows (on the team): $2 million
Steve Bernier: $2 million

Alex Semin:
$4.6 million
John Erskine: $1.25 million
Mike Green: $5.25 million

How goalies are like NFL running backs

February 18, 2009

Common NFL logic is that a typical running back faces a steep decline once he hits the age of 30. The reasoning is twofold: the natural aging process robs them of their speed and the brunt of 250-300 carry seasons wears a RB down.

Lately, though, the latter reason seems to be on the decline because running back platoons are coming in vogue. Perhaps you run one bruiser and one speedster or two similar running backs who never seem tired against beleaguered linebackers and D-linemen.

This reminds me of a recent trend in the NHL. The 2008-09 season might just usher in the two goalie era in hockey. It’s certainly been a rough year for the household name, huge GP goalies. Both Martin Brodeur and Roberto Luongo suffered from possible wear-and-tear related injuries and missed serious time. The Dallas Stars nearly prepared for its first lottery ball in ages during Marty Turco‘s horrifying start to the season and must have missed Mike Smith‘s quality relief appearances. Even guys such as Ryan Miller and Henrik Lundqvist face up-and-down periods (Lundqvist, as you may recall, was pulled from Sunday’s game against the Flyers).
Now, take a look at the successful (or necessary) platoons. Most notably, the Boston Bruins made a stunning jump to the league’s elite on the backs of its contract year 1-A and 1-B. Indeed, while Tim Thomas demands Vezina consideration with All-Star numbers and highlight reel saves, Manny Fernandez quietly produces similar results. While goaltending may count as Detroit’s Achilles heel, Red Wings fans must shudder to think about their chances if Ty Conklin couldn’t clean up Chris Osgood‘s mess.

The most expensive platoon is Chicago’s Bulin Wall/Cristobal Huet combo, but say what you might; the Blackhawks are firmly set in fourth place in the brutal Western Conference. Many considered the Anaheim Ducks to lose their quality rotation when Ilya Bryzgalov was moved, but Jonas Hiller might just be the Ducks’ go-to-goalie as J.S. Giguere suffers through a rough stretch professionally and emotionally. The Florida Panthers benefit from the overachieving duo of Tomas Vokoun and Craig Anderson, although Vokoun is more clearly entrenched as the #1 than a lot of the goalies in this discussion.

So, if this trend were to continue, the Columbus Blue Jackets might be in especially good shape. At this point, Pascal Leclaire’s $3.8 million cap hit looks pretty bad but his year’s been ravaged by injuries. Leclaire could be a nice safety net should Steve Mason suffer a sophomore slump. Most teams would be jealous of the Blue Jackets’ young tandem and its $4.6 million cap hit (and if Leclaire is indeed a lemon they could always put him on waivers).

Editor’s note: Check the next post for a team-by-team look at goaltender tandems.

Team by team look: goalie tandems

February 18, 2009

(continued from the previous post)

For fun, let’s take a team-by-team look to see the two-goalie effect (starting with the East) in the order of playoff seeding.

1. Boston – Thomas (37 GP)/Fernandez(21 GP): probably won’t remain intact but provides the Bruins with great goaltending

2. Washington – Jose Theodore (37 GP)/Brent Johnson (21 GP): faced a brief tug-o-war but it seems as if Theodore’s the starter now.

3. New Jersey – It’s not THAT crazy to wonder if Brodeur’s 75 GP reign of terror might be a thing of the past considering Scott Clemmensen‘s unexpectedly fantastic run in net. (SC – 39 GP; Kevin Weekes 12 GP; MB 10 GP)

4. Philadelphia – Martin Biron (34 GP)/Antero Niittymaki (24 GP): the Flyers go with goaltending controversies like peanut butter goes with chocolate.

5. Montreal – Carey Price (36 GP)/Jaroslav Halak (24 GP): To paraphrase the great Bill Parcells, don’t get the anointing oils out just yet for “Jesus” Price; neither of the Habs goalies can claim a 91 percent save percentage.

6. Florida – Vokoun (42 GP)/Anderson (23 GP): Both Vokoun and Anderson boast near-93 percent save percentages. Is that the Bouwmeester effect?
7. Buffalo – Miller (49 GP)/Patrick Lalime (12 GP): The first true workhorse (although Clemmensen probably counts and Vokoun’s close too) is on the seventh-best team in the East. Pretty close to a trend, right?

8. New York – Lundqvist (48 GP)/Steve Valiquette (13 GP): It’s pretty insane that the Rangers are a low-scoring, goalie and defense dependent team with all the stupid money Sather throws around. He’s insanely lucky to have a top-10 goalie. Can you believe they’ve dropped to eighth place so quickly?!?

9. Carolina – Cam Ward (45 GP)/Michael Leighton (16 GP): Hard to believe it, but the Hurricanes probably miss the days when they had depth provided by Martin Gerber and (gulp) John Grahame. Ward’s been one of the few bright spots for Carolina this year.

10. Pittsburgh- Marc Andre Fleury (40 GP)/Danny Sabourin[traded] (19 GP): Even with considerable time missed, Fleury managed a relative workhorse ratio. You think the Pens wish they still had Conkblock?

11. Ottawa – Alex Auld (30 GP)/ Gerber (14 GP)/Brian Elliot (14 GP): Do the Senators even have one goalie? Elliot might have a chance to be a 1-B going forward.

12. Toronto –Vesa Toskala (48 GP)/Cujo (12 GP): Rough year for Vesa Tacosalad.

13. Tampa Bay – Mike Smith (41 GP)/a pile of junk (21 GP): How ugly would Tampa Bay’s year be without Smith?

14. Atlanta – Kari Lehtonen (31 GP)/Johan Hedberg (24 GP): Lehtonen still might have potential, but only seven more starts than The Moose? Not good.

15. NY Islanders – Joey McDonald (40 GP)/Yann Danis (14 GP): A throwaway year for the Islanders. Hopefully for the sake of the blogbox Rick Dipietro rebounds in the 2009-10 season.

Western Conference

1. San Jose – Evgeni Nabokov (43 GP)/Brian Boucher (13 GP): Although Nabokov sports workhorse numbers, Boucher kept the Sharks on top during an early season Nabby injury.

2. Detroit – Osgood (31 GP)/Conklin (28 GP): Conklin may never get a real chance to start in the NHL.

3. Calgary – Miikka Kiprusoff (53 GP)/Curtis McElhinney (6 GP): By far the most successful team with a workhorse goalie, but is Kipper going to have anything left for the playoffs?

4. Chicago – Bulin Wall (29 GP)/Huet (29 GP): Two contract year goalies on the same team!

5. Vancouver – Luongo (30 GP)/Curtis Sanford (19 GP): Vancouver Canucks motto: if Luongo’s healthy, he plays every game.

6. Dallas – Turco (53 GP)/Tobias Stephan (7 GP): Dallas should consider trading for a #2 for this reason: if Turco goes down, they’d have to start someone like Stephan. Yikes.

7. Edmonton – Dwayne Roloson (40 GP)/Mathieu Garon [traded] (15 GP): At one point, the Oilers had three goalies, which makes Roloson’s games played pretty surprising.

8. Columbus – Mason (37 GP)/Leclaire (12 GP): Mason saved the season for Columbus.

9. Anaheim – Giguere (35 GP)/Hiller (30 GP): Hiller’s numbers are mind bogglingly better than Giggy’s.

10. Minnesota – Niklas Backstrom (47 GP)/Josh Harding (13 GP): The NHL’s worst kept secret is that Backstrom is the UFA the Wild are most interested in signing, not Gaborik.

11. Los Angeles – Jonathan Quick (22 GP)/Erik Ersberg (22 GP)/Jason the Barber [traded] (19 GP): Fantasy hockey owners have been trying to solve the “Who’s the Kings’ starting goaltender?” riddle all season long.

12. Nashville – Dan Ellis (32 GP)/Pekka Rinne (30 GP): Goalie platoons are a Predators tradition, stretching back to the days of Vokoun’s inevitable late season injuries.

13. St. Louis – Chris Mason (31 GP)/Manny Legace (29 GP): It’s hard to believe that Legace was on last year’s All-Star team.

14. Coloradao – Peter Budaj (42 GP)/Raycroft (19 GP): The Avs waste a lot of money on defense, which has to be good in front of two mediocre goalies.

15. Phoenix – Bryzgalov (48 GP)/Mikael Tellqvist (14 GP): Considering his inconsistency, Breezy might be better off in a two-goalie system.

So, overall, the workhorse goalie model seems much more successful and prevalent in the West while the East encourages goalie depth. Still, just about every team should see the wisdom of keeping two quality goalies on their rosters. Sure, that concept isn’t new, but it’s more important than ever.

From the "out of left field" department

December 20, 2008
Patrik Elias is having a sneaky good year.
  • After reading all those New Jersey season obituaries after Marty Brodeur injured his elbow, you’d think there would be just as many headlines about the Devils’ astounding offensive run. According to the awesome highlight show NHL on the Fly, the Devils have scored 26 goals in their last six games. That’s more than 4 goals per game.

It’s been a banner year for the fascinating blog Brodeur is a Fraud and hockey pundits who downplay the importance of a franchise goaltender. Seriously, Tim Thomas?

  • Couldn’t find a high quality version of David Krejci‘s spectacular goal one night after the fact, but this video still includes it. One of my absolute favorites of the year.

Who saw Krejci coming? It seems like he’s legitimately good, too: his 32 points in 31 games is pretty unreal for someone who’s supposed to be a third-liner. Seriously, he’s hotter than Carla Gugino right now. It’s pretty hard to top 23 points in 13 games and points in all but one.

  • The NHL Network, NHL ’09 and the hockey blogosphere are like a potpourri of crack for a puck nerd. Until the NHL Network, it looked like NHL Center Ice would be for next year but now my addiction is too severe.
  • Late 2008 is, dare I say, an almost unprecedented period of cross-sport regular season dominance.
Not since the days of Big Van Vader have we seen such dominance

Even though they’re floundering in a worrisome way now, the New York Giants were steamrolling teams week after week. The Sharks’ reign of terror broke a few irrelevant “at 30 games played” all-time records. Last but not least, the Los Angeles Lakers, Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics are on paces that challenge the best video game seasons in ridiculous winning percentages.

It looks like 2009 might be “reality check” time, although that probably won’t be the case in basketball. The Lakers and Sharks going on the road more often will give those teams their truest tests.

  • Everyone probably knows this already, but make no mistake about it: Mats Sundin went to Vancouver for money. That doesn’t mean he’s wrong or that the Canucks aren’t worthy, it’s just hard not to roll your eyes when people try to paint any other picture.

Surely, having a shit load of Swedes doesn’t hurt either.