Archive for the ‘steals and gambles’ Category

Re-Draft Steals and Regrets: J.S. Giguere

August 23, 2009

Since the ninth round of the draft devolved into a dispiriting mess, it seems like a good time to roll out some Re-Draft self-analysis. Other GMs are encouraged to share their perspective on their draft choices, too, on their blogs or in this space.

Note: most of these posts won’t be as ruthlessly verbose as this one.

Why J.S. Giguere was a steal

His contract is huge at $6 million. With Jonas Hiller stealing his #1 job (at least during the playoffs and to an extent toward the end of last season), it’s not a certainty that Giguere will receive the lion share of Anaheim’s starts.

No doubt about it, there are some drawbacks to picking up Giguere. That being said, let’s look at some of the reasons why we think that he was a big steal.

1. Giguere is awesome in video games

No denying it, Giguere’s digi-prowess was a strong consideration. He was rated 89 last year, which puts him in the class of the Ryan Millers of the world. Even though he’ll probably see his polygonal stock drop a bit, he should still be a nicely rated goalie.

Hiller stole Giguere’s job, but it’s unclear if he’ll be superior over the long haul.

2. The pickup game question

Ultimately, you have to ask yourself: if I want to win a game and could choose ONE goalie to make it happen, who would it be? Giguere might not come out on top of that list, but he’s up there.

You’d probably get responses of Luongo and Brodeur first, but it’s reasonable to say that Giguere makes the second tier. He’s won a Stanley Cup and carried a drastically understaffed Ducks team to game 7 of the SCF, earning him a rare Conn Smythe in defeat.

How many goalies can say that?

3. Elite Numbers

Watching a bunch of young and/or cheap goalies drop like flies, the original strategy was to simply snatch up quality players and hope for the best when it came to a goalie. Yet, in the third round, people picked apple of my eye types such as Bobby Ryan and Ales Hemsky. As these guys kept going, it occurred to me that Giguere was just sitting there like a Hollywood starlet who only made one bad movie.

Mia Sara: the Giguere of actresses?

It didn’t hurt that some of the great hockey analytical minds were placing him high on objective, elite goalie lists.

Giguere ranked #6 in Copper and Blue’s best goalies since the Lockout post.

#5 (and #3 among active goalies) in Brodeur is a Fraud’s best goalies of the 00’s

#6 (and #3 among NHL/active goalies) in Brodeur is a Fraud’s Even-Strength Save Percentage Leaders since 1998-99.

To balance that out, though, he didn’t even appear in BiaF’s Penalty Kill Save Percentage study. Could that be a matter of poor lateral movement or what?

Either way, though, to see Giguere topping many of those lists made me think that he’s possibly a top-10 goalie even though 24 goalies went before him.

4. Value

Take a look at when and where the goalies have been taken so far:

1-3 (3) – Tampa Bay Lightning – Henrik Lundquist
1-11 (11) – St. Louis Blues – Roberto Luongo
1-19 (19) – Carolina Hurricanes – Martin Brodeur
1-20 (20) – New York Rangers – Miika Kiprusoff
1-21 (21) – New Jersey Devils – Niklas Backstrom (G)
2-3 (33) – Anaheim Ducks – Tim Thomas
2-4 (34) – Florida Panthers – Steve Mason
2-6 (36) – Boston Bruins – Evgeni Nabokov
2-7 (37) – Ottawa Senators – Cam Ward
2-13 (43) – Minnesota North Stars – Ryan Miller
2-14 (44) – Los Angeles Kings – Marc Andre Fleury
2-19 (49) – Phoenix Coyotes – Chris Mason
2-23 (53) – Detroit Red Wings – Pekka Rinne
2-25 (55) – New York Islanders – Tomas Vokoun
2-26 (56) – Chicago Blackhawks – Jonas Hiller
2-29 (59) – Vancouver Canucks – Jonathan Quick
3-1 (61) – Calgary Flames – Martin Biron
3-4 (64) – Dallas Stars – Scott Clemmensen
3-9 (69) – Nashville Predators – Simeon Varlamov
3-10 (70) – Atlanta Thrashers – Marty Turco
3-13 (73) – Pittsburgh Penguins – Craig Anderson
3-14 (74) – Washington Capitals – Cristobal Huet
3-15 (75) – Columbus Blue Jackets – Nikolai Khabibulin
3-29 (89) – Colorado Avalanche – Carey Price
4-9 (99) – Toronto Maple Leafs – Jean-Sebastian Giguere
6-5 (155) – Buffalo Sabres – Chris Osgood
6-8 (158) – San Jose Sharks – Kari Lehtonen
7-7 (187) – Philadelphia Flyers – Ilya Bryzgalov

Closing Thoughts

Even if Hiller is considered the 1A, the Ducks have every reason to give Giguere starts. He has plenty of trade value and could conceivably start for most of the league’s teams.

He might not be the best goalie in the league, but he’s certainly comparable (or even better) than early goalie picks like Backstrom, Kipper and Miller and far more seasoned than Price, Anderson, Clemmensen, Quick or Varlamov.

But what are your thoughts? Was Giguere a nice steal or a crazy, expensive gamble?

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Steals and Gambles: Kovalev, Biron and Malholtra

July 6, 2009

With the rush of news on free agency slowing down to a steady trickle, there are still quite a few players who are still on the market. Some are guys who were once All-Stars like Sergei Zubov, Alex Kovalev and Alex Tanguay. Whether it is age, character or contract demands, these guys are still available for some reason or another.

We thought it would be fun to classify some of them as steals or gambles. Some are even STEAL-GAMBLES! Exciting, we know.

Here’s the first three. More will come later this week, unless everyone gets scooped up.

Alex Kovalev
Classification: High risk, high reward gamble

We don’t have a hidden camera in on Kovalev’s negotiations, but we wonder if the ultra-talented, eternally “enigmatic” Russian simply wants too much dough. Matt of Battle of Alberta did a great job of shedding some light on Kovie’s supposed “struggles” last year (showing that AK 27’s 2007-08 was an anomaly more than anything else).

It’s hard to say which team would be the best fit for Kovalev. The fan in us shouts Pittsburgh, but he’d absolutely need to take a pay cut. Montreal makes sense, even if the makeup of that team changed drastically. Where else do you think would be a good home for Kovalev?

Interesting scenarios: Pittsburgh (big pay cut), Montreal, Vancouver(?).

Martin Biron
Classification: Possible steal

There isn’t much that’s sexy about Martin Biron (aside from the fact that he has the eyes of a Husky … wait, is the mic still on? Uh oh …), but the guy has experience as a No.1 goaltender. He might actually have been a good fit in Pittsburgh, if it weren’t for one fashion choice:

Oops!

Like most of the speculation here, we don’t know why he hasn’t signed with anyone yet. Is he in 1b/backup denial? Does he want more money?

If he accepts a possible backup or 1b role, he could be a very nice asset at the $1.5 million or so mark.

Interesting scenarios: Los Angeles, Dallas, Philadelphia

Manny Malhotra
Classification: Probable steal

One stat we are excessively enamored with his faceoff ability. Malhotra consistently dominates in the circle, ranking fourth in FO percentage this season. (He was also #2 in 07-08 and #12 in 06-07)

Now, obviously, you’re not going to generate gaudy offense when double-M is out on the ice. That being said, according to Mirtle’s evaluations, he does seem to make good use of his minutes on the ice.

We really like what we saw from Todd Marchant in last year’s playoffs, but it appears that Mal-ULTRA might just be a younger version of the speedy defensive center. He’d be a great addition for a team looking for an above average shutdown center and a force in the circle.

Interesting scenarios: CBJ, New Jersey, any team that needs a shutdown center.