January 16 2017 09:00AM
It's more of a 'Bottom to Top' but 'Top to Bottom' sounds better. This is a monthly feature where I'll do a dive into each team's underlying numbers to see if they match up with where they currently sit in the standings.
Three months down, three to go. We're halfway through the 2016-17 NHL season. At this point, we can stop talking about who's over and underachieving, because at this point enough time has passed to accurately determine who's actually good and who's actually bad.
With that in mind, I'm going to split the league into five categories: Legitimate Stanley Cup contenders, surefire playoff teams who aren't quite at the top of the class, basement teams who are fighting for last overall, teams in purgatory who aren't bad enough to tank but won't compete for a playoff spot, and middling teams who could occupy the last few spots depending on external factors.
January 12 2017 10:25AM
Troy Terry. Jonathan Toews. T.J. Oshie. These names are all recognizable in part because of a heroic shootout performance they each have put on for their country. Troy Terry was the most recent, scoring three goals in the USA World Junior semi-final win over Russia, and ultimately being the sole scorer in the championship game, winning Team USA a gold medal over Team Canada.
Due to shootouts being the subject of many conversations over the last couple weeks, I found myself wondering: for an NHL team, what exactly is it worth to have a shootout specialist in your line up? Should every team have one? Or is it a ‘nice to have’, merely a secondary consideration when evaluating players?
So let’s see if we can figure it out.
January 11 2017 12:00PM
Future Free Agents is a semi-regular feature on NHLNumbers profiling players from 2017's potential free agency class.
With Brent Burns signed in San Jose, the 2017 unrestricted free agent defenceman market gets very thin very fast. You have Kevin Shattenkirk as your clear cut top option, especially for those teams who need a boost in production from the blue line. Then, after him, you have Karl Alzner, the best option for a team looking for a steady, consistent, shut down guy.
But as we've seen over the past few summers, teams are becoming skeptical of handing big contracts to stay at home defencemen like Alzner who contribute little offensively. Is he still going to be able to command the salary of a top pairing defenceman on the open market? With the league's gradual shift to analytics, is he still a valued commodity?
December 27 2016 08:38PM
Not sure if Team Canada is for real this year? Well, there you go. The Canadians laid an absolute beating on Slovakia Tuesday night at the Air Canada Centre. They won 5-0, peppering the Slovaks with 44 shots for while surrendering only six against en route to their second win of the tournament.
December 14 2016 11:01AM
It's more of a 'Bottom to Top' but 'Top to Bottom' sounds better. This is an NHLNumbers monthly feature in which I'll do a dive into each team's underlying numbers to see if they match up with where they currently sit in the standings. Here's last month for reference. Stats via Hockey Analysis and Hockey Reference as of Dec. 12, 2016.
It's been two months. At this point, for the most part, if you're bad, you're bad, and if you're good, you're good. We know that Colorado and Arizona are terrible, and we know that Washington and Pittsburgh are good. But what about Columbus and Philadelphia? Are those hot streaks just a bunch of nonsense? How about Dallas and the Islanders? Are they going to go back to where they were last year? Since we live in a world where more than half of the teams in the league make the playoffs and losing can still earn you a point, we have a very muddy playoff picture loaded with teams that are difficult to differentiate.