How many points will each Leaf player get next season?

Dom Luszczyszyn
August 18 2016 10:38AM

Photo Credit: Tom Szczerbowski/USA TODAY SPORTS

August is always the roughest month for hockey content. There is always extremely little going on and even the tiniest bit of news throws the hockey world into a frenzy. August is the opposite of Everything Is Happening.

With that being said, I’ve always been fond of August because it marks the beginning of fantasy hockey season. Some of the big fantasy hockey guides go on sale around this time and reading them has always been something I look forward to every summer. 

Mostly it’s “hmmm, that’s a lot of points for _________ (insert random overhyped player here)” or “I can’t believe they think _________ (insert second overhyped player here) is going to score more points than _________ (insert underrated player who I consider my son here).” But still I do genuinely enjoy the content and perspective towards what certain players will likely do next season.

With this being a Leafs blog, I figured we should take a look at what’s being projected of the Leafs going into next season. I’ve built my own projection model based on a player’s last three seasons that we’ll use alongside the three fantasy guides I’ve bought – The Hockey News, Dobber, and The Sports Forecaster – in order to get an average projection for each player going into 2016-17.

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Comparables for Jacob Trouba's next contract

Jacob Stoller
August 18 2016 08:05AM

It's mid August and the Winnipeg Jets have a lone RFA that remains unsigned. Kevin Cheveldayoff and co have a big decision to make in regards to what they will do with Jacob Trouba. Will they retain the restricted free agent, or send him off to a club that can satisfy his contract requests? 

It's been reported that the Jets are apart in negotiations on term, dollar and in usage and the role Trouba will be in. The last thing the Jets would want is for this to drag in to September and not have this settled before training camp. 

What is Trouba worth?

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Five veteran UFAs that could still land an NHL contract

Chase Corey
August 17 2016 05:33PM

As the NHL offseason slowly draws to a close, several quality players are still jobless.

While most teams already have their 13 forwards and 7 defensemen set in stone, but that is not the case for all. For general managers that chose not to splurge on July 1st, there still may be some bargain-bin type players that could bolster their depth. 

There's a common thread for most of these players, as happens every year: they've been quality players at one point in their career, but have mostly been cast aside for younger, fast, more attractive options.

However, there's often late signings with players brought in for depth, leadership, experience, or any other number of reasons.

Here is a quick breakdown of a handful of players that may be in line for another NHL contract:

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Trading Tatar or Nyquist Would be a Mistake

Kyle Krische
August 17 2016 12:40PM

The Detroit Red Wings had a backlog of forwards last season. Twelve skaters up front on any given night, long term injuries to Pulkkinen, Miller and Franzen and a healthy Jurco watching from the press box. 

This was also to the dismay of fans who only got to see Mantha for a few games and Athanasiou for less than forty. Further still, this was before they went out and signed three more forwards this offseason while letting no one walk and even extended Luke Glendenning, who still had a year left on his deal. Well, they did lose one forward and that void is going to prove harder to fill than I think even the most level-headed Wings fan or critic is projecting even now. This is all while putting themselves $4M over the cap. 

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How many statistics do you need to evaluate the 5v5 performance of an NHL forward?

Sam Mercier
August 17 2016 12:15PM

"Who is the best forward in the NHL?" used to be a pretty simple question. As points used to be the main publicly available indicator of offensive production, it was pretty much a given the reigning Art Ross Trophy winner was also typically considered the best forward in the game.

As we all know, the number of different statistics available to evaluate the performance of forwards has literally exploded over the last 5 to 10 years. 

While two-way forwards always had some value level, the backing of evidence of just how effective certain players can be in other areas than simply point production has changed the way we view NHL players significantly.

On alone, we can extract more than 130 (!) different statistics to evaluate a forward at 5v5. 

Yet, it is simply impossible for a human being to properly consider 130 statistics at once. 

Even if you have a Ph.D. in mathematics, when you try to reconcile at once the information provided by more than 10 statistics, your head pretty much begins to spin.

This is why, when evaluating the performance of a forward, a typical approach is to select a few, maybe 3 or 4, key statistics considered to be the most important and disregard most others unless something out of the ordinary stands out. Such an approach is taken, for instance, when we use a Vollman player usage chart to compare different forwards. 

Some effort has also been made to derive an ultimate “catch-all” statistic to discriminate the performance of forwards from a single number. We recently attacked this question in the NHLNumbers "Stat of the Union" Roundtable, asking nine of hockey's brightest minds about how they'd evaluate a player.

The search for an accurate strategy to discriminate forward performance based on a few statistics is understandable given the considerations mentioned above, but raises some very important questions: can we accurately evaluate the performance of forwards from 3-4 statistics? 

Is it possible to develop a single statistic discriminating the performance of multiple forwards? Or, more specifically: what is the minimum number of statistics required to properly reflect the performance of forwards? Luckily for us, we can get a pretty good answer using a technique called principal component analysis.  

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