October 27 2016 08:31AM
There aren't nearly as many statistics available to evaluate goalies as there are to evaluate forwards and defencemen. That's true whether you're talking about the standard boxcar stats that newspapers and NHL.com have reported for years, or whether you're referring to the newer breed of numbers often called "analytics" or "advanced stats". But I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge that there are a few more ways to look at goalies than there were a few years ago. A couple of weeks ago I talked about dividing saves into "danger zones" based on their distance from the net. This time I'm going to take a look at Quality Starts.
October 26 2016 02:30PM
We're eight games into the 2016-17 Calgary Flames season and our local hockey club is almost at the .500 mark. They've played a couple really good games against really good teams (on the road even), and they managed to course correct without any outside stimulus.
That last part is important because, given their salary cap situation, it's extremely unlikely that the Flames will be able to bring in any outside assistance via trade, recall or even waivers. There's no cavalry that's going to ride in and galvanize the team or shake things up.
They'll have to do it themselves.
October 26 2016 11:25AM
Photo Credit: Dan Hamilton/USA TODAY SPORTS
Late in the third period of last night's game, Frederik Andersen made a routine pad save. The crowd gave him a sarcastic "Bronx Cheer." A person behind me yells "I can't believe they're paying $5 million for this", and another calls him the worst investment since Vesa Toskala.
I turn around, as I've been talking back and forth between the group throughout the game, and note that I'm not ready to write the guy off after six games, given his history. The one who made the latter statement agreed, but stressed that, since he's paying good money for these seats, he's going to vent some in-the-moment frustration in the meantime.
Hard to argue with that logic, really. If I didn't get the tickets as a gift, I probably wouldn't have been thrilled at the idea of paying lower bowl prices to watch the Leafs put some of their weaker shots of the year towards the net in hopes of getting a lucky bounce or two to stop the goal bleeding on the other end. It was undoubtedly Andersen's roughest night on the job since coming here, and the whole ordeal got me to thinking: the Leafs should probably pull him away from the pipes for a little bit.
October 26 2016 08:00AM
With 14 shifts and 10:09 in ice time at the Heritage Classic (both low marks thus far in the young season) and now being a healthy scratch in favour of Chris Thorburn, Kyle Connor has seen his opportunity to contribute to the Winnipeg Jets decrease as the first five games has progressed. There have been some flashes of brilliance that remind us of what we saw when he ripped up the NCAA, but there have also been some glaring hiccups in his play (especially defensively) and it may be time for him to spend some time in the AHL. When we consider that the Jets have not yet recalled anyone to play in Bryan Little's spot since his injury, perhaps the time has come to call up Andrew Copp and Marko Dano.
October 25 2016 11:25AM
Photo Credit: Matt Marton/USA TODAY SPORTS
The Toronto Maple Leafs are 1-1-3 to start the season. They have lost 80% of their games this season. They had the lead in every game that they lost; sometimes by as many as four goals. Many have taken this as a sign that this is the same ol' Leafs as last year, with a couple of more promising kids to keep fans entertained but the same general results. I've even seen the t-word used again by those who want the Leafs to add another blue chip prospect.
In a weird way, it feels like people are getting carried away by not being carried enough away. The end result of these five games has been about as close as you can get to a worst case scenario, but the process is light-years ahead of anything the Leafs have shown in a very long time.