November 29 2012 01:39PM
One of the ongoing projects I worked on at The Copper and Blue was the Top 25 Under 25. The series began with Ben Massey asking a very important point about the evaluation of young players: "determining when one has gone from prospect to player is more a matter of half-baked opinion and guesswork than rigorous statistical analysis." The result was a look at the best young players in the organization under 25 years old no matter how many NHL games those players might have played. It's a practice that gives us a much better look at what the future holds because we're no longer omitting a team's very best young players.
Of course, at the Copper and Blue, I was focused on the Oilers. That gave our readers an idea about the quality of players in Edmonton, but didn't offer much as far as comparison with other teams. Today, I'm beginning a series that will look at the top five players under 25, first comparing teams with the others in their division, and then comparing the best teams in each division with one another. After the jump, we begin with the Atlantic working our way fifth to the team with the best young players in the division.
November 21 2012 04:07PM
One of the more interesting things about an extended lockout is the opportunity to see NHL players mix with non-NHLers in various European leagues. When you look at the top of any league's scoring chart, there tends to be mixture of proven NHL talent, and players in the prime of their careers who haven't been able to find a regular gig in the best league in the world. Every NHL team wants to find reliable scoring, and seasons like this one tend to highlight some players who might be able to fill that role but haven't yet had a chance.
Of course, reliable scoring isn't just expensive because it tends to cost a lot of money. Trying a new player also carries a huge opportunity cost, and it's that opportunity cost, which sometimes sees really effective players change teams with almost nothing going the other way. Rich Peverley is a recent example of a player who couldn't get a consistent opportunity in a scoring role with his first NHL organization despite sterling numbers in the AHL. But after Peverley moved to Atlanta, he was given that chance immediately, and had tremendous success. The same thing is true of AHL stars P.A. Parenteau and Matt Moulson who both established themselves with the New York Islanders in their mid-twenties after failing to get an opportunity elsewhere.
So which players might be worth taking a chance on for teams who have room on their roster to give a player with a history of success in lower leagues a chance? Today, I'll take a look at some candidates from Switzerland's National League.
November 20 2012 03:17PM
Last month, I looked at something called individual point percentage (IPP) both for forwards and for defensemen. To recap the concept, individual point percentage is a calculation of the number of times an individual player gets a point (either a goal or an assist) relative to the number of total goals scored while he's on the ice. So, for example, if a player is on the ice for fifty goals-for during five-on-five play over the course of the season and he gets a point on forty of them, his individual point percentage at five-on-five would be 80%.
Most forwards end up at about 70% over the long haul, but there are some that buck the trend. Sidney Crosby led the league over the last four seasons with an IPP of 84%. One of the things discussed in the comments to those posts was what kind of impact playing with a guy like Crosby might have. Points are assigned on a zero-sum basis, so if he's getting more, who's getting less?
November 15 2012 04:26PM
At the start of each season, all teams are equal in the standings. A team that was among the league's worst a season ago is tied for first at the beginning of
October December, and hope springs eternal for all but the most browbeaten fanbases. Of course, those particularly unfortunate fans remember something important that many fans like to forget: every team has a past, and that past matters. Sure, teams change in the off-season but there's a lot of continuity too, which means that, even when we confine ourselves to a simple thing like the previous season's goal differential, we can get a pretty decent idea of what can be reasonably expected in the year to come.
November 14 2012 09:04AM
Before the start of the 2011-12 season, I talked about a group of players that I called "the one-percenters", a group of players whose cap numbers were less than one percent of the salary cap. In order for a player like this to cover his bet, all he needs to do is competently fill a spot in the lineup on a regular basis. But some of these players can do more than that, which makes them extremely valuable. Before the season, I mentioned a few candidates that I thought might provide that kind of value: Niclas Bergfors, Bryan Bickell, Evgeni Nabokov, and Frans Nielsen. A couple of those players did, a couple of others didn't, and a few more bargain surprises emerged. So which one-percenter helped his team most in 2011-12?
Let's take a look at my top five candidates: