Because It's The Cap: Ottawa Senators

Scott Maxwell
June 02 2016 10:00AM


Over the next month, we at NHLnumbers are going to be taking a look at where each team in the league currently stands based on what we learned from them last season, and where they realistically can and should go this summer with the resources and cap space they have.

The Ottawa Senators are a sight to behold. After all, this is a team that should be contender every year, with guys like Mark Stone, Mike Hoffman, Bobby Ryan, Mika Zibanejad and Kyle Turris putting the puck in the net, and Erik Karlsson driving the back end.

The problem is that that is all they have. Sure, they have some decent depth pieces, but not players good enough to be in the role that they play on a Cup contender. This is a team that has the cap space to add a couple key pieces, but Eugene Melnyk is too cheap to open up his wallet, and actually try to build a team.

No worries though, just Moneypuck this team, and they can get to the promised land, considering that's the type of method they need to go for. Wait, what's that Melnyk? Experienced players don't need analytics, form your experience with horse analytics? Well, toss that idea in the garbage.

Yeah, this team might be screwed.

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Because It's The Cap: Colorado Avalanche

Cam Lewis
May 31 2016 10:00AM

Nathan MacKinnon, Matt Duchene, Gabriel Landeskog, Tyson Barrie, Semyon Varlamov: The Colorado Avalanche are loaded with talent. There’s certainly no denying that. But despite the wealth of excellent young players they currently boast on their roster, it’s difficult to get excited about this team and their future.

This isn’t because of the talent they have on the ice, it’s because of the Old Boys Club that has completely taken over the organization. Specifically, the Patrick Roy Head Coach slash President of Hockey Operations and Joe Sakic General Manager slash Executive Vice President slash whatever braintrust that has been responsible for numerous poor decisions in terms of roster composition and in-game execution. 

Over the past few years, the Avs have let go of Paul Stastny and Ryan O’Reilly among others, largely because of the salary they were going to command, yet they’ve gone ahead and spent the money saved on players who simply aren’t as good. And this summer, with Tyson Barrie and Nathan MacKinnon, two of the team’s best and most important pieces moving forward, in need of new RFA contracts, there isn’t much reason for faith in how this front office will navigate through the tricky prospect of fitting them both in long-term. 

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Because It's The Cap: Montreal Canadiens

Scott Maxwell
May 30 2016 11:22AM


Over the next month, we at NHLnumbers are going to be taking a look at where each team in the league currently stands based on what we learned from them last season, and where they realistically can and should go this summer with the resources and cap space they have.

Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

One year ago, the Montreal Canadiens were a Cup contender on the backs of an MVP performance from goaltender Carey Price. Despite any flaws the team may have had (and there were many), Price covered just about all of it, until they faced a superior Tampa Bay Lightning team in the second round.

But, they regressed very, very hard this season. After a 9-0 start, Price once again showed his value to the team...in the sense that the team fell apart when he got hurt. The backups couldn't properly take his place, and even when they did, the team couldn't score. It's not even that they were that bad (they were 11th in Score Adjusted CF% this season), but the season just fell from their grasps.

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Because It's The Cap: Buffalo Sabres

Cam Lewis
May 28 2016 10:00AM

Over the next month, we at NHLnumbers are going to be taking a look at where each team in the league currently stands based on what we learned from them last season, and where they realistically can and should go this summer with the resources and cap space they have.

It’s time to start thinking about the playoffs again in Buffalo. The Sabres took a massive step forward last season, winning 12 more games and finishing with 37 more points in the standings than they had the previous year when they were fully immersed in the once-in-a-lifetime Connor McDavid tank-off. Unfortunately for them, and much to the chagrin of general manager Tim Murray, the Sabres’ catastrophic 2014-15 season ultimately didn’t result in them winning the golden ticket, but instead, they were handed the best consolation prize imaginable in Jack Eichel. 

After an excellent rookie season from The Other One coupled with the continued development of a strong young core developed from years of being terrible, the Sabres actually looked like a professional hockey team last season. If they can have another offseason like they did last year, in which they added Ryan O’Reilly, Cody Franson, and Robin Lehner, they should realistically be able to take another step forward, which would mean playoff hockey in Buffalo for the first time since 2011. 

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Because It's The Cap: Arizona Coyotes

Cam Lewis
May 27 2016 12:00PM

Over the next month, we at NHLnumbers are going to be taking a look at where each team in the league currently stands based on what we learned from them last season, and where they realistically can and should go this summer with the resources and cap space they have.

The Arizona Coyotes are one of the most fascinating teams in hockey. Not only do they boast arguably the strongest collection of young talent in the NHL, but they also went ahead and completely reconfigured their front office around 26-year-old fancystats guru and co-founder of the Ontario-based hockey analytics company known as Stathletes John Chayka, who was named the team’s general manager earlier this month.

What this move clearly suggests is a fundamental shift within the Coyotes organization to focus on the use of data in player personnel decisions, which also makes them a trailblazer in professional hockey. Whether you believe in the practicality of analytics in hockey or not, what’s brewing in Arizona right now will certainly be very, very interesting to follow, especially considering they have a massive offseason ahead of them, with multiple draft picks, nearly $40 million in cap space, and damn near an entire NHL roster to flesh out. 

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