May 17 2012 12:00PM
The Dallas Stars are a franchise that has been in flux for several years now. After making the deep playoff run on the heels of acquiring Brad Richards the Stars were looking up when Murphy's Law took over. The defense collapsed, the remaining core players from the 1999 Cup lost several steps, and Marty Turco fell off a cliff. Adding to the chaos was the fact that the Stars traded their premium draft picks in 2007 and 2008 for Ladislav Nagy and Mattias Norstrom (while drafting goalies Jack Campbell and Tyler Beskorowany high also).
Then, after refusing to waive his no trade clause at the 2011 trade deadline, Richards left for New York. The holes his departure left in the Stars lineup were huge. Richards manned a point on the powerplay, centered the top line, and took 70 more shots than anyone else on the roster. The Stars plan under new coach Glen Gulutzan was to rely on Mike Ribeiro and Jamie Benn (converting to center) as the top two centers.
May 17 2012 07:36AM
One of the most eye-popping things I have seen in non-traditional statistics was the difference between how the Flyers performed last year with Chris Pronger and without him. The plot below shows what fraction of the shot attempts the Flyers got (their Corsi score), which correlates extremely well with puck possession, zone time, and scoring chances.
May 16 2012 12:47PM
Nail Yakupov is the goods, or so says the Consensus Top 100. The largest gap between any two players in the top 20 is between #1 Yakupov and #2 Forsberg - a ringing endorsement of Yakupov's incredible abilities. I reconstructed this list for 2010 and 2011 using the final rankings of the draft guides, watchers and gurus over the last two years to compare to this year's list and found that not only is the gap between #1 and #2 much larger this year than in the previous two, the gap between Yakupov and Forsberg is the largest gap between any two back-to-back players ranked in the top ten from 2010-2012.
Nail Yakupov is the clear cut #1 pick and with good reason.
Yakupov has the goal-scoring prowess and passing ability that all high-end picks possess, but what separates him from the rest of the bunch, says Corey Pronman, is his speed and agility:
He has the ability to push the tempo up the ice and keep defenders on their heels, but he's probably even more dangerous at a standstill with high-end agility, first step acceleration, and a real slippery aspect to his game. He has such a powerful stride that he can take a handful of strides and already have travelled half the distance of the ice. Yakupov is the kind of player who consistently keeps his feet moving and has a very desirable motor to his game that shines through on a regular basis either when he's jetting through open ice or when he's engaging along the physical areas.
May 16 2012 07:43AM
photo by Michael Wifall via Wikimedia Commons
After the dominant showing from the Los Angeles Kings in Game 1, especially from the Kopitar line, many people were wondering two things;
May 15 2012 04:12PM
As we did over at Driving Play, we are doing previews of each series featuring guests who are writers or bloggers for the teams in question. Unfortunately we also followed the tradition of taking a bit too long editing and the short break did us no favors so this is coming out after game 1.