Nation Network Prospect Profiles: #1 Connor McDavid

Rhys Jessop
June 11 2015 06:14PM

Since there is no doubt as to who we'll have ranked as the best prospect available for the 2015 NHL Entry draft, we'll start at the top. 

Connor McDavid is a special talent and the consensus best available player, possessing an obscene amount of skill. He's exceptional, not only for what he can do with the puck, but also for his blinding speed, which few players in all of hockey can currently match.

For a first-time draft eligible skater, McDavid's production in the OHL was nearly unprecedented. He absolutely torched junior hockey to the tune of 120 points in just 47 games - numbers that would make people say, "nah, that's unrealistic" if he were a character in EA's NHL 15.

Join us after the jump as we profile the most dynamic talent currently outside the NHL. 

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5 Things: The Value of Dougie Hamilton

Ryan Lambert
June 11 2015 08:00AM

For what seems like the millionth summer in a row — but I'm sure it's more like the seventh or eighth, which is still an eternity in the NHL — the Boston Bruins are facing a cap crunch. We don't yet know what the league's ceiling is going to come to, but a reasonable assumption is that it's going to go up about $1-2 million at most. Let's be generous and say it hits $71 million, which is the outside estimate Gary Bettman keeps giving.

Read on past the jump and I'll break down what the issue is, and how the Bruins can deal with it.

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Fans can finally cheer on the Coyotes in June!

Graphic Comments
June 10 2015 03:28PM

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We're in for a real treat tonight, folks. It's another night of back and forth action punctuated by the inane ramblings of crazy people with microphones. 

No, I'm not talking about the Rogers or NBC broadcasts Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final between the Hawks and the Lightning. We're heading back to Glendale for a best of seven vote on the fate of the Arizona Coyotes' arena lease.

Finally, Coyotes fans have an opportunity to cheer on their team in June!

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Draft Theory: Re-Defining the Roles of Scouts and Stats

Rhys Jessop
June 10 2015 02:30PM

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Numbers and scouts would seem to be at odds over Pavel Zacha. But are they really?

I don't know precisely why this is, but I think I have a pretty good idea. Whenever we talk about looking at prospects through the lens of statistics and quantitative analysis, the discussion almost inevitably turns to "stats vs. scouts." Often times, people like myself are as guilty of going here as anybody. "Can you believe those idiots ranked Lawson Crouse ahead of Mitch Marner," I'll begin. "Don't they know that the numbers say this is insane?"

The thing is, going down the stats-against-scouts road is missing the point entirely. This isn't a pissing contest to see who's right more often. It's a continuous journey towards consistently identifying the best talent that has the highest chance of contributing at a significant level in the NHL. Numbers and watchers-of-the-games shouldn't be at odds with one another, since our end goal is the same - to identify the junior-aged players that project to be the best future NHLers.

As such, although the Twitter snark is fun, the actual debate when we're trying to advance our knowledge shouldn't be centred on who's right and who's wrong. Instead, we should be trying to leverage the strengths of every angle we can look at talent identification from to build a drafting and scouting approach that is as accurate, precise, and predictive as we can possibly make it. We want to use numbers to get the most out of our scouts, and we want to use scouts to get the most out of our numbers.

So how should we go about constructing a talent identification system that is grounded in quantitative analysis and also takes advantage of a rigorous qualitative approach? Let's explore after the jump.

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Top-10 UFA countdown: #8 - Martin St. Louis

Thomas Drance
June 10 2015 09:00AM

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Photo Credit: Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports

This is a series counting down the top-10 pending UFAs. It will be posted across the Nation Network over the next month! Enjoy!

Over the course of Martin St. Louis' Hall of Fame worthy career the 5-foot-8 winger has won a Hart Trophy, a Stanley Cup, an Olympic Gold Medal and two Art Ross trophies (including one as a 37-year-old). His resume is beyond reproach. 

Built like a bumper car, St. Louis has accomplished everything a hockey player can accomplish. And as much as hockey's trend watchers are fawning over undersized players now, St. Louis has been doing Tyler Johnson-like things for more than a decade. So how can a future Hall of Fame immortal find himself ranked eighth on our countdown of the top unrestricted free agents? 

It's simple really: age catches up to everyone, even the best among us, and St. Louis will turn 40 this month. Thanks to a variety of advances in the field of human performance, players are remaining effective for longer, and no one doubts St. Louis' work ethic or ability to be an outlier, but St. Louis' advancing age combined with his least productive offensive season in 13 years is sure to dampen the enthusiasm with which he's pursued on the free agent market this summer. 

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