Top to Bottom: Checking in with each team one month into the season

Cam Lewis
November 07 2015 02:51PM

We're one month into the NHL season and the league's contenders and pretenders are starting to take shape. The Ducks got off to a horrific start, and Coyotes came blazing out of the gate, but now Arizona is trending downwards while the Anaheim is moving up — the world seems normal again. 

On the seventh of every month, I'm going to go through and break down each team in the league, determining which teams are legitimate and which ones aren't, who's had terrible luck and who's riding something unsustainable to success, and where each team is likely to finish the season. Yes, you can look at the league's standings to see who's doing well and who isn't, but there's more to success than just a team's record. 

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The Roundup

Nation World HQ
November 06 2015 06:45AM

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Connor McDavid out indefinitely, trading Lupul will be hard for Leafs, a prank on Vancouver rookies, some Flames optimism, firing coaches, Jay Onrait, fantasy hockey and more in this week's Nation Roundup brought to you by DraftKings.

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The Oilers in the Wake of McDavid's Injury

Dimitri Filipovic
November 05 2015 11:45AM

What happened to Connor McDavid in Tuesday night's game against the Flyers was a real punch to the gut. And that's coming from someone who has doesn't have anything resembling any ties or allegiances to the Edmonton Oilers franchise. Purely as a fan of hockey, it's nothing short of regrettable that we're going to be deprived of seeing and enjoying someone who has instantly become one of the most fun players in the league to watch for at least a couple of months. 

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Brent Burns: Offensive Defenceman

Dimitri Filipovic
November 04 2015 10:42AM

There has been quite a bit of deliberation amongst the hockey community over the past few years as to whether the likes of Brent Burns and Dustin Byfuglien are better suited up front as forwards or on the blueline as defencemen. The fact that there’s even a worthwhile discussion to be had is a testament to how freakishly gifted and unique those two players are, that they can be effective in both circumstances. 

While I think there’s little to no doubt at this point that the latter is a far more valuable weapon on the back-end, Burns’ most optimal deployment is a slightly less cut-and-dried situation.

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The Value of A Player's Penalty Differential

Dimitri Filipovic
November 03 2015 12:52PM

Though the season is still in its infancy stage, based on the first month of play it appears we're headed towards another slight dip in goal scoring all across the league. Whether it's the rules, the groupthink resulting in conservative approaches by most teams, or a testament to the level of goaltending floating around, the trend is very much real.

In a world with a suppressed number of events and fewer goals being scored in general, the importance of finding hidden value to get a slight leg up on the competition is heightened even further. As the hockey community has progressed and developed with advancements in puck possession metrics and the such in recent years, its only getting trickier to identify and exploit these market inefficiencies. 

One that isn't necessarily new by any means, but still doesn't have the type of traction that it likely should is penalty differential. Given that teams continue to convert on somewhere around 18% of their power play opportunities on average, the value of a player that can serve those chances up on a silver platter remains immense.

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