Quantifying the Value of a 'Shootout Specialist'

Cam Lewis
January 12 2017 10:25AM

This is an article guest written by Andrew Kerison of Original Six Analyitcs. You can follow Andrew @OrgSixAnalytics or visit his website at originalsixanalytics.com

Troy Terry. Jonathan Toews. T.J. Oshie. These names are all recognizable in part because of a heroic shootout performance they each have put on for their country. Troy Terry was the most recent, scoring three goals in the USA World Junior semi-final win over Russia, and ultimately being the sole scorer in the championship game, winning Team USA a gold medal over Team Canada. 

Due to shootouts being the subject of many conversations over the last couple weeks, I found myself wondering: for an NHL team, what exactly is it worth to have a shootout specialist in your line up? Should every team have one? Or is it a ‘nice to have’, merely a secondary consideration when evaluating players? 

So let’s see if we can figure it out. 

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Future Free Agents: Karl Alzner

Cam Lewis
January 11 2017 12:00PM

Future Free Agents is a semi-regular feature on NHLNumbers profiling players from 2017's potential free agency class. 

With Brent Burns signed in San Jose, the 2017 unrestricted free agent defenceman market gets very thin very fast. You have Kevin Shattenkirk as your clear cut top option, especially for those teams who need a boost in production from the blue line. Then, after him, you have Karl Alzner, the best option for a team looking for a steady, consistent, shut down guy. 

But as we've seen over the past few summers, teams are becoming skeptical of handing big contracts to stay at home defencemen like Alzner who contribute little offensively. Is he still going to be able to command the salary of a top pairing defenceman on the open market? With the league's gradual shift to analytics, is he still a valued commodity? 

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Maple Leafs claim Curtis McElhinney off waivers from Columbus

Jeff Veillette
January 10 2017 10:41AM

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Photo Credit: Aaron Doster/USA TODAY SPORTS

The Toronto Maple Leafs will take yet another crack at solving their backup goaltending situation, looking to Curtis McElhinney as the latest mystery man. The 33-year-old was claimed off waivers from the Columbus Blue Jackets this afternoon.

For a look at the Leafs' updated roster and cap situation, check out NHLNumbers

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Who's Making the All-Star Game?

Scott Maxwell
January 10 2017 08:03AM

The NHL is going to announce the rosters for the All-Star game this year right away, so what better way to waste both our time by me writing this article about who I think will make it to this irrelevant event, and you to read said article.

However, unlike previous years, there is a bit of a catch. The NHL is revealing the rest of their top-100 players at the All-Star game, including six active players, who will be attending the event. Let's assume that, like the Score article suggests, Jaromir Jagr will be attending the event, but not playing. So, I'll be picking the five other players in addition to this years deserving All-Stars.

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The emergence of Nikita Zaitsev

Ryan Hobart
January 10 2017 07:32AM

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Photo Credit: Isaiah J. Downing/USA TODAY SPORTS

This offseason, the Leafs signed Nikita Zaitsev, a KHL free agent that brought much anticipation. The Leafs were in desperate need for improvement on the right side of their defense, and Nikita Zaitsev's play promised to bring that

There were some that were skeptical of just how much an impact he could have, including myself. After all, we're still not totally sure how the KHL stacks up against the NHL, since that league is so volatile these days. Could Zaitsev really be a top 4 defenseman in his first NHL season?

He definitely can.

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