August 02 2016 11:00AM
In March I took an interest in examining called and uncalled penalties and undertook an exercise to record and examine the relative rates at which a team committed a foul and how often they were penalized.
The primary focus of this project was the Oilers, but I gathered corresponding data on the Flames and a few other teams to use as a sort of control group against which to compare the Oilers' data.
I realized quickly that the Flames' data could, in and of itself, provide some intriguing insight into how the officials interact with the Flames.
August 02 2016 11:00AM
The Vancouver Canucks have been trying to trade Luca Sbisa for a while now. It's the worst kept secret in town.
Summing up the Canucks plans in the wake of free agency, Jason Botchford of The Province had this to say on the handsomely compensated defenceman.
Some around the league suggested a possible Luca Sbisa trade was being discussed this weekend.
If true, it would make sense because Gudbranson is essentially an upgrade on Sbisa, who will be battling for ice time on the third defensive pair.
Which only confirmed much of what I heard elsewhere. The fact that every hypothetical trade the Canucks have been involved in features the Swiss rearguard doesn't really fan the fires, either. Vancouver's run out of room for Sbisa and don't have the time or space to afford him a chance to reward their once defiant faith in him.
Finding a partner has proven difficult, though. Think of all the question marks on the Canucks' blue line and consider for a second that Sbisa's future therein isn't guaranteed, even with the $3.6-million owed him for the next two season. It kind of makes sense.
I've seen worse players with worse deals in murkier salary situations dealt, though. So colour me unconvinced that this is an immovable player. It just might require a little creativity on the Canucks part. Let's look at three such ways they might accomplish this.
August 02 2016 09:00AM
The Vancouver Canucks were among the league's worst defensive teams last season no matter how you slice it. They finished in the bottom third of the league in every underlying shot-based metric worth paying attention to and 23rd overall in goals against per game.
Good luck convincing me they're not aware of this on Pat Quinn Way, too. The wealth of resources they've pooled into addressing this ill suggests addressing it is paramount to their short term vision of competing for the playoffs next season.
The addition of Loui Eriksson, though mostly remarked upon for the goals added, will plug the first hole ageing has wrought on the Sedins' game -- defensive play. Philip Larsen's zone exit and entry data would indicate he's a sound bet to stretch the ice better than those who filled his role in the season prior. Erik Gudbranson should, in theory, make the Canucks a tougher team to play against and slow the opposition in the neutral zone.
And all this says nothing of the players entrenched in the Canucks system. Barring the dreaded 'sophomore slump' players like Ben Hutton, Nikita Tryamkin and Andrey Pedan could figure every bit as prominently as some of the players purchased to insulate them. At the end of the day, though, the Canucks have to ask themselves if that's enough.
August 02 2016 09:00AM
Most World Cup of Hockey snubs have been discussed and put to rest, as rosters were announced nearly two months ago. After all, at some point it feels like the hockey world is just having the same discussion every few years, with the same names popping up every time international rosters are set.
However, the inclusion of two non-traditional teams – North America and Europe – means there’s a brand new subset of snubs to deal with, and one of the most egregious snubs on the Team North America front has barely been discussed outside of Montreal. 22-year-old Alex Galchenyuk’s omission from the final roster is puzzling even at a cursory glance (only Brandon Saad, among players eligible to play for North America, scored more NHL goals this past season), and a closer look at the current roster seems to support that leaving Galchenyuk off the team is difficult to defend.
August 01 2016 03:11PM
Photo Credit: Christian Bonin/TSGPhoto.com
It's pretty evident that the Leafs are in a very tight situation in regard to the NHL's salary cap at the moment. As of the time I'm writing this, General Fanager has the Leafs at just $55,916 in cap space. CapFriendly, which uses a slightly different list of players, has the Leafs with a little bit more room: $435,000. Since the Leafs still need to sign a back-up goalie, that's obviously not a great place to be in. But both cap sites are actually over-estimating how much space the Leafs have left, and that's because of the way that rookie bonuses work.
A couple of days ago Jeff Veillette listed all of the possible bonuses that the Leafs might have to pay out over the next couple of seasons. There are 15 players under contract to the Leafs who have the potential to hit performance bonuses next season. However, many of them will play few or even no minutes for Toronto in 2016-17, so we don't need to take account of all of them. But if we add up all of the players who are likely to make the opening night roster, the potential damage from bonuses is still pretty large.