October 24 2012 07:01PM
In the feature interview, Matt Read of the Philadelphia Flyers was kind enough to join us from Sweden. Among other things, he talked to us about his experience playing in Europe on Carl Hagelin's line, the transition from college to the NHL and why he was so good in the neutral-zone battle.
October 24 2012 01:27PM
By Resolute (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
At the end of the NCAA hockey season, there always seems to be at least a few teams in a rush to sign one of the many players who do not have any NHL rights. These are players who teams passed over in the draft during previous years because they were either not impressive enough at a younger age, were off many teams radars or decided not to enter the draft due to school or other factors. Despite that, most GMs and scouting staffs keep an eye on these players throughout college and attempt to sign them once they are close to graduating because they can improve an organization’s depth and possibly give you NHL-ready talent for a low cost.
There is no doubt that you can find a lot of useful players in the NCAA free agent pool and there have even been some hidden gems over the years in Martin St. Louis and Adam Oates, but how often do undrafted college free agents end up turning into a player who can make an impact? If you go through some of the names over the years, you’ll see plenty of players who went onto have good careers like Dan Boyle, Chris Kunitz, Brian Rafalski and Greg Adams and you’ll even find a few guys like Ed Belfour, Curtis Joseph and Joe Mullen who had Hall of Fame caliber careers despite not being drafted. There are also some younger players such as Matt Read, Teddy Purcell and Curtis Glencross who have made a decent impact in the NHL after going undrafted. Although, it's worth noting that over half of the UDFAs who played in 100 or more NHL games came from either the WCHA or CCHA.
Just how often do teams manage to find these hidden NCAA gems, though?
October 23 2012 08:44AM
A couple of weeks ago, I began my look at individual point percentage by checking out the results for forwards during the 2011-12 season. Over the next few days, I'll take a few different looks at the individual point percentages of NHL defensemen, and we'll once again begin by looking at performance during the 2011-12 season.
October 22 2012 01:38PM
Hey, remember the Rick Nash trade? From back when we talked about something other than HRR and escrow? Give it a minute, it'll come back to you -- he's on the Rangers now.
There was a lot of debate back then about what we should expect from him on the Rangers. I took a stab at it myself, and while there is a lot of uncertainty (points go up and down quite a bit from year to year, after all), I came up with something in the neighborhood of 35 goals and 31 assists in 78 games as a reasonable expectation. Some people disagreed vociferously, arguing that going from a bad team to a good team would have a huge effect, and that we should expect 80 points or more.
I didn't see a single person making that argument cite historical examples to support their point. As far as I could tell, it was so obvious to them that it didn't require even anecdotal evidence.
So I've decided to do a little legwork for them and ask how point totals have been affected by a change in teams over the last couple of years.
October 20 2012 03:13PM
One of the things that the salary cap is supposed to do in the NHL is provide competitive balance. In the AHL, there is no salary cap, which results in the top-spending teams having a payroll almost twice as high as the bottom-spending teams. Because many of the best players in the league (i.e. players on entry-level contracts) still have their salaries restricted (the current maximum for a player on his entry-level contract is $70,000), a team's payroll isn't exactly the same as its quality. Still, all of these teams are filled out by veterans, and the teams who spend more have a major advantage.