July Deep Dive: An imperfect, but acceptable month

Jeff Veillette
August 02 2016 04:15PM

Photo Credit: John E. Sokolowski/USA TODAY SPORTS

I don't think this was the summer that many people expected. Some expected massive, foundation-shaking moves, while others expected radio silence. What we got was somewhere in between, and it left a lot of questions to be asked. But looking strictly at July, how did the Leafs do?

Read Article | 29 Comments

Did the Rangers make a mistake with JT Miller's bridge deal?

Pat Keogh
August 02 2016 11:00AM

The New York Rangers found themselves in a fairly unique situation this offseason, with four different RFAs filing for arbitration. Chris Kreider, Kevin Hayes, JT Miller, and Dylan McIlrath all opted to file for arbitration, although each one of them settled before their set date. 

Chris Kreider was the only one to sign a long-term deal, inking a four-year deal that pays him an average of $4.625 million per year. The other three all signed bridge deals, which may be prudent in the cases of Dylan McIlrath and Kevin Hayes (or not, but that’s a discussion for another day) but with regards to JT Miller, the Rangers might be setting themselves up for more cap issues down the road.

Read Article | 0 Comments

Referees and the Calgary Flames - Part 1

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.

Read Article | 10 Comments

3 Ways the Vancouver Canucks Can Trade Luca Sbisa

J.D. Burke
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.

Read Article | 34 Comments

Have the Canucks Done Enough to Address Their Defence?

J.D. Burke
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.

Read Article | 23 Comments