July 18 2016 05:40PM
(Editor's note: The following is the first in an ongoing series of lesser known hockey countries by Steven Ellis.)
With South Korea participating at the 2018 Winter Olympics, there's more interest than ever in ice hockey in Asia. Considered to be an untapped market for most of the sport's lifespan, Asia has had very few hockey powers throughout history. But that doesn't mean that hockey isn't actually thriving in the continent.
While most people in North America argue about whether or not the NHL should have teams in Arizona or Florida, the sport actually is seeing some growth in areas such as Bahrain, Indonesia and Uzbekistan. Of course, you know about countries like Russia, Japan and Kazakhstan playing amongst the big boys in the international scene, but who's a team that really doesn't get the attention they deserve?
The Chinese Taipei, and they're ready to become one of the biggest risers in the sport.
July 18 2016 02:00PM
Of all forwards who played 500 minutes of 5v5 this past year, Troy Brouwer received the 66th hardest zone starts. On the Blues, he had the sixth roughest time by raw numbers (26.71 OZS%) and relative numbers (-11.73% ZSRrel% [zone start ratio: OZS/(OZS+DZS)]). If he played on the Flames last season, he would have the fifth worst starts by raw and fourth by relative numbers.
Brouwer was placed in situations where he would get his head kicked in. As a result, he got his head kicked in (49.56 CF%, -3.32 CFrel%). Among the fanbase, there are those who would say that Brouwer is doomed to fail due to his history of poor possession numbers (among other things). Others would say that Brouwer's consistency with regards to scoring prove that he is an offensive stalwart whose poor possession stats have been the result of his zone starts.
This season, Brouwer is going to test that hypothesis for us. He is (probably) going to get first line duties with Sean Monahan (36.71 OZS%, +8.43 ZSRrel%) and Johnny Gaudreau (37.24 OZS%, +9.94 ZSRrel), and hopefully prove to be a solid offensive addition. Brouwer hasn't seen starts like that since his final season in Chicago.
Using stats, we're going to try and predict how it's going to go.
July 18 2016 11:36AM
The Leafs' offseason hasn't been all that eventful so far, but one story that will continue to simmer in the background will be that of Joffrey Lupul and whether he'll have a place in the lineup come October. All signs so far point to no. But if he doesn't, the big question becomes "What can the Leafs do with him?"
According to Lupul himself, he believes he has some miles left on his career, and doesn't appear to be ready for Robidas Island. But given his laundry list of injuries and a blatant reduction in his effectiveness on the ice, is there really any chance he bounces back? Let's take a look at where his numbers have been at since things started spiraling.
July 18 2016 11:00AM
On July 1, two of the best draft picks in the history of the Calgary Flames became restricted free agents. Calgary's 2011 fourth round pick Johnny Gaudreau and 2013 first round pick Sean Monahan, together the two highest-scoring Flames last season, have been without contracts since Canada Day. Given that the dynamic duo is going to be eating up a large chunk of the Flames' salary cap and that they're likely to get two of the richest deals in the history of the franchise, the lack of signing announcements has caused some hand-wringing and brow-furrowing among the fanbase.
Why are these deals taking so long? Shouldn't they been done by now?
Relax. It's complicated.
July 18 2016 07:30AM
The Toronto Maple Leafs currently have five restricted free agents who still need contracts before the season starts. Two of them are coming off entry-level contracts and do not have arbitration rights: Josh Leivo and Connor Carrick. The other three have all filed for arbitration: Peter Holland, Martin Marincin, and Frank Corrado. The most interesting of those, to me, is Peter Holland. Holland was brought to Toronto in November 2013 when a slew of injuries left the Leafs without a sufficient number of NHL centres. The trade cost the Leafs 2nd and 7th round draft picks, as well as defensive prospect Jesse Blacker. Holland has played well for the Leafs offensively but struggled to earn ice time, never breaking 15 minutes of TOI any of his three seasons with the team.
With Holland's arbitration date just a week away, I thought it would be interesting to see what comparable players had signed for in recent seasons. But before jumping into that list, let's take a look at what kind of player the Leafs have.