November 14 2012 09:04AM
Before the start of the 2011-12 season, I talked about a group of players that I called "the one-percenters", a group of players whose cap numbers were less than one percent of the salary cap. In order for a player like this to cover his bet, all he needs to do is competently fill a spot in the lineup on a regular basis. But some of these players can do more than that, which makes them extremely valuable. Before the season, I mentioned a few candidates that I thought might provide that kind of value: Niclas Bergfors, Bryan Bickell, Evgeni Nabokov, and Frans Nielsen. A couple of those players did, a couple of others didn't, and a few more bargain surprises emerged. So which one-percenter helped his team most in 2011-12?
Let's take a look at my top five candidates:
November 13 2012 02:31PM
I've often heard it suggested that players wear down over the course of a season.
When I wrote about whether players elevate their game in the playoffs, multiple people in the comments argued that players can and should conserve energy during the regular season. It's a particularly common suggestion for older players, who are presumed to be more prone to fatigue. Guys like Jaromir Jagr and Teemu Selanne hate taking days off, but players and coaches are so convinced that they will wear out that they insist on it.
I'm not a physiology expert by any means, so I'm not qualified to make direct assessments of whether older players will suffer more cumulative fatigue than younger players would. However, I am capable of looking at whether such fatigue is born out in the stats.
November 13 2012 07:27AM
A past-his-prime Scott Gomez. Tom Pyatt. Michael Busto. An over-the-hill Olli Jokinen. Brandon Prust. Evan Oberg. A third round draft pick. Those are all of the assets that Chris Higgins was traded for over the span of two years, as he transitioned from being a former lottery pick to a journeyman who couldn't find a place to stick.
As the story goes, the Canucks weren't even all that interested in Higgins in February of 2011, when they acquired him from the Panthers at the trade deadline. They had their sights set on another player, but wound up making a deal for Higgins - who was on the shelf with a hand injury at the time - in the final minutes before the deadline in an attempt to bolster themselves on the wing for a long playoff run.
Once he arrived in Vancouver, Higgins was able to lay claim to something that not many others could: he had called five different cities "home" over the course of the previous 20 months. Since then, he has proven to be an exceptionally valuable commodity for the Canucks, and a darling of the advanced stats community. But still, I feel that there are far too many hockey fans out there who don't appreciate what he brings to the table, and it's time that we change that.
Read Past the Jump for More on Chris Higgins.
November 11 2012 10:27AM
Photo: Hakan Dahlstrom/Wikimedia/CC BY 2.0
It's Hockey Hall of Fame week, so we lead off with a question: should the Canucks retire Pavel Bure's jersey? From there, the conversation goes all over - NHL equivalencies, the impact of the lockout on AHL attendance, whether rebuilding actually works, the U.S. presidential election, how to win an Evander Kane autographed stick and jersey, NHL '13, puckhogs, the demise (or exaggerated demise?) of the Sedins and much more.
November 09 2012 02:48PM
Ivanmakarov at en.wikipedia from Wikimedia Commons
Ever since the last lockout, the San Jose Sharks have always seemed to have a lot of big names in their defense corps. Over the last half-decade, the Sharks blue-line corps has seen players such as Dan Boyle, Christian Ehrhoff, Brent Burns, Rob Blake and Brian Campbell play big minutes, and with a cast like that, there are bound to be some players who get overlooked. On the Sharks, that player is Marc-Edouard Vlasic. This isn’t to say that Vlasic is completely overlooked because most hockey fans know that he is a solid player, but what might get overlooked is just how good he is.