December 31 2015 08:00AM
The NHL will never be perfect. Everybody has ideas on how to alter the league to either improve its economics and make it more profitable or change rules around so the game is played at a different pace. We’ve heard about axing the draft or the salary cap to promote player freedom and movement, shrinking goalie pads or increasing the size of the nets to generate more scoring, and of course, there are radical ideas like getting rid of offsides or implementing some form of relegation or banishment to the AHL.
Obviously it isn’t easy to change the rules of a professional sports league as large as the NHL. That said, my New Year’s resolution for the league (and by New Year’s resolution, I mean put into effect next season) is changing the way points are awarded in the standings. This is a very, very simple fix and it’ll result in the best teams actually finishing at the top of the standings, and if we’re really lucky, it’ll make teams actually want to end games before they make it to overtime (and the shootout *shudders*).
December 29 2015 08:40AM
Martin Marincin has never been described as a standout offensive dynamo — this much is clear.
This season, through 22 games, he's been held off the scoresheet every single time, registering 0 goals and 0 assists. The Leafs aren't exactly swimming in offensive talent, and Marincin put up just 11 points in 85 games over two years as an Edmonton Oiler, but 0 points for any player over 22 games is quite low. Marincin's one of just three players in the league this year to have at least 20 games with a goose egg in the point column.
And yet, somehow, he's been among the Leafs' best defensive players, and arguably one of the top defensive players in the league. He's doing things virtually no one else is doing. No, seriously. At just $700,000 on a one-year deal, Martin Marincin is an absolute statistical anomaly right now.
Let's dive a little deeper to understand Marincin's game, even if it doesn't make a whole lot of sense.
December 28 2015 12:02PM
There hasn’t been much going on in terms of transactions this season, but just hours after the NHL’s Christmas holiday freeze was lifted, the Oilers and Canadiens struck a deal, sending forward Zack Kassian to Edmonton and goaltender Ben Scrivens to Montreal. Both Kassian and Scrivens cleared waivers earlier on in the season, so the deal represents an opportunity for each player to get their respective careers back on track in a new environment.
December 26 2015 04:00PM
(This article was originally published on August 14, 2008 on my now defunct personal blog. It stands as perhaps my most seminal piece so I wanted to re-share it here. To some degree, it explains the goaltender market and why teams have generally moved away from drafting puck stoppers in the first round. I have edited it slightly to remove overly dated references.)
During my look at Sutter's draft history as the Flames GM, I commented that I was surprised the club drafted two goalies in a single year (Keetley and Lalande in '05). That and the preponderance of goaltending prospects the organization (the two above plus McElhinney, Irving and James Spratt) has got me wondering about goalies recently, in particular the draft/develop part.
I've come to the shaky but ever strengthening conclusion that drafting goaltenders is just about a complete waste of time.
Bear with me.
December 26 2015 01:10PM
Steven Stamkos’ contract situation has been a huge soap opera all year in Tampa Bay. Does he want to stick around, or is he going to take the chance to bolt to Toronto and fulfill his childhood dream of playing for the Maple Leafs? Should they trade him, becoming younger and cheaper in the process, or keep him around for a playoff run, as they’re just a few months removed from the Stanley Cup Finals? What a headache.
Thankfully the Lightning, once their franchise centre makes his decision this summer, things will quiet down and return to normal, right? Wrong. Along with Stamkos, Steve Yzerman is facing the task of coming up with new contracts for pretty much his entire team over the next couple of summers. The name at the top of that list is Victor Hedman, who’s established himself as one of the league’s best defencemen, and arguably Tampa’s most important player moving forward.