Top to Bottom — Trade Deadline Edition: Central Division

Cam Lewis
February 16 2017 07:00AM

This is a four-part series analyzing where each NHL teams stands heading into the trade deadline based on the context of each division, and the short- and long-term implications of buying or selling with the expansion draft around the corner. 

The decline of both the St. Louis Blues and Dallas Stars coupled with the Chicago Blackhawks likely being trigger shy due to multiple years of buying at the deadline has given the Minnesota Wild a perfect opportunity to thrust themselves to the top of the Central Division standings. Their biggest competition has been the underachieving Nashville Predators, who are one piece away from being a legitimate contender. And that piece could be held by the worst team in the division, the Colorado Avalanche. 

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Fire, Brimstone and Milan Lucic

Jonathan Willis
February 15 2017 10:30AM

27-Lucic-2

The lack of secondary scoring from the Edmonton Oilers has been a story all season, one with many authors. Old standbys Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins have earned scorn. Benoit Pouliot appears to be utterly lost. Big-name free agent acquisition Milan Lucic has been a disappointment.

Of the four of them, there isn’t any question as to which player’s poor season should be the most terrifying for the Oilers. It’s that of Lucic, who seems to be imploding at 5-on-5 just as he enters the first year of a buyout-proof forever contract.

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Protecting the Blue Line and Driving Break-outs: Testing Repeatability and Goal-Impact of Controlled Exits & Entries Against

Andrew Kerison [OriginalSixAnalytics]
February 15 2017 10:08AM

This article is being co-posted on NHLNumbers as well as on my own site, OriginalSixAnalytics.com . Find me @OrgSixAnalytics on twitter. If you are able, please provide some support to public data providers Corey Sznajder (@ShutDownLine), Corsica and Puckalytics

Every team in the NHL is constantly striving to find market inefficiencies to capitalize on towards the goal of creating value and ultimately winning games. Whether done by finding undervalued assets or developing a set of sustained competitive advantages – every team should always have these concepts in mind. 

The analytics community has widely acknowledged we are not as good at evaluating defensemen as we are at evaluating forwards - in part due to having fewer effective metrics available. As a result, a number of people have spent time trying to expand our knowledge in this area - as any new development would be sure to present a strong market opportunity to capitalize on. 

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Brian Boyle makes sense for the Leafs, but Tampa's asking price may not

Ryan Fancey
February 15 2017 09:55AM

Outside of some Shattenkirk chatter last month, it doesn't seem like there's a huge amount of excitement around the Leafs when it comes to the approaching trade deadline. And while it's a bit of a change-up from previous years, this isn't exactly surprising. The team has somewhat over-achieved and found themselves on the playoff bubble, but also abides to a strict long-term plan. They probably won't be seen as buyers or sellers at the end of the month, and I doubt much of the fanbase disagrees with that strategy.

That said, while it's difficult to envision any core pieces or large salaries moving, there could be a tweak or two. If teams want to unload late-round picks for the likes of Hunwick or Polak, I'm sure that's a deal that could make sense. And as for adding, there are some good depth options out there that likely won't require selling the farm, some of whom the Leafs have already been tied to. 

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Are the Flames progressing?

Ari Yanover
February 15 2017 08:00AM

It can be easy to get caught up in the moment, especially with something like sports. Teams are built over the course of years and years, and there's never any point in which case you can ever say they're solidly "complete". There will always be some future matter to attend to.

But the present is pretty important, too. Sports are a series of increments, and we get to watch every single moment as it unfolds in real time. So when, say, we see a team that should be exiting the rebuild stage in the midst of the playoff chase, that's progress. But when we see, in the midst of that, them lose 5-0 to a team at the bottom of the standings... well, that really doesn't look like it.

So. Are the Flames actually making progress?

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