Ruff on advanced stats, musings about the Swiss League, my thoughts on Subban, Bishop, Maroon and more…


I put the Guide out Friday around 2pm and pretty much just shut down. Elvis has left the building. Needed a re-charge, spend time with the kids who I had been neglecting. But I'm back now and should have a small, unimportant update later today fixing some typos, plus a couple of minor oversights. I'll dig into adding a column or two later in the week.



It's that time of year again - Football Guide is just $5.99 for six more days before it reverts to regular price. Buy it here. And of course, the big Hockey Guide was released on Friday and is available for download — buy it here.

My thoughts on the Subban contract - what took Montreal so long? The outcome was not in doubt, the Habs had zero leverage. I made a snide remark about their leverage in the comments section the other day.


And again touching on older news - that Patrick Maroon contract shocked me and I may have re-evaluate my projection for him. I had him getting scratched a few times in the year ahead. He'll fill in a few times on the Getzlaf line, and also on the Kesler line. But often he'll be in a depth role. Unlike Drance yesterday, I don't believe he's already hit the high-water mark in production. That could very well end up being the case if he's buried in the numbers game, but if he's getting $2 million bucks in the season ahead, he's not getting scratched. So with that in mind - his production has improved with each season of his career in the OHL and AHL. His development has been steady. Drance touched upon an unsustainable shot percentage of 11%, but his AHL percentage has been: 14.2%, 14.6%, 14.6% the last three seasons. I'm thinking he can sustain the higher number. I'm not a huge Maroon fan, I'm just saying that I do not rule him out of become a really good NHL power forward.


We're in the 'dry news' era of 2014, so may as well post Canada's invites to the WJC development camp:

GOALTENDERS: Eric Comrie (Winnipeg), Philippe Desrosiers (Dallas), Zachary Fucale (Montreal), Tristan Jarry (Pittsburgh).

DEFENCEMEN: Chris Bigras (Colorado), Madison Bowey (Washington), Aaron Ekblad (Florida), Haydn Fleury (Carolina), Ben Harpur (Ottawa), Dillon Heatherington (Columbus), Roland McKeown (Los Angeles), Samuel Morin (Philadelphia), Josh Morrissey (Winnipeg), Darnell Nurse (Edmonton), Travis Sanheim (Philadelphia), Shea Theodore (Anaheim).

FORWARDS: Nick Baptiste (Buffalo), Sam Bennett (Calgary), Tyler Bertuzzi (Detroit), Greg Chase (Edmonton), Michael Dal Colle (New York), Jason Dickinson (Dallas), Max Domi (Phoenix), Jonathan Drouin (Tampa Bay), Anthony Duclair (NYR), Robby Fabbri (St. Louis), Frédérik Gauthier (Toronto), Jérémy Gregoire (Montreal), Jayce Hawryluk (Florida), Bo Horvat (Vancouver), Morgan Klimchuk (Calgary), Curtis Lazar (Ottawa), Connor McDavid (2015 draft-eligible), Zach Nastasiuk (Detroit), Nick Paul (Dallas), Brendan Perlini (Arizona), Nic Petan (Winnipeg), Brayden Point (Tampa Bay), Sam Reinhart (Buffalo), Nick Ritchie (Anaheim), Jake Virtanen (Vancouver)

Good to see Duclair picking up steam - if you recall, I had him and Chris Tierney as my two surprise risers (huge risers - thus the surprise) from the Prospects Report.


The Sharks and Kings will play an outdoor game? Ticketmaster may have spoiled the big announcement with their premature ticket sales.

In that Puck Daddy article, the outdoor hockey was termed "a big draw". And that's exactly right. But I suspect that, if the NHL keeps flooding the market with these events, it will no longer be a "big draw" by, say, 2016. Myself - I would never go to one. I prefer a warm house, a giant screen, and normal-priced beer.


Advanced stats fans - here is Lindy Ruff's take on them.

“I like looking at those numbers. I like looking at scoring chances. I like looking at our entries and the other team’s entries. There are a lot of things you look at after the game on the video to confirm what you’ve seen,” Ruff said. “But I also know that when I’m watching a game, I know a player’s last five shifts and I know what he’s been doing and I can assess quickly how I want to use him. Information is always good _ accurate information _ but I also know that watching the game and reacting to what’s going on, it’s tough to react in a timely manner and use information at a time when you might need it most. I think you have to have a combination of preparation with the information and then the ability to react during a game.”

That's fairly accurate - advanced stats should agree with what you are already seeing. They quantify what you are watching and over the course of time can be used to get a birds-eye view of how the players are doing - which is great because you aren't going to remember nine games later, exactly what you saw nine games ago. The "react quickly" thing, I'm not as certain about. I don't really trust advanced stats over the short term. Depending on the stat, I like to see at least 20 games of data.


Adam Hall followed Dobber's Rule of Fringe NHLers. He signed to play in the Swiss League.

My favorite success story of this is Hnat Domenichelli - he gave the NHL a shot up until he was 27. That's about when the odds are completely against you making the jump full-time. He had played 267 NHL games, but never could have been considered "full time". So he signed to play in Switzerland. There, he was able to play the game he loved, professionally. He was a star of that league, so I don't doubt it was fun and I'm sure he made very good money - well into the six digits. He met a woman there, fell in love, married her, had two children, gained a Swiss passport and played for the Swiss at the Olympics.


Ben Bishop signed for two years, as you know, but I was shocked at the price tag. That $11.9 million was a huge statement and it's paying him based on one massive year. That being said, if I was his agent I would have been angling for term over annual amount. As in - $16 million over four years. Get the security for the added $4 million now, and give up potentially two years of better earnings. Because if Bishop implodes, the Lightning are only on the hook for one more year. But under my contract suggestion they would be on the hook for three more years - thereby increasing how many chances he gets to put things back on track and carve out an NHL career.

More agents need think this way - long-term certainty over short-term big bucks. They also (and when I say "they" I actually mean "some") need to do a better job of finding a fit for their player. Right now, Carolina is short a winger. So why did Peter Mueller sign with St. Louis? The Blues already had two or three wingers too many.


Arizona/Phoenix season in 60 seconds (including Mike Smith's empty-net goal):



Remember the constant "Mike Smith has more goals than Claude Giroux" jokes?



#7 habs83 2014-08-05 11:43
@rataylor... totally wrong there, Subban filed for arbitration!!
#6 rataylor22 2014-08-05 10:32
@Habs MTL elected for arbitration, not Subban. Granted their motivations for choosing arbitration extend past wanting to go to a trial, but there is team-elected and player-elected arbitration and this was the former. It might not have been their "preferred option", but they are the ones that wanted it or they wouldn't have elected it.
#5 Dobber 2014-08-04 11:36
@gfunk - The signing was a win-win I agree, I was just offering up an alternative that would have been better for Bishop. And maybe the agent did push for that, I have no idea. But I'm a closer - I get it done. So if 4 years and $16 million didn't do it, then I would try $15 million. Or I would try 5 years and $17.

One exception I do make with your comment is your definition of a 'bridge' contract. It bridges you to the big one...but generally it's for small dollars, bridging you to big dollars. Bishop's contract was hardly small dollars.
#4 Rodgort 2014-08-04 10:50
I think the agents want the short term big $money$ so then when a new contract is up they can get more $ on the next one. Instead of the player getting security the agent gets a bigger house
#3 habs83 2014-08-04 09:27
I don't understand why everybody seems to think that it is the Habs that wanted to go to arbitration... maybe that this deal is on the table since Day 1. Meehan is a tough negociator, and maybe he told P.K. : "Listen, we have that deal that is waiting for you, but if we put a bit of pressure on them, we might end up with 4 to 8 more millions over those 8 years... Maybe that he achieved that, if the initial offer was at 8.5 AAV.

What I try to say is that we just don't know what was said and done during the process. Everything is settled now, so this Habs fan is pretty happy.
#2 Teh Doktor 2014-08-04 08:27
In regards to your comment about Subban signing...
+1 #1 gfunkb7 2014-08-04 08:24
What makes you think the agent did not offer that four year term you're suggesting to the Tampa Bay Lighting, whom rejected it, knowing Bishop has only year under his belt? The "bridge" contract is exactly that; prove me you're not a one-two year wonder, and I'll pay up the big bucks LONG TERM for you.

Win-win signing IMO.

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