boedker

 

Let’s revisit the end of the 2004 campaign, which was the year before the lock-out. The Blackhawks, Capitals, and Penguins finished the year ranked 28th, 29th and 30th respectively. The Blue Jackets finished 27th followed by the Coyotes at 26th, so to make things a bit easier let’s just say they were essentially in the same boat four seasons ago. Following that campaign and a few subsequent years, the Capitals revamped with Alex Ovechkin and Niklas Backstrom. The Penguins revamped with Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby, and Jordan Staal. The Blackhawks followed a similar path and picked up a few studs in Cam Barker, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. The Blue Jackets added Derrick Brassard and Jakub Voracek, while the Coyotes haven’t been too bad as they followed suit by drafting a few doozies in Kyle Turris, Mikkel Boedker, and Peter Mueller. So the main question on my mind is - why has Washington, Chicago, Pittsburgh and  Columbus essentially improved themselves into Stanley Cup contending/winning franchises, while Phoenix is still floundering?

 

More importantly, why have the stars on the other teams become such huge fantasy studs, while the young pups in Phoenix are still struggling to register a blip on the fantasy radar?

 

My initial thoughts were that maybe it could be related to the head coaching position. Washington went through Glen Hanlon before changing to Bruce Boudreau. The Penguins went through Michel Therrien before changing direction with Dan Bylsma. Chicago went through Denis Savard before leaning on Joel Quenneville on their post-season run this past year, while the Blue Jackets went through the same with Gerald Gallant to a more defensive-minded Ken Hitchcock. Only the Coyotes have kept one head coach since 2005. Could this be one of the reasons why the Coyotes are still struggling, while the others are flourishing?

 

Let's delve a little deeper because there has to be more to it than a simple head coaching change. We'll compare the ice-time of all of the star players mentioned above in their first four years in the NHL.


Washington

Name

Rookie

Sophomore

Third Year

Fourth Year

Ovechkin

21:37

21:18

23:07

22:59

Backstrom

19:00

19:57

 

 


Pittsburgh

Name

Rookie

Sophomore

Third Year

Fourth Year

Crosby

20:08

20:46

20:51

21:57

Malkin

19:10

21:19

22:31

 

Staal

14:56

18:16

19:51

 


Chicago

Name

Rookie

Sophomore

Third Year

Fourth Year

Toews

18:40

18:38

 

 

Kane

18:22

18:39

 

 

Barker

11:02

19:19

17:12

18:21



Columbus

Name

Rookie

Sophomore

Third Year

Fourth Year

Brassard

9:03

14:25

 

 

Voracek

12:40

 

 

 

Filatov

8:08

 

 

 

Nash

13:57

17:38

18:16

19:12


Phoenix

Name

Rookie

Sophomore

Third Year

Fourth Year

Mueller

17:16

16:05

 

 

Turris

12:55

 

 

 

Boedker

15:32

 

 

 

 

Pretty much all of the teams mentioned above, with the exception of the Coyotes and Blue Jackets, played the s#!t out of their young kids when they deemed them to be ready for the NHL. All of those star players essentially were given over 18 minutes of ice-time per game, and more importantly more offensive responsibilities on their respective clubs. They were allowed to flourish, and when they did so did their team. Phoenix bucked the trend by not only reducing the ice-time of their young budding stars, but added more “veteran” players to take vital developmental ice-time away from the youngsters. Could this be another reason why they’re floundering and the rest are flourishing?

 

If you look at a team from a statistical point of view, they basically have roughly 300 minutes of ice-time to divvy up, minus a few minutes for penalties, amongst themselves. If you want to break down the Coyotes’ situation a bit further, it might look something like this. Chalk up 22 minutes for both Ed Jovanovski, and Zbynek Michalek, 18 minutes for both Adrian Aucoin and Jim Vandermeer, 16 minutes for Keith Yandle, 20 minutes for both Shane Doan and Matthew Lombardi, and 17 minutes each for Scottie Upshall and Radim Vrbata. That’s 130 minutes (give or take) left to divvy up between Mueller, Turris, Boedker, Viktor Tikhonov, Petr Prucha Martin Hanzal, Vernon Fiddler, Lauri Korpikoski, and one last blue-liner. You don’t need a math genius to tell you that someone’s going to get shafted in Phoenix. I’m not saying the players above don’t have untapped potential, but the environment in which these players play in isn’t conducive to allowing them to flourish.

 

A lot of people have been asking on the forums and the comments section - what’s Mueller’s point projection for this year? Or another popular one that I’ve read is: Was last season just a sophomore slump or is that what we can expect from Mueller from now on? I’ve read a few very optimistic opinions that mention he’s due for a big rebound this year, but I just want to give you a heads up warning ahead of time. Kane picked up 70 points last season, while averaging 18:37 in overall ice-time and 4:10 on the power-play each contest. Mueller averaged 16:05 per contest on the season, but dropped down to 13:17 in March, when the Coyotes acquired Lombardi, Upshall, and Prucha. Throw in Fiddler, Vrbata and Korpikoski, and now ask yourself honestly will Mueller get enough ice-time to really have 80 point potential in him if he keeps status quo this season? I’m not saying it’s going to be impossible, but he’s going to need a few lucky bounces to go his way in order to achieve that feat. Dobber has him ranked as a 30th right wing and 43rd ranked center in the pre-season draft list, which is probably right around where he should be, so my suggestion is don’t overpay for his hype.

 

I completely agree with Dobber in Sunday's article regarding, “Peter Mueller, Kyle Turris, Mikkel Boedker, Martin Hanzal, Viktor Tikhonov, Keith Yandle – All six youngsters have similar experience and have loads of untapped potential.” But the only way that they’re going to reach that potential is if those kids get the vital development time plus the added offensive responsibility for them to flourish. If they continue to be forced to play second fiddle to newcomers, they’ll never reach the plateau that all of us fantasy pundits expect them to reach. If Chicago, Pittsburgh, Washington and Columbus have all proven that the rebuilding formula works, why not follow suit and see what happens, it’s certainly not going to be any worst than their current situation.


Questions or comments? Like always I’ll be ready and willing to discuss them in the comments section below.

 


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Comments (17)add comment

rattus rattus said:

rattus rattus
... Using terms like "shockingly dumb" kind of gets in the way of any analysis, but Haynes does have a point. .........................

Any sophistry about teams using 5F and 0D ignores the reality that games are pretty much played at 3F and 2D aside from penalty situations.
Since almost all the young studs noted above are F, it might make for a more succinct analysis to write off the 120 minutes played by the D and examine only the 180 minutes played by the forwards. ..........................

Furthermore, it should be possible also to figure out how many minutes on average a team plays shorthanded/game and subtract that from the 180 to give you a real total for F "time-played" (it is almost always a F who is not on the ice on a penalty kill). Each F's time should note in parentheses how many minutes, on average, of their average total do they spend on the PK. ........ THEN you could look at the full-strength and PK minutes for each player and make a more objective comparison/analysis.
August 11, 2009
Votes: +1

Gotlaid said:

Maaaasquito
... RE: Kevinsrangers

I totally agree with you about playing time based on merit, but the teams that succeeded were giving their players fairly long leashes, where they were able to develop and flourish. Kane and Toews didn't even get that much time, only 18 minutes per game... Mueller averaged 17 minutes and ended up with 54 points in his rookie year, they started him off with the right formula, but ended up dropping the ball when they dropped him to 13 and 14 late into last season. That should have been the time to clear out all the old vets and give a gigantic leash for the young kids to play to their hearts content.
August 05, 2009
Votes: +0

Gotlaid said:

Maaaasquito
... RE: STL and LA

St. Louis

Oshie 16:35
Berglund 14:43
Perron 12:33, 14:32

But to be honest I don't know if the Blues are a legitimate contender. I personally thought that they got hot at the end of the season due to Mason playings lights out rather than their 19th ranked offense getting them into the playoffs.

LA
Kopitar 20:32, 20:40, 20:27
Brown 10:29, 13:59, 18:43, 20:16, 19:24
Frolov 14:23, 17:13, 19:18, 19:56, 18:48, 19:55

LA follows the same trend by playing Kopitar and Brown big minutes the last few years, and they've improved quite a bit as well. Not to the extent as the big 4, but they're getting there and Dobber has them pegged as the big improvement team for this year.


August 05, 2009
Votes: +0

Gotlaid said:

Maaaasquito
... RE: LetsgoCanes

It's great that you made an inter-sport comparision. I basically just wanted to demonstrate, hey Pittsburgh, Washington, Chicago, Columbus and Phoenix were all in the same boat 4 years ago, why has Pittsburgh won a Stanley Cup, Washington/Chicago getting pretty deep into the playoffs and the Jackets cracking the playoffs, but Phoenix is still struggling amongst the bottom 3rd of the NHL. I just wanted to write about the forumla working for 4 other teams, why are you trying to be different?
August 05, 2009
Votes: +0

Gotlaid said:

Maaaasquito
... RE: Lame Math

It's actually not lame math but completely logical. Yes defensemen and forwards are different players, but at the end of the day 300 minutes is the maximum a team is going to get END OF STORY. How they split that 300 minutes is completely up to them, they could use 4 forwards and 1 D, or they can use 5 forwards and 0 D, or they can go the traditional route and go 3 forwards and 2 D. So yes if a defensive player is picking up 22 minutes of ice-time that's on a whole chewing into the 300 that's available for everyone else. Mueller might still get 20 minutes, but that means that someone else is getting shafted somewhere else.

As for Upshall and Vrbata, you can't call that logic dumb without looking at the numbers. Upshall averaged 18:35 last season in Phx. Mueller averaged 16:04 on the season, but just 13:17 and 14:12 in March and April respectively. Turris averaged 12:55 on the season and 14:30 and 14:23 in March and April respectively. I'm not saying that's what they're going to repeat that this year, but just looking at the past, if they've given Upshall big minutes before you can't assume that they won't do it again this year, and that Mueller and Turris will automatically be given the ice-time ahead of Upshall and Vrbata.

As for Vrbata, his salary will instantly give him additional responsibility. Face it do you think the Coyotes would go to such length, by dealing Hale and Fedoruk and taking on Vrbata's $3 mill salary, especially when they are already in financial trouble, to sit him in bottom six and give him less than 15 minutes of ice-time? I don't think so.

I think you have to head into the season thinking what Notch said, that he's a good buy-low candidate for the future, and not to expect too much from him. I just see a lot of projections saying 75-80, and I'm like if Kane can't do it what makes you think that Muelle can on a jam-packed Coyotes team.
August 05, 2009
Votes: +0

RYENFORCERS said:

RYENFORCERS
... It all comes down to talent level. AO/Semin/Green, Crosby/Malkin/Fluery are above the potential of the Phoenix players. Phoenix always had nice high first rounders, but never were able to get a Tavaras, AO, Crosby, Malkin type of player with the picks they had. Turris, the highest pick still needs time to develop. Most players do with the exceptions of the top draft picks (Kane, Crosby, AO). For who they picked when they picked, there would be no reason to expect success at this point. However, the next three years are critical for Phoenix as their players approach the traditional 4 year break out marks.
August 04, 2009
Votes: +0

kevinsrangers said:

kevinsrangers
... ive been hoping for mueller to be a stud for a while but im convinced maybe hes just not as good as backstrom,crosby,ovi, stall ,etc. you have to earn your minutes and it comes from making the most of the minutes you get.
August 04, 2009
Votes: +0

Ron` said:

Ron`
... I'd like to see St. Louis charted with these teams along with LA. Might provide some further insight....
August 04, 2009
Votes: +1

Haynes said:

Haynes
Lame Math There is some very bad logic being used in this article. I'm referring to the 300 min logic where you seem to suggest that the defensemen on Phoenix's roster are somehow going to eat up the minutes that the youngsters would normally get. Newsflash - they play different positions. If Jovo's playing 22+ min a night it's not coming out of Mueller or Turris' ice time, it's coming out of Michalek or Yandle's.

To then suggest that Vrbata and Upshall would be getting big minutes before Mueller and Turris is shockingly dumb. This math-based logic is so bad that I can only hope someone reading this doesn't actually give it any credibility.
August 04, 2009
Votes: -1

John Ferguson Jr said:

John Ferguson Jr
... i'm not convinced Phoenix is that "next" juggernaut.
their 'youth' isn't in the same class as the teams mentioned above....in my humble opinion of course.
smilies/grin.gif
August 04, 2009
Votes: +0

LetsGoCanes said:

LetsGoCanes
Great analysis.... I don't want to shortchange this article as I think it makes some great points and supports them well but it's really simplistic analysis that an intern could do for an NHL club. Baseball has statistics coming out the rear end yet it took baseball execs FOREVER to use statistical analysis to improve their clus. It appears hockey management and coaching, at least in CLB and PHO, are where baseball was prior to the Money Ball era.

We're all starved for relevant hockey info this time of year so keep up the great work, Dobber and 'staff!'
August 04, 2009
Votes: +0

chimp82x said:

chimp82x
... As much as I'd like to own some of the Coyote kids, I think I'd kill myself with frustration. Same deal with Filatov and Rads (pre-KHL). Maybe these teams want to tank for another season so they can draft even more blue-chip prospects.
August 04, 2009
Votes: +0

SeaDawg said:

SeaDawg
... Who wrote this article? Under the title it says, "Written by Dobber", but this line confused me:

"Dobber has him ranked as a 30th right wing and 43rd ranked center in the pre-season draft list, which is probably right around where he should be, so my suggestion is don’t overpay for his hype."

No matter who wrote it, it is a great article.
August 04, 2009
Votes: +0

cylee88 said:

cylee88
... Great article which to me reemphasizes what Malcolm Gladwell was saying in his book "Outliers". He suggests that people only become 'experts' in their field if they put in at least 10,000 hrs of experience. He uses hockey players as an example, as the players that are good end up getting more playing time and because of more playing time, they continue to get better and become 'elite'. A compounding effect.
August 04, 2009
Votes: +0

smack1919 said:

smack
... Great stuff as it's pretty helpful.
Just a note you have the Pittsburg players twice under Pittsburgh and Chicago.
August 04, 2009
Votes: +0

spuzzumsrats said:

spuzzumsrats
... Pittsburgh's players are listed in chicago, just to let you know.
August 04, 2009
Votes: +0

notch4077 said:

notch4077
... Perfect. So you are saying Mueller will be a buy low candidate for another year. Sweet, gives me more time to try and get him before he becomes a superstar.

Good article BTW.
August 04, 2009
Votes: +0
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