The Preds claimed winger Brandon Yip off of waivers from Colorado. After a promising stretch of play two years ago, he's been a disappointment for the Avs. Yip couldn't beat out the likes of Kobasew, Porter, and Van Der Gulik for ice time.

 

He now becomes one of many third/fourth line wingers in Nashville. I wouldn't say this changes his fantasy value at all. Perhaps a short-term boost if the team wants to see if he can play a scoring role for them. A low risk move for the Preds.

 

As per Dobber's tweet today - Kyle Palmieri has 36 goals in his last 37 AHL games. Wow.

 

How about them apples? Peter Mueller had two goals and a helper last night - he also had five shots on goal, in just under 20 minutes of ice time. GREAT to see. He is a fantastic offensive talent. Glad I have three IR spots in one of my leagues, he's been camping out there for a long, long time.

 

Not a great night for Mike Smith - the red hot Ducks thrashed him for six goals on only 21 shots. Multi-point games of note - Visnovsky, Bonino, Cogliano, Jason Blake (hot streak starting?), and Beauchemin (two goals and a helper).

 

Dobber's Midseason Guide was released January 6 and then an addendum was added Friday the 13th, get it here.  Prospects, second-half projections, the trading block – and so much more.

 

When do the panic moves start in Buffalo? Jhonas Enroth got the start last night, and was shelled for six goals.

 

Toews scored his 25th and 26th goals of the season – more than making up for Pat Kane’s shortcomings in the scoring department.

 

Pominville scored the only two Buffalo goals – he and Vanek are the only two Sabres really doing anything over the past while. So much talent, so little to show for it.

 

Rookie Jimmy Hayes continues his strong play – two points in less than 10 minutes of ice time. Really good skater for someone his size (6’5”).

 

Rookie Andrew Shaw also had two points, but he played over 20 minutes (including almost four on the PP). Talk about seizing the opportunity… Huge short-term buy recommendation.

 

Shaw had 54 points and 135 PIM last year in the OHL, and scored 12 goals in only 33 AHL games this season before getting the call up.

 

Michal Neuvrith had a great game, stopping all 31 shots he faced. A rare start for him as the Caps wanted to give the red hot Vokoun a rest. Vokoun is a notorious second half monster too… Neuvirth will likely go back to waiting around for another start.

 

Mathieu Perreault scored for the Caps last night – he played about six minutes. Seems right.

 

It probably won’t happen for a few years, but John Carlson could make his way into darkhorse Norris talk if the Caps make a run down the stretch. He plays tough minutes every game and makes few mistakes, while contributing offensively as well (on pace for 10 goals, 40+ points).

 

Should Cody Hodgson be playing more?

 

“Despite Hodgson's power-play proficiency, when Sami Salo went down with a concussion, Vigneault elevated Alex Burrows - who has never been a power-play producer really - to the first unit. Burrows has manned the right point despite being a left-handed shooter, more well known for potting garbage goals than the velocity on his slap-shot.”

 

Harrison Mooney from Puck Daddy takes a look at Matt Martin’s hit-tastic season right here.

 

“Martin has been the NHL's hits leader since November, and presently leads the league with 192. That's 20 more than Clutterbuck and 30 more than regular runner-up Dustin Brown.


 

He looks poised to dethrone Clutterbuck as hitting champion for the first time since the Wild winger came into the league, but more importantly, he's currently on pace for 358 hits, two more than the record.


 

Oh man, can he top it?


 

Don't think Martin is just running around making hits, by the way. He's developed into a real heart and soul guy for the Islanders. In addition to the frequency with which he steps into his opponents, he's also stepped into a third line role for New York.”


 

I am a big fan of the hit statistic. It has its limits (subjectivity from rink to rink is quite large), but at least it is consistently measuring a positive statistic, unlike PIM. I’d rather reward a player for throwing two hits than for taking a lazy hooking penalty and being “rewarded” two PIM.

 

Brian Elliott signed a two-year extension yesterday. Great news for Elliott owners, expected news for Halak owners, and not-so-great news for Jake Allen or Ben Bishop owners. Elliott is performing well above his career baseline this season, but the deal is hardly a risk (cap hit is less than $2 million per).

 

Taylor Hall won’t play tonight after the skate-to-the-face incident from the pregame on Tuesday night. Scary situation, and I can’t imagine how bad ass the scar will be (30 stitches were needed to close it).

 

Sounds like Kris Letang may play tonight. Great news for Pens fans and poolies everywhere.

 

 

Alex Pietrangelo has points in seven straight games. He really is the total package – big, rangy, mobile, skilled, and confident. Reminds me a bit of a less physical Pronger. He’s going to be one of the best defensemen in the league over the next decade. The Blues certainly kept the right defenseman (compared to Erik Johnson, although it is still too early to make a 100% definitive call).

 

Brad Marchand will be back tonight after serving his five game suspension.

 

The ‘Canes have recalled Zac Dalpe. He hasn’t done much this season, especially compared to some lofty expectations (from people like myself and Dobber, as well). His long-term value is still high, but he wasn’t as ready as I thought he was this season.

 

Carolina and Florida swapped four minor prospects. Only one real name of note – Evgeni Dadonov to Carolina from Florida. He was a victim of the numbers game (and of not playing well) for the Panthers, and likely asked for a fresh start and a chance to play in the NHL.

 

“The Chelyabinsk, Russia, native has earned nine points (5 goals, 4 assists) in 20 games with the Panthers’ American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the San Antonio Rampage.

 

Drafted by the Panthers in the third round, 71st overall, in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, Dadonov has skated in 55 career NHL games for Florida, totaling 10 goals, 10 assists (20 points) and 16 penalty minutes. He established career highs in NHL games played (36), goals (8), assists (9) and points (17) in 2010-11, and represented Florida at the 2011 NHL All-Star Game in Raleigh as one of 12 rookies selected to participate.”

 

The Canucks have unsurprisingly recalled defenseman Chris Tanev. Tanev has been excelling in the AHL lately and is a huge upgrade in the mix on Andrew Alberts or Alex Sulzer.

 

Sami Salo is getting close to returning, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see the team keep him off the ice until after the All-Star Break. The PP unit is really missing him – Alex Burrows has moved up to play the point, and teams obviously don’t respect his shot nearly as much as Salo’s.

 

The reason Burrows is playing PP1 is that it allows David Booth onto PP2, along with Hodgson, Higgins, and Bieksa/Hamhuis on the back end.

 

All but confirmed – Toronto @ Detroit for the Winter Classic next year.

 

I’m stealing this from someone on Twitter, and I don’t remember who wrote it.

 

“The Avalanche are receiving great goaltending from JS Giguere recently, and it didn’t cost them a 1st or 2nd round pick, either.”


 

The Weber/Suter debate will continue to rage on until something happens with either/both of them. Here is some more reading material. Who is more important, Suter or Weber?

 

“It’s generally assumed that, if General Manager David Poile can’t agree to terms with Suter (an unrestricted free agent on July 1) by February 27, the Preds should trade him and get a huge return. But Suter is a rental. What could Poile really get out of him? A lot, sure, but a goal scorer who’s locked up long term? Probably not. And if not the goal scorer, are you really addressing a need? Furthermore, teams that are “sellers” will have no interest in Suter seeing as how he’s just a rental. Thus, Poile can strike Columbus, Anaheim, Edmonton, the Islanders, Carolina, Montreal, Buffalo and Tampa off his list of potential trade partners before he even makes a phone call. That doesn’t leave a whole lot of meat on the bone.


 

But what if he moved Weber? He’s a restricted free agent this summer, which means he’s more than likely locked up for next season (pending an offer sheet from another team, which is rare) and he’s the blueliner with all the awards and accolades. Short and sweet? Weber’s the big name in Music City, not Suter. Therefore, Weber would bring an even bigger return. A king’s ransom, if you will.


 

Obviously it’s a tremendously delicate situation. If you’re Poile and you trade Suter, you’ve not only broken up the best defensive pairing in hockey but you’re going into the postseason (you hope) with a superstar defenseman who has yet to prove that he can be dominant without a top-notch partner. And, if you trade Weber, you’ve still broken up the best defensive pairing in hockey and you’ve traded away the face of your franchise. But, if you keep both (without re-signing them), you give your hockey team the best chance to win now but possibly sacrifice long term success by watching them walk away for nothing.”

 

I see about 10 Preds games a year. If I had to pick one from scratch, all things being equal, it would be Weber. However, polling several of my Preds friends and followers, and I discovered the answers were more split (and may have even favored Suter a bit).

 

Ideally, the team keeps both, but with cap/budget constraints, as well as three blue chip prospects in the pipeline…. Perhaps moving one of them for some offensive help may be the best long term move.

 

I wrote a piece a few months ago on the unpredictability of drafting goaltenders. Michael Farber from Sports Illustrated tackles the same subject here. From the same article, but a different subject, is this really interesting excerpt:

 

Alexander Ovechkin swerves inside the Predators' defense early in the third period of a scoreless game, freeing himself for a 25-foot snap shot from the edge of the left face-off circle. With the puck and maybe the game on his stick, the Capitals' winger, with time to pick a spot, violates the third rule of sport: Rule 1: Do not pitch to Albert Pujols with an open base; Rule 2: Do not try to fathom Tim Tebow's mojo; and Rule 3: Do not test Pekka Rinne's glove. Ovechkin's snapper disappears into Rinne's oversized mitt.


 

"The only [athlete] with a better glove," Nashville assistant G.M. Paul Fenton says, "was Brooks Robinson."


 

Rinne's white Reebok trapper is a repository of broken dreams. His glove saves are pure, untainted by any Patrick Roy posing for the cameras. They are models of efficiency, even if an overreliance on his glove implies an abiding, and maybe excessive, pride.


 

Rinne instinctually tries to catch everything. He often scoops pucks like grounders instead of knocking them to the corner with his stick and reaches across his body for a glove save when he could simply fend off the puck with his blocker. Predators goalie coach Mitch Korn shrugs.


"When someone can do something really, really special," he asks, "why would you try to coach him out of it?"


 

Korn tracks goalie touches, and he says the Predators retain possession 88% of the time when Rinne handles the puck. Although Korn concedes there are no objective standards for his homemade stat, he adds, "If a forward or defenseman kept possession 88 percent of the time, he'd be a superstar." When Rinne flew across the crease to foil the Canucks' Kevin Bieksa in overtime of the second game of their playoff series last spring, which Nashville would ultimately win 2--1, coach Barry Trotz suggested NFL Films set the save to music.”


 

An interesting read on some notable NHL rookies – with a focus on difficulty of ice time.

 

“Mike Yeo, head coach of the Minnesota Wild, appears to have a lot of faith in Nick Johnson, a player the team picked up on waivers before the season. Not only is he playing, by far, the toughest minutes of any of the top rookies in the NHL (he's currently 11th among rookie scorers) his Qual Comp is the highest of any forward on the Wild roster. Perhaps that faith shouldn't be much of a surprise given the connections both have to the Pittsburgh organization (Johnson was drafted by the Penguins, while Yeo was a former assistant).



Of course, age once again needs to be taken into account. While Johnson is playing tougher minutes than all of these other rookies, he's also by far the oldest player on the chart having already turned 26 back in December. A 26-year-old rookie and an 18-year-old rookie aren't exactly the same thing.


Taking into account performance, assignments and age I'd still choose Henrique as the top rookie in the NHL this season (so far), with Nugent-Hopkins, Read and Craig Smith coming in just behind.”

 

Rene Bourque answers the bell after the elbow to Backstrom earlier in the season, and he does pretty well for himself:

 


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Comments (12)add comment

mike hess said:

SharkMeat
Sports Illustrated Thanks for sharing this article good read...your posts always offer thoughtful ideas to consider...
January 19, 2012
Votes: +0

Username said:

January 19, 2012
Votes: +0

notoriousjim said:

notoriousjim
... hits are not the best stat, but none of the stats used to put a number on grit are very good. PIM can be won and lost based on a rookie being a bonehead, They can actually hurt their NHL team. So there is a push to go to another stat. That leaves 2 biggies of HITs and fighting majors. since there is a real decrease in goons, fighting majors have gone down, and while they subjectivly can help a team, isn;t a solid check better than a fight.

I agree that hits add no value to guys who are super stars, and that is not a good thing, PIM were never a big stat for almost all of those guys to start with. Kessel, Spezza, ect do not get called too often since they do not do too many risky behaviors that result in big hits or penalties. So going with PIM or HITS really does not effect all that many star players so long as you were going to use one or the other.

The big shift in value is from goons (in PIM) to checking 3rd liners (hits). I would much rather have Martin, Clutterbuck, brown or one of the other big time hitters on my NHL team than Zenon, Rinaldo or one of the other PIM guys. They are just capable of doing more on the ice, and not just going out there a few minutes to puff out their chest and try to pick a fight.
January 19, 2012
Votes: +0

sentium said:

Dakkster
... noglovenolove: Ummm, you haven't noticed loads of guys doing that until now?
January 19, 2012
Votes: +0

Jeff Angus said:

angus
... Pengwin,

Logical point. Thanks for explaining your stance.
January 19, 2012
Votes: +0

Lukas Polak said:

LuckyLuke
Palmieri Palmieri's numbers are really impressive. Any idea why Ducks don't give him any chance? Not considering few last games their offense was atrocious all season long. They lack scoring depth but still gave Palmieri around 10 minutes of ice time when he was up. Is there some coach/management issue i don't know? Hope he gets traded soon somewhere, where he'll get an opportunity.
January 19, 2012
Votes: -1

noglovenolove said:

noglovenolove
Bourque He was wearing a visor. When did it become ok for guys to fight with visors on?
January 19, 2012
Votes: +0

Pengwin7 said:

Pengwin7
Great rambling (but a "big fan" of Hits?...) Very nice rambling - enormous amount of great information.
I could throw you the 99 compliments you deserve or just choose to nit-pick one item.

First off - Matt Martin! Windsor, Ontario! (hometown boy!!!)
I own Martin in 3/6 pools I'm doing this year. Statistically he's very helpful with a reasonable amount of SOG and solid PIM (better than Haley, eh!). The HITS are the kicker. It makes him a must-own in all HITS leagues.

Not a big deal... but I don't know if anybody should be a big fan of hits. Yes, it's a more-positive statistic than PIM - but is it really "positive" in general? Nicklas Lidstrom has been the best defenseman in the game for years-and-years and is credited with very few hits. A hockey pool including hits significantly brings down the value of true-superstars such as Marty St.Louis & Henrik Sedin. Are these guys any less valuable because they don't hit? I, personally, don't think their real NHL-value is higher if they start hitting - so how can it be a truly positive statistic?

Hockey is all about winning & scoring more goals. This is all reflected in a player's plus/minus (especially relative to their teammates). A player can do whatever he wants on the ice, Hits/Takeaways/Giveaways/FOWvFOL... I don't give a flying foo about these statistics because the impact of all the little things a player does on the ice will show up in their PLUS/MINUS. I mean... everything a player does on the ice should give them a better shot at being a PLUS and avoid being a MINUS.

Personally, I don't think anybody should be a "big fan" of hits. Most of the time the player being hit has already moved the puck and the hit itself takes the hitter out of the play for an extra second-or-two. Realistically, hitting is exciting/intimidating and selling tickets is still part of overall real-NHL player-value.

As a real-NHL statistic, I think it's just one more statistic to discuss.
And I'd bet if you look at the top 10 hitters in the NHL each year - you'll probably find a lot of MINUS players - just a hunch. (I haven't checked).

Maybe I'm wrong.
January 19, 2012
Votes: +0

littleranger said:

January 19, 2012
Votes: +0

Martin said:

mapletreemarty
Welcome back Peter Mueller!!! 2 goals 1 assist last night. He is looking 100 times better than he did in October, and he says he feels great and he is getting stronger and better with every game. Great to see!
January 19, 2012
Votes: +1

Jim Phair said:

spkrz
insertion: Burrows over Hodgson top of paragraph three should read:

"...positive correlations between points toice time and shot totals?"
January 19, 2012
Votes: +0

Jim Phair said:

spkrz
Burrows over Hodgson - hands down First, seeing a lot of statistical analysis getting chucked around in fantasy hockey - specifically on this site and links from it - right now. And why not? Math is powerful as hell (remember that kids!). Moneyball evidently made it even hotter and it all goes hand in hand with all the ground-breaking hockey analytics talk in fantasy circles before the season began.

Now, I did my degree in Mathematics and have used my own combinations of stats and feel in my pool for years (doing just fine thank you) and so I'm all for the promotion of math in any way. However, part of the beauty for hockey, in my mind anyway, is that it seems to be the one major North American sport that actually minimizes stats and its application to what matters most to an NHL team: W's.

In fantasy hockey? Apply away...positive correlations between ice time and shot totals? Well, yeah...no doubt. Actually crunching the numbers to approximate (yes) what those correlations might be? Absolutely. Go to town. But NHL hockey is loaded with intangibles that play a HUGE role in producing, again, the W's. Anyone else think Canadian 'Heart' in terms of hockey is real? Thought so.

Burrows: This season is on pace for 35 goals in a full 82 game slate. His past three seasons are 26, 35, and 28. With everything Burrows does for the Canucks and for how long he's been doing it (signing for less ring a bell?), I say he deserves every bit of ice-time and opportunity he gets - and more! So if there's an opening on the power play (and I would prefer him not on the point), then how can there be any doubt that he's the guy to get it?

"...Alex Burrows - who has never been a power-play producer really..." Oh come on. Of course one can't be a power-play producer when one doesn't play the power play in the first place. All this sounds like a bit of fantasy self-serving nonsense to plug Hodgson over Burrows. I expected better than this...
January 19, 2012
Votes: +1
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