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Another day and more doom and gloom regarding the lockout. I wouldn’t expect much positive news from either site until the September 15th date approaches.
That doesn’t stop us from updating the DobberHockey Fantasy Guide every few days, right up until puck drop. Pick the Guide up here.
I really enjoyed this piece from Michael Grange. He offers up his thoughts on how to bridge the gap between the NHL and NHLPA.
I agree with his first two points (contract two teams, get two more in Canada, and split revenues 50/50), but I don’t agree with a four-year contract limit length. Well worth the 10 minutes if you have the time to read it.
Grange’s point on contract limit length:
“ LIMIT PLAYER CONTRACTS TO FOUR YEARS:
Let's face it, deals that run for a decade or more are simply dumb because the teams are on the hook for all the risk. For starters, contracts can't be insured against injury for more than seven years, and the danger of performance drop-off is massive. I'm also of the belief that over time these deals will be bad for the players themselves. Sure, it's nice for Ilya Kovalchuk or Shea Weber to know that money will be rolling in until 2025 or '26, but what are the odds they won't otherwise be unhappy with their situation over the life of their deals? Weber is getting huge chunks of money up front, but at age 33, in his prime, he'll be earning $6 million (barring a rollback), or less than James Wisniewski will make this year. Human nature suggests that might rankle. Guys like raises. They like incentives. They need a sense of urgency. Something makes me think that as more players get halfway through their decade-plus deals, it'll be a huge challenge to keep complacency and staleness at bay.”
I covered the exact same issue in a column with Mike Colligan from last week.
“ANGUS: That is an excellent point. The big money is still there for these young players, but they don’t get it until later on if they start out with a club like Detroit or Pittsburgh.
Look at Jordan Eberle as an example. If he were on the Wings, the chances of him scoring 34 goals last season would be pretty low. Not to knock him as a player at all, but on Edmonton he received prime offensive minutes and little pressure to play well defensively (easy to do that on the worst club in the league). Eberle is going to command upwards of $6 million on his next deal, as will Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Nail Yakupov a few years later. Edmonton’s tanking strategy benefited them in the way of three or four elite young talents, but they won’t be able to afford them all, as they are already counted on to play significant roles for the NHL club.
The teams that draft well will get rewarded if they develop properly. Setting a limit on contract length won’t “level the playing field” any more than it already is. Your proposed solution of a limit on the amount a salary amount can change during the lifetime of a contract makes a lot of sense.”
Speaking of… should the Oilers sign their young guns now, or wait for a new CBA? There are a lot of variables (contract length, UFA age) which would change the negotiations significantly.
“There may also be a change in how UFA status is calculated and whether or not arbitration is available to restricted free agents. If team-friendly changes are put in place, that would have an enormous impact on the leverage of both players in negotiations. If the Oilers sign Hall and Eberle now, they may be forgoing a lot of incoming leverage.
They may also be paying much more for seasons on the assumption that they're paying for UFA years, only to have those season turn into RFA years in a new CBA. Is it reasonable for the Oilers to sign these players for more than four years in their agents insist on treating subsequent years as UFA seasons? I would suggest that it probably isn't. Of course, it's quite possible that the agents will not be so intransigent, and will be willing to compromise, perhaps treating five years as RFA seasons instead of four.”
A phenomenal read from NHL Numbers on a new competition metric developed, which takes away some of the things that the Corsi statistic misses out on.
Again, I know some don’t understand or care to understand advanced statistics, but the fantasy hockey relevance is huge. Being able to accurately evaluate and project past and future performance is much easier with these accurate measures, instead of going off “hunches” and “gut instincts,” and limited stats like plus/minus.
That being said, I still do rely on hunches, as I trust my judgement of players (by and large).
“Basically, what we're finding is that a team's best line tends to face opponents who get a lot of ice time, even if those opponents don't tend to outshoot their opponents. At first I'd assumed that was because of the interconnectedness of usage and results -- maybe the Sedins' opponents don't carry the play because they're always starting in the defensive zone against players like the Sedins.
But there was something nagging at me: the flip side of the equation. It's not too hard to imagine the Sedins facing opponents who play a lot of defensive minutes without winning the shot battle, but are James Wyman and Andreas Nodl really facing a bunch of opponents who don't get much ice time despite handily outshooting their opponents? That doesn't sound right; the leaderboard in Corsi Rel isn't exactly a list of bench-warmers.”
New Jersey forward David Clarkson played the postseason with a broken foot. Would explain is three goals in 24 playoff games, after a 30-goal regular season.
NHL.com looks at the top 10 prospects in Colorado. Four goaltenders make the list. The second prospect:
“Tyson Barrie, D: When the Avalanche let John-Michael Liles go to the Toronto Maple Leafs prior to the 2011-12 season, they did so with hopes a homegrown prospect could fill his skates.
Meet Barrie, the heir apparent to Liles and perhaps the best of a slew of defensive prospects coming through the Avalanche system. Undersized (5-foot-10, 190 pounds) but highly skilled, the Victoria, British Columbia, native could be the type of creative, puck-moving blueliner Colorado has been missing.”
Sticking with prospects – a profile of Anton Rodin, who checks in at number 12 on the CanucksArmy’s top 20 prospects.
“While Rodin appears at #12 on our consensus list, I had him ranked just outside of my personal top-5. Once you get past Jensen, Kassian and Schroeder - I'm not sure there's a more skilled prospect in the Canucks system. For what it's worth, Mike Gillis publicly agrees, he singled out Anton Rodin during his season ending press conference as among "the most dynamic, highly skilled players" in the Canucks prospect pool. Gillis then added that, "[Rodin] probably needs another year of development to get stronger."
Shutdown Line looks at Jiri Tlusty, who has gotten his career on track in Carolina.
“It may seem like Tlusty is older because he's been in the league for awhile but he only turned 24 in March and seems to have finally solidified himself as an NHL-er now. Unfortunately, he will likely be seen as a "draft bust" by the larger media because of his draft slot and the Leafs possibly rushing him into the NHL before he was ready.
Jim Rutherford decided to take a chance on Tlusty by trading Philippe Paradis to the Leafs for him and things seemed to have turned out well now. Tlusty had to work his way through the system and earn his ice-time with the Hurricanes but he appears to have earned a permanent spot on the team now and was a big part of the Canes first line last year.”
It will be interesting to see where Tlusty fits in – he is a versatile forward and the Hurricanes have added two very, very good forwards this summer. He could be anywhere from line one to line three.
Can Anaheim start the season with Bobby Ryan after what he said earlier this summer (paraphrasing… “I want out”). Ryan is a star forward and there is zero chance the Ducks would get fair value back for him. He’s signed to a cheap deal and he is a versatile player. I don’t see the upside in moving him, especially with Perry and Getzlaf needing new contracts pretty soon.
Some Ryan magic: