For a second consecutive game the Kings have won it in overtime. They now hold a commanding 2-0 lead over the Devils heading back to LA for games three and four on Monday and Wednesday night.

 

They’ve also now won 10 consecutive road contests, which is an unbelievable feat in this day and age.

 

According to whowins.com, the Kings have an 89.4 percent chance of winning the series. Give me the other 10.6 percent!   

Both goalies had pretty solid games (Martin Broduer .932 SP and Jon Quick .970 SP). It’s just that Quick gave up one less goal. This is going to be a tight series where each game could possibly come down to a single overtime goal.

 

How much has Jeff Carter and Mike Richards influenced this series? I don’t know the true reasons behind why Paul Holmgren moved both of those pieces from Philadelphia, but he’s got to be annoyed with the success that the duo is experiencing.

 

The one area that I thought would determine the series, special teams, is heavily leaning towards the Kings direction. The Devils are 0-6 on the PP, which is probably where the series is being lost. If even one of those PP opportunities were capitalized on, the series would have a completely different complexion.  

  

The NHL will set next year’s cap at $70.3 mil. I understand that the NHL were forced by the player’s union to have the player salaries match league revenue, but couldn’t they have slowly raised the cap or at least raised it in a pre-determined amount so it didn’t get this out of hand? They could have put that extra money into escrow and be given out to the players as “bonuses”. With the salary cap being raised to $70.3 mil next season, the cap has rose from $39 mil to $70.3 mil in a matter of only seven years, which has caused player salaries to spiral out of control. Imagine any other major corporation nearly doubling their employee salaries in seven years, how quickly would that company fold? I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see this unsustainable direction take a u-turn and we head towards another lockout bringing us back to square one again. Two steps forward, one step back.   

  

The Preds and Ryan Suter have “begun” contract talks. How hard can it possibly be? David Poille: “Okay, Ryan I would like you to write down on this sheet of paper, how much money do you want, and how long of a contract do you want it for.” Suter takes a few minutes to ponder his actions and replies “Here you go Dave.” Poille looks at the paper and replies “Ryan, there’s no way in our budget we can afford that number given our small market and our inability to generate high-end income.” Suter replies “But Detroit, Colorado, St. Louis, Winnipeg, Ottawa and Islanders can offer me something like that.” Poille replies, “Okay, looks like we’ll see you in another uniform next year then.” Suter quietly exits the room. Poille mutters to himself, “Time to see what type of low-end draft pick I can swindle from another team for his negotiation rights. Damn I should have went to Dobberhockey.com and listened to Ryan Ma…”

 

Ok I added that last part in, but you get my point. The Preds tried to swing for the fence, but struck out swinging (visit Dobberbaseball btw) and now will have to face the consequences for it. If Poille was given a “redo” I wonder what he would have done differently?

 

Last week, I brought up the concept of competition against the NBA. It’s interesting to see the top “non-home” viewership market for Game 1. Buffalo, Minnesota, Pittsburgh and Oklahoma City top the list.   

  

Tomas Holmstrom is also contemplating retirement after Nicklas Lidstrom’s announcement earlier in the week. It’s either the Wings or nothing he says.

 

There have been a lot of inklings about Detroit wanting to sign potential free agent Suter. I could potentially see that move really backfiring, and I’ll go out on a limb to say that the Red Wings will struggle offensively next season with Suter and without Lidstrom.

 

If you look at this season, the Red Wings were 46-20-4 (65.7 win percentage) with Lidstrom in the line-up and were just 2-8-2 when he wasn’t. Lidstrom didn’t particularly have a great offensive season, but for me his true value lies in his time spent on the ice where he’s chewing up the big minutes and creating plays. He’s the calming presence when they get into trouble and he’s the one that gets the puck out of their defensive zone and into the offensive zone. Lidstrom is the anchor and puck mover on the PP and also the link up player between the blue-line and the forwards. Suter doesn’t fit the bill of many of those qualities that Lidstrom leaves behind.

 

If you’ve followed my columns and forum posts in the past, then you’ve probably read about me and my thoughts about “stir stick” blue-liners. Mike Green, Duncan Keith, Shea Weber, Erik Karlsson, Dustin Byfuglien, Dan Boyle, Brian Campbell, Kris Letang, Marek Zidlicky and Lidstrom are “stir stick” blue-liners. They are the ones that create the offense and get it revving. Brent Seabrook, Dan Girardi, Ian White, Niklas Kronwall, Kevin Bieska and Suter are great support types, but I wouldn’t trust them to be a number one blue-liner to run a team.

 

If someone came up to me and said that Detroit would miss the playoffs next season, I wouldn’t be completely shocked by it.

Puck Daddy does an awesome job of listing Lidstrom’s career accomplishments.

 

 

 

 

54

 

 

If Doan were to retire as a Coyote, would you ever find something like this in Phoenix? I wonder how many people on Phoenix would even know who Doan is.

 

In a very quiet move, the Wild signed SEL goalie Johan Gustafsson to an entry level contract. He finished fourth amongst all SEL goalies in terms of SP with a .932 average as a 20-year old. He’ll probably stay another year in Sweden to refine his game, but if you are in a deeper keeper league with plenty of roster spots to stash players, keep an eye out for Gustafsson.

Last week I stated that I didn’t think that the Avs needed David Jones, but it appears that I was wrong. Adrian Dater pens that the Avs have had discussions with Jones’ agent for a new contract. I don’t see where he would fit into the Avs lineup, if they went after a “big fish” free agent like Alex Semin or Zach Parise, but maybe they have different plans.

 

There’s a bit of a hold up on Ryan Smyth’s contract status. Kukla’s Korner, thinks that the holdup is the money aspect. Remember the Oilers and Smyth was squabbling over $100k a few years ago, but this time around I think the margin is much larger and isn’t as favourable to Smyth’s side of things. There hasn’t been a lot of press about the numbers that the Oilers are offering, but I’ve been reading somewhere around the $2 to $2.5 mil mark but Smyth is wanting $3 mil. Copper N Blue did a pretty good write up a couple of weeks ago, and compared it to similar players around his age and point production and $2-2.5 mil seems pretty reasonable. So the big question is if you were in Steve Tambellini’s chair what would you offer? Keep in mind he’s a pretty good role model to show the young kids what it takes to be a heart and soul player of a team.  

        

Earlier this week there were rumors about Bob Hartley taking over the head coaching gig of the Canadiens, but it turned out that he’s taking over the Flames gig instead. Adam Proteau of THN, doesn’t think it’ll make much difference to an organization at a “competitive crossroad” and I concur. Another season of hanging on to aging assets (declining in value), and settling to finish out of the playoff picture is just prolonging the inevitable. The Oilers figured it out three seasons ago, how long will it take the Flames?

    

David Moulton thinks of an alternative to increase goal scoring in the NHL. I agree with him, having more offense and less time skating around waiting for the “right” opportunity certainly wouldn’t be a negative thing. Just one more goal per game would go a long way in increasing fan excitement and experience.

 

Biggest news at least on the fantasy front is Blues’ prospect Vladimir Tarasenko deciding to choose the NHL over the KHL. The big question is whether or not he’ll have success in the “Ken Hitchcock” system. Hitch hasn’t been kind to young Russians in the past (Nikita Filatov/Nikoali Zherdev), but Tarasenko should be a different kettle of fish.

Me playing Hitch.

 

Berglund- McDonald – Steen

Backes – Oshie – Perron

D’Agostini – Schwartz – Tarasenko

Sobotka – Crombeen – Reaves

Pietrangelo – Shattenkirk

Polak – Russell

Cole - ??

Halak

Elliott

 

I don’t really see a space or the need for St. Louis to re-sign RFA Chris Stewart. There’s no point sticking him on the third/fourth line and giving him just 12-13 minutes a game and expecting a miracle.

To me it would make more sense for the Blues to go after Suter. They have tons of cap space, a solid young developing forward line, an opening in on the blue-line, two solid goalies and Ken Hitchcock who employs a similar “defense first” game plan as Barry Trotz. AP and Shatty can take care of the “stir stick” stuff, while Suter supplements as the rock on the blue-line. Makes sense to me.  

  

I’m currently working on my Projections, Projections, We All Love Our Projections article for later this summer and there have been some interesting finds.

 

Just try to convince me that TOI, SOG and point production is not related.

 

Correlation Factors

Correlation

Forwards: TOI and Point Production

0.89

Forwards: SOG and Point Production

0.90

Defenseman: TOI and Point Production

0.90

Defenseman: SOG and Point Production

0.81

 

Best and worst second-half vs. first half forward producers disregarding major injuries.

 

Best Second-Half Forwards

Point Differential

Worst Second-Half Forwards

Point Differential

Teddy Purcell

+23

Daniel Sedin

-25

Eric Staal

+20

Kris Versteeg

-21

Evgeni Malkin

+19

Thomas Vanek

-19

Ilya Kovalchuk

+15

Ryan Smyth

-18

Gabriel Landeskog

+12

Zack Smith

-16

 

Notable most and least efficient forwards in terms point production compared to ice-time

 

Most Efficient Forwards

Seconds per Point

Least Efficient Forwards

Seconds per Point

Sidney Crosby***

659

Nino Niderreiter

33381

Evgeni Malkin

868

Magnus Paajarvi

4052

Claude Giroux

1070

Dustin Penner

3285

Jordan Eberle

1083

Sean Couturier

2419

Joffrey Lupul

1100

Patrik Berglund

2326

 

I’ll do a more in depth analysis of the numbers in the actual column itself, but it’s absolutely crazy the efficiency that Crosby operates at. Besides Malkin, it’s nearly twice as efficient as anyone else in the league!

Best and worst second-half vs. first half defensive producers disregarding major injuries.

 

Best Second-Half Defenseman

Point Differential

Worst Second-Half Defenseman

Point Differential

Alex Pietrangelo

+17

Brian Campbell

-13

Jeff Petry

+11

Dennis Wideman

-12

Sheldon Brookbank

+10

Jon Carlson

-12

Willie Mitchell

+10

Dion Phaneuf

-12

Jake Gardiner

+10

Shea Weber

-11

 

Best and worst second-half vs. first half goalies disregarding major injuries.

 

Best Second-Half Goalies

Win Differential

Worst Second-Half Goalies

Win Differential

Ryan Miller

+11

Jimmy Howard

-13

Devan Dubnyk

+10

Tomas Vokoun

-9

Jonas Hiller

+9

Jonas Gustavsson

-7

Evgeni Nabokov

+9

Brian Elliott

-7

Jaroslav Halak

+8

Jose Theodore

-6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More on this when the column comes out in July.

Should you be so inclined, follow me on Twitter if you think that my article/tweets are useful.

 

 

 


Write comment
Comments (20)add comment

shingy said:

shingy
Ryan Ma
I read an excellent piece you did a year or two ago and I've been really enjoying your work ever since. Bang on stuff that every fantasy hockey fan should be enjoying. If/when you start putting out more material (here or anywhere else), please let us know.

Thanks again.
June 04, 2012
Votes: +0

Ryan Ma said:

Maaaasquito
Flames Definitely UKFlames. 100% in agreeance with you...

The Flames gamble is much like the Suter gamble, thinking they can win the cup and just live off the winnings... However if things go pear shaped, like it did for the Flames and the Preds, then what happens?

Much like everyone else out there, we tend to have blinders on and think yeah keep this guy cause we have a real shot at winning, however they don't think of alternatives of what possibly can happen if things don't go right or what are the consequences...

Essentially Suter is going to walk for nothing, and the Pred will be lucky to squeeze a low end draft pick for "negotiating rights"... If they moved him at the deadline, what could they possibly have gotten? Same type of deal with Iggy and Kipper for the Flames.

Sure they can keep Iggy and Kipper and do "decent" this season, and perhaps even make the playoffs, but if they get ousted in the first round/second round what then? What if they continue to struggle and finish out of the playoffs again? Would there still be a market for Iggy at 35 anymore?

Don't get me wrong I'm just a big fan of hockey, so I'm in no place to be telling NHL GMs what to do, but sometimes you have to question what are they actually doing? If a regular joe like me can think of an alternative or consequence of their actions, surely the great hockey minds can too?
June 04, 2012
Votes: +0

Ryan Ma said:

Maaaasquito
Player Salaries Another note on the salary front, keep in mind 1% of league revenue is equivalent to about 33 mil if league revenues are $3.3 bil... So when it goes from 54% (originally) to 57%... you're talking about an extra $100 mil going to the players. What I'm questioning is why would the league would negotiate and allow such a high number to begin with. Everyone knows that the major sports, the closer to 50/50 it is the more sustainable it is. So I think the NHL itself did a couple of things wrong, which has resulted in player salaries escalating so quickly...

1) It tied player salaries to league revenues at an unsustainable amount 57%...
2) it allowed the cap to rise too quickly...

Don't get me wrong, it's not the players fault for getting paid what they're getting paid. It was mismanagement of the situation by the league.

Now that they've given players such a high amount 57%, I think it would be very hard for them to try to get it back especially with Fehr at the helm of the player's union.
June 03, 2012
Votes: +0

Ryan Ma said:

Maaaasquito
Rollie I 100% agree with you...

The salary cap was supposed to be the leveling factor for the NHL. To help keep Nashville, Phoenix, Colorado and Columbus in the mix with Toronto, Detroit, New York and Montreal.

However, the cap has risen so much that those small market, low budget teams are being priced out of the league. Nashville is going to lose Suter because they can't physically spend up to the cap while Detroit can.

So yes I 100% agree with you that it just perpetuates the problem of haves and have nots...

If the NHL went 2005-06: $39 mil 2006-07: $40.9 mil 2007-08: $43 mil 2008-09: $45.1 mil 2009-10: $47.4 mil 2010-11: $49.8 mil 2011-12: $52.2 then 2012-13: $54.9, which is a 5% rise every season, with the "excess funds" going into escrow and divvied out towards the players that would have kept player salaries in check... You wouldn't suddenly have such a large disparity between teams with money and can able to spend to the cap with teams that can't.

Cause at the end of the day 57% is unsustainable and we're most likely headed towards another lockout once again,,,
June 03, 2012
Votes: +0

UKflames said:

UKflames
Flames & Iggy Ryan I agree with everything you said below, the only problem was at the deadline they (the ownership, players etc)thought they could make it, then proceeded to suck the rest of the way. They preferred the status quo rather than the hard decisions and if they don't take that decision soon the could lose Iggy for nothing the same way that the leafs lost out with Sundin.
June 03, 2012
Votes: +0

Ryan Ma said:

Maaaasquito
Flames and Iggy I don't know the full story behind it...

But I thought they probably could have gotten a ton for him at the deadline that just passed. As Iggy ages now, his trade value is going to decline same with Kipper... The thing now is what can they actually get for him in his current form. If he has another lackluster year, his value will plummet even more at the deadline and the Flames might have missed the boat in maximizing trade value for Iggy...

I dunno to me it just seems silly for management to continue to harp saying that they won't rebuild, rebuilding is not in their plans, they want to win now, they have a good team just hasn't clicked yet and continuing to do the same thing but expecting a different result. Then cave 2-3 years down the road and doing a complete rebuild then.

I'm just glad I'm not a Flames fan... Been through it long enough as an Oiler fan.
June 03, 2012
Votes: +0

Ryan Ma said:

Maaaasquito
Oklahoma Yeah I was quite surprised when I read that too... but supposedly it's growing a ton there and it's the 45th largest tv market in the states...

Interesting indeed.
June 03, 2012
Votes: +0

Ryan Ma said:

Maaaasquito
Doan vs Lidstrom Yeah repent I think you misread me...

I'm talking about the markets not the players...

Lidstrom retires and he gets a ton of recognition and if the same were to be done in Phoenix I would be surprised if even 10% of the Phoenix residents would know who Doan even is...
June 03, 2012
Votes: +0

Ryan Ma said:

Maaaasquito
Salaries I think they are, but it's not the fault of the players, it's the league setup and the CBA itself that was flawed. It went from 54% to 55% to 56% and now 57% of league revenue going to player salaries. The league itself is generating a ton of money which is a great thing, but the salaries have risen so much and will be unsustainable in the future, which is why I'm saying it is out of control.

When the salary cap was at $39 mil, there weren't a lot of contracts that took up a large chunk of a team's salary cap and if it did the cap inflated enough to cover for it. The problem for me is that the cap jumped such a large percentage season after season which has caused the salaries to inflate at such a quick pace. What I'm saying is that couldn't they have moved the peg slowly say 10% per year putting the rest of the extra money into escrow and divvying it out to the players as "bonuses" or something? Jumping the cap 12.8% the first year, then another 14.8% then another 12.7%... saw the salary cap rise 45% over 3 seasons.

Imagine your salary doing the same, if you made 50 grand a year, then 3 years later you were making 72,692... and 7 years later you're not making 90,128... your company surely would be in strife. Surely your boss would think that the salaries are spiraling out of control and unsustainable.

Now don't get me wrong it's not the players fault for it getting paid what they are getting paid, but when the salary cap rises so much over such a short period of time, the primary job of leveling the playing field for small market and large market teams which the salary cap is supposed to do isn't going to work anymore.

Do I think player's salaries are spiraling out of control? Yes I do, is it the player's fault no.
June 03, 2012
Votes: +0

Ryan Ma said:

Maaaasquito
Positive Comments Thanks boys! appreciate it!
June 03, 2012
Votes: +1

Rollie1967 said:

Rollie1967
Salaries yes salaries are tied to league revenues- but I have a feeling this is more of the rich getting richer while the bottom 5 or so stand still,unless this is due to more TV revenue kicking in this year? as generally game attendance is the bulk of their income. The biggest 'problem' is all the extra money that has to be spent to get to the cap floor- while there is very little talent available as UFA's.
Gotta wonder how the #'s wouldve looked if Phoenix had been relocated to GTA/Hamilton.

repenttokyo- i think the comparison Ma was making was more about the hockey markets rahter than the talent of the two players.
June 03, 2012
Votes: +0

buck0198 said:

buck0198
Lidstrom Absolutely phenomenal that Lidstrom never missed the playoffs...crazy stat to me.
June 03, 2012
Votes: +0

UKflames said:

UKflames
Figuring out the flames Most of the flames fans figured it out two seasons ago but the ownership seem to think differently.

With the arrival of Hartley it certainly looks like Iginla will still be a flame come opening night but hear is the question, would they get more for him over the summer or at the draft with the unknown result of the CBA talks or at the deadline next year when everything is a lot clearer, especially whether they are missing the playoffs (as expected).
June 03, 2012
Votes: +0

bullwinkle said:

bullwinkle
Oklahoma City??? Buffalo ALWAYS has the greatest non-participating TV viewing audience for hockey. Hockey rules there.

But Oklahoma City? Did you get your NBA stats mixed up by accident? I've never heard of that city in the same sentence with the word 'hockey'.

BTW, great ramblings Ryan. I wish you wrote for the Eastern Conference too.
June 03, 2012
Votes: +0

repenttokyo said:

repenttokyo
Why compare Doan to Lidstrom? Not comparable players, in my opinion. Put Doan in a Wings jersey and you're not seeing crazy tributes to him at the same level as Lidstrom, either.
June 03, 2012
Votes: -2

sentium said:

Dakkster
... No, salaries are NOT spiralling out of control. The salaries going up so much is just a sign that the league as a whole is in good shape. I will never ever ever ever understand how people can complain about salaries supposedly getting out of hand when they are DIRECTLY TIED TO LEAGUE REVENUE! It's plain stupid to suggest such a thing.
June 03, 2012
Votes: +0

Aaron27 said:

Aaron27
... Interesting to see Lupul 5th on the 'efficiency' list.
June 03, 2012
Votes: +0

GMGates said:

GMGates
... Ma, stellar ramblings man. You have added an excellent amount of depth to the line up. Week after week, I am continually impressed.

Keep it up buddy,
Gates
June 03, 2012
Votes: +2

Magicstew said:

Magicstew
... Great ramblings Ryan. Always like to see first half vs second half stats. Now just have to have the balls to trade the hot first half performer before he slows down. Did a buy low on Ryan Miller this year in January who carried me to victory down the stretch.
June 03, 2012
Votes: +0

InnocentBystander said:

27Blue
... nice!

one thing:
hitch has no problem with russians (zubov)...
just with irresponsible, sh*tty players (filatov, zherdev)...
June 03, 2012
Votes: +1
You must be logged in to post a comment. Please register if you do not have an account yet.

busy