Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Jonathan Willis of Sportsnet,
It seems that at least once per summer, a contract negotiation between an emerging young star and his NHL teams goes all pear-shaped. This year, the distinction belongs to Columbus Blue Jackets pivot Ryan Johansen, the 2010 fourth-overall pick who broke through in 2013-14 after two disappointing professional seasons.
In hindsight, the impasse seems predictable, simply because of the dichotomy between what Johansen accomplished last season and what he had done previously as a pro. It’s well worth remembering that as recently as May 2013 the centre was a healthy scratch—and not for the Jackets, but for their AHL affiliate, a team fighting for its playoff life. “It’s not something I enjoyed doing or wanted to do,” Springfield Falcons coach Brad Larsen told the Columbus Dispatch at the time. “But, to be honest with you, it wasn’t all that hard of a decision. We talked after Game 2, and I tried to ramp him up. In Game 3, we just felt like he wasn’t all there, like he wasn’t invested 100 percent.”
With that kind of history, it is entirely understandable that the Blue Jackets would look at Johansen’s 2013-14 performance with some skepticism, asking themselves if it’s really representative of that player’s future performance. Johansen’s camp understandably wants the player to get paid for what was an exceptional year. He led the team’s forward group in minutes played and was second only to Brandon Dubinsky (who regularly kills penalties) in minutes per game. He also scored 33 goals; one more would have had him in the NHL’s top 10.
from Katie Strang of ESPN,
Modin, who won a Cup with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2004, said he thinks that experience will be invaluable for the team moving forward, especially for the young players who got a taste of what playoff action is truly like.
[[I was] impressed with how the team came together and seemed to find their identity during the run last year,Modin told ESPN.com when reached via email from Sweden. think the coaches and the players were looking to play that type of game all season but didn't really get the consistency early on. The team has lots of young talented players with limited experience that played big roles during the Pittsburgh series. Going through that will make them stronger both as individuals and as a team.
Speaking of young players who will be influential in the team’s future, Modin thinks getting dynamic, young center Ryan Johansen is a top priority for the club. Johansen, a 22-year-old restricted free agent, remains at a contract stalemate with Columbus as negotiations have grown contentious at times this summer.
“I hope they can agree on a contract before camp,” Modin told ESPN.com. “I think Ryan is and will be a big part of this team’s success. [He’s] a very talented player that can develop into something special.”
"I'm really proud about the effort, the no-quit in our team and the identity we've established. Now the Blue Jackets are known through the League for the identity we've built, which is a hard-working, hard-to-play-against, no quit, blue-collar team. I'm really proud of that.
"But let's not be satisfied here. It makes me really excited about the players we have, the potential we have."
-Jarmo Kekalainen, GM of the Columbus Blue Jackets. More on the Blue Jackets from Craig Merz at NHL.com.
from the Columbus Blue Jackets website,
Advanced statistics in hockey are becoming widely popular and have become more refined over the past few years. Instead of tracking goals (as plus-minus does), possession metrics take note of shot attempts for and against, and in doing so, can show patterns and trends when certain players are on the ice.
By tracking what teams do when they have the puck, we can determine things like puck possession, scoring chances, how teams spend their zone time, and more.
For team-based analysis, the common terms in the lexicon are Corsi and Fenwick (we'll talk more about these in a moment). For players, you'll primarily refer to Corsi, deployment metrics and PDO (also something we'll cover down below).
Regularly-used and kept statistics, such as time on ice (TOI), save percentage and shooting percentage, are also applied in advanced stats but used in different ways. PDO, for example, combines shooting percentage and save percentage to show scoring trends for teams and players - i.e. are hot goal-scoring stretches just streaks, or is this indicative of a long-term pattern?
from Bob Hunter of the Columbus Dispatch,
Hartnell is happy to be here only because he believes the Blue Jackets have a chance to be good for several years, and he sees himself playing a key role in that. That starts with beating a Pittsburgh team that knocked the Jackets out of the playoffs.
“The Pens are not my favorite team, probably by far,” he said. “I think they’re only a couple hours drive from Columbus, so I’m excited to stir that pot a little bit and get under Crosby’s and Malkin’s skin and frustrate them like I usually do.”
More than two months before the start of the season, the trade of R.J. Umberger to the Flyers for Hartnell looks like a home run.
The task of meeting his new teammates has already begun for Hartnell, who said he had dinner in Columbus recently with center Brandon Dubinsky.
It was Dubinsky's arrival two years ago with center Artem Anisimov and defenseman Tim Erixon in a trade that sent captain Rick Nash to the New York Rangers that effectively launched the turnaround in Columbus. It continued last summer with the seven-year, $37.1 million contract signed by forward Nathan Horton, who was limited by injuries to 36 regular-season games.
With Horton expected to be healthy in training camp this season, Hartnell is looking forward to getting started with the Blue Jackets, who still have yet to name a captain two years after trading Nash.
"You add a healthy Horton into the mix and bring myself in, it's almost two new players to come in and be effective," Hartnell said. "It's a great team. On paper we match up against anybody in the East. I don't think anybody expected the Rangers to go to the Final last year, so the East is pretty wide open. After a couple of days of mulling this whole thing over, I've had a smile ever since saying I was going to be a Blue Jacket."
Hartnell met with the Columbus media today, you can watch below...
“It’s his presence and his experience, I think what he fits in to, as well, is a nasty style that we can play. He’s a goal-scorer. It’s something that teams have to know where he is because he’s someone who has really proven himself in his career to be a goal-scorer.
"So, he becomes a threat, and the more threats you have out on the ice, the better, because more teams have to pay attention to that.”
-Columbus Blue Jackets head coach Todd Richards on Nathan Horton. More on Horton from Alex Busch of BlueJackets.com.
from Aaron Portzline of Puck-Rakers,
The Blue Jackets and restricted free agent center Ryan Johansen may still be a long way from a new contract. But after weeks of silence there has been significant progress.
Johansen's agent, Kurt Overhardt, recently extended a second contract offer to the Blue Jackets, sources have told The Dispatch. It's a two-year contract, or a "bridge" deal -- the type Johansen called a "slap in the face" late last month.
The term of the contract -- the player demanded a long-term contract, the Blue Jackets insisted on a shorter deal -- was the major stumbling block in these negotiations dating back to April.
"Ryan wants to be a Blue Jacket and he wants to be in Columbus," said Overhardt, who declined to discuss the negotiations. "That has never been an issue in any of this. He loves it there.
"This is a team that I think now is being recognized not just as a team that is young and up-and-coming, it's a pretty good hockey club. We have a chance here to make a real good statement with this upcoming season," Davidson told the Blue Jackets' website. "I like this hockey club. I like it a lot. I like its character, I like the way it plays, I like the intestinal fortitude it has, I like how it sticks up for each other. I like all aspects of it. We have a chance to be a very good club."
-John Davidson, President of Hockey Operations for the Columbus Blue Jackets. More, including video at NHL.com.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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