Kukla's Korner

The Puck Stops Here

Bettman Overstepping Bounds In Kovalchuk Affair

As we watch the Ilya Kovalchuk affair we are seeing that Gary Bettman has tremendous power over the NHL.  Multiple NHL players signed high money front-loaded contracts which had them playing well beyond the age where most players retire.  Gary Bettman and the NHL accepted them.  This became a problem in Gary Bettman’s eyes with the Ilya Kovalchuk contract.  In this case Gary Bettman served as the district attorney in deciding which contracts to fight.  He used his power to select an arbitrator in Richard Bloch, who was strongly likely to rubberstamp the NHL position.  Essentially it made Bettman the judge and jury.

Bettman’s choosing of drawing a line with the New Jersey Devils and Ilya Kovalchuk and not on the previous contracts is a very questionable act.

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Was This San Jose’s Plan?

Seeing that the Chicago Blackhawks were pushed very tightly against the salary cap, the San Jose Sharks signed Niklas Hjalmarsson to a four year $14 million offer sheet.  It was clear that if Chicago was to match the offer, some other key player on the 2010 Stanley Cup champions would have to be let go.  The obvious choice was Chicago goaltender Antti Niemi.  Niemi was a restricted free agent who was going to salary arbitration.  It was clear that the Blackhawks would not be able to afford the kind of salary he would receive.  Niemi got a $2.75 million arbitration award, which Chicago walked away from and signed Marty Turco.  San Jose has turned around and signed Antti Niemi to a one year $2 million contract.

San Jose was in a situation where they could use a competent defenceman to replace the retiring Rob Blake and a competent goalie to replace Evgeni Nabokov, who left to the KHL.

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Top 20 Defensive Goals Versus Threshold

Lately, I have been looking at the sabermetrics and hockey problem of valuing players above replacement players.  I am looking at the solution of Tom Awad’s goals versus threshold.  I have explained the offensive, goaltending and defensive portions of this system.  I have listed the top 20 players by the offensive portion and the top 20 players by the goalie’s portion.  Today I list the top 20 by the defensive portion of goals versus threshold.

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Defensive Goals Versus Threshold

In today’s sabermetrics and hockey post, I am looking at the defensive portion of Tom Awad’s goals versus threshold system.  Unlike the offensive portion and the goalies portion, this part is much more likely to be inaccurate.  Defence is far harder to show statistically and as a result this part of the system is quite likely to miss significant defensive achievements and reward less impressive ones.

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No Elite Goalies In The 2010 Finals

I didn’t think the 2010 Stanley Cup finals were a particularly well played series.  This probably happened because the teams were not particularly good teams for Stanley Cup finalists.  On a historical level, neither team is a particularly elite team.  The easiest way to show this is to look at the goaltending.  Neither Antti Niemi in Chicago nor Michael Leighton in Philadelphia is among the best goalies in the NHL.  One statistical way to show this is to use goaltending goals versus threshold.  A top 20 list by this stat from the 2009/10 season does not include either of these Stanley Cup finalist goalies.

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How Good Was Evgeni Nabokov?

When Evgeni Nabokov jumped to the KHL a lot of people wrote him off as an overpriced goalie who had his best days behind him.  The common refrain is that he isn’t good enough to be the top player that shows the KHL is a serious challenger to the NHL.  To some degree this is a sour grapes responce.  If he is leaving the NHL, then he must not be a major loss.

One way to look at Nabokov’s 2009/10 season is shown on the top 20 list of goalie’s goals versus threshold.  Nabokov was third last year behind Ryan Miller and Tomas Vokoun.  This is essentially a showing that Nabokov put up a .922 saves percentage last year in 71 games played.  No other goalie played as many games with as high a saves percentage.

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Top 20 Goalie’s Goals Versus Threshold

Lately, my sabermetics and hockey posts have been about Tom Awad’s goals versus threshold system, which is an attempt to score each player on how many goals her produces versus a threshold replacement player.  I have listed the top 20 players by the offensive portion of the system.  Today, I will rank the top 20 players using the goaltending portion of this system.

Here are the top 20 players by goaltending goals versus threshold from the 2009/10 season:

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Goaltending Goals Versus Threshold

In my recent sabermetrics and hockey posts, I have been discussing Tom Awad’s goals versus threshold system.  I have discussed the offensive portion of this system and today will move on to discussing the goaltending portion of this system.

A goaltender’s job is to stop shots on goal.  This is how they are evaluated here.  They are not evaluated by other stats such as wins or shutouts which have a much larger dependence upon the team in which the goalie plays.

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Stastny’s Offensive Value

In this summer’s look at sabermetrics and hockey I have started looking at goals versus threshold (so far only the offensive portion).  This is a system developed by Tom Awad, which is kept by behind the net.  The idea is to rank players with one number that shows how many goals they produce over a hypothetical replacement player (the kind that could be found in the AHL or on waivers).

When we compare player’s ranks in the NHL scoring list to their rank on the offensive goals versus threshold list, we see some discrepancies.  To better understand these discrepancies, I have looked at Alexandre Burrows offensive value since he is a player who does significantly better by offensive goals versus threshold.  Today I will look at Paul Stastny of the Colorado Avalanche.  He is a player who ranks poorly when compared to his rank in the top NHL scorers.

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Burrows Offensive Value

Alexandre Burrows of the Vancouver Canucks was the 36th highest scorer in the NHL last year with 67 points.  Yet when we sort the top 20 players by offensive goals versus threshold, Burrows comes 18th in the league.  Burrows is the most high profile example of a player who ranks significantly better under Tom Awad’s system when compared to his actual rank in the NHL scoring race.

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About The Puck Stops Here

imageThe Puck Stops Here was founded during the 2004/05 lockout as a place to rant about hockey. The original site contains over 1000 posts, some of which were also published on FoxSports.com.

Who am I? A diehard hockey fan.

Why am I blogging? I want to.

Why are you reading it? ???

Email: y2kfhl@hotmail.com

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