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Bruin First Rounders On The Leafs

The top scorer in the NHL is Phil Kessel.  He leads the NHL with 12 goals and 23 points.  He was drafted fifth overall by the Boston Bruins in 2006.  In 2009 he was traded to Toronto for three upcoming first and second round draft picks.  These picks turned out to be Tyler Seguin, Jared Knight and Dougie Hamilton. 

The top scorer in the AHL is also in the Toronto system.  He is Joe Colborne of the Toronto Marlies.  He was the Boston Bruins first round draft pick in 2008.  He was traded to Toronto last season along with a couple draft picks for Tomas Kaberle.  One of the picks was later moved on to Anaheim and a 2012 second round pick remains.

It is quite a coincidence that the top scorers in both the NHL and AHL are former Boston Bruin first round draft picks who have since been traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

This shows us that Toronto and Boston are regular trading partners.  On first glance it appears that Toronto has been the beneficiary of these trades as they have the top scorers in both leagues, but this is not so obvious.  Tyler Seguin is tied for the NHL lead in +/- and is 12th in the NHL scoring race at age 19.  Potentially he could be the biggest prize of the players involved in these deals. 

The other players involved are all potential NHLers except for Tomas Kaberle who left Boston as a free agent as has no future value.  Even though Joe Colborne leads the AHL in scoring, he isn’t playing in the NHL.  Who is to say that he will succeed at the NHL level? 

Toronto may have the current league top scorers in Phil Kessel and Joe Colborne, but the jury is out as to who won the Toronto/Boston trades.  Both teams have acquired at least one quality NHL player and there are more who are not yet NHL ready who have potential.  These trades could make or break the futures of the teams involved.  It will be interesting to watch to see who comes out ahead in the future.

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Comments

Steve Strowbridge's avatar

Well, since Boston did not re-sign Phil Kessel, they built a Stanley Cup winning team. That is the goal of any general manager in the league. I’d say, for now at least, that Boston definitely won these trades.

Posted by Steve Strowbridge from St. John's, NL, CA on 11/11/11 at 07:14 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

I would not argue that the Phil kessel trade helped Boston to win their Stanley Cup.  Last year they would have been a better team if he was part of them and Seguin wasn’t.

You are falling into a common logical mistake.  Event A happened before event B.  Therefore you want to argue event A caused (or in a slightly weaker case led to) event B.  It quite often is that event A had nothing to do with event B or even that event B happened in spite of event A.

In the case of the Kessel trade i think the Boston Stanley Cup was a fluke (in that they were never the best team in the league) and happened in spite of the Kessel trade weakening the team last season as Kessel clearly offered more than Seguin in their Stanley Cup year.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 11/11/11 at 08:10 PM ET

Steve Strowbridge's avatar

Last year they would have been a better team if he was part of them and Seguin wasn’t.

How, exactly, could they have been better? Can you win the Stanley Cup twice?

You are falling into a common logical mistake.

No, I’m not.

(in that they were never the best team in the league)

Yes, they were. When you win a league championship, you are the best team in the league.

Clearly, we define success in different ways.

Posted by Steve Strowbridge from St. John's, NL, CA on 11/11/11 at 09:31 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

Every team can be better than they currently are.  They can add more good players.  They can win more games.  Boston in 2011 is no exception.  It is a siilly suggestion to say that the only way they could be better is if they won the Stanley Cup twice or that winning the league championship makes you clearly the best team.  Upsets happen and your position pretends they do not.  Boston almost lost to Montreal in the first round.  They finished 7th in the regular season.  Neither of those results make them look like the best team in the league. 

The most meaningful way to define a best team is open to a little interpretation and debate, but it beats waiting to see who wins the title and declare they are therefore the best and an upset winner is impossible.  I ask myself if the season could be repeated an infinite amount of times which team would win the title the most times.  That question should lead to a good debate in most cases, but it is a better starting point that saying Team X won therefore they are the best even if they almost lost in the first round of the playoffs and at no point in the regular season gave us any reason to think they might be the best.

All of this has nothing to do with the topic at hand, but you are extending the same fallacy.  Boston won the 2011 Stanley Cup.  Therefore they were the best and everything they did was for the best.  That includes trading a player who appeared in the All Star Game in 2011 for a player who was a frequent healthy scratch in the 2011 playoff run.  In 2011, they would have been a better team if they could undo that trade.  In the future we don’t know the answer.  You know it even less than I do.  If it turns out either of these teams wins a Stanley Cup in the future, you will think it means they did the right thing even if the players involved in the trade were bystanders who added little to the cup run and the other team involved had their players win multiple MVPs.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 11/11/11 at 09:49 PM ET

Steve Strowbridge's avatar

Well, if Phil Kessel was signed, he would have eaten up a fair bit of cap space. With that cap space off the books we were able to bring in pieces like Campbell/Horton, Peverley, Kelly, Kaberle. Having Seguin as a cap-friendly hit was crucial in being able to build a successful team.

Clearly, we define the word best differently. I respect the regular season and playoff formats, thus I can accept that if you survive both of them, you are “better” than those who didn’t.

I don’t see how Boston could have been more successful last year. Even after reading all that you just wrote.

Posted by Steve Strowbridge from St. John's, NL, CA on 11/11/11 at 11:34 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

The Bruins had about $2 million in salary cap space at the end of last season.  Tyler Seguin’s entry level deal has a $3.55 mill salary cap hit.  Boston had salary cap space to replace Seguin with Kessel.  You don’t need to bring in players like Peverley or Kaberle to muddy the waters, The Bruins could have had Kessel on their roster last year if they didn’t have Seguin.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 11/11/11 at 11:42 PM ET

LiteWork's avatar

In the case of the Kessel trade i think the Boston Stanley Cup was a fluke (in that they were never the best team in the league) and happened in spite of the Kessel trade weakening the team last season as Kessel clearly offered more than Seguin in their Stanley Cup year.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 11/11/11 at 05:10 PM ET

How is outscoring the Presidents Trophy winning team 23-8 in a 7 game series a fluke?

Posted by LiteWork on 11/12/11 at 06:23 PM ET

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If it’s not a fluke, let’s have the Canucks and Bruins play seven games over the next two weeks. @VAN, @VAN, @BOS, @BOS, @VAN, @BOS, @VAN. I invite you to place hypothetical bets on my over-under lines:

VAN GF: O/U 8.5
BOS GF: O/U 22.5

If it wasn’t a fluke, it must be repeatable. If it wasn’t a fluke, then, you need to pick under for Vancouver GF and over for Boston GF.

Look, Boston beating Vancouver wasn’t a huge longshot. But Boston was the undisputed underdog against the team that was *top five in every major category at the team level* for a reason.

Teams go in seven game slumps and hot streaks all the time. That’s what happened.

Posted by Ralph on 11/13/11 at 01:01 AM ET

LiteWork's avatar

If it’s not a fluke, let’s have the Canucks and Bruins play seven games over the next two weeks. @VAN, @VAN, @BOS, @BOS, @VAN, @BOS, @VAN. I invite you to place hypothetical bets on my over-under lines:

VAN GF: O/U 8.5
BOS GF: O/U 22.5

If it wasn’t a fluke, it must be repeatable. If it wasn’t a fluke, then, you need to pick under for Vancouver GF and over for Boston GF.

Look, Boston beating Vancouver wasn’t a huge longshot. But Boston was the undisputed underdog against the team that was *top five in every major category at the team level* for a reason.

Teams go in seven game slumps and hot streaks all the time. That’s what happened.

Posted by Ralph on 11/12/11 at 10:01 PM ET

How do you get to the Cup finals take a 2-0 series lead and suddenly go into a slump? That makes no sense at all. Unforunately for Vancouver the Cup finals are played on the ice not paper.

Posted by LiteWork on 11/13/11 at 01:19 AM ET

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It makes perfect sense. Slumps and streaks pop out of nowhere and suddenly end. Who would have thought that the 07-08 Red Wings would only win 2 games in February, the Caps lose 8 in a row last year, the Devils not be able to score or stop the other team from scoring for half the season? Stuff happens, unexpectedly.

I’d attribute Luongo running hot/cold to the Vancouver GA numbers and Thomas to their GF numbers. The 23-8 isn’t very indicative of how close the series was. Oh, and it still went seven games.

You also need to place your bets.

Posted by Ralph on 11/13/11 at 02:36 PM ET

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I also invite you to bet on Boston winning the Stanley Cup this year, because if their playoff run wasn’t a fluke, they were the best team last year, and look to be even better this year, so naturally they should win this year as well.

Posted by Ralph on 11/13/11 at 02:38 PM ET

LiteWork's avatar

I also invite you to bet on Boston winning the Stanley Cup this year, because if their playoff run wasn’t a fluke, they were the best team last year, and look to be even better this year, so naturally they should win this year as well.

Posted by Ralph on 11/13/11 at 11:38 AM ET

I dont think Boston will repeat because there hasnt been a repeat champion since 98 so going by your logic there every Cup winner since 98 is a fluke since they didnt repeat.

Posted by LiteWork on 11/13/11 at 02:57 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Tyler Seguin’s counted salary cap hit last season was $900K before he hit bonuses, which weren’t counted until after the season and helped give the Bruins a $1.1M overage.  The only reason they’re counting this year is because it’s the last year of the CBA.

They could not have replaced Seguin for Kessel and have remained cap compliant.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 11/13/11 at 03:10 PM ET

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Exactly. Say you’re a super-dominant team and have an 80% chance of winning each series. You only have a 41% chance of winning all four rounds. It’s very hard. The best team often doesn’t win. We have plenty of reasons to believe Boston wasn’t the best team. Those reasons are based on 82 games, not on 7.

Posted by Ralph on 11/14/11 at 04:41 PM ET

LiteWork's avatar

Exactly. Say you’re a super-dominant team and have an 80% chance of winning each series. You only have a 41% chance of winning all four rounds. It’s very hard. The best team often doesn’t win. We have plenty of reasons to believe Boston wasn’t the best team. Those reasons are based on 82 games, not on 7.

Posted by Ralph on 11/14/11 at 01:41 PM ET

Please elaborate because Boston had the 7th best record in the league and a +51 goal differential which was the 2nd best in the league.

Posted by LiteWork on 11/14/11 at 06:21 PM ET

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7th best record. Weaker conference, one of the weaker divisions. Mediocre possession numbers and special teams. Their only real advantage was in net (and don’t get me wrong, it was and is a HUGE advantage…except over a team like Vancouver, or Montreal).

Vancouver was better in both differential and record. San Jose, if it was worse, wasn’t worse by much. And so on.

Posted by Ralph on 11/17/11 at 12:02 AM ET

LiteWork's avatar

7th best record. Weaker conference, one of the weaker divisions. Mediocre possession numbers and special teams. Their only real advantage was in net (and don’t get me wrong, it was and is a HUGE advantage…except over a team like Vancouver, or Montreal).

Vancouver was better in both differential and record. San Jose, if it was worse, wasn’t worse by much. And so on.

Posted by Ralph on 11/16/11 at 09:02 PM ET

I dont get how winning with the 7th best record make you a fluke. The last I checked having the 7th best record out of 30 teams was pretty good. Fyi Pittsburgh was 8th when they won in 2009.

Weaker conference? 4 of the top 5 teams were in the East.

Weakest division? The Northwest was without a doubt the weakest division in the league.

Mediocre possession numbers? Lol. Thats like saying Lidstrom didnt deserve the Norris because he was a minus player.

Special Teams? Yeah their PP was horrible. But they were also the best even strength team in the league, and no one was even close.

And Boston had a huge advantage in net. Most people would consider Luongo to be one of the most overrated goalies in the league, including Vancouver fans!

Oh and Boston was +51 in differential, San Jose was +39, not even close.

Posted by LiteWork on 11/17/11 at 02:10 AM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

If a team is 7th best in the regular season, they are not the best.  They are a good deal back of 1st.  A 7th place regular season is near the middle of the pack among the 16 playoff teams.  One doesn’t expect a near middle of the pack team to come out on top. 

Now one might argue that 7th place is not the best representation of where Boston ranked after the regular season.  They were a better team with late season additions of Tomas Kaberle, Chris Kelly and Rich Peverly.  Goaltending is more important in the playoffs than the regular season because you can ride a hot goalie indefinitely without giving your backup goalie games and because you play unlimited overtime instead of shootouts to decide tied games.  Goaltending in shootouts is much more unpredictable than goaltending in overtime periods.  Further, the NHL point scheme is not the best measure of how good teams are.  It is possible to lose more games than another team and finish more points because you have more losses in oertime and shootouts.  On top of that, hockey is not repeatable.  A team can do better or worse in a season than would have been their most probable result.  Some teams overachieve or underachieve.

Even if we don’t agree that Boston was exactly the 7th best team in the NHL last year based on their regular season, it is hard to find an argument that they were actually the best team in the league at the end of the regular season.  If they were not the best then, why were they suddenly the best with the same roster by June?  And why are they no longer the best this season with nearly the same roster today?

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 11/17/11 at 03:32 AM ET

LiteWork's avatar

If a team is 7th best in the regular season, they are not the best.  They are a good deal back of 1st.  A 7th place regular season is near the middle of the pack among the 16 playoff teams.  One doesn’t expect a near middle of the pack team to come out on top.

So your logic is that if you dont win the Presidents trophys aka being the best team, you dont deserve to win the cup. Boston was just 4 points behind Washington for the 2nd best record in the league (The Capitals finished 10 points behind Vancouver a good deal back of 1st wouldnt you say!) They were also 2nd in regulation/ot wins. If you dont believe in the points system.

As for the point about Boston not expected to come out on top. Im pretty sure most nhl writers/analysts had Boston coming out of the East, more than Washington anyways.

As for Bostons struggles this year, that more of a result of the stanley cup hangover. In case you didnt notice Boston has a better record than Vancouver right now.

Posted by LiteWork on 11/17/11 at 04:13 AM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

So your logic is that if you dont win the Presidents trophys aka being the best team, you dont deserve to win the cup.

No.  This is not remotely close to my point.  I spent a while saying that the regular season standings are not necessarily the best measure of how good a team is.  That said, I think it is really hard to argue that 7th place is actually the best team.

Also at no point did I even discuss the question of which team deserves to win the Stanley Cup.  Based on the results in the playoffs, Boston deserved to win the Stanley Cup.  They were the team that played the best in the playoffs.  I do not take that to mean that they definitely were the best team in the 2010/11 season however or that if it were possible to repeat the season that they would likely win the Stanley Cup again (or even come close).  All I am saying is the best team does not always win the Stanley Cup each year and last season was a pretty good example of this.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 11/17/11 at 04:28 AM ET

LiteWork's avatar

No.  This is not remotely close to my point.  I spent a while saying that the regular season standings are not necessarily the best measure of how good a team is.  That said, I think it is really hard to argue that 7th place is actually the best team.

Actually that is your point. Youre pretty much saying that only maybe 3 teams can win the Cup and be called the best team.

Is there a huge difference between being 7th and like 3rd? Vancouver won the Presidents trophy going away, and 4 points separate the 2nd place team from the 8th place team. Huge difference.

Posted by LiteWork on 11/17/11 at 05:01 AM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

<Actually that is your point.</i>

You have lost an argument when you are told why somebody is not saying what you are telling them they are saying and you continue to insist they are saying it.  It is a failure as an argument.  So please avoid that.

I am not saying that Boston was definitely the 7th best team in the league or anything like that.  Let’s say that your claim that there isn’t much difference between 7th place and 3rd place in the standings is sufficient proof that Boston was actually the 3rd best team in the league (it isn’t close to a sufficient argument and I would argue that 3rd best is overrating Boston - but that isn’t the point right now).  The point is that even if we stretch our logic and accept Boston as the 3rd best team last season, that is not the best team.

It is very possible to be the best team in a short period of a season (such as the playoffs) and not be the best team in the league.  Chicago is first in the NHL standings right now, but I won’t take that as proof that they are the best team in the NHL.  The piece of the season played so far this year is nearly as long as the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Youre pretty much saying that only maybe 3 teams can win the Cup and be called the best team.

I am saying that only one team can win the Stanley Cup and be the best team ion the NHL.  That team is the team which is the best team in the NHL.  We might argue about which team that is in some years and we might have a clear consensus choice in others, but in order to win the Stanley Cup and be the best team in the league it is necessary for a team to be the best team in the league and only one team is the best team at any point.

Is there a huge difference between being 7th and like 3rd? Vancouver won the Presidents trophy going away, and 4 points separate the 2nd place team from the 8th place team. Huge difference.

There may not be a huge difference between being 3rd and 7th in a given season.  None of the teams that are in the race between 3rd and 7th are likely the best team in the league.  It really doesn’t matter how close those teams are.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 11/17/11 at 05:32 AM ET

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I dont get how winning with the 7th best record make you a fluke. The last I checked having the 7th best record out of 30 teams was pretty good. Fyi Pittsburgh was 8th when they won in 2009.

Every winner nowadays is a fluke to some extent, some more than others. Boston, more than a team like the 07-08 Red Wings, much less than the 05-06 Hurricanes.

Weaker conference? 4 of the top 5 teams were in the East.

Look down the list. The West had two bad teams, but the other 13 were either playoff locks or not too far from making the playoffs (like Minny was wrecked by injuries, Dallas lost their star player, etc). There’s more parity in the West, and it generally takes more points to make the playoffs in the West than in the East.

Weakest division? The Northwest was without a doubt the weakest division in the league.

I didn’t say that. I said “one of the weaker divisions.” The NHL clearly has three really good divisions and three bad ones. The NE is one of the bad ones.

Mediocre possession numbers? Lol. Thats like saying Lidstrom didnt deserve the Norris because he was a minus player.

No, it’s not. It’s saying Boston gave up so many shots compared to how many they generated that, really, most of their advantage came from vastly superior netminding.

Lidstrom has always been an elite possession player and still is.

Special Teams? Yeah their PP was horrible. But they were also the best even strength team in the league, and no one was even close.

Best at evens because of netminding. Like it or not, special teams can swing series in a huge way, and definitely did in the Stanley Cup Finals.

As an example, the Capitals allowed the fourth fewest goals at even strength per game in the league in 08-09, but almost dropped into the bottom 20 once you factor in special teams to goals against.

And Boston had a huge advantage in net. Most people would consider Luongo to be one of the most overrated goalies in the league, including Vancouver fans!

In terms of save percentage since the lockout, Tim Thomas, Roberto Luongo, Tomas Vokoun, and Jonas Hiller are all above .920 (if memory serves), but no one else is close to their level. Since 1990, well, this is an exclusive list indeed.

For all the flak Luongo gets for the playoffs, let’s not forget that overall his numbers for the playoffs were solid, meaning he was excellent for the majority of the games to make up for the six clunkers he had. His save percentage in the playoffs, excluding games against Chicago, going into the Stanley Cup Finals, was over .930, and anybody can tell by watching Hawks-Canucks series that the Canucks’ losses were more on the skaters in front than on the netminding. His career playoff save percentage is still .917. He hasn’t played poorly in international play since the he played in the world juniors in the late 90s.

Oh and Boston was +51 in differential, San Jose was +39, not even close.

That’s deceiving.

Totally not padded by some *outlier* 6 and 7-goal wins, just like the Rangers’ +35 last season.

Sure, you then have to remove the worst Bs games as well, but take those out and I’m getting ~25 goals’ worth of padding in 8 games (4 best, 4 worst).

Not finding many outlier wins for San Jose.

Posted by Ralph on 11/19/11 at 02:38 AM ET

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In terms of save percentage since the lockout, Tim Thomas, Roberto Luongo, Tomas Vokoun, and Jonas Hiller are all above .920 (if memory serves), but no one else is close to their level. Since 1990, well, this is an exclusive list indeed.

For all the flak Luongo gets for the playoffs, let’s not forget that overall his numbers for the playoffs were solid, meaning he was excellent for the majority of the games to make up for the six clunkers he had. His save percentage in the playoffs, excluding games against Chicago, going into the Stanley Cup Finals, was over .930, and anybody can tell by watching Hawks-Canucks series that the Canucks’ losses were more on the skaters in front than on the netminding. His career playoff save percentage is still .917. He hasn’t played poorly in international play since the he played in the world juniors in the late 90s.

Save percentage is a misleading stat, since goalies can face 40 shots most of them very good quality chances and it inflates their numbers. 3 of those 4 goalies arent considered elite. Luongo is considered a good goalie that plays for a talented team, not as bad as Osgood playing for Detroit but its a reasonable comparison and his Vezina nom last year was a joke, especially over players like Carey Price and Lundqvist.

Posted by cbleach88 on 11/19/11 at 04:33 AM ET

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The spread of shot quality across teams is pretty small. Only for very few teams is it actually significant (like 09-10 Colorado). Given that he’s maintained his level of play for years across two teams and varying degrees of competency from his D in front of him, he’s definitely elite. In fact, his pace is HOF-esque.

Luongo’s numbers are better now than when he was in Florida. You could say that’s a better D, but Florida also overcounts shots (what a shame, NHL) more egregiously than any other team in the league. 5-10% too high. And Luongo’s save percentage has increased.

Posted by Ralph on 11/19/11 at 08:00 PM ET

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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.

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