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Category: NHL-Teams

What Can Maple Leaf Fans Expect With the Fifth Overall Pick?

With the conclusion of the NHL Draft lottery last week, reality has begun to set in for Toronto Maple Leaf fans as they were not able to move up to the first pick in the upcoming draft.  I thought I would take some time to look back at past fifth overall picks to see what kind of player the Maple Leafs might expect to get with this draft position.

I reviewed the last 33 NHL drafts from 1979 - 2011 and there are some very recognizable names that have been drafted with the fifth pick including Scott Stevens, Jaromir Jagr and Phil Kessel.  There are also some names that I have never heard of like Daniel Dore. 

In performing my analysis it was important that I made things as statistically driven as possible.  To do this I developed the following player rating criteria:

100 – Star player: top 3 forward, top pair defenseman or an elite starting goalie.
50 – Good player: top 6 forward, top 4 defenseman or a starting goalie over multiple seasons.
25 – Role Player: forward or defenseman with 200+ games or a goalie with 100+ starts.
10 – Depth Player: forward or defenseman with 51-199 games or a goal with 51-99 starts.
5 – Minor League Player: forward or defenseman with 1-50 games or a goalie with 50 or less starts.
0 – Bust: drafted player with zero NHL games.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Members Blog | Permalink
  Tags: nhl+entry+draft

Farewell to the Red Wings and Sharks

It wasn’t long ago that the Detroit Red Wings and San Jose Sharks were two of the best teams in the Western Conference — if not the league. Just last year, in fact, the Sharks were the No. 2 seed in the West and the Wings were No. 3. The Sharks eliminated the Wings in the Western Conference semifinals in seven games before losing to the Vancouver Canucks in the conference final. (Don’t worry, we’ll get to the Canucks in another post.) This year, though, the Wings were the No. 5 seed and the Sharks had to wait until the last couple days of the season to clinch a playoff spot — as the No. 7 seed.

Read more on Fanspeak.com

Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, San Jose Sharks, | KK Members Blog | Permalink

Lessons learned from the regular season…

Another regular season is behind us; before the playoffs begin, I thought it may be fun to share what 6 months of toil have taught me.

Anyone can win the Southeast division - and probably will. Thanks to the Panthers, it’s now the only division that all 5 of its members have won since the lockout. Like many, I had assumed that Dale Tallon’s collection of third-line stars would tread water in anticipation of younger stars emerging around them; their success this season speaks volumes not to Tallon’s genius but to the coaching ability of Kevin Dineen, a long-time candidate who I’m guessing several teams are now casting rueful eyes at.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Members Blog | Permalink

Crosby Cleared For Contact

Looks like Sid has been cleared for contact and could be playing soon.

From the Penguins website,

Penguins captain Sidney Crosby has been cleared for full contact, but there is not timetable for a possible return to the lineup.

“I was cleared to do contact,” Crosby said. “We’ll see how that goes. There is no real timetable, but it’s a good step. Hopefully, I can keep the momentum and get out there soon.”

Crosby, who has been out of the lineup since Dec. 6 with concussion-like symptoms and a neck injury, has been symptom free for “a few days” and resumed contact practice with his teammates Tuesday afternoon.

“I’ve been through this before,” Crosby said. “Contact is the big step. It’s nice to be symptom free, but it’s not as fulfilling until you get out there. I just want to make sure that I take the right steps here and get back out there soon.”

More of the story

Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Members Blog | Permalink
  Tags: sidney+crosby

Roloson for Khabibulin—Thoughts?

So I was watching the highlights from the Lightning-Leafs game last night (7-3 TOR) and trying to think of a decent shakeup for TB, especially in net after watching what happened. 

What about Nikolai Khabibulin for Dwayne Roloson straight up (or maybe a pick going with Rollie given Khabby’s play this year)?  This would give Khabibulin the chance to return to a place where he has had success (‘04 Stanley Cup) and is comfortable and likewise with Roloson (‘06 Finals).  In addition, it would get Khabby’s (1 year remaining on his deal) $3.75M off next year’s books for Edmonton while giving Tampa the time to figure out a long-term solution.  The teams’ caps would barely be affected this year as Roloson’s cap hit on his one-year deal is $3.5M.

If Khabby can keep up his strong play upon his return to Tampa, it will give them a chance to turn things around a bit and possibly give them the shake up they need without having to rattle their core before they’re sure that’s necessary.  In addition, it would be good for PR bringing back the cup-winning goaltender (although I’m not sure how bitter people are about Khabby darting to the $$ in Chicago upon becoming a UFA).  This could give Tampa a good jolt without anything too drastic.

Does anyone else think this is feasible/a good way to shake things up in Tampa?

Filed in: NHL Teams, Edmonton Oilers, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Members Blog | Permalink
  Tags: dwayne+roloson, nikolai+khabibulin

The Face[s] of the NHL

Recent conversation among pundits has been sobering with Crosby shut down and Ovechkin not playing like Ovechkin for the second season in a row. They claim that the NHL currently does not have a face because the two biggest names (they chose and marketed the eggs in one rivalry basket) are not currently the best players.

As Colonel Potter would say, horse hockey!

The NHL has a face, and it\‘s shared by two players! They happen to be twins who play on the top line for the Vancouver Canucks. Over the past two seasons they became the first brothers to alternately lead the league in points in consecutive seasons. They are the Sedin twins. It started in \‘09-\‘10 with Henrik winning the Art Ross and the Hart Memorial Trophies as well as making the first All-Star team. It continued last season, \‘10-\‘11, with Daniel winning the Art Ross Trophy and the Ted Lindsay Award. Both brothers made the first All-Star team last season. The rise of the Sedin twins began after the lockout, in the \‘05-\‘06 season. After helping Sweden win Olympic Gold the Sedin twins completed their first breakout seasons together. (1)

But why hasn\‘t the NHL awakened to its current face[s]? Is it the same reason Nicklas Lidstrom was a bridesmaid three consecutive years before they had to hand him the Norris Trophy the following three years and not denied him any season since then that he has earned it, because he\‘s Swedish? (2) Or has the NHL finally gotten past the most ridiculous of all its prejudices only to fall into its worst one: The Sedin twins play for a Western Canadian team and that is simply not marketable to the rest of the league?

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Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Members Blog | Permalink

Dustin Penner: He’s Not THAT Good

Yahoo`s Puck Daddy decided to dedicate more time than deserved to the lazy-sack-of-crap Dustin Penner, wondering why/when Penner is going to start producing for the Kings.

Ever since the Oilers delivered trucks of money to Penner to join their club, the guy has been, somewhat unfairly, expected to be a premium goal scorer in the NHL. Remember, Penner was undrafted and never given much notice until the Ducks gave him a shot. I`d never reject that kind of money thrown my way, but that doesn`t necessarily mean he was worth that much or would ever produce enough value.

A quick answer to Greg, and anyone else holding their breath: Stop expecting Penner to be a good player.

Look at Penner`s career stats. It`s pretty clear what his true level of play is.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Edmonton Oilers, Los Angeles Kings, | KK Members Blog | Permalink
  Tags: dustin+penner

Parched? The Watered-Down NHL Will Quench Almost Any Thirst

Remember back in the late 80s when players like Gretzky, Lemieux, Messier, Hull, and Yzerman were racking up points; and Brendan Shanahan was racking up fights and PIMs? My how things have changed. Lemieux, having made his millions after freely roaming the ice for years protected by the likes of Troy Loney, Grant Jennings and Jay Caufield is now an owner. One that is more content bashing tough guys instead of respecting them. Shanahan, who first made his mark in the league because of his fists, is now dishing out suspensions at a torrid pace, as the league’s head disciplinarian.

The late 80s gave us a multidimensional game, full of both individual displays of scoring feats and enforcers who were actually allowed to enforce the game in the moment. Was the correlation a simple coincidence? Or did opposing players know that if they touched Wayne, Marty was coming for them? Or if Steve was touched, Bob wasn’t going to be far behind? Don’t even look at Brett cross-eyed… the Twister was watching your every move.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, NHL Talk, | KK Members Blog | Permalink

James Neal: The New Brian Savage?

After a tweet by NHL.com`s Brian Metzer about James Neal`s stats in October(s), I joked that perhaps Mr. Neal is the new Mr. Savage. Thus far, Neal has 5 points in 5 games to start the season.

Is there something to this comparison?

Let`s look at Neal`s career month-by-month splits (Apologies for the formatting)

                GP     G     A   Pts   PPG   +/-    Pct
October       40   19   16   35   0.875   7   0.178
November   29   12   10   22   0.759   1   0.146
December   42   16   11   27   0.643   -2   0.137
January       38   13     7   20   0.526   -7   0.143
February     31     7     7   14   0.452   -5   0.101
March         46     8   11   19   0.413   -6   0.075
April           13     2     3     5   0.385   2   0.067

Hmm, very good totals in October and November, and an obvious, steady, decline as the season wears on. This does look suspiciously like Brian Savage`s career, with a very clear trend.

Still, I think the reasons must be quite different. Neal plays a much more rambunctious style than Savage ever did, perhaps leading Neal to wear down as the season progresses. Also, Neal`s shots-per-game totals are consistent, while his shooting percentage declines. It`s not as if he`s not getting chances, he`s just not scoring.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Members Blog | Permalink
  Tags: brian+savage, james+neal

Detroit at St. Louis Nov 15th

Anybody going to the game?  I will be taking the train into STL from my home in KC.  I have done this the last few years and had a great time.  The Blues fans are pretty good.  I always wear my Gordie Howe jersey and when they see it has the number 9 on the back, they always say something nice about him.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, St. Louis Blues, | KK Members Blog | Permalink

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