Kukla's Korner

The Puck Stops Here

Nicklas Lidstrom’s Hall Of Fame Case

It was about a week ago when we learned who will be inducted in the 2015 Hall of Fame class.  It includes four male players in Nicklas Lidstrom, Sergei Fedorov, Chris Pronger and Phil Housley.  Now that the craziest days of the free agent frenzy are over, I will begin to give the Hall of Fame cases for these players.  I use the Keltner List which is borrowed from baseball but does a very good job of characterizing what it should take to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

1. Was he ever regarded as the best player in baseball? Did anybody, while he was active, ever suggest that he was the best player in baseball?

Although Lidstrom never was a serious Hart Trophy finisher, it can be argued that he should have been.  I would have argued that he should have won the 2008 Hart Trophy.  I would argue that he was the best player in hockey around that time and some considered him as such.  Defencemen have often been overlooked for the Hart Trophy (as only 3 have ever won it).  He won the 2002 Conn Smythe Trophy which is a lesser claim to being the best player in hockey (did anyone really believe Justin Williams was close to the best player in the NHL?).  I would argue this is a yes, but it isn't the strongest yes that might be offered for a few generational players.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink
 

LTIR Fraud Trades

Among the recent NHL trades are two that highlight the problem of LTIR fraud.  Chris Pronger and Marc Savard signed longterm contracts that their teams regretted.  When they suffered injuries their teams found an out.  These players were placed on the longterm injured reserve.  Neither has played an NHL game since 2011 and under any normal circumstances would have retired.  The problem is their retiring would have cost their respective teams' salary cap space.  So Pronger and Savard have remained active on paper even though both have taken other jobs and have no interest in returning to NHL careers.  We have found a new level of silly to add to the story.  Both of these players have been traded.  A different team wants them even though they will never play another NHL game.

Chris Pronger was traded to the Arizona Coyotes along with Nicklas Grossman for Sam Gagner and a conditional draft pick.  Arizona wants Chris Pronger because their finances are troubled,  Pronger allows them to pay their team less.  His salary cap hit is his average salary over his contract of $4.935 million but he is only paid $525,000 per year over the next two years.  This allows Arizona to make the salary floor without actually paying players that amount of money.  It signifies that Arizona is in financial distress and will bend rules to pay their team less than they are formally allowed to.  It shows that Arizona is going to be a bottom feeding team this year.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink
 

Future Hall Of Famer Martin St Louis Retires

Whenever a player that I consider a future Hall of Famer retires, I write a career bio for him.  With yesterday's retirement of Martin St Louis, I will be writing about his career.

Martin St Louis was born on June 18th, 1975 in Laval, Quebec.  He was first noticed by hockey scouts playing in the Quebec Amateur Athletic Association at age 16.  He played for the Laval-Laurentides Regents and scored 103 points in 42 games.  In order to further his chances for an NHL career, he decided to play in English Canada for the Hawksbury Hawks in the Central Canada Hockey League.  He scored 87 points in 31 games.  He had been very successful but was playing in lesser leagues.  His next step was to play in the US college system at the University of Vermont.  He was quite successful there but as a smaller player listed at 5'9" 185 pounds, he didn't attract enough attention to be drafted into the NHL.  He made the All-ECAC hockey rookie team in his first NCAA season and made the All-ECAC hockey first team in his remaining three years in college.  He was an AHCA East First Team All American three times.  In 1994/95 he was named the ECAC Player of the Year.  In 1996, he made the ECAC Hockey All Tournament Team and the All-NCAA All Tournament Team.  He expected that this achievement might earn him significant NHL offers but this did not happen.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink
 

New York Rangers Hire GM Jeff Gorton

Probably the most important piece of news that was buried in the free agent signings yesterday was the official announcement that Glen Sather is stepping down as New York Ranger general manager.  He will remain president of the organization.  He had been the Ranger GM since 2000.  Before that he had been the Edmonton Oiler GM for twenty years winning five Stanley Cups.  At age 71 it is time for Sather to slow down.

Taking over as general manager is Jeff Gorton.  He has been with the Rangers organization since 2007 and has been Sather's chosen successor for years.    Gorton is ready for this chance and has been well schooled under Sather.  It will likely be a seamless transition.  Matt Hunwick signed with the Rangers yesterday.  It seems like business as usual.

I am sure that Sather and Gorton knew well in advance that this transition would occur and everything is running according to plan.  The transition was buried in the free agent frenzy in part due to modesty.  There was no need to make the Rangers transition a big story.  Glen Sather didn't need a big send off.  Jeff Gorton didn't need big media scrutiny.  It is business as usual in New York - at least that is how they want to run things.

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink
 

How Good Was The 2013 All UFA Team?

With evening upon us we are well into the 2015 free agent frenzy.  Yesterday I posted a 2015  All UFA Team.  This is the best team that I could make with pending unrestricted free agents.  Many of them have already found a new home and a big payday.  My question is how good a team could you build if you were to buy all the best free agents available.  To answer that let's look at last year's All UFA Team.

Last year's team wasn't too bad.  One player in Daniel Alfredsson retired instead of playing the season, but the remainder all played NHL roles.  The 2014 wasn't too bad.  They had two legitimate goalies in Jonas Hiller and Ryan Miller.  Anton Stralman probably turned in the top performance on their defence.  Radim Vrbata played well enough to appear in the All Star Game.  Others including Jarome Iginla, Mike Ribeiro, Thomas Vanek and Paul Stastny all showed some scoring ability.

Here are the 2014 All UFA players with their salary and statistics:

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink
 

2015 All UFA Team

Free agency begins tomorrow.  We should see a frenzy of questionable contracts signed within a few hours of its start.  I like to post an All UFA Team on the eve of free agency in order to gage how good that team would be.  Could you build a solid team from nothing just by signing free agents?  Here is last year's team.  In the next day or two, I want to attempt to quantify how good they would have been.

Here is this year's All UFA Team.  Should there be any last minute signings before tomorrow, I will update the team.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink
 

Hall Of Fame Inductions

The 2015 Hockey Hall of Fame class has just been announced.  Going in are first time eligible Nicklas Lidstrom, Sergei Fedorov and Chris Pronger.  They are all clear Hall of Famers.  In fact Sergei Fedorov and Chris Pronger are players that I wrote about when I first considered them Hall of Famers.  I wasn't blogging yet when Nicklas Lidstrom reached that threshold.  I also wrote posts for the retirements of Nicklas Lidstrom, Sergei Fedorov and Chris Pronger.  Of course the Chris Pronger retirement is a controversy as it hasn't officially happened yet.  We all know that he will never attempt to play another NHL game but for salary cap reasons he remains active on paper and was traded to the Arizona Coyotes for his salary cap hit over the weekend.  He works for the NHL and yet somehow they still consider him an active player.

Phil Housley joins this group.  He has been long overlooked.  His retirement in 2003 predated my blogging but I have long seen him as a Hall of Famer.  Housley is the fourth highest scoring defenceman of all time with 1232.  The next highest scoring eligible defenceman who is not in the Hall is Gary Suter who is almost 400 points behind Housley.  Not including Housley in the Hall made a mockery of point totals for defencemen.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink
 

Thoughts On Some Draft Day Trades

The NHL draft has come and gone.  If this is an "average" draft three of the players selected will go on to have Hall of Fame careers.  Most likely one of them was not a first round selection.  It is hard to make any definitive statements about which team had the best group of draft selections.  That will become clear over the next few years but right now we have to wait to see how a bunch of boys that we have often never seen play a single hockey game grow up.  The more immediate impact that is easier to comment upon are the trades.  I will look at the more interesting trades - those that involve NHL players and not the ones that involve trading a couple of draft picks so a team can move up in the draft.

Ottawa trades Robin Lehner and David Legwand to the Buffalo for a first round pick (Colin White)The Sabres are setting an early price for a goalie.  Buffalo has to take on a salary of a player in Legwand who is slowing down and is coming off a 27 point year and give up a first round pick to get Robin Lehner.  Lehner better be the Sabres number one goalie into the future.  Other goalies were available and they paid a big price to bring him into the fold.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink
 

NHL Awards Announced

  I have had a busy few days and am only now starting to comment on the recent happenings in the NHL.  Today I want to talk about Wednesday's NHL awards.  Here are the voting results and here are the people I would have voted for if I had a ballot.

One ballot rarely changes anything of significance, but it is always fun to see what the effect of my ballot would have been.  My fourth and fifth picks for the Selke Trophy in Paul Gaustad and Eric Nystrom were not serious players in the actual voting.  They had not placed among the top 20 vote getters.  I think the tough defensive role they played with more defensive zone starts than anyone in the league made them good candidates.  My second place Jack Adams Trophy vote for Bruce Boudreau would have moved him from 13th to 11th in the voting passing Gerard Gallant and Mike Yeo.  I think he should be much higher than that.  My Lady Byng voting would have shuffled a couple people further down in the voting.  I picked Patrick Kane to win this award.  He finished tenth in the voting.  With my vote he would have passed Ryan O'Reilly into ninth.  My fourth place vote went to Logan Couture.  He finished eighth in the voting.  My vote would have moved him into seventh passing Matt Moulson.  I was the only person to give Cory Schneider a Vezina vote with my third place selection.  I am surprised he didn't show up on any ballots.  On the all star teams, my third place vote at centre for Tyler Seguin would have pulled him into a fourth place tie with Steve Stamkos - although Stamkos has first place votes that Seguin doesn't so he would stay ahead.  Thus I wouldn't have changed anything significant - like a finalist - but I could have shuffled a few people further back in the award voting results.

Here were my comments when I saw who had been announced as finalists.  Below will be my comments on the actual winners.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink
 

Maple Leafs Adjusted +/- Ratings

A couple days ago I began my summer sabermetrics and hockey series.  I posted the top 20 players in 2014/15 by adjusted +/-.  Two of the more curious players on the list are Daniel Winnik and Stephane Robidas of the Toronto Maple Leafs.  Winnik is fifth place with a +23.4 rating.  Robidas is twentieth with a +16.4 rating.  While both have shown some puck possession skills in the past, these rankings seem too high.

Winnik was traded to Pittsburgh for Zach Sill, a 2015 second round draft pick and a 2016 second round draft pick.  Nevertheless he played enough games in Toronto to have his +/- adjusted as a Leaf for those Leaf games.  Robidas had shoulder surgery and missed the last month of the season.  Both Winnik and Robidas missed the end of the season in Toronto.

The Toronto Maple Leaf season can be broken into two parts.  Before Randy Carlyle was fired and after.  Before the Leafs had a 21-19 record with three regulation tie points.  They were a playoff team.  After with Peter Horachek coaching they were an awful 9-33 with five regulation tie points.  The assumption when adjusting +/- is that a player can be compared to the average of the team during the season.  This average is assumed to be a constant over the season.  In the case of the Leafs it isn't a constant.  It got worse as the season progressed.  If a player missed a significant portion of the late season then they missed a portion of the bad that would have hurt their +/-.  Thus the +/- adjustment for the games that Winnik and Robidas played is better than the full season adjustment that was actually used.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink
 

 1 2 3 >  Last ›      Next »

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

Feed

Most Recent Blog Posts