One question I have tried to think about is how good a team would be if they could sign unrestricted free agents in order to completely fill their roster. This summer and last summer I made 23 man all star rosters of UFA players. Assuming one team signed all of those players in a given year, how good would they be? 22 of the 23 players on the 2008 team signed in the NHL (with Jaromir Jagr signing in the KHL). They had a total salary cap hit of a little over $101 million for the season. Given a $56.7 million NHL cap this team is clearly unfeasible as an NHL club.
In order to get a bit of a handle on how good this team might have been, we can look at their 2008/09 NHL numbers
A while back I posted the top 20 adjusted +/- ratings using a counting stat method developed in the Hockey Compendium by Jeff Z. Klein and Karl-Eric Reif.
Here are the worst 20 players last season according to their adjusted +/- ratings. This group is limited to players who played at least 50 games last season and played only for one team - that is necessary for the method to give good results.
Last year, I wrote that a team is poorly run if they go into the draft and free agent signing period without a clear coach and general manager. These are the key times when a team is built for next season (and beyond) and not having the people in charge that will run those teams when those decisions are made is a problem.
The Florida Panthers do not have a clear general manager for next season. After Jacques Martin left to coach in Montreal, they have had Randy Sexton as the acting GM, but it is expected that somebody else will be brought in long-term. That is a crazy way to run any organization. Whenever the new GM comes into place, it will be too late for him to make any major moves for next season. He will basically inherit a team and not be able to make significant changes to it for months. Should Florida decide they want Sexton as GM, they should make it official. Sexton has GM experience. He was the Ottawa Senators GM during some of the franchise’s darkest years when they were among the worst teams in the league. That doesn’t give him the most impressive resume, but it is better than some people who are hired as NHL GMs.
I like to make an All Star Team of players who will be unrestricted free agents just before free agency begins in order to get a feel for the strength of the free agent market. Here is last year’s team. The most successful player on it this past season was Marian Hossa, who made the second team All Star this year and is a free agent again. Mark Streit of the New York Islanders is one of the few other success stories. Most of the players on the list are in decline and signed for contracts that are worth more than they will produce. This group of players signed for almost two times the salary cap and it is not clear that they would have been a playoff team. The exercise shows that, despite what the media often says, you cannot build a winner through free agency.
Here is this year’s team:
I am comparing these players to my Hall of Fame standards by using the questions Bill James asks about potential baseball Hall of Famers. These are very good questions that clearly get to the heart of the matter of what makes a Hall of Famer.
I am comparing them to my Hall of Fame standards using the questions Bill James asks about potential baseball Hall of Famers. I think this is an insightful group of questions that quickly hits at the heart of what makes a player a Hall of Famer
The second of the players among this year’s Hall of Fame inductions that I will make the case for his induction is Brett Hull. Here is my write-up for Steve Yzerman and here are my basic Hall of Fame standards.
I think one of the best methods to look at potential Hall of Famers is Bill James 15 questions he asks about potential baseball Hall of Famers.
Here they are:
The NHL Entry Draft is underway. It is a media spectacle that I tend to avoid. Most of the players who will be drafted are players I have never seen play a game. Even the few that I have seen, I probably haven’t seen very much. Scouting reports can be found for just about anyone online, but I think it is quite reasonable to be skeptical of them most of the time.
Of the players selected in the draft, few will make an impact in the NHL in the immediate future. Often people selected may be five or more years away from impact and when those players become ready they will have done something that will make the avid hockey fan notice them, even though they are nearly anonymous today. It is nearly impossible for anybody, including an NHL scout, to indentify those players reliably. In general, the draft is a crapshoot.
There are a few things we can say about the draft which are probably true.
I am going to interrupt the Hall of Fame profiles to discuss a trend that is not a good one for the NHL. Increasingly, some of the marquis names in the NHL are choosing to play in Europe at the tail end of their careers. A big reason for this is the salary cap. They find that they can get paid more to play in Europe than in the NHL as teams would rather fill their roster with young players who might out-perform their contracts instead of playing some of the future Hall of Fame players in the league.
The most recent example is Sergei Fedorov signing in Russia with Metallurg Magnitogorsk. He joins Jaromir Jagr in the KHL - although many rumors have Jagr returning to the NHL this summer. Reportedly, Fedorov will make around $3.8 million US for two seasons. He will be a teammate of his brother Fedor.
With the recent Hall of Fame inductions, I want to lay out what I think is the case for each of the four players inducted. I will start with Steve Yzerman as he is the most worthy of the bunch for his induction. Here is a write up about what I think the standards for the Hall of Fame are/should be. I think one of the best methods to look at a potential Hall of Famer is by looking at the questions Bill James asks of Baseball Hall of Famers.
About The Puck Stops Here
Who am I? A diehard hockey fan.
Why am I blogging? I want to.
Why are you reading it? ???