The free agent frenzy begins in less than a day. Every year, I like to make a 23 man roster of the best of the upcoming unrestricted free agent class. Here is last year’s team. This allows me to look at how good a team one can buy each summer. Usually the All UFA Team signs for well over the salary cap and produces like a non-playoff team. This goes to show that you must produce talent internally to win in the NHL today. There is no quick way to buy a team. Some of the players on the team may be only UFAs in name only in that they will re-sign with their current team if they stay in the NHL. This is my pick of the best possible team that can be made of UFA players.
There still is time for a player or two on this team to sign with the team that holds his negotiating rights before noon eastern time on July 1st when the market opens up. Should that happen, I will update the team.
Here is the 2011 All UFA Team:
The Hall of Fame inductions for 2011 were announced yesterday. Inducted were Ed Belfour, Doug Gilmour, Mark Howe and Joe Nieuwendyk. Over the next few days I want to lay out their Hall of Fame cases. Today I will start with Belfour.
Here was the career perspective that I wrote when Belfour retired.
I think the best way to lay out a Hall of Fame case is using the Keltner List. This is a series of questions popularized by Bill James to make Hall of Fame cases in baseball. Here is where I write about this list of questions and more about my Hall of fame standards.
The 2011 Hockey Hall of Fame inductions were announced a few minutes ago. In are Ed Belfour, Doug Gilmour, Mark Howe and Joe Nieuwendyk. Four players is the maximum number that can be inducted in a year and with a backlog of eligible candidates who had been overlooked in years past there are more than four players who were eligible today and should be inducted. Surprisingly, no women players or builders were inducted, as both were expected.
The four players inducted today are all worthy candidates and I will write in the future about their specific Hall of Fame cases. Ed Belfour is in his first year of eligibility. Some thought he might be forced to wait a few years for induction because of some off-ice issues, but that is not the case. I applaud the Hall of Fame committee for that decision. After all if Belfour is good enough to make the Hall of Fame next year or the year after, he was good enough this year as well.
In my first sabermetrics and hockey post of the summer, I listed the top 20 adjusted +/- ratings for 2010/11. When looking into some of the top players we found that they had benefited from a high saves percentage on their team and a low saves percentage from their opponent’s team. These saves percentages, though partially driven by the player in question, are very unrepeatable from year to year. A much more repeatable number is the number of shots directed at goal or Corsi rating.
In order to see how important saves percentages are to the players who got top adjusted +/- ratings, I thought I would list the top 20 adjusted +/- ratings along with the 5 on 5 saves percentages that existed for and against when a given player is on the ice. His +/- rating benefits from a high saves percentage for his team and a low saves percentage for his opposition.
I think the most interesting trophy race this year was the Norris Trophy race. I wrote about it a few times during the season (most recently here). There were four legitimate candidates. Very little separated them and none were big favorites. When we look at the first choices of the voters, 127 ballots were cast and 35 (or 27%) named Nicklas Lidstrom as first choice, Zdeno Chara was picked 33 times (26%), Shea Weber was picked 32 times (25%) and Lubomir Visnovsky 20 times (16%). There were also a handful of ballots naming Keith Yandle and Kris Letang as first choice. There were ten ballots that did not name Lidstrom in any position (1st through 5th), 18 omitting Shea Weber, 16 omitting Zdeno Chara and 14 omitting Lubomir Visnovsky.
From these numbers we can conclude that nobody was a consensus choice and all candidates were not seen as legitimate choices by some voters.
The NHL Awards were Wednesday night. I disagreed with some award choices and agreed with some others. The award that made the least sense is the Masterton Trophy this season.
I thought that it is a given that any player who wins a trophy in the 2010/11 season would have actually played in the 2010/11 season. I suppose that is a little less obvious when the award is a lifetime achievement award, which to some degree the Masterton Trophy is, but this is a first. Ian Laperriere of the Philadelphia Flyers won the award and he didn’t play at all this season.
The Philadelphia Flyers have significantly remade their roster. They made a series of moves that move them further away from any shot at the Stanley Cup.
The mistake seems to be an adherence to the “final piece” theory of hockey. A team needs a final piece to win and that piece must be acquired at all cost. Apparently that piece in Philadelphia is goaltending and the goaltender to solve the problems is Ilya Bryzgalov.
Bryzgalov was signed to a huge contract worth $51 million in 9 years. He is signed until 2020 when he turns 40. In order to clear salary cap room arguably their best two best forwards in Mike Richards and Jeff Carter were traded. They were traded for young players. Even if these deals work out, the players they got in return will not be ready to be NHL stars until Bryzgalov is beyond his prime.
The Hart Trophy goes to the player who is adjudged most valuable to his team. This often creates an incorrect semantic argument where a player who is less valuable is more valuable to his team because his team is worse. Without him on his team, his team would really suck. Thus some people try to pick the best example of a one man team and give the award to that one man even though he is less valuable than players on other teams.
The example I like to give is two boxes of diamonds. Which is more valuable? A million dollar diamond in a box of $100 k diamonds or a $700 k diamond in a box of gravel? If you think it is the $700 k diamond,is worth more, you failed basic math. 1 million > 700 k. The million dollar diamond is worth exactly $300 k more. If you think the $700 k one is worth more how much more do you think it is worth?
With those preliminaries aside, let’s discuss hockey.
The NHL Awards were today. As always it takes a bit of work to find the entire award voting results. For the most part I have found it. Of the awards I worry about, I am unable to find results for the Masterton Trophy voting. I also cannot find award voting for the Pearson, Foundation Award and GM of the Year, but they are awards I am less interested in. The Pearson Award is essentially another MVP but voted on by the players and not the hockey writers (I am award that people try to make a false distinction between most outstanding and MVP - if anyone thinks that a million dollar diamond is not the most valuable if it is surrounded by other hundred thousand dollar diamonds when another diamond that is worth $700 k is all alone with some gravel you can take it to the comments). The Foundation Award depends on charitable giving and other similar factors which I am in no place to evaluate by watching games. The GM of the Year is an award I disagree with in principle because being a good GM requires successfully orchestrating a multi-year plan and that cannot be evaluated meaningfully in one season.
Paul found the First and Second All Star team voting and it is here. The voting for the other awards is below the break followed by my comments on the thing.
As I continue my sabermetrics and hockey posts, I am looking at the number two adjusted +/- last year. David Backes of the St Louis Blues accomplished this with a +32 rating on a team with a +1.4 baseline.
Backes had a good season last year. He led the Blues in scoring with 62 points. He was the Blues representative in the NHL All Star Game. I think he should be a Selke Trophy nominee. Some people take this too far and suggest he is Hart Trophy candidate.
About The Puck Stops Here
Who am I? A diehard hockey fan.
Why am I blogging? I want to.
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