Kukla's Korner

The Puck Stops Here

Chicago’s RFA Mistake

The Chicago Blackhawks appear to have made a very big procedural mistake.  Six of their players, Cam Barker, Troy Brouwer, Ben Eager, Colin Fraser, Aaron Johnson and Kris Versteeg (many reports have called this group the Chicago Five - it is unclear if that means one of these six is not involved), may have not received qualifying offers correctly.  If this is the case, these players would become unrestricted free agents.  Apparently, these players had their qualifying offers mailed to them on June 29th.  The deadline for players to receive their qualifying offers is 4PM ET on June 29th (early stories incorrectly listed July 1st as a deadline).  Usually, qualifying offers are sent by courier or by fax to the player’s agent, but this was not done in these cases.
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Top 20 Adjusted +/- (Rate Stat)

I have written about the top 20 and worst 20 adjusted +/- ratings when adjusted as a counting stat from last season.  This is not the only way to adjust +/- ratings.  Gabe Desjardins of behind the net calculates them in a different manner.  He calculates the */- per minute when a player is on the ice and his team’s +/- per minute for the team when a player is off the ice and compares them to make an adjustment.  This uses +/- as a rate statistic.  As a result, his method is better at finding players who do not play as many games or as much playing time than the previous method.

Here are last year’s top 20 adjusted +/- ratings by this method (among players with 50 or more NHL games played):

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How Good Was The 2008 All UFA Team?

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

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Worst 20 Adjusted +/-

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.

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Some Poorly Run Teams

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.

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A UFA All Star Team

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:

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Luc Robitaille’s Hall Of Fame Case

This is the final of the Hall of Fame cases for 2009.  Here is the case for Steve Yzerman, here is the case for Brett Hull and here is the case for Brian Leetch.

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.

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Brian Leetch’s Hall Of Fame Case

This is the third Hall of Fame case I am making this year.  Here is Steve Yzerman’s case and here is Brett Hull’s.

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

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Brett Hull’s Hall Of Fame Case

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:

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The Draft

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.

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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

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