Several people were making top ten lists around January 1st to celebrate the bests and worsts of the last decade (2000-2009). In hockey, I think a decade is better defined as the 2000/01 season until the 2009/10 season and now that it is concluded, I will make my top ten list. Here are the ten best players of the last decade.
Martin Brodeur He firmly set himself up in the debate for the best goaltender of all time in this decade by becoming the all time winner in shutouts and wins. He won the Vezina trophy four times and the Stanley Cup once in this decade. He was chosen as a goalie for Team Canada in all three Olympiads in this decade. Brodeur clearly established himself as the top goalie in the last decade. Even as he is 38 and clearly slowing down in the final year, he was a Vezina nominee.
We are into the third day of free agency in the NHL and things are beginning to slow down. It is time to ask how good a team can get if it is built through free agency. To attempt to do that, I picked an all star team of the 2009 UFA’s to be and another one this year. Last year’s team has 21 legitimate members. I attempted to put 23 on it but in the hours between my posting of the team and the opening of the free agent season Henrik and Daniel Sedin re-signed with Vancouver and were taken out of the mix. Thus the team is slightly smaller than intended and it takes a hit in quality as those two were the best two players on it.
Here is my 2009 All UFA Team along with their salary hit and key numbers:
When Cliff Viner and Stu Siegel bought the Florida Panthers outright from Alan Cohen (where they had been minority partners), I cautioned that this may be a desperate financial move by people who are unfit financially to own an NHL team. I was criticized by Stu Hackel of the New York Times Slapshot blog for misreading the situation, but it is looking as though I am correct.
The first major change the new owners are bringing into Florida is a slashed payroll and that is consistent with them not having the money to properly finance their team, especially as it is second to the Phoenix Coyotes in recent financial losses.
I like to make an all star team of the best unrestricted free agents available each year so that I can do some analysis later and try to determine how good the team would have been if they had all been acquired by the same squad. Usually that all UFA team winds up well above the salary cap but does not look too competitive as an NHL team.
Here is last year’s team and i am yet to do any serious analysis (I will in a couple days). I screwed up on this team in that I announced it a few hours before free agency began in earnest and its two best players, Henrik and Daniel Sedin, re-signed in Vancouver before the start of free agency. Thus, those two players will have to be removed from any analysis, as they were never actually available as free agents. Had the eventual NHL MVP and the second team All Star left winger been on the team it would have been much better than it actually was.
In the last couple days I have discussed the NHL awards voting. I have written posts on the Hart Trophy and the Selke trophy. There is one more voting result I would like to comment on and that is the First Team All Star right wing. Patrick Kane of Chicago was given this award. From the voting results and looking at point totals, there were effectively four people in this race. They are Martin St Louis, Marian Gaborik, Dany Heatley and the winner Patrick Kane. No one else appeared on more than five ballots.
Last year, I wrote that the Selke Trophy voting was all messed up. I did this because there is no consensus on who to pick. Last year, there were 70 names picked on the writers’ ballots. The winner in Pavel Datsyuk was omitted from 10% of the ballots entirely. People had significant showings for having high +/- ratings without being particularly strong defensively or because they had established reputations as defensive forwards, but did not have particularly good seasons. For example, Rod Brind’Amour had the worst adjusted +/- rating in the league and several votes including one first place vote.
A year later little has changed.
The Hart Trophy was awarded to Henrik Sedin last week. I had been picking Alexander Ovechkin and feel that an incorrect choice was made. Sidney Crosby was the third nominee and he was also a strong candidate in the race.
The three MVP nominees all finished with 109 to 112 points (Sedin had 112 and the other two 109). Looking at raw offensive totals there is little difference between them. The difference between them likely has to be found either by showing their offensive numbers are not as close as they seem or by looking at things not reflected in those numbers (primarily defence).
This past week the 2010 Hockey Hall of Fame inductions were announced. The only male player inducted was Dino Ciccarelli. I think he is a player who belongs in the Hall, although there are other players who also belong there who were passed over this year. In the comments of the Hall of Fame induction thread, I promised Matthew McCallum that I would lay out his Hall of Fame case with the Keltner List of Hall of Fame questions popularized by Bill James.
Here it is:
The NHL draft is underway. The first round went yesterday and the remainder is going to occur today. It is always hard to make authoritative comments on the draft. Many players are players I have never seen. Of the few players I have seen, I have rarely seen them play very much. Even if I had seen them play a lot, I would probably get it wrong quite often as history shows the scouts do when you look at past drafts.
This draft had the false hype of Edmonton’s choice between Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin at first overall. I think that Edmonton had decided upon Hall well before the draft, but the decision was not announced publicly, so there was a story created around it. It would have been a bit of a shocker if they did pick Seguin.
A few days ago future Hall of Famer Scott Niedermayer announced his retirement and I am only now getting around to writing his career retrospective.
Scott Niedermayer was born on August 31st, 1973 in Edmonton, Alberta. As a very young kid, his family moved to the Kootenay region of eastern British Columbia and he grew up playing hockey in the minor hockey system there. In 1989 he started his junior career when he joined the Kamloops Blazers of the Western Hockey League. There he quickly blossomed into a star. By 1991, he was named to the WHL West First All Star Team and named Canadian Major Junior scholastic player of the year for a season where he scored 82 points in 57 games from defence. He also played on the gold medal winning Canadian team at the World Junior Championships. This was good enough to make him the third overall pick in the 1991 draft by the New Jersey Devils. This was the infamous draft pick that Toronto traded for Tom Kurvers, thus eliminating them from the Eric Lindros sweepstakes (Lindros was the consensus first overall pick that season).
About The Puck Stops Here
Who am I? A diehard hockey fan.
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