Monthly Archives: June 2016

Did Kevin Shattenkirk Have a Bad Season or Has He Peaked?

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It is no secret that the St. Louis Blues tried to move Kevin Shattenkirk at the Draft last weekend. In fact, they have been trying to move Shattenkirk for a while but haven’t found a suitor that will pay a fair (read: extremely high) price for the 27 year old puck-moving defenseman. Even his agent thinks a trade involving the star defenseman is inevitable. Shattenkirk, who has one year left on his contract that carries a $4.25M cap hit, is set to become an unrestricted free agent upon expiration of his current deal and is expected to fetch top dollar on the free agent market.

One thing that complicates a trade is the fact Shattenkirk didn’t play his best hockey this year. His even strength offensive numbers were down, had a negative 5v5 GF%, and didn’t drive the team’s shot attempts numbers as much as he’s done in previous years. There is no way to sugar coat his production or his negative goal differential but his strong shot attempt numbers combined with low on-ice SH% (6.61%) and PDO (98.2%) point towards a rebound next season (one could also argue his 102.7 PDO in an injury-shortened 2014-2015 season was unsustainable and he was bound to have a regression this year anyways). On average, defensemen don’t peak until around 29 and their play doesn’t fall off as fast as forwards but Shattenkirk may not be as good as he once was.

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Offer Sheeting a RFA Defenseman is Possible But Would be Detrimental to the Bruins Future

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Last night, NHL reporter Jimmy Murphy tweeted that the Boston Bruins could be preparing an offer sheet for Winnipeg Jets restricted free agent (RFA) defenseman Jacob Trouba. Minutes later, Joe Haggerty seconded Murphy’s report stating that the price may be high but would be worth it if they feel he is the organization’s number one defenseman for the next decade. While elite defensemen are very hard to come by, offer sheeting a RFA defenseman, whether it is Trouba or Columbus’ Seth Jones, would be possible, yet detrimental to the Bruins long-term future. I do not believe this will occur or is even realistically being discussed within the Bruins front office but will explain the costs and risks associated with this scenario.

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Aaron Ekblad and the Florida Panthers Will Miss Brian Campbell

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The Florida Panthers signed defenseman Keith Yandle to a long-term deal last week after trading for his negotiation rights. Tying up $6M+ a season in Yandle until 2023 decreased the Panthers likelihood of bringing back impending unrestricted free agent Brian Campbell and signing him to a multi-year deal. The Yandle deal combined with speculation that Campbell is interested in returning to Chicago means his days in Florida are numbered..literally as Free Agent Frenzy starts this Friday. The Panthers are on the verge of losing a very effective player whom replacing will be crucial to their success moving forward.

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Detroit Looking to Deal Datsyuk’s Contract

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Datsyuk formally confirmed this weekend what everyone had been expecting since April: his retirement from the NHL and return to Russia to be with his family. Datsyuk has spent his entire 14 year NHL career in Detroit and produced at a rate of a point per game. The only downside is the timing of Datsyuk’s NHL retirement as he still has one year left of his current contract that carries a $7.5 annual average value (AAV).

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Trading For a Free Agent’s Negotiation Rights is Worth the Price

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Earlier this month, Sportsnet ran a piece on why teams would be less likely to trade for the negotiating rights to upcoming unrestricted free agents (UFAs). It stated that the UFA negotiating window that begins five days before the free agent period, introduced in the latest Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), would take its place. With teams being given a small window to negotiate with players before they are allowed to sign a contract, they wouldn’t need to pay a price to get an exclusive right to negotiate a contract with a potential free agent.

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Mistakes in the Past Year Have Cost the Bruins a Playoff Berth and Compromised Their Future

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The Boston Bruins missed the playoffs for a second straight year after going 8-8-2 following the Trade Deadline and 3-8-1 in the team’s final 12 games. During that final stretch, the team was ranked 5th in score-adjusted shot percent (54.5%), but last in total points accumulated (7). The Bruins HockeyViz diagram shows an accurate picture of the team’s struggles to end the season. While the Bruins largely dominated shot attempt percentages towards the end of the season and were very effective in limiting their opponent’s shot attempts (shown via the smoothed 5v5 shots*/60 chart), they struggled heavily to prevent goals during that same stretch (shown via the smoothed goals/shot-on-goal (%) chart). An obvious roster flaw was exposed by opponents and cost them a playoff appearance.

There is a big difference between a team making the playoffs and a team competing for the Stanley Cup. Had the Bruins rallied in the final week to make the playoffs, they would have struggled mightily against either Tampa Bay or Washington, who were the Bruin’s most likely first round opponents in the final weeks of the regular season. More importantly, the team would still have to address serious roster flaws. The defensive core was patched together this season and depth in the right wing and goaltender positions was a concern. The Bruins management cannot fixate on patching up the roster, but overhauling the system and bringing in pieces that can make contributions. Staying on the same path will prevent them from being a Stanley Cup contender both in the foreseeable future and further down the line.

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Rebuilding USA’s World Cup of Hockey Roster

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Last week, the rosters for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, which begins in September, were finalized with the final seven players being named to their respective teams. Preliminary rosters were announced back in March with each team naming the team’s first 16 players.

The United States’ final roster came under a lot of scrutiny, not because of who they selected but for who didn’t get selected for the tournament. The biggest name left off the roster was Phil Kessel, who led the United States in scoring at the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi with eight points in six games and was named the tournament’s top forward. He also has caught fire this postseason scoring nine goals and totaling 18 points in 19 games to lead the Penguins to the Stanley Cup Final.

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