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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
Back in December, Scott Cullen wrote about relative possession numbers in his Statistically Speaking column. He took defensemen who averaged 15+ TOI/gm and forwards who averaged 12+ TOI/gm and sorted them based on their relative possession numbers (CF%Rel). He then analyzed defensemen with < 15 TOI/gm and forwards with < 12 TOI/gm. He wrote:
Then, some forwards that aren’t playing a whole lot but, based on relative possession stats, could be worth considering for more ice time.
This made me wonder, should a strong relative possession statistic be taken in consideration when determining if a depth player can handle a larger role? And if so, how much weight should it hold?
Steven Stamkos’ numbers are down this year. He is currently tied for 7th in the league with 26 goals, fourteen behind Alex Ovechkin for the league’s lead, and 29th in the league with 47 points though 60 regular season games this year. Let’s break down his statistics to find out why his production has dropped off:
I’ve identified a group of top goaltenders in the league, comparable to the playing level of our identified puck-moving goaltenders. This includes Jonathan Quick, Marc-Andre Fleury, Henrik Lundqvist, Tuukka Rask, Braden Holtby, Devan Dubnyk, Corey Crawford, and Pekka Rinne. While none are specifically known for their puck-handling abilities, it is very possible that one or more of these goalies could positively impact possession statistics as much as if not more than our previously labeled puck-moving goaltender subgroup but don’t get the credit they deserve. I will similarly analyze their possession WOWYs, beginning at even strength, to see their impact to their team’s possession statistics.
Earlier we looked at how puck-moving goaltenders impact possession at even strength. Now, we’ll look at another important aspect of the game to see if puck-moving goaltenders can have an impact on possession statistics on special teams, either on the power play or while shorthanded. I’ll analyze these metrics in a similar fashion as was presented at even strength.