September 09 2013 11:17AM
My general theory on assessing player performance is that if a player frequently produces below expectations, perhaps the problem isn't with the player. After multiple seasons of suggesting that "a player would score so much more if he only did X" perhaps it's worth considering that X doesn't lie within the player's talent threshold, and he ought to be judged for what he does on the ice as opposed to what he doesn't do.
Somehow that relates to Mason Raymond's time in Vancouver, that ended when Raymond accepted a try out offer with the Toronto Maple Leafs Sunday. Raymond may have been cursed by his one 25-goal season in 2010 as a second liner, a season that he probably never would have replicated. It takes a lot to score 25 goals in a single season, and only the very best players can consistently repeat those totals. Just 17 players have 25 or more goals in each of the previous four 82-game seasons, and only 14 more have three such seasons.
September 06 2013 12:37PM
I'm not a sports gambler, but I do find betting lines interesting and have spent the occasional afternoon looking at the spreads of a vast number of football games to see if there's a team that is overvalued or undervalued by the betting markets. Sports markets are pretty interesting—they're designed to get an equal amount of action on either end of the bet, not designed to project actual performance in the standings.
Any big change in the line is always pretty interesting. After the Maple Leafs fired Brian Burke last year, odds the Leafs would win the Stanley Cup grew from 40/1 to 33/1 within 48 hours. That's not a dramatic shift, but it was worth noting. Odds change to shift the mood of the betting public, and while Nonis only made minor moves last season and there was no reason to think he would do anything other than that.
September 05 2013 12:07PM
Darren Dreger, who is Dave Nonis' cousin, went on TSN Radio 1050 today in Toronto to say a lot of silly things about Nazem Kadri. I'm not sure why Dreger did these things, but with the contract negotiations between the Leafs and Kadri going public as Kadri is still without a deal and in his first year as a restricted free agent, it seems that Dreger is using his medium to turn public sentiment against Kadri in the dispute.
He also said a lot of wrong things, and was heavy on historical revisionism.
Here's the link to the segment, and below is a transcript. I have some thoughts breaking up Dreger's spiel periodically.
September 04 2013 03:02PM
-A sampling of favourited tweets from Mr. Kadri
I really didn't want to write another post about Nazem Kadri. I feel like my opinion is out there, that I think the Toronto Maple Leafs organization is doing the right thing by forcing the hand of Kadri a bit. Thanks to a couple of "leaks" from reporters David Alter and Bob MacKenzie, the public seems to believe that Kadri asked for an unreasonable amount of money and an unreasonable term. Kadri fired back at Alter last month (covered here by Steve) and at MacKenzie last night.
It's a negotiation tactic, of course. I don't know what Kadri thinks he's worth, and I don't know how his agent is negotiating the deal, but anchoring is a common tactic. It's conceivable to think that Kadri told his agent "I want 5, but I'll accept 4," and his agent opened with 6 in an attempt to anchor the Leafs to a high number and let them work it down. There are a multitude of scenarios that could have arisen that don't involve either the Leafs or Kadri lying to the press.
September 03 2013 01:02PM
I incorrectly stated back in July that Cody Franson would be an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2014, which potentially explains why Franson didn't opt for arbitration this summer. There is a chance that Franson would have earned above the $3.5-million threshold, had the Maple Leafs walk away from it, and become a free agent this summer, but signing a one-year deal doesn't make sense for Franson, since there's a chance he's stuck in this very same process next summer.
A player gets to unrestricted free agency by playing either seven NHL seasons, ten professional seasons, or gets to age 27 by June 30. Franson won't be 27 until August 8, 2014, so he's stuck for another year as a restricted free agent if he signs a one-year deal.
A few Leafs executives and players said things today and there's a lot of white noise (more Nazem Kadri posturing—my take is here), but after the jump I'll highlight a couple of tweets from TSN's two insiders about Franson which are pretty interesting.