June 28 2012 07:24AM
James Mirtle came out with his list of 35 unrestricted free agent defencemen at the Globe's website on Wednesday afternoon, and after a bit of perusing, I've found a couple of names worth going after. The list was shortened as the Calgary Flames traded for, and signed, Dennis Wideman to a pretty sizeable contract, 5 years, $26M.
Goes to show just how badly teams will overpay for top free agents, and while Wideman was the best of the "second-tier" defencemen in this class, he will be remarkably overpaid. Suffice to say, you can't get a good free agent without looking for a bit of value.
June 28 2012 06:27AM
Perhaps one of the most interesting things about the James van Riemsdyk for Luke Schenn trade that went down this past weekend is the way it quickly re-shaped the Maple Leafs' roster. Schenn was all over the place on the blue line, minutes climbing and falling from game to game, but his counterpart in the deal likely won't suffer the same fate.
June 27 2012 10:25AM
This post will focus more on defence, and, admittedly, it isn't as sexy of a concept, but it's important nonetheless. Players spend half of a hockey game focusing on scoring goals, and the other half of their mindset has to be preventing them at the other end. One goal against negates one goal for, so one prevented goal must logically equal one goal.
A problem is that we don't have traditional statistics to calculate defensive production or ability. There are no 20-goal or 30-goal preventers as there are 20-goal or 30-goal scorers, but they must exist in some capacity. It's possible that Kulemin may be one of those guys.
June 27 2012 08:04AM
Unbelievably, it's impossible to find a scathing indictment of Nikolai Kulemin to dissect and disprove, as Toronto Maple Leafs media have come to grips with the concept of "shooter regression".
Nikolai Kulemin scored 30 goals in the 2011 NHL season, only to drop to seven in the very next year. A lot of this is due to the fact that Kulemin's 17.3% shooting rate from a season ago just wasn't sustainable and was bound to drop. It took quite a tumble, falling well below normal levels and landing at 6.5% on the season.
But there's a piece of worrisome data ahead, as well as a redeeming one.
June 26 2012 07:16PM
As Mats Sundin is inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, I think it's only fair that we give a little credit to the man that brought him to Toronto.