Best of the Nation – 12.16.12

The lockout keeps rolling on, but that doesn’t mean we lacked for quality content this week. We had another entry in our "Worst to First" jerseys series, talked about the frightening salary cap situation for a bunch of teams, looked at how forward usage by NHL coaches has evolved over the last few seasons, talked about the World Juniors and buyouts, the lockout and the league’s very best prospect, as well as half a dozen things I’m not even mentioning.

More after the jump!

Worst to first jerseys: the Winnipeg Jets. This popular series continues as designer John van der Woude breaks down the best and worst of the Jets’ (and Thrashers’) jerseys. [Jets Nation]

Lockout thoughts. Retired NHL defenceman Jason Strudwick explains the players’ perspective in this lockout. [Oilers Nation]

The changing role of forwards between 2010 and 2012. Have NHL coaches as a whole changed the way they use their forward lines over the last few seasons? The results may surprise. [NHL Numbers]

Alex Edler, gone from this salary capped world? ATTENTION: NHL NEGOTIATORS. If you’re really mean about the salary cap, the Vancouver Canucks may lose Alex Edler, allowing any other team to sign him. [Canucks Army]

Speaking of teams with a cap problem… How does Calgary survive with a rising cap? [Flames Nation]

And speaking more of teams with a cap problem… Toronto! [Leafs Nation]

The top earners in the NHL and the trickledown effect. The NHLPA contends that by imposing term/variance limits on contracts, superstars will collect more money on short-term deals, heavily damaging the “middle class” in the NHL. Are they right or wrong? [NHL Numbers]

NHL buyouts to save season? Amnesty buyouts have emerged as a point of contention between the NHL and NHLPA; will we see them and if we do how will they work? [Oilers Nation]

Ten reasons to look forward to the World Juniors. And “actual hockey being played” is only one of them. [Canucks Army]

Is Justin Schultz the best prospect in the NHL? Looking at former NHL general manager Craig Button’s list of the 30 best NHL prospects. [Oilers Nation]

Total Player Charts. This is a great concept, and worth reading just for David Koci’s chart alone. [NHL Numbers]

WHOAtherspoon! One of Team Canada’s most difficult decisions this year was in net; were they right to cut Oil Kings goalie/Flames prospect Laurent Brossoit?

In the same vein… Morgan Rielly makes the cut for Team Canada. [Leafs Nation]

Phil Housley. A great interview with a superb defenceman. [OilersNation]

Jake Gardiner leaves game with a head injury. And he is no longer “not in a concussion state.” A disappointing blow for a great young player, and proof that the Maple Leafs organization is terrified of using the word “concussion” as a standalone descriptor. [Leafs Nation/Leafs Nation]

Positive Vibes Looking at the positives of a disclaimer vote, as well as at Nugent-Hopkins and the World Juniors. [Oilers Nation]

Two Graphic Comments in the same week! In addition to the nation-wide post that ran earlier this week, Graphic Comments took a long look at how goaltenders age for NHL Numbers.

Jump to NHL Numbers for the full post.

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