Vegas Golden Knights Joust Their Way To A Succesful Expansion Draft

This past Wednesday night, the Las Vegas Golden Nights took part in an NHL Expansion Draft, making them the 31st team to enter the NHL. This draft was full of twists and turns, as well as a plethora of surprises, including a number of trades on draft night. Let’s take a statistical look at their very successful draft:

 

James Neal, LW via Nashville Predators

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Photo Credits: NHL.com

In an expansion draft in which teams could either protect 7 forwards and 3 defensemen or 8 skaters, teams were quick to lock up their top-scorers, leaving little options for Vegas’s offense. However, Vegas drafted an absolute stud in James Neal, who is one of the NHL’s top sharp-shooters and most potent offensive scoring threats. Neal has tallied at least 20 goals along with a shooting percentage of at least 10% in each of his 9 seasons in the league, which should provide substance to Vegas’s offense from Day 1.

Neal is a very durable player as well, as he logged over 1000 minutes of ice time in 8 of his 9 seasons thus far. Unlike some other sharp-shooters, Neal is anything but a liability when he is on the ice, as his relative Fenwick % (% team differences in shots+misses when on ice) and relative Corsi % (Fenwick % with blocks as well) have been positive for each of the last 7 seasons. Neal, one of the premiere scorers in the league, is also responsible for 58.5 point shares, which averages out to an impressive 6.5 point shares per season.

 

Marc Methot, D via Ottawa Senators

NHL: Ottawa Senators at Tampa Bay Lightning
Photo Credits: NHL.com

While high-scoring forwards are a very protected asset in an expansion draft, potential first-pair defenders are too, which makes it surprising that Methot was on the chopping block for Ottawa. Methot has consistently proven himself to be a lockdown, first pair defender who is capable of shutting down some of the league’s most prolific scoring threats, just ask Sidney Crosby.

Methot is an absolute tank, as he has logged at least 920 minutes of ice time in each of his 9 seasons in the league, and has recorded at least 90 hits in 8 of the 9 as well. Over the past 3 seasons, Methot hasn’t tallied a plus-minus less than +12, showing that he is very positively contributing to his team while on the ice, despite oftentimes facing the opponents’ top line. Methot is also responsible for 29 point shares, which is somewhat impressive for a defenseman who doesn’t produce offensively.

 

Marc-André Fleury, G via Pittsburgh Penguins

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Photo Credits: AP Photo

In possibly the most anticipated move regarding the Vegas Golden Knights this off-season, the Knights selected Fleury just days after winning his 3rd Stanley Cup. Despite losing his job to Matt Murray earlier this season, Fleury fought hard to gain his job back and was instrumental in the Penguins’ Stanley Cup run, showcasing the amazing goalkeeping talents he still has.

Over his 13 season career, Fleury has a .912 Save % and 2.58 GAA, which easily put him among the league’s top tier of goaltenders. Admittedly, Fleury has aged a bit and is likely more of a middle tier goaltender going forward. However, with Fleury, the Vegas Golden Knight will be getting a seasoned veteran with extensive playoff experience and multiple Stanley Cups under his belt. Fleury is also responsible for 120.3 point shares, which is the good for the 89th most in the history of the league.

 

David Perron, LW via St. Louis Blues

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David Perron, Vegas’s pick from St. Louis, is simply a grinder and embodies the tough-as-nails style of play that Vegas is going to play with. Perron has recorded at least 1000 minutes of ice time in the last 5 of 6 seasons, which is seriously impressive given his aggressive style of play. Over the past 4 years, Perron has made his presence felt by averaging 129 hits per season, which is practically unheard of for a forward.

With that being said, Perron can also produce on the offensive side of the ice as well. In the past 10 seasons, Perron has finished with at least 36 points in 7 of them. Additionally, Perron has a 12% shooting % over the course of his career, which makes him a legitimate scoring threat if he shoots more. As “irrelevant” as some might think he is, Perron is responsible for a solid 42.4 point shares in his career.

 

Alexei Emelin, D via Montreal Canadiens

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Photo Credits: NHL.com

Alexei Emelin, Vegas’s pick from the Montreal Canadiens, bears striking resemblances to David Perron in his style of play. Just as Perron, Emelin is a very physical player, who embodies that grinder and tough-as-nails style on the blueline. Emelin is a very solid, yet physical defender and has recorded 189 hits or more in 5 of the past 6 seasons. What is the lone exception you might ask? It was the 2012-13 season where he only played in 38 games.

Emelin is a trooper as he has recorded 1130 minutes of ice time in 5 of the past 6 seasons, with one again, the lone exception being in 2012-13. Emelin has proven in the past that he can be a lock-down defender with a very physical edge, and should be a valuable edition to the Vegas Golden Knights’ roster. Emelin has recorded 14.5 point shares over the past 5 seasons, which is impressive for a non-producing (offensively speaking) defenseman.

 

Jonathan Marchessault, C via Florida Panthers

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Photo Credits: Sports Illustrated

The Florida Panthers’ logic going into this expansion draft was quite questionable, as they left an absolute young stud in Jonathan Marchessault. Marchessault is a young, rising star with serious goal-scoring potential and should provide an immediate offensive boost for Vegas.

Marchessault recorded 51 points last season via 30 goals and 21 assists, which is a seriously impressive mark for such a young player. Marchessault is also a power play threat, as he tallied 18 power play points via 8 goals and 10 assists. He played 1268 minutes last season, which is quite a large amount for a young player as well, and shows that he can be heavily utilized in Vegas. Marchessault was responsible for 6.2 point shares last season, which is quite notable also.

 

Data courtesy of ESPN, Hockey Reference, NHL.com, CBS Sports, and Sports Illustrated. Thanks for reading!

Written by Jason Platkin

Cover Photo Credits: NHL.com

 

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‘King Henrik’: A Generational Talent Gone To Waste

Most hockey fans would have no difficulty saying that Henrik Lundqvist is a great goalie, probably even the best of the post-lockout era (2005-present). However, when the conversation arises about Lundqvist being elite, people are generally a lot more hesitant to throw him into that “club”. Although I am likely a bit biased as a Rangers’ fan, I have some difficulty seeing where they are coming from. Hear me out here, I am going to list some of his remarkable achievements, and it is going to be shocking to that he is not considered an elite goalie.

  • Fastest goalie in NHL history to 400 wins
  • 1st goalie in NHL history to have 20 wins in each of his 1st 12 seasons
  • 1st goalie in NHL history to finish top-6 in Vezina voting in each of his 1st 10 seasons
  • Most wins by a European-born goalie

Pretty remarkable, right? However, it was just 2 short months ago that every Rangers’ fan was wondering whether Henrik Lundqvist, New York’s undisputed sports hero, still had a spot in New York after a series of poor performances. Antti Raanta, New York’s talented backup goaltender, had made a number of impressive starts while filling in during Lundqvist’s drought, and some questions started to arise about Lundqvist’s future in New York.

Well, let’s just say that Henrik Lundqvist did what Henrik Lundqvist does best: prove all the haters wrong. After a string of weak starts, ‘The King’ bounced back better than ever, leaving no doubt in anyone’s mind that he is the best goalie in New York, and probably even the NHL. Over the 14-game stretch following his drought, the Rangers’ went 10-3-1, led by a stellar performance in net by Lundqvist, in which he allowed 2 goals or less in 10 of the 14 games. Additionally, he did not allow more than 3 goals in any game during that stretch, guiding the Rangers’ back towards the top of the Metropolitan Division. While just 15 games ago his future in New York was unknown, Lundqvist has reasserted himself as the undisputed ‘King’ both of New York, but also this generation of hockey.

Before we move on further, let’s just make something clear: Henrik Lundqvist is the undisputed best goalie of this generation (post-lockout) and belongs in the conversation for one of the best goalies to ever play the game. If you don’t believe me (which most non-Rangers fans likely won’t), let’s take a look at his numbers against Martin Brodeur, Patrick Roy, and Dominik Hasek, arguably the 3 best goalies in NHL history.

Record Points per 82 Games GAA Save %

Lundqvist

402-244-74 100.0 2.31

0.920

Brodeur

691-397-105 102.2 2.24

0.912

Roy

551-315-131 101.4 2.54

n/a

Hasek 389-223-82 101.6 2.20

0.922

In the chart shown above, Lundqvist, Brodeur, Roy, and Hasek all appear to be in a very similar class, as their numbers are virtually identical. Admittedly, Lundqvist only has one Stanley Cup appearance (compared to Brodeur’s 3, Hasek’s 4, and Roy’s 5) and is a bit weaker in the points per 82 games category, in which he averaged 1.4 fewer points per season than his next closest competitor. However, these can both be explained by Lundqvist’s somewhat weak teams where he has lacked a championship-caliber supporting cast, as Brodeur, Hasek, and Roy all benefitted from being on much better teams, both offensively and defensively.

In New Jersey, Brodeur had the luxury of playing behind Scott Stevens and Scott Niedermayer for 11 years, both of whom are in the Hall of Fame now, and surely boosted Brodeur’s stats. Even adjusted for age, Brodeur’s stats dropped off the cliff after he lost these two stud defensemen.

In Colorado, Roy had Chelios, Robinson, Bourque, and Blake all at the same time, which proved to be a lethal offensive and defensive combination. On top of that, Roy played behind some of the best teams in recent history in Colorado, which surely inflated his goaltending statistics.

In Detroit, Hasek had possibly one of the best teams in NHL history, as he played behind Steve Yzerman, Sergei Fedorov, Nicklas Lidstrom, Brendan Shanahan, Brett Hull, Luc Robitaille, Pavel Datsyuk, and Chris Chelios all at the same time, which undoubtedly had to make Hasek’s job one of the easiest in the NHL.

On the other hand, Lundqvist’s teams have severely lacked star power, especially for scoring goals up front, as the Rangers consistently have had problems scoring ever since Lundqvist came along. While the other 3 goalies have benefitted by playing with Hall of Famers in their prime, New York has time and time again brought in out-of-prime players who used to be really good but are no longer productive. Additionally, during his time in New York, Lundqvist’s 2 best defensemen have been Girardi and McDonough, both of whom are barely considered elite in today’s league, not to mention NHL history.

Unlike the other 3 goalies who were on teams that likely would have been quite good without them, Lundqvist has single-handedly made alright Rangers teams into very competitive ones. Additionally, Lundqvist’s historically clutch performances in Game 7’s have advanced the Rangers much further than they should have gone in the playoffs in recent years, yet another thing that gives him a slight edge over Brodeur, Roy, and Hasek. In any case, the Rangers are wasting his finite talent, and better get a move on it before it all goes to waste. Let’s look at their current situation:

There is no point in pretending that the Rangers have a realistic chance winning the cup this year without making some major changes. The only way the Rangers can fix their path to ultimate destruction in the future is by taking a more futuristic approach that still has a win-now mentality. Let’s be real here … although he appears like an immortal at some times, Lundqvist is NOT going to last forever. At best, Lundqvist has 3 to 5 years left in his prime and likely has about 7 to 9 productive years left in his career, and if the Rangers have any chance of winning the cup in the near future, it’s going to be when Lundqvist is still in town.

So you might ask how the Rangers would go about this approach? The Rangers need to transition from a line-up of players who are old and out of their prime (ex: Rick Nash) to a line-up of young, dynamic players (ex: Chris Kreider), and if they want any chance of winning soon, they need to do it fast. Dumping cap space by cutting players such as Rick Nash, Marc Staal, and Dan Girardi, and resigning players such as Mika Zibanejad, is imperative to the Rangers’ success in the future. Targeting young free agents, such as Kevin Shattenkirk, in the off-season, and not making other poor decisions (Duclair/Yandle trade, St. Louis/Callahan trade, Stralman non-signing, Hagelin trade, Talbot trade) is key to the Rangers’ success in the future.

While things and people can always change, in all honesty, this situation is not going to (or at least without shocking the world). Lundqvist is a once-in-a-generation player and unfortunately, his talents are likely going to go to waste, as if nothing major changes in the next couple of years, he is going to retire without winning a Cup.

 

Data courtesy of ESPN, NHL.com, Hockey Reference, thehockeynews.com, and theglobeandmail.com. Thanks for reading!

Written by Jason Platkin

Cover Photo Credits: Getty Images

Welcome To The League Rook

** All stats are as of November 17th, 2016 **

We are now a little bit more than 1/5 of the way through the 2016-17 NHL season, one that has been filled with twists and turns. The New York Rangers (26 points, 17 games) and Montreal Canadiens (28 points, 17 games) have been pleasant surprises, seriously outplaying their preseason expectations, while the New York Islanders (13 points, 16 games) and Nashville Predators (15 points, 15 games) have disappointed. But one thing is for sure: this year’s draft class has been phenomenal. Nearly every high draft pick has met or exceeded expectations, but there have been 3 clear winners from the draft: the Toronto Maple Leafs, New York Rangers, and Patrik Laine.

 

Key rookie acquisitions for the Toronto Maple Leafs:

Auston Matthews (19), Center – 3rd Line

William Nylander (20), Right Wing – 2nd Line

Mitch Marner (19), Right Wing – 1st Line

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Auston Matthews and William Nylander, two rookie studs for the redefined Toronto Maple Leafs celebrate after Matthews scored a goal. Photo Credits: Sean Kilpatrick / The Canadian Press

This year’s draft could not have gone any more perfectly for the Toronto Maple Leafs, as they drafted 3 studs, who have already exceeded expectations thus far. The Maple Leafs’s draft class, as predicted, has been led by the first overall pick in the 2016 NHL draft, Auston Matthews. While each member of the trio has been lethal individually (2nd, 4th, and 5th in points among rookies), what has truly been incredible is the combined success among them.

Toronto’s first line, usually composing of Mitch Marner, Tyler Bozak, and James van Riemsdyk has averaged more than one goal per game thus far and has potentially been the best line in the NHL. The effect of Marner on van Riemsdyk’s performance has been absolutely huge; van Reimsydk is averaging .5 goals per game this year, way up from .35 last year and .329 the year before. While Toronto has been by no means “good” this year (17 points in 16 games), this first line, mainly fueled by rookies, has led to significant improvement from last year (69 points in 82 games).

Obviously, Matthews’ and Nylander’s effect has been felt as well. Nylander has been a key figure on the first powerplay unit, already scoring 4 powerplay goals in just 16 games. Additionally, Nylander is 3rd among rookies in points with 14. Matthews, the number #1 pick in this past year’s draft has been quite stellar as well, recording 6 goals and 7 assists thus far.

 

Key rookie acquisitions for the New York Rangers:

Jimmy Vesey (23), Left Wing – 2nd Line

Pavel Buchnevich (21), Left Wing – Line depends on night

Brady Skjei (22), Defenseman – 3rd Pair

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Jimmy Vesey celebrates with his linemates after scoring yet another goal. Photo Credits: Jim McIsaac

Both the Toronto Maple Leafs and New York Rangers have hit the jackpot on rookies they have acquired this past offseason, but the New York Rangers have enjoyed much more success so far, as they are leading the Metropolitan Division with 26 points and the NHL with a goal differential of +32. Their rookie class, primarily led by Jimmy Vesey, Pavel Buchnevich, and Brady Skjei, has played a crucial role in the Rangers’ success this season.

Jimmy Vesey and Pavel Buchnevich have been absolutely crucial to the Rangers’ offense because of their superb passing. Additionally, they have revitalized the once lackluster powerplay, as the Rangers have the 7th ranked powerplay unit in the NHL (in terms of scoring percentage), up from 14th last year. While Vesey and Buchnevich have not been “outstanding” statistically this year, both have put up very respectable performances, averaging a little less than 1 point a game each (.7 points per game for Vesey and .8 points per game for Buchnevich).

Brady Skjei has also proven to be a valuable member of the Rangers’ defense, not only defensively, but also offensively. Skjei has been a lockdown defender so far with his physical play. Additionally, Skjei is 2nd among all rookie defensemen (Werenski is first) in points, with 11 points in just 18 games.

 

Patrik Laine (18), Right Wing – 1st Line

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Laine just a young rookie, leads the league in goals through the first month of the season. Photo Credits: Trevor Hagan/The Canadian Press via AP

Patrik Laine has been nothing short of spectacular this season, leading the NHL, not just rookies, in goals (12) and hat tricks (2). Additionally, Laine is 2nd in the league in goals created (8.1), 2nd in power play goals (5), 9th in points (17), and 4th in offensive point shares (2.4). To put this into perspective of how amazing it is, Laine leads rookies in all 6 of these stats, and in most categories, the race isn’t even close.

While Laine’s performance thus far has not been record-breaking (he can thank Teemu Selanne for that), it is nonetheless still quite impressive. Laine is on pace for 55 goals, 22 assists, and 77 points this season, as well as an astonishing 23 power play goals and 36.9 goals created. What’s even more incredible about Laine’s season is that he hasn’t even hit his full potential; Laine is still a developing player who has not yet hit his peak performance.

 

Data courtesy of NHL.com, Fox Sports, ESPN, CBS Sports, and Hockey Reference. Thanks for reading!

Written by Jason Platkin

Cover Photo Credits: John Woods / The Canadian Press

World Cup Of Hockey Preview

The World Cup Of Hockey is an international, NHL-sanctioned hockey tournament that is scheduled to occur every four years starting in 2016. The 3rd World Cup Of Hockey is scheduled to start on September 17th and should be a thrilling battle between the world powers, after an unsettling finish at Sochi. Below we’ll analyze who the biggest favorites are for this tournament.

 

Team USA:

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Team USA celebrates at the Winter Olympics in 2014. They hope to redeem themselves after failing to medal in Sochi. Photo Credit: USATSI

Team USA has possibly the best all-around player in Patrick Kane. Kane was simply on another level last season, finishing first in the league in points per game, goals created per game, and point shares. In addition to that, Team USA  has one of the best goalies in the tournament as well in Ben Bishop. Last season, Bishop finished 2nd in save percentage, 1st in goals against average, 1st in goals saved above average, and 2nd in goals allowed adjusted. Team USA boasts an impressive young roster that has a legitimate chance to win this tournament.

 

Team Canada:

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Team Canada looks to back up their Gold Medal from Sochi and remain as the best team in the world. Photo Credits: Harry How/Getty Images

While Team USA has the best player in the tournament, Team Canada has an unmatched arsenal of snipers and prolific goal scorers. Team Canada has Bergeron, Crosby, Stamkos, Tavares, Perry, and Duchene who respectively finished 14th, 7th, 7th, 10th, 9th, and 19th in goals last season. In addition to that, Team Canada also has huge defensive talent in Drew Doughty, Shea Weber, and Brent Burns, as well as possibly the best goalie in the tournament in Carey Price. Team Canada returns an experienced, veteran roster, which comes in as the sure favorite to win this tournament.

 

Team Sweden:

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Team Sweden will get another chance to come out on top after finish with a Silver Medal at Sochi. Photo Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USATODAYSports
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Team Russia looks to rebound as a world power after a weak showing in Sochi. Photo Credits: Julio Cortez/AP

Team Russia is seriously talented this year, much more so than people recognize. Team Russia had 4 players finish in the top 20 in goals created (Ovechkin, Tarasenko, Panarin, Kucherov) as well as 3 players in the top 15 in powerplay goals (Ovechkin, Tarasenko, Malkin). In addition, Team Russia also has Pavel Datsyuk, who also packs some serious talent onto this roster. Despite Team Russia’s aging roster, their prolific scoring threats make them a serious contender in this year’s World Cup of Hockey.

 

Team North America:

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Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Team North America look to impress in their first tournament together. Photo Credits: Jean-Yves Ahern – USA TODAY Sports

This team is full of young, emerging stars who are the future of the NHL and provide an interesting twist to this tournament. Composed entirely of players ages 23 or younger, Team North America is absolutely star-studded, possibly even more so than the other international powers in this tournament. Despite their inexperience, especially in comparison to other teams, Connor McDavid, Johnny Gaudreau, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins should fuel this elite team, making them a serious contender in this tournament.

 

Despite strong showings at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, as well as hockey tournaments worldwide, I do not believe that Team Finland, Team Czech Republic, or Team Europe has a realistic to win this tournament due to the unbelievable talent the other 5 teams possess. However, as shown at Sochi (Team Finland finished 3rd, Team USA and Team Russia didn’t medal), anything is possible, which makes this rejuvenated tournament all the more interesting.

 

Data courtesy of ESPN, Hockey Reference, Fox Sports, NHL.com, and CBS Sports. Thanks for reading!

Written by Jason Platkin

Cover Photo Credit: Doug Mills/The New York Times

Déjà Vu, Chiarelli

In late June, the Edmonton Oilers traded Taylor Hall to the New Jersey Devils in the most surprising move of the off-season. But with Chiarelli as Edmonton’s GM, this move should hardly come as a surprise given his history of trading rising stars.

In late July, the Edmonton Oilers shocked the hockey world when they sent Taylor Hall to the New Jersey Devils in exchange for Adam Larsson. It’s safe to say that Oilers fans were unhappy with this move; the term “worst trade in history” was thrown around by Oilers fans as well as hockey analysts all over social media.

While this trade clearly benefitted New Jersey, it appears Edmonton had some logical motivation to go through with this deal. Edmonton had a gaping hole in their defense last year, one that they hope Larsson, a solid first pair defender, could fix immediately and cheaply. This trade also freed up enough cap space to allow Edmonton to sign Milan Lucic this past off-season.

Even though Edmonton was able to solve its short-term defensive gap and add a quality player in Milan Lucic, the deal seems too short-sighted and the price seems too high. After all, they traded Taylor Hall, a potential once in a generation player.

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This trade was obviously bad for Edmonton. But exactly how bad was it? Let’s analyze!

Taylor Hall, who will turn 25 this season, is widely considered one of the most promising rising stars in the NHL, as he has already established himself as a prolific goal-scorer at such a young age. Hall recorded 65 points last season, effectively placing him 23rd in the league among all skaters. Hall also finished with a respectable 5.8 Offensive Point Shares last season.

Hall was simply spectacular last year, as he was only one of seven players under 24 to record 65 or more points. What’s even more impressive is that he didn’t even perform his best last season; he finished with a stunning 80 points in the 2012-13 season when he was just 22 years old!

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Despite this being a poor trade for Edmonton, Larsson is by no means a bad player. In fact, he was one of the best defenders in the NHL last year, making him the perfect addition to Edmonton’s weak defensive group. Larsson’s performance last year was very respectable, as he finished 45th in Time on Ice per game, 60th in hits, and 27th in blocks among all skaters. Additionally, Larsson finished second in the league with 6.6 Defensive Point Shares, just behind Drew Doughty’s league leading 7.1 Defensive Point Shares.

NHL: Los Angeles Kings at Ottawa Senators

Lucic, 28, was not nearly as productive as Hall or Larsson last season, but still, put up respectable numbers. Last year, Lucic recorded 55 points, which placed him 63rd among all skaters. Lucic finished last year with an unreal +26 in +/-, which was 9th among all skaters, as well as a mediocre 4.6 Offensive Win Shares.

Based purely on last year’s stats, it’s apparent that the Oilers got the short end of the stick in this trade, as they traded a prolific goal-scorer for a solid defenseman. Prolific goal-scorers are much harder to come by than solid defensemen, making this a costly mistake for Edmonton. In addition, the Oilers could have potentially signed Lucic without the trade, as they only cleared about $2 million in cap space in the trade.

hall-home

However, if you look at the long-term picture for Edmonton, it becomes much more obvious why Oilers fans are referring to this trade as “the worst in history”. While Larsson is a solid, young defender, he has likely hit his ceiling in terms of productivity. On the other hand, Hall is a rising young star, who is on track to become a prolific goal-scorer in a couple of years.

While the future is unpredictable, Hall appears like he is a once in a generation player, while Larsson is only an average first-pair defenseman. Edmonton either should have traded a lot less for Larsson or demanded a much bigger return for Hall. While Lucic might have been a nice signing, he certainly doesn’t make up for the damage done in the trade.

But why should this trade hardly come as a surprise? Look no further than the man below: Peter Chiarelli.

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Since Chiarelli became the Bruins GM in 2006, there have only been 55 players in the NHL who averaged more than 0.77 points per game (minimum of 200 games played). Only 4 players from that group were traded at age 26 or younger: Ilya Kovalchuk, Taylor Hall, Tyler Seguin, and Phil Kessel.

Kovalchuk was traded by Atlanta during the 2009-10 season after it became apparent they didn’t have enough cap space to resign him at the end of the year. The other 3 players (Hall, Seguin, and Kessel) were traded by the current Oilers GM, Peter Chiarelli. In conclusion, players with Hall’s age, skill, and potential simply don’t get traded unless Chiarelli is the GM.

So let’s take a look how the other trades turned out:

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In 2009, Boston (Chiarelli as GM) sent Phil Kessel to Toronto for 2 first-round picks and 1 second-round pick.

These draft picks turned into Tyler Seguin, Dougie Hamilton, and Jared Knight. Seguin has obviously blossomed into one of the best players in the NHL. Hamilton is a mediocre defenseman and Knight never made it to the NHL because of injuries. Since being acquired by Toronto, Kessel has averaged 0.61 points per game and has been a crucial veteran in the playoffs for Pittsburgh.

This would have worked out very nicely had the Bruins not traded Seguin 4 years later, which we will discuss below.

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In 2013, Boston (Chiarelli as GM) sent Tyler Seguin, Rich Peverley, and Ryan Button to the Stars in exchange for Loui Eriksson, Joseph Morrow, Reilly Smith and Matt Fraser.

Since being acquired by Dallas, Seguin has averaged 1.05 points per game along with 10 powerplay goals per season. Seguin is only 24 years old and has plenty of room to mature and become an even better player. Meanwhile, Eriksson’s performance has dipped substantially and none of the prospects panned out.

Let’s be generous and say these trades didn’t exactly turn out well for Chiarelli.

In conclusion, this trade was downright terrible for Edmonton. Barring a major injury to or drop-off in Taylor Hall’s performance, the Oilers will come to regret this trade for years. Not only will Hall become a superstar, but he also has a very reasonable contract. However, given Chiarelli’s history, this trade should not come as a surprise. He traded Seguin and Kessel, both nearly identical to Hall in terms of age and potential when traded, and came to deeply regret those decisions years later. Every piece of evidence points towards history repeating itself, hence the title “Déjà Vu, Chiarelli”.

 

Data Courtesy of Hockey Reference, Spotrac, ESPN, CBS Sports, thehockeynews.com, and NHL.com. Thanks for reading!

Written by Jason Platkin

Photo Credits: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports, THE CANADIAN PRESS/Amber Bracken, theoilersrig.com, Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America, Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports, oilers.nhl.com, mgrptylerseguin.weebly.com, GENE J. PUSKAR / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)

It Isn’t Over Yet, New York

The Rangers’ best days appear to be behind them. But after this trade, they might be headed in the right direction.

In mid-July, the New York Rangers traded Derick Brassard and a 7th-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft to the Ottawa Senators. In exchange, the New York Rangers received Mika Zibanejad and a 2nd-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft.

As a Rangers fan, when I first heard of the trade, I was appalled. Zibanejad? For Derick Brassard? Are you serious? We are trading Derick Brassard, a prolific scorer and the best post-season performer in recent history for the Rangers, for some young guy I have never heard of? However, as I soon discovered, I was quite misguided on my opinions on the deal.

Derick Brassard came to New York in early 2014 through a trade that sent Marian Gaborik to Columbus. Ever since Brassard’s arrival, he has been a hometown favorite for his hustle, distinguished performance on the powerplay, and excellence in the playoffs.

Brassard led the Rangers with a career-high 27 goals last season and recorded 58 points as well (second on the team).

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Mika Zibanejad was drafted by Ottawa in the 1st-round of the 2011 NHL Draft. Zibanejad has been progressing nicely since being drafted, recording career-highs in each of his first 5 seasons. Last year, he finished 5th on the team in goals, assists, and points.

Zibanejad and Calgary Flames center Sean Monahan were the only players 22 years old or younger to score 20 goals and win at least 50% of their faceoffs (minimum 1,000 faceoffs) last season.

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Who exactly got the better end of this trade? Let’s analyze!

Last year, Derick Brassard finished with 1.13 Goals/60 and 0.34 PPG/60, respectively placing him 1.4 standard deviations above the mean in both stats (92nd percentile). In terms of scoring, this puts Brassard at an elite level.

On the other hand, Zibanejad finished the year with 0.88 Goals/60 and 0.08 PPG/60, placing him 0.75 standard deviations above and 0.33 standard deviations below the mean (87th percentile and 37th percentile). While Zibanejad averaged fewer goals per 60 minutes than Brassard did, he should still be considered a prolific scorer. Contrary to his reputation, he was substantially below average in power play scoring.

Purely based on scoring, Brassard has the upper hand, especially considering that he had 5 more power play assists than Zibanejad. However, Zibanejad is also a key contributor on the penalty kill, while Brassard plays the vast majority of his special teams minutes on the powerplay.

Brassard and Zibanejad finished with similar, but below average numbers on turnover differential, Corsi %, +/-, and expected +/-.

Both Brassard and Zibanejad were slightly above average on faceoffs, with Brassard coming in at 50.2% and Zibanejad coming in at 50.5%.

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So, on first glance, it appears that the Senators easily won this trade. Right?

The Senators are receiving a developed player, who has proven to be a prolific scorer, especially in the postseason, while the Rangers are receiving a developing player. However, if you look deeper, it is actually the New York Rangers who won this trade.

With the exception of power play goals, Brassard and Zibanejad are virtually identical players with one key difference. Zibanejad is 5 years younger than Brassard! This means that Zibanejad still has plenty of time to develop and is nowhere close to his prime, while Brassard, 28, is likely experiencing his peak right now.

Additionally, Brassard’s cap hit is $2.5 million more than Zibanejad’s in the 2016-17 season. This trade freed up $2.5 million in cap space for the Rangers next season, which effectively allowed the Rangers to sign both Chris Kreider and Kevin Hayes during their arbitration hearings.

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Even though Zibanejad is a free agent after the 2016-17 season, he is a RFA, meaning that the Rangers can sign him as long as they match the highest offer. This gives the Rangers great flexibility in the future as they can resign Zibanejad if they want to, but could also pass on him. Considering he is a highly talented young player, the Rangers will likely not have enough cap space to sign him unless they clear cap space.

On top of that, the Rangers received a 2nd-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft. 2nd-round picks in the past have proven to be a great asset in trade negotiations. Additionally, many talented players have come out of the 2nd-round, including P.K. Subban, James Neal, Patrice Bergeron, and Duncan Keith.

Although the Rangers’ management has made some bad calls in the past 2 years, (Carl Hagelin trade, Dan Boyle signing, Keith Yandle trade, Cam Talbot trade, Martin St. Louis trade) this trade certainly isn’t one of them. While this trade may have benefitted the Ottawa Senators, the New York Rangers certainly won this trade.

Data courtesy of Hockey Reference and NHL.com. Thanks for reading!

Written by Jason Platkin

Photo Credits: Scott Levy/NHLI via Getty Images, http://www.penguins.nhl.com, http://www.boston.com, Scott Levy/NHLI via Getty Images, Brian Babineau/NHLI/Getty Images