Jan 132009
 

With all the Lecavalier trade talk, the question of the day is this: Is Vincent Lecavalier over rated?

Yesterday I read someone who rated Lecavalier one of the top 10, possibly even a top 5, player in the NHL? Is he this good? Is he even top 20? I am not so sure.

The evidence for Lecavalier being one of the best in the NHL would include the fact that he has won a Stanley Cup, the fact that he has had a 50 goal season and a 108 point season and the fact that in addition to being skilled he can play a physical game. But is this enough to rank him among the elite?

While there is no doubt he is an very good hockey player there is ample evidence to conclude that maybe he isn’t among the best of the best.

In his 10 seasons in the NHL (if you include the first half of this season) he led his team in scoring just three times and was second just two other times.

In his 10 seasons in the NHL he has just two seasons where he achieved a point per game pace.

He has only twice scored more than 35 goals or more than 80 points.

In the season when the Lightning won the Stanley Cup Lecavalier finished 4th in team scoring in both the regular season and the playoffs.

In 752 career NHL games he has just 290 goals and 640 points which is good but unspectacular. For example, Eric Lindros, who also had size and played a physical game, had 372 goals and 865 points in about the same number of games (760).

This year will be just his 4th all-star game appearance, has never won an MVP award and only once was named to the NHL’s second all-star team.

Save for a season or two he has played mostly on bad teams.

That is a lot of evidence against Lecavalier being an elite level star NHL player which many people believe he is. So, is Lecavalier over rated and where would you rank Lecavalier among NHL forwards? Is he worth his 11 year $85 million contract extension he signed in the summer? If you were Tampa, would you consider trading him? If you were Bob Gainey would you trade two or more roster players, a top prospect and a first round pick for Lecavalier?

Jan 092009
 

Back on November 25th the NHL was at the quarter point of the season so I decided to take a look at what it would take for teams to make the playoffs. Now that we are approximately at the halfway point it is time to revisit that question and look at what teams will have to do in the second half if they are to make the post season.

I assumed that a team will need 94 points to make the playoffs which in most years post lock out has been enough though in any given season and conference it may not. Right now in the eastern conference the 8th place Sabres are on pace for 92 points and in the west the 8th place Wild are on pace for 88 points. Once playoff contenders stock up on extra talent at the trade deadline we should see these numbers increase so 94 seems like a reasonable goal if a team wants a really good chance of making the playoffs.

Team GP Pts Pts/Gm GR RPts RPts/GR %Pace
Boston 41 64 1.56 41 30 0.73 46.9
Washington 41 57 1.39 41 37 0.90 64.9
Montreal 40 54 1.35 42 40 0.95 70.5
Philadelphia 41 53 1.29 41 41 1.00 77.4
New Jersey 40 49 1.23 42 45 1.07 87.5
NY Rangers 42 51 1.21 40 43 1.08 88.5
Buffalo 40 45 1.13 42 49 1.17 103.7
Carolina 42 47 1.12 40 47 1.18 105.0
Florida 41 44 1.07 41 50 1.22 113.6
Pittsburgh 42 44 1.05 40 50 1.25 119.3
Toronto 41 38 0.93 41 56 1.37 147.4
Ottawa 39 32 0.82 43 62 1.44 175.7
Tampa Bay 40 32 0.80 42 62 1.48 184.5
Atlanta 42 33 0.79 40 61 1.53 194.1
NY Islanders 42 28 0.67 40 66 1.65 247.5

In the above table you will find how many games played (GP) and points (Pts) the team currently has and their points per game pace (Pts/Gm). Next you will see the number of games remaining (GR) and how many points they require (RPts) to reach 94 points total and their required points per game pace (RPts/GR) to reach 94 points. In the last column you will find the percentage of their current pace they must maintain over their remaining schedule to make the playoffs (%Pace = (RPts/GP) / (Pts/Gm) ).

Boston is all but a lock to make the playoffs not even needing to pick up points at half the pace they have been to reach the magic number of 94 points. Washington, Montreal and Philadelphia look to be in pretty solid positions if they can avoid any lengthy losing streaks while New Jersey and the Rangers look to be on fairly solid ground as well but should get too complacent. Then things get quite interesting as Buffalo, Carolina, Florida and Pittsburgh are all currently in a tight battle. All are in striking distance which one will pick up their game enough to grab that final spot, or will a pair of them really pick up their games and challenge the Rangers or Devils. My money is on either Pittsburgh or Buffalo as they have the most talent but Carolina is a balanced team and Florida plays a very good defensive game and has good goaltending.

Toronto would need to go on a real lengthy hot streak to get back in the race while the remaining four teams, Ottawa, Tampa, Atlanta and the Islanders, can all but book early spring vacations. Toronto would have to gain points nearly 50% faster in the second half than they did in the first half for them to make the playoffs and the remaining four teams would need to see a 75% improvement. In the Islanders case they need to get points two and a half times faster than they did in the first half of the year to make the playoffs. In short, they need to be as good as Montreal and Chicago were in the first half. Don’t be betting on that happening. I hope John Tavares likes Long Island.

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Jan 072009
 

Sorry for being pretty absent over the past few weeks. I was away for a couple weeks on vacation visiting family and stuff. But things should hopefully pick up from here on.

I would like to take a moment to announce that Joe, from Joe’s Washington Hockey Blog has moved his blog to Capitals.hockeyanalysis.com and will become the maintainer of the Capitals blog on HockeyAnalysis.com. Joe will be a great addition to HockeyAnalysis.com as the Capitals are challenge Boston for top spot in the east and are a represent the eastern conference and are a serious threat to represent the east in the Stanley Cup finals.

Brian Burke’s first trade as Leafs GM was anything but a blockbuster acquiring Brad May from the Anaheim Duck’s, but it does confirm indicate that Burke really likes to acquire players he knows well. As I have said before, Burke isn’t one to make a trade just to dump a player he doesn’t want or need, he makes trades to acquire a player he wants. He wanted to add more toughness and Brad May was his guy.

Despite the fact that the Senators have one of the worst records in hockey, many people still claim that they are a very talented team playing below where they should be. They have three highly skilled players in Heatley, Spezza and Alfredsson but might be the least talented team in the NHL from player #4 on. Their #5 point producer is Alexandre Picard, who hardly had a regular shift in Tampa last year. Brendan Bell, who couldn’t make the Phoenix Coyote’s team last year is not getting a regular shift and nearly 17 minutes a game on Ottawa’s defense. Jason Smith who saw his ice time diminish significantly in Philadelphia last year is now getting 18 minutes a game for the Senators. Winchester, Ruutu, Foligno, Donovan, Phillips, Volchenkov, Kelly, Schubert, Neil, McAmmond, etc. all have their beneficial attributes but being highly skilled are generally not among them. Please, the era of the Sens being one of the most talented teams in the NHL is well behind us.

Don’t look now but the laughing stock of the NHL early in the season are now back in the playoff race. Yes, I am talking about the Dallas Stars who are now one game above .500 with 39 points and trail 8th place Phoenix by just 4 points and have 3 games in hand. The Stars are 9-5-1 since the Sean Avery incident and subsequent suspension. Prior to that they were just 8-11-4.

The Jonathan Tavares sweepstakes will probably come down to three teams, the New York Islanders, Atlanta Thrashers, and the St. Louis Blues. The Islanders are a downright horrible team with no stars and the Thrashers aren’t much better with just one star player who is playing poorly. Both will likely trade away more talent come the trade deadline. Meanwhile, the Blues have been devastated by injuries. It started off with Erik Johnson before the season began and Paul Kariya, Eric Brewer and Jay McKee are out with injuries. This Blues team probably wouldn’t have challenged for a playoff spot but without Johnson, Kariya, Brewer and McKee they just aren’t a very good team. My bet is Tavares goes to one of the eastern conference teams but the Blues will be in the hunt with their injury situation. Honorable mention goes to toe Lightning and Senators who probably will be able to stay ahead of these other dreadful teams.

Kris Versteeg leads all rookies with 13 goals and 33 points and may very well have the inside track on rookie of the year thus far (now that Brassard, my pre-season pick is injured and out for the season) but two guys to watch for are Bobby Ryan and Steve Mason. Ryan has 8 goals and 22 points in just 23 games and has been playing a key role in Anaheim’s offense. Ryan was the second overall pick in 2005 behind some guy names Sidney Crosby and he is finally showing why he was so deserving of being picked so high in the draft. Meanwhile, Steve Mason has gotten the Columbus Blue Jackets in the playoff hunt with a 13-9-1 record with 5 shut outs, a 1.82 gaa and a .934 save percentage. His goals against average and save percentage are both tops in the NHL. If he can continue to play anywhere close to this level for the remainder of the season he’ll be a lock for rookie of the year.

Hero to Zero

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Jan 022009
 

The last original member of the Minnesota Wild will be switching jerseys next year. Doug Risebrough and his front office staff made a good run at trying to re-sign franchise star Marian Gaborik, and reportedly offered an 8-year, $64m contract but only to be spurned. Gaborik’s departure was clear, but with the Wild expected to make the playoffs it created an interesting situation. It didn’t make any sense to keep Gaborik past the trade deadline, but it also didn’t make sense to trade away the franchise’s most potent offensive weapon before the playoff run.

Gaborik broke out last year with a 42-goal, 77-games played effort, temporarily dispelling any tags of being injury-prone. But, as some expected, the injury bug bit the Slovak winger again and has only appeared in 6 games thus far. This does not bode well for a UFA-to-be winger who is going to ask for top dollar and a long-term contract. In 8 seasons in the NHL not once has the winger played a full 82-game season, and only 4 times in which he has played more than 70 games.

Sometime next week, Gaborik is expected to undergo hip surgery and will be out for at least 10 weeks, and even for Gaborik and the Wild that is wildly optimistic due to his past history. He came back briefly and unsurprisingly showed brilliance offensively, but was asked by management to take two games off to rest his groin. It made sense for the Wild – they’re playing well enough without its star and giving him extra rest means a less likelihood of him re-injuring or aggravating his groin. However, as local Minnesota reporter Michael Russo reports, it seemed fishy from the beginning.

Barring a miracle comeback, the Wild will not be able to trade Gaborik and even if they did they won’t be getting a package good enough for them to pull the trigger. There’s just simply too many question marks surrounding Gaborik. He’s only 26 and many experts believe that Gaborik’s just scratching the surface of what he can do and he’s worth every penny – if he plays. Earning just a shade over $6m this year, Gaborik will be looking for a pay raise, but unless Gaborik agrees to a contract with an injury clause much like Eric Lindros‘ (in which his pay was wholly dependent on how many games he plays), a lot of teams would be strongly cautioned to throw that much money at him. The stat that many GMs will use as a case to sign him though? The Wild are 42 games above .500 when he plays and 9 games under .500 when he doesn’t.

One For the Books

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Jan 012009
 

I’m a big World Juniors fan. I think it’s one of the best tournaments in the world in terms of showcasing the best international talent. I’ve held off commenting about Canada until now, and only because they haven’t really been challenged until tonight against USA. It was the marquee tilt before the new year, and it didn’t disappoint.

This Canada squad is arguably one of the weaker ones in the past five years. Other than John Tavares, there really is no clear-cut gamebreaking forward. In past years, Canada has really been able to depend on at least two scorers. This is not taking anything away from Cody Hodgson, who has been outstanding in his own right, but offensively he is not nearly as gifted as Kyle Turris or Steve Stamkos, both members of last year’s squad.

Going into the tournament, even strength was a problem because of this. Tavares was obviously going to tear up the tournament on the powerplay, but even strength offense fell to the shoulders of Hodgson’s line with Jordan Eberle and Zach Boychuk. When your most offensively gifted player is expected to have problems 5-on-5, it’s a little worrisome, but fortunately for Canada they have incredible depth in all positions. Early on in the game the Americans took advantage, jumping out to an early 3-0 lead with two even strength goals by Kevin Shattenkirk and Jim O’Brien. Dustin Tokarski, the “big game” goalie, looked rusty after 9 days of rest, but after allowing just one goal for the next 48 minutes of play he certainly earned the win.

Penalties abound in the game, but USA put themselves in a pickle two straight penalties from Matt Rust and Blake Kessel. Perhaps it’s because international hockey rules are more stringent about stick infractions and hits, but it seemed as though both teams had some trouble early on adjusting to referees Vyacheslav Bulanov and Tom Laaksonen. With Canada on the powerplay the floodgates opened, with two quick goals from Tavares, the second one a beauty (as if he hasn’t filled the highlight reel enough). In all the Canadians scored 4 of their 5 goals (excluding the empty netters) on the powerplay. With the Canadians’ speed and tenacity it’s easy for the other team to take penalties and it occurs more often at this age because players are a little less mature and composed. James van Riemsdyk was a clear victim of this after snapping his stick after taking a slashing penalty. Not surprisingly van Riemsdyk was held off the scoresheet despite being one of the tournament’s top scorers. Even when Canada has trouble scoring, they’ve traditionally always been able to take out their opponent’s stars. This year it was holding van Riemsdyk, along with Colin Wilson (who was robbed by Tokarski when he was alone in front) off the scoresheet. Jordan Schroeder was limited to one helper. Instead I thought it was the speedy Tyler Johnson and Aaron Palushaj who were USA’s best forwards. Drayson Bowman was solid as well but I don’t feel he stepped up his play against such a tough opponent. Remember even Alexander Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin were held to moderate effectiveness in their world junior appearances against Canada.

No doubt this team is heads and shoulders above the rest of the competition, despite boasting relatively less known players like Stefan Della Rovere and Patrice Cormier, but both who are quickly making a name for themselves for their strong forecheck and physical play. Both players responded immediately when Chris Di Domenico was hit in the face by a stick when skating by the American bench. The ensuing scuffle really strained the tension between the two teams. While it can be argued that the Americans were unsportsmanlike for doing this, the same can be said for the Canadian players who rubbed it into USA a bit by skating so close by their bench. Regardless, the incident sets the stage for future Canada-USA battles, which will no doubt always be as tense, if not tenser. After an American boom with Mike Modano, USA Hockey remained quiet but have yet again returned to prominence with guys like future USA ambassador Patrick Kane leading the way in the NHL. Canada will face much tougher competition from USA in the future – sorry, USA, but you can’t deny the fact that Sweden and Russia have been better in the past 2-3 years. Clearly the player who high sticked Di Domenico was thinking about setting the stage for future battles in mind…

Ryan Ellis has been a revelation on the blueline. The diminutive 18-year old has been a force on the powerplay, and his poise with the puck is incredible. Him and PK Subban has anchored a incredible Canadian powerplay which is clicking at close to 70%. However, I think one of the bigger disappointments for this team, in my mind, is Alex Pietrangelo. The St. Louis first rounder is an excellent puck mover and I don’t think he looked too out of place in his short stint with the Blues. However, I was a little surprised when Pat Quinn named Ellis as the the top powerplay quarterback instead of Pietrangelo. Pietrangelo has been limited to the second powerplay unit and spot duty on even strength – I think a little disappointing for him and the Blues, who were no doubt expecting Pietrangelo to play a key role for Canada. I think for the Blues Pietrangelo will be a long-term project, as opposed to Erik Johnson who had a great rookie season and seemed to make the transition without much trouble.

With the win Canada advances to the semis, and will face the winner between Russia and the Czech Republic. Good luck to the boys.

Another note: I wonder if it’s a warning flag for some teams when Tavares can’t score on even strength. Sure, he broke Wayne Gretzky‘s scoring record in the OHL, but I don’t even remember Gretzky being so night and day on the powerplay or 5-on-5. He’s no doubt a top end talent, and he would be my first pick, but since Sidney Crosby a lot of Canadian kids (especially top 5 picks) have been, well, overhyped. Turris is having trouble adjusting to the NHL game and by all accounts should’ve stayed at another year in the NCAA, but I think he was rushed and it doesn’t help with the Great One throwing so much praise and support on him.

Dec 292008
 

With a still ongoing investigation, it’s been reported that Alexei Cherepanov, the Rangers prospect who died tragically in October, was apparently blood doping which may have caused his death. Blood doping refers to a practise which involves boosting the number of red blood cells. Oxygen is carried in red blood cells, and increasing the number improves athletic performance, specifically, aerobic capacity.

Blood doping has become increasingly more common as sports science has progressed. First, it is quite difficult to detect, considering that one of the first methods to find evidence of doping was to look for syringes in the athletes’ homes. It was not until recently that urine was used as a sample and with it the testing for a hormone called erythropoietin (EPO). EPOs stimulates the formation of red blood cells, but excess of EPO can cause polycythemia, in which the red blood cell count becomes abnormally high and causes the blood to become quite viscous, straining the heart. This is the most likely cause, reportedly, of Cherepanov’s death, who was also suffering from myocarditis.

The hockey world is treading on ice now. I think over the past 3 years we’ve seen an abnormally high amount of heart-related deaths for well-conditioned athletes, and while a part of it is because of the strict diet and exercise regimens the athletes follow, this is a little alarming. Blood doping is hard to detect because EPO is a natural growth hormone and also because there have been numerous cases of mix-up by anti-doping agencies. Things become a little murky here because 1) the NHL and IIHF are not involved in investigations, and 2) it’s still preliminary. There hasn’t been much information released so we’ll have to sit tight and see what other things come to light in the next couple weeks and months.

Remember Dick Pound, the crazy anti-doping activist that claimed a third of all NHLers were doping? Expect him to make a return sometime soon.

Dec 142008
 

Ilya Kovalchuk has been the subject of rumours for the most part of the summer, reportedly unhappy with the direction the team is going. With no bright future in sight, and with free agency looming in 2010, odds are that Kovalchuk will be leaving Atlanta soon. Rumours have somewhat quieted down, but it seems like two teams in particular, Ottawa and Edmonton, are making a strong push. Ottawa has made blockbusters with Atlanta before and there is an amount of familiarity there. Steve Tambellini, just hired a couple of months ago, could be making his mark on the Oilers squad soon, and apparently the names being tossed around are Shawn Horcoff and Andrew Cogliano.

Add Nathan Horton to the long list of players that don’t really like playing under Jacques Martin‘s management. The Panthers are hot of late, with 7 wins in their last 10, no thanks to Craig Anderson‘s strong play, but Horton, who is the new centrepiece of the Panther offense this year, has struggled and only has 6 goals this year. Relations between Martin and Horton are so strained that Horton has reportedly contemplated retirement. This is a little surprising, considering that Martin is no longer behind the bench and Horton just signed a long-term extension over the summer.

Mats Sundin is finally expected to make a decision tomorrow about his hockey career. It has all been confirmed that he will be back this season but has only 4-5 teams on his radar. Both Ontario teams have been eliminated from consideration and so have the Blackhawks after Dale Tallon confessed that he can’t create enough cap room to accomodate him. However, it has been consensus amongst hockey pundits that Sundin will most likely land in Vancouver.

Nov 262008
 

There were no Sidney Crosby’s or Alex Ovechkin’s in last years rookie class but there were several who had very good seasons with Patrick Kane and Nicklas Backstrom leading the pack with 72 and 69 points while Jonathan Toews led all rookies with 24 goals (in just 64 games).  So how are last years rookies faring this season?

2007-08 2008-09
Player Team Pos GP G A Pts GP G A Pts
Patrick Kane CHI R 82 21 51 72 19 11 14 25
Nicklas Backstrom WSH C 82 14 55 69 21 5 15 20
Jonathan Toews CHI C 64 24 30 54 19 2 12 14
Peter Mueller PHX C 81 22 32 54 20 5 7 12
Sam Gagner EDM C 79 13 36 49 19 1 4 5
Andrew Cogliano EDM C 82 18 27 45 20 5 4 9
Brandon Dubinsky NYR C 82 14 26 40 24 5 11 16
Tobias Enstrom ATL D 82 5 33 38 20 1 6 7
Martin Hanzal PHX C 72 8 27 35 20 2 9 11
Tom Gilbert EDM D 82 13 20 33 20 2 9 11
Erik Johnson STL D 69 5 28 33 0 0 0 0
Nigel Dawes NYR L 61 14 15 29 19 2 3 5
David Perron STL L 62 13 14 27 18 2 11 13
Sergei Kostitsyn MTL L 52 9 18 27 20 3 6 9
Milan Lucic BOS L 77 8 19 27 21 6 7 13
David Krejci BOS C 56 6 21 27 21 5 9 14
Daniel Winnik PHX C 79 11 15 26 15 0 1 1
Matt Niskanen DAL D 78 7 19 26 18 1 1 2
Curtis Glencross EDM L 62 15 10 25 22 4 9 13
Kamil Kreps FLA C 76 8 17 25 14 0 2 2
Daniel Carcillo PHX L 57 13 11 24 16 1 0 1
David Clarkson NJD R 81 9 13 22 20 5 3 8
Mason Raymond VAN L 49 9 12 21 22 5 6 11
Torrey Mitchell SJS C 82 10 10 20 0 0 0 0
Alexander Edler VAN D 75 8 12 20 20 1 5 6

The above table shows the top 25 point getters from last year with last years and this years stats.  Leading the way again this year is Patrick Kane with an impressive 25 points in 19 games with Backstrom in second spot again with 20 points in 21 games.  While those two are bettering last years performance several others have taken a step back with Sam Gagner struggling the most having just 5 points in 19 games after a very successful rookie campaign.  Toews, Dawes, WInnick, Niskanen, Kreps and Carcillo have also seen a drop in production.

Other players who have improved their offensive production include Brandon Dubinsky, Tom Gilbert, David Perron, Milan Lucic, David Krejci, and Curtis Glencross.  Erik Johnson (out for the season) and Torrey Mitchell have been injured so far this year.

Of the group, clearly Patrick Kane is showing himself to be a level above the rest of his rookie class but I am also very impressed with Milan Lucic who brings such a dominating physical presence to the game that most of the others on the list above do not.

Nov 202008
 

James Mirtle from From the Rink and the Edmonton Journal’s David Staples are questioning the usefulness of the +/- stat and maybe abandoning it altogether. I have wrote about this here before and I have to agree, it is the most useless stat in the NHL. The big flaw in it is that a player gets penalized if he plays with a group of bad players or gets a big benefit if he is playing with a group of really good players, regardless of how good or bad the individualy player is.

James Mirtle goes on to refer to sites such as Behind the Net which has better stats such as on ice vs off ice comparisons. But these stats, while significantly better than +/-, are still flawed. The idea is that by comparing a players +/- (or goals for or goals against individually) when he is on the ice to his teams +/- when the player is off the ice you will factor out some of the unfair benefits or penalties a player receives in his +/- stat based on who the player plays against. But even this doesn’t really solve the problem.

The problem still exists because Chris Draper is having his on ice stats compared to off ice stats that are racked up by guys like Zetterberg, Datsyuk, Holmstrom, etc. why a guy like the Islanders Trent Hunter has his on ice stats compared to Mike Comrie and Mike Sillinger. Chris Draper might be a very good defensive player, but when you compare his +/- to the rest of his all-star stacked team mates, most of whom he doens’t get the benefit of playing with, his on-ice to off-ice ratio stats become misleading. The goal of Behind the Net’s ratio numbers is to eliminate the unfair benefit of playing on a great team. The problem is, if a player who plays on a great team, such as Draper, never gets to play with his great team mates, like Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Holmstrom, Franzen, Cleary, etc. and instead plays with pretty ordinary players, such Maltby and Drake, then you end up factoring out a benefit that never existed in the first place.

When considering all players who have played 60 games with at least 10 minutes of even strength ice time per game last season, David Perron, Viktor Kozlov, Dany Heatley, Michel Ouellet, and Pavel Datsyuk came out as the top 5 rated forward in Behind the Nets ‘Rating’ statistic which is the players +/- rating compared to the team. The bottom 5 were Radek Bonk, Alexander Semin, Kris Draper, Jarret Stoll and Mike Fisher.

Now, can you honestly believe that Kris Draper, who had the most short handed minutes of any Red Wing player is the second third worst defensive player in the NHL, especially considering that the Red Wings had an 84% penalty kill success rate? Would the Ottawa Senators use Mike Fisher, supposedly the 5th worst rated player in the NHL, for nearly 3 minutes a game on the PK? Would the Edmonton Oilers have used Jarret Stoll, the 4th worst rated player according to Behind the net Rating, for the same amount of time on their PK unit? Conversely, if Ouellet is such a good player, why did he get zero PK time last year? Same with Perron on the Blues and Kozlov on the Capitals.

Clearly Behind the Net’s on ice/off ice +/- ratio ratings system is still failing to really tell us the whole story even if it is probably a bit better than straight +/-.

A year or so ago I worked on developing my own ratings system which admitidly is far more complicated than +/- or Behind the Net’s ratio system and while still far from perfect I am confident is much more revealing. What I have done is taken into account who a player has played with and against and tried to factor out any benefits they might have by playing with better than average players or against worst than average players or penalties they may get by playing with worse than average players or against better than average players. Instead of looking at how his team plays when he is off the ice vs when he is on the ice, I look at how his teammates play when they are playing with him vs how they play without him. The result is a player will get a good rating when he consistently makes his team mates better when they play with him vs when they aren’t playing with him. I also take into account PP and PK time which I think is important when evaluating a players value.

The results can be seen at Stats.hockeyanalysis.com and select the links under ‘Player Rankings”. I calculate both an offensive and defensive rating plus an overall rating which is independent of ice time and then an overall value, which factors in ice time. A player with a high rating and plays lots of ice time will get a really good value. In the ratings, a rating of 1.00 is approximately average while anything above is above average and anything below is below average.
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Hearts of Hockey

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Nov 122008
 

The KHL is making sure another Alexei Cherepanov-like incident doesn’t happen again, and with more rigorous medical testing they’ve found 5 more players with problematic hearts.

This is a great move by the KHL and all other hockey leagues, be it minor, minor pro, or pro, need to get on this movement. The earlier the leagues can detect heart defects, the better off the league, teams, and most importantly, the player themselves, will be. It’s very unfortunate that it has taken 3 years, since the Jiri Fischer incident, for hockey officials to start taking this very seriously. Had the leagues started to look into this earlier you have to wonder if a couple lives could’ve been saved.