Nation Radio - June 16, 2012

June 17 2012 10:17AM

Less than a week until the draft boys and girls and the anticipation is starting to build. Will the OIlers pick Yakupov, Murray or trade down? Do the Leafs finally convince someone to take Luke Schenn? Will Calgary trade one of their "big three" contracts? Will everyone in the arena boo the Canucks organization again?

These questions (and more) will be answered in Pittsburgh this coming Friday/Saturday. For now, we're left speculating with folks like Jonathan Willis, Brad MacPherson and Kent Wilson.

This is Nation Radio.

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Infographic: Luongo's Canucks Tenure

Matthew Henderson
June 16 2012 08:15AM

The NHL Draft is only 6 days away, and for the Canucks there's a lot of uncertainty, especially in goal. One thing that is certain, however, is that Luongo is the best goaltender in franchise history and it's not even close. We've put together an infographic to convey Luongo's dominance over his six seasons in the Canucks net, so click past the jump to check it out!

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More Than Meets the Eye on Auger's Retirement?

Thomas Drance
June 15 2012 02:30PM

Look, despite the obvious temptation to go into your best munchkin falsetto and cry out in joyous celebration that "the wicked witch is dead!" - it always sucks when anybody loses their job, and their livelihood. Yes, that includes Stephane Auger.

Read past the jump for more.

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NHL Draft: Drafting Older Players

Thomas Drance
June 15 2012 01:54PM

Mike Gillis shakes hands with goaltending prospect Joe Cannata, a 6th round pick in 2009.
Cannata is one of several "older players" selected by the Canucks over the past four seasons.

We've spent the past few days ruminating on the Canucks, and General Manager Mike Gillis' "draft strategy." In particular we've looked at which leagues the Canucks tend to draft a disproportionate number of their players from, and whether or not "player size" is a big factor governing who the team selects. 

Today we're going to briefly discuss player age - because the Canucks are a significant outlier among NHL teams when it comes to their willingness to select older players on draft day. This is a trend that preceded Mike Gillis, but, it's one that has continued in earnest during his tenure.

Read past the jump for more.

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NHL Draft: Mike Gillis and Player Size

Thomas Drance
June 14 2012 11:23AM

What is behind the curtain for the Canucks at the 2012 NHL Draft? And will Gillis continue to target hefty forwards?

The debate about whether or not there's an inherent advantage to drafting "big players" is a contentious one. While there is no correlation between size-advantage and teams that win championships and no apparent pattern either way, the heaviest 5% of drafted players do significantly outperform the rest of their cohort (that last link is to an ESPN Insider article, you have to pay up if you want to read it). Despite conflicting evidence, Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli - clearly one of the smartest General Managers in the league, except for his total inability to sign Chris Kelly to a reasonable and legal contract - spoke openly about looking to draft bigger players at the MIT Sloan Conference earlier this year.

One of the important things to remember about the draft is that there are very few executives who are good at it. That isn't reflective of 30 General Managers drafting players incorrectly necessarily, it's just that drafting eighteen and nineteen year-olds (outside of the top-ten, essentially) is a total crap-shoot. In limited information situations, finding a workable approach that can yield even a slight edge - be it a "Fishing Hole" league that you're particularly good at evaluating talent in, or drafting exclusively younger players or heavier players - is potentially very valuable, especially in a salary-capped league where parity rules. 

Short of picking first overall, there aren't any "silver bullets" in terms of a guiding draft philosophy that will always pay dividends. But whether or not drafting players based on size is the "right" approach, let's take a look at Gillis' draft record through this lens. Read past the jump for more.

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