Aaron Volpatti and the "New Age Fourth Liner"

Thomas Drance
June 18 2012 08:36AM


Aaron Volpatti does something that Darcy Hordichuk can't...
Be on the ice at the same time as the opposition's top-line.

Occasionally, albeit rarely, a story like Aaron Volpatti re-signing with the Canucks - falls through the cracks and we don't comment on it for a couple of days. On Friday, however, Ivy League graduate, pugilist and Revelstoke native Aaron Volpatti re-upped with Vancouver's club on a one year deal worth $600,000 in the NHL, and $105,000 in the AHL (or the maximum amount an AHLer can be paid without requiring re-entry waivers when he is shuttled between the big club, and their affiliate). 

Read past the jump for more.

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Samme Pahlsson Expected to Sign with Modo Tomorrow

Thomas Drance
June 17 2012 03:13PM

It has been rumoured for weeks now that free agent defensive centre Samme Pahlsson, most recently of the Vancouver Canucks, would retire from NHL hockey and sign with Örnsköldsvik club team Modo of the Elitserien (SEL). According to Swedish sports journalist Jonatan Lindquist of Expressen, that deal looks to have been finalized. Says Lindquist:

Modo will hold a press conference tomorrow at 13:30 Swedish Time (4:30 AM PST). It's expected that they will announce the signing of Samuel Pahlsson. Pahlsson has been open to the possibility of returning home, though Modo doensn't normally hold Press Conferences when they sign players.

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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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