June 22 2016 01:00PM
The Vancouver Canucks enter the heart of the off-season with little room for error, as they continue towards their goal of remaining competitive while all the while building towards the future. They've already invested significant assets and cap space on players expected to help them get back into the playoffs. There's also no disputing that the Canucks are trying to find the future stars in the draft. Through both avenues of talent mining, they emphasize intangibles, like character, toughness and leadership -- virtuous and undoubtedly important attributes.
What remains in dispute, though, is the value surrendered, be it in terms of salary cap space or assets surrendered, for players who don't meet the investment in goals. Canucks GM Jim Benning and President Trevor Linden have invested heavily in players like Erik Gudbranson and Brandon Sutter, parting with draft picks and players on favourable contracts, like Nick Bonino and Jared McCann, placing unnecessary constraints on their ability to stockpile at the draft and spend in free agency.
The Canucks are now in a position where they will look to spend most of the team's cap space on a goal scoring free agent forward and search for fewer needles in the drafts haystack with fewer picks to spend. It's all a work in progress, but we can explore the price paid at Rogers Arena in the interim.
June 22 2016 11:00AM
The Vancouver Canucks season has long since passed, but the data that helps us connect the dots that drew their third-last finish are just starting to come together. I'm talking about microdata that points to the 'hows' and 'whys'. In this case, neutral zone statistics.
If you've been paying close attention, you'll have noticed that I've been providing periodic updates on how the Canucks have fared through the neutral zone this season. Specifically, how well they've performed at attacking the opposition's blue line. I collected this data by accounting for every zone entry, noting which player is responsible, how they entered the zone and how often they failed.
It's taken me quite some time, but I've finally collected that data for all 82 of the Canucks games this season -- and another 150 or so for other teams. I'll share the results and make sense of my findings, on the other side of the jump.
June 22 2016 08:00AM
We've saved the best for last!
Coming in as the number one ranked player in our consensus 2016 NHL Draft Rankings, is Scottsdale, Arizona native Auston Matthews.
Born two days after the cut-off for the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, Matthews has been the consensus number one draft eligible player for the entire season. There have been some in the hockey world suggesting that Patrik Laine could go first overall, but it's clear that Matthews is the most complete and well-rounded prospect available and will likely go first overall.
June 21 2016 05:04PM
Dale Weise scored a goal in the 2016 playoffs for the Chicago Blackhawks, in the four games he played of their seven game series. Dale Weise had an assist in the fifteen regular season games he played for the Blackhawks. In total, he picked up two points in nineteen games- not exactly the most impressive resume.
To be fair to Weise, this sort of disappearance was rather out of character for his general career path. Known for a few clutch moments in Montreal in the playoffs and being a bit of a shift-distruber, Weise just didn't really fit into the Blackhawks in his time there.
But for whatever reason, Chicago Dale Weise wasn't anywhere close to the same player production wise like he'd been come to be known in his career.
Heading into the offseason, will this recency bias affect Weise's value?
If he returns to his regular form, he's proven himself as a dependable player and is right in the glory years of his career at age 27: but does he fit into Vancouver?
June 21 2016 01:00PM
The draft is upon us this week, with speculation and rumours running rampant as teams get ready for the big weekend.
Over the past few weeks, there have been suggestions that the Columbus Blue Jackets, who currently possess the 3rd overall pick, would consider trading down. If that is the case, the Canucks should be at least interested. The price would need to make sense, but it's clear that there is a difference between Jesse Puljujarvi and whoever will be available at 5th overall.
The Canucks are not in a position to put together a package of picks and prospects, but with some creativity, there could be a deal to be had.