May 27 2015 11:00AM
Welcome to the final installment of my Rebuilding on the Fly series, where I've examined how the Vancouver Canucks could balance their short-term goals of being a successful team in the near future with their long-term ones of acquiring enough talent to compete for a Stanley Cup some time down the road.
I've argued that the Canucks need to be aggressive and proactive to be successful in their plan. They need to move veteran players immediately while they still have value and receive draft picks in return. They need to fill in vacant roster spaces with shrewd free agent signings. And finally, they need to identify talented young prospects that can form the core of a contending team in the future.
For some parting thoughts on this plan heading in to the most critical month of the offseason, join me after the jump.
May 26 2015 11:00AM
Prospects and amateur scouting are a new frontier within hockey analytics. Numbers can highlight some large market inefficiencies exploitable by teams if and when they start to advance their knowledge in this niche. The numbers on prospects, especially when combined with knowledge of scouts, can tell you a lot more than the some of the largest mainstream scouting outlets.
In Money Puck's recent series of posts, he has touched on a proposed "re-tooling on the fly" method to help the Canucks sell off veterans for picks, pick up free agents to replace them, and then use those picks on prospects who could in turn help the Canucks in the future.
You might have noticed him talking about PCS, or "Prospect Cohort Success." In this post, we will look more into what this technique is for analyzing prospects.
May 25 2015 01:19PM
Photo Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports
British Columbian hockey fans get very attached to NHL players from Canada's westernmost Province, and take particular pride in the Province's habit of churning out the best defenseman in the country.
Vancouver hockey fans, meanwhile, have a particular attachment to former Vancouver Giants players. From Evander Kane, to Milan Lucic, to Brendan Gallagher, to Lance Bouma - every time the Vancouver Canucks miss out on landing a former Giant, the rallying cry of 'moar giants!" can be hearding echoing from the mountain tops all along the sea-to-sky highway.
In pending unrestricted free agent Cody Franson, you have the perfect storm. The 27-year-old right handed defenseman hails from the interior and played his junior hockey with the Giants. He excels on the power play and he could be had in free agency. The Canucks have a mild cap crunch situation on their hands though, and a glut of blue-line assets that would presumably serve to make acquiring Franson prohibitive. On the other hand, he seems to be interested in coming home, for whatever that's worth.
May 25 2015 11:27AM
Photo Credit: Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports
In his first year as the general manager of the Vancouver Canucks, Jim Benning learned a crucial lesson about the importance of defensive depth in the Western Conference.
"We’ll start with eight defencemen, but we want to have 11 D capable of playing in the NHL," Benning told Jim Jamieson of the Vancouver Province. "That’s something I learned this year from being in the West. The travel wears the team down a bit and it seems to take a toll on your defence."
It's an interesting statement, and for a variety of reasons. Let's unpack this on the other side of the jump.
May 23 2015 02:46PM
After another series going the distance, the Comets managed a game-7 win to advance to the third round of the Calder Cup playoffs. The Comets first ever game-7 saw Jacob Markstrom out-duel the Oklahoma City Barons goaltender Richard Bachman, while Alexandre Grenier, the Canucks next power-forward, emerged from the game a hero.
Moving on to the Calder Cup Conference final, Utica's opponents are only looking to become tougher and tougher. In this round, the Comets will be facing the Grand Rapids Griffins (affiliates of the Detroit Red Wings). To see how the two teams stack up, continue past the jump.