How to Build a Contender - Part 4: The Difficulty of Acquiring Elite Talent

money puck
August 20 2015 01:14PM

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Photo Credit: Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports

In the opening instalments of this series objectively looking at how teams can best build a contending team, we introduced the concept of Goals Above Replacement (GAR) before moving on to explore the impact of aging on player performance, and what sort of salary cap structure is maintained by successful teams

What we've found should come as no surprise. 

The teams with the highest goals against replacement won the most games, and were most frequently among those competing for the Stanley Cup into mid-May and June. When looking at the make up of these teams, it wasn't just that they had a high overall team GAR, but they had two or more players with elite level GAR, typically at least one with a GAR over 15 and one with a GAR over 20. Again, this should come as no surprise. Its the stars and superstars that move the dial in the NHL. Depth matters in the playoffs, but this is how it's always been.

How do teams go about procuring these types of rare talents? Let's investigate in Part 4 of our 'how to build a contender' series.

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CA's All-Time Greatest Canucks Team: Brendan Morrison

Matthew Henderson
August 20 2015 11:05AM

Banner by Matthew Henderson

Before the glory days of 2011, most young of a Canucks fans fondest memories came via the West Coast Express years, where Canucks fans were treated night-in, night-out with of the greatest lines in Canucks history, consisting of Markus Naslund, Todd Bertuzzi, and the unsung hero of the group, Brendan Morrison.

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How to Build a Contender - Part 3: Cap Management

money puck
August 19 2015 10:58AM

Photo Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki/USA TODAY Sports

In the first post of this latest 'How to build a contender' series, we provided an intro to War-on-ice's new Goals Above Replacement (GAR) statistic, and in Part 2, we looked at the impact of player aging on player and team performance over time

What we found in Part 1 was that GAR correlates very highly with goal differential and team points, and that the majority of teams that made the conference finals over the past five years scored very highly in terms of GAR. Putting this all together, if you're trying to build a contender, what you're really trying to do is put together a collection of players who are capable of achieve a very high team GAR. 

Because the goal of any organization should be to build a Stanley Cup winner, in Part 3 of our series, I thought I'd take a closer look into the roster composition of teams who had made it to at least the conference finals in the last five full seasons. 

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CanucksArmy Prospect Profile 2015: #13 Jordan Subban

Josh W
August 19 2015 08:04AM


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In Mike Gillis' greatest and final draft class, the Canucks managed to snag the best and most cerebral of the Subban brothers in young Jordan.  While his short stature makes a lot of people question his play and the probability of his finding success at the NHL-level, he easily makes up for it in his hockey IQ.

There was a couple weeks where all of Canucks Nation was concerned about whether or not the Canucks would even get Jordan Subban signed to an entry-level contract, but then the Canucks finally inked Subban and within a day the issue was forgotten.  The hold up appeared to be on negotiations in AHL salary and bonuses, while Vancouver management wanted to treat him like a standard fourth-round pick.

Let's continue past the jump to see where Jordan Subban currently sits with the organization.

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CanucksArmy Prospect Profile 2015: #14 Ben Hutton

J.D. Burke
August 18 2015 10:30AM


Vancouver Canucks prospect Ben Hutton, a defenseman who recently completed his collegiate career with the University of Maine Black Bears,  has been on a fascinating development track since being drafted in the fifth-round of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.

With immense offensive upside and plus skating ability, Hutton had an extremely successful collegiate career. The defender with the tantalizing offensive skill set parlayed this success into an entry-level contract towards the end of his last campaign with the Black Bears, and even had a cup of coffee in the AHL with the Utica Comets down the home stretch. 

Some would consider the 2014-15 season a plateau in Hutton's development. The deeper one digs though, the more positives there are to unearth. Hutton checks in at 14 in our organizational prospect ranking.

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