The Russian well

Part of me wonders attributing which recent Vancouver Canucks misjudgments to ownership rather than management would prompt receiving a letter from Francesco Aquilini. One thing I’m quite confident ownership had no control over was the Canucks’ brutal draft record from 2008 to present. Of the 37 young men selected by the Canucks during Mike Gillis’ tenure, only one has made the Canucks in a regular capacity, being Jordan Schroeder, and even then it’s debatable.

I can kind of give credit to Gillis for attempting to think outside the box and draft older, more developed prospects, but that strategy turned out to not be a calculated move structured at replenishing the minor league rosters more quickly; all it wound up doing was taking away lottery tickets for the Canucks to hit on some 5th or 6th rounder that hit a development spurt midway through his 18th year.

But there’s one pool that Gillis failed to consider, one that I think was a big downfall of his as general manager and no, it isn’t the Vancouver Giants.

There was a great piece written by Tal Pinchevsky that went up on NHL.com on Sunday. It’s a fascinating look at the story of Troy Gamble and Jack McIlhargey, one a Canucks minor-league goaltender and the other a front office assistant, visiting the Soviet Union in an attempt to forge relations with Russian hockey executives and eventually woo Igor Larianov and Vladimir Krutov to the NHL.

It really is fascinating, and it makes you appreciate the effort that went into acquiring two players, one of which built a Hall of Fame career elsewhere in the NHL, and the other who was a massive (literally) disappointment in Vancouver. 

But in the Pat Quinn years, the Canucks weren’t strangers to Russians. Pavel Bure built up his own Hall of Fame career in Vancouver, and the team earned contributions from Anatoli Semenov and John Namestnikov around the time I was starting to get into hockey. In the summer of 1995, the Canucks traded for Alexander Mogilny, and as an seven-year old I was friggin’ ecstatic. Mogilny played just four-and-a-half seasons in Vancouver, but he was the Canucks’ leading scorer in both goals and points in his brief career here.

I’ve talked with my Russian buddy Andrey Osadchenko about this over a few beers on several occasions, and there were a lot of Russian kids in our generation who were big Canuck fans due to the influence of Bure. You cheered for the Red Wings or you cheered for the Canucks if you were in Russia, presumably.

And now, a generation of Russian fans have likely deserted the Canucks. Not only do they not have Russian players, but it seems they don’t make that effort to reach out to a different part of the world. I get that Russia is old and scary and they speak a different language and have that hockey league that has managed to retain the odd homegrown star, but that’s no reason to deliberately cut yourself off from one of the premier pipelines of hockey talent.

canucks russian well

(Info grabbed via Hockey Reference and cross-referenced with NHL.com. Country determined by the last team a player competed for internationally)

During Gillis’ tenure, the Canucks got just 8 games from Russian- or Soviet-born players: eight games, one measly goal, and ten shots on goal from Sergei Shirokov in 98 minutes of action. I don’t think that Shirokov would be a star player if he were still with the Canucks, let alone still in the league, but it bugged me he never got a second look after putting up a decent shot rate in his small six-game appearance in 2010-11. 

The Canucks qualified Shirokov that summer, but it never sounded like they made a pitch to keep him around despite losing several valuable pieces from the fourth line. Shirokov wound up signing with CSKA, and the Canucks dealt his NHL rights for Mike Duco. The Canucks began the next season with Aaron Volpatti and Dale Weise on their fourth line. Not as good, but easier to deal with, I’m sure.

VALERI

Draft Day 2013 was a hell of a roller coaster. I was watching with Dimitri and another friend of ours, eating pizza and drinking beer and getting indignant. When the Canucks traded Cory Schneider for the No. 9 pick, the obvious candidates for the selection were Hunter Shinkaruk or Valeri Nichushkin. 

Instead, the Canucks took Bo Horvat, who is an excellent OHL player and has an NHL future, but isn’t a game-breaker like Nichushkin. As a rookie, Nichushkin would be 3rd in goals and 5th in points on a Canucks team struggling for offence and lacking that potential top six scoring forward.

During his tenure as general manager, Gillis selected OHLers, WHLers, QMJHLers, Canadian Junior “A” players, American college kids, American high school kids, kids from Finland and Sweden, but no Russians. It’s as if the country didn’t exist to Gillis, as if he wasn’t willing to put in the extra effort to play nice with the agents and teams that control the junior pipeline in Russia.

It is a bit different, and Russia is nothing if not protective of its talent, a matter that is complicated by the lack of transfer agreement between the NHL and the KHL, but there was a lot of talent left on the board by the Canucks at the draft table, which was ultimately Gillis’ downfall.

It’s easy to say “oh, well how did he miss Brendan Gallagher, or Jason Demers, or Ondrej Palat” or whatever late rounder has become a key NHL player. Signal is a lot easier to find when backtracking. My issue is that the draft has become a lottery zone, where the potential rewards of drafting a high-value player in the late rounds outweighs the risks of not taking somebody in the NHL. Talented players like Nikolai Prokhorkin and Anton Slepyshev weren’t even on the team’s radar. They’re difficult to work with, but of the teams that are comfortable selecting Russian players and willing to put in the time with the agents and the complicated transfer process, it’s clear the Canucks aren’t one of them.

VLADIMIR

Well… there aren’t any meaningful games left in the season, so it’s time to start talking up some draft prospects. Meet Vladimir Tkachev (or Tkachyov), the somewhat-undersized, smooth skating, talented forward who can do this:

Tkachev was ranked 60th among European skaters in the final NHL CSS rankings, a huge drop from 14th. That’s odd, since Tkachev was considered a European skater at the midterm rank, but after transferring from his Russian junior club to the Moncton Wildcats at the midseason mark, he ought to qualify as a North American skater.

Tkachev was sixth on the Wildcats in scoring despite having played only half the season, getting 30 points in 20 games with teammate and fellow Russian Ivan Barbashev. In the playoffs, Tkachev kept that rate of 1.5 points per game going, scoring nine in six games with seven goals, second to Barbashev by a point in team scoring. Barbashev is expected to be drafted sometime in the first round, ranked 18th among North American skaters.

Tkachev wasn’t on the Russian world junior squad. His coach claimed that the young sniper didn’t score enough goals during the Quebec portion Subway Super Series, which seems like an arbitrary reason to leave a goal-scorer off the roster and also a huge misunderstanding of sample size.

If the Canucks are looking for mid-round gems, I’d like to see Tkachev. The only knock appears to be size, plus the inevitable “flight risk” attached to quite literally every Russian player selected at the draft, even the ones who come over at a young age to play junior. The Canucks need an injection of young talent, and the best way to do that is to exploit undervalued traits at the draft table. Tkachev is Moneyball, Moneyball is Tkachev. He’s a small and talented scorer (a plus) who other teams might stray away from (double plus).

I could be talking completely out of my ass, but I’d like for the new organization to go the distance and put in the work to lure a couple of talented Russians to Vancouver. The Canucks have gone a long way from sending two of their own beyond the Iron Curtain to going six drafts without touching a Russian. By design or not, the Canucks are effectively cut off from a big chunk of the hockey world in the current set-up, and I’d like to see that change.

        • I think that Gillis’ swings and misses over the last two years have made some fans weary with the Canucks’ analytical process. But that still misses the point of what “Moneyball”is. There’s nothing wrong with building a team by looking for players undervalued for warts.

          The point in your first comment is well-taken, but it’s worth noting that JP Ricciardi cut payroll and increased the Jays win totals when he started out. It’s not like that team has had much success developing prospects by looking for talented firearms from the high school ranks—Billy Beane has done just that, however. Over the last two drafts, Beane, a notorious “high schoolers are overvalued” guy back in the early 2000s, has taken four high school players in the first round, precisely because they’ve now become undervalued.

          • “I think that Gillis’ swings and misses over the last two years have made some fans weary with the Canucks’ analytical process. But that still misses the point of what “Moneyball”is. There’s nothing wrong with building a team by looking for players undervalued for warts.”

            You’re arguing against a strawman here.

            While I cannot speak with certainty as to what Ruprecht is referring, neither can you in inferring he was simply talking about “stats”.

            The practical use of Moneyball is very limited.

            Of course market inefficiencies should be exploited.

            The idea existed before Moneyball in other industries.

            Just as the Detroit Red Wings understood the value of outshooting/outchancing/outscoring the opponent before the “discovery” of the shot differential model.

            However, and this is key, that does not mean finding value at the margins is an acceptable reason for missing the entire plot.

            Both Ricciardi and Gillis did this and both the Blue Jays and Canucks were left in terrible shape as a result after each was terminated.

            “it’s worth noting that JP Ricciardi cut payroll and increased the Jays win totals when he started out.”

            General manager wins? Really? From you? You’re better than such laziness.

            You don’t really think the Moneyball era A’s won because of Scott Hatteberg do you? Though he certainly was not devoid of value completely:

            http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=916&position=C/1B

            The Ricciardi Blue Jays W-L record was largely due to Halladay, Wells, Rios, Delgado, Green etc. And it could have been even better had he kept guys like Werth, Escobar, Carpenter etc.

            All of the guys that Ricciardi inherited while he tooled around at the margins. Where have I heard that before?

            “It’s not like that team has had much success developing prospects by looking for talented firearms from the high school ranks”

            Are you completely unaware of how long it takes for a high school player (pitchers, really) to make it to the majors, the attrition rate etc?

            Baseball takes way longer than hockey for the guys to work up the ranks and into the show.

            It would be more useful to look at what Gord Ash left Ricciardi (see above).

            “Over the last two drafts, Beane, a notorious “high schoolers are overvalued” guy back in the early 2000s, has taken four high school players in the first round, precisely because they’ve now become undervalued.”

            That’s a pretty big value judgement you are making and we will not know for years whether or not Beane’s evolving strategy will work and whether or not he was ahead of the curve in this instance.

            New ideas are welcome.

            But not at the expense of missing the entire plot…

      • I actually don’t rely on books too much for any hockey based analysis. My wife works at the library so I read plenty and have access to pretty much anything, if you think it will build on the ground level knowledge I acquired playing, reffing, coaching, and being a fan of hockey for most of my life, then I will. Care to send me the copy you have stashed under your mattress?

        • You would be better off reading Bill James first hand or any of the talented writers that have come after.

          I highly recommend Fangraphs.com if you are interested in thought provoking analytical writing.

          Moneyball is largely a period piece for the masses these days.

          It’s not surprising that puckheads are easily amused by it…

          • andyg

            Thanks I’ll check it out. Nothing against Moneyball, I’m sure it’s good. But personally, I’ve read enough books to tell the difference between who’s writing books and who’s writing to sell books. Generally once a book becomes a label that people use it’s beyond the fad stage and has lost my attention….if that makes any sense. So, give me a title. I trust your brain enough to give me some influence.

          • andyg

            HAHA! Too much from the book reader with the librarian wife! LOL!!

            I don’t know much about “Moneyball” and would like to know more. Please explain. What is “Moneyball”? What are these “Moneyball” moves you are sick of?

          • andyg

            Glad you enjoy my humour. Ask Charron, we’ve already established I haven’t read a stitch of it. He’s the resident expert, maybe we can both learn something. Like the reason he feels certain moves fall under the flag of “Moneyball” while other similar moves, which predate the book, would have historically been called “shrewd” or “pragmatic”.

          • andyg

            Thanks Chief, but I`ve read the book.

            Best way to learn something would be to do the work and read for yourself.

            The Oakland A’s didn`t call it “Moneyball”. The guy telling a story did that.

          • andyg

            Well, you could have saved me a lot of meaningless discussion by being a little more honest right off the bat….I’ll know better next time. You never really mentioned why this book matters one way or another to you. Best way to save a person or people some time is to be willing to teach and not lord knowledge over them. But hey, I’m comfortable with what I’ve learned about you here.

            PS Press control and shift on your keyboard at the same time a couple of times. That will fix your apostrophe problem.

    • I agree, Gillis constantly going “off-the-board” with selections to exploit the fringes is, in my opinion, why he skips over players like Nichushkin. It also is apparent with his drafting of older, bigger players in late rounds with hopes of getting lucky. There is a reason no one else does this to the degree he did.

      The “Moneyball” approach works to a point, but eventually you’re looking too hard for undervalued places to exploit at the cost of ignoring consensus logic.

  • This is what happens when somebody reads Moneyball without grasping its practical use.

    Mike Gillis pulled the same nonsense with the Canucks that JP Ricciardi did with the Blue Jays.

    The result being a farm system loaded with secondary-at-best players and little impact.

    And just like Ricciardi, Gillis had his group of internet followers defend his strategy until the general manager was mercifully terminated.

    The only NHL team that has failed to draft/develop an NHL regular from 2008-present…

    All while bragging about outside the box thinking, spending money to develop a cycle of young players and doing a lot of “behind the scene” work to improve performance.

    “I can kind of give credit to Gillis for attempting to think outside the box and draft older”

    Foolish.

    If Gillis had simply CONSIDERED an outside of the box strategy without necessarily implementing one, he wouldn’t have handicapped himself to such a large degree.

    Of course, this is the same rube that took two years too long to figure out that making Roberto Luongo captain was inexplicably pointless.

    Once again, the words of Vorok McCracken are relevant here:

    “Just because everyone knows OBP is important doesn’t mean OBP isn’t important. Just because we learned something a long time ago doesn’t mean we should unlearn it. We should keep it and add to it. There are a lot of people who are itching to do the next new thing. That’s great, it’s just that mindset can cause you to forget some of the basics.

    “Not to pint fingers at any team, but to a certain extent the Mariners did that. They got so wrapped up in talking advantage of fielding statistics that they forgot they should have a first baseman with an on-base percentage over .280. Maybe that’s unfair. If they were here, they may interrupt me and say no, that’s not the way it happened. But my perception is that sometimes you can forget about the basics when you’re pursuing something new.”

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/sloan-analytics-cuban-mccracken-jedlovic/

    Also of note, Evgeny Kuznetsov was available when the Canucks traded their 2010 first rounder and Michael Grabner for Keith Ballard.

    And a number of quality defenseman were avilable after CoHo in the 2008 draft.

    Of course, when you cut yourself off from half the market of available talent (defenseman, Russians etc) just as Ricciardi did by avoiding high upside high school players, the poor results should not be surprising.

    Regardless of the simpletons that believe it’s all a glorified coin flipping contest…

  • “If you were to go back in history and take every president, you’ll find that the numerical value of each letter in their name was equally divisible into the year in which they were elected. By my calculations, our next president has to be named Yellnick McWawa.” – Cliff Clavin

  • andyg

    I see both Cam and NM000’s points. On one hand, MG did a good job finding some undervalued assets in some places (work on the margins as NM000 put it). Tanev, Lack, Higgins, Lapierre, Ehrhoff etc. But also missed some of the big picture stuff, and poorly managed some big assets and didn’t do a good job finding long term core pieces to support what he had. Similar to the point he made about Riccardi.

    Also, I think there’s good evidence to suggest virtually no one does a good job of nailing both parts of it. There are a finite number of roster spots/draft picks etc, and that means that trying to find value in the margins can hurt your teams ability to find core pieces. Looking for late round homeruns is great, and so is finding supporting cast pieces late in the draft. But its hard to allocate resources to both pursuits adequately. I like Cam’s point about Russia, and that the older player strategy may have had some merits. But at the end of the day it’s a results thing, and his older player strategy didn’t work, and he negleted an entire hockey region.

    I think in hindsight for me it’s clear that his talent evaluation at the pro level was the biggest problem he had. Other than Ehrhoff, no major trade aquisition hit, and a great number failed spectacularly. Booth, Ballard, Pahlsson, Roy are the biggest 3 misses. Followed by the mismanagement that led to selling off both Schneider and Luongo. The assessment was clearly that Booth and Ballard would be core pieces, and they weren’t, and he bought them at a time when they weren’t undervalued, they were being paid market price. And they hamstrung his chances to get a legitimate talent when it was on the market (Carter, Ryan, Nash).

    • “The assessment was clearly that Booth and Ballard would be core pieces”

      I wonder what Gillis’ endgame was after acquiring Ballard & Hamhuis prior to Salo’s floorball injury.

      Seemingly one of the super six defenseman was set to move if Salo was not on the LTIR all year.

      Considering he had pending UFAs Ehrhoff, Bieksa & Salo, he massively limited his flexibility and the ability to resign all three of Ehrhoff, Bieksa & Salo.

      How many 20+ minute defenseman were really necessary?

      • I think the Ballard move was initially insurance against missing on Hamhuis (or one of the other UFA d available that year), particularly given the discussion of internal cap etc, my thought is that if he got priced out, at least he added to the defence corps. The rumours at the time indicated Bieksa may have been the odd man out, especially given that was the height of the Canucks ‘turn the other cheek’ ‘hurt them on the power play’ approach.

  • andyg

    The why-no-Russians argument at the core of the post still does ignore I think why so many teams — not just the Canucks — have shied away from drafting them. You mention the lack of transfer agreement and the lure of the KHL for some of the young player at least — the soap operas with Radulov or (until recently) with Kuznetzov are evidence of that.

    I don’t think Gillis’ problem was a reluctance to draft Russians, it was — as has been pointed out previously — an approach that was actually far more conservative than it was outside the box. In the end it seemed more like he was making what he thought were safe or sure picks than right ones. And even in his overager or whatever strategies I still don’t think he ended up being consistent. As with so much of his drafting he seemed all over the board. There were guys picked on the basis of a very small body of work (Honzik), guys who’d slipped due to size or other issues (Schroeder), college bound guys (McNally and a whole number of others). I suppose you could make the same case for anyone and I never like to play the “who got picked after…” game but as we all know results speak for themselves and to have a grand total of 6 guys in 6 drafts play in the league (and the only notable one not even here) is pathetic. Given that the main parts of this job are basically drafting, contracts, trades, and system development, getting Fs in 3 of those categories and a C+ on the fourth should be all the reason he shouldn’t get another crack with another team.

    • I agree that avoiding Russians wasn’t exactly Gillis’ biggest issue.

      But it speaks to the general risk aversion and variable reduction with which he approached his entire tenure.

      His entire draft approach was centred around getting “something” out of each pick such as trying to hit a double instead of a homerun with the Hodgson selection.

      If Seth Jones was available at #9, would Gillis have selected him?

      It’s hard to know considering the forward only first round strategy he implemented.

      It’s a good thing to be aware of the percentages and not to haphazardly take on unneccesary risk.

      But to do it every bloody time?

      The talent pool runs dry and a rebuild becomes inevitable for the next general manager…

      • jung gun

        Yes, that’s exactly it — the strategy is compounded repetition of the same failed strategy. I’ve been critical (and I think rightly so) of coaches for not adapting to changed circumstances but I think I gave Gillis far too much of a pass for not recognizing the shifting terrain. There were some things clearly out of his control (the Canuck-penalizing CBA provision regarding Luongo) but as a GM it has to be Gillis’ job to see the bigger picture. Not restocking the depth of the system and just tinkering around the edges with depth/complementary players (and in the bottom not top six) meant that he never did give the Sedins et al. the kind of support they really needed.

        At this point I’m just glad that we’ve hit some sort of bottom, enough that we can at least talk about more meaningful change in the approach. Gillis didn’t lose my respect or confidence because the Canucks had a crap season, it’s because he was never willing to own up to his own role in it and show some actual leadership. Instead it was all about covering for himself, including throwing others under the bus which I’m now beginning to see is a much longer pattern.

        • It was quite striking to see the difference between Gillis’ last interview as GM compared to Torts’ followup interview.

          One guy throwing everyone off the boat and trying to grab the only life preserver.

          And the other guy – the guy that most on here seemed to believe was the bigger problem – was diplomatic, accountable and understood his position on the org chart.

          While the optics would suck, I could go either way on Torts as the coach for next year espescially if the organization accepts that they are rebuilding…

  • The article notes: “As a rookie, Nichushkin would be 3rd in goals and 5th in points on a Canucks team struggling for offence and lacking that potential top six scoring forward.”

    Yeah, no. I really doubt he would. I’d put money on it. Nichushkin benefits from, primarily, playing with Jamie Benn and Seguin. We do not have a Jamie Benn or a Seguin. Kesler and Henrik and very good and might be comparable (I’d take Benn and Seguin over Henrik and Kes right now..in an instant).

    I think that segment of your article is rather self-serving. The Canucks are a struggling team and admit they’ve under performed. Nichushkin wouldn’t be the same player here right now as he is in Dallas. Add to the fact he claimed he’d likely play in Russian if he didn’t make the Stars and that is enough to concern someone. I’m not saying not to draft him but I can see why Gillis went with Horvat over him; Bo projects to be a solid playoff player and a possible Kesler.

    I do agree Gillis seems to have ignored the Russian side of things. I do find that a bit odd and it’d be nice for him to talk about that one day. Personally, I understand the concern over the flight risk but Gillis seems to have over reacted a bit in that department.

    Also, I’m sure we wouldn’t be having this convo if Gillis was able to make some significant moves that benefited the NHL team. He made many big moves but they didn’t really help us too much. Over his tenure, he failed to land any young, top 6 forwards and poorly managed our assets (Schneids and Lu just to name a couple).

    I’m glad he is gone. He didn’t have the confidence/acumen to win the big deals and it cost him.

      • andyg

        You have no idea what Bo will be!

        You are just hoping that Gaunce ,Shinkaruk,Cassels and Horvat fail because other wise you will look like an idiot.

        If Jensen and even 2 of those guys pan out then we would have to say that Gillis was adjusting and improving the process as he went.

        The hardest kind of player to find is a two way center like Kess.Even Horvats coach said that he used Bo as a 17 year old against teams best players.(that would normally be the 18 and 19 yr olds with that job)

        I think I will trust Mr Hunter over you!

        Why don’t you stop beating a dead horse. Try and find some negative crap about Trever? You might as well get a head start!

        • jung gun

          I agree that NM00 is too harsh on Horvat and a few of the other prospects. But that said can you honestly say that our prospect pool OR our AHL depth looks particularly good? Even with drafts in the low 20s for the better part of the decade we should be doing better than this. Yes Gillis could spot some good college players and others outside of the draft, but come on, you know that overall our prospects look pretty weak. I think Horvat’s going to be a good one — is he what we needed at the 2013 draft, given what we gave up and the rest of our needs? That is a more difficult question.

          If we should indeed trust the experts (which I agree with) shouldn’t we trust those with better track records at drafting than Gillis?

          • You and I have a different opinion on Horvat.

            That’s cool.

            I tend to agree with Rhys’ assessment on him fwiw.

            But common.

            Nonsense about “Bo projects to be a solid playoff player”?

            Do we really want to encourage such silliness?

          • andyg

            Yes

            He is a top tier talent and if his team wasn’t such a disaster his stats would show it.

            I’ll bet there is lots of teams that would love to have him. Including the Canucks.

          • Based on what he’s done, I’m OK with him as a prospect. Legit two way player that might be a solid playoff guy as well. He is still a huge unknown. However, you are known as a blabbering moron so I’m happy when our points are the opposite…that being said, you’re entitled to you wrong opinion…you asshat.

          • andyg

            40 years of watching the Canucks and being some one who thinks developing internally is important I can tell you that this team has never drafted well. I do how ever feel that the last 2 or 3 years looks better.( time will tell)

            You don’t correct a system with as poor a record as the Canucks over night. For me the most important thing that Mike was able to do was convince owners to purchase the farm.

            The difference between what we seen in Jensen from training camp to now is huge.

            I am not upset that He was fired at all. I just hope that the concept of developing internally is continued and improved on.

            However I do not feel the need to put a curse on any thing that Mr Gillis did. (or all players he drafted or found)

            I think Cassels could be a steel and Grenier may turn into a real player. Give credit where credit is due and move on.

            “firetorts” 🙂 I am a cunucks fan

  • jung gun

    I like the dangling skills of that undersized Russian displayed in the article. I’m wondering how undersized he is, and whether he’d be a better bet than Ehlers, who’s also on the lightweight side of size.

    Overall, I support the concept of drafting more Russians, trading for them, headhunting them, or any combination of the three. During the world juniors, their team looked fast, dangerous, and had solid stick skills, especially their hand eye coordination, which was their strongest suit on defense, although overall they played a much better offensive game in comparison. I’d rather see more high octane attackers on the Canucks. Sreems like d men are a commodity fairly easy to get, and building a d core like the one the Canucks have shouldn’t be unreasonably hard in the future.

  • andyg

    your both talking out of yr ass! The average success rate of a player making sig. contribution is ~19% (200 career games)

    {http://proicehockey.about.com/od/prospects/f/draft_success.htm}.

    The fact that dom. players: Lucic/Dats/Lidstrom/..etc etc.who were ‘missed’ by their OWN teams..also shows how much luck is involved.

    In other words, These teams picked other losing bets over these winners..LOL

    Let’s look at 2008-2010

    {2011 is still too early to see IF Jensen pans out}.If you run the probabilities..

    The Canucks should have got only 2.3 ‘regular’ NHL players (capable of playing 200 games)
    partly due to not having a 1, 2,3, choice on year.
    For approx. I am using 40% for top 10 30% for late first round 20% for 2nd 15% for 3rd and 12% for 4-7

    Cody/Zac WILL make the grade.
    JS is a question mark and so is KC now in Dallas.

    More importantly, 3 years and only 17 players is a very small sample size…To “determine signal”.

    But go ahead an getting having fun spinning narratives without the necessary data 🙂

  • Dimitri Filipovic

    Gillis played Shirokov with kesler. I dont know if he drafted him, but at least he took a russian for a test drive.

    Dont forget that Bure was Gillis’s client, and he certainly didnt seem to have anything against russians.

    But yah, i do agree with the article for the most part. I just chalked it up to “flight risk” for the most part.

  • Dimitri Filipovic

    I’m sure Moneyball was a lot more valuable when fewer people knew about it. Now that everyone knows about it, you have a much larger pool of people looking under every rock for something slightly undervalued, which isn’t very useful when you’re passing up highly valued talent, particularly in the draft.

    • andyg

      This. If only one team can win every league every year, and this is as popular among managers in professional sports as I’m being led to believe, then more teams are using it unsuccessfully than with success. Perhaps for the reasons you stated. At which point the need for success should shift the paradigm.

      Either way, hockey changes too much for any one book to be a template to winning or to guide an organization’s decisions. It just doesn’t work that way unless you are trying to sell the concept or the book.

  • andyg

    I get ur point – why DO the Canucks ignore the USSR… but u didnt need to throw Horvat under the bus to make it. OHL Champ, good Canadian kid. Who says hes not a game breaker?!

  • andyg

    Or you could discuss it reasonably. I’m not asking to be spoon fed. I’m looking for healthy discussion and at this point certainly not by you, a guy who came on here to discuss a book, but has yet to utter a word one way or another about it. I can think of one person I’ve read today on the internet who I think is full of crap.

    Make sure and get that apostrophe thing fixed it’s simple, and you’re welcome for the spoonful of knowledge. I know what to expect in return, so don’t bother with the effort.

  • andyg

    Haha. I didn’t come here to discuss a book. You completely missed the point. LOL.

    You didn’t look for a “Moneyball” discussion. You offered criticism on something you haven’t read and know nothing about.

    “I’m sick of Moneyball” is not = to “I would like to discuss/learn more about Moneyball”

    LOL