Monday, August 27, 2012

Exclusive interview with Red Wings Equipment Manager Paul Boyer

Boyer, left, with former captain Nick Lidstrom (Photo credit Dave Reginek)

Back in May, I alluded to something cool that may be happening on this very site in the near future in my post about the Wings' equipment sale. Today, I'm thrilled to be able to post the end result.

Red Wings equipment manager Paul Boyer is well known by diehard Detroit followers, having spent almost two decades behind the bench. He graciously agreed to do an exclusive interview for The Octopi Garden during the equipment sale at Hockeytown Authentics. We spoke at length, and I would like to thank Mr. Boyer again for making this happen. Enjoy.

Walk us through what a typical home gameday is like for you and your staff.
Depends on what happens the night before. If it’s a practice day and I got the skates sharpened, I won’t have to be in til 8 or 8:30 AM. If I don’t, I get in there about 6 AM and start sharpening for morning skate. Then I wait for players to get in and start handling the needs of the players when they get in. Normally the salesmen that come in like the Bauer rep, the Warrior rep, the Easton rep I deal with them and react to whatever they need. If there’s any big emergencies I’ll stick around and do it, if not I sneak out for a quick bite to eat, pick up my kids from school and I’m back around 4 PM.

That’s the best time to meet, the afternoon before a game. With players, the reps, as equipment manager I’m in charge of handling what the reps need.

I’ve always said there’s three days in hockey; gameday, practice day, and a day off. Your routine depends on what kind of day it is.

Could you discuss the challenge that back-to-back games pose for an equipment manager?
It’s just two games, depends on whether it’s two home games back-to-back, which is pretty rare. It depends on how many games you go for. It’s a routine, like waking up in the morning. You just know that after the game you have to line up the sticks…the players know the routine. They know the routine. We’re in constant communication with them. We’ll tell them it’s this many games, you need this many sticks. My staff will pull the duffel bags, and the guys come in and drop their stuff right in the bags. Then we load them onto the truck and it’s off to the airport.

Who is the most superstitious about their equipment, and in what way?
I do not speak about players and their superstitions (laughs). You can quote me on that.

What challenges does an outdoor game like the Winter Classic pose to you and your staff?
We were lucky at Wrigley Field because the weather cooperated. The weather’s been the biggest hurdle. If you get a rainy day like they had in Pittsburgh that year that hurts. I heard a league official say that shouldn’t have even been played. It’s dangerous for the guys. We were lucky it was cold and overcast [in 2009], and that’s what you’re looking for. You just keep talking to your weatherman and hope it will line up that way. The league has done it so many times they’re very organized and easy to work with. I remember a lot of stuff from our last game. Just keeping the guys warm, and Reebok does a good job of that. You make sure you have some eye black, grab some handwarmers, and we know we can use tinted visors now.

A great deal of debate about equipment has taken place in light of the NHL’s commitment to reducing head injuries.  What, if any, changes do you feel need to be made to enhance player safety?
Not many. The stuff we’re using is very protective. Bauer, Warrior, Easton, all the companies have great helmets. The manufacturers are all up to date on the technology. The equipment provided to us and approved for use by the NHL is good, quality equipment. As equipment managers we’re looking for anything we can to keep players safe. Mouth guards have really come a long way. Under Armour’s bite guard technology has helped, with that bite lock technology so players can breathe easier,  that with a good helmet is great. Everyone is better educated, and we know better how to keep our players safe. The players know too. 

Being on the bench, you have a vantage point that few share. Any interesting Scotty Bowman or Mike Babcock stories you can tell us?
None. I’ll let Dave Lewis tell those. Lewie’s a better story teller than me. Working with Scotty Bowman, Mike Babcock, Jacques Lemaire; you really see the passion these guys have, they love coming to work every day. That’s what makes the difference

What do you see as the single greatest advancement in equipment since you started working in hockey?
The composite stick. It has to be the composite stick. It allows players to pass faster, harder. It’s brought everything to a new level. Off-ice it’s guys being educated. The players are bigger, stronger, faster. That’s a change nobody really sees. You can’t wrap your hands around a workout. You most certainly can see what it’s doing to the guys. They’re bigger, stronger, faster, and they move easier. I see guys working with skating coaches here in Detroit. You can see they want to get better.

You’ve been on the bench for some the greatest moments in Red Wings history, including four Stanley Cup championships. What is your favorite memory from the past 16 seasons?
That '97 championship was great. It was the first one for everyone involved, from Mr. Illitch to Steve Yzerman to me. Growing up in Canada you see guys like Guy Lafleur holding the cup, and then once you get in the game you want to win the Cup. Like Ken Holland says, once you win it you don’t want to let it go. That’s what keeps you going. 

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Saturday, July 28, 2012

Waiting for Good D: Evaluating number one defensemen and the likelihood they join Detroit

Wanted: someone to fill those skates

It's no secret that the Red Wings are in the market for another defenseman. Detroit is weak on the back end for the first time in years after losing Nicklas Lidstrom, Brad Stuart, and Brian Rafalski over the span of two seasons. Ryan Suter signed with Minnesota, Shea Weber's offer sheet was matched, and just like that the available top tier d-men were locked up and Ken Holland was left looking at his roster and thinking about how Jakub Kindl isn't really that bad.

The free agent market is tapped out. There aren't any players left of the caliber that Detroit needs, but that doesn't mean all options have been exhausted. This article looks at every team's best defenseman and the likelihood that Detroit could acquire them via trade or offer sheet before or during the 2012-13 season.

Anaheim Ducks
Cam Fowler- Much like Detroit, Anaheim doesn't have a clear-cut number one defenseman. If Fowler isn't already their best blueliner he probably will be by the end of next season. He's young, talented, and about to become a RFA at the end of the season.

Chances Wings acquire: Tremendously unlikely

Boston Bruins
Zdeno Chara- A perennial Norris nominee and lynchpin of the Boston rotation. Has six years left on his deal.

Chances Wings acquire: Slim to none

Buffalo Sabres
Christian Ehrhoff- Had a somewhat disappointing first season in Buffalo, but with a NMC and a modified NTC I don't see him going anywhere. Oh, and he's also signed through 2020-21. If Buffalo does tank you may see Robyn Regehr traded, though he won't do anything to help Detroit's lack of offense from the defense position.

Chances Wings acquire: None

Calgary Flames
Jay Bouwmeester- Rumor has it that he's on the block, but I don't see him as a number one guy. His salary is high ($6.68 million) relative to his production (5 goals and 24 assists for 29 points), and he isn't a shutdown d-man.

Chances Wings acquire: He's probably available for the right price, but I think that price will be too high

Carolina Hurricanes
Jamie McBain- Honestly, the Hurricanes don't really have a guy worth pursuing. McBain is young and talented, but he's not the top flight defenseman the Wings need.

Chances Wings acquire: None, as there isn't a spot for another second pairing defenseman on the roster

Chicago Blackhawks
Duncan Keith- Another Norris caliber player who's inked to a long term deal (through 2022-23). There's no reason to dump his salary at this point, and Chicago isn't in a rebuilding phase.

Chances Wings acquire: None. There's almost no reason he'll be shopped, and if this offseason has taught us anything it's that players don't move intradivisionally

Colorado Avalanche
Erik Johnson- A former number one overall pick with a wealth of talent, he just signed a new four year deal. Colorado doesn't need to move salary and definitely doesn't want to acquire it, so he's likely going nowhere.

Chances Wings acquire: Slim to none

Columbus Blue Jackets
Jack Johnson- Columbus just picked him up in the Jeff Carter deal, so he's probably stuck there for a while. He'd be a good addition to Detroit's roster and I think he'd make a good partner for Niklas Kronwall.

Chances Wings acquire: If Howson wouldn't trade Nash to Detroit then there's no way he trades them Johnson

Dallas Stars
Alex Goligoski- A point producer with a limited NTC. They're clearly going all-in this year after adding Jaromir Jagr, Ray Whitney, and Derek Roy, and they need talented defenders to compliment their offense.

Chances Wings acquire: Highly unlikely

Edmonton Oilers
Ryan Whitney- They're already thin on D, so no one's going anywhere in Edmonton.

Chances Wings acquire: None

Florida Panthers
Brian Campbell- A quality player, but another who isn't likely to change locations. The only consolation here is that, per, he can name eight teams he would accept a trade to. If Florida tanks and decides they'd be better served with a smattering of forwards, picks, and prospects then you know Ken Holland will be the first to inquire.

Chances Wings acquire: Unlikely

Los Angeles Kings
Drew Doughty- The best defenseman on the defending Stanley Cup champions, who just happens to have signed a long-term deal one season ago? Yeah, he can feel pretty comfy buying that beach house now.

Chances Wings acquire: None

Minnesota Wild
Ryan Suter- Hey, didn't Detroit try to...oh, right. Nevermind.

Chances Wings acquire: Hahaha

Montreal Canadiens
P.K. Subban or Andrei Markov circa 2009- Markov has a modified NTC and has been plagued by injuries. Subban could be a great addition and is a restricted free agent. It's not the Red Wings way, but some real pressure could be exerted on Montreal if Subban was signed to an offer sheet. They only have $6.3 million in cap space. Nothing can be taken for granted and no assumptions can be made in an offseason like this one.

Chances Wings acquire: Slight possibility

Nashville Predators
Shea Weber- Word on the street is that this guy is good at the whole hockey thing. Also, head slams.

Chances Wings acquire: Holland talked to his agents and nothing developed. Then Nashville matched Philly's offer. Thus ends all "maybe he'll slam Zetterberg's head into the glass practice next season lol" discussions.

New Jersey Devils
Anton Volchenkov or Adam Larsson- Volchenkov isn't a true number one, and Larsson is too young and skilled to be moved outside of a blockbuster.

Chances Wings acquire: Slim to none

New York Islanders
Mark Streit- An underrated number one, he'd be a great acquisition for the Winged Wheelers. His contract is up after this season, so it's possible that the Islanders may want to move him if they don't think they can get a deal done. This may be the long term target for Ken Holland, the player that could significantly upgrade Detroit's roster close to the trade deadline.

Chances Wings acquire: Very possible, depending on what is asked for in return and contract status

New York Rangers
Dan Girardi- He may not score as often as others on this list, but he might be the most consistent in his point production. A reliable 30-point player, Girardi anchors the bluline for a team that's making a push for the Cup. He's also signed for two more seasons.

Chances Wings acquire: None

Ottawa Senators
Erik Karlsson- The best young defenseman in the league. Any team would like to add him, and none will do so. Ottawa locked him up long-term and if there's anyone who's truly untouchable it's this guy.

Chances Wings acquire: None

Philadelphia Flyers
Kimmo Timonen- It's very possible that Timonen becomes available closer to the trade deadline, with an expiring contract and a GM who's not afraid to make a bold move.

Chances Wings acquire: A distinct possibility

Phoenix Coyotes
Keith Yandle- If Doan leaves, do they decide to move Yandle as well? Rumor has it that he may be available, and Detroit has to add someone of this caliber if they want to begin to patch the damage left by Nick Lidstrom's departure. Yandle is a point producer with four years left on his contract; there's nothing to not like here.

Chances Wings acquire: Very possible

Pittsburgh Penguins
Kris Letang- His $3.5 million deal is a huge bargain for a team that's thin on defense. Too good a deal and too big a part of their team to move now.

Chances Wings acquire: None

Saint Louis Blues
Alex Pietrangelo- He's a bonafide NHLer, he's young, he's on an entry level deal, and he plays for a division rival.

Chances Wings acquire: None

San Jose Sharks
Dan Boyle- He's aging and has two years left on his contract, but he's still the best defender on a team that has a shot at the Cup. It's not impossible for him to be moved, but I don't see why he would be.

Chances Wings acquire: Slim to none

Tampa Bay Lightning
Matt Carle- He was one of Detroit's offseason targets and chose to join Steve Yzerman's squad instead. Yeah, he's not going anywhere.

Chances Wings acquire: None

Toronto Maple Leafs
Dion Phaneuf- Rebounded with a good offensive season in 2011-12. He's the captain and face of Toronto's franchise, and though his once high salary is now within reason for a good defenseman, he's not likely to be moved. If Toronto didn't implode at the end of the season they had a shot at the playoffs, but if they repeat this again all bets are off.

Chances Wings acquire: Unlikely

Vancouver Canucks
Kevin Bieksa- Not impossible to acquire, but not as likely to be moved as teammate Alex Edler (if a new deal can't be reached).

Chances Wings acquire: Unlikely

Washington Capitals
Mike Green- He just re-upped with the Caps, so it's very doubtful that he gets moved this season.

Chances Wings acquire: Slim to none

So who could Detroit add?

The most likely candidates to become Red Wings are Subban (via offer sheet), Bouwmeester, Streit, Timonen, and Yandle. I think Bouwmeester is the most overrated and overpaid of those on the list, and I don't think he's the true first pair defenseman Detroit needs.

Narrowing the list down further, there seems to be only one player listed above that could be moved before the season starts and that's Yandle. The others could be available depending on circumstance, and were included as being trade targets mostly because of their expiring contracts. Teams and agents will have the largest bearing on their future, so it's hard for a fanbase to tolerate but possible that the Wings will hold out for a player like Mark Streit at the trade deadline.

Perhaps the most intriguing possibility is signing Subban to an offer sheet. The Canadiens have just $6.3 million left in cap space, so an offer of $7 million per season couldn't be matched. That's not an outrageous salary for a semi-proven offensive defenseman like Subban. Sure, it's out of the ordinary for Holland and co. but any move should be considered at this point.

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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Welcome (Back) to Detroit: Mikael Samuelsson

Just...I don't know, do that again

First of all, I apologize for this being ludicrously late. I know that Jeff Hancock from Winging it in Motown was waiting on pins and needles for this, so I had to get around to writing this sooner or later. Obviously, it was later.

Numbers? Numbers!
  • In 2008-09, his last season in Detroit, Samuelsson had 19 goals and 21 assists for 40 points. He departed for Vancouver during the 2009 offseason and saw his offensive numbers balloon to 30 goals and 23 assists for 53 points. Last season he split time between Vancouver and Florida, and netted 14 goals and 17 assists for 31 points
  • Looking at things through a wider lens, Samuelsson has a five-year even-strength HARO+ of 0.895, a HARD+ of 1.107, and a HART+ of 1.001
  • Samuelsson has a five-year power play HARO+ of 1.343, and a five-year penalty kill HARD+ of zero, because he hasn't been used on the penalty kill. Ever. Over five seasons. 
  • As far as Corsi goes, Samuelsson's Corsi Quality of Competition was 0.914 at even strength in 2011-12 and his relative Corsi was 5.4.
  • He takes 0.7 penalties per 60 minutes, but draws 0.9 per 60. Not a huge difference, but always good to be in the positive here.
  • The Panthers averaged 2.3 even strength goals per 60 minutes with Samuelsson on the ice and while allowing 2.04, compared to 1.95 for and 2.16 against without him on the ice.
  • On the powerplay, the Panthers averaged 7.98 goals per 60 with Samuelsson and allowed 0.44 per 60. Without Samuelsson on-ice, the Panthers scored 3.27 power play goals per 60, while allowing 1.23 per 60. It's clear that Samuelsson had an impact on the Panthers' power play.
So what's the verdict?
I won't be at all surprised if Samuelsson fills in for Hudler and puts up similar numbers. That may be a bit optimistic, but I think he'll fit in nicely on the third line and on the second power play unit. He's got size and is a right-handed shot, which will benefit the Wings when they have the man advantage. Of course he's going to shoot high and miss the net, but he may also hit it with some frequency, and combining that with some physical play is all he has to do for his contract to be a good deal.

According to the stats from Hockey Analysis, Samuelsson is an average NHLer over the past five years, and actually has better defensive numbers than offensive. The stats from Behind the Net show that he played against fairly good competition and was able to create more shots for his team when he was on-ice compared to on the bench, which fits nicely with Detroit's system. He had a moderate impact at even strength last season, and a much greater one on the powerplay.

The usually complimentary video corner

I like these two goals more than almost anything else he did in a Wings uniform

Maybe this happens if we put him on a line with Datsyuk or Zetterberg

Like I said, he should step in and pick up right where Hudler left off

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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Potential Red Wings Alumni Showdown Roster

Hey look, one of our old-timers is also the best defenseman in the world. Good luck, Toronto.

Lost amidst the craziness surrounding free agency and development camp was the news that on Wednesday the Red Wings would release the roster for the Alumni Showdown, the headlining event of Hockeytown Winter Fest. I'll let Toronto bloggers take care of their own business, but I decided to take a stab at what I think (and hope) Detroit's roster might look like.

My roster was created using the current Wings alumni team as a base, then adding players that I thought still had a reasonable chance of being able to skate. I'd love to see Mr. Hockey and Terrible Ted suit up for just one shift, but is that truly reasonable? Maybe. According to tweets from former Wings beat writer (and current Yahoo! sports NHL writer) Nick Cotsonika, Mark Howe mentioned after the alumni game in Philly that Mr. Hockey would like to take an alumni game shift himself. Cotsonika also tweeted that  Ted Lindsay looked great and would probably play in the alumni game.

The biggest news regarding alumni rosters was the Detroit News article that reported Steve Yzerman doesn't expect to play for the Detroit alums. I have a hard time believing this. Let's read between the lines here.
"At this time I don't plan on participating in the alumni game but hope to watch the (Winter) Classic on TV."
"At this time..." leaves a lot of wiggle room for a change of heart in the future. Kris Draper is trying to convince Yzerman to play, and undoubtedly dozens of other former Wings have done so over the past few months. While I understand that Stevie Y hasn't skated since he retired, I'd be perfectly fine with him taking just one shift. The point of the alumni game is the history of the franchise, the history behind the infamous winged wheel. Seeing Yzerman in a Detroit sweater one more time is a nod to that history, and him playing in the game is more about this than any contribution in terms of goals or assists.






Also, pencil S. Kozlov in somewhere. It's not likely that Fedorov will play, so Kozlov may be able to fill that spot on the roster.






And yes, you can expect Hasek to talk to Ken Holland about a PTO for the 2013-14 season if he plays well in his one period between the pipes. Just kidding. Not really.

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Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Offer Sheet, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Shea Weber (Contract) Bomb

If David Poile looks like this after losing Ryan Suter, imagine what happens if he loses Shea Weber. Full fledged zombie Poile.
Photo credit The Tennessean

This was supposed to be the biggest offseason in a decade. The Red Wings added three future Hall of Famers to their roster the last time they were in a period of transition that even remotely resembles this one. What have they done so far this summer? Added a solid backup goalie, an agitator with little offensive upside, a flashy but unproven European star, and a player who was not resigned by Detroit the last time he reached free agency. Not exactly the blockbuster summer everyone was hoping for.

Drastic times call for drastic measures, and if ever there was a drastic time this is it. Chris from Nightmare on Helm Street wrote an interesting article about signing Shea Weber to an offer sheet. I like his idea of throwing out an offer that David Poile can't match, but what will that take? Is there a way we can precisely pinpoint a number that Poile can't match, thereby pushing him over the brink of insanity that he's already teetering on?

The most difficult part of signing Weber to an offer sheet is Nashville's available cap space. They have about $30 million left to spend, which is essentially a blank check. Some of that $30 million will disappear soon, as Poile doesn't have a full roster at this time. Let's take a look.

I then tried to predict moves Nashville will make and see how much cap space was left. Winger Sergei Kostitsyn filed for salary arbitration, and they'll likely re-sign him at a higher salary than the $2.5 million he made last season. I gave him a modest raise since his production did slip, so let's assume he earns $3.00 million next season. There's a big need for help on defense, so I extended qualifying offers to Jonathon Blum and Teemu Laakso. Colin Wilson is one of the Predators' more promising young players, so let's say they sign him to a deal with a cap hit of $1.825 million, similar but slightly above his current $1.725 million hit. This still leaves Nashville with only two left wingers, and six centers. I'll be nice to them and say that they don't have to sign two left wings, but instead convert a center. This means they still have to acquire a left wing, and I'll assume they do this via free agency. They could use a veteran leader with some scoring punch, so let's say they sign Andrew Brunette to a one year, $2.2 million deal. After all this, they've still got $21.633 million in cap space.

With that much cap space, we have to be realistic. There's a very, very good chance that Nashville matches any offer another team puts on the table that's short of a one year, $22 million deal. This is their franchise player and captain, and the organization is feeling even more pressure to keep him after the departure of Ryan Suter.

Regardless, Detroit can still put Nashville in a tremendously uncomfortable position. As far as the contract offer itself, I think Detroit can afford to put a $12.2 million deal on the table. To calculate this number, I first assumed the Wings resign Justin Abdelkader for $1.3 million per season, and Kyle Quincey for $3.78 million per. I took the Quincey figure from the contest running over on The Production Line, and the Abdelkader salary is one that I've heard he's looking for. This means that Detroit ends up with $100k if Weber doesn't get matched, and also puts them one player over the maximum.

The roster is overloaded with forwards, and someone will either have to be sent to Grand Rapids or traded to bring the roster down to the maximum of 23. Trading a forward for draft picks would help, because if Weber signs with Detroit and isn't matched the Wings will lose four first round draft picks. The likely candidate to take his turn apprenticing in Grand Rapids is Damien Brunner, despite being billed as a top six forward by Mike Babcock. He's one of the two forwards with two way contracts, and is unproven in the NHL. 

So if Nashville has a blank check, why even try?

The facts don't exactly pain a rosy picture from the Wings' perspective. Only one player has ever signed an offer sheet and not been matched by his current club post-lockout, but Detroit has absolutely nothing to lose and a whole lot to gain. The Wings wanted to add a top six forward and a first pair defenseman in the offseason. There aren't any top flight defensemen left on the open market, and perhaps only Keith Yandle available on the trade market.. Forwards are more available, and Detroit's forward crop is a lot stronger than their blue liners as the roster stands now. If you prioritize needs, an elite defenseman is far and away the Wings' greatest void.

Enter Weber. A Norris trophy nominee the past two seasons, he's a true top pair guy who plays a great offensive and defensive game. Nicklas Lidstrom is absolutely irreplaceable, but I think Weber is a step closer to filling those skates than even Ryan Suter would have been. 

For once, Detroit has leverage. They had none with Suter and Zach Parise, instead having to wait and hope against hope that one of them would chose Detroit as the issuer of their paychecks for the next decade plus. The Wings now have an opportunity to be the aggressor and show that they are in no way rebuilding, but instead are looking to reload and make another run for the Cup.

So, let's say the Wings give Weber an offer sheet. What's next?

What's the worst that could happen? They put a huge offer on the table and Weber turns it down. At the very least he knows that Detroit sees him as a part of their future plans, and should he make it to free agency in 2013 he knows we'll be right there waiting to hand him a long term deal. If Nashville matches, it guarantees he becomes a free agent in 2013 and the same scenario is in play; Mr. Weber, here's the vault. Help yourself.

Let's say Weber signs the offer sheet, and Nashville doesn't match. After all, they've got to lock up Patric Hornqvist to a long term deal in the next year, as he's one of the few scorers they have. Beyond Hornqvist, take a look at this. It speaks for itself.

That's a lot of free agents. Best case scenario? Weber signs, and Poile can't or won't match. Detroit gets one year to enjoy the services of a top five blue liner, and also gets a year to impress him and hopefully sign him for the long haul.

Ken Holland is obviously smarter than you, ya blogger. There's gotta be a catch.

There's one caveat to the Weber contract. We can't continue to pay him $12.2 million over a multi-year deal. Sure, there's money to throw out this offseason, but who knows what the next CBA will bring. Weber's signing would have to (or at least should) come with a gentlemen's agreement that, should Weber become a Red Wing, he'd have to take less to stay here after 2012-13. Not the whole "we're the Wings so everyone should want to play for us because mystique original six Gordie Stevie blah" discount, but down to fair market value. I wouldn't have a problem making Weber the highest paid defenseman in the league, so perhaps we could mention that a new contract would have an annual cap hit of about $8 million.

Pssh, this isn't Detroit's kind of move. They preach patience, there's no way they do this.

It's true, as an organization patience has been a virtue for a long time. I have no problem with that, as I appreciate patience and think that panic button moves can get you in over your head quicker than you could every imagine. There comes a time, however, where patience has run it's course. Detroit has been extolling the virtues of waiting for over a year now, and in that time little has been done to make the team better. It's time to use some of the cap space that has been saved up on a player worth the inflated salary handed out to free agents this offseason.

Why is now the right time?

Weber's stunned, Poile's stunned, most of Nashville is probably stunned. Now's the time to make a bold move. Something needs to be done to quell the nerves of a fanbase that has seen the last links to the glory of the late nineties and two thousands walk away slowly put surely over the past few seasons.

If you're wondering why the face of Nashville hockey would contemplate signing with their biggest rival, take a look at this post from Puck Daddy. It nicely summarizes some of the reasons he may look elsewhere. Nashville isn't exactly getting a ringing endorsement from his agents, that's for sure

About that other forward....

If you think that the Wings shouldn't pursue Weber but should instead sign Shane Doan or Alex Semin and look for another defenseman elsewhere, I understand your stance. However, I ask you this; would you rather see Shane Doan in a Wings jersey for a couple of seasons, or one of the top five defensemen in the league patrolling the blue line for one year, with a possibility of keeping that player in Detroit for years to come. I've always been a defense-first guy, so I'm putting my money on the latter. Now all we can do is sit back and see whether the Wings' front office feels the same.

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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Welcome to Detroit: Damien Brunner

Damien Brunner looks like one of the Backstreet Boys and heals sick children. Watch out, Dos Equis guy.

Articles? Articles!

Brunner has never played an NHL game, so there are no advanced stats to put in this space. Instead of numbers, you're going to get words.Words, and a lot of links.

  • Looking for a quick scouting report? According to, Brunner is "a slick offensive forward who can shoot as well as pass the puck. Has great wheels and hands. Plays a gritty game."
  • Mike Babcock didn't shy away from praising Brunner. Seriously, we're talking Helm-like praise here [Ed. note: it's almost impossible to write a sentence with "praise" in it and not accidentally write "Parise." Please note that this was written on the third day of free agency insanity, a time in which has become a major player, along with a cow from Ryan Suter's farm]. It's worth reading the article for Babcock's full quote, but he mentions that he envisions Brunner being a top 6 forward for Detroit, and it sounds like he means this coming season. Babs likes Brunner's right-handed shot on the powerplay, though the signing of fellow right-hander Mikael Samuelsson may take away some of the PP time Brunner would have gotten if he made the big club.
  • Ken Holland shared Mike Babcock's enthusiasm, saying that Brunner will get a chance to play with Detroit's best players and see where it goes. Though it's pure speculation at this point, the natural extension of this is for Brunner to get some preseason time on both Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg's line.
  • A more thorough scouting report from Red Wings Central shares some of the same sentiments I had after watching film of Brunner; great skater, good shot, intelligent shooter, and a phenomenal stickhandler at full speed. 
So what's the verdict?
This could be another one of Detroit's under-the-radar acquisitions of top European talent at a bargain, even though it wasn't via the draft in this instance. The Wings' European scouting staff got the attention of Ken Holland and Mike Babcock in a year that just happened to feature a World Championship. This perfect storm of events allowed Brunner to showcase his talent against top players, in addition to allowing Holland and Babcock to get an up close and in-person look. This may be the one and only reason to be thankful for Detroit's first round exit.

In short, there's a whole lot of potential here without a whole lot of risk. According to Cap Geek, Brunner signed a one year, $925,000 deal with a cap hit of $1.35 million. Not a bad deal at all for a player who is something of a known quantity to the Wings. Though it's difficult to tell how his game will translate to a smaller rink, Brunner has competed against NHL-level competition in the World Championship and performed at a point-per-game pace. I may end up looking really stupid in a few years (thanks for archiving everything, Google) but I believe that Brunner could be the next Valtteri Filppula, and has the upside to be the next Datsyuk or Zetterberg. I see him as more of a Datsyuk or Zetterberg in terms of skill, but he needs to work on his defensive game is he wants to be more than just another top six forward.

As for this coming season, I view it as feast or famine for Brunner. Either he makes the Wings and earns a spot among the top six forwards, or he goes the traditional Grand Rapids apprenticeship route. I don't see any sense is letting him toil on the third or fourth lines, or even worse, playing sporadically or sparsely. Brunner could use time to develop and adjust to the North American game/rink, and if he's talented enough for that development to take place at the NHL level then so be it. If it needs to take place in Grand Rapids then that's okay too, though Detroit may have been more comfortable with this option if Brunner was signed to a multi-year deal.

Some of these have soundtracks comprised of hard rock that is in English, and others have soundtracks comprised of hard rock that is not in English. Listen at your own risk.

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Monday, July 2, 2012

Welcome to Detroit: Jonas Gustavsson

Image via
The first of four Detroit signings on the opening day of free agency, Jonas "The Monster" Gustavsson escaped the villainous reign of Toronto's Francois Allaire, and in the process left the "center of the hockey universe" for Hockeytown. Jim Bedard and company will have an opportunity to work with a goaltender who wanted to "keep [his] development going in the right direction."

Numbers? Numbers!
  • Let's start with the basics. Gustavsson was 17-17-4 in 2011-12 with a 2.92 GAA and .902 save %.He allowed 112 goals on 1,147 shots faced.
  • Time for the heavy duty mumbo jumbo. At even strength, Gustavsson allowed 2.83 goals/60 while facing 26.8 shots against/60.
  • When he was off the ice, Toronto allowed 5.58 even strength goals/60 on 17.9 shots against/60.
  • Gustavsson was supported by 24.6 shots for/60 while on-ice, though Toronto put 33.2 shots for/60 on net when the Monster was on the bench.
  • What's the point of all of this? Essentially, the Maple Leafs played worse in front of Gustavsson at even strength than they did when someone else was between the pipes. This means that his numbers may be a bit skewed. 
  • The next set of numbers comes from, a site which I commonly use when looking at skaters. Honestly, I've never used it for goalies and won't pretend to be an expert here. The one thing I do know is that the more years we group together the more reliable the information, and that 1.0 is an average rating for HARD+. Someone has a HARD+ of 1.136? They perform 13.6% better than an average player. HARD+ of 0.89? They're performing 11% below average.
  • From 2009-12, Gustavsson's HARD+ at even strength (zone start adjusted) is 0.850. Everything listed below will be from the same period of time.
  • In tied games, his 5v5 zone start adjusted HARD+ is 0.876. When up 1 goal, his 5v5 zone start adjusted HARD+ is 0.888. Up 2 goals, and his 5v5 zone start adjusted HARD+ falls to 0.742.
  • Down 1 goal at even strength, his HARD+ is 0.706. Ouch. Down 2 goals he's a little better, with a HARD+ of 0.769.
  • On the powerplay, Gustavsson's HARD+ is 1.316. Woot no shorties! I guess. Short handed, his HARD+ drops to 0.796. 

So what's the verdict?
Looks like we've got ourselves a backup goaltender who could be anywhere between "good" and "serviceable." I see two differences between Gustavsson and former backup Ty Conklin. First, Gustavsson is young and generally considered to have a great deal of potential that can still be extracted under the watchful eyes of Jim Bedard and Chris Osgood. Conklin came back for his second tour of duty in Detroit on his last legs and in the twilight of his career. Second, Gustavsson's HARD+ numbers are fairly consistent across situations, especially when compared against Conklin's numbers. Check out Conklin's stats here, and you'll see that he's either good or absolutely abysmal. I'll take the younger player with potential and consistency over the inconsistent veteran any day. No disrespect intended to Conklin, as I liked him in his first stint with the Wings and rooted for him in his second. At this time, however, a change had to be made, and I think that Ken Holland went in the right direction.

You'll probably want to watch this on mute

Weird begining, but a lot of good SEL film

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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Shana-hold On

This morning, the topic of discussion on NHL Home Ice radio naturally turned to Hall of Fame nominees. The hosts said there were two shoo-ins; Joe Sakic and Brendan Shanahan. They then debated the merits of Adam Oates, Pavel Bure, and Mats Sundin. 

Four out of five of the aforementioned players will be a part of the Hall's 2012 class, with the only player left out being one of the shoo-ins. A lot of Red Wings fans are upset, and deservedly so. Need to alleviate some frustration? Watch this:

Sniper, comedian, and league disciplinarian. Brendan Shanahan: renaissance man.

In blog related matters, I apologize for not having any draft coverage this year. It coincided with moving, and I was too busy packing and unpacking to get anything pulled together. Luckily, there are a lot of other great Wings blogs that did a phenomenal job of covering it all. I'll be posting lengthy "Welcome to Detroit" posts for all of the Wings' free agent signings, so be sure to check back on Sunday.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Sign on the Dotted Line: A Brief Look at the Red Wings' Free Agent Targets

I wanted to create a resource where a relatively brief summary of each of Detroit's free agent targets was housed on one page. Hopefully this is helpful for those interested in a little more in-depth info about the talent pool available. I'll be updating this frequently leading up to July 1st, so check back for more.


Zach Parise: See my post here.

Alexander Semin: Most things I've heard have been less than favorable, but there's definitely something intriguing about him. If you're looking for something more qualitative, it's the chemistry he had playing with Pavel Datsyuk at Worlds. If you're looking for something more quantitative, it comes from Basically, a HARO+, HARD+, or HART+ rating above 1 means the player exceeded expectations, and a rating below 1 means they underperformed given their circumstances (ice time, linemates, and defensive ability of opposition). Semin's even strength HARO+ (offense) is 1.289, his HARD+ (defense) is 0.996, and his HART+ (total) is 1.143. According to, he had the third highest Corsi rating of Capitals forwards (5.21), which means he gets shots to the net more frequently than he allows them. This fits nicely with the Wings possession system. The biggest issue with him? His contract. He'll have to take at least a slight paycut from the $6.7 million he made last year.


Ryan Suter: The last part of my post needs to be updated, but the stats are all there and worth checking out.

Dennis Wideman: His even strength numbers aren't great (HARO+ 0.972, HARD+ 0.951, HART+ 0.961). Played over 150 minutes more than any other Washington d-man on the powerplay and had a good HARD+ (1.123). Logged 158 minutes of penalty kill time and had a better HARD+ (0.855) than teammates Karl Alzner (215 minutes, 0.623 HARD+) and John Carlson (200 minutes, 0.627 HARD+). Played in all situations, but was a secondary option on the penalty kill and played against easier competition (Relative Corsi Quality of Competition of -1.039). I'd take his 11 goals, 35 assists, and 46 points in a heartbeat if the price was right, regardless of whether Suter signs with Detroit. He's a right handed shot as well, which the Wings could use.

Jason Garrison: A big body (6'2", 218 lbs), he's a defensive defenseman that could fill the void left by Brad Stuart. Great even strength HARD+ (1.233) against strong competition (second highest Relative Corsi QoC of 1.015). Played second most PK minutes among Panthers defenders against the toughest competition (Relative Corsi QoC of 2.937). At 27 years old and with only 3 full season under his belt, he's just starting to come into his prime. Due a huge raise from the $700,000 he made last year. I'd love to see him wearing the Winged Wheel next season.

Matt Carle: He has good possession numbers, evidenced by positive on-ice Corsi at even strength, on the powerplay, and on the penalty kill. Achieved these against mediocre competition across those same situations. Didn't play a lot on special teams. At even strength, his numbers are mediocre (HARO+ 1.079, HARD+ 0.928, HART+ 1.004). Made $3.8 million this past season, scored 4 goals, and added 34 assists. I think that the Red Wings' money could be better spent elsewhere, and that signing Carle means that all of Detroit's negotiating with each of the above players fell through.

Coming soon: more forwards, goaltenders

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

15 Years Later: What Could Have Been, and What Really Matters

The scene inside Joe Louis Arena's Olympia Club was an emotional one. Employees were dressed in red #16 sweaters, a reminder of the number that will soon hang from the rafters with other Red Wings legends. Vladimir Konstantinov is retiring from the game of hockey after one final Stanley Cup championship, his fourth, at the age of 41. The last of the Russian Five is gone, and one of Detroit's most dominant eras may be coming to a close. He leaves the game having cemented his legacy as one half of the greatest defense pairing of all time, the man who traded the majority of the last decade's Norris Trophies with defense partner Nicklas Lidstrom like they were starting a D-to-D breakout.

It's hard to imagine, and yet it's not much of a stretch. Konstantinov was just hitting his stride during the 1996-97 season, and in many ways was overshadowing teammate, living legend, and future Hockey Hall of Famer Nicklas Lidstrom. "If you asked 100 people back then to name our best defenseman, it would be about even," Red Wings GM Ken Holland told ESPN The Magazine in 2008. "But a few more might have said Konstantinov."

Konstantinov was coming off a season in which he was a Norris trophy finalist and finished runner-up to Brian Leetch. His combination of skill and grit was a perfect fit for a city well known for embracing blue collar players.

"Sometimes, we sit around and reflect internally," Holland told the Free Press in 2007. "Where would we be if we'd had a healthy Konstantinov?"


On the evening of June 13, 1997, a white limousine carrying three members of the Detroit Red Wings organization streaked through the dusk and collided with a tree at 50 miles per hour. The driver, Richard Gnida, was driving with a suspended license and had previously been twice convicted of driving under the influence. He claims to have blacked out during the incident. Gnida never heard the passengers banging on the partition to try and get his attention.

Konstantinov and team masseur Sergei Mnatsakanov both sustained closed head injuries. Defenseman Slava Fetisov walked away with relatively minor injuries and rejoined the Red Wings the following season.

Mnatsakanov is mentioned less frequently than Konstantinov, but his story is just as tragic. He shares many similarities with Konstantinov. Both had defected from Russia, and both were living their dream; to be in the National Hockey League. The two had just ascended to the pinnacle of their profession when, six days later, their lives changed forever.

The limousine accident is the tarnish on the silver chalice for Detroit. It's impossible to think about the 1997 championship without thinking about the accident. The two are inextricably linked.

Who knows what could have happened if the accident never occurred? Does Konstantinov go on to reach the sustained level of brilliance so many think he could? Does Mnatsakanov become a

Could-haves and should-haves are intriguing thoughts, but dangerous as well. One thing, however, is certain. The Red Wings repeated as Stanley Cup champions in 1998, driven by tragedy, motivated by the loss of a teammate and a member of the organization.

Konstantinov and Mnatsakanov's impact extends beyond the hockey world. They reminded the world at large of the fragility of life, that no matter how high a pedestal you're put on you can always be taken back down. Most importantly, the two men showed us the power of collective belief in overcoming daunting circumstances. Konstantinov and Mnatsakanov both sustained life-threatening injuries. Today, Konstantinov is able to use his walker and Mnatsakanov his wheelchair to attend games at Joe Louis Arena. They will forever symbolize not just what it means to be a Detroit Red Wing, but what it means to be a courageous human being.

The patch that adorned Detroit's jerseys throughout the 1997-98 season summed it up in two languages and one word: believe.

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Friday, June 8, 2012

Free Agent Forecasting: Zach Parise (Revised 6/8/12)

Looks good in red, no?

When Mike Babcock laments the lack of forward depth, you know it's time to make some changes. When he offers to fly around the country to recruit free agents, you know that Detroit is in dire straits. Most believe that New Jersey winger Zach Parise will be near the top of the Red Wings' list of targets when July 1st rolls around, giving Detroit the additional offensive punch they lacked during the playoffs. Is Parise worth wooing, and what might it take to land him?

Let's assume that Valterri Filppula isn't moved during the offseason. That means that Detroit's top six forwards could look something like this on opening night of the 2012-13 season:


It may be a bit of a stretch to put Nyquist on the top line, but the chemistry he had with Pavel Datsyuk is hard to deny, and it seems silly to bury him in the bottom six with the type of playmaking ability that he possesses. This leaves one spot to be filled, and Parise could be slotted in quite nicely there. The first line has a Hart trophy caliber player in the middle, and the second line has three potential all stars. Not a bad top six.

Though he may still be playing hockey with a team that's not the Detroit Red Wings, let's take a look at what Parise could bring to the organization.

Statistical Breakdown

Basic Stats

  • Parise played in all 82 games this season, scoring 31 goals and adding 38 assists for a total of 69 points. Seven of his goals came on the powerplay, and three were short handed tallies. Average time on ice was 21:29 (16:05 even strength, 3:26 powerplay, 1:57 shorthanded). 
  • Took 293 shots. Blocked 39 shots. 35 givesaways were offset by 65 takeaways. 
  • He was a -5 on the year. Weird stat of the day: 16 of his 32 penalty minutes came from tripping calls. 
Advanced Stats
  • Parise's even strength Relative Corsi Quality of Competition is 0.731. Essentially, the higher the number the better the competition faced. For context, we'll look at some of the top players (by reputation) in the league. Datsyuk (1.169) and Claude Giroux (0.805) faced tougher competition, while offensive dynamos like Steven Stamkos (0.248) and Evgeni Malkin (0.279) racked up their numbers against relatively weaker opponents. An interesting case is current teammate Ilya Kovalchuk (0.533). Though Kovalchuk had 15 more points than Parise, it was Parise who was drawing the tougher defensive assignments. The closest Red Wing is Jiri Hudler (0.789), the very player that Parise could be replacing.
  • On-ice Corsi rating isn't as kind to Parise, and this is true for all of his Devils teammates. Corsi measures the shot differential (goals+saves+blocked shots+missed shots) per 60 minutes of even strength ice time. Parise (3.22) pales in comparison to guys like Datsyuk (19.08), Malkin (17.69), Toews (17.17), and even Joe Pavelski (12.32), but then again the highest Corsi on New Jersey belongs to Alexei Ponikarovsky (7.84). This is likely more indicative of the system utilized by New Jersey instead of a flaw in every single player on the Devils' roster. 
  • Parise averages 0.99 goals, 0.71 first assists, and 0.47 second assists for 2.18 points every 60 minutes of 5v5 time he's on ice. To compare, Giroux (1.02, 1.02, 0.70 for 2.73), Datsyuk (0.82, 1.00, 0.65 for 2.47), and Malkin (1.88, 1.42, 0.36 for 3.66) all average more, but only Malkin is averaging significantly more points. For fun, let's look at the Wings' last big free agent signing, Marian Hossa. His averages (0.92, 0.92. 0.72 for 2.56) are similar to top tier players like Giroux and Datsyuk, and if Parise raised his second assist average he'd be in the same category.
  • Offensive zone start percentage isn't the be-all end-all of advanced statistical analysis, but is useful in determining how a coach views a player. If a guy's offensive zone start % is low (30-40%) then he's likely being used as a defensive specialist, while a player whose offensive zone start % is 60% or above may be viewed as a defensive liability. Parise's number (54.2%) is nothing earth-shattering. He's not being shielded from having to defend, and he's not being put on the ice solely to check. This is about what you'd expect from a good two way forward like Henrik Zetterberg (54.5%) or Datsyuk (55.5%).
  • Two statistics that I find interesting are +/- On-Ice/60 and +/- Off-Ice/60. The first looks at the average goals for per 60 minutes of even strength ice time and subtracts average goals against per 60 minutes of even strength ice time from it. The latter does the same for the team when a player is off the ice. Parise's +/-On/60 is -0.14, and his +/-Off/60 is -0.18. New Jersey allows 0.14 more goals than they score for every 60 minutes of even strength time Parise plays, while they allow 0.18 more goals than they score when he's off the ice. In other words, Parise's team is negligibly better when he's on the ice compared to when he's riding the bench. While this isn't the ringing endorsement of impact that a high +/- On/60 can provide, it isn't singularly damning either. 
  • Let's look at +/-On/60 and +/-Off/60 for Parise's powerplay numbers. His +/-On/60 is 4.75, and his +/-Off/60 is 2.68. The New Jersey offense is receiving a significant boost when Parise is on the ice with the man advantage. Keep in mind that Parise averages almost 4 minutes per game on the PP, so this is a statistic worth noting.
  • Parise also plays on the penalty kill, averaging almost 2 full minutes per game. His +/-/60 numbers, however, are brutal. A +/-On/60 of -2.64 and +/-Off/60 of -0.91 is alarming enough that I dug a little deeper. Though it looks like the Devils are much worse off with Parise on the penalty kill than if they kept him on the bench, he's actually playing the second most time of any NJ forward (1.94 minutes per 60 played; Dainius Zubrus plays 1.95). He's scored three of the six shorthanded goals he was on ice for, but was also on ice for 13 goals against. I think the ice time entrusted to Parise speaks more to his skill than the +/- stats do.
  • Hockey Analysis has a unique way to look at the offensive, defensive, and total production of players. Here's the abbreviated explanation from their website (the rest of the article can be found here):
Given a large enough sample size of ice time with and against players I believe that we should have a reliable rating system in which any HARO, HARD, or HART greater than 1 indicates the player is a better than average player and anything under 1 indicates the player is a below average player. 
  • Parise's even strength HARO+ (1.083), HARD+ (0.914), and HART+ (0.998) are all respectable and fairly close to the benchmark of 1. For comparison, we'll again look at Datsyuk (1.240, 1.404, 1.322), Zetterberg (1.366, 0.897, 1.131), Malkin (1.542, 0.898, 1.220), and Giroux (1.376, 0.920, 1.148). While all of those players have higher offensive ratings, it appears that Parise is a better even strength defender than Zetterberg and Malkin and about as good as Giroux.
  • Parise's powerplay HARO+ (1.159), HARD+ (0.601), and HART+ (0.880) are similar to Zettberg's (1.024, 0.681, 0.853). Datsyuk (1.327, 2.965, 2.146), Malkin (1.345, 0.632, 0.988), and Giroux (1.302, 0.636, 0.930) aren't favorable comparisons in this instance.
  • The penalty kill is where Parise shines. His HARO+ (2.406), HARD+ (0.913), and HART+ (1.660) are all much higher than Zetterberg (0.756, 0.677, 0.717), Datsyuk (0.000, 1.065, 0.533), Malkin (not used on PK), and Giroux's (0.720, 0.771, 0.745).
  • Perhaps the biggest strength of is the ability to look at HARO+, HARD+, and HART+ over multiple seasons. Five seasons of data (2007/08-2011/12) tells us that Parise is truly a two way star. Keeping in mind that anything over 1 is an above average player, Parise's even strength HARO+ (0.976), HARD+ (1.129), and HART+ (1.052) are impressive.
  • Five year powerplay HARO+ of 1.223, HARD+ of 0.894, and HART+ of 1.058 is great.
  • Five year peanlty kill HARO+ of 2.929, HARD+ of 1.412, and HART+ of 2.170 is especially noteworthy.


Parise signed a one year, $6 million dollar deal in the summer of 2011 that helped avoid arbitration, but also allows him to test the waters of free agency once he has played out the season. He had a successful, if slightly subpar, regular season in 2011-12 (according to comparisons against five year averages of HARO+, HARD+, and HART+). Despite this, I don't expect Parise's paycheck to get any smaller.

I wouldn't be surprised if he signs a deal for around $6.5 million per season. The cap hit could be structured to be somewhat similar to Henrik Zetterberg's at slightly over $6 million per season. At this salary and cap hit, I'd sign Parise.

I don't see him as a part of the upper echelon of players in the league, and the comparisons above make this fairly obvious. At the same time, and all else being equal, he would have been the only 30 goal scorer on the Wings this season. He's a very talented player, someone I'd put in the same neighborhood as Zetterberg. It seems fair that they would then be paid accordingly; similar deals for a similar skillset.

The only disturbing thing that I saw when going through the numbers was that nothing really stood out on the advanced statistics side of things when comparing him to New Jersey's other forwards. While Parise almost had a 70 point year, he wasn't clearly and distinguishably the best player on his team in any one category. If the bidding for him gets out of hand, I'd let him sign elsewhere. At $7 million a season I think his contract turns into a burden despite his talent, especially keeping in mind that Datsyuk only makes $6.7 million per season and was better in most advanced statistical categories.

Estimated Contract: $7-7.2 million/yr
Estimated Value: $6 million/yr

Can Detroit Sign Him?

In short, yes.

A quick disclaimer: I'd rather have Nick Lidstrom on this roster than any other player in the league. Period. It's been said over and over again, but there's no way you can replace him. Life goes on and, despite the stomach-knotting absence of the seven time Norris winner's name from the roster, there is still a roster with glaring deficiencies to fill.

I changed my earlier projection for Parise's salary and adjusted it to be closer to Pavel Datsyuk's. As time goes on, it's becoming more and more evident that this year's free agent crop is 1a) Parise 1b) Suter 234442) everyone else. A weak crop goes hand in hand with bloated salaries, and that's what the Wings will be encountering if they're looking to add help via free agency. 

The good news? Detroit is well equipped to take on a boatload of salary and still have room to work with. If the Wings were to sign Suter and Parise to deals with a $7 million cap hit, they would still have almost $7 million in cap space. And that's assuming that Helm and Abdelkader get small raises, and Quincey signs an Ericsson-like contract. There's no need to worry about cap space in Detroit. There's enough to sign both of the most desirable free agent targets, and hang onto Detroit's home grown talent. Salary won't be the culprit if Parise chooses not to sign with Detroit.

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Stats via and Salary cap info via

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Perfect Human by the numbers: Nicklas Lidstrom statistics and facts

There have been a wealth of personal stories published in the wake of Nicklas Lidstrom's retirement, and deservedly so. Some that stand out in my mind are Michael Petrella's story published at The Production Line, Helene St. James' account published in the Detroit Free Press, and George Malik's post (along with a bunch of other great stories from around the internet) from The Malik Report. I wrote about my feelings on the retiring legend here. It's clear that a great deal of what makes Nick so special is the impact he's had on people in and around the organization over the last 21 years.

There is, however, more to the story than, well, stories. Statistics help paint an additional portion of the picture, and below you'll find plenty of them. Enjoy.

1,564 career regular season games played
264 career regular season goals
878 career regular season assists
1,142 career regular season points
Plus 450 career +/- regular season
514 career penalty minutes
132 career powerplay goals
10 career shorthanded goals
35 career game-winning goals
3,875 career shots
6.8% career shooting percentage
27,790 regular season minutes played (NHL started recording this in 1998-99 season)
26:54 average regular season TOI (since 98-99)

263 career playoff games played
54 career playoff goals
129 career playoff assists
183 career playoff points
Plus 61 career playoff +/-
76 career playoff penalty minutes
30 career playoff powerplay goals
3 career shorthanded playoff goals
11 career playoff game winning goals
656 career playoff shots
8.2% career playoff shooting percentage
4,475 playoff minutes played (since 98-99 season)
28:09 average playoff TOI (since 98-99)
31:10 average playoff TOI in 2001-02, a season in which Detroit played 23 playoff games and won the Stanley Cup, while Lidstrom won the Conn Smythe

1,827 total (reg season+playoffs) games played
318 total goals
1,007 total assists
1,325 total points
Plus 511 total +/-
162 total powerplay goals
13 total shorthanded goals
46 total game winning goals
4,531 total shots
32,265 total minutes played since 1998-99 season

20 seasons played
20 playoff appearances
6 Stanley Cup Finals appearances
4x Stanley Cup champion (97,98,02,08)
7x Norris Trophy winner (01,02,03,06,07,08,11)
11x Norris Trophy nominee (98,99,00,01,02,03,06,07,08,09,11)
0 Norris Trophy wins in first ten seasons
7 Norris Trophy wins in last ten seasons
6x Lady Byng nominee
1x Conn Smythe winner

1st European born player to win Norris Trophy
1st European born player to win Conn Smythe
1st European born player to captain a Stanley Cup champion
1st Red Wings to win multiple Norris Trophies
10x first team All Star
2x second team All Star
2x All Star team captain (2000,2011)
4x Olympian
2006 Olympic Gold medal
1 Olympic Gold medal winning goal (2006)

2nd all-time games played as a Red Wing
9th in all-time Detroit franchise goals
3rd in all-time Detroit franchise assists
4th in all-time Detroit franchise points
1st in all-time Detroit franchise +/-…by +174
2nd in all-time Detroit franchise powerplay goals
7th in all-time Detroit franchise shorthanded goals
8th in all-time Detroit franchise game-winning goals
4th in all-time Detroit franchise game-tying goals
6th in all-time Detroit franchise overtime goals
2nd in all-time Detroit franchise shots

11 all-time Detroit franchise leader categories in which Lidstrom is in top 10 (12 are recorded on their website)
1 category in which Lidstrom is not a top-ten franchise leader (penalty minutes)

Advanced stats uses an innovative point shares system to evaluate approximately how many of a team’s point total from the season can be directly attributed to a certain player. Explanation of the system here:

98.1 offensive point shares
113.6 defensive point shares
211.8 total point shares
37th all-time offensive point shares
3rd all-time defensive point shares
4th all-time total point shares

0.17 regular season goals/game
0.56 regular season assists/game
0.73 regular season points/game

Hockey Reference’s methodology for adjusting goals and assists is here:
Essentially, they’re attempting to see how goals and assists change if all past regular seasons were played under the conditions of the most recent regular season.

286 adjusted regular season goals
918 adjusted regular season assists
1,204 adjusted regular season points

20 seasons
1 uniform
1 city
1 number soon to be retired

Thanks, Nick.

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