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In-Season Talk 2016-17

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15 hours ago, coastal_caniac said:

Satellite radio has all hockey all the time.  So does social media.  The news outlets like the N&O are on life support even with real news.

The free foxsports go app is awesome.  I can watch the game anywhere anytime, no more trying to talk bar tenders into changing the Idaho football game to put on our one and only major league team.  I'll just watch on my phone or ipad at the bar.  I also put It on when I'm driving to listen to game feed instead of chuck's sometimes.  Works best with Wifi and of course you have to have some kind of cable account to sign in with.

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One theme that I have is that the team structure and top-middle down skill and depth have all improved dramatically on this team. We still lack that total point producing super star and that top 15 dominant Dman, but we are very strong in depth, on both sides really.

 

It is very time consuming to manually compare team's offensive depth, but I've done it a few times over the years. Bottom line, we stack up very well on offensive depth. We currently have 7 forwards on or right on the line for a 40 point pace in points per game played. The caveat is that Ryan is one and at 21 games is still a bit small on the n value. Though 21 games is starting to be a pretty good sample. On the flipside, Elias Lindholm, who has put up 39 points two years running, and is coming on, is not on the list (quite).

 

Right now it is: Skinner, Rask, Aho, TT, Stempniak, J Staal, and Ryan.  But even with his utterly terrible start, Lindholm is on a 34 point pace (this is a guy who put up almost no points his first 12 games, so he is well on a 40 point pace since then). Still, other teams probably have a guy like that, so for now, at least Lindy is not counted.

 

So what do some top teams have for offensive depth? Forwards on about a 40 point pace or better:

 

NY Rangers: 9

Pittsburgh: 8

Carolina: 7

Tampa: 7

Montreal: 7

Anaheim: 6

Columbus: 6

Chicago: 5

Washington: 5

LA: 5

Boston: 5

San Jose: 3

 

Some not so good teams:

 

Arizona: 2

Colorado: 3

Buffalo: 4

NYI: 4

Vancouver: 5

NJ: 6

 

Only two teams (Pittsburgh and the Rangers) have more apparent forward depth if 40 point forwards is the indicator used.

 

Of course some of those teams above and around us in depth have two things we don't have: 1-3 super elite forwards: Kane, Crosby, etc etc. or a super elite D man scorer: Burns, Karlson, etc. I can now see why the Rangers are playing so well too.

 

I think that Lindholm really is a 40 point guy too. It is not fair in the stats, but in 10 more games he probably will be on that pace straight up for the year. That would give us 8.

 

I am still thinking that this much offensive depth, combined with a good team game, good defense and good goaltending could well be enough to slip into the playoffs. And for this year? That would be amazing.

 

Francis has set his sights very high though, and to get there, we'll need a couple of guys to find a very high level, or make at least one big move at some point.

 

Edited by remkin

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Have been out of pocket a few days, but on my own defense re Faulk, I guess I forgot for a moment that s_d is the board's jester. That said, the combination of the difficulty for many (and I admit I lead the pack) to discern sarcasm in written work and s_d's steadfast (albeit consistent) refusal to use the /s tag (let alone emoticons) sometimes convinces me he is floating a serious POV. In this case that there actually is a FSS. But (apparently) no.

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I came across an article that suggested that Jay McClement was a secretly effective player for us because of his penalty killing.

 

Here it is: http://www.foxsports.com/nhl/story/the-curious-case-of-the-carolina-hurricanes-jay-mcclement-122916?cmpid=feed:-sports-CQ-RSS-Feed

 

Fox Sports is basically re-posting of an opinion piece from Cardiac Cane, a site that in my view, repeatedly publishes, uh, low quality analysis.

 

And the more I read this one the more it seemed to fall into that category. And the more I found myself saying, "Why don't we call Poturalski up?".  In the end I don't think we will, but the argument for doing that is much stronger than this article suggests.

 

The basic case for McClement is that, despite the fact that he scores.....well, he basically doesn't score. Hey, he is good at killing penalties. And wins face-offs. Except that he doesn't anymore. They actually boast that he wins 49.8 per cent of his face-offs (its 49.35 now). Now, anyone who's been reading on here knows that I think that the value of the 4 out of 100 extra face-offs he used to win, is pretty small anyway, but even if you do value that, he's not doing that anymore. 

 

So it all comes down to penalty killing. But here the article make the classic mistake of associations without proof of causation. They point out that our penalty killing has been very good since McClement joined the team. But failed to show any split of the PK "with" and "without" McClement. Since the forwards typically switch out around 2-3 times per kill, and there are two forwards, he is on the ice less than half of the kill, and while he's out there he is one of 5 players and of those 5 the goalie is widely considered the most important.

 

The article points out that McClement leads the team in PK time as a percentage of ice time. Uh, yes, because he's a 4th liner, who mainly kills penalties compared to next highest, Slavin, who eats minutes as a defenseman, gotta look at the denominator. They try to boast about his shorthanded shots and blocks being good since he's 4th on the team. But they just said he gets the most PK ice time. And that he's a PK specialist, basically here to just do that. Shouldn't he be first? And shorthanded shots don't mean much if they don't go in. Most of them are harmless. But then most of McClement's shots are harmless.

 

My Opinion:

 

McClement actually is a good penalty killer. (Despite the article not proving it). Peters uses him there more than anyone, he starts most kills. He is a good possession player and makes nice plays along the boards good for getting pucks out.

 

But McClement is in no way uber essential to the PK. We've had a lot of "good penalty killers" come and go during our reign as a strong PK team. The PK might drop off a touch without McClement, but it would still be good. The PK is good because of around 11-12 guys buying in and playing hard in a smart system with good goaltending.

 

McClement is a solid pro. He does the little things. The things coaches like to see. He doesn't make a lot of mistakes.

 

BUT...Whatever McClement adds in his at best 1/10th role in the PK (1 of 5 guys out there, and only out for at most half the kill), he takes away in his utter inability to score, even at the 4th line level. Over the last 2 years, McClement has played in 116 games. He has......wait for it.....4 goals. He scores a goal roughly once per third of a season. Less than once every two MONTHS. In those 116 games he has managed 10 assists. Derek Ryan already has 8 assists in 21 games.

 

Mainly though, McClement has a one way contract, and is probably not very tradeable.

 

I get that McClement was never signed to score a bunch of points. He was mainly signed to win face-offs, kill penalties, possess a bit, play defense and not mess up. He does not see much time on the PP, where guys add points. But he did at least have two prior years averaging .24 ppg, and put up that pace his first year here. The last two years he is on a .12 ppg pace good for about 9-10 points per year. That is just not even 4th line good.

 

Poturalski scored a bunch of points in division 1 NCAA hockey, and is on a .63 point pace in Charlotte and is an even player on a minus team.

 

In the end, I do not think the Canes will make that move (bringing up Poturalski and benching or trading McClement).  Probably not worth the disruption. McClement is a 4th liner and competent in other areas of the game, and he is a good PK guy. But bringing Ryan up has looked pretty good, and I wonder if even a few more goals might make a difference.

 

Mainly, to me, the move itself would be too disruptive for the likely small gain. But I can't say I wouldn't be curious to see a Poturalski centered 4th line a few times. And I can't say that upgrading there in the offseason would be a bad idea.

 

Edit: in full disclosure I wanted us to keep Riley Nash and move McClement. I just checked and Nash isn't doing much better.

Edited by remkin

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Wow.  What a very strange mega-post.

 

I like Jay McClement thank you please.  Did he kick your dog?

 

And I really like our fourth line.  Like tonight.

 

Feel free to like this post for Jay McClement. :applaud:

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Lee Stempniak is proving to be a solid signing.  I can't believe he went 22 games without scoring (but had a + rating in that span).  Throughout that span he never seemed to get down, appeared to always play hard and get engaged along the boards.

 

The guy has a great pair of hands and makes solid contact on anything around the goal. 18 points in 35 games despite the 22 game goal drought.  He's perfect for Aho and TT as they do their thing and he lurks. He's generally responsible with the puck, but does have his oops moments occasionally, but not often.

 

I like what be brings to the team and that line.

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8 hours ago, coastal_caniac said:

Yeah, it was pretty easy too.

 

Jay McClemenet has been a key part of the best PK in the league for months.

 

No way to spin that.

 

 

And it was a rifle.

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1 hour ago, Manwolf said:

Lee Stempniak is proving to be a solid signing.  I can't believe he went 22 games without scoring (but had a + rating in that span).  Throughout that span he never seemed to get down, appeared to always play hard and get engaged along the boards.

 

The guy has a great pair of hands and makes solid contact on anything around the goal. 18 points in 35 games despite the 22 game goal drought.  He's perfect for Aho and TT as they do their thing and he lurks. He's generally responsible with the puck, but does have his oops moments occasionally, but not often.

 

I like what be brings to the team and that line.

I like his play as well. His forte is lurking near or right at the crease. When we signed him I was happy that we at least now have one guy that will go to the net. If you look at his goals last year he was a master of cleaning up rebounds or tipping in shots. During his drought I think he got away a little bit from being a net front presence. Hope he keeps it up!

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Hey, I knew that post would be controversial. I actually took it down when I first wrote it, so as not to draw the inevitable fire. But then I read the article again. I just think that a lot of the logic in it is flawed.

 

I did put some good stuff about McClement in there. I think he's a good guy, a soldier, a solid player in many respects except scoring.  He's a part of a very good PK. He's a relatively low paid 4th line guy, a good teammate from all reports. Obviously not a popular choice for critique as it turns out.

 

I just think that the best 4th line centers can put up a few more points than McClement has, but it is a fair point that offensive production from that position is a bit of a luxury. I bet if you asked him in private, he'd admit he expects a bit more offense too, but that's speculation.

 

There have been two times I raised this issue that I can recall.

 

One, when we were off-season, needing desperately to find more goals. Last year we were #27 in goals for per game, giving us no chance, and McClement had scored 3 goals and 11 ponts in 77 games. The year before he had double that. We had just let Riley Nash walk. I thought Nash would be able to provide D and PK, but chip in more points. In fairness I admitted that Nash has not really delivered any better in Boston (though not any worse either).

 

Two, just now, when I read that article that I found full of flaws.

 

Maybe my expectations for his offense are too high. I tried to find some measure of average 4th line center production. I haven't really found any. Looking back at our 4th line centers, Malhotra 7 goals, Brent 12, Yelle 5 adjusted, McClement 7 (in past). This would suggest 7-8 goals is about our average. But I would guess we're below average. With last night's goal, McClement is on pace for 4-5 goals. When I wrote it he was on pace for 2 goals though.

 

One thing is for sure. When the offensive bar is very low, as it is for 4th liners, it doesn't take much to change the trajectory. Last night's goal doubled his projection. One more goal in the next month. would put him on a 5 goal pace (vs the 2 goal pace he was on yesterday). So from my view, I hope he finds a few more points. Others don't care much about his production, and that's fine. Different opinions make the board go.

Edited by remkin

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So the playoff picture is actually pretty good, and overall this team is playing very well.

 

Philly has indeed cooled a bit with a toughening of their schedule, they've now lost 3 straight. We have 3 games in hand on them. We are, therefore, as we speak, 5 points out with 3 games in hand. Philly does not play tonight. So we will go into the new year at worst 5 out with 2 in hand. Thus adjusted 3 points out. That officially puts us cleanly in the race. This has not been true the last couple of years.

 

In general we have a lot going for us though. We are playing very well despite very challenging opponents. We are in basically every game. We routinely come back when down. We generate the 5th most shots differential in close games (we don't get tight, we keep playing, and stay in almost every close game). We are getting WAY better than expected goaltending. We are better on special teams than ever, both ends. We are amazing at home, and have 6 extra home games in front of us. Our record includes a horrendous start. This team has been better than advertised for a long time now.

 

The path, at the moment, is narrow. Of course if we go on some insane run it will open up more paths. But while I worry about Tampa, Boston seems fallible and Tampa could take that spot and we push Boston and Philly out of the WC. But that's getting way ahead of ourselves.

 

One more point to ponder: Toronto. Toronto has the exact same record as us. Freaky. Exactly the same. They are dead heat tied with us. They've won 4 in a row. We have a slight scheduling advantage over them, but at this moment, Toronto, Philly, Tampa, Boston, Ottawa and us are battling for sort of three spots. But at this point, two of those will go to Boston, Tampa, or Ottawa.

 

All of this can change with a team plummeting or if we go nuts, but at the moment we have to beat out three teams for one spot.

 

Currently adjusting one point per game for games in hand we are:

 

Ahead of us:

 

METRO:

 

Philly -2

Washington -7

NYR -9

Pittsburgh -12

 

ATLANTIC

 

Boston even

Ottawa -4

 

Teams behind us (or even):

 

Toronto: even

Tampa: -1

Florida -3

Detroit -4

NJ -5

 

Edited by remkin

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Here's another "fun with numbers" partial analysis that suggests we are actually playing like a solidly legit playoff team since Nov 12. AND that if we keep our play where it has been since then (no improvement or fall back), there is a very high likelihood that we will be in, and by a nice margin most likely.

 

It has been mentioned in the past that there is a pretty good (though not perfect) correlation between team goal differential and record, and by extension playoffs. In other words the degree to which a team outscores it's opposition is a good indicator of how good that team really is. Seems obvious, though there are teams that tend to blow out or get blown out more and lose close games, but overall it correlates pretty well.

 

The thing that can be hidden though, is which teams are improving or fading. After all, at this point in the season, the idea would be to predict which team is most likely to make that run and grab a spot.

 

I have maintained that we are better than advertised for several reasons, but the main one is that from October 1 - Nov 12. We, uh, struggled a bit. However, we also played a ridiculous schedule, the goaltending was not great, and the team game had not gelled either. So, what was our goal differential then and now, and how does it line up?

 

Overall we are currently -2.  Now this is a big improvement. Last year we ended -28, and the previous years -38, -23, -32 and -30. So, even with the bad start figured in, this is the best team we've had since 2009-10, when we were +13 and went to the ECF. (The Cup team was +34). The 2010-11 team that missed by one game was -3.

 

HOWEVER, this team was -12 through the first 12 games. That would be a -82 pace. That would be #1 overall pick territory (lottery aside). No team was even close to -82 last year. The worst was Toronto at -48.

 

Since Nov 5th, this team is plus 10.

 

There are currently 4 rock solid teams in the East and one pretty solid team based on goal differential:

 

Columbus +59

Montreal +28

NYR +34

Pittsburgh +25

Washington +16

 

Every other team in the East is +4 or less.

 

Now, what I can't do, because it takes massive amounts of time, is see if any of the teams below Washington have been on a similar path of improvement, but I do know that almost no one that is in the running started as bad as we did, and most of the teams that have had big runs are listed in the highly plus group, so I doubt it.

 

NOW HERE"S THE GOOD PART.

 

What matters now, is how good the Canes will be, relative to other teams, over the remaining 47 games. Are we likely to keep up the pace of our last 23 games? Fall back? Step up?

 

No one knows, but there is a lot of evidence to suggest that we do not drop back (schedule, team still improving, guys like Lindy, TT, and others gaining). This team has been amazingly consistent over those 23 games and the schedule will be easier over the last 47. Peters insists that he thinks this team will find one more level up. Good bet that we at least maintain.

 

If this team can just keep things rolling as they are. No improvement. Just keep the past 21 games pace. We will end up roughly plus 18.

 

Since post lockout 2005 the most hosed team to not make the playoffs was +21 in 2006. Since 2008 no team has missed at +16 or higher. So plus 18 has gotten teams in all but 2 years in both conferences in 11 years (2/22) and in the East all but one year (1/11) and that was the lockout year. Its' gotten teams in all of the past 5 years, but looking at 11 years, it's at least 90%.

 

The bottom line: the reason we have a very good shot at the playoffs is because we are within striking distance, but mainly because we have a good team, that has been playing at a level much higher than our yearly goal differential suggests, and one that would predict ending up +18 if we simply maintain our play of the last 23 games. And that will almost surely be enough. Thus, if this team just maintains its play of the past 23 games the chances of playoffs are extremely high.

Edited by remkin

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Speaking of Philly. Did anyone catch their game last night. I caught the highlights when I got home from our win last night. One of the weirdest plays I have ever seen.

Sharks Thornton skated in front of the crease, bumping Flyers goalie Mason's goalie stick. At that precise moment, a shot from the point and the puck goes perfectly into Mason's blocker glove and injures his hand. :blink:

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 5-10-6 away.. Far to dismal on the road??? Has to be figured out in 2nd half of the season...

 Also is it possible Lack peed in someones cereal bowl?? im not buying all the excuses? 

     
Edited by PamlicoPuck

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24 minutes ago, PamlicoPuck said:
 Also is it possible Lack peed in someones cereal bowl??       

Other than a quick allusion to this in Chat last night I've been trying to leave it alone, but to hell with it; I'm glad to see someone else is thinking the same thing. We all know Eddie is vocal and a little more... shall we say... goalie-like (mentally) than Cam. First the questionable circumstances surrounding his "concussion"--maybe it was code for "doghouse," if he questioned not getting a stretch to play into form, like Cam did? And now this, at the last minute and before the second half of a back-to-back. This feels a lot like an internal dispute, i.e., he expected to get the start, the coaching staff went with Cam instead, and Eddie let them know how he "felt" about it: He "wasn't feeling well."

Edited by top-shelf-1

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While I do think that the issues of recovery from a concussion in the milieu of not playing could cause some creep into an area where there could be tension playing out between Eddie and the brass, I have trouble thinking they'd lie about a concussion. I guess I could be naïve, but just doesn't seem Peters and Francis do business that way.

Edited by remkin

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50 minutes ago, top-shelf-1 said:

Other than a quick allusion to this in Chat last night I've been trying to leave it alone, but to hell with it; I'm glad to see someone else is thinking the same thing. We all know Eddie is vocal and a little more... shall we say... goalie-like (mentally) than Cam. First the questionable circumstances surrounding his "concussion"--maybe it was code for "doghouse," if he questioned not getting a stretch to play into form, like Cam did? And now this, at the last minute and before the second half of a back-to-back. This feels a lot like an internal dispute, i.e., he expected to get the start, the coaching staff went with Cam instead, and Eddie let them know how he "felt" about it: He "wasn't feeling well."

 

I can't see a franchise getting away with that without a players cooperation in this day and age.  Plus, I can't see RF tolerating that second part at all.  If Lack would have pulled such an egregious stunt (leaving a team without a backup or time to get one is much worse than what Drouin did last year, imo)  I'm thinking RF would have already claimed Halak off of waivers or announced that Leighton is coming back up.  Although, Halak's 2017-18 actual salary may be problematic; he's only due $2.66m the rest of this season but $5m the next.    

Edited by LakeLivin

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1 hour ago, remkin said:

While I do think that the issues of recovery from a concussion in the milieu of not playing could cause some creep into an area where there could be tension playing out between Eddie and the brass, I have trouble thinking they'd lie about a concussion. I guess I could be naïve, but just doesn't seem Peters and Francis do business that way.

 

I tend to believe he suffered from a concussion. What is to prevent a player / disgruntled player from coming out and saying "I was not concussed" just to get a team in trouble with the league and the players' association. Before Cam, we've had our share of vocal netminders who pitched a fit when they didn't get what they wanted or were benched for another. Cam has been very "team first" in his attitude. He didn't pitch a fit/demand a trade when Khodobin passed him and took the #1 spot for a while. He didn't come out and say "SHOW ME THE MONEY" like an unnamed former Hurricane did when he re-signed.

 

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