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In-Season 2018-2019

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9 hours ago, BoDarville said:

You’re really overthinking it. I meant that in the sense of superstition. I have no memory of the Whalers, so that doesn’t factor into my emotions at all. Though I do hate the red jerseys. 

Got it. I never saw the Whalers play either. No problem with red though, but I liked the original sweaters better than the last 2 versions. I do like the black though, and I think our record has been pretty good in those, so maybe we could make them primary (it’ll never happen, but I’d vote for it).

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6 hours ago, LakeLivin said:

Like I said, I realize that I'm in the minority on this, and I'm ok with that.  Been there before and likely will be again.  :grin:

 

No worries.  We need someone to keep the candle of hope burning.  :)

 

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Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays as surf said.

 

The following is just one guy's opinion, and is on the longer side. Also, I get that a plan involved more than I'm covering below, ie the organizational structure. But it does seem that for now at least that plan is the current committee. 

 

I do think that the committee has a plan, but has simply been unable to execute it in the difficult market that is the NHL trade market for substantial players. All indications are that the Canes have been trying to make a D for O move for quite a while. It was a pretty open secret we were shopping Faulk last year but to no avail. TD openly stated they'd be willing to consider trading anyone except Aho. Waddell has put it out there a couple of times that we are "open for business". It was also pretty open that we were making a major push for Nylander, and supposedly a major deal recently fell through at the last minute. 

 

Dundon has stated that he wants star players and even that we need more talent. 

 

So at least part of the plan is the one that has become pretty obvious: pick up one or two talented forwards for one or two talented D men. That's the main thing for now. Of course after this year we will need to continue trying to find that legit goalie too. 

 

The other thing that was made clear at the start was that we needed to be harder to play against including more grit. In fairness to the committee they have taken serious steps in this direction. Martinook and Ferland have both exceeded offensive expectations, and brought that grit and the Skinner thing while a debacle in it's return and execution, did make us tougher by subtraction. Also, while Hamilton is not a huge hitter, he is more physical that Hannifin was. I would argue that DeHaan combined with Faulk's newfound defensive stickiness, has made us harder to play against. 

 

The goalie position is passable, and the D is strong. It has always been true, but not often as obvious, that we are underpowered in forward dynamic skill, and that simply is the main fix. It affects our lowly PP too. 

 

In fairness the committee did inherit Francis's run of picking D men with our top first round picks 3 years in a row. Since D men generally take longer to develop, and frankly have a higher "miss" rate, this probably is not the best idea in general. In Francis' defense, he did not know both Slavin and Pesce would turn into stalwarts, and Jake Bean was the spot most demanding of a forward, but there were no clear cut forwards better than Bean, and in fact only one forward was taken between Bean and Gauthier, Keiffer Bellows, who like Gauthier is still in the minors. But it did continue to create a hole up front. (Although getting Aho early in the second round helps). 

 

Anyways, as we've learned there are problems with drafting D men high and just flipping them if needed. 1. Dmen are harder to predict. 2. D men take longer to develop (and thus have fair trade value (see Fleury and Bean, who still would not return a high scoring, dynamic forward and they were drafted 3 and 5 drafts ago). 3. Even if the D man was a good pick and even 5 years later when his trade value is finally arriving, it is hard to make that trade. Most GM's are not eager to give away elite forwards (except Waddell via Skinner). Those trades do happen, but they are not super common. 

 

And for these reasons, perhaps along with not want to sell low, we have not been able to pull this clean swap of D for O. And so the plan remains unexecuted, just like it did under Francis. 

 

I will add this last bit of hope. IF and when the committee does pull this type of move off, my assessment would move into the solid positive territory. And so we wait....

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16 hours ago, wxray1 said:

 

No worries.  We need someone to keep the candle of hope burning.  :)

 

I'm trying, but if Surf goes negative then we'll know we're REALLY in trouble. :o :P

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I know that this is pretty evident to most people, but every now and then I like to rank our top 9 forwards to see if we are better than I'm giving us credit for. I'll kill the suspense (sarcasm): we are not. 

 

It is vastly oversimplified, but still fun to do this: There are 31 teams in the league. Thus you would at least want your best player to be in the top 31, your second best in the top 62, etc. However, these are clearly minimums. To have a good or better team, you'd want guys nearest the top of their range, and especially at the very top you want one or ideally two guys who are top 30 elite. In other words the best teams will push some guys into higher categories, and the very best tend to have multiples in the higher end of the top 31.

 

For instance, Colorado: #1 and #3, Tampa 2, 11, 25 Toronto 5,16, and Auston Matthews #5 ppg, Winnipeg 6,7, Boston 11, 21, Calgary 9,18, 24, 26 (and yes Lindholm is one of them). 

 

So how do we fair by best players in points (# best on our team)? Our top 9 vs the range (x-y) of the target range for that numerical position vs the league.

 

1. Aho: #28 (1-31) 

2. TT: #67 (32-62)

3. J Williams: #119 (63-93)

4. Svechnikov: #147 (94-124)

5. Ferland: #169 (125-155)

6. Wallmark: #230 (156-186)

7. Martinook: #250* (187-217)

8. J Staal: #250* (218-248)

9. McGinn: #308 (249-279)

 

*Staal and Ferland are tied.

 

Admittedly Ferland puts up goals which is more important, but Wallmark's are nearly all assists. We miss pretty much all the way down, some slots by a lot. Aho is the only guy within his group, but just barely, and the top end talent is more spread out from 1-31 and more important to be near the top.

 

But what would the effect of adding a guy capable of the top 20? Suddenly Aho and TT are in the very top of their range, Williams, Svech and Ferland are all square center, and Wallmark moves to the next line (third line). 

 

And that's just adding one guy. We theoretically have the assets to add two.

 

I realize this is just a snapshot and can't fully explain wins and losses, there's a D and a goalie, etc. But it does suggest that we are seriously underpowered up front for even an average NHL team.

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OK, one last post. 

 

We do not have the offensive firepower as of right now for this year. It is possible that guys will heat up, (despite his stone hands, Staal has had point runs, Svech is heating up and is better lately than his ranking, Foegele might get something going, etc), but based on productivity to this point, it's not there this year. We would have to make a pick-up sooner than later for this season to change IMO. I hope I'm wrong. That Whaler's game was really nice, but there just hasn't been the consistency to keep that rolling so far. I still hope for this year, but it's fading.

 

Next year though, there is far more potential. In a way this really sucks because I and most of you have been looking to next year forever. And it is sickening to be doing it this early, again, but at least there is serious hope that soon. It still centers around making that ellusive D for O move, and ideally two of them. Essentially pick two D men not named Slavin, spice with some picks or prospects not named Fox or Necas and try to bring in two forwards (one top line, one top 6). Sign Fox. We need one forward to add in, and one to ostensibly replace Williams. We need to re-sign Ferland and Martinook. They will both get raises, but we need their physical with scoring ability and their leadership. And we don't need to be filling more holes. 

 

I'd move Rask out if even for late round picks and even if we had to take some salary.

 

My plan predicts that Necas will be the real deal next year. I know some are hesitant about that, and I get it, but this is my post, and I believe in Necas as an almost can't miss top 6, and possibly top line forward by next year. This guy is not Dalpe or Boychuk, or McGinn or PDG. This guy is, IMO, high end. 

 

Svech is already showing signs of eliteness. After more of this season, and an off season, he will come in as our best goal scorer next year, and vie with Aho for best player. Right now he ranks #147, but his recent stretch would be much higher and he could challenge the top 30 next year. 

 

This lineup is just because names look better than XXXX, YYYYY I picked two Leafs even though that won't happen, just to show the possible TYPE of forwards we might get. (Nyalander may well be available in the off season). 

 

Aho, TT, Svech, Necas, Nylander, Staal, Ferland, Kadri, then Wallmark, Foegele, Martinook, etc.

 

This would be one heck of a top 8 and if Necas and Svech round out, even better. But insert your favorites in for Nylander and Kadri and it will look even better to you. 

 

Make those two D for O moves, sign Ferland, Martinook and Fox, and find a goalie. Seems like a lot, but it's ought to be doable.

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46 minutes ago, remkin said:

I know that this is pretty evident to most people, but every now and then I like to rank our top 9 forwards to see if we are better than I'm giving us credit for. I'll kill the suspense (sarcasm): we are not. 

 

 

So our best forward is #28 by your ranking.  And our cap hit is at the bottom of the league.  What's the problem?  As expected.  Steady as she goes...

 

As for "a bad trading year" or whatever excuse The Committee is trying to fly.  Well, top talented GMs get it done all the time.  We do not have a top talent GM.

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For this year, our best forward is #28 in points at the moment. The best move the committee has made in this regard though was Waddell's move of standing there while the ping pong balls spelled out "Svechnikov" since that is the kind of guy who will most likely push into the top 20 or higher, and sooner than later. Also, Aho has not peaked IMO, and thats still saying something. 

 

I think next year Aho and Svech will both be in the top 30. That's a prediction, which clearly are not always right, but it makes sense for both of them. Then as Necas at least gets solidly into top 6 numbers (another prediction obviously) then adding one net forward next year, could be enough. Add it this year, and maybe since we're just hoping to squeak in at this point and Svech is scoring at a much higher clip lately. But don't add it this year? Well I don't really see it happening since we have a gap to close, but runs do happen and they looked good in Green, so who knows? 

 

It's just hard to find that deal, and every day it doesn't happen we seem to be looking more and more to next year. This is not great, but at least to me, unlike some, I really see where it could be turned around fast next year.

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Since Nov 8th Svech has been on a 53 point pace, and really building. He should finish with 50-60 if he plays all year. That is really good for an 18 year old, who will probably blow that away next year, but for this year's team, that's a nice lower second line guy. 

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I like your optimism, but I've been waiting for "next year" since 2009. At this rate, I'm afraid it's going to be multiple "next years" until this team is in a position to compete.

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59 minutes ago, remkin said:

Since Nov 8th Svech has been on a 53 point pace, and really building. He should finish with 50-60 if he plays all year. That is really good for an 18 year old, who will probably blow that away next year, but for this year's team, that's a nice lower second line guy. 

If RB leaves Svech on a line with Aho and TT, his numbers should definitely improve. That would be a very young but talented top line. I appreciate your optimism and thoughtful posts. I agree with a lot, but feel we do not have the right management in place to get deals done. On the league-wide respect chart for GMs, I’m afraid DW ranks pretty low, and it’s not even clear he is the one steering the ship. Say what you will about JR, but he had mucho experience and the stones to make trades and accept the consequences. He certainly had some duds, but some big successes such as Primeau for RBA. I just wonder if we are struggling to make trades because other teams think they can fleece us and are making bad offers, or conversely, our braintrust is overvaluing what we are offering. I’ve ranted enough about TD being cheap, but unwillingness to take back more salary than goes out could also be limiting what we get done. Not sure when the trade freeze ends, but here’s to hoping something happens soon thereafter to bring hope to the rest of this season.

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6 hours ago, remkin said:

And so the plan remains unexecuted, just like it did under Francis. 

 

I think the plan they did have is failing miserably.  My confidence stops there.  What's the plan once the team fails to go on a 5 or 6 game win streak to get back in it, and then fails to go on a .600 pace to finish the season?  What do we do at the deadline?  I have no confidence in Waddell to begin with, and I often wonder if Dundon has ruffled feathers to the point Waddell's job is made harder because other teams will force us to overpay to do any dealing at all. 

 

I'm a pretty optimistic fan, and I recognize the positive things that have occurred, but boy it appears to me that the team is sailing around without a compass or a rudder.

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1 hour ago, coastal_caniac said:

 

I think the plan they did have is failing miserably.  My confidence stops there.  What's the plan once the team fails to go on a 5 or 6 game win streak to get back in it, and then fails to go on a .600 pace to finish the season?  What do we do at the deadline?  I have no confidence in Waddell to begin with, and I often wonder if Dundon has ruffled feathers to the point Waddell's job is made harder because other teams will force us to overpay to do any dealing at all. 

 

I'm a pretty optimistic fan, and I recognize the positive things that have occurred, but boy it appears to me that the team is sailing around without a compass or a rudder.

  Technically speaking.  One can't help but noticed you didn't mention a sun dial.  So there is a chance then.

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On 12/23/2018 at 11:49 PM, BoDarville said:

Why would Dundon, a Dallas guy through and through, move a team to Houston to compete against the very friends who helped get him into team ownership? Stop with the lazy opinions and trolling. It’s more embarrassing than shutout losses. 

 

Why would he *not* move the team to Houston if he saw it as the fiscally-responsible thing to do? Because of some non-existent (that I can tell) loyalty to Dallas over Houston? Dundon was born in New York City. Does that mean he'd try to move the team to the Big Apple?

 

Stop with the telling people that their opinions are either lazy or lame or trolling. It's more embarrassing than talk of the Hurricanes moving....

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I figured it was obvious I was referring to the Houston Aeros post as trolling, since that pretty much had to be the intent there. Not everything related to moving is a troll post, but some struggle to comprehend I suppose. To be fair, maybe if I were a cynic in Oklahoma, I’d prop up the baseless idea of a Houston team, too. 

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14 hours ago, coastal_caniac said:

 

I think the plan they did have is failing miserably.  My confidence stops there.  What's the plan once the team fails to go on a 5 or 6 game win streak to get back in it, and then fails to go on a .600 pace to finish the season?  What do we do at the deadline?  I have no confidence in Waddell to begin with, and I often wonder if Dundon has ruffled feathers to the point Waddell's job is made harder because other teams will force us to overpay to do any dealing at all. 

 

I'm a pretty optimistic fan, and I recognize the positive things that have occurred, but boy it appears to me that the team is sailing around without a compass or a rudder.

coastal, back a day or 2, the point you make about Dundon's roguish, to say the least, burst into hockey, and how that undoubtedly "ruffled" quite a few staid feathers in the hockey world, was what I'd suggested, but got minimal lukewarm response, that I wondered was at least part of the reason the Canes were unable to make any type of impactful trade? I still believe that the "good old boy" mentality among the select group of billionaire owners is part of the reason, and Dundon will have to pay his dues to break into that group?

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16 hours ago, coastal_caniac said:

 

I think the plan they did have is failing miserably.  My confidence stops there.  What's the plan once the team fails to go on a 5 or 6 game win streak to get back in it, and then fails to go on a .600 pace to finish the season?  What do we do at the deadline?  I have no confidence in Waddell to begin with, and I often wonder if Dundon has ruffled feathers to the point Waddell's job is made harder because other teams will force us to overpay to do any dealing at all. 

 

I'm a pretty optimistic fan, and I recognize the positive things that have occurred, but boy it appears to me that the team is sailing around without a compass or a rudder.

I agree with you, really. I am really speculating a bit here, but my sense is that there is a plan but it's being very unevenly executed at all levels. I have some possible examples, but they got long, so I'll break them into separate posts:

 

Skinner trade. In theory, and trying not to use too much hindsight, the actual notion of trading Skinner was not crazy. The team had a couple of conflicting issues. It needed more scoring, but it also desperately wanted to lose the "soft" image and get the team pulling all oars in the "play the right way" direction that included things like hitting, going to the net, winning puck battles, etc, and Skinner's apparent disregard for this last year, and early in his career ran counter to what Brind'Amour wanted his team to look like. Additionally, he had one year left on his deal, and whatever happened, we had decided not to invest in a long term huge money deal on Skinner. I still think that makes sense. But...the execution. A prime scoring forward can usually fetch a first rounder in March, when the other team only gets the player for a couple of months. If Skinner had brought back, say Cliff Pu AND a first rounder, then at least as our season fades away, we'd have an extra first rounder in a deep draft. If no one will give, you wait. They've waited forever to trade Faulk or another D man, but Skinner HAD to go immediately. 

 

I am guessing that Brind'Amour lobbied heavily for this. I'm a brand new coach, I need my team to buy in from day one in camp. They will buy in more not having Skinner there to not buy in, and to show them that anyone who doesn't buy in will be gone. I base this speculation on Brind'Amour's own comments that Skinner "got away with a lot of stuff on the ice that no one else did" (paraphrased), and the timing of the deal.

 

Sure, in retrospect, maybe trading him at all was a bad idea, but even if he had bust out here this year, we'd be stuck with not wanting to re-sign him and gotten nothing for him if we kept him through the deadline and either missed or round one exited, and maybe not worth that risk. And maybe it would have been difficult to face the fans and trade him if we were near or in the playoffs at the deadline. But at least the team and market would be in a better place. 

 

The committee panicked. The idea was OK, but not for the return. The third rounder has a less than 5% chance of becoming an impactful NHL player (yes, Pesce, but he's the exception, not the rule). We've done fairly well with second rounders, but this one will likely be a late second rounder (ironically partly since we gave Buffalo Skinner), and that matters a ton in the second round. (Aho was a steal, but he was the #5 in the second round, Faulk has been a solid NHL player in games and was #7 in the second round). And Cliff Pu? Supposedly they had him ranked as a B prospect. I guess we thought better, but we'll have to see on that one.

 

Plan: move Skinner, who did not play the right way, and would be looking for big money for next year, most likely with a NTC and was too inconsistent to be worth giving him that kind of a deal. Execution: give him away for a collection of assets with a combined chance of being major NHL contributors south of 20%. 

 

I have to think that this actual trade was executed by Waddell et all. So I agree that this is a mark in the "no confidence" column. In terms of actual trades and acquisitions, to me this was the only complete swing and miss though. But it was a big one. 

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Another area that execution has waned is in coaching. 

 

This is so common though. We've seen it with all of our coaches, maybe except Lavi. They preach some ideas over and over, but do not evenly enforce playing time to get the desired outcome. (Peters preached net front until the day he left, without achieving it). In Brind'Amour's case, he's a brand new head coach. One would expect some inconsistency. And we are seeing it. Again, the idea of Brind'Amour as the one guy who has led men into battle, and the "greatest captain", well ever apparently, would be just the guy to get players playing the right way. 

 

My main concern was a coach who had spent all of his time in one place. On the bench for one team. Never to Charlotte, never to Junior Hockey, never even at the side of a long seasoned coach.

 

I have more trouble seeing specific system issues than other things, but my sense is that we do not generate as many high quality chances as other teams, AND when we do, they don't get finished at anywhere near even league average. When we came out of the gate, we were playing lose, and this was what Brind'Amour professed to be going for. He explicitly said we have young guys, we want them to go for it, to make plays, and we'll put up with the mistakes! And it seemed to be working. 

 

So did we put up with the mistakes and hand out playing time accordingly. Not really. Necas sent down. Fleury is the de facto healthy scratch. Hamilton eats up ice time even after mistake prone play. I get that we had to tighten the D, and I also get that the NHL tightens up after 10 or so games, but we lost that free wheeling, having fun thing somewhere along the way. It is hard to coach an underpowered team, especially when losses start piling up. I do NOT lay this all at Brind'Amour's feet, but I think as a new coach he is also executing unevenly. 

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A couple of areas we've documented to death but have executed on inconsistently:

 

The big one: failing to execute the D for O move. The one big move they made outside of giving Skinner away, may well turn out to be a good trade (if Fox is signed and turns into all of that), still brought back MORE defense than it gave away. This is not necessarily bad, as this combined with signing DeHaan, really easily lets us trade just about any TWO defenseman for forwards or a forward and goalie. BUT the back end of these constant moves to stockpile D, has never been consummated. I get that they're trying, but Francis tried too. 

 

Goalie: We may not have had good options, just like the big one, but still, the execution has been mixed at best. First, they decided to stick with a guy who posted the single worst goalie season in the NHL last year, and (by a good bit if you factor in how many starts he got). I know he's got a big contract, but we've got massive cap space too. That was a gamble, played out mostly for money (would he be back if he was being paid one more year at $1.5 million? No way.)

 

This year he's only #61/67. 2-4-2 .884. We all like our goalies now, but to be fair Mrazek isn't really taking the league by storm. He's #43 in save percentage (Ward is #48). This was the committee's goalie plan: .884 and .898. The thing that has given us any chance is McE, who is #15 at .918. This was a very important pick up. But would we have picked him up if both .884 and .898 were healthy? Maybe, and THAT would have been a very smart move. But we desperately needed a goalie when Toronto waived McE, so it feels about as brilliant as drafting Svechnikov. Important, but not really brilliant. 

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40 minutes ago, remkin said:

"play the right way" direction that included things like hitting, going to the net, winning puck battles, etc

 

 

I know this is a general thing and not your conclusion, buy the thing about Skinner not winning puck battles - didn't he still lead the team in takeaways last season?  If dudeman can lead the team in takeaways without even having to get into battles, i'll take that every day of the week.

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The last one is the one that really sticks in my craw the most and I think the potential long term fix: not getting a real GM, and by extension along with all coaches, not going outside the organization for any significant leadership position (I don't count whatever it is that Waddell's long time buddy Rick Dudley does). 

 

The way that whole GM thing played out was just about unforgivable and unexplainable. You realize that just about ever member on this board has substantially more hockey IQ than the fledgling owner did when he turned off every possible up and coming assistant on this job? As far as we go to sometimes admit our lack of true and deep insight, this guy had almost none. I don't doubt that he's a very smart guy. But that doesn't mean I want him doing my heart transplant, or really even involved in those decisions. 

 

I'm a fan of Boomer Gordon. He's not always right, but he knows hockey and thinks outside the box. He's been on a big kick that the best thing a team can do is similar to Toronto or Arizona, get a young, numbers and data driven GM. I would add to that, get someone who has this background but has also learned at the feet of a long successful GM. 

 

There are only 31 total NHL GM jobs in the world. They are 2-3X more secure than coaches jobs, so even fewer of them are available at any time. How could we have not gotten someone good? 

 

This, combined with no significantly strong voice anywhere from outside of our organization creates the (probably very real) sense that TD has moved out any dissenting voices in order to micro manage this thing himself. Sure seems that way. Hey, he has the cash, it's his team to do with what he wants. But this also makes him a very fair target unless or until he gets things right. He put that target on himself. One of the nice things a GM has is that he can sacrifice a couple of coaches. Well the owner can ultimately sacrifice a few GM's before he gets a massive target. Not in this case.

 

The best move TD could possibly make this offseason, or sooner, is to get the right GM in here to finish the job. I'd go with me. Heck, I've typed more bandwidth on these boards than probably anyone. I have way more hockey insight that TD did when he took over. I'm a fast learner. 

 

But if he misses out on me, then at least go get an up and coming guy with a true analytic background that has been part of a winning NHL franchise, which means NOT in house. Give that guy traditional GM decision making (the freaking owner can veto any trades anyways). Let that guy make the few moves still needed: mainly the D for O moves and finding a long term goalie. 

 

This also puts an experienced executive between the legendary, but rookie head coach, and the owner, as well as smooths out the execution of the plan.

 

 

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