Ryan Lambert

  • Which NHL goal scorers were luckiest this season? (Trending Topics)

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 18 hrs ago

    The concept of luck in hockey is a contentious one.

    Fans generally don’t like to hear that a goal was a result of a lucky bounce, or that an entire season’s worth of results — in terms of wins and losses — came because a team simply had the puck go their way for the majority of the year. After all, this somewhat assumes that all things in hockey are created equal, when we know that is not the case.

    For instance, a team with a lot of skilled players — say, an actual All-Star Team — could take the same number of shots as a team of fourth-liners, from the same exact positions on the ice and expect better results. That stands to reason. A shot from Alex Ovechkin from x location in a high-danger area has a greater chance of going in than one from Zac Rinaldo or even Lee Stempniak. There is significant stratification of all kinds of talent in hockey, but the two that manifest themselves the most when talking solely about statistics at the end of the year are shooting and goaltending.

    Here, then, is the expected versus actual goal totals for every non-goalie who got on the ice for more than 500 minutes at 5-on-5 this year (nearly 550 of them):

  • Huge if True: How will the Canucks get a scoring winger?

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 1 day ago

    [Breaking down the plausibility of the week’s biggest rumor.]

    For some inexplicable reason, the Vancouver Canucks continue to pursue a Jay Feaster-like pursuit of “going for it.”

    In this case, as in the case of the Calgary Flames several years ago, the “it” is merely making the playoffs, something more than half the teams in the league do annually. And while making the playoffs is therefore no great shakes, nor really any indicator that a team is even all that good, the Canucks still feel like they’re some ways away from even being at that point.

    A few other depth players were signed as well, and Chris Higgins bought out just before the free agency period, but that’s about it in terms of changes to the roster that finished third from the bottom of the league last year.

    So instead, Jim Benning understands that if he wants to add some extra top-six help on the wing, he needs to make trades to do so. Because if he doesn’t, he understands that Sven Baertschi probably isn’t up to the task.

    The Rumor

    That’s right: Nothing concrete, and highly speculative.

  • John Tortorella, Killorn's contract and McPhee's managing (Puck Daddy Countdown)

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 2 days ago

    (Ed. Note: The column formerly known as the Puck Daddy Power Rankings. Ryan Lambert takes a look at some of the biggest issues and stories in the NHL, and counts them down.)

    7. Expecting success at the World Cup

    Fascinating interview with John Tortorella, the Lord Cardigan of the World Cup of Hockey, in which he says wouldn’t it be so nice to beat Canada in Toronto and all that kinda stuff.

    Yeah and I mean as long as we’re imagining things, wouldn’t it be cool if dragons were real and could play hockey? Said Tortorella on the skill gap between the U.S. and Canada as the tournament approaches: “It’s hard to quantify as far as closing the gap, or if there is a gap.”

    These are the words of a madman. The difference in talent level between these two clubs is roughly equivalent to that of the mass of, say, Jupiter, with, say, Mars. They are not particularly comparable. But they are at least both planets. Gotta give Mars that.

    6. “Average”

    Which of these thoughts is harder to out of context?

    4. Cashing in

    3. George McPhee

  • Puck Lists: 30 NHL players who sound like rejected Pokémon

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 3 days ago

    Pokémon Gohas spread across North America with an almost terrifying speed, getting everyone from children to the elderly out of their houses in search of a Snorlax.

    The NHL is no exception.

    Last week, the Red Wings made news by extending Teemu Pulkkinen to a new one-year contract. Not terribly interesting, except the tweet in question called him “Teemu Pokémon” because popular mobile game Pokémon Go had just come out and quickly earned more daily users than Twitter. (It might also have been a typo.)


    UPDATE: The Detroit #RedWings today re-signed RW Teemu Pokémon to a one-year contract: https://t.co/5krS3tHNqa pic.twitter.com/E5EKDGWbon

    — Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) July 13, 2016

    However, Gaudreau might not have too many tips for finding the rarest of Pokémon out in the real world.

    30 – Johnny Oduya

    29 – Per Djoos


  • What We Learned: How Jamie Benn's deal affects Tavares, Marchand

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 5 days ago

    No one needs to be convinced of Jamie Benn’s credentials for a bank-breaking contract. When most people heard “eight years at $9.5 million per,” it speaks to the quality of his play that the general reaction was, “Yeah, that sounds about right.”

    Here is a kid who turns 27 today, who led the league in scoring two seasons ago and cleared 79 points each of the last three seasons. He finished third in MVP voting this past year. He’s second in points over the last three seasons (255) behind only Sidney Crosby (273).

    Likewise, all his underlying numbers likewise indicate the heavy minutes he plays are of a high quality not just through points but also possession, scoring chances, and so on; in the past three years, only one player in the NHL leads Benn in producing expected goals per 60 minutes, and John Tavares’s edge on him is just a hundredth of a goal (3.13 to Benn’s 3.12).

    The NHL has long undervalued its stars in terms of dollars relative to value. Maybe the Benn contract shows that’s changing.

    What We Learned

    Gold Star Award

    Minus of the Weekend



  • Canadiens continue to show hockey's analytics problem (Trending Topics)

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 8 days ago

    On Wednesday night, it came out the the Montreal Canadiens had parted ways with the analytics expert they’d hired at the start of last season.

    Matt Pfeffer, who has worked with NHL teams in the past, is well-regarded in the hockey numbers community, and the decision not to renew his contract was therefore thought of as another bad move by a team that has recently exhibited a propensity toward them.

    Then Sportsnet’s Eric Engels reported as part of his ongoing coverage of the baffling P.K. Subban trade that there might be a connection behind Pfeffer’s “vehemence” on not trading Subban (he reportedly prepared an “elaborate presentation” on why the swap was a bad idea from Montreal’s perspective) and the team’s decision not to bring him back for another season.

    However, the Habs are also quick to note they’re still in the analytics game, and currently evaluating their options for next season.

    While the whole video is filled with weirdo ideas, the key exchange here is this:

  • Huge if True: Will the Rangers do anything this summer?

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 8 days ago

    [Breaking down the plausibility of the week’s biggest rumor.]

    The thing that’s weird about the New York Rangers is how little they’d done this summer.

    They’ve made just three signings, all on July 1, and the players they acquired are, shall we say, gambles. Adam Clendening, Nathan Gerbe, and Michael Grabner are all the money they’ve spent.

    And for a team like the Rangers, that usually makes sense. They’re pretty capped-out as a general rule, and that (plus an institutional disregard for his play) is the reason why Keith Yandle was allowed to walk before unrestricted free agency even began.

    Of course, you can go to their General Fanager page and see that they have more than $9 million to spend, and you might get a little confused, but it’s pretty clear they’re ramping up to sign a number of RFAs to contracts they expect to be somewhat sizable. Among the guys they need to re-sign right now: Chris Kreider, Kevin Hayes and Dylan McIlrath. That’s going to eat up a pretty big chunk of their unused cap space real quick.

    The Rumor

    Who’s Going Where?

    The Implications

    This Is So Huge, If True: Is It True?

    The Rangers trade Rick Nash:

  • Kris Russell, hockey culture and Jimmy Vesey (Puck Daddy Countdown)

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 9 days ago

    (Ed. Note: The column formerly known as the Puck Daddy Power Rankings. Ryan Lambert takes a look at some of the biggest issues and stories in the NHL, and counts them down.)

    5. Overplaying your hand

    As I write this it’s been about 266 hours since the free agency period opened and Kris Russell still doesn’t have a contract for next season.

    Not surprising, given that he is maybe a No. 6 defender on any reasonably good team who was allegedly seeking something resembling Alex Goligoski’s contract. We’ve heard a few reports since July 1 that such-and-such a team is kicking the tires, but he’s a guy who just doesn’t help very much, and so if he’s still out there, it might be because he’s not budging as much as teams would like on the whole “price point and term” thing as teams would like. His actual value was always out of step with his reported ask, and now we’re seeing the result.

    A good rule of thumb, then: If you’re setting your value based on how your demonstrably bad coach uses you, you’re probably pricing yourself out of a lot of markets.

    4. Spin

    “I think our fans are gonna really appreciate the improvements.”

  • Puck Lists: 7 UFAs still worth taking a chance on

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 11 days ago

    (PUCK LISTS is a special Tuesday series from yer boy RL, in which he arbitrarily lists hockey things.)

    The middle of July is typically when we hit the month-and-a-half dead period in free agency. Mostly it’s teams getting a bit of house cleaning done, re-upping RFAs and locking in rookies on ELCs, and there’s just not much activity on the unrestricted free agent market.

    Many teams, instead, wait to make a lot of small signings in the run-up to training camps, but that leaves a long and uncomfortable period in which teams can sign players — probably for pretty cheap — that will materially improve their clubs without actually tying them to expensive deals. Most of these guys can be had for a year and probably less than $1.5 million.

    Of course, maybe it’s preferable to throw these guys a training camp invite in another month or two instead, but the fact is that if you can get them now, they’re going to be guaranteed to attend your camp, and there’s no bidding at the last minute for a bottom-six forward or bottom-pairing defenseman in most cases.

    With this in mind, knowing what’s out there, and which players probably constitute good deals can be very helpful.

    7. James Wisniewski (maybe)

  • What We Learned: Market set for a Sean Monahan extension

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 12 days ago

    Late on Friday, when most organizations tend to throw out end-of-week bad-news dumps, two NHL franchises actually had some very good news to share with their fans.

    Both ensure that their extraordinarily talented young forwards will stay in the fold for years to come, at decent enough price points that you won’t turn up your nose at the cost. Winnipeg re-signed Mark Scheifele to an eight-year, $49 million deal ($6.125 million AAV), and Colorado gave Nathan MacKinnon seven years and $44.1 million ($6.3 million AAV).

    What’s interesting here is that if you go by pedigree alone you’d probably feel like Colorado, paying its player an extra $175,000, got the better deal here. MacKinnon is, after all, a No. 1 overall pick who won the Calder as an 18-year-old when both he and Scheifele were rookies. That is to say that Scheifele, as a 20-year-old, was outperformed by a kid about two and a half years younger than him.

    What We Learned

    Gold Star Award