Ryan Lambert

  • How much does losing Patrik Berglund hurt the Blues? (Trending Topics)

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 18 hrs ago

    Last week thefirst major injury news of the season landed in St. Louis and the outlook was not good.

    Patrik Berglund out four months following a shoulder surgery in late August, meaning that he should be back around Christmas or so if all goes as planned. But that's a long time to go without any player, and Berglund is ostensibly one that St. Louis relies upon somewhat heavily. 

    He carries a cap hit of $3.7 million (giving him a cap hit that's currently fifth among Blues forwards), and has been a pretty good scorer for the team for some time. Over the last three seasons, his goals and points per 60 at 5-on-5 rank fifth and eighth on the team among forwards, respectively. The goals number actually puts him ahead of captain David Backes and the now-departed T.J. Oshie.

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    Below is a breakdown of how Berglund was used prior to Hitchcock's hiring (in yellow) and after (in blue).


  • Puck Daddy Power Rankings: Trading Patrick Kane, Trashing Tyler Seguin

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 2 days ago

    [Author's note: Power rankings are usually three things: Bad, wrong, and boring. You typically know just as well as the authors which teams won what games against who and what it all means, so our moving the Red Wings up four spots or whatever really doesn't tell you anything you didn't know. Who's hot, who's not, who cares? For this reason, we're doing a power ranking of things that are usually not teams. You'll see what I mean.]

    6. Sticking around

    On some level, I think we all fundamentally understood that even though they traded for him in June, there wasn't all that much of a chance that Milan Lucic would be sticking around Los Angeles long-term.

    Too many guys to sign, too little cap room, and maybe even the fact that he might be in decline already at his age. Throw in Lucic likely being expensive because he's going to spend the year playing with some real good players, and all that made it look like this is a one-and-done, mercenary situation to some extent.

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    A very convincing addendum the last thought was not.

    5. Trashman Tyler

  • Cashing out on Dustin Byfuglien (Trending Topics)

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 4 days ago

    It's every Winnipeg columnist's dream: a Jets team minus All-Star defenseman Dustin Byfuglien. 

    And it could be a reality sooner than later.

    Byfuglien is entering the final season of his current contract — a five-year deal that pays him at a $5.2 million AAV, and the actual dollar value trending up to this coming season's $6 million — and is already north of 30. The question for the Jets, who have a solid if young defensive corps that seems poised to be built around Tyler Myers for the foreseeable future, is whether they think Byfuglien is going to be worth the significant raise and years-long commitment likely required to retain his services.

    This is a rather similar situation to what the Calgary Flames faced vis-a-vis Mark Giordano until they re-signed him to that irrational contract (which is exactly what it is, even if no one in the hockey media seems willing to say that). There are, however, a number of notable exceptions.

    It's tough to envy Kevin Cheveldayoff is responsibility to make a decision here.


  • What We Learned: Tuukka Rask and the Bruins' workload problem

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 5 days ago

    Toward the end of the Boston Bruins’ doomed campaign last season, people seemed to be harping on Tuukka Rask's workload with some frequency.

    Specifically, they felt it to have been far too big. He played 70 games, 67 of which were starts, and it was the largest number of his career by a good 20-plus percent. Indeed, in the last two seasons, he nearly doubled the total number of games played he'd racked up in his career, and was in fact busier than when he appeared in 36 of Boston's 48 games in the lockout-shortened season of 2013.

    What's interesting about this, though, is the fact that despite the cries for a more reasonable handling of Rask's office hours, there simply isn't a lot of evidence to say that his playing 70 games was the reason his game appeared to take a step back.

    Another issue here, of course, is that Rask lost nine games in a shootout, which is a very high number.

    (The explanation here is a little convoluted, I know. Blame the seasons shortened by lockouts.)

    The thing with Rask is that we don't know one way or the other into which of these three goaltending categories he falls.

    What We Learned

    Gold Star Award

    Minus of the Weekend

    To Ottawa:

  • Pacific Division: Still the worst in the NHL? (Trending Topics)

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 7 days ago

    Every year, there's one division where you look at its potential playoff teams and say, “Yeesh, they're gonna get demolished.”  

    For much of recent memory, that division has been the Southeast, perhaps the single worst division in modern North American sports history. But with the Southeast eradicated by realignment two seasons ago, things have been a little wonkier.

    There are obviously a lot of different ways to measure the quality of a team or a division, including but not limited to overall record, record against other divisions, on-ice performance, and so on. But the quality of a division usually tells you a decent amount about how well teams are going to do once playoffs roll around; by that point we typically have a pretty good idea of what teams are capable of doing, and it's not often that a team comes out of a weaker division and makes it all the way to, say, the Stanley Cup Final (though the divisional playoff format typically helps them do so these days).

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    All stats via War on Ice unless otherwise stated.

  • Puck Daddy Power Rankings: Kessel and Crosby; Canes on the move?

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 9 days ago

    [Author's note: Power rankings are usually three things: Bad, wrong, and boring. You typically know just as well as the authors which teams won what games against who and what it all means, so our moving the Red Wings up four spots or whatever really doesn't tell you anything you didn't know. Who's hot, who's not, who cares? For this reason, we're doing a power ranking of things that are usually not teams. You'll see what I mean.]

    7. Defenses in the Eastern Conference

    So Phil Kessel is going to play with Sidney Crosby, huh? There wasn't really a good answer between Kessel-and-Crosby or Kessel-and-Malkin as far as opponents went, but if you're looking to keep Pittsburgh goals off the board, that was probably about as bad as the news could have gotten.

    What number of those are going to be Kessel's? I don't think it really matters, but anything fewer than 30 would be pretty shocking. And that's at 5-on-5 only. If you get them out there on the power play along with, say, Malkin and Letang, you can basically forget about it. Put me down for Kessel breaking 50.

    Should be entertaining, if nothing else.

    6. The Hurricanes

    5. Expansion

    1. Defiance

  • Christian Ehrhoff, concussion casualty or market inefficiency? (Trending Topics)

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 11 days ago

    It was easy to write Christian Ehrhoff's signing with the Pittsburgh Penguins last summer off as a byproduct of a bizarre system. 

    He had been a compliance buyout for Buffalo, but that appeared to be unrelated to his level of play, which was strong for a $4 million cap hit. Instead it seemed wholly tied to the ridiculous length of the 10-year contract in question, its potential cap recapture penalty should he retire early (he was paid $22 million of a $40 million deal in the first three years), and the fact that the Sabres suddenly and rather judiciously didn't want to pay him until he was 39 even if he did stick around.

    As we've seen in the past, guys who get bought out tend to be rather looked down upon by the rest of the league, resulting in them settling for what is by all appearances well less than market value. So his pulling just $4 million from Pittsburgh on a one-year deal came as a bit of a surprise, but struck many as a bargain.

    Further worth examining: Is that fact that he got three concussions in less than a year a byproduct of his having lost a step, or just bad luck? Here are the videos of the two hits that led to concussions last season.

  • In defense of ads on NHL jerseys (Trending Topics)

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 11 days ago

    Ads on NHL jerseys are coming. This is unavoidable. In the next year or three, it's going to happen.

    Why are they an inevitability? Because it's a revenue stream in a league always desperate for them. Everyone understands this fundamentally, and yet when the idea was brought up at various points this week, the reaction was one of such revulsion that you would have thought the ads were being tattooed on the first-born of every NHL fan, and not the goofy, baggy shirts for which they pay $250 without blinking.

    It's easy to understand why people would be so against the idea. It is new and therefore bad. As is all things the NHL does at every turn. That is, at least, the way fans see things, and in much the same way that people harp on about the sport's purity in general, the whole is not actually greater than the sum of its parts; if one aspect of the league's innocence is lost, then the whole thing is ruined and everyone is unhappy. Generally, though, the average hockey fan is perpetually unhappy with how every aspect of the sport progresses slowly toward the future, so jersey ads — inevitable though they may be — are gauche and soiling the legacy of the sport.

  • What We Learned: What should Carolina Hurricanes do with Eric Staal?

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 12 days ago

    (Hello, this is a feature that aims to recap the weekend’s events and boils those events down to one admittedly superficial fact or stupid opinion about each team. Feel free to complain about it.)

    It's no secret at this point that arguably the two most important players in recent memory for the Carolina Hurricanes are now major points of concern.

    Eric Staal and Cam Ward have long been talked about in trade rumors, largely because they are in their declining years on a rebuilding and improving team, are both UFAs at the end of next season, and cost a combined $14.55 million against the cap for a budget team that never actually comes all that close to the ceiling.

    The problem with any looming Staal rumors, though, is that cap hit. Because no one has $8.5 million in space lying around. Hell, even if Carolina were to retain as much as 50 percent of his salary and cap hit, many teams would still be in tough to make $4.125 million work unless the Hurricanes took bad money back as well. And would they, given their own budgetary constraints that have little to do with the cap itself? Someone would have to make it very much worth their while.

    What We Learned

    Gold Star Award

  • Are the Los Angeles Kings in decline? (Trending Topics)

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 18 days ago

    There probably aren't too many people out there who think that the Los Angeles Kings missing the playoffs last season was anything other than a bizarre fluke.

    They were once again at the top of the NHL in terms of possession, and allowed the fourth-fewest goals at 5-on-5 in the league. They were also ninth in goals for. But the power play and penalty kill were both middling, the team suffered mightily as a result of losing Slava Voynov and being in a weird salary cap limbo for most of the season, and some other teams in their division got undeniably lucky. 

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    They also carry a ton of cap room (as a result of losing Voynov and, more recently, Mike Richards from their obligations), so that helps as well. But even though this season's training camp isn't even going to open for another month, it's hard not to worry about what next summer — and beyond — looks like for the Kings.

    All stats via War on Ice unless otherwise stated.