Ryan Lambert

  • Did NHL teams suck fun out of 3-on-3 OT? (Trending Topics)

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 1 day ago

    A little more than a year ago, the NHL announced that it had officially adopted a 3-on-3 overtime as a means of juicing goal-scoring in the league and avoiding the shootout to as great an extent as possible.

    At the time, we had little understanding of what the NHL looked like at 3-on-3. From 2007 through the end of 2014-15, all NHL teams combined had played a grand combined total of just 87 minutes in that strength situation. This is a situation most teams never practiced, because it was so rare that it wasn’t worth anyone’s time to actually come up with systems or waste precious time drilling for the maybe 30 seconds a year they’d spend playing 3-on-3 hockey if they were quite lucky.

    Based on the evidence available at the time, though, there wasn’t a lot of reason to believe that teams would score so much more often that it really moved the needle. A rough estimate based on goals per five minutes at 4-on-4 versus 3-on-3 showed that the league might cut shootout occurrences to once every nine games from the previous 1-in-7.5 or so.

     

  • Huge If True: Will Canucks take on Evander Kane?

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 2 days ago

    Last week in this space, we discussed whether the Vancouver Canucks would be able to trade for a scoring winger. Given the team’s need and its inexplicable pursuit of “playoffs at all costs,” it seemed quite likely that they’d be motivated.

    At the time, though, the idea that Evander Kane would be the target was a little farfetched. It at least seemed like better options — or at least less controversial ones — would be readily available from places like Detroit.

    However, the past several days seem to have changed all that.

    Kane was arrested late last week for allegedly harassing three women, and potentially choking and pulling the hair of one of them. He has been charged with only one count of criminal trespass (for refusing to leave a bar) and four of non-criminal harassment. These are basically minor charges, but the court documents ain’t pretty.

     

    The Implications

     

     

  • Ken Holland, Las Vegas' model, Twitter and the NHL (Puck Daddy Countdown)

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 3 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.)

    6. Ken Holland

    What do you suppose goes on in Detroit these days?

    I’ve long said that the hardest part of Ken Holland’s job was always walking down the hall and asking Nick Lidstrom, Pavel Datsyuk, and Henrik Zetterberg, “What do you want to get paid next year?” That was all he had to do to appear successful for a period of about a decade. But then Lidstrom retired and the team took a small step back, but continued to lose ground as a truly competitive team each year since.

    Lidstrom retired in 2012, and here are the Red Wings’ playoff runs since then: 14 games (lost to eventual Cup champs Chicago in second round), five games (lost to Boston in first round), seven games (lost to eventual Cup runners-up Tampa in first round), five games (lost to eventual Eastern Conference runners up Tampa in first round). Not great, but they’ve also had some tough outs three of four years.

    Perhaps more worrisome, though, are the point totals: 56 in 48 (a pace for less than 96), 93, 100, and 93 again. Diminishing returns to be sure.

  • Puck Lists: 7 RFAs who should be signed by now

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 4 days ago

    A week from now it’ll be August, and that is starting to get perilously close to World Cup time for a lot of teams as they prepare for the 2016-17 season.

    And yet, there are a lot of restricted free agents who remain unsigned for next year, and who really should have been locked down by now. Of course, there may be many reasons why teams are holding off from making these deals — and certainly, none feel harried by the threat of an offer sheet — but the fact remains that some these are guys who are going to get paid pretty decent chunks of change for several years to come.

    So why wait? Might be a negotiating tactic from the other side, honestly. And sometimes these deals just take a while to come together regardless of how much a team likes or dislikes a guy.

    However, there are some players who I’d have really thought their teams would be running through walls to get re-signed, and it just hasn’t happened yet.

    7. Rasmus Ristolainen, Buffalo Sabres

    I include Ristolainen not because I think he’s particularly good, but because he’s one of those guys whose team projects him to be a future star.

    6. Jacob Trouba, Winnipeg Jets

    5. Petr Mrazek, Detroit Red Wings

    4. Sean Monahan, Calgary Flames

  • What We Learned: What is Brayden Schenn really worth?

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 5 days ago

    Two big pieces of news for the Schenn family this weekend.

    First, Luke Schenn, a serviceable third-pairing defender who was always miscast in a larger role, got a two-year deal with Arizona that should work out nicely for both sides.

    And second, Brayden Schenn’s apparent ask for his arbitration hearing (scheduled for Monday) leaked. CSN Philadelphia’s Tim Panaccio says Schenn wants $5.5 million against the cap for just one year, while the Flyers offered him a two-year deal worth a little more than $4.3 million against the cap, with the lower payout coming in year one. That’s not an insurmountable gap or anything, and it’s perfectly plausible that the two sides reach an agreement even before this story is published.

    This is, of course, a negotiation. Team goes in low, player comes in high, and then they eventually meet somewhere in the middle. If they split the difference evenly here, that gives Schenn an AAV of $4.9 million; and on the surface that sounds just about right. But the question is whether he’s worth that much in the first place.

    As is usually the case ahead of an arbitration hearing, both sides were being a bit silly.

    What We Learned  

    Gold Star Award

    Signoff

     

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

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 8 days 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 9 days 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 10 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 11 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 12 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

    Signoff