Ryan Lambert

  • What We Learned: Inside the NHL’s coach-hiring trend

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 1 day ago

    (Hello, this is a feature that will run through the entire season and 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.)

    One of the big recent trends in hockey over the past few years has been teams in need of coaches going outside the “old boys network” of the 40 or so guys who could reliably get coaching jobs in the NHL.

    It used to be that if your team fired a coach, the odds were that it would then hire a guy with plenty of NHL experience, but who had been fired from another team in the somewhat recent past. On some level, this makes perfect sense. You typically only get an NHL job because you are one of the 30 best hockey coaches in the world at any given time. Often, you’d flame out not because you weren’t doing a good job coaching, but because the talent you had to coach in the first place wasn’t conducive to winning.

    That’s the thing about NHL hockey: You can be the best coach on the planet, but if you don’t have talented players throughout your roster, you’re not getting very far, if you get anywhere at all.

    Bednar’s numbers generally speak for themselves here.

  • Why NHL cap space can be its most vital asset (Trending Topics)

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 4 days ago

    Not everyone can be Jeff Gorton.

    On Thursday, Gorton signed Brandon Pirri to a one-year, $1.1 million contract, capping a summer in which he added a slew of inexpensive bets that come as low-risk and potentially high-reward acquisitions.

    So far this summer, the New York Rangers lost Keith Yandle, Dan Boyle, Viktor Stalberg and Eric Staal (who was a rental that wasn’t sticking around in the first place) to free agency, and Derick Brassard and a seventh-round pick via trade. It has brought in Mika Zibanejad and a second-round pick via trade as well, and added UFAs Pirri, Jimmy Vesey, Josh Jooris, Nathan Gerbe, Michael Grabner, Adam Clendening, Michael Paliotta and John Gilmour. Maybe none of those guys work out, but even if a few of them do, that’s a win for a team that is perpetually bumping up against the cap ceiling.

    This comes a summer after the Coyotes also traded out-of-favor Sam Gagner to Philadelphia in exchange for Nicklas Grossmann and, perhaps most notably, Chris Pronger’s dead-money deal.

    ***

  • NHL 17 ratings, PTOs and Monahan's new deal (Puck Daddy Countdown)

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 5 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. NHL 17

    Over the past week or so the good folks at EA Sports have been sending out the list of the top-10 rankings at each position for the players in its upcoming NHL 17 game. And boy, they’re not good.

    They say they work closely with an NHL scout to come up with these rankings, and I’m sure that’s true. But either the scout isn’t very good at what he does or the system they use to evaluate players doesn’t work right — or both — because the rankings they spit out are, frankly, baffling.

    Meanwhile, they seem to get the forwards mostly right, but not having Patrice Bergeron or Brad Marchand in your top 10 centers and left wings? Well, that’s just very bad.

    4. PTOs and short-term deals

    Oooo, it’s that time of year, folks.

    3. The Monahan contract

    2. The Ceci contract

    1. Prince

  • What We Learned: Jimmy Vesey/Rangers union puzzling for both sides

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 8 days ago

    At least #Veseywatch has ended.

    The protracted summer romance between Jimmy Vesey and more than half a dozen teams around the league is over, and it’s not easy to figure out why the winner won. The New York Rangers? Sure, that was a team that was always going to have some amount of interest, but having the most interest? Having enough interest to actually get Vesey? Having a spot to give Vesey to make him think that’s the destination? Yeah, that’s a puzzler.

    It’s mainly confusing because you look at what the Rangers have coming back for next season, and a player like Vesey doesn’t really fit the bill as a “need.” You look at the talent up front on Broadway and you have to reasonably conclude that Vesey, a 23-year-old with no NHL or even pro experience under his belt, might be the 10th-best forward on the roster. And that’s if you’re being a bit charitable.

    And yet here we are. Tough to figure.

    What We Learned

    Gold Star Award

    Minus of the Weekend

    Signoff

  • Expectations for tracking data at the World Cup of Hockey (Trending Topics)

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 11 days ago

    It was announced on Wednesday that the NHL will be using player and puck tracking data at next month’s World Cup of Hockey, and allow ESPN and Sportsnet to tap that information for use on its broadcasts. On the surface, this is a good thing.

    It’s better to have data than not have it, but what is actually collected from the puck tracking, and the chips sewn into players jerseys, is not yet totally clear. John Matisz of the Toronto Sun reported that some of the information will include puck speed, skating speed, puck trajectory, spacing between players, who’s on the ice, TOI, and so on.

    Similarly, puck trajectory data will probably be able to tell us in real something like real time when a shot was deflected out front, if only by a few inches. But again, if you’re used to watching this sport on a regular basis, you’re usually going to have some idea of whether something looks like it hit a stick or a skate on the way through a scrum.

  • Available UFAs, Colorado coaching search and Jimmy Vesey (Puck Daddy Countdown)

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 13 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. Still being on the market

    The pickings start to get pretty slim around this time of year, as far as free agents go, but there are still a few guys who might be able to help you out a little bit.

    Guys like Jiri Hudler really ought to have an NHL contract by now. Jiri Tlusty still doesn’t have a contract. Maybe it’s a Jiri thing? Neither does Jakub Nakladal or Cody Hodgson, though. So there goes that theory. These are guys who are worth taking a risk on at this point, honestly. If they’ll take short money or fewer years than they would have, say, a month ago, they’re worth gambling on. Give them something in the neighborhood of the Justin Schultz “$1.4 million for a year” contract and you probably don’t end up regretting that decision.

    4. Vermette to Anaheim

    3. The Avs

    But again, the Avalanche are going into the season with a coach who is not Patrick Roy, and the benefit there is massive.

  • What We Learned: A statistical look at Jimmy Vesey

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 15 days ago

    We’re almost there.

    The UFA college hockey prospect everyone’s been talking about since he spurned Nashville for reasons yet unclear willfinally be on the market Tuesday. As you might expect, rumors have been flying about where he’ll land some time, but have really heated up in the past few days. And while it’s always good to get an asset that’s almost certainly a useful NHL talent for nothing but the cost of his ELC, one question hasn’t really been asked by a lot of people.

    What kind of player is Jimmy Vesey?

    There’s no doubt he was a high-end NCAA player. Very few guys who finish in the top-3 in Hobey voting two years in a row aren’t going to land there. But again, age is a factor here, as is the fact that Vesey was routinely outperformed by those top-level players who were younger than him.

    No surprise, then, that in terms of raw production, a player of his talents came out looking pretty good:

    Whoever signs him is getting a good player. Just not the difference-maker many expect.

    What We Learned

  • The improved Colorado Avalanche (Trending Topics)

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 17 days ago

    Here’s how you know things got very, very bad between Patrick Roy and the Colorado Avalanche: News of his departure from the organization came out not from a team source, but by the now-former coach himself, via PR Newswire.

    Some of the more noteworthy stuff in the brief statement included the fact that he had basically — despite his role as both coach and VP of Hockey Ops — been frozen out of the player evaluation process.

    Which, now that we know it for sure, actually makes a lot of sense.

    But the biggest addition this team is going to make, almost guaranteed, is whichever coach they hire to replace Roy.

    Whether he was instrumental in driving out Ryan O’Reilly or if that was more of an organizational beef after the whole offer sheet fiasco with Calgary is unclear. But Roy’s handling of the player is pretty indicative of his evaluation of O’Reilly’s talent. And now, what do you know: O’Reilly is really good for the Buffalo Sabres. The Avs are poorer for having lost him.

  • KHL fights, NHL Vegas and Heritage Classic jerseys (Puck Daddy Countdown)

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 20 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. The KHL

    First it’s coaches throwing down in a preseason game. Then it’s some guy named Damir Ryspayev trying to beat up literally everyone on an expansion team.

    I understand it’s not always fair to apply our own societal norms to that of other nations, where things are different in ways we likely cannot understand. But good lord, at least when guys fight in NHL preseason games it’s because they’re AHL plugs who think doing so will get them a call-up in January or something. (By the way, fighting should be banned in preseason hockey for exactly this reason.)

    4. The whole Las Vegas hockey team name thing

    Who would have guessed this would all go so badly?

    2. Vegas hiring

  • What We Learned: The problem with projecting goalscoring

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 22 days ago

    Interesting article in the Vancouver Province over the weekend, with Jeff Paterson trying to predict the goal output for next year’s Canucks team.

    This is a worthwhile exercise in theory, because knowing how many goals will be scored by any given team would give you a lot of insight into how well things would go for them. But the problem is that hockey is incredibly hard to predict in this way; harder than, say, baseball, where the PECOTA system usually does a good job of figuring out a given player’s expected output for the upcoming season. Hockey isn’t close to having a PECOTA-like predictive tool. At least, one that actually works with any kind of reliable effectiveness.

    (Side note: Do you know how hard it is to be so bad offensively that you can’t ride .916 goaltending out of the league’s bottom-3? That’s an incredible feat.)

    What We Learned

    Minnesota Wild: I don’t necessarily see this going well.

    Gold Star Award

    Minus of the Weekend

    Signoff