Ryan Lambert

  • What We Learned: Are NHL trade prices really 'too high'?

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 2 hrs ago

    Today is the trade deadline and there's probably not a lot that's going to happen. Most of the big names are already off the board, and the price to acquire those remaining might be so prohibitive that contending teams largely avoid getting involved in bidding for them.

    But one thing you're going to hear a lot today, and have heard for much of the last week, is that, “The price for [Player X] is too high.” Which is something I wonder about a lot. What constitutes “too high?”

    Here's a quick example from the weekend: Saturday night it was announced that the Blackhawks traded for Antoine Vermette, giving up up their first-round pick this year and D prospect Klas Dahlbeck to do it.

    Dahlbeck seems like a decent enough defensive prospect, but he's 23 years old and has basically been an AHL player his entire career. He could improve, and maybe if Chicago's blue line weren't so full-up with NHL deals he might have won a more permanent role with the big club. But he hasn't improved yet, and it is full of actual NHL defensemen, and so Dahlbeck proves rather expendable.

    Play of the Weekend

    Gold Star Award

    Minus of the Weekend

    Jonathan Bernier + Nazem Kadri For

  • Los Angeles Kings find groove at their normal pace (Trending Topics)

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 3 days ago

    The Los Angeles Kings seem to do this all the time.

    Every year, they seem to only be an okay team for basically the entire first half of the season, and then around game 60 or so, they take off like a coiled spring. Like clockwork, really  

    Since Darryl Sutter took over the club in 2011, the Kings have won two Cups, and gone to a Western Conference Final (in the lockout-shortened season, when things got very weird). This, clearly, illustrates that they are a juggernaut come playoff time. And, as we know more anecdotally, their annual run to deep in the playoffs tends to start pretty early.

      Put another way, in three full, 82-game seasons they've gotten to Game 60 looking decidedly average, or even poor. Last night was Game No. 60 for Los Angeles and they lost to the Senators (a bit of a surprise), and held steady at 70 points for the year, sitting eighth in the conference. Even after this huge recent winning streak, they're still only on about a 96-point pace.

    And then again last year, Quick went from a tough January in comparison with Tuukka Rask to an excellent March and April once again (though here Rask was better, and starting from a higher baseline).


  • Puck Daddy Power Rankings: Hockey baby names, Vegas tickets, Mike Milbury

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 5 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. Jared Cowen, and his thinking abilities

    Over the weekend Jared Cowen really creamed Jussi Jokinen about an hour after he got rid of the puck, and he wound up getting suspended — rightly — for three games. This hit was just like any of the other predatory headshots that the league has been trying to get out of the sport for the last few years. No excuse for it, and frankly the fact that he only got three games was the Department of Player Safety doing him a favor he in no way earned, especially because he's a repeat offender.

    See if you can follow the logic there.

    6. Malkin Crosby Long

    5. That ticket drive

    4. The Canucks' chances

    2. Delusion

  • NCAA Hockey 101: Jack Eichel and the Hobey Baker Watch; Quinnipiac, Yale battle

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 6 days ago

    This weekend was the second-to-last in a number of conferences' regular seasons, and Hobey Baker Award lobbying is really starting to pick up. The only campaign that matters, though, got under way in earnest, as Boston University unveiled its “I Like Eich” buttons and campaign, which are fun and nice.

    For his part, Jack Eichel didn't have a great weekend, though, as Notre Dame took three of four crucial league points from BU, and he could only muster an assist in each game, and BU scored just four goals total. But even still, Eichel is up to 50 points in 30 games, as an underage freshman, and has a six-point lead on the player who's second in the nation in points. That player — Evan Rodrigues — is his linemate. The other guy in the mix, one point back of those two, is Union's Daniel Ciampini, who has been very good for a middling team.

    Eichel is also tops in the nation in points per game, but his grip there isn't as firm. His 1.67 per game  exceeds that of Harvard's Jimmy Vesey (1.52) and Michigan's Zach Hyman (1.54).



  • What We Learned: New NHL stats site has failures at launch

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 7 days ago

    There have been a few dozen things written about the NHL's new “enhanced” stats site launching, and one feels safe in assuming the thrust of many of them are, “Uhh, what the hell?”

    So: Uhh, what the hell?

    The NHL entered the advanced stats era fully and officially on Friday, launching its own engine to give fans more immediate access to the data that has been cultivated for years on the websites of nerds who are truly and thoroughly fans of this sport and wanted to understand the game on a deeper level. Views in that community were a bit mixed; on the one hand, there was trepidation that the whole thing might get screwed up, given how much we know about the NHL's ability to do a Peter Sellers-level job of inadvertently throwing itself down a flight of stairs while trying to show off.

    But on the other there was a welcoming feeling because this was validation for the years of hard work in a way. By launching this site, the league was essentially saying, “What you have worked on for years has value;” and indeed, the league did an excellent job of reaching out to many people in the analytics community and working with them to see what they'd like to see on the Official Site.

  • What are the Flyers doing? (Trending Topics)

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 10 days ago

    Let's get one thing straight right off the bat here: “Making the playoffs” is an unreasonable goal for the Philadelphia Flyers. Yeah, they're on a nice little run here, with points from 11 of their last 13 games, but the way they're doing it is basically the textbook definition of unsustainable.

    Of those 13 games, six have gone to overtime or a shootout, and it's tough to rely on getting that kind of thing over the course of any considerable length of time. They're also winning despite giving up a whole lot of goals — 34 over that stretch — despite the fact that this portion of their schedule hasn't been all that difficult (Buffalo thrice, Columbus twice, Arizona and Toronto once each, etc.).

    They're just, y'know, not that good. Slightly below average in the Eastern Conference, which in turn is a little more than slightly below the league average. We all knew that, though. If we were being honest with ourselves.  

    Ryan Lambert is a Puck Daddy columnist. His email is here and his Twitter is here .


  • Puck Daddy Power Rankings: 'Embarrassing' Ovechkin, KHL concerns and Jaromir Jagr

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 12 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.] 

    5. Embarrassing the game!!!!!

    So let's say you want to, like, really really really easily get on a lazy hockey writer's good side. It's a two-step process:

    1) Find a player who the hockey establishment already dislikes for nebulous reasons (think “high-profile European” or “black guy”).

    2) Say he is disgracing the sport.

    That's it. You're done.

    So Ryan Getzlaf comes out and says Alex Ovechkin's diving “all over the [f-wording] ice.” (Hockey writers also like it when you use heck-words.)

    Oh and by the way, dawg, this was like two frickin months ago, you ding dong:

  • NCAA Hockey 101: Big 10 turmoil for Michigan, Penn State

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 12 days ago

    This past weekend was a pretty important one in the Big 10. Minnesota was taking on Michigan, and Penn State and Michigan State were facing off. 

    The Wolverines and Nittany Lions sat Nos. 1 and 2 in the conference, but if things went just right for their opponents, that wouldn't necessarily be the case much longer.

    And things went just right for their opponents.

    In both cases, the conference leaders traveled to their opponents and found themselves roundly battered in two straight games. Michigan State swept 3-0 and 3-2, while Minnesota went 6-2 and 2-0. And now the top of the conference standings look like this: Minnesota and Michigan tied with 24 points, and Penn State and Michigan State tied with 22.

    This changes everything.

    There are now four weekends left in the Big Ten schedule, and given the fact that there are just six teams in the conference, there really isn't a lot of wiggle room any more. Minnesota travels to Penn State, hosts Michigan State, travels to Ohio State, and hosts Penn State.

    Michigan plays that series, plus visits Ohio State, hosts Wisconsin, and hosts Michigan State.

    Also, the tightening Hockey East race

    This was a nice goal


  • Hockey’s most obfuscating stat (What We Learned)

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 14 days 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.)

    Hockey, like all sports, is a results-oriented business. Don't win, and you're a failure more often than not, even if the not-winning can be attributed to something that is beyond your control. And of course, one of the biggest factors in winning games is your team's ability to score goals.

    Scoring goals is the thing in hockey, yeah? Preventing them too; and actually preventing them might be more important, because winning 5-4 every night is not a thing you can do reliably. But scoring goals in quantity over the course of a season is a really difficult thing to do unless you're piling up the shots.

    It stands to reason: You take more shots, you score more goals.

    But here's the thing: Sean Bergenheim is actually a good hockey player.

    The Bruins are hanging onto a playoff spot for dear life. So too, is Calgary, but for the opposite reason.

    The Flames are seen as a hard-working team, yeah? Why? They Get To The Net and Score A Lot.

    Love it.

  • If Maple Leafs are smart, this is their scorched earth rebuild blueprint (Trending Topics)

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 17 days ago

    So it appears as though the Leafs management finally has the clearance and will to start splashing some gasoline around the dressing room and throw a match over their shoulders as they close the door behind them.

    It's for the best. This Leafs team as it's currently constituted is no one's idea of good or competitive or anything else a team so close to the cap ceiling really ought to be. The reason Brendan Shanahan, Kyle Dubas, et al were brought in this past summer was to really kick the tires on the roster and management situation and see if it needed to be overhauled.

    The obvious answer all along was 'yes', and so here we are.  


    Luke Schenn, gone. Jimmy Hayes, gone. Matt Frattin, gone. Jiri Tlusty, gone. Nikolai Kulemin, gone. Viktor Stalberg, gone. Tuukka Rask, gone. Anton Stralman, gone. Carl Gunnarson, gone. The only other ones who were kept around are James Reimer (trade target for years) and Korbinian Holzer (sucks).

    Simply, this is a man whose talent evaluation cannot be trusted to guide a National Hockey League team through a complete rebuild, even if William Nylander already looks like a steal at No. 8 last spring.