Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Using the Cap and Budget to Advantage

(IF he had ended up on the westcoast... marketing doesn't get any easier than that)

The NYI are, supposedly, in the hunt for Kovalchuk. They also, factually, have to meet the Cap floor of (59.4 - 16.0 =) $43.4 million.

Current team salary stands at ~ $36 million and when role players are factored in that number should settle in at ~ $39 million. That leaves some $4.4 million to make up.

Why are they after Kovalchuk again?

Edmonton desperately wants to dump Souray ($5.4m Cap / $4.5m Sal), Chicago wants to dump Huet ($5.6m Cap / $5.6m Sal), Anaheim would love to dump Blake ($4.0m Cap / $3.0m Sal), etc.

The Isles are desperately in need of young, cheap, high-end talent. Kovalchuk ain't that. 1st round draft picks tend to be.

If I were Garth Snow I am spending a great deal of time talking to Anaheim and letting them know that Blake is a guy they can send my way at the cost of a draft pick(s) upgrade. Something like this:

Blake, ANA 1st round pick 2011 and ANA 4th round pick 2012
.. OR (Anaheim's choice prior to 2011 draft)..
Blake, ANA 2nd round pick 2011 and ANA 1st round pick 2012
NYI 3rd round pick 2011, NYI 5th round pick 2011

Anaheim dumps the Blake contract - allowing them to use the money for Ryan - has protection in case they fall apart in 2010/11 and the option to dump their pick in 2011 regardless (being a weaker draft class).

Islanders get a guy who won't help them much regardless - thereby not affecting their own draft pick standings - get much closer to the Cap floor (relatively painlessly) and stock up on higher quality draft picks.

The Isles don't have any, real, short-cut options on their rebuild. Using the Kovalchuk money to snag good picks and prospects from teams that need to dump salary is the best option. Full stop.


Have a great evening everyone.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

NHL Entry Draft (2010) - Burnin' Nash Bridges

Before I finish up my full 1st round draft review I wanted to remark on the Nash trade.



Oilers trade the #17 (Parise) to New Jersey for the #22 (Pouliot) and the #68 (JF Jaques)

In one of the deepest drafts in recent memory the Oilers drop 5 spots in exchange for a pick at the very end (another 46 spots later) of the 2nd round.


Oilers trade the #30 and #36 to Phoenix for the #21 (where they take Riley Nash)

In an average draft year (2007 had good front-end and petered out after that) the Oilers move up 9 spots in the draft in exchange for an early 2nd rounder.


St. Louis trades the 2009 #17 overall pick (David Rundblad) to Ottawa for the 2010 #16 overall pick (Vladimir Tarasenko); in the next round Edmonton trades the 2007 #21 overall pick (Riley Nash) to Carolina for the 2010 #46 overall pick (Martin Marincin)

As much as I know some bloggers don't like Nash (lookin' at Ben) I find it hard to believe that he was worth THAT MUCH less than Rundblad.


While it looks like the Oilers team management has finally learned how to draft properly (more or less consistently) it does not appear true that the Oilers team management has learned a thing about how to:

a. value, as assets, their players and prospects;
b. maximize said player/prospect values; and
c. trade said players/prospects when value is high

Yay! for us.


Have a great evening everyone.

Monday, June 21, 2010

NHL Entry Draft (2010) - Rockin' the BMc

A new item I am adding to the draft preview/review - how the aggregated list matches up against the best there is this time of year: Bob McKenzie.

His list is found at TSN and it comprises information gleaned from, primarily I believe, team scouts. Since the aggregated list is comprised of information gleaned from, primarily, non-team scouts I figured this would be an interesting exercise.

Note that the aggregated list is only takes into account the top-15 listings, so the number of players aggregated from those lists - 'in total' - in any given draft year can vary. For 2010 the number is 22.

So I will only look at McKenzie's top-22.


Number of slots it would take to get a player to have a matching rank on both lists; i.e. Gudbranson is ranked 2 slots earlier on McKenzie's list as opposed to where he ranks on the aggregated list.


Per my original post I grouped the players by their aggregated point scores, acknowledging that in that bracket they were almost interchangable. I then replicated copied the process I used above (per Rank).

The Comparison

Aggregated .... Bob McKenzie .. Rank .. Group

Hall .......... Hall ............ 0 ..... 0
Seguin ........ Seguin .......... 0 ..... 0
Fowler ........ Gudbranson ...... 2 ..... 0
Gormley ....... Gormley ......... 0 ..... 0
Gudbranson .... Fowler .......... 2 ..... 0
Granlund ...... Johansen ........ 4 ..... 0
Connolly ...... Niederreiter .... 2 ..... 0
Tarasenko ..... Connolly ........ 1 ..... 0
Niederreiter .. Campbell ........ 2 ..... 1
Johansen ...... Skinner ......... 2 ..... 0
Campbell ...... Forbort ......... 3 ..... 0
Skinner ....... Burmistrov ...... 1 ..... 0
Burmistrov .... Granlund ........ 7 ..... 1
Forbort ....... Watson .......... 4 ..... 1
Kuznetsov ..... McIlrath ........ 7 ..... 0
Bjugstad ...... Tarasenko ....... 8 ..... 2
Pysyk ......... Etem ............ 2 ..... 0
Watson ........ Bennett ......... z ..... z
Etem .......... Bjugstad ........ 3 ..... 0
Merrill ....... Pysyk ........... 3 ..... 0
Faulk ......... Sheahan ......... z ..... z
McIlrath ...... Merrill ......... 2 ..... 1

Notable drops by Rank:

-- Tarasenko (8 spots)
-- Granlund (7 spots)
-- McIlrath (7 spots)

I think we see where the 'Russian' factor impacts Tarasenko, the 'Size' factor impacts Granlund and the 'Toughness/Size' factor impacts McIlrath. Except at the very high end I consider 4 spots or less to be irrelevant.

Notable drops by Group:

-- Tarasenko (2 spots)

Tough being a Russkie nowadays. He drops two full brackets on McKenzie's list. Should be noted that Bennett and Sheahan don't show on the aggregated lists while Faulk and Kuznetsov don't show on McKenzie's.

Some Thoughts

Pretty damn close imo. Props to the independent scouts... and the aggregation process I guess :-)... group think maybe?

Quick note - the 'Rule of Thumb' I use explains away more than a few of these discrepancies (almost everything top-15 oddly enough).

All things being equal... remember that McKenzie is talking to 'team' scouts. His list should always be better (I know I think it is) but, as with anything, don't be surprised if sometimes the aggregated list gets it right.

After all, teams are, generally, run by strong independent minded thinkers aren't they? Right?


Have a great evening everyone.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

NHL Entry Draft (2010)

For archive purposes I am compiling my NHL Entry Draft (2010) stuff here. As with last year's NHL Entry Draft (2009) archive, this first post acts as a primer that contains the set-up info of interest going into the draft.

Links to the other two articles in this series:

NHL Entry Draft 2010 - Rockin' the BMc

NHL Entry Draft 2010 - First Round Review (to come)

NHL Entry Draft 2010 - Oiler Picks (to come)


Personal Thoughts

Kind of fond of this draft group. Deep in numbers but shallow in terms of true top-end talent (both Hall and Seguin will probably require long, long careers for either to get any HOF buzz). That said, LOTS of team building talent here, some of them will surprise (Niederreiter and Tarasenko) and one of them (Campbell) might even be swimming upstream of the conventional wisdom of the sphere.

-- Hall or Seguin - can't go wrong either way
-- Fowler, Gormley, Gudbranson - shades of 2008, 2002 and 1998; who is who?
-- Granlund - how important are smrts?
-- Niederreiter - if CSB gives him top-10 status he ranks just behind Granlund; top-5 talent imo
-- Connolly - on points the injuries aren't an issue, except he only made 3 top-10 lists so I guess they do matter
-- Campbell - goalies get no love here but I think, contrary to my own beliefs, he will be the steal of the draft
-- CSB - amalgamate your NA and Euro listings; just no good excuse for not doing it

After the top-2 a lot of these guys are one thing away from being viewed as sure-thing all-stars (Connolly/injury and Granlund/size and Tarasenko/Russian) so, normally, I wouldn't anticipate ANY team trading out of the top-12 (i.e. an honest shot at Skinner or Burmistrov? Sign me up!) and would expect all the action to start with St. Louis at pick #14 (just got their goalie and they KNOW how to play a draft)...

except that...


This is a VERY motivated draft year. Aside from the usual suspects (Islanders, Blue Jackets, Coyotes, Ducks, Blues and Sharks) there are a bunch of teams that will have something going on:

1. Several teams have new management and one of them will want to make a splash
2. It's a deep draft with loads of desirable talent that will be available late
3. Chicago - their assets are good enough to entice competitive bids
4. Toronto - Kaberle should be moved this time around
5. Phoenix - Maloney is a player AND he has TWO mid-round picks
6. Florida - has declared they are open for business


Don't see all of that come up every year.

Why don't I have Edmonton listed above? They don't have a lot of chips that would bring back a 1st rounder in this draft. Simple as that. Heck, they don't have the assets to bring back 2nd round picks. Unless they are willing to trade Gagner, Penner or Hemsky this team is stuck to staying where it is.

Best, realistic, bet?

Cogliano and Nash are used to bring back something in the 16-20 range.

Best, fantasy, bet?

Penner, Brule and a pick (or Nash I guess) for Boston's #2 overall.

Here's a wierd thing I guess: don't like any of Fowler, Gormley or Gudbranson well enough to expend major assets to get them - regardless of how badly the Oilers need defensemen - rather try to get later round picks and select from McIrath, Tinordi, Pysyk, et al. If I'm Florida I'm trying to stepladder my way down this draft.

Somehow, knowing the Islanders have the #5, I'm a little scared.

Miracles would include coming out of this draft with two of Hall, Seguin, Niederreiter or Tarasenko. Happiness means adding one of McIlrath, Burmistrov to the haul. I like Seguin but expect Hall and I figure that one of the bad contracts will be unloaded, but only one. Nilsson.

Without further ado...


Oiler Draft Picks (for use or trade)

01 -- __1
02 -- _31
02 -- _48 ... Trade with Nashville
03 -- _61
04 -- _91
05 -- 121
06 -- 151
06 -- 162 ... Trade with Anaheim
06 -- 166 ... Trade with Ottawa
07 -- 181

Remember to adjust for compensation picks.

Team Order - 1st Round

01.. Edmonton
02.. Boston ........ via ... Toronto
03.. Florida
04.. Columbus
05.. NY Islanders
06.. Tampa Bay
07.. Carolina
08.. Atlanta
09.. Minnesota
10.. NY Rangers
11.. Dallas
12.. Anaheim
13.. Phoenix ....... via ... Calgary
14.. St. Louis
15.. Boston
16.. Ottawa
17.. Colorado
18.. Nashville
19.. Los Angeles
20.. Pittsburgh
21.. Detroit
22.. Phoenix
23.. Buffalo
24.. Atlanta ....... via ... New Jersey
25.. Vancouver
26.. Washington
27.. Montreal
28.. San Jose
29.. Anaheim ....... via ... Philadelphia
30.. Chicago

Top-15 Player Rankings (aggregated)

Below are the listings of the top-15 picks of each of the different, and independent, scouting bureau's. They are: McKeen's, ISS (International Scouting Service), Redline (Woodlief), The Hockey News and the CSB (Central Scouting Bureau).

Below that is an aggregated listing of those datasets after they have been fed through a scoring system. The scoring system simply reverses the order on the list (i.e. a player ranked #1 on the list scores 15 points while a player ranked #15 scores 1 point) and then adds ALL the points that player generates from the different lists.

Note that I counted the number of times a draftee made the top-10 of a list. This is to help add perspective. Prospect 'A' may have fewer points than prospect 'B' but if prospect 'A' shows as top-10 on all 5 lists then prospect 'A' may be seen as a safer pick to make.

The Scouts Recommend (Final Lists)

... McKeens* .... ISS ......... Redline* .... Hockey News . CSB**

1.. Hall ........ Hall ........ Hall ........ Hall ........ Seguin
2.. Seguin ...... Seguin ...... Seguin ...... Seguin ...... Hall
3.. Campbell .... Gormley ..... Granlund .... Fowler ...... Granlund
4.. Gudbranson .. Tarasenko ... Tarasenko ... Connolly .... Connolly
5.. Gormley ..... Fowler ...... Gormley ..... Gudbranson .. Gudbranson
6.. Fowler ...... Niederreiter. Fowler ...... Burmistrov .. Tarasenko
7.. Connolly .... Gudbranson .. Skinner ..... Gormley ..... Fowler
8.. Johansen .... Johansen .... Niederreiter. Niederreiter. Gormley
9.. Granlund .... Skinner ..... Johansen .... Bjugstad .... Kuznetsov
10. Niederreiter. Forbort ..... Campbell .... Granlund .... Pysyk
11. Kuznetsov ... Merrill ..... Forbort ..... Forbort ..... Etem
12. Skinner ..... Watson ...... Gudbranson .. Johansen .... Forbort
13. Burmistrov .. Connolly .... Burmistrov... Campbell .... Johansen
14. Bjugstad .... Burmistrov .. Connolly .... Tarasenko ... Burmistrov
15. McIlrath .... Granlund .... Faulk ....... Watson ...... Niederreiter

Graded Rankings

.................... Top-10 . Scoring

Hall .................. 5 ___ 15 + 15 + 15 + 15 + 14 = 74
Seguin ................ 5 ___ 14 + 14 + 14 + 14 + 15 = 71
Fowler ................ 5 ___ 10 + 11 + 10 + 13 + 09 = 53
Gormley ............... 5 ___ 11 + 13 + 11 + 09 + 08 = 52
Gudbranson ............ 4 ___ 12 + 09 + 04 + 11 + 11 = 47
Granlund .............. 4 ___ 07 + 01 + 13 + 06 + 13 = 40
Connolly .............. 3 ___ 09 + 03 + 02 + 12 + 12 = 38
Tarasenko ............. 3 ___ 00 + 12 + 12 + 02 + 10 = 36
Niederreiter .......... 4 ___ 06 + 10 + 08 + 08 + 01 = 33
Johansen .............. 3 ___ 08 + 08 + 07 + 04 + 03 = 30
Campbell .............. 2 ___ 13 + 00 + 06 + 03 + 00 = 22
Skinner ............... 2 ___ 04 + 07 + 09 + 00 + 00 = 20
Burmistrov ............ 1 ___ 03 + 02 + 03 + 10 + 02 = 20
Forbort ............... 1 ___ 00 + 06 + 05 + 05 + 04 = 20
Kuznetsov ............. 1 ___ 05 + 00 + 00 + 00 + 07 = 12
Bjugstad .............. 1 ___ 02 + 00 + 00 + 07 + 00 = 09
Pysyk ................. 0 ___ 00 + 00 + 00 + 00 + 06 = 06
Watson ................ 0 ___ 00 + 04 + 00 + 01 + 00 = 05
Etem .................. 0 ___ 00 + 00 + 00 + 00 + 05 = 05
Merrill ............... 0 ___ 00 + 05 + 00 + 00 + 00 = 05
Faulk, McIlrath (2 pts or less).

The big two: Hall, Seguin
Next best thing: Fowler, Gormley, Gudbranson
Should be Good: Granlund, Connolly, Tarasenko, Niederreiter, Johansen
Consolation Prizes: Campbell, Skinner, Burmistrov, Forbort
Afterthoughts: Kuznetsov and everyone else

A Rule Of Thumb

When looking at the list I tend to apply an arbitrary rule of thumb: any draftee within 10 points of another draftee is at threat to be picked ahead or behind that draftee. This is to recognize, in part, the modestly random (to me) aspect of what teams prefer in their players. It is also a measure of reasonableness.

Connolly has 38 pts - it would not be a big surprise to see him preferred over Gudbranson by any number of teams. It would also, however, be a surprise to see him picked ahead of Fowler or Gormley.

Using that rule of thumb I can expect that:

-- Hall and Seguin will take the top 2 spots
-- Tarasenko could overtake Connolly and Granlund but not Gudbranson
-- If anyone ranked below Johansen is chosen in the top-8 it SHOULD be a surprise
-- If anyone ranked below Forbort is taken in the top-9, the team making that call probably just made a big mistake


* McKeen's and Redline only release, for free, their top-10. I found the other 5 names, using various other websites, but cannot completely verify for accuracy. If you have the goods please feel free to self-correct while you read.

I will update as the information becomes public.

** CSB does not aggregate their European and North American lists. So I did it. Given the weakness of the Old World's offerings this year I started the highest CSS ranked Euro two spots behind and followed on from there.


Have a great evening everyone, and enjoy the draft. I will as I will be there :-)

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Never Evers

Some things I thought would never, ever...

... and have (or not as the case may be):


One of the great, great people I know goes by the name of Bruce. To my knowledge it is also his real name (then again... there was that time a bunch of us were headed to a wedding in Regina and stopped in Edmonton for a night and a game - where they raised #31 to the rafters - and he wouldn't let us drive all the way to his "aunt's" place and had us drop him off a block or two away so as to reduce the chance we would 'wake her up'... heh).


Bruce is a Canucks fan. As far back as he can remember.

He is also one of the best sports fans I know and, I suspect, will ever know.

Hence I have resolved that IF:

-- the Canucks make the make the play-offs AND
-- there are, literally, no other teams I like better than the Canucks still in the play-offs THEN

I will cheer for the Canucks.

In the meantime I will pray that such an event never, ever happens.

Entry Draft(s)

Last time I went to an NHL Entry Draft it was 1995. I still remember the chants of the crowd for Doan! Doan! DOAN! Doan! Doan! KELLY?!? WTF?

I still have the booklet from that draft.

Anyways, I am now - officially - headed to the 2010 NHL Entry Draft being held in Los Angeles this June 25.

Never, ever thought I would get two of those in.

The Arena

Just to clarify, my true preferences in regards to the arena are these (in order):

1. That Northlands is renovated and all that money being thrown at a development downtown actually goes into the community surrounding Northlands. History, tradition and heritage mean a lot to me and, for what it's worth, I think that area could become something truly spectacular were equivalent energies expended.

2. That IF a new arena must be built then it be built where in the same area as where the Stadium is. Move the Linen plant et al (gotta be cheaper than downtown land), one eyesore is better than two and parking can be shared. Move the entire Northlands complex and pass the old one to the developers (part and parcel).

Never, ever happen.


Have a great evening everyone.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Some Simple Thoughts

(picture via Steve Russell, Toronto Star)


If the Oilers can get Boston to throw in their two 2nd round picks (the 2010 Toronto 2nd and their own) - or something equivalent/better - they should, happily, accept the compensation and take Seguin at 2nd overall.

If not, then they should probably take Hall.

Barring a trade for the actual 2nd pick, in a best worlds scenario Boston flips their own 1st and 2nd (not Toronto's 2nd) for a 3rd and 5th and the privilege of taking Hall 1st overall. Don't see it.

I say that only because I am fairly ambivalent as to the difference in value of Hall and Seguin. However, if the Oilers are similarly ambivalent they shouldn't be as obvious about it as I am.


If the cost to renovate/expand the Colisseum is around $250 million then, and if their bargaining position matches mine, then that is what the City of Edmonton should expect to pony up for a new Arena.

My bargaining position is simple:

1. Maximum contribution, to arena, is $250 million; this money would be borrowed

2. The arena remains the property of the City of Edmonton

3. Other area infrastructure upgrades are estimated and tallied and paid and exactly one-half of those costs would be borrowed and tied to the same instrument used to fund the arena (the other half being considered a cost of doing business to revitalize an area)

4. Debt servicing and repayment for all amounts borrowed is paid for:

..... a. first, by any super-increases* in the targeted area's tax collection over and beyond the last established tax collection for that area, and

..... b. secondly, by ancillary revenues** generated by the new arena

5. Once the debt is paid off the ancillary revenues, as established and referenced, are then paid to the team

* increases over and above standard increases city-wide - this is for the sake of tax payer transparency (i.e. pre-arena the area was worth 'x' and paid 'x' in taxes and now it is worth 'y' and pays 'y' in taxes; y - x is what is gained by taking part in the exercise)
** parking and the like; pretty much anything that will result in an increase in revenues for the Oilers via the new arena is up for negotiation imo - though I expect that only those revenue streams currently gifted the Oilers would end up being hassled over

The upshot being that the City will allow the developers to leverage city dollars into making the development a go AND, once the debts are paid off, gift the Oilers with much larger revenue streams (with the issue being the payment of the debts incurred).


Very proud of him.

Update to add a nice G&M story (per Michael Grange):


Have a great evening everyone.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Hypothermetically Speaking

So... question...

Given that you, as the GM of an NHL team are SERIOUS about rebuilding your club - from the ground up no less - do you make this trade:

Souray, O'Sullivan, Nilsson and Moreau
Redden, 2010 1st, 2011 2nd and 2012 1st


The Salary Grid* looks like so:

2010-11: EDM = -4.6 = 4.5 + 2.4 + 2.5 + 1.7 - 6.5
2010-11: NYR = +4.6

2011-12: EDM = +2.0 = 4.5 - 6.5
2011-12: NYR = -2.0

2012-13: EDM = +5.0
2012-13: NYR = -5.0

2013-14: EDM = +5.0
2013-14: NYR = -5.0

* With buy-outs the absolute cost to the Rangers goes down substantially while the relative value of benefits received by the Oilers go down


The Cap Grid looks like so:

2010-11: EDM = -5.8 = 5.4 + 2.9 + 2.0 + 2.0 - 6.5
2010-11: NYR = +5.8

2011-12: EDM = +1.1 = 5.4 - 6.5
2011-12: NYR = -1.1

2012-13: EDM = +6.5
2012-13: NYR = -6.5

2013-14: EDM = +6.5
2013-14: NYR = -6.5

Surprisingly, the big hit to the Oilers - in regards to the Cap - don't really occur until the 2012-13 season as the two year stretch per the Nilsson and O'Sullivan buy-outs is avoided.


This is, basically a cash for picks deal with the variables being value received by the Rangers from Souray's play (fight! fight! fight!) and the value received from by the Oilers from Redden's play (doh!).


- is it worth it to you to dump all of your problem contracts/players at once AND get some nice draft picks in exchange for a player on the downslope with a nut-crushing contract?

- is it worth it to the Rangers to get a player(s) they might want AND save their future Cap and cash positions in exchange for being able to dump a Cap and cash killing contract?


So what do you imagine/mean/believe when you say the words 'rebuild'?


Have a great evening everyone.