Everything Else

You know us. We do this every so often. One day, we’re going to get our hockey equivalent of Felix Hernandez’s Cy Young, when he won just 13 games. It was a triumph for the analytic set, a true breaking down of the walls to look at process and not just results.

It may be a long time before we get that with hockey. It may never happen. The Norris Trophy may always be the guy who gets the most points from the blue line combined with an already sterling reputation, deserved or not. Or whoever Eddie Olczyk says should win it. Or both. Or maybe it’ll always be Erik Karlsson, and that’s ok. He’s a sweet boy. He should have more than he does.

John Klingberg seems to have the inside track this year, leading all d-men in scoring for a resurgent Dallas team. Karlsson will probably be a finalist. Kings fans are wetting themselves to get scumbag Doughty another one, perhaps in the hopes their efforts will keep him there when he becomes a free agent in 2019. Not likely. Brent Burns and PK Subban are leading their teams in scoring, which is always a big feather.

Hampus Lindholm will never score enough to get noticed by voters. Playing in Anaheim certainly doesn’t help, as no writer can stay up past 10:30 apparently. But perhaps one day, when they look past points, he will get a chance. Or he’ll have to binge one year. But let’s make the case.

Here’s the evidence: Hampus has the best relative-corsi of any d-man in the league playing over 200 minutes at even-strength this year. Better than both Dougie Hamilton and Mark Giordano, who get to play together. He has the second-best relative expected goals percentage, behind something called Tim Heed on the Sharks. He’s 10th among all d-men in attempts against per 60. Quite simply, no team improves as much with one player on the ice against when he’s not then the Ducks do when Hampus is out there.

Moreover, whereas Giordano and Hamilton get to play with each other, Hampus has played with Josh Manson, who isn’t a slob but isn’t Dougie or Giordano either. Whereas Klingberg has seen most of his passes go to Seguin, Benn, and Radulov, Hampus plays behind mostly Jakob Silfverberg and Andrew Cogliano. Not exactly breathtaking scorers, though solid wingers in their own right.

It’s a pretty solid case, though one that won’t see Hampus anywhere near Vegas when the baubles are handed out. What we can say that at $5 million per for the next six years, Hampus is just about the biggest bargain you can find on any blue line. He’ll have to live with that if he doesn’t get any silverware.

 

Game #58 Preview

Preview

Spotlight

Q&A

Douchebag Du Jour

I Make A Lot Of Graphs

Lineups & How Teams Were Built

Everything Else

Hawks fans know, or at least the ones that have been around awhile, that when your team doesn’t have much it’s easy to focus on what it isn’t and what it doesn’t have than what it does. Leafs fans have only been doing that for over a decade now, since the last time they mattered in any sense (even though they’ve always thought they mattered). That does to the players on the team, where the focus is on what they aren’t than what they might actually be, as a fanbase pines for better days.

It feels like that’s what happened to Nazem Kadri. Back when the Leafs had nothing, he basically played with nothing. Tyler Bozak got to play with the one, top-line winger they had because they lived together and Bozak went on Kessel’s hot dog runs or something. Kadri was always just too small or didn’t quite score enough or didn’t justify the hype or was just a bit too much of an asshole on the ice.

Funny how when you actually ice a representative team a player can come alive. While Matthews and Marner and Nylander have stolen all the headlines, Kadri is having a near-incredible season under the radar.

Everything Else

You could draw a lot of similarities between the search for a goalie and the search for a quarterback. One aspect that looks an awful lot alike is when a team splurges on what had been a backup to be their starter. You might see it here in town with the Lakeshore 11 and giving up the goods for Jimmy Garoppolo (god help us). In hockey, last year we saw Martin Jones, Cam Talbot, Thomas Greiss, Robin Lehner, and one or two others move from backup roles to starter roles, with varying success. This season Chad Johnson, Andrei Vasilevskiy, and one or two others have seized jobs. Heading into this offseason, Scott Darling could be given starter’s money and responsibilities, and one wonders if someone might not be coaxed to try with Antti Raanta after he walked the same gilded platform that Talbot did, following Henrik Lundqvist.

While Jones did get his team to a Final last year, there’s a serious argument that Talbot has been the biggest success of all of these.