2008 NHL Draft and Off Season

A slower day in sports today so I want to look back at the NHL Draft and look ahead to the off season. I consider myself an NHL fan (a Boston Bruin fan to be precise), but I cannot say that I followed the draft very closely. I can tell you that the Tampa Bay Lightning chose center Steven Stamkos number one and that the Bruins drafted center Joe Colborne number 16. I can tell you that after Stamkos, the next four players chosen were all defense man and that 12 defense man were chosen in the first round. I can tell you that the tallest player taken in the first round was Tyler Myers by the Buffalo Sabres (12th pick).

If you want me to start analyzing individual picks, don’t get your hopes up. Most players in this draft will not be in the NHL for years to come, whether they are going to college or playing overseas. However, the top picks in the draft will look to make a difference next year. Stamkos will make the Lightning better immediately and the four defense man chosen after that should all have impacts on their respective teams next year.  Almost none of the playerstaken after the top five will see NHL ice time next year. With that in mind, it is extremely difficult to grade teams in the draft. Not just are most players not ready for the NHL and will spend a couple years getting better, but it is tough for NHL general managers to predict their respective team’s needs years in advance. So I am sticking away from grading each teams. I can barely grade my beloved Bruins. I have mixed feelings over picking Colborne. He is a talented player with great upside, but from what I’ve read, he may be too soft for the NHL. I guess Bruins management (and their fans) are hoping his time at Denver University will toughen him up. Continue reading “2008 NHL Draft and Off Season”

Remember the NHL?

Remember that game with ice and pucks? With power plays and goals? Yes that game. The NHL season actually began over a month and a half ago, but how many people actually know that. ESPN pays no attention to the dying sport. The NHL’s decision to use Versus to broadcast national games was terrible. Few people know what channel Versus is and those that do hate the station. Had the NHL chosen ESPN over Versus, the sport would have gained much more publicity and increased its fan base. Though its fan base is small, I consider myself one of the lucky ones who watch the sport. The games have been exciting this year with young players such as Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin taking over the sport. Let’s take a look at the beginning of the season:

1. Best Team

This choice was pretty simple, but it was not 100% clear either. The Ottawa Senators started the year on a roll, winning fifteen of their first 17 games. All of a sudden, they lost seven in a row, came back to earth, but they have won their last five in a row. The Detroit Red Wings, on the other hand, have played consistently excellent hockey all year giving them a league-leading 49 points. With Ottawa being too inconsistent and having only 45 points, the Red Wings have been the best team so far this season. Left Winger Henrik Zetterberg is having a great season, second in the league in both points and goals (43 and 23 respectively). Goalie Chris Osgood has been phenomenal, leading the league with a 1.76 GAA. Of the 20 players who have played at least 20 games for the Red Wings this season, only two have a negative +/-. The most telling statistic may be average goal differential in which the Red Wings average margin of victory is 1.22 goals per game. The second-place Ottawa Senators average margin of victory is .97 goals per game, a quarter goal less than Detroit. Continue reading “Remember the NHL?”