August 10, 2014

Thomas Drance

2014-08-10

Thoughts on Semin’s injury, Methot’s stalemate and the bottom line in Broward County.

 

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It would seem that Alexander Semin is still recovering from wrist surgery, a procedure the skilled Russian-born winger underwent in late May. That’s a bad sign for the Hurricanes obviously, and might give me some pause in gambling on Semin to bounce back in a major way next season.

 

Semin, who played through this injury for much of last season and was said to be unable to take a wrist shot, only managed 22 goals and 42 points last season – his lowest cumulative total since 2007-08. The days of him potting 30 goals and 80 points are probably over, but if Semin’s healthy, I certainly think it’s reasonable to expect 25 goals and 60 points. 

 

The problem then is that it doesn’t sound like Semin is particularly healthy, and though I’m sure he’ll be ready to open training camp, you have to wonder how much that wonky wrist is going to bother him this season (especially early on). 

 

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The Ottawa Senators are having a tough time working out a contract extension with defenseman Marc Methot. This isn’t a huge surprise – Methot seems to have fallen out of favor a bit in the Canadian capital anyway, and he likely saw the way this summer’s free agent frenzy played out for other “shutdown defenseman” and has a pretty high appraisal of his value on the open market. 

 

I’d urge potential buyers to beware on Methot. Though he’s a useful piece, I very much don’t think he’s a top-of-the-roster quality defender and the performance of his defensive partners with (vs. without) him would suggest that he’s not exactly moving the needle in terms of shot attempt differential. 

 

One day the Ottawa Senators will find a defender who can really skate to pair with Erik Karlsson. That day though is probably not coming this summer…

 

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Speaking of defensive defenseman, former journeyman NHL blue-liner Jason Strudwick wrote an interesting piece on analytics over at OilersNation.com. I don’t particularly agree with the “it doesn’t have to be one or the other” misnomer (we really have to get past the idea that anyone is recommending you build a team just based on Corsi For percentage…), but I found Strudwick’s explanation of how he’s come to value the stats as a former player very interesting, and doubly so since Strudwick was not a player who the underlying numbers flattered. 

 

Also interesting: how the ultimate failure of the 2013-14 Toronto Maple Leafs test case was a tipping point for Strudwick (and presumably many others in the hockey world), and the acceptance of analytics. Because there’s nothing like a statistically improbable event – like an 80 point team going from third in the East to way out of the playoff picture by picking up just four points in their last 14 games of the season – to vouch for playing the odds…

 

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According to Florida Panthers Vice Chairman Doug Cifu, new cats head coach Gerard Gallant so impressed owner Vincent Viola in their meeting that, within 30 minutes, he  all but declared the club’s coaching search over