It is crunch time. Over the next three days, we have five blogs to produce for you.
We began a couple of days ago with our “Inserting A Measure Of Sanity…” series. In “…Part Deaux…”, we continued by measuring all of the Pacific Division against the Baseline, Stanley Cup-winning team to determine what their actual needs were.
By way of an update on LAK and the Carter/Johnson trade, it is our opinion that trade did not meet the requirements of the Kings. Prior to the trade, they needed one “5” Left Wing, one “4” & one “3” Right Wing and one “7” – Defenseman. The unspoken truth was that they needed scoring. They traded away a 5.698 Defenseman (Johnson) and got a 5.487 performing Centerman in Carter. So unless Carter can personally improve to, say, a point-per-game player over the next 20 games from his current .64 PPG average, we say the trade failed to meet the requirements to improve the team.
That said, we must press onward. To keep you between the posts, here are our reminder notes again:
- This is a snapshot in time for each team. By that I mean it is a comparison of the team’s statistics following their last game played as we begin the analysis. This means overall Baseline numbers will slide downward before the season is over. By example, Phil Kessel had a .70 goals per game (GPG) average at Game 24 this season and at Game 60 sports a .52 GPG. Statistics are worth less overall as more games are divided into them.
- We are measuring the current teams’ Baseline snapshot against average, final season numbers for the six Stanley Cup winners. This is not a bad thing when you know No.1 above and find you have less on your roster than the winning Baseline calls for.
Below is the analysis of the Northwest Division teams in terms of overall Team and by-position Baseline comparison to determine what these teams need as the Trade Deadline swiftly approaches.
VAN Summary: VAN holds a .603 overall team advantage against the Stanley Cup-winning Baseline. That is a bit less of a lead than San Jose who was the strongest team in the Pacific. But the Canucks hold a 4:2 advantage in cumulative, by-position measurements just like the Sharks do. This also puts the Canuck team as a whole in decent shape to be a Stanley Cup contender. The LW average is above the Baseline with no apparent assistance needed at this position. Kesler as a “7” Centerman gives VAN a Baseline advantage on the high end, but they team could still use one “5” and a role-playing “3” at Center. (Within their Division, this would be a Jokinen or Stastny as a “5.” Threes would be a Backlund or Horcoff.) For true Right Wings, the Canucks’ are hurting. They need a “6”, a “5” and two “3’s” here. You are talking a Stempniak, Hemsky and Staubitz here. While Vancouver’s Defensemen rank higher than the Baseline, they still need an “8” and a “3” on the Blue Line. While you can argue Bieksa and Edler at “7’s” meet the upper end requirement, and Van will likely stand pat there, there should be no emotionless denial that a Dan Boyle-like player’s output would assist the team. Finally, VAN’s Goalie duo stands above the Baseline, so no movement here is needed. It should be noted, however, that as well as they perform, statistically they sport the lowest Goalie Baseline ranking in the Northwest Division. All in all, you will see VAN in the playoffs and should see them playing well. They should be content with letting the Red Wings or Rangers lift (or politely fail to touch) the President’s Trophy – winners of that hardware don’t usually raise The Cup anyhow.
CGY Summary: While they sit in second place in Northwest Division standings, CGY is below the overall team Baseline number by a –.242. The Flames are also 0-4-1 against cumulative, by-position measurements of advantage with the Baseline. And as you will see position by position, they look like a hasty needle-and-thread, patch work unit. They need to blow up this team and start from scratch. At the LW they are short one “6” and two “5” wingers. (Inside the division, this would be the likes of Burrows or Heatley at “6” and Booth or Smyth at a “5”.) At Center they need a “6” (A Lapierre or Mueller). On the Right Wing, the Flames’ are only short two RW bodies in the “4” and “3” realm. (A Hansen, Hejduk or Staubitz would work here.) Calgary is hurting at the top end of the Defense position against Baseline, needing one each “8”, “7” and two “6” defenders. (A Beiksa, Quincey and Sutton are among the list of possibles to fill these shortages.) And Kiprusoff totes the note in CGY’s goal – neither of the other Goalies who have gotten into games have hit double digits while Kipper has 52 under his belt. You cannot fix this team at the Trade Deadline. This is a Trade Deadline and Free Agency, possibly over multiple seasons, project. While they may find their way into the playoffs by default, this is not a Stanley Cup winning team.
COL Summary: COL has a .373 overall team lead over the Stanley Cup-winning Baseline, the third highest in the Division. This team could make their way up the ladder and into the playoff picture, flirting with the 7th through 9th seed positions daily. They are short one “6” and one “4”at LW. (A Heatley at “6” and Raymond or Glenncross would fill the bill here.) Barring any injuries, they are good to go at Center. They are below Baseline at RW, needing one “3’s” at role player positions. (This is a Jackman or Staubitz.) The Avalanche could also use one high-end “8” and a “3” role player on the Blue Line. (A Bieksa and Hannan from the Northwest would do the trick.) In goal, COL is right on par with VAN in the division based on statistical analysis, so no change is needed here.
MIN Summary: Collectively, Minnesota has a Stanley Cup-winning Baseline lead of .685. That is higher than SJS and the highest in the Northwest Division. What?! The team that is stumbling at the 10th, 11th or 12th position in the Western Conference? The key is the term “collectively” – they have played more players than any other team in the Division due to injuries. The constant carousel of players does not support good team chemistry, hurts scoring, and leads to those losses. To get into the playoffs, they need healthy, high-end players on the roster to close out the season and possible reach the playoffs. They are above the LW Baseline but could use two “5’s” and one “4” at LW. (We are talking a Booth or Winnick here.) They are below of the Baseline at the Center. They could stand pat with their four “5’s” who could rise above expectations on any given night. Or they could make a move for a “6”-type Pivot to fix this position against the Baseline. (This is the same need at pivot as CGY above.) MIN is below the Baseline at RW with a need for a “5” and a “4” here. (This means they need a Stempniak and Hejduk.) Minnesota needs one each high end “8” and “7” Defenseman to support their Blue Line. (All Northwest teams need an “8” like a Bieksa. A Quincey could cover the “7” nicely.) The Wild’s goaltending duo both come in at “6’s” unlike most other teams with a “6” and a “5/4” – no assistance is needed here.
EDM Summary: Edmonton has a Stanley Cup-winning Baseline lead of only .187, the second lowest in the Division and most likely to disappear as the season progresses. The Oilers start off short one “4”, role-playing LW. (Raymond or Glenncross work in this case.) One good upgrade of a “6” at Center could work up the middle to fix this shortcoming, just like with CGY. The Oilers are hurting at the RW position due in large part to only having two, true wingers on the roster. They need a “6”, one “4” and a “3” at RW to not have Left Wingers or Centers fill in. This puts them in about the same boat as VAN. Like everyone else in the Division, Edmonton needs one “8” Defenseman. As with Minnesota, Edmonton sports two “6’s” in goal at this time which requires no movement.
The Northwest Wrap Up
As a brief summary, no team in the Northwest needs a goaltender to meet the Baseline requirements per current statistical analysis. (CGY could spell Kiprusoff more, but that is a team call.) Every team needs a stud “8” Defenseman. Right Wingers are also a shortage across the board. Those three would be the major acquisitions that break which would have a positive impact on any Northwest team. Other than that, the explosion of Calgary at the Trade Deadline, on 1 June and beyond is coming, so do not be surprised when it does.
Next up is the Central Division…