Regular readers of this blog are aware that the focus of our work is mistake minimization and have scored every player in the NHL according to our own metric we call the Advanced Bracton (AB). To our knowledge, we may be the only (if not one of the only) sites to opine that teams who make the fewest mistakes also make the playoffs, and win Stanley Cups. While this seems obvious, it apparently is not to some (too many?) of the top brass in the NHL…….which we suppose is why we are here. Sure, it is a glass half empty approach to the game. However it is also one that retrospectively has been remarkably accurate in ranking final conference standings and playoff success prediction. This is the foundation of why we do what we do.
For the life of us, we are constantly befuddled as why some general managements seemingly do not share our viewpoint – and therefore continue to lose. The blockbuster trades of June 29 accentuate this point…..possibly better than any two transactions we can remember.
We present to you exhibit A – the trade of F Taylor Hall from EDM for D Adam Larsson of NJ. On the surface we completely understand why EDM was/is looking for defensemen. Their D corps, we estimate, cost the team 45 goals at the margin last year. This was among the worst in the NHL. In fact their entire D staff scored in the red on our scale, no easy feat. So management has identified a problem (which incidentally many teams share).
However, trading Taylor Hall, who actually was even on our scale (neither hurt nor helped the club in the mistake department), for Adam Larsson may only make EDM’s defense worse. You read that right. Larsson cost the Devils over 7 goals according to our scale. Sure, he is a minutes eater. The problem is that the more he plays, the worse it is for the team! In Larsson’s case it is because he is among the league’s worst in net penalty margin. What does that mean? The simple answer is that he makes penalties, thereby putting the opposing team on the power play.
From another angle, it is certainly amusing to consider the following; Taylor Hall was originally drafted by EDM FIRST overall in the 2010 entry draft. That, as you may recall was ahead of Tyler Seguin, Ryan Johansen and Vladamir Tarasenko. Adam Larsson was picked fourth in 2011 (behind EDM’s drafting of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins with the first pick). In theory, EDM could have just traded down in 2011 to get Larsson (and likely received other consideration), or just drafted Larsson with the first pick and kept Taylor Hall!! This is why they get paid the big bucks.
Bottom Line: NJ pantsed EDM in this trade; a day that will live in infamy in the land of the OIL.
Speaking of days that will live in infamy, June 29, 2016 will forever be that day in Hab Land. We (along with oh, basically the entirety of La Belle Province) are at a loss to understand the impetus of moving PK Subban from MTL to NSH for Shea Weber. A closer look at our numbers maybe, possibly, sort of, might/could explain some of the reasons behind this trade. However a warning; we think there seems to be limited hockey sense to this trade…….but acknowledge that someone in MTL must know something. disclaimer – we love PK Subban as a person and ambassador for the game. As a hockey player not as much, but well enough to not be compelled to move him for possible marginal gain, which is what this transaction appears to be.
Why else would the team move one of the most popular people in the history of the city, an unequaled philanthropist, and a minutes eating machine, and puck moving defenseman par excellence? Our numbers echo a sentiment one of the top management of a well known junior team told us recently; “PK makes mistakes almost every shift.” This opinion is not far off; a close look at PK is that he was the second worst player in the NHL at net turnover margin, with -83 (much of that is due to time on ice). We are not sure anyone cares about this by itself; for had Subban been the worst in this stat……he would have won the Norris Trophy like Drew Doughty (-87). (HFFA staff shakes head, we digress).
According to our numbers, PK was also among the NHL worst in our time on ice adjusted AB at -7.65. This means he cost MTL over 7 goals this year. That had to have been a factor in the decision to trade him as well, except for two counterpoints; a) this number would likely have been lower had Carey Price not been hurt and b) Shea Weber cost NSH 5 goals with a staring goalie in place basically all season. In fact PK in 2104-15 was only (-2 AB)………. so there’s that.
Additionally, although Weber is highly regarded as an all world defenseman, he is also 30 years old and thus, statistically, his prime years may be approaching the down slope. Since MTL is not saving much if any money (PK and Weber make about the same over the term of their respective contracts) money was likely not an issue either (oh, and don’t forget that PK was giving $10mm of his paycheck to local charity).
Bottom line; the move makes little if any hockey sense, and zero optical sense with respect to at least the public face of what we feel is a one of kind human being. It is impossible to overstate our opinion that MTLs loss is a tremendous gain for both the Predators and the City of Nashville in general.