We at hockeyfreeforall.com would like to take this opportunity to wish all our readers a happy and safe holiday season. At this juncture, with the season roughly half way completed to comment on several things we mentioned prior to the start of the season on both an overall and a team specific basis (specifically in the east).
- Despite our ban from Brown, uh, we mean Blue Shirts Banter, we were exactly right about McIlrath, Jooris, and Gerbe. And guess what? None of these guys is currently on the Rangers! Still waiting from the kind folks at SBnation to reinstate our account. Oh and BTW, did we mention that the Rangers have the best record in hockey? We admittedly didn’t see that coming, but we did write this……”NYR – (-16.38) – the NYR would be higher if we had any faith that their special teams would be less God-awful than last year (now 6th and 10th on PK and PP, respectively). Since we are publishing this prior to the team submitting final rosters, we reserve the right to put the NYR as high as seventh depending on whether they keep or dump McIlrath. Yes, DMC rates so poorly on our scale that he by himself could keep the Rangers from making the playoffs. Throw Josh Jooris into the mix and you have…well, 10th place……”
- The Hurricanes have lost 7 games in OT. Hmmm. We wrote – CAR – (-11.53) – The Canes could be a sneaky little club. If nothing else they are a tough out. If they do not do as well as we predict, it will be because of overtime losses.”
- We opined on PensionPlanPuppets that the Toronto Maple Leafs would be the most fun anyone has ever had watching a 13th place team. Well, we’re not sure that the agony associated with 7 OT losses (and each has been bruuuuuutal) this year and the squandering of countless late game leads would qualify as “fun,” but this team, particularly the “third line” has vastly exceeded our model, but we were spot on with our opinion that Frederik Andersen would be an excellent fit for the Leafs.
- We underestimated the value of Carey Price to the Canadians….. but did not overestimate the defensive impact of Weber over Subban – “MTL – (-9.38) – we are putting a lot of stock in Radulov….and the return of Carey Price to single -handedly bail out back end mistakes….which should be somewhat fewer now that PK is in NSH.”
- The Jack Eichel injury was a dammer who BUF- however, they are 5-2-3 in their last ten games. Now you know why we kept moving them down at the season open when he got hurt.
- We knew putting OTT so low was a mistake – ……That is not to say this could be a rank buster for us. It easily could be and we do not feel great about placing OTT so low. They could move significantly higher if they are less bad than the other defensively deficient teams in their division on any given night……”
- Did you know that every team in the eastern conference through roughly 30% of the season had a .500 record or better? When we wrote “…….it is entirely possible that six teams in the metropolitan division will finish higher than the the third highest in the Atlantic this year. You read that right. The Atlantic Division teams have problems, mostly on defense……..that wasn’t hyperbole….c’mon Islanders!!
- Speaking of the The New York Islanders, they are killing us. We had them tracking as +5 team preseason. We would be thoroughly disappointed had the reason for their failure not been linked to the crux of the power behind the Advanced Bracton Score. The Islanders are presently 26th in the league in penalty killing and 28th in power play conversion percentage. So much last place, so little time – its why we place so much emphasis on special teams!. Sure, the Islanders have had injuries to key players (and 8 new faces at the beginning of the year probably isn’t helping team chemistry) with very high AB scores, but John Tavares isn’t one of them. 23 points for most players through 32 games is respectable for most players. JT however is about 10 points behind his normal pace. Additionally, they have lost 6 games in OT. Any mean reversion for the Isles and our rank score should shoot up nicely.
- Speaking of killing us, raise your hand if you predicted the CBJ winning 10 games all season much less 10 games in a row (we saw this where others did not for PHI, but CBJ?)! Well if you are a professional pundit, or even play one on TV, the answer is NOBODY (Cam Atkinson’s opinion doesn’t count)!. What is going on in CBJ? For starters their PP is best in the league at over 27%!! That solves a lot of problems. The other thing, and this is astounding, they currently have 4 and 5 games in hand on some of their peers at the upper end of the conference. They have only lost 5 games all season in regulation. Wow, qualified with the remark that we see some mean reversion here.
- Lastly, we calculated a spearman’s rho rank calculation for the preseason predictions of five contributors of the hockey writers blog. We chose them because they uniquely listed their final conference standings, the same way we do. Through roughly 32 games, they posted a 0.36 in both conferences. By contrast we stand at 0.74 in the west and 0.29 in the east. The large discrepancies between them and us (and there are not too many) are that they did not like MIN (which is HFFA favorite …..”SJ and MIN look solid based on very few off-season changes (and stay healthy Zach Parise). “) and have ranked WPG far higher than we did.
That’s enough for now. Please check back with us since our junior editor wants to post some “fun stuff” every once in a while. So, reluctantly, the editorial staff has approved a column that will provide a once per week run down of some of the “fun stuff” that happens in the world of hockey……