Thinking with an Empty Net: GM Presser, Draft Extras, and Roster Opportunities

Kevin McCartney
May 02 2013 07:04PM

Every week or so, I have a few thoughts. This week I congratulate myself for not throwing things during Cheveldayoff's press conference, toss out a bit of extra data from the on-going Marcel Comeau evaluation, and muse on what the roster could look like next year. A smattering of my synaptic output below.

Cheveldayoff Press Conference

I listened through Cheveldayoff's presser over at Illegal Curve today, and a number of things struck me as worthy of attention and concern.

  • First, the rumour mill: Chevy blamed the lockout for messing up Jokinen's mojo, suggesting he'll stay with the team. I'll restrict my comments just to people of the same age - 1997 draft - with a similar number of NHL games played - say over 1000. That leaves Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, and Marian Hossa. All of them had dips in their scoring this year - 15%, 17%, and 18% respectively season-over-season (not perfect, I realize). Even in that context, Jokinen's 58% drop still needs some explanation.
  • Forgive my frustration (and correct me in the comments if I'm out to lunch), but his comment that the team was not in a good place at the deadline and thus couldn't be buyers rang hollow. When Slater went down with injury, the already shallow centre depth on the team was exposed. Chevy did nothing to address that, and in fact brought up Cormier, who the coach refused to play. Moreover, while the team was sliding, they were still in 1st in the Southeast when the deadline washed over us and left Mike Santorelli. It was a tough scenario (we talked about that then), but...
  • I got the impression that Cheveldayoff wrote this season off Feburary 17th. He mentions that the Washington back-to-back shamings weren't the turning point of the season as many have observed, but instead it was the 2-7 stretch from January 29th to Feb 17th. Ponikarovksy was moved Feb 13th in spite of having some success. Chevy's insistence regarding the "magnitude" (pop-pop) of intra-conference play leads me to think he and his staff believed the season was over long before fans and players had given up on it. If so, is that a tell that Hainsey will be back? Or were the optics of giving up too damaging to consider? Did Antropov have no value by Valentine's?
  • I think we can safely say that this is not a management group interested in analytics. Chevy's opening comments include (I'm paraphrasing from some notes) 'our numbers are interesting but a few goals here and there change the numbers.' A classic revisionist moment for the franchise. To end things, he talks about how Pavelec enjoyed playing under a heavy workload, with no comment about the obvious, quantifiable problem with such an assertion (that he was awful in back to back games - covered here). He mentions goal differential stats, but never shot differential, or possession, or territory. The team lists no obvious stats people among their staff. I think it's possible this team is running blind with regard to #FancyStats, and soon will be among the budget teams in a highly competitive new division. Eep.

Head Scout, Head Shmout

In Part 2 of the on-going series about Marcel Comeau's job performance, I looked at how our fearless Head Scout has done when compared to what we expect to get from the picks he spent. I used Jason Gregor's work on the number of NHL quality players coming out of every draft round to measure Comeau's performance. I encourage you read the article (or just click the link from as many different IPs as you can, whatever), but suffice to say Comeau isn't doing well, graduating just 12% of his picks. The number his a so-painful-we-have-to-laugh 4% (2 of 54) with picks used after 12th overall.

Scott Cullen also did a review of how many players come from various rounds (here), but actually did it in 5 pick blocks. The chart is large, so I didn't include it in Part 2 of the analysis (so many charts...). Still, I find it really interesting, so I've put it below. Cullen uses a 100GP cut off for 'Graduated' players and looked at 1995-2004 drafts. I've only included Comeau's drafts from 2003 to 2010 (understanding 2011 and 2012 are too recent to judge this way). Because I'm extremely generous, I've used Cullen's 100GP cut-off and a 1GP cut-off for Comeau. Come on, Comeau - how many players did you select who made the show for one damn game?

Pick #

Total Graduated %

Comeau's Graduated % (100GP)

Comeau's Graduated % (1GP)

# of Comeau Picks

1-5

96%

100%

100%

2

6-10

74%

67%

100%

3

11-15

54%

100%

100%

1

16-20

62%

0%

0%

1

21-25

72%

(-)

(-)

0

26-30

44%

0%

0%

1

31-35

26%

0%

100%

1

36-40

32%

0%

100%

1

41-45

26%

33%

67%

3

46-50

32%

0%

0%

1

51-55

26%

0%

0%

1

56-60

28%

(-)

(-)

0

61-75

26%

0%

50%

2

76-90

21%

0%

33%

3

91-105

23%

0%

0%

2

106-120

9%

0%

33%

6

121-135

13%

0%

25%

4

136-150

11%

0%

25%

4

151-165

14%

0%

0%

5

166-180

14%

0%

0%

3

181-195

10%

0%

40%

5

196-210

7%

0%

29%

7

211+

9%

25%

25%

4

So?

21! 21 of his 60 drafted players (2003-2010) made the show for a single game or more! Oh, sure, only 7 saw 100GP. And sure, by Cullen's %'s, an average drafting team should have expected 13 players to reach 100GP from those same picks. But at least 14 players Almost made it. The guy is delivering on suspense. And I, for one, will never forget Brett Sterling.

Building a Winner

Truck over at Arctic Ice Hockey had a great look at next year's roster today. It's worth a read, but to summarize, truck points out that the $30M in cap space is illusory and gets eaten up fast with all the RFAs this team has to sign. In the end, truck's roster for next year doesn't include the cap flexibility to be adding big names. The comments are also interesting, and YawAxis put up a proposed roster that looked eerily similar to this year's.

  • We looked a while back at how much better our new conference is, and how poorly the Jets have done against their new intra-conference opponents. This roster was bad in the Southeast. In Conference B? Against Chicago and Minnesota? Returning this same roster next year is the equivalent of tanking.
  • As a life-long master of EA hockey video games (which are totally applicable) and the long-lost Eastside Hockey Manager (where Shawn Horcoff was king), my ideal roster for next year includes a great deal more turnover. I'd like to see the team be aggressive about filling the 2RW hole - maybe Ryder? - and about bringing in bottom six players who don't surrender possession. Boyd Gordon was floated in the comments over Arctic Ice, and he's a great example. As a #FancyStats lover, but also just as a hockey fan, Thorburn, Peluso, and even James Wright are clearly a bad players. I love Wright - he played for my Vancouver Giants - but I'd like to hear our GM talk about players who are solutions to the problem, rather than protect players who weren't so bad they need to be removed.
  • Okay, I've thrown us back into the issue from above - that a GM can forgive Olli Jokinen (14 points, -19), Pavelec (34th best goalie in a 30 team league), and a 4th line that saw 9 players cycle through for a combined -24 goal differential and poor work on special teams is alarming. Though he acknowledged the possibility of moving bodies, Cheveldayoff was non-specific about how that would happen beyond considering making room for young players. Is it possible we've 'Faded for McDavid' already? Should we be mad or happy about that?
  • My roster looks like this: 
FORWARDS
Andrew Ladd ($4.400m) / Bryan Little ($4.000m) / Blake Wheeler ($5.000m)
Evander Kane ($5.250m) / Mark Scheifele ($1.563m) / Michael Ryder ($4.000m)
Raffi Torres ($2.225m) / Boyd Gordon ($2.225m) / Alexander Burmistrov ($1.500m)
Eric Tangradi ($0.762m) / Jim Slater ($1.600m) / Mike Santorelli ($1.200m)
Kyle Wellwood ($1.600m) / Chris Thorburn ($0.867m)
DEFENSEMEN
Tobias Enstrom ($5.750m) / Dustin Byfuglien ($5.200m)
Ron Hainsey ($4.000m) / Zach Bogosian ($5.000m)
Mark Stuart ($1.700m) / Zach Redmond ($0.715m)
Grant Clitsome ($1.500m) /
GOALTENDERS
Ondrej Pavelec ($3.900m)
Al Montoya ($0.601m)
OTHER
Buyout: Olli Jokinen ($0.000m)

------ CAPGEEK.COM TOTALS (follow @capgeek on Twitter) (these totals are compiled with the bonus cushion)

SALARY CAP: $64,300,000; CAP PAYROLL: $64,558,300; BONUSES: $575,000 CAP SPACE (23-man roster): $316,700

  •  I think I've been generous, but it's always hard to self-police so write in ALL CAPS if I'm an idiot. Raises for Ryder, Torres, and Gordon. Little gets 4, Wheeler and Bogo 5 each, as truck had, Hainsey comes back for 4 (not much of a haircut), Burmi gets a slight raise, Clitsome too, while Santorelli gets a drop from 1.6 to 1.2 a season after being waived. Wellwood comes back for the same price, as does Tangradi. The team is awfully snug to the cap. Maybe some more dollars can be coaxed out of the returning player contracts, or Trouba can replace Hainsey to free up a couple million?
  • The secret to adding depth? Buy out Jokinen!

What does your roster look like for next year?

 

*****

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Kevin is a regular contributor to Jets Nation. His work has been featured on Bleacher Report, The Sporting News, and around the Nations Network. An enthusiastic over-analyst, his background and interests are diverse, but you might notice he's obsessed with hockey. Track him down on twitter @kevinmccart
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#1 Jibmeister
May 02 2013, 11:14PM
Trash it!
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Paul Postma!!!!

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#3 Jibmeister
May 05 2013, 01:49PM
Trash it!
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props

We'll give you Chris Butler. Hah. I actually liked Postma this year.

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