Top to Bottom: Contenders, Tankers, and That Big Mess in the Middle at the Halfway Point

Cam Lewis
January 16 2017 09:00AM

It's more of a 'Bottom to Top' but 'Top to Bottom' sounds better. This is a monthly feature where I'll do a dive into each team's underlying numbers to see if they match up with where they currently sit in the standings. 

Three months down, three to go. We're halfway through the 2016-17 NHL season. At this point, we can stop talking about who's over and underachieving, because at this point enough time has passed to accurately determine who's actually good and who's actually bad. 

With that in mind, I'm going to split the league into five categories: Legitimate Stanley Cup contenders, surefire playoff teams who aren't quite at the top of the class, basement teams who are fighting for last overall, teams in purgatory who aren't bad enough to tank but won't compete for a playoff spot, and middling teams who could occupy the last few spots depending on external factors. 

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Future Free Agents: Karl Alzner

Cam Lewis
January 11 2017 12:00PM

Future Free Agents is a semi-regular feature on NHLNumbers profiling players from 2017's potential free agency class. 

With Brent Burns signed in San Jose, the 2017 unrestricted free agent defenceman market gets very thin very fast. You have Kevin Shattenkirk as your clear cut top option, especially for those teams who need a boost in production from the blue line. Then, after him, you have Karl Alzner, the best option for a team looking for a steady, consistent, shut down guy. 

But as we've seen over the past few summers, teams are becoming skeptical of handing big contracts to stay at home defencemen like Alzner who contribute little offensively. Is he still going to be able to command the salary of a top pairing defenceman on the open market? With the league's gradual shift to analytics, is he still a valued commodity? 

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WJC Canada Postgame: Canada takes care of business in dominant showing against Slovakia

Cam Lewis
December 27 2016 08:38PM

Not sure if Team Canada is for real this year? Well, there you go. The Canadians laid an absolute beating on Slovakia Tuesday night at the Air Canada Centre. They won 5-0, peppering the Slovaks with 44 shots for while surrendering only six against en route to their second win of the tournament. 

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Top to Bottom: Checking in with the standings after two months

Cam Lewis
December 14 2016 11:01AM

It's more of a 'Bottom to Top' but 'Top to Bottom' sounds better. This is an NHLNumbers monthly feature in which I'll do a dive into each team's underlying numbers to see if they match up with where they currently sit in the standings. Here's last month for reference. Stats via Hockey Analysis and Hockey Reference as of Dec. 12, 2016. 

It's been two months. At this point, for the most part, if you're bad, you're bad, and if you're good, you're good. We know that Colorado and Arizona are terrible, and we know that Washington and Pittsburgh are good. But what about Columbus and Philadelphia? Are those hot streaks just a bunch of nonsense? How about Dallas and the Islanders? Are they going to go back to where they were last year? Since we live in a world where more than half of the teams in the league make the playoffs and losing can still earn you a point, we have a very muddy playoff picture loaded with teams that are difficult to differentiate. 

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Top to Bottom: The Overachievers and Underachievers After One Month

Cam Lewis
November 14 2016 12:00PM

It's more of a 'Bottom to Top' but 'Top to Bottom' sounds better. This is a monthly feature where I'll do a dive into each team's underlying numbers to see if they match up with where they currently sit in the standings. 

It's been one month. At this point, we can, in most cases, start to see patterns unfolding that indicate whether teams are good or bad based largely on their underlying numbers. Still, though, one month isn't an entire season. While we can start to get a decent picture of what's going on, there are teams who haven't yet hit their stride, are struggling to adapt to new rosters or coaches, or are simply overachieving based on a hot goalie or strong performances due to a favourable schedule. Let's see who, after one month, is as good or as bad as their place in the standings indicates. 

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