Reasonable Expectations: Sven Baertschi

Ryan Pike
September 04 2014 02:30PM

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It can be easy to forget something - Sven Baertschi turns 22 in the first week of the season. He's lived in North America for just four years, arriving in the summer of 2010 to join the Portland Winterhawks.

In a bit of a contrast from Max Reinhart, Baertschi's a flashy player. He's got immense offensive talent. He's got, as the kids say, swagger. He's hit a few stumbling blocks over the past few years, yo-yoing between Calgary and Abbotsford, and at times struggling to stay healthy.

But even though the Calgary Flames have added Johnny Gaudreau, Sam Bennett, Sean Monahan and Emile Poirier (among others) since Baertschi was drafted in the 2011 Draft, he remains one of the team's most entertaining and exciting offensive talents.

Is this the season he puts it all together?

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Five things: Some wiggle room

Ryan Lambert
September 04 2014 08:30AM

1. Okay, so they are addressing defense

No sooner had I published last week's Five Things — in which I speculated that the team might like to add another right wing, or perhaps a defenseman — than Brad Treliving went out and said the latter part was true. The team would indeed like to add another veteran D to shore things up, rather than hope someone like Tyler Wotherspoon or Patrick Sieloff, or a long-time AHLer, was NHL-ready all of a sudden.

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An Outsiders Inside view of the NHL Stats Revolution - Part 2

Kent Wilson
September 03 2014 12:00PM


(In part 1 I discussed the current state of advanced stats in the NHL with a view to defining an "ideal state" for NHL clubs in their efforts to establish modern analytics departments. In part 2, we look at where this form of analysis came from and where it may be headed in the future)

“I’ve never said, never thought, that it was better to be an outsider than it was to be an insider, that my view of the game was better than anyone else’s. It’s different; better in some ways, worse in some ways. What I have said is, since we are outsiders…let us use our position as outsiders to what advantage we can. Let us back off from the trees, look at the forest as a whole, and see what we can learn from that.”

- Bill James

Having been an early adopter and advocate of possession-based analysis, perhaps the most common complaint I encountered over the years was how, if corsi was so valuable, it was not actively employed by those who make their living inside the game. If the virtues of this analysis are so clear, why didn't the experts come up with it? How could a bunch of no-name amateurs create something that could be of value to experienced, lifelong hockey men? 

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Reasonable Expectations: Max Reinhart

Ryan Pike
September 03 2014 08:30AM

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Paul Reinhart and his wife had three children, all boys. The youngest, Samson, is arguably the most gifted with natural hockey talents. The middle child, Griffin, is arguably the most physically gifted in terms of size and strength. But the eldest child, Maxwell, may be the smartest in terms of hockey IQ.

Max, as he is more commonly called, isn't big by hockey standards, and he's not the fastest skater, strongest shooter or passer, nor is he particularly exceptional at any one thing. Except for the fact that he's whip-smart in terms of the game of hockey. He's just got a knack for being in the right place and the right time, and for working his tail off to get where he needs to be.

Calgary's first selection - in the third round - in the 2010 Draft, Reinhart has two professional seasons under his belt following a pretty good junior career. Can he make the jump to full-time NHL work?

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An Outsiders Inside view of the NHL Stats Revolution - Part 1

Kent Wilson
September 02 2014 12:00PM


I began writing about hockey in 2005. Through a combination of timing and proximity, I have had the fortune of a ringside view of the genesis, dissemination and popularization of hockey's so-called advanced stats. Over this two part series, I will share some of the insights engendered by this somewhat unique perspective. My focus will be on what's currently happening in the league now as teams flock to build analytic departments around possession theory, as well as why the movement grew outside of the league's front offices and where we may expect this sort of analysis to go in the future.

The off-season of 2014 may well be remembered as the summer of stats, although corsi numbers and their various accoutrements made their way into popular discourse earlier in the year when they began popping up in national broadcasts and game day discussions. No doubt the new numbers began to spread in part due to the spectacular failure of the Toronto Maple Leafs, a club that had been deemed as a bellwether for possession-based theory at the onset of the season. Their subsequent 84-point, 12th place finish in the face of expanded expectations and executive confidence was the metaphorical canary in the coal mine as it were.

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