Flames Claim Nycholat


As per Sportsnet, the Calgary Flames have claimed Lawrence Nycholat off waivers from the Vancouver Canucks. Nycholat became expendable when the Canucks claimed Ossi Vaananen off waivers from the Flyers. This is Nycholat’s third NHL organization this season; he was traded earlier in the year for forward Ryan Shannon.

Nycholat’s been a journeyman AHL defender with good offense for years, and prior to this season he had cups of coffee with Ottawa, Washington, and the New York Rangers. He’s played seventeen games for Vancouver this season, and has superficially good numbers:

  • 2008-09: 14GP – 0G – 1A – 1PT, +3

A quick glance at Behind the Net is a little discouraging. Nycholat’s been playing soft competition and has the lowest PTS/60 and Corsi/60 of any Canucks defenseman, despite his solid plus-minus. A deeper look, using Vic Ferrari’s Time On Ice tool, shows not only that Nycholat was getting massively outshot, but that he had a solid dose of luck. Let’s compare his even-strength numbers to the team average:

  • Team Average SV%: .929
  • Nycholat’s On-Ice SV%: .944
  • Team Average SH%: 8.8
  • Nycholat’s On-Ice SH%: 12.1%

Nycholat is a reserve defenseman who has gotten pretty lucky this season; those numbers aren’t sustainable, and over the long haul his numbers will show that he really isn’t an NHL defenseman.