January 20 Potpourri

 

 

 

It’s another random thoughts post! Some stuff going on in Flamesland worth a few words, I think.

– On Kipper: Dude is going through a really rough patch and he isn’t totally blameless, but there’s no way he’s actually .768 SV% goalie, which is his save rate over the last five games. I personally abandoned the cult of Kipprusoff several years ago, so this isn’t merely a plea to excuse the struggles of a long beloved star. He’s not the guy who won the Vezina back in 2005-06 anymore, but he certainly isn’t the worst puck stopper in the league now either.

*Related* some interesting stuff from Elliote Friedman on the radio this morning. The topic was the possibility of trading Kiprusoff during the now inevtiable rebuild and Friedmann wondered aloud if this season is "a blip" rather than "the start of the decline". That’s the wrong question to ask because the decline started five years ago. Kipper’s SV% over the last four seasons has been: .906, .903, .920 and now .897. The "blip" isn’t this year’s nominal save rate, but rather last year’s notable .920. As such, Kipper is a lot closer to being league average than elite these days and that’s been true for awhile. He has numerous other qualities, of course: experience (if you value such a thing) and durability come to mind.

That noted, Friedman claimed there will likely be interest in Kipper should the Flames shop him for a couple of reasons: one, there’s almost always a club willing to take a bet on a fading star because they think it’s possible to "fix" him. Secondly, Kipper’s cap hit remains high (5.83M for three more years), but his actual salary in dollars falls from $6M next season, to $5M in 2012-13 and finally down to $1.5M ’13-14. According to Friedman, Kipper’s NTC also disappears next season as well. The rapidly decling salary and the absence of a restrictive NTC no doubt make him a less risky gamble. 

Of couse, Friedmann also said (quite sensibly) that the potential return would be rather limited. Chances are, the biggest "return" in dealing Kipper would be freeing up a bunch of cap space.

– Zach Bogosian has been fed to the wolves by the Atlanta thrashers this year. In my article on Dustin Byfuglien for the Score, I noted that Bogo was the guy eating pavement so Buff could play more often in the offensive zone. He had a ZS ratio of 36.8% at the time and was facing a lot of big guns besides. His ZS number has since increased to 42.0%, but that remains the second lowest ratio on the club (ahead of only Johnny Oduya). His possession numbers are garbage, but I don’t know many players in the league who could overcome that mountian, especially on a bad corsi club like the Thrash. What’s also sinking his stock is a PDO of 98.7, which will all know is a good bet to regress back to 100 at some point in the future.

As a result of bad luck and terrible circumstances, the Thrashers have been scratching the 20-year old, former 3rd overall draft pick recently. Keep in mind, Bogosian lead the Peterborough Petes in scoring as a 17 year-old with 61 points in 60 games. He has over 100 NHL games under his belt and isn’t even 21 yet. He’s a legit talent and there’s a chance he could be available given their treatment of him recently. If ATL is looking to flip the kid for a more established blueliner, Feaster should be calling Dudley a couple of times a day.

– The loss last night sunk the Flames playoff hopes down to lottery ticket territory: 2.8% according to Sports Club Stats. I’m guessing Feaster started fielding calls from other GM’s half way through the third period. I know Brent Sutter and the players have to continue to talk about staying competitive and pushing for a playoff spot, but that’s just coachspeak. Let the remaking of the team commence.

*Related* I don think any player on this club is sacrosanct. Trades shouldn’t be made just because and we’re not talking fire sale here, but all reasonable offers should be considered. The days of "the core" being off-limits are gone. Give away the bad bets if you can (Jokinen, Stajan, Sarich, Staios), shop some pending free agents and fringe players, but also, don’t hang up the phone if someone wants to discuss the big money guys. The days of building around Iginla have passed.

  • Puckmaster

    The idea of getting away from the core players is a good one, and tanking isnt necessarliy the answer. Look at history with the flames, they traded Nieuwendyk for Iginla before Iggy even entered the league, also Fleury for Regehr. Both of these trades had other details but all in all this was the main part of both deals. Its time to do with Iginla and Kipper as we did with Joe and Theo.

    There was Rumor of Iginla to the Kings for Brayden Schenn. Good deal for both teams as LA makes a playoff push (although they seem to be climbing the stats as quickly as the Flames lately) and we all saw what Schenn did at the world juniors this Christmas in Buffalo.

    This definately isnt the only deal out there but the idea of Trading Iggy or Kipper, while they are both of value to another team, and getting some young promising talent in return, is something that should be thought of seriously.

    • icedawg_42

      And I’m thinking Glencross might be out for a few… Atleast we get Staios back soon!!

      On a side-note, I wondered what Montreal did to the hockey gods this season, no markov, gorges, halpern, pouliot and now cammy and max pacioretty are out for them too. They’ve had a rough go of things now too!

      Seeing as how they were the only Canadian team worth cheering for this season, Their hopes are circling the drain at the moment.

  • icedawg_42

    If any team is going to want Kipper, I think it would be SJ, meaning we would get back either Niemi or Niitimaki. What else would we get in addition a 1st rounder? 2nd?

    With either of those choices, I would think 6 Goals Against games would be the norm the remainder of the year!

  • I firmly believe, no matter how well Kiprusoff is playing, and have said this for years, there is barely any trade market for him, and we have nothing good enough in the pipe if he goes.

    True, but replacing league average goaltending isn’t all that hard or expensive to do. That’s the reason the trade market for goaltenders is so soft.

    • BobB

      True, but replacing league average goaltending isn’t all that hard or expensive to do. That’s the reason the trade market for goaltenders is so soft.

      I completely agree. It’s like a sickness with managers. The trade market for goalies going forward is going to be tough under a cap system, but signing big-ticket UFA elite goalies is likely to stay the same. Heck, Luo just got 12! years, first of which is this year.

      The team will just be stuck with them for eternity.

      It’s quite easily arguable the top six goalies in the league are (by performance):

      1. Thomas (5.0)
      2. Hiller (4.5)
      3. Vokoun (5.7)
      4. Luongo (5.3 for 12more years)
      5. Lundqvist (6.8)
      6. Kiprusoff (5.8)

      They are all also signed for big bucks and when Vokoun’s contract is up, I can’t see him getting the Nabakov treatment. If he signs for less than 4.5 I’ll be surprised.

      BUT, try trading them… you’ll get nothing back, it’ll only be a salary dump. Maybe you’d get something for Hiller… like a first rounder or prospect, because he’s young, but you’ll lose the trade by a long shot. So it begs whether it’s worth it at all. Bruins were willing to GIVE away Thomas and no one would trade for him, not EVEN the Capitals… that says something.

      • PrairieStew

        “Goaltending like a sickness with managers.” That’s good.

        Kind of like starting pitching with baseball GM’s. Can we say AJ Burnett ?

        I assume you excluded Carey Price from your top 6 because his elite performance has only been this year ? Right now he is a better goalie than Kipper.

        • BobB

          Yeah, I don’t get romanticized by short term success (see: Carey, Jim.) Price is a very good young goalie, but he’s no Hiller or Rinne.

          My methodology isn’t extremely complex, but it would take a while to explain here, so I won’t. Certainly it is heavily weighted by today’s stats, but it’s also influenced by a volume chunk of career stats.

          Hiller, for example, may not have seen the volume of SA at even that Luongo has (3876 vs 10147) but you can’t ignore his .931, .934, .930, .935 ev sv% consistency.

          Price, today is playing better than Kipper in their respective environments, but if we know anything about goalies…

          today’s “Best goalie ever” is tomorrow’s “Worst bum in the league”

          PS, I don’t see any way Nabakov doesn’t get claimed on waivers at 570k. He will not be a Red Wing with that contract. If I’m Jim Rutherford I claim Nabakov solely for the simple reason of preventing the Red Wings from getting better at that price (a likely Cup competitor.) If Nabakov plays a single game and wins for the Caps… that’s just a bonus. Heck Neuvirth just got hurt.

  • icedawg_42

    With everyone jumping at the alternative to play Karlsson now that Kipper is struggling, I’d like to point out two things:

    1. Karlsson had been terrible at the Dome, with I beleive 11 GA, and an 0-2 record (Avalanche and Islanders games i think?)

    2. Not allowing Kipper to work his way through it right now, likely means he will be terrible for the remainder of the year. ( Comparing to Tim Thomas last year)

    So playing karlsson at the dome is a quick way to tank atleast the next couple games, and sitting kipper will likely mean tanking the rest of the season.

    I’d rather see the team competing and trying, then watch that garbage yesterday and (40 of the previous 43 games). But that being said, playing Karlsson over the next couple days would go along way in fast tracking this team to top 5 in draft picks.

  • BobB

    I really cannot disagree with any of this. I cringe when I read the .906, .903, .920, .897 hard conclusion, because it wavers between small and large sample size, and uses raw sv%.

    even SA during that time was .919, .907, .928… and this year.

    I commented in the scoring chances that six games ago it was .924 and it’s .909. I’ve been tracking goalie stats for years, with it getting more extensive each year as I learn more, but I’ve NEVER seen that kinda drop in 6 years watching and recording over 20 goalies. It’s insane.

    In six games (with over 800evsa on the season), Kiprusoff has plunged from .924 to .909. Totally crazy.

    Six games ago, that line about “blip sv%” looks opposite at ev’s with .919, .907, .928, .924. Now it looks inverted with .919, .907, .928, .909.

    Whatever the case it needs to be better, Kiprusoff needs to be better, but six games doesn’t make a bad goalie.

    Big picture, I agree with mostly everything.

    I firmly believe, no matter how well Kiprusoff is playing, and have said this for years, there is barely any trade market for him, and we have nothing good enough in the pipe if he goes. That’s just reality. It’s intellectual honesty.

    BUT, something has to change. Either he (and the team) have to play their way outta this, or he can’t play, or he gets traded or something, because this can’t continue long term. Hell, it can’t continue tomorrow. Something has to correct itself.

  • icedawg_42

    *Related* I don think any player on this club is sacrosanct. Trades shouldn’t be made just because and we’re not talking fire sale here, but all reasonable offers should be considered. The days of “the core” being off-limits are gone. Give away the bad bets if you can (Jokinen, Stajan, Sarich, Staios), shop some pending free agents and fringe players, but also, don’t hang up the phone if someone wants to discuss the big money guys. The days of building around Iginla have passed

    Bang on, Kent!