It’s Friday, so we’re in love….WITH READER QUESTIONS! WOO! Today we’ve got an especially long mailbag since we won’t be taking reader questions for the podcast. (Don’t worry, we’ve got something fun planned instead).
Give me reasons as to why I should like Antoine Roussel/why I should think that he’s good for the Stars (bonus points if it’s stats-related), because he’s not my fave person, and I want to change that, if only a bit.
M: I’m not a lot of help, unfortunately. I’m not a fan of some of the more emotional mistakes and/or penalties he takes, which is my biggest complaint re: Ryan Garbutt as well. There isn’t really a place for reckless, injurious play in the NHL. Or there is, I guess, because this shit happens every day, but there shouldn’t be.
If you really want a reason to like him though, I’ve met him once and he was really awesome. The person I was standing in the line with handed him a bag of home baked muffins and after a few seconds of “I’m holding coffee in one hand and your marker in the other” he smiled and took the muffins and was actually hella cool about it. I’ve also heard that he’s fun in the locker room, and that all the guys like him. Idek if that’s enough for you, it isn’t really enough for me.
C: DID SOMEONE ASK FOR STATS? I’m a self parody. I know. It’s cool.
Anyway, I think when you’re looking at Roussel from a stat perspective you have to look at what he contributes to a team and how you’d have to fill the hole if he weren’t there. He’s a bottom 6 forward and expected to handle a large defensive responsibility. Using @mannyelk‘s similarity calculator which can be found here, there are 3 other players this year who are used similarly: Joel Ward, Andrew Cogliano, and Lars Eller. I also decided to throw in Andrew Shaw, as he’s a well known fighter, but not an enforcer type, much like Rooster.
Over the last three years, Roussel has started more in the defensive zone than any of those compares (x axis), against similar quality of competition (y axis), and has put up the same number of points per 60 as Ward and Cogliano, and more than Eller & Shaw (size of dot). His one weakness is Corsi For % (color, yes the dots are faintly colored), but at 50%, that’s better than a lot of defensive players.
The really big reason to like Roussel: his salary. Roussel makes $1.6m/yr to Eller’s $2.5m, Cogliano’s $2.7m, and Ward’s $3m. And he’s only 24, which means he has plenty of time to improve his game possession wise.
And he’s French. I have a particular fondness for the French.
M: Well there you go, anon. Like him because we don’t pay him much and he certainly isn’t detracting from our roster.
Mailbag question! Who are your favorite players in the NHL and why?
M: Jamie Benn. JAAAAAAAAAAAAAMIE BEEEEEEEENNNNNNNNN. No but really, I like Jamie Benn an awful lot. I can’t even describe this in ways that don’t sound dirty, but he’s a big power forward that knows how to use his body AND his (hockey) stick. He can throw checks and not injure people, and then blow through your entire defense to find the back of the net. Not to mention the times this year he has literally thrown the entire team on his back and dragged them to victory.
Scott Darling is a favorite, both because of his save % and his beard. Also that time I met him in the stands in San Antonio and he was so genuine and excited. Also it’s hard to not root for someone who is doing such an excellent job at fighting his own demons.
Skill-wise, I love watching Sidney Crosby and Patrick Kane move the puck. The things they do with it sometimes are just amazing.
C: Gosh, this is hard. Most of my “favorites” tend to be emotional or thirst driven choices, with not a lot of great hockey to be had (cough Fake Hockey Boyfriend Brandon Bollig cough).
That said, if I had to pick one player, it would be Jonathan Toews every day of the week. Not only can he score, but he’s such an excellent defensive player that he’s a threat on any part of the ice. Not to mention, he’s the kind of guy who can win games by will alone (much like our Jamie Benn).
I have a ton of players I enjoy watching play hockey, and they tend to be the faster, more skilled players, like Patrick Kane, Tyler Seguin, and Pavel Datsyuk. I just sit back and watch, jaw dropped, at how freaking good these guys are at moving the puck. Seguin is the cornerstone and namesake of my fantasy hockey team, the real one, not the fantasy team, and is half the reason I got suckered into cheering for the Stars, so I’ll have to go with him as my number 2.
Would you mind talking about/explaining the draft & draft lottery.
M: Draft lottery: the bottom 14 teams are put into a big bowl, basically. The number of times their names are dropped into this bowl is dependent on where they finished in the regular season. Bottom team gets their name the most number of times, second to last the second most number of times, on down to number 14. So you have a greater chance of winning the lottery the lower you are in points after the season is done.
The winner of the draft lottery picks first. The rest of the order is determined by points. Bottom three in the league are currently Buffalo (last), Arizona, and Edmonton. If the Devils, say, win the draft lottery, Devils pick first, then Buff, Ari, and Edm.
The remaining sixteen teams go in order of who lost in the playoffs first. Stanley Cup winner always goes 30th, team who loses first in the playoffs will go 15th, after the 14 teams that didn’t make it.
Complicating matters is always going to be teams that have traded picks, like the Penguins this year. They traded their first round pick to the Oilers. The assumption was that they’d make the playoffs and it would be a late pick, but the Penguins have been garbage going down the stretch, and there’s a chance they miss. If they do, they get entered into the lottery. If they don’t win the lottery, the pick will still be pretty late, because the Penguins aren’t going to drop much in the standings from their current playoff position. However, there’s still a 1-2% chance they win the lottery, which would give Edmonton the first overall pick.
Also, in the 2016 lottery the first THREE picks are going to be determined by lottery, so the worst team in the league will no longer be guaranteed at least the second overall pick.
Draft itself goes over two days. I’m pretty sure it’s the 1st and 2nd rounds on the first night, and then the rest of them the next day. Each team gets a specific amount of time (longer in the first rounds, shorter in the later) to go up to the stage and announce their pick.
It’s on TV, anon, so if you get the opportunity to watch it, you should. The first round is kinda fun, that’s the one where they always show the kid coming down to the stage and putting the jersey and hat on to take the pics with the brass from the team. Also occasionally you will get the excitement of Gary Bettman coming to the podium to say “we have a trade to announce” and then the gut clenching terror that it’s someone you care about. I still remember watching the 2013 draft when they announced the Cory Schneider trade, which NO ONE saw coming.
C: I have nothing to add, but here’s a really great graph of where everyone’s at percent-wise, for the first round pick. Assuming they don’t win the lottery, Dallas is expected to pick 12th.
What if we win the draft lottery? (we should totally take noah hanifin)
C: So the rankings just came out the other day and unsurprisingly, Conner McDavid was #1 with Jack Eichel as #2. I had no idea who Noah Hanifin was but he was #3, so I looked him up. He calls himself an “offensive dman” who models his game after Duncan Keith. All of these words are things the Stars really love/need, so I see where you’re coming from in your Hanifin adoration, but….
You can’t not draft McDavid. You just can’t. You can’t leave him on the table, even if it would mean we would have ridiculous depth at center (Seguin, Spezza, Eakin, Fiddler, and Horcoff is a natural center, too, assuming he’s resigned). Taking McDavid would give the Stars SO MANY options – do they save Horcoff’s salary and not resign him, do they draft McDavid and flip him for an Elite Goaltender (we’ll give you Kari & McDavid, you give us Carey Price and I dunno, Gallagher? Some winger.) (this trade would never happen) (probably). Anyway, my point is that having McDavid would give the Stars a lot of leverage they weren’t expecting within the league, and could really change the landscape of their trading abilities.
M: We should take Noah Hanifin. (jk idek who that is.)
Now that the Stars are out, who are you rooting for in the playoffs? And what do you think of the first round matchups (assuming they’re set by the time you answer this)?
C: Unfortunately (or fortunately, if you’re part of #teamchaos), match ups seem to be still in the air, so I think we can revisit that part of the question next week.
But who am I rooting for? Well, in the East, I was rooting for the Red Wings, so we could get our 3rd round pick back, but then they went and broke Erik Cole. Since he’s out for the rest of the year with a spinal contusion, I’m shifting my loyalties to….god, I don’t even care. The Sens if they make it? I dislike the East a lot. No, dislike is too strong a word. I’m severely apathetic about the Eastern Conference. I say Sens if they make it, Rangers if they don’t, because I think King Henry deserves a cup.
Blackhawks in the West, of course. (Though, the Flames will have my eternal gratitude for eliminating the Kings last night, mwhahahahahaha).
M: Yeah, matchups could potentially change my predictions.
If the Blackhawks make the SCF, I’m rooting for a rival for them that I don’t give a shit about now, so I can safely hate them. Like, it’s all well and good that I say I want the Rangers to win all the things, because I really like Marc Staal (I have his shirsey!) and Captain America Ryan McDonagh. But I LOVE the Hawks, and if it comes down to those two teams it’s gonna break my heart to wish sadness upon the Rangers. There is also the possibility that my friend Monica will never speak to me again. (Or at least, not about hockey.) If the Hawks don’t make the SCF (I don’t believe that’s happening, because I can’t believe that’s happening, but IF IT DOES), then Rangers for the Cup.
BUT HAWKS FOR THE CUP. Now that the Stars are out I hope the Hawks just kick everyone’s ass forever. Though I wouldn’t mind if the Wild make a good run, as long as it isn’t to the Hawks detriment. I want good things for Devan Dubnyk.
Which Stars do you see leaving the org this summer?
M: Carolyn and I have been talking about this for a while. On the table for a trade this summer, I could see a lot of players, actually. Sceviour, Garbutt, Daley, Oleksiak . . . maaaaybe Hemsky? Who actually gets moved? It would depend on what we get in return. I could see them packaging Daley with someone to move for a #1 Defenseman. Other than this last game, his possession numbers are terrible and he drags his d-partner along with him.
That said, Jim Nill is wily and in possession of knowledge I certainly don’t have.
C: A lot of who gets moved depends on what another team needs, and I really don’t have a good enough understanding of other teams to really say with certainty “Oh, 8 teams in the east need a speedy Dman who can improve their powerplay, so Daley’s gone.”
Now, people I think we’re willing to part with are pretty much Merrin’s list above with a few additions: Sceviour, Garbutt, Daley, Oleksiak, Jokipakka, Roussel, maybe even McKenzie or BRBR if the trade was right (Seabrook). I’ve heard a lot of people ask about trading Jordie in the offseason, and while I think it’s possible, it’s definitely more likely to be a “If another team requests him” than us actively shopping him. Also with Oleksiak and Jokipakka (JJ in particular) being of similar talent potential (or greater) and so much younger, I find it hard to believe they wouldn’t be the first choice in Dmen for a team looking for a 2-3 pairing guy. I also don’t see Hemsky getting moved, as we can pretty easily carry his cap hit (Cole was making the same amount, actually), and he hasn’t had a great season. We’d definitely have to sell low, buy high on his contract, and Nill is better than that.
As far as UFAs, I don’t think we’ll see Enroth back this summer – there hasn’t been a lot of rumblings about “trying to reach a deal” that you normally hear about UFAs teams want to resign. It could be Enroth saying no, honestly, given that he went from a starter job to a backup job, and other teams *cough*Arizona*cough* will be looking for someone cheap-ish who can play half a season. That said, I wouldn’t be upset if he did resign with us. Since breaking the backup curse, Enroth has been fantastic in net, and hopefully that would carry over to next season.
I would love to see Eaves and Horcoff back this summer, but Eaves might follow the money? He’s had a great season, and definitely deserves more than his $650k current salary. I think he likes playing for Nill, and obviously has benefited from being on the Bennguin line, so there’s a good chance he sticks in Dallas. I think Horcoff is a lock to stay unless something really wacky happens.
Nemeth, Klingbae, and JJ are all RFAs this summer, and there’s no chance Nill doesn’t extend qualifying offers.
Who do you guys think is the better overall player ; Tyler Seguin or Jamie Benn?
C: Ugh, why would you ask us this!?!? So rude.
But for real, this is a really difficult question because I don’t know what you mean by Better? Statistically, they’re very similar since they’ve been playing together. In fact, here’s their dCorsi – a measure of impact that weights their usage against what is “expected” from someone in that position.
As you can see, their impact has been about the same this season, with Jamie slightly higher. I mean, they play together 95% of the time (barring injury). They’re both players who have proven they can hold their own. They both take faceoffs, they both are working on their defensive game. Jamie leads the team in short handed goals, while Tyler leads the team in power play scoring (yes, even after 3 weeks out this season).
And frankly, we probably wouldn’t be asking this question if the Seguin trade had never happened. These two have such an insane chemistry on-ice that their legacy is going to be talked about for years. So I think there’s really only one answer.