The Ken Hitchcock Effect

01/08/2010
Florida Panthers v Philadelphia Flyers

If the words of Nikita Filatov are not enough to describe how much of an effect Ken Hitchcock has on his young players, then you will definitely want to read this.

The young Russian said in a recent interview, when questioned on his decision to return to the NHL, “I highly doubt it. But [moving] Ken Hitchcock can really help it.”

There is a pattern and we will show you it.

On January 8, 1996, the Dallas Stars appointed Hitchcock’ as their head coach. This team displayed a nice mix of veterans and youth with promising players like Mike Modano, Jere Lehtinen, Jamie Langenbrunner, Richard Matvichuck (acquired via trade), Trent Klatt and Darryl Sydor.  This same team found chemistry together eventually leading them to a Stanley Cup Championship just three short years later.

However, in his first season, the kids barely saw the ice. Outside of Modano and Matvichuck, forwards Lehtinen, Langenbrunner and Klatt played a defensive checking role. Lehtinen was not drafted to be a defensive type player. Yes, he developed into a very good two-way player but a lot of his offensive potential lied to rot with Hitchcock not using him in a more offensive role or in a more offensive system.

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NHLHS Endorsed Pickups

12/22/2009
Chicago Blackhawks v Washington Capitals

Any player written about is under 50 percent owned in Yahoo! leagues.

This week saw several players breakout, several produce above their means and others who continue to produce all of which leads us to an extended version of NHLHS Endorsed Pickups.

Here are today’s picks:

LW: Dean McAmmond, New Jersey Devils –  As of this writing, McAmmond slots between Zach Parise and Patrik Elias.  Having said that the veteran center boast a four-game point streak where he scored two and assisted on four more.  Although center is his position called upon in real life, the 36-year-old qualifies at LW due to playing there the majority of his career.  Does anyone remember the McAmmond – Craig Conroy Jarome Iginla line? I sure do, that was a looooong time ago.

Prognosis: McAmmond showed signs of life last year with the Isles when he posted 9 points in 18 games.  His current projection mirrors these numbers with 8 points in 16 games.  This production marks the veteran’s absolute ceiling.  At best he will pot 40 points, but with David Clarkson and Dainius Zubrus eventually returning even that is a stretch.  Stream if desperate, definitely not a keeper.  Otherwise read more for better options on the left side.

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Daily Fantasy 3 Stars 12/13/2009

12/14/2009
Colorado Avalanche vs St. Louis Blues

In this section, I break down the top three fantasy hockey performers every night and cite why I chose them in particular. In addition, I will track the amount of times the players have received this honor and tally them at the end of the season. For the sake of clarity, I will be using Yahoo! standard categories (Forwards – G,A,+/-, PP, PIM, SOG; Goalies – W, GAA, SV%, SHO) and thus exclude player’s salaries.

Only two games and four teams in action last night, so not much to report.  All of our stars actually come from the same game.  Here are our standout fantasy stars for the evening:

THIRD STAR: Wojtek Wolski, Colorado Avalanche (0-0-1) –  The Avalanche top line stepped up in a big way.  The recently formed line of Wolski – Paul Stastny – Stewart broke out in the first period and the team never looked back.  The 23-year-old scored a powerplay goal and assisted on another leading his team to a 3-2 victory over the Flames. The native of Zabrze, Poland fired three shots on goal and finished a perfect plus one on the evening.

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Restoring the Rosters: Chicago Blackhawks

12/09/2009
Chicago Blackhawks v Columbus Blue Jackets

Matthew Pouliot’s series on Circling the Bases, I have decided restore the rosters for every NHL team. Like Pouliot, I have established some ground rules for my selections.

  1. Each team contains players they originally drafted or signed before any other NHL team. This includes players drafted and not signed, as well as European free agents coming over at an older age.
  2. I have chosen to leave retired players off the list, and lean toward players in the AHL rather than those deported (KHL, SEL, DEL, etc.).

Essentially I am choosing the best available players for a team to succeed in the current NHL season. All 30 teams will be covered, with grades assigned to forwards, defense and goaltending. After all 30 articles are written, they will be ranked in order. This series’ intent is to reward or shame NHL scouts.

Due to excellent drafting over the last couple of years, the Blackhawks have restocked the cupboard nicely.  The core established on their current roster is mostly homegrown with players with free agent signings filling out a few spots.  Both their forwards and defensive units feature high end talent as well as solid depth.

The lineup for the Chicago Blackhawks is as follows.

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Daily Fantasy 3 Stars 11/25/2009

11/29/2009
Montreal Canadiens v Chicago Blackhawks

In this section, I break down the top three fantasy hockey performers every night and cite why I chose them in particular. In addition, I will track the amount of times the players have received this honor and tally them at the end of the season. For the sake of clarity, I will be using Yahoo! standard categories (Forwards – G,A,+/-, PP, PIM, SOG; Goalies – W, GAA, SV%, SHO)

THIRD STAR: Troy Brouwer, Chicago Blackhawks (0-0-1) -We mentioned Brouwer in our most recent Keeper Watch so showing up here is not a big surprise.  One game removed from a four game point streak, the 24-year-old scored a goal and added an assist.  The former 7th round pick took one shot, added two penalty minutes and finished the game a plus three.  Brouwer continues to improve on a strong Blackhawks team that looks like the real deal.

SECOND STAR: Wayne Simmonds, Los Angeles Kings (0-1-0) – The 21-year-old also continues to improve for the young Kings.  Simmonds posted a goal and an assist, leading his team to a 3-1 victory over the Oilers.  The former 2nd round pick added four penalty minutes, five shots on goal and a plus one to his line for the night giving him our second star.

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Quarterly Review: Projected NHL Trophies

11/23/2009
NHL Awards Presentation

With Atlanta playing their 20th game last night, the first quarter of the 2009-2010 season is officially over.  Seeing as this is a milestone within the season we thought it would be a good idea to discuss the trends emerging around the NHL.

The article’s intent is to show who would win the NHL awards if the season finished today.  Of course these players will most likely NOT win the awards, NHLHS just likes having fun with small sample sizes and hot streaks.

Whether it be injury or inability there are plenty of surprises when compared to preseason predictions.  Teams such as the Colorado Avalanche, Los Angeles Kings and the Buffalo Sabres find themselves at the top of the standings, surprising most pundits.

We will outline the NHL trophies and why we think these players as of right now are deserving of them.  In addition, we will include the projected nominees so you can see our train of thought.  We hope you enjoy this mini-series which should continue throughout the NHL season.

Click the link below to see our award winners and tell us what you think in the comments section!

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Trade Rumors: Fallout from the Big Three Signings

11/20/2009
Vancouver Canucks v Chicago Blackhawks - Game Six

The big three in Chicago reportedly signed todayPatrick Kane and Jonathan Toews both for 6.3 a year for five years and Duncan Keith 72 million over 13 years.  By my calculations, the Blackhawks need at least 4.5 million off the books to even get under the cap and realistically around 7 million to round out their roster.

Analyzing their roster and cap room, NHLHS will break down the most likely candidates to be moved and what their trade value may be.  All value is based on recent trades in the market.

Patrick Sharp, RW – The 27 year old is one of many talented right wings on the team.  In theory, this  could make him expendable with Kane and Marian Hossa naturally lining up on the right side.  Sharp’s cap hit is 3.9 million, a manageable sum if he produces to his potential.  His market value is relatively high due to his age.

Projected value: Two young roster players or prospects knocking on the door, preferably a forward and defensemen.

Brian Campbell, D – The 30 year old defensemen carries a lofty $7,142,875 cap hit.  Although a big dent in the Hawks cap number he remains an elite puck-moving defensemen who can QB a power-play with the best of them.  An argument can be made that shedding Campbell’s contract would alleviate every cap problem Chicago is dealing with.  It would also open up a glaring hole on a strong PP, not something a Stanley Cup contender should do.  Not to mention there is entirely no way his contract will be moved, Bob Gainey simply does not have the cap space anymore.

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