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Everything posted by Neb00rs

  1. Neb00rs

    Rebuild 2.0 Thread

    If it's worth anything to anyone, I threw together a simple graph depicting the 5v5 progress of centers in the NHL over the first three years of their career as compared to Nico. I didn't just select the players in the graph randomly either. I tried to include the players who had the most points in the NHL between 2016-17 and 2018-19 (the last three years). Additionally, I tried to pick players who actually played center and I excluded players who didn't enter the NHL right away to account for Nico starting as an 18 year old. This took out players like Malkin who produced big numbers on arrival, but also players like Scheifele who took a little while to get going. I slightly broke my rules with three players. First, I don't remember how much center Seguin played in his first few years with the Bruins - I do remember that he found himself as a wing at times. I included him here because he is a center and his draft status was kind of like Nico's. Then there's Eichel who I had to skip a few centers on the list of top point producers between 16-17 and 18-19 to get to (he did miss time due to injury). But I included him because of the great expectations that surrounded his entrance into the league and because of what he has emerged into. Finally, I know Draisaitl has played a lot of wing in his career - and next to McDavid to boot, but he has spent a good chunk of time as a second line center during the course of his career as well. The chart weights GP and TOI by portraying 5v5 P/60 rather than total 5v5 points over the players first three years in the league. I also picked a line graph rather than just using single points to show each players' P/60 over the timeframe in question in order to [hopefully] demonstrate some of the ups and downs from season-to-season. As you can see, there's clearly an upper echelon of centers that hit the ground running in the NHL. But for the most part the graph is pretty messy with a lot of intersection. Nico is in the lower end of the graph (the green-ish line that starts on the left at point "2.38") but honestly, that he's in the mix with the early career production of some of the league's current best centers is a sign that he's coming along just fine. I apologize now for any mistakes, I threw this together rather quickly.
  2. As far as a rebuild goes, we're still waiting to know this. To me, Ray's most important quote yesterday was: This says to me that Ray indeed is going to give it a few weeks to determine whether or not independent of the coaching variable, the players still suck. The minute we'll know "Rebuild 2.0" is in effect, is if Shero trades Hall for an A prospect and a pick. That says that the Devils are looking ahead a few years into the future and should trade away their players. And yes, they should trade Gusev if they get a good offer for him, why not? We don't really know what the long-term trajectory of Gusev is and if they lose Hall for a prospect they're unlikely to be good next year anyway. On the other hand, if Shero trades Hall for an established NHL player that's maybe not quite as good as Hall but still good (and of course a pick would come our way as well), then he's probably looking to play for the playoffs as soon as next year. This situation would probably mean the Devils keep Gusev and whoever else they can.
  3. The Devils first period was really impressive. They did look fast. Hall looked improved too, he was super aggressive on the puck and controlled it all over the place. We've seen the signs of that before this season - mostly because the Devils do have the talent to play with speed. Most of the time the Devils can't figure out how to use their speed effectively though. But last night, especially in the first, they played well in transition and generated a bunch of odd man rushes and even controlled the puck well in the o-zone at 5v5. After the first, the second had it's moments and by the end was kind of meh and the third of course was the same old Devils, a collapse due to mistakes. Luck played a factor, bad reffing played a factor, neither really lost the game for the Devils. The Devils have to be much stronger in their own zone, they have to pass the puck better, and they have to be more consistent with generating dangerous chances throughout the game. Malcolm Subban didn't see much of note after the first period. I don't think the Devils need to be at the top of the league in generating chances from the parts of the ice that you want to, but they need to improve from where they are. I imagine the good play in the first was the result of a general philosophy Nas bestowed upon the team, he didn't have time to offer much more. And my feeling is, it was less about micromanaging and more about, "just play the game you know you can play." I hope after a few games and practices he can get them to look like they did in that period on a more consistent basis.
  4. What did you expect? John Hynes is fired for five hours and the team dramatically changes? They haven't even held a practice since Hynes' firing today. Devils didn't play great though, yeah. After a really good first period, same old, same old. Bad defensive passing, bad passing in general, and they were completely incapable of generating dangerous chances against M. Subban for the latter two periods of the game. Nas has a lot of questions to answer and issues to address now - he has a lot to clean up.
  5. Well, you'd be best suited to talk to that, I don't speak much of the barbaric European languages, at least not enough to know what the rumors are but all I know is that when he signed with ZSC it was reported that the deal was through spring 2021 and had no NHL out cause. That said, if it were possible, he'd be a highly exciting prospect. He's a player's coach and also a thinking man's coach. When he speaks you can tell he is extremely passionate about understanding the game and thinking about it on a deeper level. He is incredibly knowledgeable and has clearly studied almost every system under the sun in the pursuit of aggregating the best methods into one umbrella system - and not just in terms of on ice strategy either, but also in terms of player development. I think that's why he's seen the success he has so far. His one knock has been his lack of experience as the HC of a professional team. But he seems to be well on his way to clearing up any concerns of that nature this year as HC of ZSC. With few roster changes, he's taken a ZSC team that finished in tenth place in the NLA last year (25-20-5) to first place so far this year (16-6-3).
  6. As much as I like him myself, Gronborg is under contract with ZSC through 2021 with no NHL out clause.
  7. The hot takes on a hockey forum of a bottom of the barrel hockey team can get pretty callous and ruthless sometimes - and perhaps rightly so in the name of frustration, but re: the bolded, I'm obliged to completely agree with that take. Still, as we know, no single person can be bigger than the team if you want to win or for that matter run a successful franchise no matter how good the person in question is and I imagine unless the Devils go on some sort of magical run now, Ray waiting this long to drop Hynes won't reflect well on him. That said, people are willing to have short memories given new successes and Ray can start such a trend off with a solid return for Hall.
  8. It's worth pointing out that from almost all accounts John Hynes is a decent human being, so it's not fun that this day had to come but it did have to come given the gap between roster talent and results. The Devils did their best under Hynes to offer some stability to Hall for the first time in his career. Part of that stability was Hynes himself - Hall has openly praised his coaching before - and it'd be my best guess that Hall was supportive of Hynes behind the scenes this entire year. No doubt that Hynes leaving all but seals the deal for Hall's exit from NJ. Amazing how fast things have spiraled downwards since 2017-18. And yet, somehow the future is still bright.
  9. The PK has been weak this year but honestly, as the season has unfolded and looking at the entire Hynes tenure, the only stability really has been Nas's PK system. It makes sense for an interim situation, not a permanent gig. Everyone on that staff has culpability.
  10. I have to [somewhat] agree with Daniel here on PK Subban. That's not to say he hasn't been personally bad at all - he has at times to an extent - or that his skills haven't diminished at all - they have. Many of his numbers across the board have dropped off too - but we have to ask ourselves the reasons for that. It's hard to pin it all on him because it's not like he's producing offense at such an absurdly lower rate than he has before. I know he's been beaten one-on-one a few times - and it's been more than I'd like - but there's no defensman in the league who doesn't get beat sometimes. Almost every defensive strategy employs failsafes for d-men getting beat, especially on the defensive blue line. The Devils are so out of whack at times, there's often just no support and thus, no room for error for the players. Keep in mind as well that PK has had a nine shot game this year. Do you know what the highest shots for a defenseman are in a game this year? 9. And only one other d-man besides PK has done it (Giordano). I'll give you that both PK's 9 and 7 shot games this year came against rather poor defensive teams but 9 shots for a d-man is just not something you see often and it takes skill to pull it off. To be fair, PK's shots haven't been super high danger but the idea with him is that he gets the shot to the net and the forwards finish the job. Only problem is, the Devils are terrible at getting to the high danger zones in front of the net and getting shots off or tips. How many deflected pucks do you even recall the Devils pulling off this year? For the record, this year PK is averaging his fourth-best rebounds created/60 relative to other seasons in his career. Fact is, PK can still break out of the defensive zone, can still carry the puck, and can still generate a lot of offense. No he's not a rocket blasting up the ice, no he's not even close to Norris form, but he has shown signs of being able to play better than he has for the majority of his time under the Hynes playbook. PK also hasn't played much on PP1 with the most dangerous forwards, and as you already know, PP2 can't score a goal to save their lives. Still, at 5v5 PK is first on the team in shot attempts/60 and third in CF%/60. I'll admit of late PK has been worse than he was to start the year, but it's hard for me to tell if that's his 30 year-old legs getting to him or just complete exasperation and confusion. I'm not drawing a super strong conclusion here, but the numbers as well as his observable play lead me to believe there's at least a chance he can be significantly better than what he is right now. Finally, I do believe that there is a serious confidence issue going on among the veterans on this team - this isn't so well thought out on my part, but I'd be lying if I said my eyes weren't seeing that manifest on the ice.
  11. Gusev is the type of player who I don't expect to have a super high shooting% over a longer time frame given how he plays. He has a dangerous enough shot to score from range but he's been throwing a lot of low percentage shots at the net and it seems like he's doing so out of an awareness that if he holds the puck too long in the offensive zone he's going to lose it because he's not a good enough skater to avoid pressure and not powerful enough to get low with the puck often. I'd rather him throw a quick shot at the net and turn it over than just turn it over. He's been learning quite fast what he can and can't do in the NHL and his primary game is pass-first anyway. For the first time last night, we really saw Gusev's top notch passing skills on display - something he hasn't really been comfortable enough to activate up until recently. His line wasn't completely dominant in both ends of the ice last night - Montreal created a lot of offense against them but considering that Montreal is really good at generating offense and that the Gusev line didn't really let up much that was significantly dangerous, it was a really good night for them. The Wood-Zacha-Bratt line on the other hand, was terrible. Zacha is much better than Hayden and Seney obviously but his play of recent really has been disappointing. He better pick it up soon because I sense some growing discontent between him and Hynes. In all, the Devils might have played an ugly game yesterday in being a bit more aggressive on the puck - Montreal by far got the best of the high event hockey, but hey, the Devils got pucks to the high danger areas via odd man rush and when you do that, even if you get outplayed, you can still win sometimes. Oh and Severson took just a stupid shot as well. I'm not satisfied though, because the Devils have played games this season where they generated offense while being way more responsible throughout the ice. Two of those games that I can think of off the top of my head, they lost due to bad luck and bad goaltending.
  12. Amazing. Amazing how few significant chances the Devils were able to generate down a goal against a poor Wild team that played last night. Again, the same story. Yeah, the Wild are good at preventing chances but this isn't new for the Devils. This team is so bad at 5v5 play and given the talent they have that's just inexcusable. There wasn't much to say after the Detroit game - they beat a terrible team - but you still hoped maybe the momentum could swing them a win against the Wild. Unfortunately the Devils are so dysfunctional not even that was to be.
  13. Yeah, expectations are different in Toronto, it's fair to make a general statement that not meeting those expectations got Babcock fired - but it's more complicated than that. Babcock was [also] fired because he didn't see eye-to-eye with the GM - something that has been going on for awhile now - and by almost all accounts, he lost the players in the locker room big time. Going into this season, it seemed like Babcock was already on the hot seat. But most importantly, Dubas has had a guy in Sheldon Keefe waiting in the wings. Keefe was a good fit - Dubas hired Keefe to coach for Sault Ste. Marie of the OHL when he was the GM there. Keefe also has his teams play a style of hockey that seemed like it could directly counteract some of the on-ice issues the team was having with Babcock at the helm. And of course, 13 of Toronto's players had already played for Keefe in the AHL. Firing Babcock was not some wild move. The point is, as much as the fans want an impulsive move - if the Devils are going to fire Hynes - they need to have a plan for a replacement in place - as in, a plan that is likely to improve the team. Shero may have one now or not, but without a sensible plan, firing the coach is probably not going to do much to change things. The players don't seem to hate playing for John Hynes either, and that probably counts for being a better option than, "replace him with anyone or anything."
  14. Glad, that's over and I don't have to watch Guentzel - Malkin - Rust destroy the Hall-Hischier-Palmieri line any further. Tonight was the same theme from the whole season - the Devils can't generate offense at 5v5. The Penguins are one of the best 5v5 defensive teams in the league but, it's not like this one was out of the norm re: the Devils performance. Even in games where the Devils generate more shot attempts than tonight, they don't generate them from the right places. The difference between the Devils and a team that's playing okay in the o-zone but struggling to move in from the perimeter is that sometimes the Devils just don't generate significant chances at 5v5 from anywhere. As for some constructive criticism: Hall playing on the right side on the Powerplay, as I started to say a couple games ago, is the wrong decision for me. Yeah, it's not like Hall isn't effective at all from that side but over the past few years, the times Hall and by extension the Devils have been at their best - or are generating anything at all - is when Hall is wreaking havoc from the left circle. And Hall was taking a solid amount of shots from that side 5v4, they just weren't going in - a combination of bad luck, Hall just not feeling it, and some other tactical issues. It's much harder for Hall to receive passes comfortably from the right and make space for his stick. In this setup, all being on your off-side really offers is activating the slap pass. We saw the slap pass be successful against Montreal but long-term I don't think Hall is a dangerous enough shooter for it to really be an appealing set up. For instance, the Capitals do it with Ovechkin sometimes, because Ovechkin has such a threatening shot that it draws so much attention towards him, the sudden pass frequently fools the opposition. Point is, as we saw with Hall's goal tonight, if you run the PP setup the Devils are running, with Hall on the left, no matter how inept Hynes and his crew are, goals are going to be scored. More patience is needed there. That's not to say there's no issues with the PP strategy but it's the 5v5 game that is the point of concern. Hughes is a ridiculous skater, he cuts so fast sometimes, he breaks the cameraman's ankles. It's fun to watch.
  15. Neb00rs


    No one here is saying Babcock "forgot how to coach" but presumably more goes into the hiring of a coach then, "HIRE BABCOCK NOW!" There are things to keep in mind with Babcock - and how the Leafs have performed lately relative to the Devils. Just because your analysis doesn't go any deeper than "the Devils powerplay cannot get out of its own way," doesn't mean there aren't actual tangible things we can pinpoint to discuss the pros and cons of bringing in Babcock in an intelligent way. If your definition of "overthinking" is "any thinking" though, there's no post I could make on the subject save for "HIRE BABCOCK NOW!" that would satisfy you.
  16. Neb00rs


    A cursory glance at the numbers re: the Leafs' offense, would make one think that Babcock is a natural choice to replace Hynes. But to an extent, some of the problems the Leafs are currently having echo the ones the Devils are having - problems which Babcock, like Hynes, has been unable to solve with better offensive firepower. That's not to say Babcock isn't a good choice - there's many more variables to consider and the Leafs have performed very well under Babcock in the past - but the point is, there are reasons to be cautious.
  17. Below is a list of goalies who were either drafted in the year 2015 and after or born in the year 1996 and after and who have played more than 17 NHL games: Mackenzie Blackwood - 37 GP .913 save% Carter Hart - 44 GP .914 save% Alexander Georgiev - 52 GP .914 save% The above stats don't include tonight's games in which Blackwood let in 5 and Hart was pulled after letting up 4 goals on 18 shots. Blackwood is also considered a rookie. He has started 14 games this year. Below is a list of the other rookie goalies who have started more than 8 games this year: Point is, goalies of Blackwood's age and professional experience aren't often relied on for what Blackwood is being relied on for - to be an NHL starter. He's on pace to start 57 games right now. He's never played more than 51 games in a season in his entire hockey career, professional or not. It is unclear what he turns into and he does have weak spots - but he's shown moments of brilliance. That's enough to be hopeful and he deserves some slack.
  18. Coaching has definitely been part of his improvement. But so has him moving down to a less integral role - where he plays with players who are a little bit slower and he doesn't play against every other team's best defensive players. He's only had one bad game over his past five or six. But he's not nearly playing as well as some of the Devils media is giving him credit for. He still doesn't quite understand what he can and can't do out there given his abilities - he has some "KHL" moments - but, I suppose such is excusable for a rookie, even if he is a 27 year-old. And he is starting to just relax a bit and make MUCH better choices. Listen, it's not like those of us that pointed out how bad he obviously was to begin the season don't know what makes him good. Gusev has world-class passing skills, skills that he hasn't been able to activate almost at all this season because of the slow pace at which he plays. And so all he could really do was, every here and there get himself in the right position to threaten with his shot. But when he can find moments to use his skill, it's going to be impressive. I hope he can continue to become a smarter player, so he figures out how to utilize his offensive skills more despite his mediocre skating and lack of pace.
  19. The stat is "goals saved above expectation/expected" or GSAx. But the stat I think you are referring to with your numbers is "goals saved above average," which is simply a measure of how many more or less goals the league average goalie (in terms of save%) would have saved if they faced the same amount of shots as the goaltender in question. This does not factor in shot quality - and GSAA is often given in terms of 5v5 play, not all situations, because teams tend to give up better shots shorthanded and there is variation in terms of the number of times shorthanded. If we do GSAx, no matter what model we use, Domingue and Schneider are most likely going to come out very close in that category - especially because in your given timeframe, Tampa Bay has had the third lowest xGA in the league. And funny enough, Evolving Hockey (min. FA 50, unadjusted) has Domingue (-8.35) and Schneider (-8.58) at 124th and 125th respectively since the start of last year. Blackwood is 114th with a -5.67. Keith Kinkaid is so far back I don't even feel like looking him up - him and Quick are at the bottom of the league in this category since the start of 18-19.
  20. Oh and one other thing I wanted to say I liked was that the Devils seemed like they were really having fun out there. I saw Hall and PK goofing around and pumping up teammates a handful of times. If the team as a unit isn't exactly dominating games right now, for me, it's a good sign moving forward that they are sticking together out there. Morale is not to be discounted.
  21. Not the prettiest game the Devils have ever played, but in context of the game last night, this game, for me, is a "phew," they're not going to keep getting worse. It's a good sign to be able to come out on the road in the second half of a back-to-back and win the shots battle in the first two periods. The third period wasn't the best, but it was their sixth period in two nights, and they won the game in the seventh one...so, fine. The Devils play is super inconsistent right now and they're trying a lot of things - but the difference between now and a month ago is that we are getting starting NHL goaltending. When that happens, you tend to win some games, one way or another. I don't personally like the switch of Hall<>Hughes on PP1 - I think Hall has looked good on the left on that unit even if he hasn't been scoring goals. There's a lot of reasons we can pick at the Devils PP strategy that I won't go into here, but it's never been my personal thought that Hall's positioning was the issue aside from the fact that he's just not feeling it with his shot - as simplistic as that sounds. This all said, I can't really say anything because the Devils did score with that PP1 after all.
  22. In 2017-18 Hall Scored almost all of his even strength goals off the rush - as in, a high-speed zone entry by him or a teammate and then a goal on his first possession in the offensive zone. The Devils simply aren't generating many good chances for those kinds of goals this year. This is why Taylor Hall "doesn't look like" Taylor Hall as some have put it. On the powerplay in '17-'18 Hall scored 13 goals, 7 of them from the left circle and 3 of them from the right circle. The team was cycling the puck well and finding him with much more space than he's had this year. Playing in generally the same area as he did in 2017-18, he's taken 19 shots on the powerplay in 65 minutes played on the man-advantage this year. That's not too bad, but he just isn't putting it in the net - zero goals. He's having trouble finding space to shoot but his shot in 2017-18 was often so good it didn't matter. He also finished his breakaways that year.
  23. As for Hynes, I mean...piggybacking on my last post - the team might have youth and inexperience, but...they shouldn't be this bad offensively. What little structure they play with basically arrests much of the skill the Devils have going for them. I don't really care about the breakdown that led to the third goal. It can happen when a team is pressing - not that it should. By then though, hopefully you've taken your 35+ shots on goal and had your chances. The Devils didn't come close to doing that.
  24. About halfway through the game it became clear that even had the Devils won this game it wouldn't have been pretty and there wouldn't have been much reason for excitement. Why? Because the team's problem with generating 5v5 offense continues and isn't sustainable. The Devils were already generating a league worst 48 shot attempts/60 at 5v5 coming into today. Today they got 38 against the team that allows the 2nd most shot attempts/60 at 5v5 in the league (64.46). Not good. And the powerplay wasn't pretty tonight either. If there was a positive tonight, it's that Gusev had a third good game in a row - at least for Gusev standards. He's just so much improved playing in the bottom six. He had one really creative pass in the d-zone at the start of the second period to Coleman.
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