Author Topic: Armchair GM 2018-2019  (Read 50517 times)

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Offline mr grieves

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Re: Armchair GM 2018-2019
« Reply #330 on: June 15, 2018, 10:43:21 PM »
So once every 14 years or so.  Leafs are almost guaranteed to win it.
Nah, there are other examples. The '96 Avs and '99 Stars depending on how you see Sandis Ozolinsh and Sergei Zubov. Then there's the '95 Devils where Niedermayer wasn't yet in his prime and Stevens was into the "World's Greatest #2D" phase of his career. Then you've got the first and third Crosby/Malkin cups.

Pens '17 (or was it '16), Caps '18... although maybe I'm behind on how we rate Carlson?


Thing is you could probably make similar lists about any one thing in isolation. #1C or a superstar goalie...there have been a bunch of teams winning the Stanley Cup without them either. Teams can win a Stanley Cup with weaknesses but they usually have some crazy edge elsewhere to compensate whether it's multiple HOF level C's or all-time great goalies or what have you.

I think that's probably the main thing. Compensate for your weakness by having some ridiculous strength elsewhere to compensate. Once it was clear the Leafs were done drafting in the superstar spot (top 5 or so?) and didn't really knock it out of the park with Rielly, I think we all realized their edge would have to be at forward -- if they, in fact, have an edge. Time will tell.

Offline Nik

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Re: Armchair GM 2018-2019
« Reply #331 on: June 15, 2018, 10:49:45 PM »
Pens '17 (or was it '16), Caps '18... although maybe I'm behind on how we rate Carlson?

Yeah, I mentioned the third Crosby/Malkin cup.


I think that's probably the main thing. Compensate for your weakness by having some ridiculous strength elsewhere to compensate. Once it was clear the Leafs were done drafting in the superstar spot (top 5 or so?) and didn't really knock it out of the park with Rielly, I think we all realized their edge would have to be at forward -- if they, in fact, have an edge. Time will tell.

Well, you say that but unless you're counting on Matthews/Marner to be Crosby/Malkin(who established themselves as Crosby/Malkin pretty early in their careers) then by "edge" at forward you're probably talking about depth and I'm not sure there's an example of a really successful team without stars in net or on the blueline and who won because of a lot of forward depth.
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Re: Armchair GM 2018-2019
« Reply #331 on: June 15, 2018, 10:49:45 PM »

Offline mr grieves

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Re: Armchair GM 2018-2019
« Reply #332 on: June 16, 2018, 02:56:31 AM »
Well, you say that but unless you're counting on Matthews/Marner to be Crosby/Malkin(who established themselves as Crosby/Malkin pretty early in their careers) then by "edge" at forward you're probably talking about depth and I'm not sure there's an example of a really successful team without stars in net or on the blueline and who won because of a lot of forward depth.

Well, I'm not "counting on" anything and think it's as likely as not that they end up like the Sharks... but, if not, a combo of the two, maybe? The Leafs won't be the VGK. They'll have stars at forward, but maybe not generational talents... Matthews + Marner won't be Crosby + Malkin, but what if you throw in a Nylander? -- and maybe you've got stars but not HoFers and depth. Plus a blue line that isn't "weak" (like Pittsburgh last year) but generally fine in the way Gus described (platoon of great to ok #3s). 

I think your initial post made the point that you can find examples of plenty of ways of winning, if you pick one thing and isolate it. There's probably a path forward for the Leafs. It won't involve having Drew Doughty or Sidney Crosby or anyone in their ballpark. But it's not a bad thing -- thinking as a fan who likes watching teams get built -- that they have a core with some very good pieces -- great, even, if we allow the term for folks who don't reach Crosby/Malkin heights -- and now a GM who seems focused on optimizing everything you don't just luck into by sucking hard enough and winning the ping pong balls at the right time.

Offline Nik

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Re: Armchair GM 2018-2019
« Reply #333 on: June 16, 2018, 03:01:45 PM »
I think your initial post made the point that you can find examples of plenty of ways of winning, if you pick one thing and isolate it.

I suppose so except one thing I think you'd be hard pressed to find would be an example of winning where the team didn't have anything particularly exceptional about them. Again, those Penguins won with that defense but with guys like Crosby/Malkin, not just stars. The late 90's Red Wings won with Chris Osgood, but also with one of the best rosters ever assembled. '93 Habs didn't really have any superstars...except the guy in net. Remember that "ridiculous strength" you mentioned. That seems like a requirement and some stars and depth isn't a ridiculous strength. That's something that, like I said, has been had by lots and lots and lots of teams that haven't won and very, very few who have, if any.

Really the only example I can think of a team winning without any sort of generational talents is the '06 Hurricanes(and maybe the '04 Lightning). Which is kind of a flukey win in a flukey year. Even still it's aiming pretty low.
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Offline Significantly Insignificant

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Re: Armchair GM 2018-2019
« Reply #334 on: June 17, 2018, 11:24:10 PM »
I think your initial post made the point that you can find examples of plenty of ways of winning, if you pick one thing and isolate it.

I suppose so except one thing I think you'd be hard pressed to find would be an example of winning where the team didn't have anything particularly exceptional about them. Again, those Penguins won with that defense but with guys like Crosby/Malkin, not just stars. The late 90's Red Wings won with Chris Osgood, but also with one of the best rosters ever assembled. '93 Habs didn't really have any superstars...except the guy in net. Remember that "ridiculous strength" you mentioned. That seems like a requirement and some stars and depth isn't a ridiculous strength. That's something that, like I said, has been had by lots and lots and lots of teams that haven't won and very, very few who have, if any.

Really the only example I can think of a team winning without any sort of generational talents is the '06 Hurricanes(and maybe the '04 Lightning). Which is kind of a flukey win in a flukey year. Even still it's aiming pretty low.

In those years, the Lightning and Carolina had players that elevated to the point where they were in the conversation for being among the best at their position.  Staal in the case of the Hurricanes and Martin St. Louis in Tampa.

The case for the Leafs could be that while they don't have consistent generational talents like Malkin and Crosby, it could be that if Nylander, Matthews, and Marner all have their best years over the same time period, then that might give the Leafs an edge.  If Rielly and Andersen also have their best years in that time frame as well, then it would only increase their chances.

However, that's a pretty big if, and far from a certainty, and it could also go the other way where Matthews has a good year, but Marner and Nylander don't, or Nylander and Marner have a good year, and Matthews doesn't.  This is what happened to them during that last two playoffs.  Marner was pretty good, but Nylander and Matthews had a bad series against the Bruins.  Last year, Matthews was pretty good against the Caps, but Marner looked pretty invisible.   

When you have stars like Crosby and Malkin, where you can pencil them in as being among the most dominate players in the game, then you increase your chances of winning a cup.  It really takes the strength of a team to power them through in the playoffs.  For example, the years where Crosby was hurt, or where Malking wasn't at the dominate level he is at now, the Penguins didn't have great playoffs. 
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Offline Significantly Insignificant

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Re: Armchair GM 2018-2019
« Reply #335 on: June 18, 2018, 04:10:40 PM »
From:
https://www.tsn.ca/talent/draft-week-countdown-top-3-priorities-for-canada-s-7-1.1115928

3. Save Smitty: A bona-fide backup is critical for 36-year-old . It’s not a stretch to the say that Calgary’s playoff hopes were extinguished with a quarter season of  between the pipes with a .904 save percentage.

McBackup would look good in Red.
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Offline Nik

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Re: Armchair GM 2018-2019
« Reply #336 on: June 18, 2018, 06:54:32 PM »
The case for the Leafs could be that while they don't have consistent generational talents like Malkin and Crosby, it could be that if Nylander, Matthews, and Marner all have their best years over the same time period, then that might give the Leafs an edge.  If Rielly and Andersen also have their best years in that time frame as well, then it would only increase their chances.

But that makes it sound as if you're reading this "edge" we're talking about as just anything that a team might have that will help them win. But in this scenario, where Nylander, Marner and Matthews all have big seasons at once...is that significantly different than what Boston got this year from their big 3 forwards? Or Washington from theirs? Or Tampa? Or Winnipeg? We agreed it's probably not what Pittsburgh got from theirs so it's an edge on what? It seems like having three good forwards having big years is effectively the minimum requirement for a team being in the league's top 8, not something that gives you a leg-up on everyone else.
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Offline Significantly Insignificant

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Re: Armchair GM 2018-2019
« Reply #337 on: June 19, 2018, 10:25:53 AM »
The case for the Leafs could be that while they don't have consistent generational talents like Malkin and Crosby, it could be that if Nylander, Matthews, and Marner all have their best years over the same time period, then that might give the Leafs an edge.  If Rielly and Andersen also have their best years in that time frame as well, then it would only increase their chances.

But that makes it sound as if you're reading this "edge" we're talking about as just anything that a team might have that will help them win. But in this scenario, where Nylander, Marner and Matthews all have big seasons at once...is that significantly different than what Boston got this year from their big 3 forwards? Or Washington from theirs? Or Tampa? Or Winnipeg? We agreed it's probably not what Pittsburgh got from theirs so it's an edge on what? It seems like having three good forwards having big years is effectively the minimum requirement for a team being in the league's top 8, not something that gives you a leg-up on everyone else.

I guess I can't quantify what is needed to put a team over the top.  Take the Leafs from this year for example.   How are the standings different, and where do the Leafs end up if the following is true:

Matthews plays 82 games, has 50 goals and gets 95 points
Nylander plays 82 games and gets 90 points
Marner plays 82 games and gets 88 points

These are just random numbers that I am throwing out there, but having three players on a team that are dominate like that is something that doesn't happen very often.  That's Pittsburgh territory.  So if it all of that happens this past year, and the rest of the team stayed at the levels that they did ( forgetting that there is probably an impact elsewhere on the team to JVR and Kadri ), how far do you envision this team making it.  When I say big years, that's what I am thinking from Marner, Nylander, and Matthews.  I think they have the talent to hit those numbers at least once in their careers.  I just don't think that they can do it consistently year after year.   

Other things do com in to play here.  For example Boston's perceived shortcoming was that their offence was on one line, that the big three had to play together in order to produce.  That's different than Pittsburgh's big three that can produce on different lines. 
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Offline Nik

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Re: Armchair GM 2018-2019
« Reply #338 on: June 19, 2018, 10:29:08 AM »
Matthews plays 82 games, has 50 goals and gets 95 points
Nylander plays 82 games and gets 90 points
Marner plays 82 games and gets 88 points

Again, I think that's a situation that would have them among the teams with the best three forwards in the league, not a step or two above that.

But also, and this is where just raw point totals aren't a ton of help, is that one year of producing like Malkin-Crosby-Kessel isn't necessarily the same of one year of that level of play.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2018, 10:32:37 AM by Nik the Trik »
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Offline Significantly Insignificant

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Re: Armchair GM 2018-2019
« Reply #339 on: June 19, 2018, 11:01:49 AM »
Matthews plays 82 games, has 50 goals and gets 95 points
Nylander plays 82 games and gets 90 points
Marner plays 82 games and gets 88 points

Again, I think that's a situation that would have them among the teams with the best three forwards in the league, not a step or two above that.

I agree with you that this is the sort of best case scenario that the Leafs can hope for.  Unless the luck out and get a bonafide #1 dman from somewhere, then they have to hope that this sort of thing happens in a year or for a couple of years, and in that one of those years the chips sort of fall in the Leafs favor and they get to the cup final.  I'm just saying that a case could be made that if Marner, Nylander, Matthews all have one or two seasons where they are considered among the most dominate forwards in the League, than in those one or two seasons then the Leafs could probably be considered a cup contender. 

Is that better than building a team that has strength throughout the roster and a league wide top end player at every position.  Not in my mind, no.  I agree with what you have said in the past, which is to paraphrase a bit, it's about maximizing your chances and having the largest possible window to win a cup year in and year out over an extended period.
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Offline Nik

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Re: Armchair GM 2018-2019
« Reply #340 on: June 19, 2018, 11:35:04 AM »
I'm just saying that a case could be made that if Marner, Nylander, Matthews all have one or two seasons where they are considered among the most dominate forwards in the League, than in those one or two seasons then the Leafs could probably be considered a cup contender. 

Right but what I'm saying is that a year where Matthews/Nylander/Marner combine to score 260-270 points or so is almost certainly going to be the result of one of two things:

1) Those three have progressed to the point where those point totals are genuine reflections of who they are as players

2) It's kind of flukey and they're playing above their heads(or their shooting percentages are abnormally high or what have you)

If it's the former, then they basically are the Penguins. And I don't think it's the sort of thing that would fade out or not be a threat to happen again and again. That would be good.

If it's the latter though, I don't think that really makes them contenders in any meaningful sense. The team might have a lot of points and have a high seed but I still think they'd be weaker in most areas, significantly so in some case, than most cup winners are.
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Offline Significantly Insignificant

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Re: Armchair GM 2018-2019
« Reply #341 on: June 19, 2018, 12:21:32 PM »
2) It's kind of flukey and they're playing above their heads(or their shooting percentages are abnormally high or what have you)

If it's the latter though, I don't think that really makes them contenders in any meaningful sense. The team might have a lot of points and have a high seed but I still think they'd be weaker in most areas, significantly so in some case, than most cup winners are.

I guess where I have a difference of opinion on this is that I don't know if it's really all that flukey.  I think players can progress, and have career years for a variety of reasons, and then maintain that level for a couple of years, and then fall back to the pack.  Players like Modano, Gilmour, Messier in my mind fall in to this category.  They had a couple of years where they were right at the top of the heap, and their teams benefited from it.  In the Modano and Messier cases, their teams won cups, and in the Gilmour case, well not so much.  To me this is the difference between the very good, and the all time great sort of players.  The all time greats do it year after year after year.  I expect Matthews, Marner and Nylander to have a couple dominate years in the league, where they are considered among the best in the league at their positions.  I just don't know if they will all be at the same time.   

I also don't think that just because Marner, Matthews, and Nylander have great years, that it means that the team is probably weaker in other areas.  As I pointed out earlier, the Leafs this year had a pretty good year, and the big three were no where near a Crosby, Malkin, Kessel level.  So if they had bumped their performance levels up to those levels, and they were insulated by the likes of a Kadri, JVR, Bozak, Rielly, Gardiner, and  Andersen, then I could see that team going far.  Even in that first round, if Matthews, Nylander and Andersen show up for the complete series, they probably make it through to the next round.

Would I say they are definite cup winners?  No probably not, but I also wouldn't be completely shocked if they made it all the way.  I would agree though, that it will be harder to have the kind of scoring depth that the Leafs have right now moving forward because of the cap, and if Marner, Matthews and Nylander have a couple of years like a Crosby, Malkin, and Kessel, then they are going to want to get paid like it.  Really, they haven't at all at this point in their careers, and there is talk that they want to be paid like it anyways.     
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Offline Nik

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Re: Armchair GM 2018-2019
« Reply #342 on: June 19, 2018, 05:47:11 PM »
I guess where I have a difference of opinion on this is that I don't know if it's really all that flukey.  I think players can progress, and have career years for a variety of reasons, and then maintain that level for a couple of years, and then fall back to the pack.  Players like Modano, Gilmour, Messier in my mind fall in to this category.  They had a couple of years where they were right at the top of the heap, and their teams benefited from it.  In the Modano and Messier cases, their teams won cups, and in the Gilmour case, well not so much.  To me this is the difference between the very good, and the all time great sort of players.  The all time greats do it year after year after year.  I expect Matthews, Marner and Nylander to have a couple dominate years in the league, where they are considered among the best in the league at their positions.  I just don't know if they will all be at the same time.

I think you're kind of misinterpreting what I'm saying there. It's not that any upswing in production is necessarily a fluke but rather that if those three have years like that it's either the result of something flukey(which is why point totals aren't a great metric) or a genuine reflection of their play(which is good but would be the Crosby/Malkin model, if only for a short time). You seem to be saying that if those three all have years at the same time where they're legitimately among the best players in the league that would put the Leafs into contender-hood. I don't necessarily disagree but I think that the odds of all of that lining up(all three being guys who have a few years where they legitimately play over their heads and all of those years lining up exactly) seem like we're doing that "So you're saying there's a chance" thing from Dumb and Dumber.

I'm not entirely with you on the examples though. Here's my take on them:

1) Modano makes the least sense to me. There's nothing about his 98-99 season that's unusual at all production-wise. In fact, in the 8 years from 95-96 to 02-03 Modano never had a full season under 77 points or above 85. In the year Dallas won the Cup, he was smack dab in the middle of that with 81 points. It seems to me that Dallas' cup has less to do with Modano elevating his game than it does with things like bringing in a couple of big deal additions in Hull and particularly Belfour.

2) The '90 Oilers really strike me as more of an example about how flukey things can happen more than anything else. It was a really weird year. 3 of the final 4 teams had 90 points or less(including Washington with 78 points). I also kind of wonder if Messier's big year is really a question of him having the best year of his life vs. just a difference in opportunities from being the #1 guy instead of the the #2. I'm not sure, in context, his year that year is really a big step up from the rest of his time in Edmonton.

3) I guess Gilmour fits the best into that but I can't help but feel like we remember that season a little rosier than is maybe warranted. Gilmour certainly was great that year but I'm not sure anyone would really think he was nudging up against Lemieux and Gretzky. He finished 2nd in Hart voting, sure, but a lot of that was narrative driven. He wasn't a 1st or 2nd team all-star.

I also don't think that just because Marner, Matthews, and Nylander have great years, that it means that the team is probably weaker in other areas. 

To use your example, if Marner/Matthews/Nylander were so superhumanly great this year that the Leafs won the cup then I don't think there's any real question that the defense would still be considered one of the worst defenses to have won a cup and Andersen one of the more mediocre goalies to do so.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2018, 06:32:19 PM by Nik the Trik »
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Offline Significantly Insignificant

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Re: Armchair GM 2018-2019
« Reply #343 on: June 19, 2018, 10:17:11 PM »
I think you're kind of misinterpreting what I'm saying there. It's not that any upswing in production is necessarily a fluke but rather that if those three have years like that it's either the result of something flukey(which is why point totals aren't a great metric) or a genuine reflection of their play(which is good but would be the Crosby/Malkin model, if only for a short time). You seem to be saying that if those three all have years at the same time where they're legitimately among the best players in the league that would put the Leafs into contender-hood. I don't necessarily disagree but I think that the odds of all of that lining up(all three being guys who have a few years where they legitimately play over their heads and all of those years lining up exactly) seem like we're doing that "So you're saying there's a chance" thing from Dumb and Dumber.

Yep, totally misunderstood you.  I thought you were saying that if Matthews, Marner and Nylander elevated to that point that it was probably due to a fluke.  Sorry about that.

Although, all I am taking from that above paragraph is that you are saying that there's a chance.

I'm not entirely with you on the examples though. Here's my take on them:

1) Modano makes the least sense to me. There's nothing about his 98-99 season that's unusual at all production-wise. In fact, in the 8 years from 95-96 to 02-03 Modano never had a full season under 77 points or above 85. In the year Dallas won the Cup, he was smack dab in the middle of that with 81 points. It seems to me that Dallas' cup has less to do with Modano elevating his game than it does with things like bringing in a couple of big deal additions in Hull and particularly Belfour.

I'm probably just getting caught up in what the major story lines were at the time of Dallas's cup win.  Belfour was definitely a big part of that, and my examples are a little simplistic because no one player wins a cup.  You need other pieces on the team.  I just remember when they won the cup reporters talking about how much Modano had elevated, and that he was the reason they were there.  When they went back to the cup final and lost to the Devils, it was all on the back of Ed Belfour, at least according to the reporting at the time.

2) The '90 Oilers really strike me as more of an example about how flukey things can happen more than anything else. It was a really weird year. 3 of the final 4 teams had 90 points or less(including Washington with 78 points). I also kind of wonder if Messier's big year is really a question of him having the best year of his life vs. just a difference in opportunities from being the #1 guy instead of the the #2. I'm not sure, in context, his year that year is really a big step up from the rest of his time in Edmonton.

So for this one, I actually meant the Oilers one, and the Rangers one.  I know that the Oilers one is the more flukey of the two, but the Rangers one, I really feel that they win that cup on the backs of Messier, Leetch and Richter.  I guess a young Zubov, who had his best season that year, was also there.  Still I don't think that was the deepest team.  Again I was maybe a little too simplistic in this example, as it was more than Messier.   

3) I guess Gilmour fits the best into that but I can't help but feel like we remember that season a little rosier than is maybe warranted. Gilmour certainly was great that year but I'm not sure anyone would really think he was nudging up against Lemieux and Gretzky. He finished 2nd in Hart voting, sure, but a lot of that was narrative driven. He wasn't a 1st or 2nd team all-star.

Yeah, and I didn't really quantify it well when I was marking the argument, but I was thinking more of the example as "is in the conversation of being one of the best players at their position".  That should have been a caveat though that during the late 80's and early 90's that meant that you were in the conversation with the group of players immediately after Gretzky and Lemieux. 

To use your example, if Marner/Matthews/Nylander were so superhumanly great this year that the Leafs won the cup then I don't think there's any real question that the defense would still be considered one of the worst defenses to have won a cup and Andersen one of the more mediocre goalies to do so.

True, if the Leafs won the Cup, you would probably have to lump them in with Carolina, Pittsburgh, Tampa defence/goalie groupings that won the cup in years past.   You know the more we discuss this, the more I am sure that we are just watching a reboot of the 1999 - 2004 Toronto Maple Leafs. 
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Offline Nik

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Re: Armchair GM 2018-2019
« Reply #344 on: June 19, 2018, 10:36:48 PM »
True, if the Leafs won the Cup, you would probably have to lump them in with Carolina, Pittsburgh, Tampa defence/goalie groupings that won the cup in years past.   You know the more we discuss this, the more I am sure that we are just watching a reboot of the 1999 - 2004 Toronto Maple Leafs.

Which, you know, isn't the worst thing in the world. The modern NHL doesn't have the super teams it used to. There are no Avs or Red Wings that are multiple HOFers deep at the key positions any more. If the 2003 Leafs were dropped into the modern NHL they'd have a puncher's chance.
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