Hopkins, Couturier, Larsson - Three Different Views On Staying In The NHL

OTTAWA, CANADA - OCTOBER 18: Sean Couturier #14 of the Philadelphia Flyers celebrates his first ever NHL goal in a game against the Ottawa Senators at Scotiabank Place on October 18, 2011 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images)

Oilers' fans aren't the only ones who debate the finer points of starting entry-level contracts for 18-year old draft picks.  Four players from the 2011 draft class have remained in the NHL for the 2011-12 season:  Sean Couturier, Gabriel Landeskog, Adam Larsson and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.  If Oilers' fans thought they were alone in the ferocity of the debate, they were mistaken.

Sean Couturier and the Philadelphia Flyers: A few facts - Broad Street Hockey
He earns about $500,000 to $700,000 more on his current contract than other players in the organization that could play that same role this season. For a team so close to the cap that they can only afford to ice six defensemen right now, that's a lot of money.

Eating Crow or How I Learned to Accept Adam Larsson Staying in New Jersey - In Lou We Trust
I absolutely loved that the Devils were able to draft him fourth overall in the 2011 Entry Draft. I loved what he has done as a prospect and what he could be. Yet, I was stressing bringing him along slowly even on the draft night. In a summary of reactions to Larsson getting picked, I made my point clear: he needs to develop and he should do that in the Elitserien in Sweden. I was far more explicit with this post in July, where I explained why Larsson should be with Skellefteå AIK in 2011-12 instead of Albany or New Jersey. I felt they were sensible points - at the time. However, as the season approached, those arguments fell by the wayside. I'll summarize what went on, and then explain why I've learned to accept that Adam Larsson will probably be in New Jersey for the rest of the season.

Nation Radio, Ryan Batty - OilersNation
Ryan Batty from the Copper n Blue has been described by Lowetide as "always (having) a strong opinion and doesn't waver when it is unpopular." We can't imagine what that would look like but Batty has the gall to come on NationRadio and make a case that Ryan Nugent-Hopkins should have been returned to junior by the Edmonton Oilers.

Around the league

South Korean Hockey Players Going International - Puck Worlds
Two South Korean nationals had transferred from the Asian League powerhouse that is Anyang Halla to start their careers as low-level minor league professionals abroad. Ki Sung Kim has signed with the Tulsa Oilers of the AA level Central Hockey League (USA). And Woo-Sang Park has signed on with the Coventry Blaze of the Elite Ice Hockey League (UK).

It's Not Only About the Stats - Brodeur is a Fraud
This is the time of the year where dozens of articles are written by reporters claiming that a good offseason of training is fully responsible for a player's 30% shooting percentage through 10 games, and is the reason why that player is going to hit the 40 or 50 goal mark for the first time in their careers.

How useful is Raw +/-? - Arctic Ice Hockey
Someone asked friend of the blog Neil Greenberg how reliable individual +/- is. I think it's very reliable - in fact, you would do reasonably well signing the player who finishes dead last in the league in +/- every season provided he wasn't on an expansion team. Let's take a look at that list:

With Apologies to The Weakerthans...I hate "Shot Quality" - Arctic Ice Hockey
We started from a truth ("shot quality" does indeed vary on individual shots) and essentially never used that idea to gain any broader insights about individual players or teams. Which team will have the highest even-strength shooting percentage this year? Nobody knows...Or at least nobody is willing to bet on it. What about goaltender talent? Have we come up with a better predictive model for goalie performance because we're able to remove the impact of the defense from overall results?

A Contract I Actually Like: Martin Hanzal - Driving Play
As we can see, Hanzal is playing in every possible situation for Phoenix, the very definition of versatility. What is more, Hanzal entered the league garnering top-6 minutes and steadily increased his ice time to become the team's leader last season. How has Hanzal handled these assignments?

Early Season Top 30 for the 2012 NHL Draft - OHL Prospects
But with a full month of OHL action under our belts, I think it's fair to take an early look ahead to the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. Over the coming weeks, you'll start to see a lot of scouting lists thrown at you, eventually leading up to the release of the NHL Central Scouting Bureau's Preliminary list in November.

Fear the Fin Debates: How should we feel about Dany Heatley? - Fear The Fin
For some, this has ruffled feathers. Others are simply happy to see him do well. Plank and Matt spent some time this week discussing both sides. Considering that Heatley's Wild just played Ottawa last night, it's as good a time as any for a debate. Enjoy.

New Jersey Devils Appear Headed For Bankruptcy - Forbes
From working on our NHL team valuations, which will go live on Forbes.com Nov. 30, I can tell you the Devils have over $250 million of debt piled on the team and arena, which they control. The debt is growing because Vanderbeek, unable to make interest payments, is capitalizing the interest. If this all sounds familiar it is because it should. This is what Hicks Sports Group went through when its $525 million of debt, stacked on baseball’s Texas Rangers and hockey’s Dallas Stars, grew to $600 million because HSG owner Tom Hicks could not make interest payments, ultimately defaulting. HSG sold the Rangers to a group led by Nolan Ryan and Chuck Greenberg in a bankruptcy court-led auction and the Stars are currently being sold through the same process.

Oilers-Related Items

The Great Pumpkin Does Not Come - mc79hockey.com
Pretty obvious who the coach didn’t want out there defending the lead: RNH/Hall/Eberle. Omark, whatever his defensive failings might be, kept getting thrown over the boards.

Quick Hits on a Win - Oil Acumen
Speaking of Shawn Horcoff, it's nice to have a captain that can play a regular shift. Ethan Moreau averaged only 14:24 of ice time per game in his last year in Edmonton, while Horcoff is averaging 21:04 and plays in every situation.

Not A Gambler By Nature - Black Dog Hates Skunks
A healthy Ales Hemsky makes this team that much more dangerous and either makes the Horcoff line an absolute killer or makes Belanger and Paajarvi a lot more dangerous. You have to keep your good players, right? Right? We always say that here. But what about the good player who only plays forty or fifty games a year? Damnit!

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