Anderson and Conklin: anti-contract year goalies

craig anderson.jpgNumber-crunching blog Behind the Net has a great study of just how unlikely (and quite lucky) the Colorado Avalanche’s playoff run has been this year. The discussion goes deeper than this, but the general hypothesis is that the Avs’ high shooting percentage and goalie Craig Anderson’s high save percentage indicate that they might not be able to sustain their continued success over the course of the playoffs.

Let me be clear: it’s not like Colorado should finish 28th in the league this season. But even with Anderson playing well in goal, they seem like more of a playoff bubble team. It will be very difficult for the Avs to win a playoff series if they don’t start dominating their opponents on the shot tables.

Colorado’s shooting percentages may not be sustainable and Anderson might not be this good much longer, but I think that Anderson might be the real deal. If nothing else, as the former backup of another stellar-yet-relatively-unknown goalie Tomas Vokoun, Anderson had almost an anti-contract year.

In fact, I think Anderson and fellow career back Ty Conklin are examples of the value that can be found in solid, cheap goalies who have a proven track record of being productive. On the other hand, Scott Clemmensen is the ultimate contract year goalie; remember, GMs, when someone comes out of nowhere you might want to make sure they can produce for more than one season.


First, let’s look at their contracts (compiled from Capgeek.com).

Craig Anderson: 2 year, $3.625 million

Ty Conklin: 2 year, $2.6 million

Scott Clemmensen: 3 year, $3.6 million

So, obviously, Anderson is making slightly more money than his two colleagues. Still, the three were probably held in the same general regard (although Clemmensen was signed to replace Anderson in Florida, so maybe his expectations were a little lower). Now, let’s take a look at each goalie’s contract year versus current season (compiled from HockeyDB.com).

Anderson:

(contract year: 15-7-5, 2.71 GAA, 92.4 save % with 3 SOs)

(this year: 35-19-5, 2.46 GAA, 92.0 save % with 7 SOs)

Conklin:

(contract year: 25-11-2, 2.51 GAA, 90.9 save % with 6 SOs)

(this year: 8-8-1, 2.60 GAA, 92 save % with 3 SOs)

Clemmensen:

(contract year: 25-13-1, 2.39 GAA, 91.7 save % with 2 SOs)

(this year: 5-6-0, 3.62 GAA, 89 save % with 0 SOs)

Conklin is fairly comparable to Anderson in the nerdy numbers (save percentage mostly), which points to Behind the Net’s point about Colorado’s lucky streak. Conklin might not be getting many wins, but he has an excellent save percentage. Those two are great values in net.

Clemmensen is the backup goalie’s version of Cristobal Huet. He came from nowhere, had a nice hot streak and suckered a team into a longer than deserved contract. Naturally, his deal isn’t nearly as damaging as Huet’s but the Panthers aren’t going to feel very comfortable putting Clemmensen in even though Vokoun is known for being a bit fragile.

So, once again, I must continue my crusade. If you’re going to pay a goalie big bucks, don’t do it because of some dream of him maintaining a Cinderella season. Consistency is the key.

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    Video: Blandisi scores great between-the-legs goal vs. Flyers

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    What a story Joseph Blandisi‘s been for the New Jersey Devils this season.

    The 21-year-old played in his first NHL game on Dec. 11 and has stayed with the Devils ever since.

    It took him five games to pick up his first career point, but he’s done a whole lot more damage since then.

    Blandisi came into Saturday’s action with 10 points in his last 12 games and he added to that against the Flyers.

    He opened the scoring with this beautiful between-the-legs goal on goalie Michal Neuvirth (top of the page).

    That’s Blandisi’s fourth goal of the season.

    Some Twitter reaction to the goal:

    Bruins’ Bergeron ruled out for Saturday’s game against Wild

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    The Boston Bruins will be without center Patrice Bergeron in Saturday afternoon’s matinee against the Minnesota Wild.

    It’s unclear how Bergeron suffered the undisclosed injury, but there’s reason to believe it occurred after he dropped the gloves with Jets forward Blake Wheeler (above).

    He’s considered day-to-day at this point.

    Losing him for an extended period of time would be devastating for Boston.

    “You don’t like seeing your star players (fight), but you also understand that it’s an emotional game and that stuff happens and at one point a player says, ‘Enough is enough and I’m going to stand up for myself,’” Bruins head coach Claude Julien said after the game, as per the Boston Herald.

    “From what I gathered there was a lot of slashes behind the legs behind the play and stuff like that. He took things upon himself. As much as you don’t like it, you can’t tell him he’s not allowed. He’s a big boy and he can certainly make some decisions on the ice. And it’s not the first time that he’s fought. But I like the fact that he doesn’t fight much.”

    After this incident, there’s no doubt that the Bruins will tell Bergeron to keep his gloves on from now on.

    Jets will take one more crack at re-signing Andrew Ladd

    Winnipeg Jets' Andrew Ladd (16) and Blake Wheeler (26) celebrate Ladd's goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL action in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015. (John Woods/The Canadian Press via AP)
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    Jets captain Andrew Ladd still doesn’t have a contract for next season and with the Feb. 29 trade deadline approaching, something’s gonna have to give.

    According to TSN’s Gary Lawless, the Winnipeg Jets will make one last push to sign the forward before making him available on the trade market.

    Ladd doesn’t want to leave and the team wants to keep him, but after Dustin Byfgulien got an extension earlier this month, there may not be enough money to go around.

    At one point, the Jets reportedly made Ladd a six-year offer worth $6 million per year, which he obviously didn’t accept.

    Can they top that? Time will tell.

    Waiting to trade Ladd is probably the smartest decision.

    Keeping the captain around would be great, but if the two sides can’t agree to a new contract, there’ll be no shortage of suitors for Ladd’s services.

    Lawless mentions the Penguins, Panthers and Blackhawks as potential landing spots for the 30-year-old.

    The Kings have also been mentioned as a potential destination for Ladd.

    Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff will have to make some crucial decisions over the next few weeks.

    Flyers’ Neuvirth (lower body) will be between the pipes vs. the Devils on Saturday

    Philadelphia Flyers goalie Michal Neuvirth (30) of the Czech Republic stops a shot from the Dallas Stars in the third period of an NHL hockey game, Friday, Dec. 11, 2015, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
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    Michal Neuvirth will make his first start of the month in Saturday’s game against the New Jersey Devils.

    The 27-year-old missed five games with a lower-body injury. He was activated off the injured list earlier this week and served as Steve Mason‘s backup in Thursday’s game against Buffalo.

    Neuvirth has an 11-6-2 record with a 2.14 goals-against-average and a .933 save percentage in 2015-16.

    He’s put up some solid numbers against the Devils in his career. Neuvirth has a 5-2-4 record with 2.03 goals-against-average and a .927 save percentage in games against New Jersey.

    Steve Mason, who’s coming off a 41-save performance in a win over Buffalo, hasn’t been as good against Saturday’s opponent.

    Mason is 0-7-0 lifetime against the Devils.

    Puck drop is at 1:00 p.m. ET.