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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    Devils give Jimmy Hayes a shot with PTO

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    The New Jersey Devils have made dramatic moves to improve their forward group over the last few years, but even with Taylor Hall, Marcus Johansson, and Kyle Palmieri in the mix, there’s still plenty of room for improvement.

    With that and the Devils’ recent struggles in mind, it only makes sense for GM Ray Shero to be open-minded to “reclamation projects.”

    Perhaps that will be the case with towering forward Jimmy Hayes, then. The Devils announced that the winger has been invited to training camp on a PTO.

    Look, there’s no doubt that Hayes has frequently struggled to make a difference at the NHL level. Not that long ago, he broke a 35-game pointless streak.

    Still, it’s probably fair to give him an incomplete grade instead of a failing mark from 2016-17. After all, there are only so many players who can produce much offense when they’re receiving 9:14 TOI per game.

    Hayes went from averaging 15:09 per contest in his best season (2014-15, when he scored 19 goals for Florida) to 13:50 TOI with Boston in 2015-16 and then that new low last season.

    So, no doubt about it, Hayes’ stock couldn’t get much lower.

    We’ve seen fringe guys become valuable assets after getting clean slates, including with bigger forwards. Zack Kassian resurrected his career following some significant struggles, just to name a recent example.

    The Devils could use another NHL-caliber forward, particularly with valuable center Travis Zajac slated to miss a chunk of 2017-18. Maybe Hayes can be part of the solution.

    No need for Flyers to rush Nolan Patrick after injury-plagued year

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    This post is part of Flyers day at PHT…

    It wasn’t long before Nolan Patrick began lighting up the Western Hockey League.

    Two years before he was even selected second overall by the Philadelphia Flyers, he had scored 30 goals in his first full season with the Brandon Wheat Kings. A year later, he had 102 points, vaulting him into the position as the likely No. 1 overall pick for the 2017 Entry Draft.

    Dating back more than a year, however, Patrick has been sidetracked by injury.

    He underwent sports hernia surgery last summer. He played in only 33 games for Brandon this past season and couldn’t play for Canada at the World Juniors. In June, just prior to his selection by Philly, he had another operation — an abdominal surgery, the Flyers later announced — with a window of four to six weeks before he could resume full activity.

    The Flyers had only a 2.2 per cent chance of winning the first overall selection, yet they still made a massive move up the board when the lottery had concluded. The first pick would come down to Patrick or Nico Hischier, who worked his way into the conversation for No. 1 overall as his QMJHL season continued.

    In the end, the lottery-winning Devils took Hischier and Patrick fell right to the Flyers.

    In Patrick, the Flyers get a center that stands at 6-foot-2 tall and 198 pounds, and is capable of producing significant numbers offensively — at least that’s what he showed in junior. Even if his 2016-17 season was hampered, Patrick still managed 20 goals and 46 points.

    “And then playing and not being a 100 percent. I didn’t play one game this year feeling [like] myself. I’ve got the summer to get where I need to be,” said Patrick, per CSN Philly.

    “My skating was kind of bugging me throughout the season. I needed to get my conditioning back to where I wanted it to be. I did as much as I could, but I wasn’t pouting about it.”

    Patrick turns 19 years old next month during training camp and will look to make the Flyers for this upcoming season. Given everything he’s dealt with over the last several months, it would be, despite the talent that made him a top prospect in the draft, unreasonable to place lofty expectations on him right away, as he makes the transition into the NHL.

    Having him healthy and ready for camp is a good start, but there really is no need to rush him along, particularly if it’s at the expense of future gains.

    “We’re looking at the big picture here,” said general manager Ron Hextall earlier this summer, per the Courier-Post. “We’re not looking at next season. We’re looking at hopefully the next 10 to 15 seasons. We will do what’s best for Nolan long-term.”

    Report: College free agent Alex Kerfoot opts to join Avalanche

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    The wait appears to be over.

    College free agent Alex Kerfoot has reportedly made his decision, choosing to join the Colorado Avalanche, according to Darren Dreger of TSN.

    The news comes days after it was reported the New York Rangers were among the finalists to land the Harvard product, which would’ve provided a boost in depth at center for that club.

    The 23-year-old center was also targeted by the Vancouver Canucks, which is hardly surprising given Kerfoot is from that area and played his junior hockey in nearby Coquitlam.

    Kerfoot, originally drafted by the New Jersey Devils, was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award this past season, after scoring 16 goals and 45 points in 36 games with Harvard.

    He decided not to sign in New Jersey, becoming an unrestricted free agent on Aug. 15.

    Islanders add Terreri as goaltending development coach

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    The New York Islanders made a coaching move Wednesday, naming former NHL puckstopper Chris Terreri as a goalie development coach and goalie coach for the AHL’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

    “Chris has a vast amount of knowledge and experience, both as a player and a coach,” said Islanders general manager Garth Snow. “We’re excited for him to work with our goalies at every level, as well as assist in our scouting process and to make his mark on this crucial position.”

    Terreri appeared in 406 NHL games between 1986 and 2001, spending most of his career with the New Jersey Devils.

    He then transitioned into coaching, spending the last eight years working as a goalie coach with the Devils.

    Related: Under pressure: Jaroslav Halak