In my galvantings around various SBN hockey sites, I've noticed some blogs doing a fan "what are you looking forward to in the next season" posts. Here is mine.
1. Claude Giroux on a line with players who can finish
No offense to rookie JVR or Asham, but Giroux dishes like few others can, and those two often missed the meal. The depth in the top nine means that X will more than likely be playing with people who can put the puck in the net, and I'm salivating at the thought. Wherever he plays in the lineup, it will be an improvement.I expect to see a lot of 28 to 17, 28 to 18 and 28 to 93 in the box scores.
A line I would love to see: Leino-Giroux-Zherdev. Would there be a shiftier line in the entire NHL than those three??
2. Coburn morphing into a mini-Pronger
When I think about it, Coburn is probably one of my favourite Flyers. By all accounts, he had his worst year statistically last year. But it wasn't just in the stats that Coburn looked bad, he was scary to watch on the ice. Whether he was constantly making the wrong decision, turning over the puck, or putting the puck in his own net, he was bad. Kimmo was saddled with Coburn for most of the season, and while he still managed to do all the important things, he could have been doing a lot more if Coburn had been playing at a better level. Then the playoffs came, he was saddled with a lot of responsibility, and he started showing signs that last season was an aberration.
Pronger's 6'6", 220lbs, Coburn is 6'5",220lbs. Pronger also went through growing pains at the start of his career (according to his stats anyway). I'm hoping under his tutelage, Coburn can get a bit of snarl into his game, regain his confidence, and start dominating the Parise's, Gaborik's, Malkin's and Tavare's that he'll have to deal with. Remember, he's only 25 and has a lot to learn.
3. A full season of Lavvy
Last season, the entire team was horribly inconsistent. Even after Lavvy was hired there were some pretty bad times. In my opinion though, Lavvy proved himself to be a great coach in the playoffs, especially during the Boston series. He is the undisputed Master of the Timeout.
It took a long time for the team to get to grips with his system, and I suspect that he altered it during the playoffs. A full season playing the same style, coupled with Lavvy's intensity from the bench, will hopefully mean that BSH doesn't go through monthly bouts of depression. Fingers crossed.
4. Another season of advanced stats
In the future, instead of talking about how many goals Carter has scored, we're going to talk about how he managed to do it despite having poor zone starts and a negative Corsi. Trust me, it's gonna be a thing.
But in all seriousness, looking closlier at the underlying statistics of a hockey game is one thing that really excites me. Another season of understanding means that I'll be able to make more FanPosts about advanced stats. YAY!
If you are at all interested in learning about the different methods of statistical analysis used in the NHL, check out the FAQ at BehindtheNet.com
This post is extremely self-indulgent, and I like it.