A few weeks ago I posted my breakdown of the Blue Jackets scoring chances at even strength . Since that article has gone up I’ve spent far too much time working through the data for special teams. The results are not exactly what I was expecting and I am not entirely sure what to make of it. The effectiveness of Derek Dorsett and Mark Letestu on the powerplay perplexed me. The ineffectiveness of Jack Johnson, RJ Umberger and James Wisniewski perplexed me more. The differing rates of scoring chances between Jackets powerplays and opponent powerplays put a wrench into comparisons. To combat some of these issues, I took a look at the rate at which scoring chances were converted while these players were on the ice. This painted a better picture of what players contributed to generating chances, as well as what players generated fewer chances but converted more of those chances to goals. Further, this analysis applied to shorthanded scoring chances was similarly illuminating. Again, many thanks to the awesome Matt Wagner at The Cannon for compiling the full breakdown of the Jackets scoring chances. Continue reading Special Teams Scoring Chance Rates
It gives me great pleasure to be part of the Union Blue team and what better way to celebrate this great new site than to celebrate the signing of one Derek Dorsett to a three year contract extension that keeps him in Union Blue.
Suffice it to say that he of the #DD and #becausehesawesome hashtags is well deserving of this in my mind (but you all know this). I have been a long standing Dorsett fan and have proudly carried the flag to bring fan attention to #15 for some time.
Much has been made of Dorse’s progress this year. He has gone from a scrappy fourth liner viewed as being dispensable to an integral part of the team who is now confirmed to continue to bring his fire and dedication to the ice in Columbus. I’ve already written earlier this year about his progress against the previous complaints lobbed against him but, I would like to celebrate some of the very things that have made Dorse invaluable this year and have resulted in career stats in PIM (also league leader) and goals scored. Because, when it comes to many of the frustrations that have been expressed this year about the CBJ, DD can refute most of them: Continue reading 3 More Years of Awesome – Derek Dorsett Signs Three Year Extension
As my colleagues continue to provide tremendous hockey-focused coverage here, every now and then its fun to pop in and look at what the Blue Jackets are doing in the off-season away from the on-ice product.
Today was the inaugural “Front Street Friday“. For those of you on twitter, you can follow updates by searching the hashtag #CBJFSF. You could not have asked for a more beautiful day, and it always amazes me to take a look at the tremendous location that the Arena District has become. As a born and raised Columbus-ite, we couldn’t have imagined that 30 years ago!
Well Folks I started off the season keeping track of 21 prospects across the globe and now we’re down to two. The only prospects left are both from the QMJHL and will be playing in the Memorial Cup. Michael Chaput and the Shawinigan Cataractes are the hosts and earned a bye and have been off since April 18 when they lost in the second round, the other one is Saint John Sea Dogs goaltender Mathieu Corbeil who is back in the Cup after serving as Jacob Deserres’ backup. Corbeil is the third CBJ draft pick or prospect to play in multiple Memorial Cups joining Phillipe Dupuis who played in three(03,04,06) and Brent Regner who played in two(06,07). But enough with the history lesson let’s get to it.
The Columbus Blue Jackets have signed Todd Richards to a two year deal as the new head coach News broke this morning of the decision to sign the interim coach after his efforts to turn the team around mid season left him with an 18-21-2 record.
To his credit, the Blue Jackets played visibly better with Richards at the helm. One of the more notable positive stats was his 14-0 record when leading after two periods, a statistic that would shock most considering the early season distasters that plagued Columbus at the end of games. This level of execution in the third period was an enormous boost.
While his record with the team was not entirely desirable, the difference in the team mentality appeared to improve substantially under Richards. Players like Derick Brassard are a prime example of someone who really found their way after the coaching change.
One of the biggest benefits as far as I am concerned, is the stability of a coaching position that does not sit vacant coming into the off-season. I have seen coaches struggle with certain types of players (Hitch and the offensive players of Columbus in his final year come immediately to mind) and having a coach in place helps to gain an idea of what kind of team would be best iced. Obviously this won’t be the main factor in what kind of free agents will be brought in this summer, I see it as a real positive to allow Howson and Richards to work together to find some of the more glaring roster holes based on a specific system.
News broke early this morning via the Columbus Dispatch that Mayor Michael Coleman has written a letter to the NBA asking for consideration to host an NBA team. Reaction was swift and strong from many in the Blue Jackets fan base wanting to preserve the sanctity of Nationwide Arena as a house of hockey – only. Conversation also veered into territory implying that this was an indictment on the state of the Blue Jackets.
But, for those of you who know me, I am a big fan of taking a step back and looking at the facts as we currently have them without innuendo. So let’s see what we have: Continue reading Rumor Mill: The NBA in Columbus?
A criticism often extended to the Blue Jackets is the lack of team depth. Whether in reference to scoring or support, it has long been an excuse given to the sympathy of Rick Nash’s ‘plight’ in Ohio. It is argued that he has not been given ample line support or an entire supporting cast to fully reach his potential as a scorer in the National Hockey League.
Fast forward to the 2012 NHL playoffs, and we have been forced to witness Blue Jackets players of the past thrive in their new homes. The “#CBJwest” Phoenix Coyotes feature former Jackets Ray Whitney, Gilbert Brule, Antoine Vermette, Rusty Klesla, and Raffi Torres. They have all been visible this post-season, none more shocking than Vermette, who has found a scoring touch Columbus had not seen since his early days here. Other notables include eliminated Sammy Pahlsson playing in Vancouver, Jakub Voracek recently eliminated in Philadelphia, Anton Stralman in New York, and also recently eliminated Kris Russell playing in St Louis (I’ll go ahead and exclude Jeff Carter for too many reasons to list).
Most in that group made a significant impact to their team this spring. Here is a list of players and their points this post season:
|Player Name||Games Played||Goals||Assists||Points|
As you can see, they are definitely providing strong depth scoring, and in some cases have become one of the top scorers on their respective teams. With this in mind, I can’t help but begin to destroy the silly argument suggesting a complete lack of a supporting cast around “All Star captain Rick Nash.” But for as much as I wanted this commentary to circle around that argument, I think a more pressing issue is evident here.
The awesome Matt Wagner at The Cannon wrote a piece a couple of weeks ago with the full breakdown on the leaders in scoring chances for and against for the 2011-23 Blue Jackets. While a fantastic piece that required a tremendous amount of work by Mr. Wagner, I thought I would take his statistics one step further. I took Matt’s gross scoring chance statistics and turned them into rates by dividing the scoring chances by the amount of time on ice that player had. This produced a per 60 minute rate for every player who wore a CBJ jersey this season. This produced a wealth of information, far too much for one post. So in this one I will break down the scoring chances rates at even strength for every player who played over 20 games for the Jackets this season. This ruled out Kris Russell, Matt Calvert, Cody Bass, Radek Martinek, Maksim Mayorov, Tomas Kubalik, Alexandre Giroux, Dane Byers, Dalton Prout, Kristian Huselius, Andrew Joudrey and Cody Goloubef. These players did not play enough to gather enough information to be meaningful. Ideally, I would have set the bar higher but that would have ruled out the player I was most interested in getting a handle on: Jack Johnson. Continue reading Even Strength Scoring Chance Rates
Welcome to The Union Blue! For those of you discovering this for the first time, I am going to be doing mock drafts through the playoffs as the draft pick position changes (or is expected to change). You can check out v1.0 here. As an added bonus, I will also be including a quick rundown of the second round, as well as a few picks I expect to see in the third round. Once the conference finalists are set, I’ll fire off v3.0. Enjoy!
|1||Edmonton||Nail Yakupov||RW||All Star winger, deadly shooter, good playmaker, has a physical edge||Size and injuries are a concern||5’10, 189|
|2||Columbus||Alex Galchenyuk||C||Top line center with good two way play||May not have elite offensive skills, knee injury||6’0, 198|
|3||Montreal||Mikhail Grigorenko||C||All Star center with good scoring and playmaking skills||Effort and consistency have been a problem, huge upside but huge risk||6’3, 200|
|4||NY Islanders||Mathew Dumba||D||Top powerplay defenseman with a physical edge||Decision making needs work||6’0, 183|
|5||Toronto||Ryan Murray||D||Smooth skating top pairing defenseman||Has limited offensive upside and not very physical||6’0, 201|
|6||Anaheim||Filip Forsberg||LW||Top line power forward||Skating needs a lot of work to play first line minutes||6’2, 181|
|7||Minnesota||Radek Faksa||C||Second line power forward||Like Forsberg, his skating needs work||6’3, 202|
|8||Carolina||Jacob Trouba||D||Excellent two way second pairing defenseman||Decision making and discipline are a concern||6’2, 198|
|9||Winnipeg||Teuvo Teravainen||LW||First line playmaking winger||Needs to get significantly bigger to handle the NHL||5’11, 165|
|10||Tampa Bay||Morgan Rielly||D||Top pp defenseman, second pair at even strength||Defensive play is suspect, missed most of season with a knee injury||6’0, 190|
|11||Washington*||Griffin Reinhart||D||Physical shutdown defenseman, second pair at even strength||Consistency is an issue, limited offensive upside||6’4, 207|
|12||Buffalo||Zemgus Girgensons||C||Physical second line center||Offensive ability may be limited||6’2, 198|
|13||Dallas||Cody Ceci||D||Solid two way second pair defenseman||Doesn’t have high end offensive or defensive ability, not very physical||6’2, 207|
|14||Calgary||Sebastien Collberg||RW||Skilled second line winger with playmaking ability||Needs to improve strength, consistency and defensive zone play||5’11, 176|
|15||Ottawa||Matt Finn||D||Hard working second pair, two way defenseman||Could get bigger, skating needs to get better, puck skills need work||6’0, 195|
|16||Washington||Brendan Gaunce||C||Second or third line center, with good size and good all around game||Could improve physicality, skating needs work, can improve puck skills||6’2, 215|
|17||Columbus**||Pontus Aberg||LW||Creative, two way second liner with a good shot||Needs to get bigger, passing needs work||5’11, 194|
|18||San Jose||Derrick Pouliot||D||Second pairing puck moving defenseman||Undersized, suspect defensively, and can be careless with the puck||5’11, 186|
|19||Chicago||Olli Maata||D||Stay at home second pair defenseman with a good first pass||Skating needs improvement and has limited offensive skills||6’2, 202|
|20||New Jersey||Hampus Lindholm||D||Great skating, two way defender||Offensive and defensive upside are question marks, needs to bulk up||6’2, 196|
|21||Tampa Bay***||Malcolm Subban||G||Starting goalie, quick pads and glove, solid rebound control||Inconsistency and injury concerns||6’1, 188|
|22||Buffalo****||Tomas Hertl||C||Offensively skilled second liner with decent grit||A poor skater and questionable defensively||6’2, 198|
|23||Pittsburgh||Brady Skjei||D||Good skating, two way second pair defenseman||Is inconsistent, not physical, and may be limited offensively||6’3, 200|
|24||Florida||Stefan Matteau||C||Hard working, intelligent two way second/third liner||May not have the offensive skill to play top six||6’2, 210|
|25||Boston||Tom Wilson||RW||Bruising power forward, probably on the 3rd line, chance of 2nd||Skating needs a lot of work, puck skills are limited||6’4, 203|
|26||Vancouver||Scott Kosmachuk||RW||Hard working, physical second liner with some offensive punch||May not have top six skill, size may decrease impact of physical play||6’0, 185|
|27||Philadelphia||Slater Koekkek||D||Big, solid 2nd pair defenseman with decent puck skills||Decision making with the puck, skating needs a little work||6’2, 184|
|28||Phoenix||Ville Pokka||D||Defensive oriented second pair defenseman, with a chance of offensive upside||Offensive ability is debatable, skating needs work||6’0, 196|
|29||St. Louis||Mike Matheson||D||Good skater, offensive minded second pair defenseman||Needs to add size and improve skill to be an NHLer||6’1, 178|
|30||NY Rangers||Ludvik Bystrom||D||Intelligent, mobile, second pair defenseman||Not physical, offensive skills need improvement||6’1, 208|
|1||Columbus||Andrei Vasilevski||G||6’3, 204|
|2||Edmonton||Dalton Thrower||D||5’11, 189|
|3||Montreal||Martin Frk||RW||6’0, 204|
|4||NY Islanders||Colton Sissons||C||6’1, 189|
|5||Toronto||Scott Laughton||C||6’0, 177|
|6||Anaheim||Damon Severson||D||6’2, 200|
|7||Tampa Bay^||Phil Giuseppe||LW||6’0, 176|
|8||Carolina||Nic Kerdiles||LW||6’2, 201|
|9||Winnipeg||Tanner Pearson||LW||6’0, 198|
|10||Tampa Bay||Anton Slepyshev||LW||6’2, 187|
|11||Colorado||Cristoval Nieves||C||6’3, 184|
|12||Buffalo||Jordan Schmaltz||D||6’2, 189|
|13||Dallas||Mike Winther||C||5’11, 175|
|14||Buffalo^^||Daniil Zharkov||LW||6’3, 197|
|15||Columbus^^^||Tim Bozon||LW||6’0, 183|
|16||Minnesota+||Mikko Vainonen||D||6’3, 205|
|17||Dallas++||Jarrod Maidens||LW||6’0, 178|
|18||Carolina+++||Chandler Stephenson||LW||5’10, 192|
|19||Chicago||Oscar Dansk||G||6’2, 186|
|20||New Jersey||Troy Bourke||LW||5’10, 156|
|21||Detroit||Andreas Athanasiou||LW||6’0, 179|
|22||Montreal~||Mark Jankowski||C||6’2, 170|
|23||Pittsburgh||Tomas Hyka||RW||5’11, 160|
|24||Florida||Brady Vail||C||6’0, 195|
|55||San Jose~~||Nikolai Prokhorkin||LW||6’2, 191|
|56||Colorado~~~||Gemel Smith||C||5’10, 160|
|57||Vancouver||Dane Fox||C||6’0, 185|
|58||Tampa Bay#||Patrick Sieloff||D||6.0, 198|
|59||Phoenix||Erik Karlsson||C||6’0, 162|
|60||St. Louis||Lukas Sutter||C||6’0, 207|
|61||NY Rangers||Calle Andersson||D||6’2, 208|
Honorable Mention & Notes
Christian Djoos, D, 5’11, 158
Brandon Whitney, G, 6’5, 193
James Melindy, D, 6’2, 191
Raphael Bussieres, LW, 6’1, 195
Samuel Kurker, RW, 6’2, 198
Matia Marcantuoni, C, 6’0, 194
Nick Ebert, D, 6’1, 195
Gianluca Curcurto, D, 6’0, 195
* from Colorado
**from Los Angeles
*** from Detroit
**** from Nashville
^ from Minnesota via San Jose
^^ from Calgary
^^^ from Ottawa via Phoenix
“+” from Washington via New Jersey
“++” from Los Angeles via Philadelphia
“+++” from San Jose
~ from Nashville
~~ compensatory selection for failing to sign Patrick White
~~~ from Boston via Toronto
# from Philadelphia
Welcome to The Union Blue. A fresh look for a group of Columbus Blue Jackets fans dedicated to bringing in depth coverage on the team to their fellow fans. While we are at the end of another disappointing season, hope for a new beginning, better players, and better results is on the horizon.
Here are some of the features you can look forward to:
Podcast :: Scheduled to begin later in the year, The Union Blue will be unleashing a minimum of one regularly scheduled podcast relating to current Blue Jackets topics. We hope to bring additional information soon on a project we are very excited to begin.
Forum :: Coming VERY soon. Here you’ll find all kinds of Blue Jackets discussion, Union Blue events, and an opportunity to go back and forth with fellow Blue Jackets fans on a multitude of topics including community events.
Prospect Database :: During the last year, Carry the Flag provided a tremendous weekly prospect update by popular twitter prospect follower @CBJProspects. We are excited to bring him on board to continue this weekly update on the teams youth, along with a constantly updated prospect twitter database.
Detailed Transaction Information :: You will find actively updated salary cap info, historical trade information, free agent signing information, historical draft selections, and waiver signings/losses in the transactions drop down menu above.
Day-to-Day Coverage :: We hope to provide daily updates to the site regarding the Blue Jackets as the next season nears. There is always a lot of exciting activities throughout the summer like the draft and free agency, and the Union Blue intends to be right in the thick of it all.
Union Blue Events :: Much like the popular TweetUp events this year, the Union Blue intends to orchestrate (or at least be strongly involved in) events related to the team. We recognize the power of TweetUps and want to see events like that continue into next season. Keep an eye on the Union Blue forum Calendar!
So Carry the Flag, Ignite the Night, March On, and bleed Union Blue for the new era of Columbus Blue Jackets hockey.
-The Union Blue Team