Will the Penguins get a compensatory draft pick for the Devils hiring assistant general manager Tom Fitzgerald?
No. The new NHL policy that allows teams to seek draft-pick compensation for hired-away executives and coaches only allows teams to be compensated for someone hired to be head coach, general manager or president.
When the Devils hired Ray Shero as general manager, the Penguins could have sought compensation but chose not to. They were awarded third-round draft picks when Dan Bylsma and John Hynes were hired as head coaches in Buffalo and New Jersey, respectively.
Unfortunately, the will receive no compensation for departed Alain Nasreddine, who joined John Hynes as an assistant coach in New Jersey, and Tom Fitzgerald, who left for the same position with the Devils.
This is the first offseason for the compensation program, so it’s possible that the NHL will tweak the formula in the future.
With so much information already publicly available, what else can guys like Sam Ventura hope to accomplish?
First off, Sam Ventura is the Penguins’ new statistical analyst in their hockey operations department. Ventura is a Ph.D. candidate in statistics at Carnegie Mellon and co-founded the advanced hockey stats website war-on-ice.com
The reason that many NHL teams are hiring stats gurus is that hockey’s advanced statistics are in their infancy. Unlike baseball, where Moneyball has been de rigueur for the better part of two decades, statistics such as Corsi and PDO have just become fashionable in the last few seasons.
The other advantage that baseball statisticians have over their hockey counterparts is data. MLB’s f/x suite, which currently tracks pitch speed and location, and will be expanded to included batted balls and fielding, has provided baseball sabermetricians with mountains of data to analyze.
That same type of technology is coming to the NHL, with chip-embedded pucks allowing teams to record far more data than ever before. When that technology is fully unveiled over the next few seasons, expect hockey’s advanced stats to take a huge leap forward.
Teams that have in-house analysts will be ahead of the curve in being able to take advantage of the new data that is forthcoming.
Who has the inside track on the Penguins’ open 4th-line spots?
With the Penguins roster as it is currently constituted, 10 forwards seem to be mortal locks to make the roster: centers Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Brandon Sutter and wingers Beau Bennett, Pascal Dupuis, Patric Hornqvist, Phil Kessel, Chris Kunitz, David Perron and Sergei Plotnikov.
That leaves three open spots, assuming the Penguins carry 13 forwards. At least of them needs to be a center, and that job appears to be Oskar Sundqvist’s to lose. Sundqvist missed prospect camp with a hamstring injury, and I expect the Penguins to bring in a veteran on a tryout in training camp, but Sundqvist’s combination of size, skill and two-way play should give him the edge.
At wing, I’d say Bryan Rust and Scott Wilson are the most qualified for the job. Conor Sheary is undoubtedly a more talented player, but I’m not sure single-digit minutes on the fourth line will be his forte. Also, the Penguins will need someone that can kill penalties, which eliminates Sheary and leads me to lean towards Rust over Wilson.
Bobby Farnham will be in the mix as well. In my opinion, he’s an ideal 13th forward. His game won’t be harmed by the occasional long stretch in the press box and he’ll be right there when needed for say, a game in Philadelphia.
None of these decisions have been made yet, which should make for an interesting September for the Penguins. For the first time in a while, they have the makings of a legitimate training camp battle for the final few roster spots.
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