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The Analyst

Is our formula really the "Winning Formula?" (Warning Statistics Inside)

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We hear General Manager Mike Gillis talk at nauseum about building a successful team for many years to come.  Discussion about building through the draft, strategic development of prospects and maintaining a competative team year in and year out.  This "Detroit" model certainly is one that that delivers an above average, annually competative team, but as history as has shown, is this truly the recipe to win a Stanley Cup?   Teams like the Philidelphia Flyers, New Jersey Devils (Post 2005 Lockout), and San Jose Sharks have been able to produce a team that is able to have great Regular Season Success, consistantly each season, only to struggle as some point in the Post Season.

I've taken the time to compile some information on the past 4 Stanley Cup Winners.  What you will find are some common themes that you do not see align with the Mike Gillis model.

Similarity # 1 - They each have had 1 MAJOR move, either right at the start, Mid Season or at Trade Deadline.  

-The LA Kings made splashes sending out Brayden Schenn and Jack Johnson for Mike Richards and Jeff Carter respectively.  

-The Boston Bruins sent Phil Kessel to Toronto Aquiring what later became Tyler Seguin.  Added Tomas Kaberle and at the start of the season Traded Dennis Wideman to FLA for Nathan Horton and Gregory Campbell.

-The Chicago Blackhawks added Marion Hossa

-The Pittsburgh Penguins added Chris Kunitz and Bill Guerin

Similarity # 2 - High Impact players contributing at a young age.  Pretty Straight forward comparison.  Below I've added the ages for the notable players.  You will see that the CORE of the team consists of players in the first or second contract in the NHL.  This allows for maximum balance throughout the roster.

Similarity # 3 - 2 or more finishes in the bottom of the league.  You'll see that each of the past 4 Winners finished at or near the bottom of the league.  The finish was able to land them a high impact draft pick, able to either contibute right away on an ELC (Entry Level Contract) or provide major pieces that were in turn exchanged for high impact pieces.

Anyways, below you'll find my research, let's discuss.

Would you be satified seeing your team struggle in the basement for 3-5 years if you knew that it would greatly increase your chances at a cup?  (BTW not going out on a limb, but EDM will win the cup in 2016 years)

From a business perspective, it makes much more financial sense to have a mediocre playoff team year after year.

Discuss....

RESEARCH

2012 - LA Kings - Bottom of the barrel team for years, Drafts Anze Kopitar (24), Johnathan Quick (26), Drew Doughty (22), Dustin Brown (27), Jack Johnson (25).  Received via trade/free agency... Jeff Carter (27), Mike Richards (27), Simon Gagne.

Previous 5 year Finishes:

2011 - 12th in the NHL, Traded pick to EDM

2010 - 8th in the NHL, Drafted Derek Forbert (15th Overall)

2009 - 26th in the NHL, Drafted Brayden Schenn (5th Overall) Later trade to PHI in Mike Richards deal

2008 - 29th in the NHL, Drafted Drew Doughty (2nd Overall)

2007 - 28th in the NHL, Drafted Tomas Hickey (4th Overall)

Other Notables: Drafted Anze Kopitar (11th overall in 2005), Dustin Brown (13th Overall in 2003), Mike Richards (24th Overall 2003), Jack Johnson (3rd Overall in 2005, Aquired Rights from CAR) Later traded to CBJ for Jeff Carter (11th Overall 2003)

2011 - Boston Bruins - Handed the cup by Toronto in Kessel Deal, Given Tyler Seguin(19).  Drafted Patrice Berergon (25),  Milan Lucic (22), Brad Marchand (22).  Aquired Nathan Horton (25)Via trade and Tomas Kaberle.

Previous 5 year Finishes:

2010 - 14th in the NHL, Drafted Tyler Seguin (2nd Overall)

2009 - 2nd in the NHL, Drafted Jordan Caron (25th Overall)

2008 - 13th in the NHL, Drafted Joe Colborne (16th Overall) Later traded to Toronto for Tomas Kaberle

2007 - 23rd in the NHL, Drafted Zach Hamil (8th Overall)

2006 - 26th in the NHL, Drafted Phil Kessel (5th Overall) later traded to Toronto for 1 top 5 Picks

2010 - Chicago Blackhawk - Finish nearly last for many years.  Drafts Jonathan Toews (21), Patrick Kane (21), Dustin Byfuglien (24), Nick Hjalmersson (22), Duncan Keith (26), Brent Seabrook (24), Kris Versteeg (23), Patrick Sharp (28), acquired Marion Hossa

Previous 5 year Finishes:

2009 - 6th in the NHL, Drafted Dylan Olsen (28th Overall)

2008 - 20th in the NHL, Drafted Kyle Beach (11th Overall)

2007 - 25th in the NHL, Drafted Patrick Kane (1st Overall)

2006 - 28th in the NHL, Drafted Jonathan Toews (3rd Overall)

2005 - N/A, Drafted Jack Skille (7th Overall)

2004 - 28th in the NHL, Drafted Cam Barker (3rd Overall)

2009 - Pittsburgh Penguins - Finish dead last for years.  Drafts Marc-andre Fleury (24), Sidney Crosby (21), Evgeni Malkin (22), Kris Letang (21), Alex Goligoski (23).

Previous 5 year Finishes:

2008 - 4th in the NHL, Pick Traded to Atlanta

2007 - 9th in the NHL, Drafted Angelo Esposito (20th Overall)

2006 - 29th in the NHL, Drafted Jordan Staal (2nd Overall)

2005 - N/a, Drafted Sidney Crosby (1st Overall)

2004 - 30th in the NHL, Drafted Evgeni Malkin (2nd Overall)

2003 - 29th in the NHL, Drafted Marc-Andre Fluery (1st Overall)

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Weird. I figured Eberle/Hall/Yakupov/Nuge/Schultz would get it done. Guess we gotta wait for cyborg hockey.

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To add to the Kings, the signings of Scuderi and Mitchell were huge too. They provided very steady defensive play.

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You did a fair bit of research but provided no conclusions.

Are you suggesting that it would be better if Gillis gut the team so that we could suffer at the bottom of the standings for a few years and possibly getting some high draft picks that may or may not be busts?

Personally, I don't think the team should be rebuilt until absolutely necessary. Just because the Sharks have choked for many years doesn't mean the Canucks are doing the wrong thing. They should try and stay contenders as long as they can, and once that is no longer possible, only then start a rebuilding process. Just as long as they don't wait too long and risk becoming the next Calgary.

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Weird. I figured Eberle/Hall/Yakupov/Nuge/Schultz would get it done. Guess we gotta wait for cyborg hockey.

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Interesting. What are your conclusions if you do the same thing with other cup winners? Anaheim built their team though free agency and veterans (Pronger, Neidermayer, Selläne and Giggy). But what about other Cup winners?

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Why the past four winners, and not five? Would that be because Detroit's win disproves your theory?

Also, none of Boston's top picks were real contributors to their cup run. Outside of one great game against Tampa, Seguin didn't do too much. That was based on having a deep forward group, and the hottest goalie in the league. If we get Kesler and Booth back healthy, and Schneider picks up where he left off against the Kings, we'll have the same damn formula.

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Yes let's tank the next 5 seasons so we might be able to draft some young unproven talent.

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We can analyze all we want but the two main ingredients to winning are staying healty in the playoffs and getting hot at the right time.

Had Vancouver not suffered so many injuries at the end of the year and playoffs, we would have beat the Bruins. Malhotra, Rome, Hamhuis and Raymond were all basically absent in the final in one way or another. I realize injuries are part of the game but its a pretty big part

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Why the past four winners, and not five? Would that be because Detroit's win disproves your theory?

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You did a fair bit of research but provided no conclusions.

Are you suggesting that it would be better if Gillis gut the team so that we could suffer at the bottom of the standings for a few years and possibly getting some high draft picks that may or may not be busts?

Personally, I don't think the team should be rebuilt until absolutely necessary. Just because the Sharks have choked for many years doesn't mean the Canucks are doing the wrong thing. They should try and stay contenders as long as they can, and once that is no longer possible, only then start a rebuilding process. Just as long as they don't wait too long and risk becoming the next Calgary.

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With the parity of the league you just need to get in and peak.

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I left it open because i'm not trying to draw a conclusion... I'm opening a debate.

I only left detroit off for sake of time.. But Detroit Added Brian Rafalski in Free Agency and Traded for Brad Stuart.

Datsyuk (29), Filppula (23), Franzen (28), Helm (21), Kopecky (25), Kronwall (27), Lebda (26), Kyle Quincy (22), Zetterberg (27)

The core guys are in their prime Contributing at Age 27, and they have the injection of youth at ages, 21/22/23.

2007 Brenden Smith

2006 Traded Pick

2005 Jacub Kindl note: Drafted Justin Adbelkader in 2nd round and Darren Helm in 5th Round

2004 Traded Pick note: Draft Johan Franzen in 3rd Round

2003 Traded Pick note: Draft Jimmy Howard in 2nd Round and Kyle Quincy in 4th

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Edmonton is mentioned as following that same path but isn't quite ready to contend, so that puts the theory on hold there - but how about other teams?

The Atlanta Thrashers/Winnpeg Jets are a good counter example. From 2008 on, they've picked in the top 10 (3rd overall, 4th, 8th, 7th and 9th), have some of those players contributing significantly (Bogosian, Kane, Burmistrov) yet they haven't even made the playoffs in years.

But what about the third category you say. Well, they traded for Byfuglien in 2010, and that didn't result in success for them when they had those other pieces contributing already. There hasn't been much of note since, maybe Oduya but they still had all those pieces and it didn't work to even get 8th or better in their conference.

Of course they could make another move this year, but I really don't see that being the catalyst that propels them to a cup. And of course it's easier to disprove rather than prove so I appreciate the effort. I just don't think that's how teams should start to mold their approaches.*

* I'm not sure why anyone wouldn't already try for the best draft picks they can (although not at the expense of winning games) and hope those players make an impact soon, or if a team is lacking something coming into a playoff run, why they wouldn't consider making a deal to improve that.

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Why the past four winners, and not five? Would that be because Detroit's win disproves your theory?

Also, none of Boston's top picks were real contributors to their cup run. Outside of one great game against Tampa, Seguin didn't do too much. That was based on having a deep forward group, and the hottest goalie in the league. If we get Kesler and Booth back healthy, and Schneider picks up where he left off against the Kings, we'll have the same damn formula.

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I left it open because i'm not trying to draw a conclusion... I'm opening a debate.

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