Wednesday Webhits: The Frost King’s Best Links Of The Week

This week there’s one link in particular that should lead to some debate; whether the Capitals would be better off signing Nicklas Backstrom to a long term contract instead of Alex Semin.

There’s also a bit on one Cap’s under-appreciated skill, which Olympic team has the highest paid players, how to go about building a team, and who the top fighters since the lockout are.

I should note that I don’t think fighting is a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but I do find it entertaining (when it’s done well).

More on Backstrom, Semin

“Hockey is a young man’s game, so there’s a big difference between signing a 21 year old Nicklas Backstrom and signing a 25 year old Alexander Semin. Take the top 20 skaters thus far this season by Goals Versus Threshold: their average age is only 25 years old while the oldest is Pavel Datsyuk at merely 30 years old. Signing Nicklas Backstrom (10.8 GVT, 12th in NHL) for multiple years during his peak makes more sense than signing injury-prone Alexander Semin (8.0 GVT, 29th in NHL) for multiple years at slightly past his peak. The Caps are set up for significant cap flexibility after next season: currently Alex Ovechkin and Mike Green are the only significant contracts on the books for 2011-12.”

Makes sense to me. Backstrom might not have Semin’s natural talent, but you’re not paying for perfect world hockey; you’re paying for actual expected production on the ice. And right now, it seems to me that Backstrom gives you more of it, especially relative to the price.

Celebrating the Unsung “Best’s” and “Worst’s” of the Half-Year

Dave Steckel receives an honorable mention with his 61.5% face-off win percentage, just a tenth of a percent behind Paul Gaustad.

Olympic Rosters: The Salary Cap Edition

Using payroll to judge the various Olympic teams’ chances is an interesting exercise.

Canada’s cap number is about $128 M (for 23 players), which is far-and-away the highest mark.

Russia is at $66.4 M for just 14 players, and the US comes in at $85.2 M for 23 players.

Looks like the Canadian team is the odds-on favorite, especially playing on home ice.

Dynasty Busted

The main article talks about the decline of the Detroit Red Wings and how that relates to the quality of their front office. The comments sections is an interesting read on paying big money for goalies, managing contracts, etc.

“We’re about halfway through the season right now, and the distribution of corsi Sv% looks identical to what would be expected by chance alone. I.e. – in even a sample size of half a year, there’s no discernible “skill” amongst the population of NHL goaltenders.

If I were an NHL GM, there’s no [cough] way I’d spend any kind of money on goaltending. I’d trust my scouts to pick me out a couple guys who belong to the population, and I’d pay them as little as possible.

I can’t understand why one would bet big money on something in which there is so much uncertainty and randomness wrt true equity or “edge”. To boot, if the equity exists it takes so much time to realize, that most of the utility is lost.”

It’s an interesting question. Having a couple young decent goaltenders on the cheap sounds pretty nice though.

NHL Fighting and Chess Revisited

Former Capitals brawling aficionado Donald Brashear comes in as the fourth best fighter since the lockout, using the ELO rating system (like in chess) which looks at the quality of competition and not just wins/losses.

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