The grades intro post and NHL re-draft notes

How many times have I teased this? 5 at least? Well, it's finally here: the grades introductory post, wherein I explain my hyper-anal and most likely completely off-base player evaluation metrics.

Let me preface this with yet another homage to David Driscoll-Carignan and his grades. I found them on a whim when I decided to look for some good online Avalanche commentary, and I was hooked. "Who has time for this?" was my first thought, followed closely by, "Wow, this is insightful." I honestly hadn't ever really thought about trying to evaluate players individually beyond anything but simple stats, and it really spurred me to become an involved hockey fan.

So a big thanks to David from me. And my wife hates you, btw.

As I've watched his grades and educated myself more, I've noticed that my own grades of players didn't always match David's. That's not to say either of us are wrong, we just have different criteria. So this is my first try at a more formal criteria for judging players.

I want to do it specifically versus their role, and versus their cost. Is Ryan Smyth a better player than Cody McLeod? I think we'd all agree on Smyth. But what if I asked which one had the better season for the team -- McLeod or Smyth? For me, that's not such an easy determination to make. McLeod only scored 15 goals to Smyth's 26, but McLeod did it with far less ice time and playing with inferior linemates, and for far, far less cap hit. To me, that says that McLeod had the better year.

That's basically the crux of how I look at grading hockey players -- how did they do a) in their role and b) versus what they're paid. DDC does players more abstractly, just in terms of absolute contribution, and that's of course valid and interesting, but I think looking at how our guys performed in their roles may give us a unique perspective on why exactly we sucked as a team last year.

One final thing on grades: I'll keep the same grading system (A, B+, F, etc), centered around C+. C+ is perfectly average in my opinion, and handily enough perfectly in the center of the scale of letter grades.

NHL Re-draft

If you haven't heard or noticed, Cycle like the Sedins is running a NHL re-draft during these dark offseason times and has apparently asked Jibble to be the Avalanche rep. Of course, this blog being associated with the Avs, we had rotten luck and got dead last in the draft lottery. Super.

Jibble did the first 2 picks, selected Mike Ribiero and Simon Gagne, and then promptly left me in charge for this week. I'll be honest, I hadn't paid much attention to this whole exercise until I was put in the GM slot. Now, I'm pretty engaged.

So with my 2 picks (again nearly back to back, as Jibble's were) I selected Carey Price and Victor Hedman. Both are young bonafide #1s at their respective positions, and come fairly cheap against the cap for this next year too, something we have to keep in mind. The team we're building still needs another top 6 center, but I'm pretty happy with these 4 cornerstones. I would have taken Stastny and Price, as much as I like having Hedman as a foundational piece, but he went the pick before ours. Thanks, Montreal GM. :(

But what say you? Do you like my picks? How about Jibble's? I encourage you to go check out the draft at Cycle like the Sedins -- tell me and Jibble who you'd have rather taken. Am I way off on my grading system? Tell me now, before I actually start doing the grades! Sound off in the comments, and I promise I'll respond. :)

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