One of the big reasons why the Western Conference playoff race is so captivating this year is tied into the emergence of the Winnipeg Jets as a legitimate contender. Combine that with Nashville’s explosion in the standings, and you’re looking at a quarter of the playoff berths in the West potentially going to teams who many had on the outside looking in last October. Make no mistake, a big reason why Winnipeg has looked better in the standings this year of is tied into improvement in the goaltending department. Michael Hutchinson has been a blessing for Paul Maurice’s team, and even Ondrej Pavelec has turned things around a bit this season. Relatively speaking, it’s the best goaltending the Atlanta/Winnipeg franchise has seen. The goaltending has carried things along, but it’s important to note that Winnipeg’s also playing significantly better from a possession standpoint this season, too. At Arctic Ice Hockey, Garret Hohl did an excellent job explaining the team’s spike in Score-Adjusted Corsi% this season (53.3% year-to-date, good for 9th in the NHL), and how three of Winnipeg’s four lines are generally out-playing the opposition. This, of course, brings us to the most important question of all. We know the team can skate with most opponents. We know the goaltending’s improved – although there’s a degree of uncertainty as to whether or not the Hutchinson/Pavelec duo can hold on. If you are Kevin Cheveldayoff and are looking to improve this club at the trade deadline, how do you do it? Winnipeg’s in a fascinating position from a trade deadline perspective, in that they have (a) plenty of future assets; (b) are not in need of a defenceman; and (c) need to be cognizant of their spending short-term, with the likes of Jacob Trouba and Dustin Byfuglien in need of new deals. Byfuglien, of course, has been the talk of Winnipeg over the last couple of months. His return to the blueline has created a crowded back end, in which every-day defenders like Paul Postma have been healthy scratched. So, Winnipeg maybe has an extra defenceman or two, and future assets available, and would probably prefer to acquire a rental type, perhaps a forward or two that can shore up that problematic fourth-line that’s been beaten up rather soundly from a possession and scoring-chance aspect. The good news: finding cheap, quality bottom-six wingers who can drive play and move up in the lineup as needed doesn’t strike me as a difficult task. The key is to hone in on players who have posted strong underlying numbers over many years, yet remain undervalued due to the two things that generally drive contracts – point-scoring and size. Let’s work through some quick criteria to isolate for players with excellent underlying numbers. We will pull out forwards who have logged at least 2000-minutes since 2010. The forwards must have been on the ice for 53% of shot-attempts (we’ll use Corsi%) and 53% of scoring chances. The forward must also have been a quality relative player. That is, his team must have measurably benefited from a possession and scoring chance standpoint with the player on the ice. We’ll set +1.0% Relative Corsi% and 1.0 Relative ScoringChance% as additional parameters. Who are we left with? Just 43 players. Our criteria did an excellent job at qualifying only high-end possession and scoring-chance drivers. There’s only one problem – the list is littered with first-line or top-six talent, a group of either untouchable players or forwards who are going to cost a king’s ransom to acquire. How can we cut this list down further? One way is to create ice-time parameters. We want bottom-six forwards who presumably can be had for cheap. What happens if we only select players from this group who played less than thirteen minutes a night at even-strength? Jaden Schwartz, Reilly Smith, and Brendan Gallagher aren’t going anywhere. Jakub Voracek would cost a ton. Patrik Elias, Viktor Stalberg, and Benoit Pouliot all carry big contracts. I see no reason Detroit would move Darren Helm. Mathieu Perreault? He’s already with Winnipeg, and has been a massive success story. What a surprise! We are left with two players in Florida’s Sean Bergenheim, and Ottawa’s Erik Condra. Both players are on expiring contracts with small cap hits. Both players have been healthy scratched this season. Both have been shopped by their general managers (here and here). And yet, for almost five years running, they fit within a small group of forwards that range from ‘very good’ to ‘elite’. Despite whatever deficiencies the player allegedly possesses, his teams have historically done a fantastic job at beating up on the opposition when they have been on the ice. Over thousands of minutes, dozens of linemates, and deployment in ranging situations, that’s not a fluke. Perhaps, more importantly, these are the exact types of sound two-way forwards you need on a roster in order to build a legitimate contender. They cost pennies on the dollar because they aren’t big scorers, but play an extremely responsible game and generally spend most of their shifts in the offensive zone. Early identification of these players affords a front office the luxury of spending big on the guys who will carry gaudy scoring rates and log a ton of minutes like, say, free-agent-to-be Dustin Byfuglien. I think Winnipeg recognizes their legitimacy as a contender, but I also think they have an eye towards the future in terms of building a true championship contender. Thus, it strikes me as the sensible move to acquire a forward or two who will cost next-to-nothing in terms of current or future assets, yet will certainly improve the team as they head towards the postseason. Jarvis Jenkins Jersey
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. MacLean clocked 8:24.91 seconds, eclipsing the previous mark of 8:27.59 set by Brittany Reimer of Victoria at the 2005 FINA World Championships in Montreal. MacLean and Tabitha Baumann of Ottawa -- second in 8:32.37 -- both went under the qualifying standard to be nominated to the Commonwealth Games and Pan Pacific teams.KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Right-hander Julio Teheran and the Atlanta Braves agreed to terms on a six-year, $32.4 million contract on Friday with a club option for the 2020 season. The deal with the 23-year-old Teheran was another move by the team to lock up a key young player on a long-term deal. First baseman Freddie Freeman, 24, agreed to $135 million, eight-year deal on Feb. 5, the same day the team announced a two-year, $13.3 million deal with right fielder Jason Heyward, 24. Braves announced the agreement with Teheran on the day pitchers and catchers had their first workout in spring training. Braves general manager Frank Wren said Teheran is "one of the best young pitchers in the National League and one of our core of players we expect to be together for a number of years." If the Braves exercise their $12 million option for the 2020 season, Teheran will earn more than $44 million over the next seven years. Teheran, who had been regarded as a top prospect, realized those expectations in 2013, when he became an important member of the rotation as a rookie. He was 14-8 with a 3.20 ERA and finished fourth in voting for the NL Rookie of the Year. "I couldnt wait to see him pitch last year," said Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez. "He had a tougher time pitching in Triple-A." Teheran led all rookies with a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 3.78, ranking seventh among all National League starting pitchers. Teheran received a $1 million signing bonus and will earn $800,000 in 2014. His annual salaries will go up to $1 million in 2015, $3.3 million in 2016, $6.3 million in 2017, $8 million in 2018 and $11 million in 2019. Teheran joins Krris Medlen and Mike Minor as leaders of a young rotation that lost Tim Hudson and Paul Maholm to free agency.ddddddddddddBrandon Beachy is expected to earn the fourth spot in the rotation as he continues his comeback from 2012 elbow ligament-replacement surgery. Beachy, a right-hander, had a follow-up procedure to clean up the right elbow last season. Gonzalez said that he is looking for someone to take over as a leader of the staff. "Its early but I feel good about this team," Gonzalez said. "We lost Huddy (Hudson) but we still had the ERA tile last year. I like what we have and everybody is ready." Left-hander Alex Wood and veteran Freddy Garcia are expected to lead the competition for the final spot in the rotation until free-agent signee Gavin Floyd completes his recovery from elbow surgery. The Braves expect Floyd to be ready to pitch as early as May. "Alex Wood helped us win the division last year," Gonzalez said. "I am comfortable with what we have coming back this year. You can never have too much pitching." NOTES: Braves special assistant to the general manager Jim Fregosi, 71, passed away in Miami on Friday. Gonzalez expressed his appreciation for Fregosi who managed four teams during his 53-year professional baseball career. "This is a day of mixed emotions," Gonzalez said. "We lost one of our family members.". Floyd has impressed Gonzalez so far. "He looks like hes ready," Gonzalez said. "The way he throws in batting practice, its like hes never been away." Floyd was 0-4 in five starts for the White Sox last season. Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys Jerseys From China Wholesale NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys
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