Numbers Game on Smyth and Hannan - Colorado Avalanche Updates, News and Game Reviews at Avs Talk

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Numbers Game on Smyth and Hannan

Scott Cullen from TSN analyzed the recent signings of Ryan Smyth and Scott Hannan in one of his Numbers Games columns. If people haven't read Scott's columns before, he does an excellent job taking a fair and analytical approach to his articles. He's been in the business long enough that he likely doesn't even have a favorite team anymore. Which I'm sure is very useful to the business side of watching hockey but I wonder if he still gets real excited during games? I would miss that.

So on to business. With the Smyth signing, he's got nothing but praise. The only caveat, as is a caveat when signing any player long-term, is that his production may drop in the later years, sticking the Avalanche with a hefty contract. Not that they have any experience with that. Since the 2000-01 season his numbers have stayed pretty steady including having his second best season in both goals and points in 06-07. So I'm not concerned about his production at this point.

If he finds himself on the wing with Sakic and Brunette, he could certainly surpass those totals this coming season. I still personally think he'll be best on the wing with Stastny and Hejduk but time will tell. If you want to play him with Sakic, then put them on the PP unit together. Smyth can park himself in front of the goaltender and Joe can pick off the empty parts of the net while the goaltender becomes acquainted with Ryan's better side. The Avalanche already had the 4th-ranked PP in the league with a 21% conversion rate in 06-07. With Smyth, that number could approach 25%. Hey I can shoot for the moon, right?

Hannan, as we all know, is a shutdown defender and should relish that role in Colorado. He immediately becomes the #1 shutdown defender since there are no others on the team. With his PK experience, the Avalanche should improve on their 24th-ranked 80% PK rate. And if he pairs with Liles, it would be a great combo as they should compliment each other well. Of course, player combos are all conjecture until we see them in action but on paper it sounds (looks?) great.

So after reading and analyzing his analysis, one big thing these two signings accomplish is a large improvement on both special teams. So we've got PK and PP improvements, extra scoring punch, extra grit (I can't help using that word), and two of the finest mullets in the game. What more could we have asked for?


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