Why NHL teams want to add ‘muscle’ to the Stanley Cup playoffs

It’s always exciting to see big names move on NHL trade deadlines. When a team like Minnesota adds a player like Mark-Andre Flurry, it tells their team and fans that they believe in the group and predict the possibility of a deep run in the playoffs.

Other names do not receive the same amount of attention. They can’t “move the needle” as much as they look inside from the outside. But in addition to adding the biggest names, Trading is team building and GM and coaches believe they need to be helped to win during the most challenging part of their roster. Season.

Adding flurry to players like Jacob Middleton or Nick Deslaurias (both acquired by Minnesota) may not seem as important. But they are important. And the internal process of adding these players is multi-layered.

Consider this list of players before I go any further:

Patrick Maroon, David Savard, Berkeley Gudro, Devante Smith-Pelly, Andrew Lad, John Madden, Troy Brower, Mishal Handjus, Colton Pareco, Nick Bortujo, Matt Green, Ron Hensey.

What are the similarities between these players? They are all Stanley Cup champions and have contributed to the team’s success no matter what role they play.

My friends in the analyst community will agree that not all of these types of players fit their mold. Some of them will be considered external in their model, or not even desirable.

Conversely, such players are found in the individual, through more traditional scouting methods on the ground. And they To be able to Pay the price off for you.

Before anyone responds to this column’s argument-analysis on traditional scouting, let me be clear: I value gathering as much information as possible and therefore all NHL GMs.

The process of creating a championship-caliber roster is fluid. It doesn’t really end there. You have entry drafts, free agency, trades and of course pay cap management all included in the “plan”. And many people contribute along the way. Pro and amateur scout staff are involved, and the analysis department provides data and feedback. Player development staff will see some internal potential titles out there and discuss whether they can contribute to the NHL level in the future.

A few years ago I was the director of Amateur Scouting in Florida. Dale Talon was our GM. Al Tuar was the director of Pro Scouting. Brian McCabe (who is still with the Panthers) was our Player Personnel and Director of Player Development.

At one point, Dell wanted to add “more muscle” to our forward group. He tasked the staff with finding a player who could contribute in his own way. He was looking for a player who could lean on the opponent, make room, draw penalties and not back down when it became difficult.

Pete Mahvlich, an adviser, remembered a man from his area, and Al agreed that he matched Dale’s description of the player he wanted to add.

So, we found a trade:

In Toronto: Dennis Malgin
In Florida: Mason Marchment

Merchant delivered much more than expected at the time of the deal. The offense he has now added to the Panthers is a bonus. Here are some examples of his work:

In the first clip, he predicts a purpose, gives the body to a defender outside the game, then goes into the net for a nifty tip goal.

The second clip shows an element that we identified was worth it and matched what our GM wanted. Here, Merchant demonstrates the physical dimensions of his open ice. He catches Vincent Trochek in the middle of the ice.

The Calgary Flames have added some muscle to their back end this past off-season, and Brad Trelewing and his staff have done a great job creating the current version of the Flames. The coach, Daryl Sutter, wants a certain kind of player and expects character people in his team.

It could be argued that Nikita Jadorov (trade with Chicago) and Eric Goodbronson (FA signature) brought significant risks. Probably as much risk as possible rewards.

Fast forward to today, though, and both of these players have contributed strongly and provided the Flames with the required depth during the playoffs. The regular season grind of the 82-game is one thing, however Later Does anyone really want to fight these two giants in a seven game series? For those who will match against Goodbronson (6-ft-5, 222 lb) and Jadorov (6-ft-6, 220 lb), it is going to take a huge promise physically. They’re not the biggest names or the most important players, but they add some depth to those who play the game in a certain way – and everyone on the ice gains three inches and 20 pounds knowing that these guys are behind.

Goodbronson hit Kaprizov, ending Minnesota offensive zone pressure.

Playoffs are a different kind of grind that can frustrate you.

Tampa Bay won the back-to-back Stanley Cup, which is clearly an incredible feat with the amount of parity in the league today. These two seasons they have added some key players to their list of David Savard, Blake Coleman and Berkeley Gudro. All three provided a portion of the puzzle.

Fast forward this year and Lightning has none of them anymore. The entire third line was significantly different. So, in recent trade deals, Lightning has added Brandon Hegel and Nick Paul to their group. They definitely have a “plan” and what a vision Kind of The player (s) to win at the most difficult time of the year. Again, not in the top role, but something specific in the depths of the lineup.

The moral of the story is this: every department in the organization has “skin at play”. They all have opinions. They all have a vision of what it means to them. And the bottom line is that such players, “heavy lifters” who sacrifice their bodies to block shots while playing on the line, who aren’t often noticed in the regular season, their value increases rapidly in the playoffs.

The regular season has historically been a track meet and we’ve seen a ton of goals around the league in recent days and weeks.

But it will be interesting to see how the teams inevitably adjust to more hard area / hash mark down games in the coming weeks and months, and what depth “muscle” players will come up with on this occasion.

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