What do you value or see in a player? What’s important to you? What type of player do you want on your hockey club? How are you going to win with that player?
You can talk about it all day, but when you’re wanting to build a championship caliber team, you better damn well know the value that each one of your players are going to bring.
You see winning and being successful all comes down to value. What do you value or see in a player? How do you project a player’s character, skill or will to compete? How much time are you going to give them to grow and development? What’s your organization’s “winning window” look like?
Obviously, everyone has been talking about the Leafs latest playoff debacle. “Oh, the Habs were built for the playoffs.” “Oh, the Leafs were too soft, they aren’t built to win in the playoffs.”
You see it all comes down to the value you place on each player and their role on the team. Sure, the Habs were built to win in the playoffs, they have Carey Price. Sure, the Leafs were built on skill and finesse. That’s what their ownership and brain trust valued when they built their respective teams.
It all comes down to value. So, what’s the winning formula? Well that’s what everyone in the hockey world is trying to search for or capture.
When one mentions value, everyone looks to money and contracts at the pro level, but at the end of the day it starts with a commonly shared organizational philosophy.
You hear it all the time, that player or so and so is a “New Jersey Devil” type player. (or insert any NHL team in that blank). The value placed on players starts at the top of any organization. You hear that mentioned during every draft. “We feel” “we believe”, “we think this player is going to be a great player for us for many years to come.”
Hockey cliché, after hockey cliché, but what you don’t hear often is enough is “we value what this player brings to the game.” Now when you hear that comment you know damn well that player is going to an organization that gets it.
Sure, some draft picks don’t work out, just like some free agent signees don’t work out, but it all comes down to value. Any hockey trade is all about value as well. Value of the player, value of the return.
Value is at the root of every aspect of the game. You see that’s why analytics are supposedly so cutting edge nowadays, because so many people by into the fact or believe that analytics perfectly describe and outline the value of a player.
This isn’t “Moneyball” folks, this is hockey and analytics though important don’t always describe or outline the intangibles players possess. That’s where the true value of a player rests, the intangibles. A big buzz phrase in the hockey world nowadays is that the “NHL is a second effort league.”
NO SHIT. That’s a fantastic line, but it’s also a third and fourth effort league. When you have players that understand effort and the will to compete can outmatch talent and skill you’re going places.
Now don’t get me wrong, you aren’t winning without skill in today’s era, but when your skill has compete and the will to win and battle or an unrelenting drive to be the best that’s when you have a champion.
I hope you can all see the value in that.
In many ways it all comes down to what the organization values in player’s, what they find the most important aspects a player or a collection of players can possess. In a way is a guessing game? Perhaps, but there are some common tendencies that players possess that are fantastic indicators of future success from a value standpoint. You see that’s where every organization should be focusing all their time and attention on. That’s where the scouting department comes in to play. That’s why scouting and drilling down on players and people is so important these days. Now that you draft them, you better damn well invest in their development as well. You see there’s a shit ton of value in that.
In my opinion, the search for the “top secret championship formula” all starts with value and how much you value the intangibles certain players bring to the game.
What’s the value in a shut down pairing on the backend? What’s the value in a number one defencemen that can quarterback your power play? What’s the value in having two solid goaltenders? What’s the value in having a solid leadership group? What’s the value in having skilled players that actually give a shit about going dirty areas to win? What’s the value in having skilled players that actually take a hit to make a play? What’s the value in having a solid bottom six? What’s the value in having a coach that teaches and motivates with the same intensity? What’s the value in having a team built on character and skill? What’s the value in having a scouting staff that appreciates and projects talent and character? I really hope everyone can see the value in that.