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Joe Dunham

Articles:

How the Sharks’ Versatility Led them to the Conference Finals

30 May 2019 • 23 min read
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One of the thrills of watching playoff hockey is the emotional aspect, following a team through several games against the same opponent with everything on the line, and an especially close series makes the thrill even higher. The San Jose Sharks playing the Vegas Golden Knights in the first series of the playoffs was notable for its excitement, intensity, and controversy. The series was highly anticipated as a rematch of the previous year's second round, where the Knights won in six games. This time around, the Sharks were a much improved team, adding key players Erik Karlsson and Gustav Nyquist, while Vegas had more-or-less kept the same lineup as the previous year's Stanley Cup Final-bound team, with the notable addition of top line forward Mark Stone. The Golden Knights took early control of the series, finishing Game 4 with a 3-1 lead in games won. The Sharks managed to battle back, scoring a miraculous overtime goal in Game 6 to force a deciding game in San Jose. A close, hard-fought series was expected on the outset, but the conclusion shocked everyone.

On the Road Again: The Myth of Neutrality in NHL Scheduling

10 Mar 2019 • 9 min read
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With the NHL season inching closer to the playoffs, the format of the regular season is perhaps not the first thought on most fans' minds. However, this year's notable lack of inter-conference parity has drawn attention from casual and knowledgeable fans alike -- the point cutoff to make the playoffs in the Eastern Conference is currently on pace to be a relatively standard 96 points; the Western Conference, on the other hand, is on pace to have an 83 point cutoff. This would easily be the lowest bar to qualify for the postseason in the salary cap era. An 83 point team under most circumstances has well below a winning record, and would be over six games back from the eighth seed in the East. These anomalies beg the question: what factors influence a team's record at the end of the season?

Can the Toronto Maple Leafs Pay Up?

28 Nov 2018 • 9 min read
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It's no secret that William Nylander has held out on signing a contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs. As a restricted free agent about to enter into his first non-entry level NHL contract, Nylander is very limited in his options, sign with the Leafs, or don't play at all. Players rarely choose not to play at all, with many top six players opting for bridge deals - three-to-four year contracts typically valued far less than they wish in exchange for an opportunity to prove themselves more capable of a future contract more extensive in both term and salary. It is also common for players to begin negotiations asking for high pay, only to settle for what they were actually hoping for. What makes Nylander's situation unique isn't that he reportedly asked for upward of $8 million per year (money typically reserved for roughly top two talent on a team), but that he has not since backed down and signed for less. Against everyone's expectations, it is now late November, the Leafs have played over a quarter of the season, and they are still without the 22 year old Swede.


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