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RULE THE ROOST

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As the 2015-16 season is slowly coming to an end even in North America, our columnist Thomas Roost decided to look back and write "one last thing" about this memorable season. (Ok, it’s one last thing plus 10… ;-) ) 

Photo  Thomas Roost

1. Skills, speed, creativity, grit, and offense beat trapping, destructive defense, and no-risk-strategies. To win, you don’t need to slow down or trap the game anymore. Examples: Pittsburgh Penguins, San Jose Sharks, Tampa Bay Lightning, SC Bern, and HC Lugano

2. Big data is finally entering hockey analytics and charismatic old-school hockey populists are dying out. Examples: Most NHL-teams hired analysts in various positions… and, in my opinion, it won’t be long until some of these guys will be general managers of NHL teams.

3. These days, a modern hockey team is not divided into two offensive, point-producing lines and two checking lines A perfect modern hockey team has twelve skilled, speedy, gritty, smart and reliable forwards, and eight mobile, puck-skilled, smart and composed defensemen. Examples (by tendency): Tampa Bay Lightning, Pittsburgh Penguins, San Jose Sharks

4. The size factor in skaters is fading away to a certain point. Examples: The Pittsburgh Penguins are just the 25th biggest team in the NHL out of 30. SC Bern won the Swiss championship with the second smallest team overall.

5. The size factor in goalies is becoming more important: Hockey-goalies on an international level, which are shorter than 6.02 ft (188cm), are disappearing. Example: Nowadays, NHL-teams seldom draft goalies smaller than 6.03 (190cm) .

6. Quite often in the playoffs, unexpected things happen. Examples: In the NHL, the number 4 and 11 are facing each other in the Stanley-Cup-Final, and in the Swiss league, it was number 5 vs number 8 in the final

7. The importance of high-end goalies might still be a bit overrated. Examples: No goalie-expert would have predicted that in this year’s Stanley-Cup-Final, the (more or less) rookies Martin Jones and Matt Murray would face each other. SC Bern became champion with solid but not high-end goaltending

8. High-end 18-year-old players can dominate good level pro-leagues. Examples: Patrik Laine in Finland and Auston Matthews in Switzerland

9. The top 6-hockey-nations widened the gap between them and the group of followers. Examples: Various international tournaments on both the senior- and junior-level.

10. It’s possible to win the Stanley-Cup without defender-depth. Examples: Pittsburgh Penguins, San Jose Sharks

But then again:

There is simply no “best way” to play hockey, there is no “perfect way” to build a hockey team because next season, some of these ten points might have already changed … ;-)

And one last thing:

Unfortunately, it’s not impossible that in the 2016 NHL-Entry-draft, neither a Swiss nor a German player will be drafted. I still hope for the one or the other surprise but…. this is indeed alarming!

Cheerio, enjoy the sun, the barbecue, enjoy the Euro2016-soccer-tournament (or football tournament, if you like) and the Olympics in Rio. I definitely will… but I will most definitely miss hockey.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Thomas Roost (@thomasroost) was born in 1960 and lives in Horgen, Zurich. Since 1995 he has been working as NHL-scout for Central-Scouting Europe, since 2010 also as scout for EHC Biel in the National League A.

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