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Value of Grit and Toughness

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Old
04-20-2012, 12:35 PM
  #1
nickschultzfan
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Value of Grit and Toughness

Ok, I have been talking with my die-hard Hawks fan friend. After their last lost to the Yotes, most Hawks fans have accepted that they blew the cap-required dismantling of their team. When they won the Cup, their line-up looked like:

Buf-Toews-Kane
Brouwer-Sharp-Hossa
Ladd-Bolland-Versteeg
Kopecky-Burish-Eager

Keith-Seabrook
Campbell-Hjarlm
Sopel-Hendry

Buf, Brouwer, Ladd, Kopecky, Burish, Eager, and Sopel are no longer on the Hawks. That's a lot of grit and toughness gone. Guys like Versteeg and Hendry were replaced. Those 7 weren't. They were the sand-paper that complimented the more-skilled half of the Hawks. Now, the Hawks are a bunch of wussies who are weak on the boards.

Anyways, how does this relate to the Wild? Well, looking at the free agent pool, there isn't a lot of quality, gritty players on the market. I'm talking about guys who aren't just tough and plug a hole. I'm talking about gritty guys who can also play hockey. This ups the value of grittier players.

So, in light of this, should we think about trading one or two guys like Clutterbuck, Stoner, Falk, maybe even Bulmer or Larsson if we can get a boatload for them this off-season to fill a hole we have in high-talent forwards or on the blueline?

Or, should this be a warning sign that we need to keep those guys to compliment our skilled guys when they come along?

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04-20-2012, 12:45 PM
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forthewild
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You need a mix of skill and sandpaper, look at above lines you see both in the top 6. Imho the one guy they NEEDED to keep wad buffy.

As for us, we need to get some as well, hopefuly larsson,coyle and bulmer bring some of it. But i think in coming free agency and drafting we will see the staff try and pick guys who bring grit.

Bottom line, contenders win with a balanced offense, skill amd grit.

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04-20-2012, 01:00 PM
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Jarick
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Every year people complain about lack of toughness and every year they add players who are "tough to play against" and every year we come up short.

I'll worry about lack of toughness after we address the lack of skill.

Koivu, Lats, Scandella, Stoner, Brodziak, Clutter, and Powe are all pretty damn tough to play against. Add in Larsson and Bulmer and you're looking good.

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04-20-2012, 01:35 PM
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I don't think the issue with Chicago is a lack of toughness, it's the draw they had in the playoffs.

Match this Chicago team against Phoenix, Nashville, St. Louis, or LA and they end up where they are now. Match this Chicago team against Vancouver, San Jose, or Detroit, and they'll likely win. Even in those first examples, against LA or Phoenix, this Chicago team wins more often than it loses if it can get passable to above average goaltending. Match this Chicago team against the majority of the East teams, and that "grit and toughness" need mostly disappears.

The issue with their playoff series is that the style (and more importantly the discipline to stay in the system) that Phoenix plays forces Chicago to fight along the boards, grind out plays, and pick up garbage goals. That's not Chicago's game, and Phoenix is able to dictate the style. Look at the LA-Vancouver series, where LA has dictated the style, they've won in dramatic fashion. In game 4, LA didn't manage to control the game, and Vancouver was able to win by playing their style. However, look at the games in the East. Boston-Washington has some of that grinding play, but the other three series aren't like that.

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04-20-2012, 02:37 PM
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I don't think I've ever heard Larsson described as a 'gritty' player, but I guess we'll see.

Regarding whether grit and toughness are valued on a team? Absolutely - but it's nowhere near as valuable as the skill that Chicago has; that's what won them the cup. Oh, and goaltending. Crawford is not a #1 NHL goaltender.

Edit: How toughness/grit relates to the Wild? Let's worry about getting those skill players before signing a bunch of grinders.

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04-20-2012, 03:39 PM
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rynryn
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who needs grit? lets get all of our skilled kids up from their junior leagues. we could have 4 scoring lines! that'll work!

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04-20-2012, 03:40 PM
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snark aside, "tough" players and "tough to play against" aren't necessarily the same thing. I would consider mikko tough to play against but not tough.

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04-20-2012, 04:01 PM
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nickschultzfan
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I guess what I was getting at is whether the Wild should take advantage of the weak free agent pool of grittier/tougher players, by using guys like Clutterbuck as trade bait, or whether the Wild needs to retain these guys because they will be critical in the near future.

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04-20-2012, 05:07 PM
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Well the problem is we don't want say a late 1st, and we're not going to package Clutter+ for a better player because a team looking for grit isn't trying to dump guys.

I don't see how we can move him in a 1-for-1. We can get a late 1st, but then try and flip the late 1st+ for a better fit player?

Otherwise I think he's expendable and might have more trade value than on-ice.

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04-20-2012, 06:15 PM
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NHL1674
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Doug tried to build a tough team once. The only thing that did was make the team slower.....which was dang near impossible to do at that time. So that was impressive.

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04-20-2012, 08:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nickschultzfan View Post
I guess what I was getting at is whether the Wild should take advantage of the weak free agent pool of grittier/tougher players, by using guys like Clutterbuck as trade bait, or whether the Wild needs to retain these guys because they will be critical in the near future.
Trading Clutterbuck for a gritty player? Uhh, I thought Clutterbuck was a reasonably tough/gritty player - tough to play against, anyways.

Also, if we're going after free agents, we don't need to use trade bait. We'll just sign them.

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04-20-2012, 10:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Minnesota View Post
Trading Clutterbuck for a gritty player? Uhh, I thought Clutterbuck was a reasonably tough/gritty player - tough to play against, anyways.

Also, if we're going after free agents, we don't need to use trade bait. We'll just sign them.
I think you're misunderstanding: NSF is saying "the FA market for gritty guys like Clutterbuck is weak. Since that market is weak, should we attempt to move Clutterbuck for a good return, or should we hold on to him because he's hard to replace?"

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04-21-2012, 12:51 AM
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Team toughness is a great thing to have, but it helps to have players that can score along with being tough. The Wild are ok in that regard as long as someone is watching out for the rookies next season. I would hate to see one of the prospects get Torresed or something right away without immediate retribution.

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04-21-2012, 01:14 AM
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Al Lagoon
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The most difficult thing to do in hockey is score. If you have nothing but grit, you suck.

Grit is totally necessary, but talent trumps gri alone.

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04-23-2012, 01:39 AM
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elnewby
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This is what I have seen in the Canucks in recent years past. Tons of skill, but they really got beat up in the playoffs and especially against Boston they just looked intimidated and got wore down by the physicality.

As most of you said, you need both. Skill>Grit but both are necessary.

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04-23-2012, 05:22 PM
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it goes beyond grit though (and you can certainly argue that Ladd lent leadership qualities to that team) because those guys also provided secondary scoring throughout their Cup run.

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04-23-2012, 07:40 PM
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I'm not gonna say the Wild got the next Giroux ... lotsa luck to the next team that finds such a player, but I do like the fact that the Wild's best forward prospects have character, competitiveness, and SKILL in their portfolios. Size is good, but not the end all. Bodes well for the future.

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04-23-2012, 08:55 PM
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Kari Takko
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It's easy to pine for gritty players when watching the playoffs. We've got gritty guys on this team, but we're not in the playoffs, so they're unable to show their grittiness during the grittiest part of the season.

Powe, Cullen and Vellieux have all shown how gritty they can be in the postseason. Among the prospects we have coming up, I'm excited to see Bulmer, Larsson, and Coyle to see how gritty they are in the playoffs. The next step is get these kids in the show and then make the playoffs.

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04-24-2012, 02:31 PM
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nickschultzfan
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I wasn't asking "what is more valuable, talent or grit?" That's an easy question.

I was trying to get that that some teams will be looking for gritty players this off-season, and whether the Wild should take advantage of that by trading a guy like Clutterbuck for a more skilled player or some other valuable asset?

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04-24-2012, 02:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nickschultzfan View Post
I wasn't asking "what is more valuable, talent or grit?" That's an easy question.

I was trying to get that that some teams will be looking for gritty players this off-season, and whether the Wild should take advantage of that by trading a guy like Clutterbuck for a more skilled player or some other valuable asset?
The way I would look at it, using your Chicago example, is "what would Chicago need differently to beat Phoenix in that series?" "Grit and toughness" wouldn't be my #1 or #2 answer. The best thing to turn that around would be swapping out Crawford for an average to above average NHL goalie. Put someone like Theodore, Harding, Elliott, Anderson, or Niemi in net and Chicago likely wins that series. Crawford is "good enough" when Chicago's scoring at a decent clip. When they run into a system team like Phoenix, that scoring gets stifled, and they lose their edge.

For the second thing to change on that team, defensive depth. Chicago had Keith, Seabrook, and the rest of the guys on defense. Hjalmarsson looks like he was just a product of Campbell. Leddy's still not 100% NHL ready (and is only playing in the NHL because of how desperate Chicago is). Oduya isn't real desirable in the top 4. The rest of the guys might not make the Wild's defense this year. Chicago was basically playing with a 1st pairing, 3rd pairing, and some depth guys.



I don't think that a perceived lack of grit in free agency will do anything to improve Clutter's value. However, the fact that he's nearly unique as a player, and fulfills an interesting role while still tallying on the scoresheet, means he's still more valuable than your average guy in his position.

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04-24-2012, 02:54 PM
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Jarick
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I would have worded the post as "Value of: Cal Clutterbuck" or "Speculation: Trade Cal Clutterbuck" then.

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04-24-2012, 03:14 PM
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Don't think toughness is really much of a problem with this team. Every team is going to have at least a couple players that aren't tough and the Wild are no exception with Bouchard, Spurgeon, Scandella, and possible Granlund.

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04-24-2012, 04:28 PM
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nickschultzfan
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Well, if my underlying assessment is correct, all our grittier players will have higher trade value this off-season, not just Clutterbuck, including Latendresse, Bulmer, Brodziak, Coyle, Zucker, etc.

Teams like the Hawks, Pens, Sharks, and Wings lost because they either lost the physical side of the game or they didn't have anybody crashing the net and screening the goalies. I'm sorry, the Hawks problem isn't just that they are weak in net. They are a bunch of softies who are a shadow of the cup winning team.

So, I was just asking whether we keep all the above-mentioned guys, because we'll need forwards who can play the physical and scrappy part of the game, or do we trade them to a team who needs them.

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04-24-2012, 04:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nickschultzfan View Post
I'm sorry, the Hawks problem isn't just that they are weak in net.
If you had not included the bolded word...

Crawford is not a good goalie. Most of you know that I've thought he was a laughable tender since I saw him in Rockford years ago. He flops around too much and gets out of position easily. Couple that with his tendency to go down early...

Yeesh.

CoachQ is also limited by the roster that he was given. Bear in mind that he was using Kane as a center. I don't think Kane won any pivotal face offs in the game last night, but I am currently too lazy to lookup stats...

I would have used Sharp as a 2nd line center over Kane.

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04-24-2012, 06:03 PM
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Originally Posted by rynryn View Post
who needs grit? lets get all of our skilled kids up from their junior leagues. we could have 4 scoring lines! that'll work!
haha yeah! all the grit i think a team needs are players like johnson brodziak or clutterbuck. guys that bring the physical side but still can score and add to the offense. teams dont need ppl like torres, prust or neil. they just suck and get players hurt

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