Who's Next?

HAMBURG GERMANY - OCTOBER 15: Vitali Klitschko of Ukraine and Shannon Briggs of USA pose during the weigh in at Karstadt Sport on October 15 2010 in Hamburg Germany. The WBC Heavyweight World Championship fight between Vitali Klitschko of Ukraine and Shannon Briggs of USA will take place at O2 world October 16 2010 in Gelsenkirchen Germany. (Photo by Martin Rose/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Most of evidence-based hockey analysis out there unfortunately centers on the Edmonton Oilers.  (Growing up in Winnipeg, I learned hatred from birth for the city of Edmonton and its fans, so I rarely write about them.)  So while the Oil Kings have been the subject of numerous hard-fought battles challenging the conventional wisdom, fragile fans of most of the other 29 teams have not had their feelings hurt by suggestions that their favorite players might not have talent that matches their reputation among sportswriters.

I have no skin in the game other than trying to figure out player valuations, but I seem to have no problem drawing the ire of thin-skinned fans throughout the league.  Some examples:

1. Washington fans who thought the Caps had figured out how to increase their shooting percentage last year (nope)

2. Washington fans who objected to my characterization of their below-average 5-on-5 save percentage this year as evidence of their goaltending being below-average

3. Vancouver fans who thought Henrik Sedin had suddenly become a scorer last season (nope)

4. Boston fans who think Tim Thomas could sustain a .945 save percentage

5. Boston fans who think Boston has great team defense despite being nearly last in the league in shots allowed at even-strength

6. Colorado fans who think, well, a lot of crazy things, starting with Brandon Yip having a special scoring talent (Yip has 9 goals this season)

7. Atlanta fans who think Dustin Byfuglien's high goal total makes him their best defenseman and who think that 20-year-old Zach Bogosian facing other teams' top lines reflects poorly on his skills

The list goes on and on, particularly in the magical area of "shot quality."  And the response is the same every time - the phrase "watch the game" appears 208 times in the comments on this site.

Anyways, here's what I want to know: who's next?

Which team or player benefits unjustifiably from conventional wisdom and needs closer analysis?

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