Finding value in demoted players

Analytics show adding Ville Leino could help a team with the shootout and the power play. Jen Fuller/Getty Images

Hockey analytics pioneer Rob Vollman is ESPN Insider's armchair GM this season, exploring how modern statistics can inform front-office decisions.

When neither Columbus nor Minnesota opted to select Martin St. Louis at the 2000 expansion draft, and no one claimed Tampa Bay's future all-time scoring leader off waivers, Calgary bought out his contract and released him. While none of the NHL's current discards are going to live up to the this famous example, there are definitely a handful of potential diamonds in the rough, like Ville Leino and Peter Mueller.

Hockey analytics are at their best when acting as a sober second thought to traditional analysis, or when finding players that it has missed. That's why I've looked at all the veterans who have been released and/or demoted this pre-season through the lens of various statistical approaches in order to find those who deserve a much closer look.

Although the vast majority of the discards made sense, there are a few players whose true potential may have been overlooked.