Hockey analytics pioneer Rob Vollman is ESPN Insider's armchair GM this season, exploring how modern statistics can inform front-office decisions.
Players like Eric Staal become available in trade so infrequently that his steep asking price isn't entirely ignorable for any team looking to make a big upgrade down the middle, such as is reportedly the case with the Toronto Maple Leafs, according to TSN's Darren Dreger. However, that's not the case with Tyler Myers, another high-priced player rumored to be available, according to TSN's Bob McKenzie. While there's no question that the 6-foot-8 Myers could have a significant impact in several places, including Detroit, there are several better (and more affordable) alternatives.
I reached these conclusions after diving into the underlying analytics of each player, which can help clarify their specific role, what they bring to the table, where they could have the most impact, and what they might cost in return. I even used these same statistics to try to find some lower-cost alternatives.
In this case, the numbers largely agreed that Staal could have a big-time impact in Toronto, among a handful of other places, and that the Leafs would have to focus elsewhere on their depth chart if they wanted to enjoy a similar upgrade at lower cost. That's not the case with Myers, however, who is trumped by a handful of other young options who are both easier to acquire and much less expensive in the long term.