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The top 10 "microcores" in the NHL, according to The Athletic's panel

10 décembre 2019
There is no definitive "best recipe" for constructing a championship caliber team in today's NHL. In large, it's all just one big guessing game. Some General Managers focus on building from the net out. Some believe you need the best defensemen, as "defense wins championships" has echoed through more than one arena. Of course, there is always going to be the argument that you can't win without a true #1 center. The truth of the matter is, when you're drafting, you take the best player available. If you do this, and if you have a strong development system, you'll stand a pretty good chance of building a winner.


Los Angeles GM Dean Lombardi came up with the term "microcore" while the Kings were experiencing a lot of success, having built his team around Anze Kopitar, Drew Doughty and Jonathan Quick. This was the Kings’ microcore. The theory was, as long as you had a strong 1C, 1D and 1G, you should be in a position to make a run at the Stanley Cup.

Craig Custance of The Athletic constructed a panel of two NHL executives, two NHL scouts and an NHL coach, plus The Athletic's Dom Luszczyszyn - to bring an analytics perspective - to rate the microcores of all 31 NHL teams. Custance does, however, acknowledge that due to the speed of the current game, a high-end winger is also a necessity, but just to keep things more consistent with the 1C, 1D, 1G formula that Lombardi used to coin the term microcore, he and the panel willfully omitted wingers from being rated.

The top 10 are as follows:

1T. Tampa Bay Lightning - Brayden Point, Victor Hedman, Andrei Vasilevskiy - 90.9

1T. Boston Bruins - Patrice Bergeron, Charlie McAvoy, Tuukka Rask - 90.9

3. Colorado Avalanche - Nathan MacKinnon, Cale Makar, Philipp Grubauer - 89.6

4. Washington Capitals - Nicklas Backstrom, John Carlson, Braden Holtby - 89.4

5T. Pittsburgh Penguins - Sidney Crosby, Kris Letang, Matt Murray - 87.9

5T. St. Louis Blues - Ryan O'Reilly, Alex Pietrangelo, Jordan Binnington - 87.9

7. Toronto Maple Leafs - Auston Matthews, Morgan Rielly, Frederik Andersen - 87.7

8. Dallas Stars - Tyler Seguin, Miro Heiskanen, Ben Bishop - 87.1

9. Edmonton Oilers - Connor McDavid, Oscar Klefbom, Mikko Koskinen - 84.1

10. Winnipeg Jets - Mark Scheifele, Josh Morrissey, Connor Hellebuyck - 84.0

It's difficult to argue that any of these teams aren't worthy of the top-10, but who finished at the bottom of the list?

31. NEW JERSEY - Nico Hischier, P.K. Subban, Mackenzie Blackwood - 60.9

Custance certainly understands that not everyone will agree with the assessments of the panel, noting that they did get a little creative with some of the choices to be included in the microcore of each team.

"You may not agree with every player identified below as part of their team’s microcore. It’s certainly subjective. All of this is. That’s fair. When it was close, I tended to project a little and go with young players. Quinn Hughes is probably not Vancouver’s best defenseman right now. Same with Jesperi Kotkaniemi as the center choice in Montreal. But it won’t be long until they are. And it’s more fun with the young players."

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JANUARY 27, 2020
TOP 20 G A PTS
TRAVIS BOYD
1 - 1
TYLER ENNIS
1 - 1
MIKAEL GRANLUND
1 - 1
ZACH HYMAN
1 - 1
WILLIAM NYLANDER
1 - 1
JEFF PETRY
1 - 1
DAMON SEVERSON
1 - 1
TOM WILSON
1 - 1
TYSON BARRIE
- 1 1
DRAKE BATHERSON
- 1 1
JESPER BRATT
- 1 1
MATT DUCHENE
- 1 1
FILIP FORSBERG
- 1 1
NIKITA GUSEV
- 1 1
EVGENY KUZNETSOV
- 1 1
BRENDAN LEIPSIC
- 1 1
MITCH MARNER
- 1 1
T.J. OSHIE
- 1 1
RASMUS SANDIN
- 1 1
MARCO SCANDELLA
- 1 1
COMPLETE LIST  
NHL LEADERS
POINTS GP PTS
CONNOR MCDAVID
49 76
LEON DRAISAITL
49 75
NATHAN MACKINNON
49 72
DAVID PASTRNAK
51 70
ARTEMI PANARIN
47 68
JONATHAN HUBERDEAU
49 65
BRAD MARCHAND
51 65
PATRICK KANE
51 63
JACK EICHEL
48 62
JOHN CARLSON
49 60
COMPLETE STANDINGS  
GOALS GP G
DAVID PASTRNAK
51 37
AUSTON MATTHEWS
49 34
ALEXANDER OVECHKIN
49 34
NATHAN MACKINNON
49 30
JACK EICHEL
48 28
COMPLETE STANDINGS  
ASSISTS GP A
CONNOR MCDAVID
49 49
LEON DRAISAITL
49 48
JONATHAN HUBERDEAU
49 47
JOHN CARLSON
49 47
BRAD MARCHAND
51 44
COMPLETE STANDINGS  
DEFENSEMEN GP PTS
JOHN CARLSON
49 60
ROMAN JOSI
47 48
VICTOR HEDMAN
46 41
DOUGIE HAMILTON
47 40
ALEX PIETRANGELO
49 40
COMPLETE STANDINGS  
ROOKIES GP PTS
CALE MAKAR
41 37
VICTOR OLOFSSON
42 35
QUINN HUGHES
48 34
DOMINIK KUBALIK
49 32
MARTIN NECAS
46 27
COMPLETE STANDINGS  
WINS GP W
ANDREI VASILEVSKIY
35 24
JORDAN BINNINGTON
35 22
FREDERIK ANDERSEN
39 22
CONNOR HELLEBUYCK
42 21
CAREY PRICE
40 20
COMPLETE STANDINGS  
SHUTOUTS GP SO
CONNOR HELLEBUYCK
42 4
JAMES REIMER
20 3
ELVIS MERZLIKINS
21 3
JAROSLAV HALAK
24 3
TRISTAN JARRY
25 3
COMPLETE STANDINGS  

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