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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."

SURVEY
Which scenario would you prefer if the NHL season restart?
END OF REGULAR SEASON + PLAYOFFS
IMMEDIATELY PLAYOFFS WITH 16 TEAMS
IMMEDIATELY PLAYOFFS WITH MORE TEAMS
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QUIZ ON TRADERUMOURS
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What is agronomy?
A HEREDITARY DISEASE
A REGION OF NEPAL
A TRACTOR
THE STUDY OF AGRICULTURE
SURVEY
Which scenario would you prefer if the NHL season restart?
END OF REGULAR SEASON + PLAYOFFS
IMMEDIATELY PLAYOFFS WITH 16 TEAMS
IMMEDIATELY PLAYOFFS WITH MORE TEAMS
IT'S BETTER TO CANCEL THE SEASON