Skip to main content

Vern Fiddler, the 2008-9 Forechecker's Forecast

Have we ever seen a more fortuitously named athlete for his adopted city than Vern Fiddler of the Nashville Predators? Perhaps Terry Crisp when he coached in Calgary (Flames, Crispy, you get it), but not too many others come to mind.

Sorry, I just couldn't resist...

In 2007-8, Fiddler enjoyed another season of unheralded contributions as Barry Trotz's utility man; he played everywhere from the top line alongside Jason Arnott down to 4th-line checking duty, with his characteristic hustle bringing him a career-high 79 games played. Especially in a salary-cap era, Fiddler is the type of guy who provides quality depth and reliability. One metric that Lowetide likes to cite often is Even Strength Points per 60 minutes. Check out Fiddler's 2007-8 performance compared to his teammates:

Even Strength TOI and Pts per 60 Minutes, 2007-8
JASON ARNOTTC7913.782.65
MARTIN ERATRW7613.442.41
JAN HLAVACLW8013.241.81
SCOTT NICHOLC7310.391.19
RYAN SUTERD7614.40.93
RADEK BONKC7912.260.93
DAN HAMHUISD8015.940.75
GREG DE VRIESD7715.380.71
SHEA WEBERD5414.720.6
GREG ZANOND7813.690.28

Data from Behind the Net

That's not bad at all, and if you widen the comparison to all NHL centers with at least 40 GP last season, Vern fits right in between Anze Kopitar and Daniel Briere. Granted, those two are facing top defensive matchups, but that's pretty good production for a depth forward. By the way, Jason Arnott ranked 10th in this regard, right between Vinny Lecavalier and Mats Sundin. Fiddler's downfall at even strength was defensively, as he did come out as a -5 considering only even strength play, but again, for a 3rd/4th line player that's acceptable.

Vern Fiddler, Nashville Predators
"So then I reached up this high and just started whaling on Chara..."
Photo: Paul Nicholson

Looking ahead to the 2008-9 NHL Regular Season, Vern will probably continue to fill a variety of roles, although I expect he might be used to add a bit more offensive punch to the Bonk line, and would also seem to be a good fit opposite one of the rookie wingers (Ryan Jones, Patric Hornqvist, Antti Pihlstrom) when they're not playing with Martin Erat or J.P. Dumont. Fiddler possesses a valuable combination of surprising strength along the boards and basic, heads-up hockey in the offensive end, which can help complement more dynamic players. Early last year he played alongside Jason Arnott and J.P. Dumont for a few weeks, but I doubt those opportunities will be as plentiful this fall. The interesting question is whether, since Fiddler tends to play mostly on the wing, he might get pressed for playing time by some of the rookies who are coming up through the ranks.

So, for the official Forechecker's Forecast...

Forechecker's Forecast, 2008-9 NHL Regular Season
PlayerGPGAPtsShotsSht %
Vern Fiddler70820288010

Popular posts from this blog

How I'm Trying To Make Money Sports Blogging

To kick off this series of articles general sports-blogging articles here at OTF Classic, I think it's best to start with a comment that Brad left here last week, after I shared my goals for 2012, which include specific revenue targets:
I considered diving into the world of internet marketing myself, but I felt that my friends would hate me for bugging them about stuff. I mean, it's pretty low-risk high-reward, so it's tempting. I wouldn't mind reading about tips on how to maximize impact of blogging in general to make it a legitimate income source. Trying to make money at sports blogging can be a very touchy subject - for the vast majority of us, this is an activity we pursue to both exercise our creativity and share our love of the game, whether it's hockey, football, badminton, whatever, with fellow fans. Mixing that personal conversation with a commercial message can turn people off, especially if it becomes too intrusive for the reader.

It's not unreasonabl…

Canadian Baloney, starring James Mirtle

A tireless refrain from the Canadian media is that Nashville is an absolute failure as a hockey market, and failing to move the team north of the border is an exercise in folly by the NHL.

Our latest exhibit comes from James Mirtle, usually one of the more thoughtful hockey bloggers extant:
But Nashville, quite simply, has proven it cannot sustain an NHL hockey team. Even with the lowest ticket prices in the entire league (I know: I've looked into flying there for a game or two) and a ridiculously forgiving arena lease, the team has had attendance issues despite having one of the best records in the league.

It's not a matter of Canadians not wanting teams in the southern U.S.; I've argued time and again in favour of teams like Dallas and Tampa Bay that have supported their teams and really brought something to the table in terms of bringing news fans and new energy to the game. That's a good thing.

The Predators, however, are not that, not in the beginning and certainly no…

Get Your NHL Super Schedule 2008-9 Right Here!

Click here for the 2009-10 NHL Super Schedule, at my new site,!

The NHL announced the 2008-9 Regular Season schedule today, so of course, it's time right here to publish my very own NHL Super Schedule 2008-9 as well.

For those unfamiliar with what I did last year, the NHL Super Schedule is a spreadsheet that I put together and make publicly available via Google Documents*. It includes an entry for each game in each team's 82-game regular season schedule, with additional information such as how far that team has had to travel since its last game, how many days have passed since that previous game, and various statistics relative to the opponent that evening, such as 2007-8 Winning Percentage, Goals Per Game, Goals Against Per Game, etc. For example, you can total the distance that each team will travel during the upcoming season, or find who plays the most back-to-back games. Check out which team faces the toughest opposing offenses, or which power plays…