EVEN IN THE QUIETEST MOMENTS

In the end, the Edmonton Oilers kept their powder dry. When serving more than one master, someone is going to be disappointed—and in this case, Peter Chiarelli chose to make his move at a future date. Was it the right move? Time will tell. For now, the kids have a real chance to show what they have, and the ‘growth’ team added a skill center for what may be an effective soft minutes line.

THE MOVES

  • February 28—Oilers traded D Brandon Davidson to the Montreal Canadiens for C David Desharnias.
  • March 1—Oilers traded R Taylor Beck to NY Rangers for R Justin Fontaine.
  • March 1—Signed CHL free agent D Ryan Mantha.

The Oilers no doubt had a chance on a few of the players moved today, and the fact no goalie arrived via trade has to be heartening for Laurent Brossoit. David Desharnais is the most famous of the three, but each new arrival has a story to tell. Note: Curtis Lazar is off to Calgary, imagine Edmonton at least thought about it, but one suspects this season is a writeoff for the young forward and the Oilers have to find answers on their own wingers.

RYAN MANTHA

Big RHD man (6.05, 225) who is posting some lively boxcars this season (58, 14-37-51) which translates to 23 points NHLE. Brock Otten of OHL Prospects is my first stop in situations like this one.

  • 1. Ryan Mantha – Defenseman – Niagara IceDogs
    Spurned by the New York Rangers this summer when they didn’t offer him a contract, Mantha returned to the OHL with a chip on his shoulder this year. He’s been sensational as the captain for the upstart IceDogs. He’s currently just outside the top 5 in defenseman scoring and leads all blueliners in shots by a very large margin (in fact he’s second in the entire OHL in shots). He looks like a completely different player this year, quite frankly. Big difference is improved foot speed, which is allowing him to be more of a factor leading the rush and jumping up in the play, where he can use his size to really drive the play. At 6’5, 225lbs, he can be a real tough guy to separate from the puck. Defensively, he’s looked good too. He’s playing with more intensity in his own end. With his size and the impact he’s making at both ends, I’d be surprised if an NHL team doesn’t give him a second chance. Source

Important to keep in mind he turns 21 in the summer (2014 draft) and his domination of the OHL should be expected. He was drafted No. 104 overall in 2014 by NY Rangers, 13 spots after Edmonton drafted William Lagesson. Reasonable to suggest he will be in Bakersfield next year, with time in Norfolk possible.

DAVID DESHARNAIS

We know more about him of course, NHL veteran who is being brought in to help the third line. I imagine he will get a chance to find the range with Benoit Pouliot and possibly a young winger like Anton Slepyshev or Jesse Puljujarvi. A depth chart might look like this:

  • Patrick Maroon—Connor McDavid—Leon Draisaitl
  • Milan Lucic—Ryan Nugent-Hopkins—Jordan Eberle
  • Benoit Pouliot—David Desharnais—Anton Slepyshev/Drake Caggiula/Jesse Puljuarvi
  • Matt Hendricks—Mark Letestu—Zack Kassian

One rookie. That’s it. Do you remember the last time Edmonton iced a lineup with this number of veterans? Been a long while. Who knows if Desharnais helps, but we should remember the struggles this team encountered from October to March on the 3line.

JUSTIN FONTAINE

He is a 5.10, 175 right winger, almost 200 NHL games. He is an aggressive checker with good speed, and has averaged 11-17-28 per 82 NHL games. I think it is possible he sees some NHL action this season, and also possible the organization the organization signs him a to a two-way deal in the offseason. I would never say this out loud, but part of me wonders if Peter Chiarelli traded Taylor Beck so there won’t be an issue about playing time for Jesse Puljujarvi in Bakersfield. Nah. 🙂

CURRENT 50-MAN LIST

In the coming days, we will discuss the nine UFA and 14 RFA names on this list. Peter Chiarelli is going to be busy this coming summer, with contracts for Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl front and center.

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72 Responses to "EVEN IN THE QUIETEST MOMENTS"

  1. Westchester Oil says:

    I was wondering if Chiarelli moved Beck as a favour to give him another crack at the big leagues as kind of a reward for a strong AHL season.

  2. Richard S.S. says:

    The Oilers aren’t fast enough, despite the blur people see when McDavid rockets by. I expect Desharnais to play next game and both Players to playing together soon. How soon does Mantha make the Team?

  3. prairieschooner says:

    The team looks much healthier than it did. Mc Lelland has good stuff to work with and there are good looking players ready to feed into the system.
    It is tough to see players leave but PC has made changes and got results

  4. jp says:

    Very underwhelming deadline overall.

    Mantha looks like a nice get. And I really think Desharnais may help. Scoring. It’s a thing.

    I wonder if he was on Chia’s summer UFA list. It is a shame they didn’t/couldn’t get more for Davidson though.

  5. OF17 says:

    Richard S.S.:
    The Oilers aren’t fast enough, despite the blur people see when McDavid rockets by.I expect Desharnais to play next game and both Players to playing together soon.How soon does Mantha make the Team?

    You expect Desharnais to be on McDavid’s line? That’s just about the most unlikely scenario IMO.

  6. NYCOIL "Gentleman Backpacker" says:

    OF17: You expect Desharnais to be on McDavid’s line? That’s just about the most unlikely scenario IMO.

    I did a double-take, too.

  7. theDjdj says:

    a third line of Benoit Pouliot (if ever he escapes the Gulags) DD and Caggs/Slepy/Puljujarvi has skill and speed. DD is known for his playmaking. I think he works well with somebody like Pouliot who thinks the game well.

  8. Westchester Oil says:

    One of the best things about today; the Flamers overpaying for Lazar.

  9. theDjdj says:

    Westchester Oil:
    One of the best things about today; the Flamers overpaying for Lazar.

    They’re going for it. Have to respect that. Have to wonder if they’re buying things on credit. Anyone know what the Flames prospect depth looks like?

  10. Alpine says:

    Sucks to lose Davy as a means of having him around as an injury fill in for the D, but I think Desharnais’ on-ice impact will be greater through the end of this season. There unfortunately wasn’t much of a future for Davidson here beyond being a 7th D unless he magically learned to shoot right.

    I hope he does well in MTL and it won’t bother me if he does because they have a much worse LH side than us and he will have much more opportunity there. Would have been nice to get something more valuable for him, but he hasn’t had a good season to warrant. I don’t think his good 50 game stretch last seasonshould hold a lot of value if he couldn’t replicate it this season, despite coming back from injury.

  11. JDï™ says:

    I believe Chia mentioned Mantha would be in Bakersfield after his OHL season ends this year.

    https://www.nhl.com/oilers/

  12. Richard S.S. says:

    OF17,

    We are talking about the same new third-liners aren’t we, named Desharnais and Fontaine?

  13. NYCOIL "Gentleman Backpacker" says:

    Richard S.S.,

    Fontaine is an AHL guy. Might earn a call up.

  14. Yeti says:

    Richard S.S.:
    OF17,

    We are talking about the same new third-liners aren’t we, named Desharnais and Fontaine?

    Your original post could be (and was) interpreted as Desharnais playing with McDavid.

  15. JDï™ says:

    theDjdj: They’re going for it.

    With an unproven young center. Yeah, I like that.

    The best thing for the Flames might be shedding Jokkiwasshisname from the D corps and adding Stone.

  16. JDï™ says:

    So is three days off good to work on the tweaked lines and pairings, or is it just rust in the wind?

  17. Dominoiler says:

    I noticed Slepy higher up the depth chart than Kassian, curious what you all think is Kassian’s ceiling for the oilers?.. I’ve been seeing him good, good enough to play third line is the question mark.. i kinda like the idea of a Montreal retread line, Poo-Des-Kas.. or does he have more value in that forth line role?..

    Imo, kassian is third on the rw depth chart.. seems to be playing at good speed and with more consistency..

  18. Dominoiler says:

    Fontaine could be in the mix for taking over 4th line RW?

    Is the question over 3rd line RW less about kassian and more about giving Slepy a fair shot?..

  19. stush18 says:

    Dominoiler,

    I think slepy may be the new pisani, eventually.

    Crazy right? But he plays all over the league lineup, and tMac trusts him. Plays pk, should be playing power play, imo.

    But I like kassian too. Wouldn’t have a single issue with him on the third.

  20. Lowetide says:

    Dominoiler:
    I noticed Slepy higher up the depth chart than Kassian, curious what you all think is Kassian’s ceiling for the oilers?.. I’ve been seeing him good, good enough to play third line is the question mark.. i kinda like the idea of a Montreal retread line, Poo-Des-Kas.. or does he have more value in that forth line role?..

    Imo, kassian is third on the rw depth chart.. seems to be playing at good speed and with more consistency..

    Kassian has some of the things we associate with a skill player, and I do recall Buffalo drafted him as a nuclear answer to Lucic. He has never developed the offensive side to the same extent, but he wasn’t far from a point-per-game as a 20-year old in the AHL.

  21. Richard S.S. says:

    Yeti,

    I will endeavor for better clarity in the future.

  22. Zelepukin says:

    Lowetide: Kassian has some of the things we associate with a skill player, and I do recall Buffalo drafted him as a nuclear answer to Lucic. He has never developed the offensive side to the same extent, but he wasn’t far from a point-per-game as a 20-year old in the AHL.

    Kassian is an ideal Cup Champion 4th liner. Has speed, can really bang and crash, agitator, can fight but can also pass and handle the puck with skill if playing up with better linemates.

  23. Richard S.S. says:

    NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”,

    We are looking at the same stats aren’t we? https://www.nhl.com/player/justin-fontaine-8476235
    He’s more than just an AHL guy. While he might not be everyone’s idea of an NHLer, he can play there.

  24. spoiler says:

    JDï™:
    So is three days off good to work on the tweaked lines and pairings, or is it just rust in the wind?

    I was waiting for the Ash Wednesday post. 😉

  25. Alpine says:

    Lowetide: Kassian has some of the things we associate with a skill player, and I do recall Buffalo drafted him as a nuclear answer to Lucic. He has never developed the offensive side to the same extent, but he wasn’t far from a point-per-game as a 20-year old in the AHL.

    Mentioned it here a little while ago, but his last two years in VAN he posted something like 1.9 and 1.8 pts/60, respectively. I wonder if he could have been ended up more similar to Lucic earlier on in his career if he had more opportunities to play with skill.

  26. Alpine says:

    Dominoiler:
    Fontaine could be in the mix for taking over 4th line RW?

    Is the question over 3rd line RW less about kassian and more about giving Slepy a fair shot?..

    Fontaine should probably be the first guy to come in if one of those two gets hurt or is scratched. Acceptable numbers the few seasons for a bottom six guy.

  27. NYCOIL "Gentleman Backpacker" says:

    Richard S.S.:
    NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”,

    We are looking at the same stats aren’t we? https://www.nhl.com/player/justin-fontaine-8476235
    He’s more than just an AHL guy.While he might not be everyone’s idea of an NHLer, he can play there.

    I am talking about Chia’s quote today

    “He can give more depth, he has a more two-way component to his game,” said Chiarelli. “Minor move, it’ll continue to help our American League team and will give us legitimate depth.”

    This is his comment about Fontaine today. Seems he is going to Bakersfield first at least.

  28. NYCOIL "Gentleman Backpacker" says:

    Alpine,

    He had opportunities with skill. Unfortunately he wasn’t mature enough at that stage to handle it.

    I think his life sorta panned out the way it was gonna. Glad he seems to have righted the ship as he was on his Last Chance Texaco.

  29. kinger_OIL says:

    – Great post LT!: You did an excellent job of calming the kids in the back seat with this: “One rookie. That’s it. Do you remember the last time Edmonton iced a lineup with this number of veterans? Been a long while. Who knows if Desharnais helps, but we should remember the struggles this team encountered”

    – Mantha, a RHD prospect, should also further quiet the kids yelling in the back re: loss of Davy

    – Well done!

  30. Alpine says:

    Did some more digging on Fontaine and this is interesting.

    2013-2016 Minnesota Wild pts/60 (minimum 2000 mins) *from stats.hockeyanalysis.com*

    1. Thomas Vanek 2.07 P/60, 3043 mins
    2. Jason Pominville 1.78, 3262
    3. Zach Parise 1.78, 3021
    4. Justin Fontaine 1.76, 2116
    5. Nino Niederreiter 1.66, 3039

    Not bad company for a supposed AHLer. Possession numbers veer between good and bad, but it seems he can score a bit.

  31. blainer says:

    Just getting up to speed as I have been traveling.

    I had hoped for more at the deadline but at least we found a center who has a history of winning draws and can play an NHL game with playoff experience.

    Like Maroon last year DD should come in motivated as his career is on life support at the moment. Would not surprise me to see him close out the year on a run. A point per game pace will be possible with some PP time.

    I would assume Caggs will be seeing a lot more of the press box with this acquisition. Not a great move but who knows ..could end up looking real smart. We wait.

  32. pocession charge says:

    That picture of Desharnais above….is he on his feet? Hard to tell….

  33. Alpine says:

    NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”:
    Alpine,

    He had opportunities with skill. Unfortunately he wasn’t mature enough at that stage to handle it.

    I think his life sorta panned out the way it was gonna. Glad he seems to have righted the ship as he was on his Last Chance Texaco.

    Yeah I think was much more of gulf in maturity between Lucic and Kassian early on than there was a gulf in skill.

  34. dustrock says:

    Give a little bit, give a little bit of your love to me.

  35. Professor Q says:

    Dominoiler:
    Fontaine could be in the mix for taking over 4th line RW?

    Is the question over 3rd line RW less about kassian and more about giving Slepy a fair shot?..

    If only he had a “La” prefix to his surname.

  36. Woogie63 says:

    I see Roy helped Yak learn in the NHL

    DD is going to help JP learn in the NHL for a consistent 3rd line position.

  37. JDï™ says:

    Professor Q,

    LaSlepy? Has a nice ring to it…

  38. Dino says:

    Personally I would put size with skill on Desharnais’s wings. By eyeball test he seems weakest along the boards so big bodied forcheckers like Pouliot,Kassian and Slepy should compliment his game the most. He’s also really good at garbage goals in the crease and this team definitely needed more of that.

    I would also play Khaira on that 4th line ahead of Hendy

  39. Professor Q says:

    JDï™:
    Professor Q,

    LaSlepy? Has a nice ring to it…

    Lol…No bad.

    I meant Pat LaFontaine, though. 😛

  40. Philosophil says:

    We’ve had Taylors and Ryans, Smiths and Smyths, and several Adam’s, but two Desharnais in the system at one time? Admittedly i’m too lazy to verify the exact spelling of each, but that aside, there must be some cosmic significance to this occurrence. No such thing as coincidence in PC’s master plan, no detail left unthought.
    Right?

  41. JDï™ says:

    Philosophil: two Desharnais in the system at one time?

    Good catch – I didn’t even think of the other Desh, maybe because he’s almost a foot taller. ?

  42. slopitch says:

    Overall I’m fine with the tdd. It was not the time to buy unless you can find a deal. There weren’t many deals available. Would have liked to aim a bit higher on DD or got a better return on Davy but they both are ok bets. DD has a decent history and is playing for a contract. Go getter! All the best Brandon Davidson.

    It’s important the Oilers play more then 5 playoff games. 10+ would be great. They are going to be a damn hard out come playoff time. Especially if the Steve Austins can build off the road trip. Fast forward a year and 97, 29, 25 should be improved and perhaps JP is ready. A couple pieces then and it’s go time.

  43. Georges says:

    I’ve been looking at faceoff data after the discussion from yesterday. Here’s something:

    Player’s FOW% in PP and SH situations:

    Player, PPFOW%, SHFOW% (in order of total faceoffs won)

    Bergeron, 61, 47
    Kesler, 60, 51
    O’Reilly, 58, 52
    Giroux, 55, 65 (took very few SH faceoffs)
    Koivu, 66, 46
    Stastny, 62, 56
    Trochek, 53, 48
    Tavares, 60, 49
    Zajac, 62, 54
    Kopitar, 59, 40

    Nuge, 43, 31

    Drai, 53, 39

    Letestu 56, 48

    So players have a worse win % in SH situations than in PP situations. The mean of the differences between the two percentages is significantly different from zero.

    Remenda says winning faceoffs is a team effort. Is that what’s happening here? In SH situations, you’re at a faceoff disadvantage because there are fewer teammates on the ice to help win faceoffs?

    Or something else?

  44. Philosophil says:

    JDï™,

    maybe we can sign St.Louis and Gerbe to skate with DD,

  45. --hudson-- says:

    Georges,

    One thing is the defensive centre is supposed to put their stick down first. It’s certainly a disadvantage but unsure if it explains the entire difference. Intuitively the extra skater should also have an effect

  46. JDï™ says:

    Philosophil,

    Nah, I’m good.

    Watching some of Desh’s highlights, he’s not afraid to get to the dirty areas, and seems to be pretty good at winning battles. I hope he’s still that player.

  47. Georges says:

    –hudson–:
    Georges,

    One thing is the defensive centre is supposed to put their stick down first. It’s certainly a disadvantage but unsure if it explains the entire difference. Intuitively the extra skater should also have an effect

    That means you’d have an edge in offensive zone faceoffs at even strength too, right?

  48. --hudson-- says:

    Georges,

    Yes that’s what would be expected. It’s only started this season though, previous seasons was always the visiting team needing to put their stick down first

  49. Georges says:

    –hudson–:
    Georges,

    Yes that’s what would be expected. It’s only started this season though, previous seasons was always the visiting team needing to put their stick down first

    OK, so I looked at OZFOW% and DZFOW%. The mean of the differences was again statistically different from zero, with centers doing better in the OZ than the DZ.

    But the difference between OZ and DZ faceoff win percentage wasn’t nearly as big as the difference between PP and SH situations.

    That made me think that maybe the small difference in OZ and DZ was mostly due to the fact that OZ and DZ faceoffs reported by nhl.com include PP and SH faceoffs.

    So I subtracted the PP and SH win-loss numbers from the OZ and DZ win-loss numbers to get at an estimate of even-strength OZ and DZ numbers. It’s an estimate because not every PP (SH) faceoff happens in the OZ (DZ). I’m assuming it’s going to be close enough.

    When I did the t-test again, this time with even-strength OZ and DZ numbers, the mean of the differences was no longer significantly different from zero.

    So I’m seeing that the difference in the results in PP and SH FOW% can’t be explained by the defensive player having to put his stick down first because there’s no difference in OZ and DZ results in even strength situations.

    I’m back to thinking that having more/fewer players on the ice affects your ability to win faceoffs. Which means that Remenda is right when he says winning faceoffs involves team play as well as center skill.

  50. YKOil says:

    As noted, not a fan of the Davidson trade at all. All the risk lies with the Oilers and upside is minimal w/out a huge uptick in performance by Desharnais (which I do not expect). Chances of the Oilers making the play-offs remain high-to-locked-in and chances of the Oilers winning a round remain middlin’.

    That said, okay with rest of the deadline. Mantha is ‘meh’ but the cost is right and Fontaine is a nice low-cost/low-risk pick-up that could pay dividends on the right side. Also, if Mantha makes any noise at all with the Condors we could be looking at adding a honest-to-goodness trade asset for zero cost – which I really like.

    Here’s hoping Desharnais out-performs… which is basically me saying I hope he does something worthwhile (read: better than what Khaira or Lander could do) because expectations are almost zero (read: below replacement level).

  51. SwedishPoster says:

    I’ve seen a lot of people mention Desharnais as being a player with speed. Isn’t he a pretty average skater? I thought part of what’s odd with Desharnais is that he’s a tiny player who’s made the NHL and has played over 400 games despite not being overly fast. Can’t say I’ve ever watched him closely enough to have any knowledge but I think I’ve heard something in that regard at least.

  52. GMB3 says:

    YKOil:
    As noted, not a fan of the Davidson trade at all.All the risk lies with the Oilers and upside is minimal w/out a huge uptick in performance by Desharnais (which I do not expect).Chances of the Oilers making the play-offs remain high-to-locked-in and chances of the Oilers winning a round remain middlin’.

    That said, okay with rest of the deadline.Mantha is ‘meh’ but the cost is right and Fontaine is a nice low-cost/low-risk pick-up that could pay dividends on the right side.Also, if Mantha makes any noise at all with the Condors we could be looking at adding a honest-to-goodness trade asset for zero cost – which I really like.

    Here’s hoping Desharnais out-performs… which is basically me saying I hope he does something worthwhile (read: better than what Khaira or Lander could do) because expectations are almost zero (read: below replacement level).

    Isn’t he realistically a clear upgrade over Drake Caggiula?

  53. Doug McLachlan says:

    JDï™:
    Philosophil,

    Nah, I’m good.

    Watching some of Desh’s highlights, he’s not afraid to get to the dirty areas, and seems to be pretty good at winning battles. I hope he’s still that player.

    I think I was watching the same highlights and what surprised me was the number of power play goals he got as the net front presence. He’s 5’7″?!? Why would he be the player to stand in front of the net?

  54. OF17 says:

    25-point pace: 5 points in 18 games
    35-point pace: 8 points in 18 games
    45-point pace: 10 points in 18 games

    Desharnais has averaged 45 points per 82 over the last 5 years. He’s scored at 26 P/82 in this disappointing year (about what Tyler Pitlick did). Even if Desharnais performs significantly below career levels, getting 5-8 points out of a 3rd liner between now and the playoffs would be music. To put that in context, if Pouliot, Caggiula, and Slepyshev hold their season production levels, they’ll score 4 points in that time period *combined.*

    We’re a noticeably more competitive team now than we were yesterday.

  55. NYCOIL "Gentleman Backpacker" says:

    I am not here to label Justin Fontaine an AHLer or a 4th line NHLer or anything else.

    I am merely pointing out that Chia just told us himself he saw this as a deal to help the Condors with a more 2-way player.

    So maybe we need to temper expectations for his contribution this year a bit.

    I am fine with the deal. Depth is good.

  56. JDï™ says:

    Doug McLachlan: Why would he be the player to stand in front of the net?

    He’s in the feet of the defenders, and they don’t know he’s there!

  57. --hudson-- says:

    Georges,

    That’s an awesome insight!

    Some centres must have a skill that leads to clean face off wins where wingers don’t get the opportunity to influence the draw. And some centres must have the skill of being to tie up the stick putting the outcome in the hands of luck.

    From your work I agree it’s safe to infer the latter skill is more predominant.

    I wonder if the former skill explains Nashville and also Oilers past who were regularly winning more than losing- Horcoff, Stoll, Peca, etc. Some players track record or reputation are so long it seems it can’t be luck. Joe Thornton is another player who comes to mind, he lost a lot of face offs in 2006 playoffs but improved thereafter (or at least his stats did)

  58. spoiler says:

    Georges: I’m back to thinking that having more/fewer players on the ice affects your ability to win faceoffs. Which means that Remenda is right when he says winning faceoffs involves team play as well as center skill..

    I don’t think this is in dispute? Remenda is one in a long string of TV commenters and coaches to say this, no? Lucic last game too, for eg.

    The difficult part is knowing how much effect..

    Players generally take their face-off percentages with them IIRC. The career range is wide enough to not be sure of any small effect’s presence, nor could you be sure if the wizard is teaching his new linemates things or not. I think other players’ help affects things but that the skill of the center is the primary driver of the number. But I also believe however that no effort on the others could swamp the center’s abilities. Make sense lol?

    I think the battles between the other players largely wash out, as long as there is a battle.

    BTW, is there a correlation between team size of forwards and FO win percentage? Maybe there’s a bit of an edge showing there? Assuming the thesis that over a large enough population, Size will win out in terms of physical battles. (Might not be true in all matter-energy gravity-based universes but should be true in most? Yes, you’re right… I’ve had a beer).

  59. spoiler says:

    Georges,

    We should be able to collect the faceoff wins for non-centers too. Direct data WOWY. I don’t have those skills but I wish I did.

  60. Pouzar says:

    SwedishPoster:
    I’ve seen a lot of people mention Desharnais as being a player with speed. Isn’t he a pretty average skater? I thought part of what’s odd with Desharnais is that he’s a tiny player who’s made the NHL and has played over 400 games despite not being overly fast. Can’t say I’ve ever watched him closely enough to have any knowledge but I think I’ve heard something in that regard at least.

    I’m read something on twitter from a local guy in MTL that says he is quick but not fast.

  61. Pouzar says:

    GMB3: Isn’t he realistically a clear upgrade over Drake Caggiula?

    Without a doubt.

  62. Ancient Oilers Fan says:

    On the PK the defenders have to temper their fight to win the puck in a face off scramble with the need to establish a defensive position. The defender will therefore back away from some face off scrambles that he would fully engage otherwise.

  63. Ryan says:

    SwedishPoster:
    I’ve seen a lot of people mention Desharnais as being a player with speed. Isn’t he a pretty average skater? I thought part of what’s odd with Desharnais is that he’s a tiny player who’s made the NHL and has played over 400 games despite not being overly fast. Can’t say I’ve ever watched him closely enough to have any knowledge but I think I’ve heard something in that regard at least.

    I only watch Montreal when they play the Oilers. Desharnais has certainly never stood out as a guy with afterburners. I think average to a hair above would be the most we could expect. We’ll see…

  64. PhrankLee says:

    Pouzar: Without a doubt.

    QFT.

    I was still in last thread this morning. He is clearly a better player for that spot in the roster at this time of year.

    Great post, LT.

  65. kinger_OIL says:

    Ancient Oilers Fan,

    – agree: also the pk team isn’t likely to have 2 strong fo guys while the pp team would have multiple options because they load up with forwards who all take fo’s. So if the pk guy gets tossed out the substitute isn’t likely going to be good.

  66. russ99 says:

    With the a veteran-heavy forward group, the additions of Desharnais to center the third line and and a bottom six F with NHL experience in Fontaine, who could see a call-up – I wonder if this means Puljujarvi will stay in Bakersfield for the duration to maximize his development for next season, unless a top 6 forward gets hurt.

    That would be a very un-Oilers move and show some maturity in the organization.

  67. Georges says:

    spoiler,

    I didn’t think I could easily get height/weight data. Then I checked nhl.com and there it was.

    I’ll look at the influence, if any, of size on faceoff performance when I get a chance.

    One reason it might exist is that there is zero correlation between FOW% and points per game.

    So, if there’s a group of small centers that don’t do as well at faceoffs, they might not be selected out because they can still contribute offense, which is more important than winning faceoffs.

    Also interesting that the correlation is zero here. I would’ve thought that it might be slightly negative. That would’ve meant that centers who don’t score can still carve out a career by winning faceoffs.

  68. Georges says:

    Ancient Oilers Fan:
    On the PK the defenders have to temper their fight to win the puck in a face off scramble with the need to establish a defensive position. The defender will therefore back away from some face off scrambles that he would fully engage otherwise.

    Good information. Thanks.

  69. Georges says:

    kinger_OIL:
    Ancient Oilers Fan,

    – agree: also the pk team isn’t likely to have 2 strong fo guys while the pp team would have multiple options because they load up with forwards who all take fo’s. So if the pk guy gets tossed out the substitute isn’t likely going to be good.

    Interesting. I looked at individual FOW% in PP and SH situations though, not team FOW%. I observed that individuals are significantly worse in SH situations than in PP situations.

    EDIT: Teams are also worse in SH situations. I agree with your observation about the PP unit having better secondary options.

  70. Georges says:

    –hudson–:
    Georges,

    That’s an awesome insight!

    Some centres must have a skill that leads to clean face off wins where wingers don’t get the opportunity to influence the draw. And some centres must have the skill of being to tie up the stick putting the outcome in the hands of luck.

    From your work I agree it’s safe to infer the latter skill is more predominant.

    I wonder if the former skill explains Nashville and also Oilers past who were regularly winning more than losing- Horcoff, Stoll, Peca, etc. Some players track record or reputation are so long it seems it can’t be luck. Joe Thornton is another player who comes to mind, he lost a lot of face offs in 2006 playoffs but improved thereafter (or at least his stats did)

    I have to think about this a bit. Not sure if the data tells me anything about faceoff style or tactics.

  71. kinger_OIL says:

    Georges,

    – I know we are onto another post, but i wanted to thank you for this insight: “One reason it might exist is that there is zero correlation between FOW% and points per game.”

    – Just another quiver in my “Face-offs don’t matter, and even if they did, it is so marginal, and so unrepeatable YoY, that its noise”

    – It’s just a narrative that is good for commentators to set the stage after commercial break, and create some excitement. And GM’s can throw in: “plus he’s good on the FO”

    – Of course control of the puck matters: don’t anyone misrepresent my learned belief

  72. pts2pndr says:

    Re faceoffs. It appears to me that there is a major variance in the way different officials handle dropping of the puck! The degree they allow players to cheat and or time delay reference dropping of the puck once both players are set! I initialy believed the quickness of player and or strength were of utmost import but am now inclined to believe that teams would be well served to study the officials working their game and their their tendencies!

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