MYSTERY TRAIN

I can find seven men for the top nine forward spots on this year’s Oilers: Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Patrick Maroon, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Milan Lucic, Ryan Strome, Jussi Jokinen. The final two names? It’s going to be a winter long reality show: The Right Winger.

THE CANDIDATES

DRAKE CAGGIULA

  • Positives: Speedy and aggressive player, he showed chem with Connor McDavid in style if not in points. Impressive penalty-killing potential. College numbers suggested we might be looking at someone who could help offensively in a substantial role.
  • Negatives: Cagguila struggled badly at center, meaning his ability to fill roles is limited. His offense in year one was well below replacement level and he is 23—his time needs to be now.

ANTON SLEPYSHEV

  • Positives: He has size, speed and skill, along with a booming shot. He is 6.02, 218 and is a big fast train. His AHL numbers suggest the minor-league auditioning is complete, although Slepyshev can be sent down without waivers. He is 23—and his time also needs to be now.
  • Negatives: Slepyshev might not have enough offense to hang with a skill line consistently.

JESSE PULJUJARVI

  • Positives: JP is a force of nature on the ice, a big body moving rapidly and with skill. He shows excellent awareness away from the puck and has a complete skill set.
  • Negatives: His first North American season was uneven and leaves some doubt about his being NHL-ready. Scoring ability remains a question if not a concern.

ZACK KASSIAN

  • Positives: Kassian is a physical player who can serve as a skilled deterrent. That may not have value to you but it probably does for Todd McLellan. His new slimmed down physique means Kassian’s foot speed is the best of his career. Although he isn’t a top-end skill player, Kassian can make a pass and has impressive creativity in close with the puck on his stick.
  • Negatives: There aren’t many at this point, Kassian has worked hard to make himself effective in all areas. Can lose his temper or cross that line and take regrettable penalties, but even that isn’t a chronic problem.

REASONABLE

My RE projection (as you’ll see as we continue) did settle on two men from this group, but the truth is, at least for this season, it’s anyone’s guess. Is there anyone else who could emerge on this roster? The longest shots are Kailer Yamamoto and Ty Rattie but the odds favor two of the four names above grabbing the opportunity.

ANALYTICS

One of the things Bill James was able to accomplish during his Abtract years was a large number of metrics and ideas that would become adopted as true. Platoon advantage was known but not universally understood, the superiority of a 19-year old rookie over a 24-year old rookie with the same stats wasn’t even a rumor, minors-to-majors stats conversion, k/w and relation to pitcher wins, and the stolen base had no real measurement of success. James changed all that and more.

One reason he was able to do it: Bill James worked in a vacuum. He wrote much of his work before the analytics explosion in baseball and his Abstracts have always been a guideline.

What can we universally agree on in regard to hockey analytics? I’m being serious here. I believe in Corsi, Corsi Rel, DFF, DFF Rel, NHL equivalencies, shots for percentage, shots per 60, shots against per 60 on the PK, save percentage at even strength.

How many of those metrics are universal? Answer: Zero. That is, I think, the failure of analytics in hockey. It’s a Tower of Babel, it is a ball of confusion, it is a religion with too many bibles. Today, this day, I would like to call for a list of universally agreed upon statistics and have it adopted by the collective. Otherwise, it’s just pissing in the wind.

Do you know what I tell people who ask me where to start digging re: Analytics? Rob Vollman’s Hockey Abstract. Do you know how many analytics people agree with everything in that book? What, in the name of Jesus, Mary & Joseph, can we agree on? It is time for the Hockey Analytics community to create a list of universal truths. Clarity, or die. Surely you know this to be true.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

When the Oilers traded Taylor Hall, Peter Chiarelli was trying to replace Jeff Petry. When Peter Chiarelli signed Milan Lucic, he was trying to replace Taylor Hall. When the Oilers traded Jordan Eberle, they were looking to change the dynamic up front. That’s my opinion.

The four men listed above all have elements to their game that make them attractive as possible top 9F options. Jesse Puljujarvi could solve a lot of problems by stepping in and scoring 20, but if we’re honest that eventuality is at least one ‘transition’ season away. Zack Kassian is a different player since his arrival in Edmonton, and his 1.74/60 at 5×5 one year ago was equal to Jordan Eberle’s (1.76) while playing with lesser linemates. Drake Caggiula is a bullet train and has some chem with 97, Anton Slepyshev looks exactly like the winger you’d want patrolling alongside McDavid or Draisaitl.

Here’s the thing that should keep you awake at night: What if none of these men brings enough offense to merit a full season audition? Sometimes, nothing rhymes. We don’t know what we don’t know, but we have our suspicions.

written by

The author didn‘t add any Information to his profile yet.
Related Posts

71 Responses to "MYSTERY TRAIN"

  1. Pouzar says:

    Slepy All Day Everyday. He is the goods.

    My head hurts.

  2. npanciroli says:

    I’m not sure who is actually going to win the role. But I have Slepyshev and Puljujarvi as my preferences.

    Maroon McDavid Strome
    Lucic Draisaitl Slepyshev
    Jokinen RNH Puljujarvi
    Cagguila Letestu Kassian

    This to me is the most balanced and smallest amount of risk with at least 2 vets/established players on each line.

  3. russ99 says:

    Top nine? Those days are over.

    First line: McDavid line
    Second line: Cycle line
    Third line: 2-way tough minutes line
    Fourth Line: Possession line

    In order of likelihood:

    Candidates for McDavid Line: McDavid (lock), Maroon, Draisaitl, Strome, Caggiula, Puljujarvi

    Candidates for Cycle Line: Lucic (lock), Slepyshev, Draisaitl, Strome, Puljujarvi, RNH (not a good fit)

    Candidates for Tough Minutes Line: Jokinen (lock), RNH, Caggiula, Kassian, Strome, Puljujarvi

    Candidates for Possession Line: Letestu (lock), Kassian ,Caggiula, Khaira, Slepyshev, Pakarainen, Puljujarvi, Malone, Gambardella

    This is a good sign that we have the flexibility that McLellan prefers.

    My starting lines:

    Maroon – McDavid – Strome
    Lucic – Draisaitl – Slepyshev
    Jokinen – RNH – Kassian
    Caggiula – Letestu – Puljujarvi

  4. dustrock says:

    LT, you forgot one negative on Kassian: not permitted to have goals scored count.

  5. theres oil in virginia says:

    Pouzar:
    Slepy All Day Everyday. He is the goods.

    My head hurts.

    No correlation to the whiskey discussion yesterday evening, I’m sure.

    🙂

  6. Pescador says:

    Pouzar:
    Slepy All Day Everyday. He is the goods.

    My head hurts.

    +1.
    As they say in the business, this year he is going to “figure it out”
    Slepyshev makes my head hurt less.
    If I were king, Puljujarvi would start the year in the minors & I would sign a righty Jokinen.
    Since you all were wondering, there it is

  7. cowboy bill says:

    It’s really not as complicated as you make it out to be .

    But I prefer to look at it as a top 12 rather than just a top 9 . These 12 players Maroon , Mcdavid , Draisaitl , Lucic , Nuge , Strome , Slepyshev , Jokinen , Puljujarvi . Caggiula , Letestu & Kassian .

    Slot them in anyway you like , there are multiple combinations suitable for any opponent or any game time situation . It’s a plug in and play forward group . A thing of beauty .

  8. LadiesloveSmid says:

    Slepy’s insurance goal against SJ in game 6 stands out for me like Desharnais’ GWG in game 5.

    Kassian’s penalty taking is a big problem for me, Maroon too.

  9. Pescador says:

    cowboy bill,

    Not bad,
    For a Cowboy.
    😄

  10. Pescador says:

    LadiesloveSmid,

    Can’t have a team full of Lady Byng’s

  11. Kinger_Oil.redux says:

    – Great post LT! 2 themes: the top-9 wingers (Sleppy and Pool-party, done)

    – As for the analytics: one of the things that is required is context: when citing a 5×5 G/60 for instance, the the difference is like .2: and one concludes therefore that A > B, often that is cherry picking. It ignores the actual minutes played, the actual goals scored, who they played with.

    – Using my .2 example: that could be difference of a few goals. It isn’t conclusion that A > B. It’s such a small sample size, variance, luck, the wrong data, etc

    – It also hides stuff like injury, the importance of playing a full season, etc

    – Also, no one like to admit it, but Corsi is not a stat that people inside organizations (well it’s used like how we look at +/-)

    – I love stats discusions, it helps frame things: but stats alone aren’t enough, and in hockey which is such a dynamic game, they are so far away yet from say James and baseball

    – Just a simple one: people will look at Ebs and say his CF was X with McD, Y away.: Sure interesting, but if you know that he had a hatty on the last game against Vancouver, and another the game before, and then 2 against Colorado, followed by a 9 game no goals down the playoff stretch drive, then no good in playoffs. 20 goal seasons indeed!

    – So parse numbers to show his relative contribution, that it’s just the distribution of probabilities that he had those long stretches of no goals, and didn’t score in playoffs, but actual results still matter: they are often hidden, obscured or otherwise when parsed.

    – I’m just using Ebs as an example.

    – While I’m at it, In the last 3 years for example, there is no team that would have chosen Hall over Lucic. Lucic missed 2 games in three years: Hall missed 39.

    – You can take /60 figures to show that Hall is “better”, but he actually wasn’t as effective hockey player for his team over the last three season as Lucic. Actual results matter.

    – So sure Hall is a dynamic player, when he plays he tilts the ice alone more than Lucic alone: context still matters IMO.

    – Maybe Lucic slows down, he’s 3 years older than Hall. Maybe the not get injured Hall isn’t as effective, as he can’t do the chances that encourage injuries?

    – Anyway, I chose those two because their /60 and corsi stats are often used, but when you don’t score, or are injured, what else are you doing for the team, for the season.

    – I don’t post a lot of stats stuff, but it’s my background in the business world, and work with them, and I enjoy reading the stats stuff here, but it’s only a starting point.

    – And I know that it’s just a blog, and we can only provide snippets, so don’t get mad at me

    – Keep doing what you are doing LT: and everyone be respectful, and comment well.

  12. hags9k says:

    I think the candidates all look like good bets. If Leon plays center then maybe we are lacking the high end RW but the depth sure seems solid. And if McDavid can’t take one of these guys and make them productive then I owe Pouzar a bottle of CC.

    Maroon McDavid Draisatl
    Lucic RNH Slepyshev
    Jokinen Strome JP
    Caggiula Letestu Krazy Eyes Killa

    Coach will have a ton of blender options. This is a versatile roster with so many guys able to play some center. Up front we look real good. Just need a Doughty…

  13. LadiesloveSmid says:

    Pescador:
    LadiesloveSmid,

    Can’t have a team full of Lady Byng’s

    Beats bonehead penalties. Strong penalty differentials are important.

  14. hags9k says:

    I like to see the same fancies as you have listed LT.

    Thanks to WG and G for PuckIQ. So much data, my only wish is that there was a way to cartoon graph the data somehow for dummies like me. I miss all the sledgehammers LT used to toss at us here.

    Also, I’m wondering if anywhere a stat exists for a player’s indidvidual time of possesion, as in puck on their stick?

    I remember Quenneville talking about Kane in a slump once and it came down to he was getting rid of the puck too soon, and that his game is based on holding that thing longer to set the table. I’d like to see that info somewhere. Time With Puck/TOI, Total touches, avg length of touch, that sort of thing.

  15. McNuge93 says:

    cowboy bill:
    It’s really not as complicatedas you make it out to be .

    But I prefer to look at it as a top 12 rather than just a top 9 . These 12 players Maroon , Mcdavid , Draisaitl , Lucic , Nuge , Strome , Slepyshev , Jokinen , Puljujarvi . Caggiula , Letestu & Kassian .

    Slot them in anyway you like , there are multiple combinations suitable for any opponent or any game time situation. It’s a plug in and play forward group . A thing of beauty .

    Agreed. It really is similar to last year and we scored a few last year. Strome replaces Ebs, Jokinen replaces Poo. Slepy has a year experience now, as does Caggiula, JP a year older. And you’re right line combos will be mixed and matched and McL seems to have more options with Strome being a C/winger. Add someone at the deadline if necessary. Its all good!

  16. Ducey says:

    russ99:

    My starting lines:

    Maroon – McDavid – Strome
    Lucic – Draisaitl – Slepyshev
    Jokinen – RNH – Kassian
    Caggiula – Letestu – Puljujarvi

    If that’s the case, I’d rather JP start in the minors. Pak can play 4th line RW (he is a good PK option)and JP can get PP and top 6 minutes in the field of Bakers.

    There are lots of benefits to JP starting in the AHL
    1) his development is enhanced by playing big minutes
    2) he develops confidence putting up some boxcars
    3) he provides depth and can step into the NHL lineup in the event of injury
    4) it reduces the effect of his bonuses
    5) it minimizes the chances of him having another misstep in his development. The worst thing that could happen would be for him to play 30 games, struggle, and get sent down.

    Keep him down, let him start busting out, then bring him up for good.

  17. krakman says:

    Kinger_Oil.redux,

    Last season Hall had more points than Lucic in less games most people would say that’s better

  18. Kinger_Oil.redux says:

    krakman:
    Kinger_Oil.redux,

    Last season Hall had more points than Lucic in less games most people would say that’s better

    – The replacement for hall is far worse than Hall. Continuity matters, Also you are cherry picking: I said the last 3 years.

    – Lucic on your team last 3 years > Hall. Your team’s season is better: it just is

    – HockeyIQ rocks by the way!

  19. Pouzar says:

    theres oil in virginia: No correlation to the whiskey discussion yesterday evening, I’m sure.

    Pure coincidence! 😉

  20. Pouzar says:

    Pescador: If I were king, Puljujarvi would start the year in the minors

    Yup. Give him the Drai treatment at least and see where it goes. What’s the rush?

  21. krakman says:

    Kinger_Oil.redux: – The replacement for hall is far worse than Hall.Continuity matters, Also you are cherry picking: I said the last 3 years.

    – Lucic on your team last 3 years > Hall.Your team’s season is better: it just is

    – HockeyIQ rocks by the way!

    Last 3 seasons pts
    Hall 156
    Lucic 149

  22. Kinger_Oil.redux says:

    krakman: Last 3 seasons pts
    Hall 156
    Lucic 149

    – Yes – when’t he’s healthy he’s better. That’s the point. But a team is better with healthy players.

    – Maybe you are trolling? You take a guy who scores a little less but doens’t disrupt lines over the higher octane but in the garage for repairs over 3 years.

    – Teams need reliability for the long-haul to suceed, not a Mustang and sometimes an Avis rental

    – Even if you don’t agree it’s part of the conversation. Lucic is 3 years older (not some old guy), he does not have a history of injury. Is that luck? Bad luck? Can Hall learn to manage season better?

  23. jtblack says:

    “Otherwise, it’s just pissing in the wind” .. There is a lot of that .. I think All the Stats are just one more tool in the tool box … It’s no different than evaluating stocks … There are many different metrics .. The most successful Stock Brokers are the ones that can identify the Metrics that HAVE THE BEST CHANCE to lead to positive results …

    KINGER_OIL.REDUX – “Actual results matter.” – As Kinger said, Results matter … So PPL can say X or Y, and they can be wrong and right … But you cannot ignore actual results .. I think the interesting thing is that WE ALL take a certain analytic stat and then marry ourselves to it and then try and prove why IT is right .. Just like Boxcars, Analytics are just one part of an NHL players overall portfolio. It will always be impossible to accurately measure character, personality, timing, teammate compatibility, desire, pressure results, etc ..

    I would like to see some analytics on game tying points; go ahead points, game winners, etc … When a team NEEDS production who steps up ..Eberle had 20 Goals; according to ESPN he had 0 GWG .. I just used him as an example .. Leon had 29 Goals, 5 GWG ..

    I think the Analytics also help challenge the age old eye test … and they have … before video we believed what we were told by GM’s / coaches / scouts … now we can al l from our opinion beyond what PC or TMac or Sportsnet says ..

    Love the info you provide!

    Lastly, I think the forward group will flourish this year .. There is so much skill and versatility in the Top 9 or Top 12 … There are no more Gadzic’s, Hendricks, etc .. All the guys can skate and play well. The Top 9 can go up and down the lineup …You throw in the best OFFENSIVE player in the league and the goals will come … The trick for this team will be to ice 3 trustworthy pairings on Defense .. I think they can do it, but that would be my concern …

    The Oilers finished T8th in the League and they blew at least 3 or 4 games in the last minute if memory serves me correct … They were a super young team with Many more question marks last year … Outside of a few teams, The others all have questions marks somewhere, that’s how the Cap era works .. If you have question marks, you want them to be on the wing … Teams that have quesions marks at Center Ice, or in Net, or super thin bluelines; they are in trouble .. The Oilers should be fine to be competing for a playoff spot come March!

  24. digger50 says:

    Kinger_Oil.redux,

    I understand your point Kinger.

    However your example not so sure.

    Look at that roster today. Take out Lucic and replace him with Hall, it’s a pretty big difference. Stanley Cup bound.

  25. GMB3 says:

    LadiesloveSmid:
    Slepy’s insurance goal against SJ in game 6 stands out for me like Desharnais’ GWG in game 5.

    Kassian’s penalty taking is a big problem for me, Maroon too.

    I thought he had a major improvement in his discipline compared to the year prior

  26. McNuge93 says:

    Kinger_Oil.redux: – Yes – when’t he’s healthy he’s better. That’s the point.But a team is better with healthy players.

    – Maybe you are trolling? You take a guy who scores a little less but doens’t disrupt lines over the higher octane but in the garage for repairs over 3 years.

    – Teams need reliability for the long-haul to suceed, not a Mustang and sometimes an Avis rental

    – Even if you don’t agree it’s part of the conversation.Lucic is 3 years older (not some old guy), he does not have a history of injury.Is that luck?Bad luck?Can Hall learn to manage season better?

    I don’t think Chiarelli trying to replace Hall by signing Lucic is the whole story. I think Chiarelli was trying to bring in a guy that he knew what he would bring to a sadly poor team. Some leadership, lots of toughness, experience, respect and would be a part of a catalyst for change that Chia was trying to implement. This team is a totally different team than it was more than a year ago and I’d say Chia was successful. Lucic wasn’t the sole reason by far but he was definitely a big part of it.

  27. GMB3 says:

    digger50:
    Kinger_Oil.redux,

    I understand your point Kinger.

    However your example not so sure.

    Look at that roster today. Take out Lucic and replace him with Hall, it’s a pretty big difference. Stanley Cup bound.

    Except you also take out Adam Larsson.. and then that defence is a huge question mark.

  28. digger50 says:

    McNuge93: I don’t think Chiarelli trying toreplace Hall by signing Lucic is the whole story. I think Chiarelli was trying to bring in a guy that he knew what he would bring to a sadly poor team. Some leadership, lots of toughness, experience, respect and would be a part of a catalyst for change that Chia was trying to implement. This team is a totally different teamthan it was more than a year ago and I’d say Chia was successful. Lucic wasn’t the sole reason by far but he was definitely a big part of it.

    I agree. And I believe this part of Kingers point as well.

    I don’t like comparing the two. The Oilers needed Lucic to turn things around, his point production is important but it is his intangibles that were critical.

    so although I support Hall as a player, I can believe Lucic was the need.

    Similar to Kassian and Marroon taking penalties. Without those penalties, Oilers remain the Rodney Dangerfield of the league and Connor does not sign for 8 years.

  29. jtblack says:

    digger50,

    “Look at that roster today. Take out Lucic and replace him with Hall, it’s a pretty big difference. Stanley Cup bound.” – I don’t want to go down the Hall path again . but take any player who has never played in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, in this case, Hall .. There seems to be a disconnect when you think adding a player who has spent 7 years in the League and hasn’t played one playoff game, will propel a team to the Cup Finals .? Results matter. He can score. He seems to tilt the ice (analytics), but can he win? Where as other players just seem to win and contribute no matter what team they play for .. Not sure how to quantify that exactly, but it has to matter …

  30. jtblack says:

    digger50,

    “so although I support Hall as a player, I can believe Lucic was the need.” – Well said. Hall is a great hockey player. The Oilers were a joke when PC took over. They had big time needs just to get to respectability. Larsson filled a huge hole. Lucic filled other needs. As did many other players … Hall happened to be the cost of filling one of those needs … The Oilers tried for 8 years to play with a bunch of one dimensional, soft skill guys and it got them nowhere … You can have some of those guys, but you also need to diggers, hitters, forecheckers, etc …

    Putting together a winning team is more than just icing a bunch of players with good boxcars ..

    The team probably would have won with Hall / Demers but that is not what happened. They also may have not progressed with Hall / Demers. We will never know. What we do know, is that they DID win with Larsson / Lucic …

  31. LadiesloveSmid says:

    LT, how did Draisaitl’s draft +1 NHLE in Kelowna compare to Pulju’s in Bako?

  32. Kinger_Oil.redux says:

    jtblack,

    – Stocks is my business by the way: and you’ve used a good analogy.

    – there is no amount of data or stats that can predict the fluxuation of a stock 12 months out.

    – The amount of data and stats and historical stuff, and tools available to an investor (institutional or retail) is truly staggering, Parsing through it all is one of my professional delights when arriving at conclusions on security analysis and decisions, but ultimately everyone is just making a best guess. Their results though, over time, that’s what matters: that’s my point: results matter

    – No one lasts in my business by trotting out backward-looking stats to predict the future. And Hockey results broadly have a lot more luck and volatility in it than say a market index.

    – But just like the market, it’s fun to look at historicals to suss out what is reasonable going forward (which is why I love LT’s RE series)

  33. jtblack says:

    Kinger_Oil.redux,

    “The amount of data and stats and historical stuff, and tools available to an investor (institutional or retail) is truly staggering,” – This is what is occuring with Analytics in Sports .. Staggering amount of data .. The trick is not presenting the data, it is figuring out how to rank the importance of each metric ..

    So for stocks, I would place a HIGH value on the Management Team. Same managers, time and time again, seem to replicate a winning formula for business. In other words, they know how to produce results and Results matter … Would that be high on your list? just curious ..

    The McDavid factor is huge, nobody can ignore his overall impact on the Oilers franchise; But the biggest impact he may have had is that he attracted credible management in the form of Nicholson, PC & T Mac … I believe that group is capable and knows how to produce a winning culture and environment. How much the Oilers win (how high the stock goes), nobody knows. But after 1 year to flush out the old garbage, and an incredible year 2; they have delivered results …. will it continue? I believe so ..

    cheers,

  34. OmJo says:

    jtblack:
    digger50,

    “Look at that roster today. Take out Lucic and replace him with Hall, it’s a pretty big difference. Stanley Cup bound.” –I don’t want to go down the Hall path again . but take any player who has never played in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, in this case, Hall ..There seems to be a disconnect when you think adding a player who has spent 7 years in the League and hasn’t played one playoff game, will propel a team to the Cup Finals .?Results matter. He can score. He seems to tilt the ice (analytics), but can he win?Where as other players just seem to win and contribute no matter what team they play for .. Not sure how to quantify that exactly, but it has to matter …

    IIRC, Hall was back-to-back Memorial Cup winner and MVP? Sure, it’s juniors, and it was almost a decade ago… But look how Draisailt performed in his first playoffs. Also a Memorial Cup MVP. I think that has some merit when predicting how he’d perform in a NHL playoff series. Not saying he’s going to win the Conn Smythe in his first playoffs, but…

    I have no doubt Hall will thrive in a playoff setting. Before he came here he was a winner. I feel like he will want to prove it to himself and everybody else that that hasn’t changed.

    Then again, I thought Eberle would be clutch in the playoffs based on past performances (well, one performance in particular). Granted, Hall > Eberle but a lot can change in 7 years.

  35. Bos8 says:

    Further to the Canadian Rye discourse.

    First, it’s corn not rye alcohol. Second they do much blending to give you that Rye taste,charge extra for smooth and convince you it’s upscale. Total rip.

    Centennial Limited Edition is aged ten years, has a smooth finish and costs around twenty five dollars. Distilled in High River.

    It’s like a Famous Grouse scotch. Very smooth and cheap, what a combo.

    The object of the exercise is a mellow tipple without forfeit of your firstborn.

  36. Wolfpack says:

    Not a math guy but my favourite might be what I believe was called the Vollman Sledgehammer. The charts that combined zone start with time on ice and Corsi (I believe) was easy to understand. Big blue dot in certain quadrant good, small orange dot in certain quadrant bad. Combined with the work that Woodguy and Gmoney have done on quality of competition, and those are the things I look at to gauge a player.

    The main issue I have with stats is sample size. It is too difficult to use them to analyse individual performance from period to period or game to game. And I think this is what gives the non stats crew a lot of their ammo. I have time for just about any stat as long as the sample size is big enough and the context is clear.

    Forgot – I like WOWY too.

  37. OmJo says:

    Ducey: If that’s the case, I’d rather JP start in the minors. Pak can play 4th line RW (he is a good PK option)and JP can get PP and top 6 minutes in the field of Bakers.

    There are lots of benefits to JP starting in the AHL
    1) his development is enhanced by playing big minutes
    2) he develops confidence putting up some boxcars
    3) he provides depth and can step into the NHL lineup in the event of injury
    4) it reduces the effect of his bonuses
    5) it minimizes the chances of him having another misstep in his development. The worst thing that could happen would be for him to play 30 games, struggle, and get sent down.

    Keep him down, let him start busting out, then bring him up for good.

    Yeah, many here were saying he should have started in the minor/Finland last season. I’d rather see him find his offense in the AHL before throwing him to the wolves in the NHL ala Drasaitl.

    There’s no need to rush Puljujarvi or Yamamoto IMO. I have a lot of confidence in Kassian being a legitimate top 6 RW, especially alongside McDavid. Slepyshev and Cagguila at this point shouldn’t struggle too much in a bottom 6 role. Puljujarvi can be the first call up, again ala Draisaitl. The Drasaitl model worked. Maybe too good.

    It’s the right thing to do, but is it the Oiler thing to do?

  38. JimmyV1965 says:

    Kinger_Oil.redux,

    I would like to comment on the injury thing. I’m not arguing that Hall is better than lucic, although I think he is. Msybe Lucic is better for this team. But injuries are a bit misleading. Hall has never had a reason to play through injury because he’s always played on bad teams. Lucic has always been on good teams. Maybe he plays through some injuries because his teams are always playing for something.

  39. Well Oiled and Enthusiastic says:

    In a cap restricted world, having 7 of top 9F, with emerging, low cost question marks in the batters box to start the season seems about right and the new operating m.o. for any franchise. I think Chiarelli has this set up largely correctly and is working to deepen the pipe for next years – and every year after that – question marks.

  40. OmJo says:

    JimmyV1965,

    I think size plays a big part, too. No pun intended.

    Lucic doesn’t fall very much. And he’s usually the one doing the injuring out there (ie he’s the one laying players out and punching their faces in).

  41. russ99 says:

    Ducey: If that’s the case, I’d rather JP start in the minors. Pak can play 4th line RW (he is a good PK option)and JP can get PP and top 6 minutes in the field of Bakers.

    There are lots of benefits to JP starting in the AHL
    1) his development is enhanced by playing big minutes
    2) he develops confidence putting up some boxcars
    3) he provides depth and can step into the NHL lineup in the event of injury
    4) it reduces the effect of his bonuses
    5) it minimizes the chances of him having another misstep in his development. The worst thing that could happen would be for him to play 30 games, struggle, and get sent down.

    Keep him down, let him start busting out, then bring him up for good.

    IMO, Puljujarvi’s bad experience in Bakersfield last year pretty much precludes him from going back down after camp this year, especially with bonuses not being as big a problem with the cap room we have left.

    You don’t want to discourage a young player by sending him back to the same situation he had real problems with, and the same staff is in place there.

    And even if the offense isn’t there in camp, he’s still an NHL quality two-way forward, just play him with linemates where the offense can grow.

    If he does well in camp – top six role
    if he doesn’t do super great in camp – bottom six role.
    If he has an awful camp. send him down and deal with repercussions.

  42. Kinger_Oil.redux says:

    JimmyV1965:
    Kinger_Oil.redux,

    I would like to comment on the injury thing.I’m not arguing that Hall is better than lucic, although I think he is.

    – Me too, on the goal-scoring part for sure he is more impactful than Lucic, when he plays

    – If Hall played 82 81 82 games in the last 3 years and scored at the same rate and didnt’ miss those games: he’d probably doesn’t get traded, or gets traded for more (then again if he did that, we wouldn’t get McD, so there’s that)

    – As it is: his G/60 >> than actual goals, or any measure/60 is eroded relative to contribution to team success over 82 game seasons. Actual goals over 3 years are way more important than /60

    – You use /60 to “try” to normalize, compare over smaller data sets, with the view that over time it should translate into actual results.

    – Sorry to respond so much, but I really liked LT’s query about stats: and their application and prognosis ability. It’s a great topic actually.

    – Break it down, argue whether is sustainable, how the situations are different YoY, consider variance, small sample size, linemates, and all kinds of things that we can’t measure: it’s fun, with a whole lot of unknown to boot! Stats have helped advance the discussion and merits and fun of following hockey for many, myself included:

    – I’m really thankful for stats movement because I watch hockey differently now, think about it differently, and am glad for it. I spend more time on LT than actually watching hockey!

  43. jtblack says:

    Kinger_Oil.redux,

    ” I’m really thankful for stats movement because I watch hockey differently now, think about it differently, and am glad for it. ” – I have to agree with this .. The Stats movement has made me look at players differently, think about them differently and think about the game differently …

    Another analytic / thought : When teams play the Oilers their #1 focus is “How do we shut down Connor” … On the road Connor and his line are pretty much guranteed to play the best checking center (who isn’t considered elite) and the Top pairing D men … Because he IS eating up that ice time; technically the 2nd tier should produce better than their career avg cause they don’t have to face Stud D man #1 or Checking Center #1 … But it certainly didn’t work out that way last year …

    Acutally not sure what I am trying to say here … so I will stop ! bahahhaaha

  44. Ducey says:

    http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/nhl-unrestricted-free-agents-ufas-2017-markov-jagr-jokinene-vanek-franson-rumours-reports/

    One of those updates on UFA’s still out there. Franson is apparently looking for 3 yrs. Doan sounds like he is done.

  45. Bruce McCurdy says:

    jtblack: Another analytic / thought : When teams play the Oilers their #1 focus is “How do we shut down Connor”

    When teams used to play the Devils their #1 focus was “How do we keep the puck away from Brodeur?” But much of the analytics I read concluded “Brodeur overrated because save percentage” or similar. Don’t think the community ever did get a handle on him, or on goaltending generally to be frank.

  46. JimmyV1965 says:

    jtblack,

    Maybe Lucic was playing through an injury. Maybe that’s why his even strength production was down. Idle speculation I guess.

  47. jtblack says:

    Bruce McCurdy,

    That is a Great point. You cannot measure that directly, but it has a huge impacting on the opposing team when they cannot dump the puck in, so NJ Defense can stack the line … Comletely impacts the outcome of a game, but yet is not really measurable EXCEPT by wins. As Kinger said; Results Matter. That is a great example. he was also pretty good at stopping the puck.!

  48. Professor Q says:

    Bruce McCurdy: When teams used to play the Devils their #1 focus was “How do we keep the puck away from Brodeur?” But much of the analytics I read concluded “Brodeur overrated because save percentage” or similar. Don’t think the community ever did get a handle on him, or on goaltending generally to be frank.

    I guess they do…tend…to be random outliers?

  49. Wild Bill Hunter says:

    Puljujarvi should not be written off. (I know you haven’t actually written him off, but the negative way you project his future is close to that) There is another high draft pick who the Oilers kept as an 18 year old then found he was in over his head and sent him down (to junior in his case) to finish the season. That guy put up very similar numbers to those Puljujarvi posted in year 1. And now 2 short years later we’re wondering what we would do without him. Puljujarvi had the knee injury which prevented him from working out at full speed until August that had to set him back. He spoke English very haltingly that impeded his progress. He has a fairly late birthdate so he only turned 19 after the end of the season. (Draisaitl was 19 for almost the entire season) I remain optimistic about the Puljujarvi’s potential as an offensive threat…he will be in a much better situation this year to learn the NHL game (Jokinen’s presence doesn’t hurt either)

    Remember we will be lucky to see 10 games with all of the top nine healthy at the same time so Slepyshev, Caggiula and Puljujarvi will all see plenty of top nine shifts during the course of the season. All three of those guys are likely to improve over last year and will likely continue to improve over the course of the season. I can’t see any reason to worry about which ones will play in the top 9…all three will.

  50. Lowetide says:

    Wild Bill Hunter:
    Puljujarvi should not be written off. (I know you haven’t actually written him off, but the negative way you project his future is close to that).

    Not close to accurate.

  51. jtblack says:

    LT: The 4 Candidates had a total of 19 Goals last year …. I put the over : under @ 40 goals this year. I go with the Over … there is only so much ice time and PP time … But I think they will all progress and Kass stays flat due to no PP time …

    JP 18
    Cagg 14
    Slep 8
    Kass 8

  52. OmJo says:

    Lowetide: Not close to accurate.

    Have to say, you’re easily one of – if not the – most patient Oilers fan I’ve ever met (well, “met”) when it comes to giving players time to prove themselves. Not many like that after the last decade, and rightfully so.

  53. OmJo says:

    jtblack:
    LT: The 4 Candidates had a total of 19 Goals last year …. I put the over : under @ 40 goals this year. I go with the Over … there is only so much ice time and PP time … But I think they will all progress and Kass stays flat due to no PP time …

    JP 18
    Cagg 14
    Slep 8
    Kass 8

    Kassian could have easily had 30 goals (slight exaggeration) if the league didn’t make it against the law for him to score.

    In a top six role would it be too crazy to predict he gets 20?

  54. jtblack says:

    Lowetide,

    Wild Bill Hunter: – LT has just claimed all along he has concern for the offensive upside of JP, who when drafted @ #4 was projected very high on the O …. LT has said he may well be a 20 – 20 guy forever, and that would be great; but given JPs wierd first year in NA, LT just has concern that JP may not be a Laine; 30 or 35 goal guys.

    That is All

  55. commonfan29 says:

    Beyond just the top-9, a big plus for Kassian playing even higher in the order next year is that he’s the only non-Drai candidate for 1RW who wouldn’t be in line for a pay bump if he caught fire with McDavid.

    TMac showed last year that he doesn’t consider such things when filling out his lineup, but that’s quickly going to be something that the team can no longer afford.

  56. Thinker says:

    I feel like we are treating Slepy and Cagguila like younger prospects than they are. Progress might not be profound, and they may Lander their way back to the minors.

  57. Lowetide says:

    Thinker:
    I feel like we are treating Slepy and Cagguila like younger prospects than they are. Progress might not be profound, and they may Lander their way back to the minors.

    That may be one of the reasons PC hasn’t ventured deeper into free agency. I think it’s fairly obvious the organization believes in all four men, but for the two you mentioned the time is now.

  58. McNuge93 says:

    commonfan29:
    Beyond just the top-9, a big plus for Kassian playing even higher in the order next year is that he’s the only non-Drai candidate for 1RW who wouldn’t be in line for a pay bump if he caught fire with McDavid.

    TMac showed last year that he doesn’t consider such things when filling out his lineup, but that’s quickly going to be something that the team can no longer afford.

    I just don’t see a coach making decisions based on that criteria and nor do I see a GM pushing him to do so.

  59. jasperavenue says:

    Lowetide enjoy your site twice a day.

    I’d like to request a sidebar, or some method of providing a definition and description of each of these analytics – Corsi, Corsi Rel, DFF, Dff Rel, NHL equivalencies, shot for percentage, shot for and against per 60 on the PK – that can be referenced easily.

    As you will realize shortly I’m an older guy and I just cannot remember the why’s and wherefores of these statistics. If it can be done great, if not, oh well.

    Often wonder why the analytics folks don’t try to discover what four or five player statics are important to coaches like Babcock, Quenneville, Tortorella, ours, other good ones. Maybe it’s possible to work the above analytics into their evaluations.

    Many years ago I lived in Ontario then a Leaf fan – Punch Imlach was asked, “what will it take to beat the Canadians Saturday night?” His response; “If I can get 25 hits we have a chance.” Game has changed however even then some stats were kept.

    Also I believe I read here some time ago that someone had determined in a hockey game luck – or no luck was 38% of the game results. If true does that mean that most statistics can only apply to 62% of a game/players? Or does Corsi give us some feel for the luck part?

    And for humours sake, the quote; “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.” from a British politician.

    I do believe a variety of stats are important, and that they are used by coaches and management – likely agents also. Your work to develop stats that are meaningful to all is a worthy effort.

  60. Bank Shot says:

    I think Caggiula and Puljujarvi will get the push.

    Mclellan likes Caggiula as evidenced by his playoff usage.

    Puljujarvi won’t be in the majors to play on the 4th line IMO.

    I would actually like to see Chiarelli extend Caggiula before the season starts. Maybe you can get him 2-3 years at $1.5 million. Guaranteed money and job for the kid might sway him.

    If he spends a sizable amount of time with McDavid (Which I think is possible) he might hit 40 points and then he’ll want a lot more.

  61. Revolved says:

    I can understand the desire to find a single metric for analytics to hang on, but I think that it’s strength is that the people doing it never stop looking for something better.

    The idea of possession (Corsi) is not even that old and we have already moved into metrics that weight shot attempts (DFF). Including context like zone starts and quality of competition are even more recent advances that shed more light on what we see.

    All of this requires data to be collected and analyzed, which means the best stat there is changes as more data is collected and analyzed. DFF rel, weighted by competition is probably the best thing we’re going to get for a while, but it’s not the end.

  62. Showerhead says:

    Bruce McCurdy: When teams used to play the Devils their #1 focus was “How do we keep the puck away from Brodeur?” But much of the analytics I read concluded “Brodeur overrated because save percentage” or similar. Don’t think the community ever did get a handle on him, or on goaltending generally to be frank.

    As a general rule, I default to save percentage but your point here is the most compelling pro-Brodeur argument.

    Just for fun:

    If you watched every Devils game played in 1995
    And if you counted all of the attempted zone entries by their opposition
    And you counted all of the times those zone entries were successful
    You could calculate how effective New Jersey was at defending their zone.

    I assume, since they were Cup winners and known for the trap, one of the strongest aspects of their game would be zone entry prevention – either through creating a turnover with the trap or forcing a dump-in that, as you’re suggesting, Brodeur would often render unsuccessful with his puckhandling skills. In short, you’d expect Brodeur’s Devils to spend very little time in their own zone when compared to other teams.

    If you assume that the trap / other systems the Devils played were 100% dependent on having someone of Brodeur’s puckhandling ability, then you could say that 100% of the Devils’ edge in zone entry prevention was attributable to Marty. You’d be being generous, but I’m thinking out loud here so let’s go with 100%

    OK. So let’s say we know the Devils were great at preventing zone entries. We could compare their success at this to other teams and get an actual measured count of how much less time New Jersey played in their end than other teams did. You could then take average shots against per minute of zone time (let’s say you took the time to count and calculate this) and use it to say: New Jersey allowed X fewer shots because of their systems – IE because Brodeur.

    And if you found that the Devils allowed X fewer shots and you believed it was because of Brodeur, you could use his save percentage to calculate how many fewer goals against he was responsible for in addition to, you know, stopping the puck.

    And if you did all of that, you could make an empirical argument that “how do we keep the puck away from Brodeur?” compensates for his non-elite save percentage. With that kind of evidence, I could get on board.

    That said, this was just a thought exercise. I’m sure as hell not going to go through all of the work to attempt a proof 😉

  63. Kinger_Oil.redux says:

    jasperavenue:
    Punch Imlach was asked, “what will it take to beat the Canadians Saturday night?” His response; “If I can get 25 hits we have a chance.”Game has changed however even then some stats were kept.

    – Nice post! At the Wimbledon telecast, they put up some “keys to success” for each player.

    – Like: “If Federer 1st serve% is 76% or above, he wins 87% of matches”

    – or “If Cilic returns more than 21% of 1st serves he wins 92% of matches”

    – These findings were parsed by Watson/IBM, looking for relationships between a whole bunch of data that had been accumulated.

    – For sure all teams would have really advanced stats about how different results effect outcomes, team tendencies, relative strengths and weaknesses, etc

    – Imlach: ahead of his times!

    – OK no more posting for me for a few days: promise

  64. Munny says:

    LT said…

    ” Today, this day, I would like to call for a list of universally agreed upon statistics and have it adopted by the collective. Otherwise, it’s just pissing in the wind.”

    This is wildly premature. We have a brand new stats site starting this summer, PuckIQ. If we had to take a stand today, I’d have to exclude them, as they’re far too new and unproven.

    We’ve had members of the stat community fall in love with Zonestarts and Sledgehammers in the past, love that has proven to be somewhat misplaced. Good thing we didn’t call it a day back then. And as one of the few voices of opposition, I know how long it took to be heard.

    These things take time. Rushing the process is probably the worst thing we can do.

  65. Scungilli Slushy says:

    OmJo: IIRC, Hall was back-to-back Memorial Cup winner and MVP? Sure, it’s juniors, and it was almost a decade ago… But look how Draisailt performer d in his first playoffs. Also a Memorial Cup MVP. I think that has some merit when predicting how he’d perform in a NHL playoff series. Not saying he’s going to win the Conn Smythe in his first playoffs, but…

    I have no doubt Hall will thrive in a playoff setting. Before he came here he was a winner. I feel like he will want to prove it to himself and everybody else that that hasn’t changed.

    Then again, I thought Eberle would be clutch in the playoffs based on past performances (well, one performance in particular). Granted, Hall > Eberle but a lot can change in 7 years.

    I doubted Eberle would be clutch in playoffs for two reasons. One is clutch has been disproven. It’s mostly luck, rarely repeated, great players play great and are better but even they are up and down.

    Second is Eberle’s WJC magic wasn’t a run of dominant games, it was two or three instances of cherry picking that went in at the most perfect times. That is a lot of luck for a guy with some puck skills.

    I’m not knocking Ebs but he is a complimentary opportunist. He might fall into more heroics, or that might be all he is granted by the Gords.

    Chiarelli likes players that bring more gravity to their games. Even when not scoring they are a pain to play against, doing something.

  66. Scungilli Slushy says:

    Because the cap closes in like the walls of the trash compactor in Star Wars next summer, McArelli need to determine if the young wingers can do the job. Whoever wins it has to be a value contract.

    I have seen enough to know they know what they are looking at. It’s not ideal to rush JP, but they can shelter him and grind the older young guys harder.

    It’s tough to even type this, but they might think we won’t win next year, but then it’s on, another season of growing. So finding and developing young players although not ideal for immediate success might be better for long term success.

  67. commonfan29 says:

    McNuge93: I just don’t see a coach making decisions based on that criteria and nor do I see a GM pushing him to do so.

    Coaches make decisions for reasons other optimizing the lineup all the time – sending messages about proper effort and discipline and such. They do it with a bigger picture in mind.

    The salary cap is now part of that bigger picture, and teams that ignore it do it at their peril.

    Think of what enormous impact it has had on the team this summer that TMac ultimately went with Drai on McDavid’s wing instead of Eberle, despite similar results.

    Drai is locked in a contract dispute that could cripple the team’s ability to compete long-term, and Eberle is gone for a piddling return.

    This stuff is important.

  68. Bruce McCurdy says:

    jasperavenue: I’d like to request a sidebar, or some method of providing a definition and description of each of these analytics – Corsi, Corsi Rel, DFF, Dff Rel, NHL equivalencies, shot for percentage, shot for and against per 60 on the PK – that can be referenced easily.

    Here’s a recent post on The Oilers Rig about analytics sites by Rex Libris that you might find helpful:

    http://www.theoilersrig.com/2017/07/encyclopaedia-analytica/

  69. Lowetide says:

    jasperavenue:
    Lowetide enjoy your site twice a day.

    I’d like to request a sidebar, or some method of providing a definitionand description of each of these analytics – Corsi, Corsi Rel, DFF, Dff Rel, NHL equivalencies, shot for percentage, shot for and against per 60 on the PK – that can be referenced easily.

    As you will realize shortly I’m an older guy and I just cannot remember the why’s and wherefores of these statistics. If it can be done great, if not, oh well.

    Often wonder why the analytics folks don’t try to discover what four or five player statics are important to coaches like Babcock, Quenneville, Tortorella, ours, other good ones. Maybe it’s possible to work the above analytics into their evaluations.

    Many years ago I lived in Ontario then a Leaf fan – Punch Imlach was asked, “what will it take to beat the Canadians Saturday night?” His response; “If I can get 25 hits we have a chance.”Game has changed however even then some stats were kept.

    Also I believe I read here some time ago that someone had determined in a hockey game luck – or no luck was 38% of the game results.If true does that mean that most statistics can only apply to 62% of a game/players?Or does Corsi give us some feel for the luck part?

    And for humours sake, the quote;“There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.” from a British politician.

    I do believe a variety of stats are important, and that they are used by coaches and management – likely agents also.Your work to develop stats that are meaningful to all is a worthy effort.

    Welcome, fellow seasoned vet! 🙂 Bruce McCurdy and I are the old timey guys, he posted a link and I have one for you as well.

    http://puckiq.com/about

  70. godot10 says:

    commonfan29:

    Drai is locked in a contract dispute that could cripple the team’s ability to compete long-term, and Eberle is gone for a piddling return.

    This stuff is important.

    Paying good players what they are worth never cripples a team’s ability to compete. Overpaying mediocre players (in dollars or duration) like Lucic and Russell is what kills a team’s ability to compete.

    Identify the five or six players that really make a difference. Pay them. The rest of the players are replaceable. Almost no team has five or six players that really make a difference.

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!
© Copyright - Lowetide.ca