A Season to Remember

Another way to look at the current roster and project it into the future is to look back at the team that made the Cup run in spring 2006 and see what went so right.

There’s a tendency to say ‘well the Oilers got Pronger and Peca and then dealt for a bunch of guys at the deadline and Pisani got hot’ and gloss over about 15 other vital things about that team.

One of the most important items is to count the number of players who “covered the bet”, which is to say delivered performances that were worth way more than their sticker price.

Since we’re talking about dollars and cents right now, it might be an excellent time to look back and count the players who were worth more than the cheques paid out in 05-06.

This is in alpha order.

Marc Andre Bergeron ($931k). Bergeron played 1600 minutes in the 05-06 season, 350 of that on the powerplay. He delivered 2.74/60 with the man advantage but was pretty solid at EVs (1/60) and his 15-20-35 for the season was exceptional for the price.

Ales Hemsky ($901,740). Hemsky played 1375 minutes in the 05-06 season, slightly over 400 of them on the powerplay. His PP/60 number (6.17) was very nice, his EV number 2.25 was a little better than he managed this past season (2.09) but that PP number helped him lead the team in scoring (19-58-77) and he delivered 6-11-17 in the playoffs too. A wonderful payoff for less than a million, a season to remember.

Shawn Horcoff ($1M). Horcoff played almost 1600 minutes, almost 300 on the PP and 225 on the PK. I get a bit silly about this guy, but it drives me crazy that some Oiler fans can watch him for 82 games and not see his value. In 05-06 he went 3-3-6 on the PK (about 1.6/60), went 4.82/60 on the PP and then 2.44 at EVs and this was against the other team’s good players. This past season his PP number was almost identical, but his EV number fell off. Lots of people focus on his plus minus total this past season, but half of it came late when they were a mess and as MC pointed out to me he had a terrible number of empty netters this season. I like Shawn Horcoff at 3.6M, you can imagine what I thought of him at 1M.

Fernando Pisani ($611,800). Good grief. As I write this it’s getting depressing. We’re at our fourth name now and the hits just keep on coming. Fernando Pisani is a smart player, and one day when we can measure the game better my guess is Pisani will be one of the players who gets elevated in status. In 05-06 he was excellent in the regular year and ridiculous in the postseason. Pisani played 1100 minutes in 05-06, 150 on the PP. He did a lot of heavy lifting at EVs and still managed to score 1.84/60 (he was 1.39 this past season) and 3.59 on the PP. Pisani was Guy Lafleur in the post season, 14-4-18 in a run I will never forget. At $611,800 he was ridiculous value.

Jarret Stoll ($501,600). Stoll played 1500 minutes in 05-06, 410 on the PP and 200 on the PK. He was a pretty valuable hockey player. On the PP he was 4.53 (4.2 this season) and at EVs he was 2.35 (2.2 this season) on the way to 82gp, 22-46-68 totals. At the price, he was extremely valuable.

Raffi Torres ($875,000). Raffi played 1100 minutes in 05-06, 224 of them on the PP. He’s pretty famous for wandering out there but his results have always been solid. His EV number in 05-06 (2.07) was pretty close to this past season (1.94) and his PP number (2.95) was better than this year (0.40). Torres’ biggest moments in the season came during the playoffs when he made some massive hits (one of which had an impact on the SJS series). At this price, he was a bargain.

These guys, added to Chris Pronger, Ryan Smyth, Steve Staios, Jason Smith, Dwayne Roloson and others meant that the Oilers just had more good players than people expected when the playoffs arrived.

They had luck, they had skill, they had coaching. But they also had 6 guys playing big minutes for low money. How many players like that do you see in the immediate future?

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13 Responses to "A Season to Remember"

  1. original fan says:

    And they still finished 8th…

  2. momentai says:

    Yeah… well they had practically no goaltending for most of the season.

    Pouliot and Thoresen are two guys who can handle themselves appropriately on the ice for right now and they aren’t signed at a high price for this season either. But then… if either has a good season, they’re coming up for raises next year. Nilsson too if he gets what I expect as soft minutes and pp time..

  3. Showerhead says:

    And what was that old calculation anyway… if they had league average save percentage throughout the year instead of Conklin/Markkanen/Morrison, they would have been at the top of the West?

    (I’m really not sure on the details there but if you think that Edmonton’s playoff team would have finished 8th over 92 games you’re out to lunch.

  4. Oilman says:

    Agreed, with the Conkanen debacle and then Roloson struggling when he first arrived, the loading up on Players and watching them walk away, the making the finals, forcing a game 7 through incredible odds and losing because of an ass-deflected puck….the 05-06 Oilers were the best and at the same time most frustrating team I’ve seen in Edmonton….it’s too bad they never had the chance to continue what they started

  5. Dennis says:

    Yeah, from the goaltending out they were a damn good team, albeit with damning netminding. And once they picked up Spacek and Roli, it was a very solid crew. Granted, they did struggle like Mofo’s down the stretch when it came to the GF dept.

    They got outchanced by Det in the first round but then they outchanced their opp in the last three series so once they had some luck vs the Wings, the rest of their wins were bought and paid for.

  6. Jesse says:

    How many players like that do you see in the immediate future?

    Well it’s always a crapshoot, but at first glance, one or more of these guys could surprise at some point in the next 3 years:

    O’Marra (1.22), Greene (1.15), Cogliano (1.13), Garon (1.1), Nilsson (1.01), Grebeshkov (950k), Pouliot (942k), Smid (915k), Gilbert (907k), Schremp (780k), Trukhno (660k)

    Although it’s true that a couple of those guys like Pouliot and Grebeshkov become RFAs after next year.

    Plus there’s always the chance someone could come out of nowhere and contribute with a 2-way. Reddox? Peckham? Obviously you’ve got more prospect knowledge than almost any other Oilers fan, but you can’t always see these guys coming.

    I doubt very much we’ll be getting value like the Hemsky or Horcoff contracts, but we could still see good value out of some of our young guys in a couple of years.

  7. Asiaoil says:

    If Pouliot looks like he’s arrived – I would seriously consider signing him to an early extension and then dealing Stoll and maybe a guy like Tarnstrom for another top six forward. That would take care of two RFA issues (Pouliot and Stoll) and beef up the scoring at the same time.

    Like last year was for Stoll – this year is critical for Pouliot – if he steps up as I expect we are looking good and he did show some nice signs last year.

  8. Nelson88 says:


    I agree that if the artist formally known as MAP is looking good they need to sign him early and long term.

    I am pretty much indifferent/undecided on the Penner RFA offer but don’t mind the strategy in general subject to 3 must haves.

    1. cap room: check

    2. good pipeline of prospects and picks: check, i actually think the oiler prospect system is underrated currently and will prove that with their own AHL team.

    3. a significant amount of your “core” locked up to long term reasonable deals that get you through your “window” of opportunity. here is where i see the potential problem with Klowe’s moves. The oilers are probably better than average with Hemsky and Torres signed long term (relatively) but i would have felt much more of a warm and fuzzy had Pitkanen, Stoll and Smid been locked up for 3-5 years before the RFA offer sheets went out. you may well be right that stoll gets dealt before next year or we loose him to RFA sheet (with some decent compensation). i know everyone talks about him as a “future captain” but does he want to be in edmonton long term or more of a cali type guy with the model girlfriend etc? not a rhetorical question. don’t live in edmonton so thought maybe other had insight there. upside being that if you are going to lose someone “C” is definitely where the Oilers have plenty of depth/options.

  9. voxel says:

    Stoll’s concussion history is a big question mark – I wouldn’t sign him long term. And Smid is too green to sign to a long term expensive contract.

    As for Pitkanen, I would have prefered 2-3 years at $3.5M to hedge my bets. We might be paying $4M+ next year if he’s “all that.”

  10. rickibear says:

    voxel: if hes all that under charlie huddy, I would pay 4.25 per over 6 years.

  11. Nelson88 says:


    ya, i’m assuming stoll’s concusion issue is a thing of the past but that could very well be one of those type of assumptions that bites you in the “ass”

    smid. perhaps but in the new nhl you are increasingly (and klowe is expediting the process) going to have to make judgements on “core” very early. if you are willing to make a big bet on someone else’s rookie 29 goal scorer who will be 25 next season and went undrafted imo you also have to be willing to make those bets on your own young players.

    granted maybe i give smid too much credit but a 1st round pick that played significant minutes at 20 and lowe and randy carlyle (don’t like him but value his opinion) think will be a player deserves some consideration imo.

  12. rstahl says:

    O’Marra (1.22), Greene (1.15), Cogliano (1.13), Garon (1.1), Nilsson (1.01), Grebeshkov (950k), Pouliot (942k), Smid (915k), Gilbert (907k), Schremp (780k), Trukhno (660k)

    A lot of these were names I was going to post. While I don’t see an ’05 Horcoff or Hemsky (I’d be willing to bet they outperform their ’07 contracts, just not to the same degree) I do see fairly good bets for the other players you list.

    One of Greene/Smid/Grebeshkov = Bergeron
    Thoresen = Pisani
    Pouliot = Stoll
    Nilsson (or even Torres again) = Torres

    I think you can add Roloson to the ‘outperform’ list as well.

    Sure, Souray and Penner are overpaid, but you were never going to get them for a ‘fair’ rate. I’d much rather over pay those two players than say, Bertuzzi and Schneider, if I was to just pick two random names. :)

  13. Ichiro says:

    My memory of the 2006 season is stained by Greene and that corrkanen thing

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