Shock and Awe

This is Chris Hajt, one of 18 defensemen who have played as rookies under Craig MacTavish since fall 2000.

Earlier today I was posting some numbers about last season’s rookies and came across a truly unbelieveable item: 34% of the minutes played by Edmonton defenders in 06-07 belonged to rookies. That is a MAMMOTH workload, I don’t know that you could actually find an NHL team (sans an expansion club in say 1967) who had that many minutes devoted to players who still qualified as rookies.

Here’s another way to look at this: below are the minutes played by defensemen in each season since Craig MacTavish became coach of the Oilers. Rookies are in bold, the only change I’ve made is that overage Euro’s are considered rookies (the NHL doesn’t recognize them as such) and guys like Scott Ferguson have their rookie seasons incorrectly noted at so they’re adjusted as well:

2000-01 (Rookie Minutes: 225. Percentage: 2.23)

  1. Janne Niinimaa (2078)
  2. Tom Poti (1842)
  3. Jason Smith (1776)
  4. Igor Ulanov (1542)
  5. Eric Brewer (1425)
  6. Sean Brown (689)
  7. Scott Ferguson (218)
  8. Frank Musil (145)
  9. Sven Butenschon (78)
  10. Chris Hajt (7)

2001-02 (Rookie Minutes: 30. Percentage: .3)

  1. Janne Niinimaa (2108)
  2. Eric Brewer (1938)
  3. Jason Smith (1555)
  4. Tom Poti (1325-est)
  5. Steve Staios (1320)
  6. Sean Brown (763-est)
  7. Scott Ferguson (683)
  8. Sven Butenschon (135)
  9. Ales Pisa (30)

2002-03 (Rookie Minutes: 1736. Percentage: 17.8)

  1. Eric Brewer (1994)
  2. Steve Staios (1693)
  3. Janne Niinimaa(1687-est)
  4. Jason Smith (1480)
  5. Scott Ferguson (959)
  6. Alexei Semenov (905)
  7. Ales Pisa (622-est)
  8. Cory Cross (196-est)
  9. Kari Haakana (103)
  10. MA Bergeron (82)
  11. Alex Henry (21)
  12. Bobby Allen (3)

2003-04 (Rookie Minutes: 980. Percentage: 9.95)

  1. Eric Brewer (1899)
  2. Steve Staios (1890)
  3. Jason Smith (1452)
  4. Cory Cross (1308)
  5. MA Bergeron (953)
  6. Igor Ulanov (833)
  7. Alexei Semenov (794)
  8. Scott Ferguson (694)
  9. Mikko Luoma (17)
  10. Doug Lynch (10)

2005-06 (Rookie Minutes: 439. Percentage: 4.45)

  1. Chris Pronger (2239)
  2. Steve Staios (1712)
  3. MA Bergeron (1592)
  4. Jason Smith (1493)
  5. Jaroslav Spacek (760-est)
  6. Igor Ulanov (609)
  7. Cory Cross (454-est)
  8. Dick Tarnstrom (373-est)
  9. Matt Greene (303)
  10. Danny Syvret (123)
  11. Alexei Semenov (119)
  12. Dan Smith (79)
  13. Mathieu Roy (13)

2006-07 (Rookie Minutes: 3217. Percentage: 34.4)

  1. Jason Smith (1733)
  2. Ladislav Smid (1481)
  3. Matt Greene (1373)
  4. Steve Staios (1240)
  5. MA Bergeron (939-est)
  6. Daniel Tjarnqvist (840)
  7. Jan Hedja (795)
  8. Danny Syvret (295)
  9. Tom Gilbert (241)
  10. Mathieu Roy (226)
  11. Bryan Young (151)
  12. Sebastian Bisaillon (28)

Ladislav Smid was the only rookie defender dressed on opening night (I believe Jan Hejda was in the pressbox). Outside of Smid and Hejda, the season debut for each rookie is after New Year’s:

  • Mathieu Roy (Jan.5-Mar.29)
  • Tom Gilbert (Jan.10-Apr.7)
  • Danny Syvret (Feb. 27-Apr.7)
  • Bryan Young (Mar.9-Apr.7)
  • Sebastian Bisaillon (Mar.19-Mar.21)

I mean, we lived through it so we know it happened. We lived through it so this shouldn’t be a shock. But honestly, 34% of a total season’s D on rookies? And WHAT must the percentage have been after January 5th.

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12 Responses to "Shock and Awe"

  1. Asiaoil says:

    It’s even worse when you consider how many minutes the rooks played in a top 4 role after Jan 1 – we had an AHL defense for the last 30 games. Really just throw last years away and don’t let it cloud your view of the upcoming season. All the rookie defenders and the awesome duo of Lupul and JFJ is just a bad memory.

  2. jon says:

    Crap, looks like the ad bots have found the site again.

    Agreed Asia. This season should be an exciting race to 9th place in the west. ;)

  3. IceDragoon says:

    We knew they were just way too damm young. But… WOW!!! Makes one wonder how we didn’t get a top 3 pick.

    aside –
    Lain, a heads up before you start another topic. I just responded to you in the Burke thread.


  4. namflashback says:


    Well, we were pretty close except for that feisty Thoreson fellow.

  5. rickibear says:

    F*** reading you guys can F*** with your belief in what one thinks they know about hockey.

    As a fan you do a whole bunch of Predraft research and hope the oilers get
    Ganger @ #6
    PLante @ #15 (best WHL offensive # for age in 20 years.)
    Maclean @ #30
    Nash @ #36 ( old man saw him all year. Hasn’t seen a player stand out like that since 16 yr old Modano in PA.)(He has been watching junior since Clarkes Flin Flon days the first game I remember.)
    Love what they do with the draft.
    and everyone hates it.

    I post in Lt Penn & Teller:
    Lets look at Penners #s:

    204 shots 14.2% shooting%
    Career 12.8%
    20ESG 9PPG
    11:00 ESTOI 3:00 PPTOI

    Goals Based on Career%: 18 Esg 8PPG

    On Edmonton expect:
    13:30 ESTOI 4:30 PPTOI
    Which project to: 22 ESG 12 PPG
    His Shots Should be in the 265 range. 34-35 goals puts him in the top ten goal scoring at his position RW.

    If we get him I hope this is the player we signed and the shooter Lowetide is looking for.

    This would be a good start at replacing needed goals.

    I like the risk.
    Penn & Teller
    July 26, 2007 5:03 PM

    You people are slamming this move.

    Then the issue of trades and who can be moved is constantly brought up.

    I respond to a comment in Lowetides “ciphering.”
    Sweatyo: I would give up Roli, Horcoff and Green to a team who needs a veteran Goalie, a semi established Defenceman, and a top two center to replace the #1a center they would send over out of there #1a and #1b group.
    July 27, 2007 4:53 PM

    No one wants to trade Horcoff.

    But Tampa needs Dmen and a veteran Goalie. Horcoff has 2 years left on his contract as does Lecavalier. The Garon sighning allows Roloson to be moved.

    I think F*** am I way off base.

    Right at the end of the reg. season I looked at GA trending during the year. When the d got slammed with youth we went from 2.27 GA to 3.07 GA.
    I am thinking we were in first Place when this S*** started to happen. I think we are a #10-6 team if we can replace Ryans goals.

    F*** everyone thinks we are a lottery team.

    Then we make our defensive moves:
    Tarnstrom, Grebeshkov, Pitkanen, Souray. Like the Souray move since it fills a brutal need on the PP.
    I Like all of them. Lots of people hate it.

    Once again Doom and gloom. F*** this is depressing. It insane.

    Ever once in a while Icedragon and Asiaoil come in with a calming comment.

    Then I read Sundays lowetide blogs:
    He has had an epiphany: He realizes what happened to the team from Jan. and realizes we are a veteran team.

    Plus Icedragon posts on the merits of Penner versus Smyth. F*** did you look @ all his goals @

    Sanity is restored.

    It is ok for all back research to parrallel what Klowe is doing. People are starting to get it.


    I will Spit out what I commented on LT’s Opening Night.

    “Brian Mulroney once said “I had a large majority and Kim Campbell ended up with 2 seats.” This is a fact but is it the reality.

    We all read the statisctics and see the player options availible this summer. We all have our opinions at why and what. In November we will see the reality.

    Thank heaven for that!
    “Opening “Night”
    July 12, 2007 11:00 AM

    Ps. Took my Son to See “Walking With Dinosaurs” Best live thing I have ever seen. Better than: The Stones, U2, Phantom of the Opera, Cats, and A live NHL playoff game. If you Live in TO or Winnipeg you better take your Family.

  6. rickibear says:

    I recieved an ominous warning about commenting on oilers Blogs and ones children. Can’t remember who posted it but you are correct it is better to read. And comment only every once in a while. The park w/ ones child is so much more rewarding.

  7. Lowetide says:

    rickibear: I’m trying to figure out what you meant in your post. A few things.

    1. I didn’t hate the draft. Liked the Gagner pick,said so. Wasn’t thrilled with the PLante pick because it once again points out the Oilers draft for need (or a “formula of one F and then a D) but Plante himself appeared to turn a late corner and I made note of that. I also took pains to mention how much Redline (the hardest marker among draft services) liked Nash. AND that all three were considered first rounders by Redline. The only negative I can recall with regard to the Nash pick was dealing picks at 30 and 36 to get him. I respectfully disagree that “everyone hates the draft”, in fact I thought they did well (again). I have stated many times that since 2001 the Oilers have drafted well imo, so if possible could you be specific and quote the passages I’ve made that indicated to you that I hated the draft and dislike the Prendergast era drafting.

    Thank you.

    2. I don’t like the Penner move because the Oilers have given up what might be a lottery pick in a deep draft. If you’re going to do it, wait until draft day at least. I like Penner as a player, he fits the shooter need you mentioned in the Penn and Teller thread, but I do not like the price and have not since the deal. He is not an “outscorer” and although he may end up being everything we hope for it is my belief he is not worth the money or the risk. In this we disagree, but would be thrilled to be on the wrong side of the argument (and I’m there often enough to know what it’s like).

    3. I have mentioned Roloson as a trade option many times, and also believe the roster sets up for a Horcoff deal this summer (which I hate btw). So maybe you’re reading someone else here and thinking it’s me.

    4. I was amazed at the 34% number, but it doesn’t really change the Oilers misdirection this summer. They needed puck movers, now they have TOO MANY puck movers and not enough guys who can play without the puck imo. As frustrating as it might be for you to read about that, it’s at least as frustrating to watch Kevin Lowe go overboard in this area. Of the trio that is Souray, Pitkanen and Tarnstrom, someone is going to go 4-16-20 due to a lack of PP time. I don’t think that’s really something anyone can argue.

    5. I don’t know what Brian Mulroney has to do with the argument, but if the Oilers are as bad as I think they might be then a Liberal is about to run the Oilers.

    6. I’m a little concerned about your point re: posting about children on Oilers blogs. You received a warning? THAT sounds like something people should know about, and since I have children and have mentioned them please pass along any information that may be pertinent.

  8. IceDragoon says:


    Breathing is good.

    I’m happy that you are calmed by my ocassional presence. But I’m not so far away from Lowetide’s cliff as you may think. Altho, I’ll breathe before I leap. ;-D

    Penner has his merits, but he is not nearly experienced enough to replace what Smytty did for this team. So… we were discussing designated checking lines vs PvP.

    My comparison was simply to illustrate the TOI/shots/goals. I was alluding to, Penner getting Hemsky on a line that doesn’t have to go head-to-head with opposing 1st lines. They could make some serious hay. If this is MacT’s plan, we still need guys who can hold their own against the other teams’ best players, tho. as in: having experience doing so.

    Lain, I asked before and don’t have time to search, but the answer may tell us something…

    Has Souray ever played RD?

    If he’s played a little RD… Perhaps Huddy is thinking of switching him. KISS… try turning him into a Jason Smith clone at evens. They do have similar mobility limitations. Start him on the second pair, then move him up with Pitkanen if he gets it.

    I got the impression from his comments that he was all set to put in a lot of work to improve his D. Switching sides just might keep him from slipping into some bad habits.

    I guess we’ll see.


  9. MetroGnome says:

    I think it’s time for rickibear to get his own blog. And maybe some Valium.

  10. IceDragoon says:

    Oops… sorry, namflashback.

    I inadvertently deleted my response to you in my last post. (no blog for me ;-p)

    He’s a player.

  11. rickibear says:

    Lowetide: This 2 root canal and 4 mercury filling removal induced writing was directed more at the oilers forum (oiler blogosphere)that is your comments section. Please do not take it as a personal attack on your well thought out blog were you initiate discussion between the oiler masses.
    Just trying to point out the Blogospheres atmosphere of negativity may be turning a corner.

    Metrognome: When I previewed the comment I knew it looked more like a blog than a comment. Sorry for that. I think the freezing may be valium based. No desire to write or publish on my own blog. With my availible time and Grade 8 disjointed sentences, All I would generate is a page equal to I think it was “Mclea’s” page.

    Off to read LT on “Smid” and the other pages includong Five Hole.

  12. Dennis says:

    I found that everything with Smid was going good until he had some dental problems and then all of a sudden, Andrew Brunette and Mikko Koivu started going around him like he was Sheldon Souray.

    Or at least that’s what MacT tried to tell me;)

    Seriously, the kid didn’t do too badly considering how young he was and the level of comp he faced. That being said, some guys will continue to overrate him because he was acquired for Pronger and some guys will continue to underrate him because he was acquired for Pronger.

    He’s not overly physical and it takes a lot of alone time for him to make a first pass and he can skate into the zone at times but when he gets there he’s as successful as a eunich in a whorehouse.

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