Reasonable Expectations (RW Update)

In the summertime I did a series of “reasonable expecations” posts, designed to present a line in the sand for each position in the Oilers’ organization.

They are here and here. It’s always fun to go back and see who is ahead of the curve, and less fun to see just how devastating injuries and ineffectiveness can be when it’s the players your team counted on at the beginning of the season.

I know that the word “reasonable” gets overused on this site, and what I really mean is “taking out the bias.” Re-stating bias becomes old quickly and makes it difficult to learn anything. Plus it’s tedious.

In the orginal posts above, I had every Tom, Dick and Harry at each position, really anyone who might qualify at a specific position. So, you could have had one player mentioned three times (C, LW, RW).

For this update, the players will appear in their most often played position instead of where I slotted them in the summer. All numbers in 82gp.

  1. Ales Hemsky: July prediction: 26-62-88, current numbers projected: 26-36-62. His EV performance is similar to last season’s (2.15 vs. 2.09) but his PP performance is way off (3.63 vs. 5.45). He started slowly and is getting better, and I think he cracks 80 points even on this team.
  2. Fernando Pisani: July prediction: 17-20-37, current numbers projected: INJ-DNP. Pisani’s medical situation (added to other injuries) put tremendous pressure on the organization’s depth chart. This season’s darkest days surrounded Pisani, and his arrival in the lineup may give the players, fans and organization a tremendous boost.
  3. Robert Nilsson: July prediction: 11-18-29, current numbers projected: 4-18-22. He hasn’t been horrible, and in fact his two veteran linemates (Stoll, Torres) have at times hurt his chances. However, Nilsson has been unable to follow up good games with more good games and eventually the Oilers will replace him if he can’t become more consistent.
  4. Marc Pouliot: July prediction: 10-12-22, current numbers projected: 0-0-0. A bitter disappointment this season, Pouliot should have long stepped into the gap created by Pisani’s injury and the inconsistency of Nilsson. And yet he remains in the AHL. For prospects fans like me, he is the most disappointing player in the system this season.
  5. Zack Stortini: July prediction: 4-2-6, current numbers projected: 0-5-5. I also posted in July that “he’s a guy coach MacT has some confidence in for those 6-10 4line minutes per night” and that’s pretty much where he is (he’s at 7:09 a night).
  6. Kyle Brodziak: July prediction: Another quality run in the AHL and plenty of time in the show, current numbers projected: 13-17-30. He’s been so good we don’t really even consider him a new face in this season’s lineup. Not considered a rookie because of the NHL’s insane rookie requirement system, Kyle Brodziak is nonetheless have an outstanding debut season in the big leagues.
  7. Colin McDonald: July prediction: A strong work ethic and an idea about how to play the game, plus a full 650 plate appearances in the AHL. Currently: He’s been better than that, in fact Louise posted below that coach Buchberger told Jason Gregor recently that he is one of the biggest surprises this year. Pluses include a great shot, he’s a good skater too.
  8. Troy Bodie: July prediction: He should be able to grab a fulltime AHL job. He’s done exactly that, getting some recognition. Had a nice run early November.
  9. Stephane Goulet: July prediction: Spending the entire season in the AHL and showing offense similar to his ECHL season. He was sent down from the AHL recently, back to the ECHL.
  10. David Rohlfs: July prediction: At least half the season in the AHL. So far, he’s 5-4-9 in 18gp in the ECHL, his -8 second-worst among forwards on the team.

That’s RW so far this season. Hemsky slightly out of the range due to PP, which you would expect to be his strength. Brodziak steps into the void left by Pisani’s injury and Robert Nilsson is trailing slightly what I’d call reasonable expectation. Stortini performing at par. Among minor leaguers, Colin McDonald is a pleasant surprise and that’s about it.

Special mention of Marc Pouliot’s step into the elevator shaft.

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20 Responses to "Reasonable Expectations (RW Update)"

  1. Bohologo says:

    Excellent work as always, LT. One thing I’d be interested in seeing from you and others with a better view is the following judgement: does player X deserve to be on the Oilers’ 50 man contract list? For example, does Rohlfs make sense? Or is he unnecessarily fettering the teams ability to make acquisitions?

  2. Lowetide says:

    bohologo: I guess it depends on how the 50-man roster works. If the Oilers had the option of not signing Rohlfs to a deal that put him on the 50 but could have SF sign him to a AHL deal, then it’s a no-brainer.

    However, I suspect that isn’t it. If you own the player’s rights, then he has to be on the list. And then if you sign a guy to an AHL deal and he gets called up you’d need to purchase his contract.

    Right?

    No matter, there are any number of players who could be dropped. Goulet would be the obvious one on this list, 17 goals in 69 ECHL games added to 1 goal in 11 AHL games probably means he isn’t a player.

    Rohlfs would be the next one, and based on age maybe he should be ahead of Goulet on the list.

    Bodie and McDonald have clearance, so they’re on and of course all the other rw’s are safely on. So if we make the depth chart:

    1. Hemsky
    2. Pisani
    3. Brodziak
    4. Nilsson
    5. Stortini
    6. Pouliot
    7. McDonald
    8. Bodie

    OFF: Goulet, Rohlfs

    Is that fair? Probably.

  3. Dennis says:

    Yeah, this 50 contracts excuse for not being able to pick up other guys, which is one of the reasons Lowe mentioned for not taking a run at Brzygalov, sp, I think it’s a huge pile of shit.

    When a guy’s playing in the ECHL, seriously, how big of a prospcet can he really be?

    Lain, I think your opinion on 51 is interesting because, well, I share it is as well;) I also considering him a rookie and I list him as such but I don’t list him when I’m considering which kids are on the “Pisani and Moreau are returning” chopping block.

    GD numbers have him at 9/11 playing not the easiest of minutes. We’ve defintely got ourselves a very good bottom sixer here and now that he’s gotten over the hump and has improved his skating, going forward, I think we can expect 15 goals and 30 points a year and for him to be a plus player. And the fact he can kill penalties is a bonus. Though I’m not sure what his figures are on that unit.

  4. PunjabiOil says:

    Absolutely

    How difficult is it to make a deal like this

    Player X, we’ll call him Goulet, + 6th round for say, the Red Wings 7th rounder?

    It wasn’t that difficult to do the reverse when Alan Rouke + 3rd were acquired for a 2nd rounder.

    Of course, Lowe showed that he doesn’t really have a clue. Made that above mentioned trade, and then went on to throw an offersheet to Vanek, which didn’t even require those picks. Then, weeks LATER, he went after Penner – but what if Buffalo had declined matching? Then you basically traded your 2nd round pick for your 3rd round pick.

    Astute GM skills, Kevin Lowe, you.

  5. PunjabiOil says:

    My previous post was referring to Dennis’s response.

    Yeah, this 50 contracts excuse for not being able to pick up other guys, which is one of the reasons Lowe mentioned for not taking a run at Brzygalov, sp, I think it’s a huge pile of shit.

  6. Gord says:

    Then you basically traded your 2nd round pick for your 3rd round pick.

    As you stated a few paragraphs earlier “Alan Rouke + 3rd were acquired for a 2nd rounder.”

    Maybe your bias pretends Rourke is a non factor – reality shows that (as a temporary fill in) Rourke is playing more than 10 minutes per game even strength – Rourke is leading the whole team with a +1…

    So far, this is the best trade of the off season…….

  7. doritogrande says:

    Dennis,

    You mentioned that “When a guy’s playing in the ECHL, seriously, how big of a prospcet can he really be?”

    So I guess Devan Dubnyk and Liam Reddox aren’t worthy of prospect status?

    Just sayin’

  8. PunjabiOil says:

    Maybe your bias pretends Rourke is a non factor – reality shows that (as a temporary fill in) Rourke is playing more than 10 minutes per game even strength – Rourke is leading the whole team with a +1…

    Lets not kid ourselves. Rouke is only playing because there have been injuries to Souray, Pitkanen, Greene, and Roy. In fact, even Bryan Young was given a shot before Rouke. When the Oilers acquired him, KP mentioned it would help boost the defence in Springfield.

    If the Oilers weren’t in a desperate situation to re-acquire that 3rd rounder, Rouke would be obtained by a mere 7th rounder. Or any other comparable career AHLer.

    Of course I just clearly demonstrated bias *rolls his eyes, major sarcasm*

  9. Mr DeBakey says:

    “Then you basically traded your 2nd round pick for your 3rd round pick.”

    That was Anaheim’s second wasn’t it?

    “Maybe your bias pretends Rourke is a non factor”

    I think the past couple of seasons have shown how important it is to have guys like Rourke under contract – but not Rourke specifically.
    They’re certainly more important than guys like Radunske, Goulet & Paukovich.
    But, lets face it it, that trade was about RFA contract offers, not acquiring depth.

    “So I guess Devan Dubnyk and Liam Reddox aren’t worthy of prospect status?”

    Those two played in the ECHL when the Oilers didn’t have an AHL team.
    Today, the Oilers have Glenn Fisher, Jonas Almtorp, Ryan O’Marra, Geoff Paukovich, David Rohlfs and Stephane Goulet in Stockton

    You can see a possible future for
    Fisher – a young keeper and
    O’Marra – coming off a tonne of injuries

    The other four – not so much.

  10. Lord Bob says:

    K-Lowe was a bad GM last year because he wasn’t prepared for a rash of injuries. K-Lowe is a bad GM this year because he was prepared for a rash of injuries. Man, that guy can’t get a break.

  11. PunjabiOil says:

    K-Lowe was a bad GM last year because he wasn’t prepared for a rash of injuries

    No, he was a bad GM for overvaluing prospects and first rounders. I like Bobby Smid, but for the 2nd best defenceman, and a guy who just doesn’t get it 5 on 5 (Lupul) along with 2 draft picks, that’s simply not enough.

  12. Rube Foster says:

    Hey this really isn’t on topic…well maybe it is given the talk about Rourke a bonafide AHL defensemen if ever there was one. I actually think Rourke has done a serviceable job. He’s getting the type of minutes that they should’ve been giving to Greene… I digress. There is a nice press release from the AHL talking about Noel Price and Steve Kraftcheck.
    You don’t miss much LT, but just in case here is the link.
    http://www.theahl.com/news/league/index.html?article_id=8154

    Lets make no mistake, Rourke is no Price or Kraftcheck but he isn’t killing us in a limited role and it truly is fantastic to see some hair flapping under an Oiler helmet.

    This team needs more mullets…

  13. Corbin says:

    true that brother…

    I got a fever, and the only medicine is more oil slicked mullets…

  14. Tyler says:

    So far, this is the best trade of the off season…….

    If that trade wasn’t made, Lowe couldn’t have got Penner.

    Or, alternatively, he would have had to pay him even more money so that he didn’t need that pick to do the deal.

    Risky, but I would have gambled on not making the trade.

  15. Gord says:

    Hey this really isn’t on topic…well maybe it is given the talk about Rourke a bonafide AHL defensemen if ever there was one. I actually think Rourke has done a serviceable job. He’s getting the type of minutes that they should’ve been giving to Greene…

    ************

    Actually, Rourke is “on topic” when talking about our RW… With Pisani injured, our senior RW on that list just turned 24 years old. We are playing with a bunch of kids & wonder why they sometimes seem overwhelmed…

    When injuries hit last year, we played a game in March with one defenseman having more that 100 NHL games – actually only two had more than 15 NHL games.

    Getting Rourke for a 2nd round draft pick (which is almost worthless considering the talented depth slowly maturing) was a very astute move.

    Anaheim has Hnidy (31) & Huskins (28) as their 5 / 6 defensemen – both are making less than $800,000 – both eat up the soft minutes. That made Rourke expendable – that is why Lowe picked him up.

    If everyone is healthy, Rourke stays in the minors training the kids – if injuries hit, Rourke is a dependable #6 NHL defenseman.

    As far as needing the trade goes for the draft pick / Penner trade; I consider that almost irrelevant. I just see a 27 year old who can step into the line-up when needed… I wish we had a 27 year old LW that could have stepped up when Pisani was unable to play…

  16. Gord says:

    I wish we had a 27 year old LW that could have stepped up when Pisani was unable to play…

    Meant 27 year old RW………

  17. Bruce says:

    I have to admit Rourke has been a very pleasant surprise to my eyes, a very safe and sound defensive blueliner. An ideal seventh man in the manner of Scott Ferguson, or (years ago) Larry Melnyk.

    Rourke leads the Oilers in plus/minus, and fact he’s the only positive guy on the team at +1. Limited time for sure, 7 games, 75 minutes, but isn’t that exactly what you want from such a guy, who, it seems to me, wasn’t one of our “9 NHL defencemen” at training camp?

    Rourke doesn’t hit anybody, even less than Pitkanen, but he blocks shots at the rate of one every 5 minutes, almost double anybody else on the team. Listed below are BkS/60, excluding PP TOI where any point man worth his salt shouldn’t have to be blocking shots. :)

    Rourke: 11.2 /60
    Tarnstrom 6.9
    Roy 6.2
    Smid 5.9
    Greene 4.5
    Gilbert 4.2
    Grebeshkov 4.2
    Staios 4.1
    Pitkanen 3.5
    Souray 2.5

    In fact, Rourke compares favourably to the league leaders:

    Volchenkov (96 BkS) 11.7 /60
    Komisarek (84) 9.8
    J.Smith (71) 9.5
    Zanon (71) 9.4

    I dunno, maybe Vic or somebody will say that the guys who block the most shots are spending too much time in their own end or something, but to my mind there’s a reason they’re called defensive defenceman, and Rourke are one.

  18. Bruce says:

    Anaheim has Hnidy (31) & Huskins (28) as their 5 / 6 defensemen – both are making less than $800,000 – both eat up the soft minutes. That made Rourke expendable – that is why Lowe picked him up.

    I think you’ve got it mixed, Gord, Rourke came from Long Island, not Anaheim. Oilers had to reacquire their own third-rounder previously traded to NYI with MAB for Grebeshkov, so they would have the necessary compensation available for making the move on Penner.

    That it was Anaheim’s pick going to New York so that the Oilers could make a move on Anaheim was just karma. Or an unhealthy sign that Kevin Lowe has had entirely too many dealings with Brian Burke.

    BTW, I don’t recall the press at the time pointing out that this was Anaheim’s pick (i.e. ~#50 overall), not Edmonton’s own pick (~#31), so this trade is much less egregious than it first appeared. Especially with Rourke’s unexpected NHL value.

    If I have it right, Edmonton couldn’t trade their own 2nd rounder for Rourke for the same reason they needed their third-rounder back; their FIRST THREE 2008 picks go to Anaheim, for Penner.

    With the Pronger trade and the Penner raid it’s way too confusing. But this website does a decent job of showing where things stand:
    http://www.n-c-systems.com/hockey/DraftTrades/2008.html

    See especially #64, or pretty much anywhere where the third column says “Ducks” or “Oilers”.

    BTW, the mutual exchange of bodily fluids (aka draft picks) makes tonight’s Oilers-Ducks game a new-fangled version of the old-fashioned four-pointer. (Or is it a three-pointer? Six-pointer? I’m so confused.)

    Whatever, every time we beat the fucking Ducks it improves our draft position and hurts their’s, as if we needed any more incentive to beat the fucking Ducks. Go Oilers!!

  19. Dennis says:

    DG, ok, let me change it to, “guys who are spending time in the E in their second pro season, they aren’t worth worrying about.”;)

    Talking about Rourke for a second, it’s a very small sample size, but it seems like Rourke’s the kind of guy that the Oilers hope Roy will or could be. Personally, I really like the guy. There have been these rare occasions when he’s shown he knows when the pinch and I feel good with him on the ice in his own end as long as it’s against soft opp. And some guys can’t even play in soft opp situations.

    As for reasons why Lowe’s a bad GM, I think Lowe looks like a bad GM for the past two seasons because of the decisions he’s made on Pronger and Smyth. And of course he made it worse this summer by hamstringing the club with Souray for the next five years. That contract will occupy less and less of the payroll, hopefully, as the cap increases but it will never not be a terrible contract.

    For all the talk about the Penner signing and Lowe going after RFA’s, I think he jumped a year too soon. There was a way to both spend some of the EIG’s money and not have to give up picks to do so and that would be signing Guerin and Markov to two year deals. And that’s something I’ve been saying for a long time. Then, you appease the fans by spending some real dollars but you aren’t tying yourself up for years down the road, either.

    Plus, perhaps you’d have both Perry and Getzlaf to choose from in the RFA market.

    or perhaps Lowe could build a time machine and go back to fall of ’03 and not be such a dick when it came to getting value for Comrie and we could’ve had Perry in the first place;) Or maybe he shouldn’t have been such a dummy in the Pronger trade and we could’ve taken Getzlaf;)

    Either way you spin it, Lowe’s a bad GM.

  20. Lowetide says:

    I’ve mentioned (and I know Vic certainly has too) that there are a few (say several, not “many”) AHL veterans who simply HAVE to be better than these youngsters learning how to play defense at the NHL level.

    Rourke could very well be one of them. Vic has done some nice work with the AHL stats he can skim off their site and I’m confident he can flesh this thought out if he happens by.

    But it’s no real surprise I don’t think that a 28 year old guy who is in his 6th AHL season (as an example) is probably going to make better decisions than a 22-year old caught in the headlights.

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