The 1982 Minnesota Twins went 60-102. They were bad. Even the Pythagoreans couldn’t help much (65-97).
The Twins that year did manage to get some at-bats and some innings for some quality rookies. Kent Hrbek at first base and Gary Gaetti at third base settled down the infield and gave the lineup some punch. Another rookie, Tom Brunansky (acquired from the Angels) helped out with the homers and played the outfield and they brought along a lefty pitcher who could throw a little named Frank Viola. They also introduced a solid young catcher in Tim Laudner and by the time Kirby Puckett arrived a couple of years later they were a young, dynamic offensive team in a weird new ballpark looking for a little pitching to put them over the top. By 1987 they had kicked the Pythagoreans in the nuts and won the World Series.

You can do that with baseball. The Tigers started their build to the 1984 WS about 7 years before that with guys like Lance Parrish, Lou Whitaker, Alan Trammell and Jack Morris.

Each of those clubs suffered through painful seasons on the way to winning, and if you look at their rosters there were plenty of failed prospects along with the champions. Also, neither team won until their cluster had some real big league experience and that’s something to keep in mind for the next few seasons.

Still, I think it’s reasonable to suggest that the Oilers have gotten a lot from this season. Cogliano, Gagner, Nilsson, Gilbert, Brodziak and Grebeshkov have emerged from prospect (or suspect in the case of Nilsson and Grebeshkov) to NHL player. In the future perhaps Ladislav Smid, Matt Greene and Marc Pouliot can join the party, or they may end up being Lenny Faedo.

The Edmonton Oilers can spend the spring and summer selling hope, “wait ’til next year.” They can even add the line “this time we mean it” this time.

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37 Responses to "60-102"

  1. Black Dog says:

    Um, yeah. Its turning ugly over there.

    Nice job by the scouts on Grebeshkov, Nilsson and Gilbert, especially Gilbert.

    LT – here’s one for you. We have a really nice list of kids here drafted by the Oilers – Gagner, Cogliano, Brodziak, Greene, Stortini, Roy (I include him because of where he was drafted) and of course we still have Pouliot, Jacques and Schremp who may yet make it, though maybe not as Oilers.

    What excites me is that even with all of the grads from recent prospect lists we have a pretty nice looking gang coming up behind – Trukhno, Nash, Peckham, Chorney, Petry, Dubnyk.

    In your opinion has the Oilers draft philosophy changed in recent years? They have had a decent run of players through the years but imo things are looking better (and I realize that the kids in the league have done little and that the ones who are not in the league are not in the league)both in quantity and quality.

    It seems to me that things are getting better. Would you agree? Do you have any thoughts as to why?

    Please let me down gently. I’m the sensitive type. :)

  2. Lord Bob says:

    Stortini and Roy have been seriously paying the bills, given their pedigree (I recall that when Stortini went in the third round it was considered a real reach by a few guys, and yet here he is, a proper NHL regular).

    Maybe someday I’ll update my blog for the first time since the fall of the Western Roman Empire and compare how the Oilers have done after the third round under Prendergast to the NHL average.

    Better, maybe someday LT will do it. :P

  3. pboy says:

    I loved watching Kirby play ball. I grew up a Red Sox fan but Kirby was always one of my top 5 favorite players. He was impossible to get out when the game was on the line and I doubt there were too many players in history who did more with less than Kirby Puckett.

  4. Black Dog says:

    Those Twins teams were something and Puckett was “the man” but what a sad ending for him. Such a disconnect from his public persona as a player and what happened after.

  5. Lowetide says:

    BDHS: I think some things are the same (F with the first pick, draft for need afterward) and they still love big men with another above average skill.

    However, beginning with Cogliano and Chorney at #25 and #36 in 2005 the Oilers are more willing to pick undersized players.

    Also, speeds pointed out that Trukhno was like the anti-Oiler pick, more an Ottawa selection.

    All of that happened in 2005, so yeah I’d say the Oilers have changed direction a little since the lockout.

    And I agree completely things are looking better. 2001-2004 were solid but 2005-2007 look better from the early returns.

  6. Lowetide says:

    I saw the Twins one summer in Seattle, Viola vs. Langston and Dick Williams got thrown out. The tying run was on second base with two out in the ninth and the SEA batter ripped one into CF for a clean single but Puckett threw Valle out at home.

    I would guess it was end of July or early August 1987, and I think Kirby hit a homer.

  7. Lowetide says:

    Yes, that’s the one alright. Fun game, love the summary by inning. I drank a lot of beer that day.

  8. IceDragoon says:

    Good day.

    Gregor just played an excellent interview with MacTavish. He shares his insight on some of the youngsters… Hemsky… Roli…

    Will usually changes the ‘recent show clips’ around 11-mdt. I highly recommend having a listen to this one while you can.


  9. Bruce says:

    Funny you should mention the ’82 Twins, LT. Just the other day I randomly picked off my shelf the Bill James Baseball Abstract 1983 (I was trolling for ideas), which contains an interesting item about the ’82 Twins. James writes:

    “The 1982 season was, I believe, the best year for rookies since 1964. The 1964 rookie explosion is something that constantly draws at me …

    “Anyway, the 1982 rookie crop, while it does not begin to compare to that outburst, compares very favourably to any since. The Minnesota Twins were at the center of this new group, and if you doubt that it is an impressive rookie crew, tell me if you can deny either of the following two statements:

    1) Gary Gaetti was the Twins’ third- or fourth-most exciting rookie, definitely behind Hrbek and Brunansky and possibly, accoring to taste, behind Washington, Eisenreich, or Laudner.

    2) Gary Gaetti could very possibly hit 300 or 400 home runs in the major leagues. *

    [* - Historical note: Gaetti hit 360 career dingers.]

    “This brings up the question of what are the most impressive one-team, one-season rookie crops ever …”

    … after which in a limited search he found the ’82 Twins rookies had the highest approximate value (66) of all the teams he could think to check out.

    Well in the NHL I would place my money on the 1980-81 Oilers (Kurri, Anderson, Coffey, Huddy, Moog). One recent group that springs to mind is the 1992-93 Winnipeg Jets (Selanne, Tkachuk, Zhamnov). Before my time the 1946-47 Maple Leafs won the Cup with a pisspot full of rookies including Bill Barilko, Bill Ezinicki and the one and only Howie Meeker. Many other clusters of young players came in over short periods of time, i.e. Guy Lapointe and Marc Tardif in ’70-71, Guy Lafleur and (officially) Ken Dryden in ’71-72, Steve Shutt and Larry Robinson in ’72-73, but no single cluster of several hotshot rookies in the same year — even the Habs only seemed to have room for two new superstars a year.

    Given that Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier weren’t “true” rookies in 1979, I don’t think there’s any question that the 2007-08 Oilers are the second finest rookie crop in the history of the team, and one of the better groups anywhere in the league in quite some time.

  10. Asiaoil says:

    All of this leaves me wondering – like many others – what if we had simply kept Hejda and not signed Souray? Another $5 million in cap room would be sitting there waiting for us – and Souray didn’t do us one damn bit of good this season. Of course expecting Lowe to use cap room wisely is probably too hopeful given his slapstick UFA performance last summer.

    I just pray he does very little this summer beyond letting Sanderson walk, resigning the RFA and finding new homes for Schremp and Stoll. I’d be frankly satisfied with that unless a quantity for quality deal for a bigger RW or JayBo was possible.

  11. PunjabiOil says:

    And I agree completely things are looking better. 2001-2004 were solid

    I disagree within the context of 1st rounders.

    They did a great job in nabbing Hemsky in 2001. Full credits there. But after that, until 2005:

    The Oilers messed up in 2002 by going for a home run pick at 15th overall, when they had Higgins on their nose.

    They probably should have looked at drafting Cam Ward too.

    In 2003, deepest draft in the class, and they simply choked. No question this team is much, much better with one of Parise/Getzlaf/Burns. Such an elite talented draft and you walk away withou

    In 2004, the Dubnyk pick was questionable. It’s a bit too early, but unless Dubnyk becomes a number one goaltender, it’s a wasted pick at 14th overall. It’s hard to evaluate Dubnyk given the fact he hasn’t played much (only 24 games). He’ll be 22 in May – he needs to get some games in there, and another year and half in the AHL before jumping into the NHL as a backup. Personally, I’d dump JDD this summer – salvage whatever you can get for him. He’s not going to have an NHL career, so bringing him back is a waste of resources. That time can be better used for Dubnyk.

    But back to the pick – Dubnyk needs to start showing he’s a number one goalie soon. His .908 SV% is respectable, but could be better. Given Radulov went a 15, Zajac 20, Wolski 21, Meszaros 23 – okay, I’m reaching. Still would be great if Dubnyk turns out – a cornerstone number one goalie really sets your team for years to come.

    After 2005, it’s seemingly been gold drafting, although again, the Plante pick was very, very questionable.

  12. Lord Bob says:

    Plante’s been derailed by injury and the pick was, while not brilliant, a fairly popular one at the time if we set aside the “omg cherepanov” factor. So we can’t crap on the Oilers for that one too hard.

    Niinimaki, of course, speaks for himself, and Dubnyk was a question mark at the time (although I was yelling for Marek Schwarz, so…)

  13. Stuart van says:

    Dubnyk’s numbers don’t like much different than Montaya’s, and they are better than Schwarz’s. Other than the Price’s of the world, which are rare and pretty hard to pick out, goalies take time to develop. Both Deslaurier and Dubnyk have shown enough to suggest they could make it, though not enough to suggest they will make it. Only time will tell.

    But Pogge and Glass seem just as likely to make as Deslaurier and Dubnyk, so maybe its better to draft goalies in the 3rd round, and save round 1 for forwards and round 2 for defense.

    I don’t know how much was known about Radulov, but Zajac put in impressive numbers in the BCHL and Wolski led his OHL team in scoring, putting up about as many points as Schremp on a weaker team. I don’t think either two would have been difficult to spot as solid prospects.

    In 2003, O’Sullivan didn’t get drafted until # 56 even though he led his OHL team in scoring as a 16 year old. This one wasn’t hard to spot either. Instead we draft McDonald at # 51. Asleep at the wheel!!

  14. godot10 says:

    I think the Oilers were planning to pick Stafford and Dubnyk with the two first round picks, and when Stafford went to Buffalo right before their first pick, they hadn’t considered an alternative strategy carefully enough, so they just picked Dubnyk early to make sure they got one of their guys (and then Schremp).

    I think they learned from that draft that if you really want somebody, you have to have intelligence on who other teams are going to pick, and be willing to trade up to get the guy.

    i.e. They didn’t make the same mistake with Nash. They knew other teams were after him, and they knew they had to trade up.

  15. dstaples says:

    Matt Greene, not a real NHLer yet?

    He is in my mind. He is making the simple play, standing up for his teammates when few others will, not taking so many bonehead penalties. He is taking on the Jason Smith role.

  16. Alice says:

    Looking forward to that beauty Stan Weir post. #15, wasn’t he?

  17. Vic Ferrari says:

    They have had a lot of the young guys really improve this year. Most of them really, but Gagner is starting to look like a really good bet to be a difference maker in this league.

    And young players get better, usually even when their counting numbers don’t.

    I guess the question becomes do they continue with the youth movement for another season? They’d have a pretty good chance of getting a high draft pick, maybe even sell off some vets at the deadline and make a charge for the Tavares lottery. The young players might get better a bit quicker with more experience in more situations than they would get otherwise.

    OR: Do the Oilers try to right the ship straight away. Switch some youth for experience at the back end, and add a forward or two that can make a real positive difference?

    I mean the question answers itself if Lowe can’t find a dance partner for the deals for the forwards, or sign them as RFAs or UFAs.

    Still, I’m hoping for option 2. And the fact that Lowe claims to have been interested in Richards and Hossa is a positive sign IMO.

    Havlat is another guy who was rumoured to be available, vastly underrated since he moved to CHI imo. He’s been putting up those gaudy counting numbers while usually playing very tough minutes in Chicago. Of course injury history is a huge concern.

  18. Dennis says:

    Vic: Interesting now that two of the hard markers have expressed ultra confidence going forward with Gagner. One of the guys hasn’t come out and said it yet:) but you just did and I guess it’s easy to believe given what Desjardins said about kids putting up numbers at Sam’s age.

    I’ll say that as soon as next year, he has a chance to do a number on soft opp; at least for the 41 home games, provided MacT goes back to his old self and starts giving a fuck about line matching.

    I tell you where I stand on Havlet: if you have that much room, no one else will come here and you aren’t retarding someone’s development in the process, I’d have no problem with him coming here.

    But, without looking too far ahead, I’d guess a 14/16 for Havlat deal would be the only way we could swing this. So, how would things work at that point? Take our top five now and add in Havlat and throw Horc back in the mix and now one of the kids is back to playing top nine. Would you give 89 the second line pivot spot and have Cogs play the tough min with 18-34? That’s a role Andrew played for a few games earlier this season, right? Could someone go back and take a look at how they did on the plus/minus tip? Cogs slumped like a MoFo during a time and I’ve gotta thing the start and middle of this happened during his last days of playing with Fernie and Moreau.

    Note: Just looked at the Desjardins numbers on the Hawks for the last two seasons and what a job Lang is doing this year. I honestly had no idea.

    As for my vote on how to roll next year, I’d just as soon as stand pat. There’s not a lot out there to get excited about and though I know a lot of our success this year has come from the extra time, I think we’ll be in the mix for the 8th spot next year because of the cutting of GA from MacT going back to line matching.

    LT: did you happen to see the thread over at HF where they dumped all the comments that had been complied for the top 20 list? Pouliot hit the 65 game mark so he was listed as graduated but Guy had stacked away some quotes on his development and the last one was the most salient, IMO.

    I thought of you when I read it because the quote was from KP and it had to do with the fact that the Oil should run him at centre and live with his mistakes.

  19. Dennis says:

    Asia: one of the easiest and quickest answers is if Souray weren’t here, some of us wouldn’t be so worried about signing up Horc past ’09.

  20. Vic Ferrari says:


    I missed that. What did Prendergast say exactly?

    Usually I just hit HF and do a search for MikeComrie’sGhost posts, but he’s become less hilariously vicious lately, so I haven’t even bothered doing that very often.

    Doing that did link me to an HF post where Staples redefined shamelessness though. That was spectacular, well worth the time. (and I like Staples as a person btw, from what I know of him, but the truth be the truth)

    On Gagner … best to hold back on the enthusiasm, I keep telling myself. But damn, he’s winning battles now. And he’s a boy. And he’s the size of my sister.

    The counting numbers recently are the same aberration that happens to every player in this league regularly, imo … and even though his underlying numbers are no hell, they are improving at crazy speed. And he’s just a freaking boy, for Christmas sakes.

    Sky is the limit. This could be a special player. I worry about an egregious cheapshot, like Suter on Kariya, fucking him up. But I don’t know if getting someone like Brashear and letting him off his leash would really help prevent the odds of that (MacTavish never would let him off his leash anyways, so I suppose it’s a moot point).

  21. Lowetide says:


    He played out of position [in the NHL], wasn’t comfortable and had a couple of bad games and put himself in the doghouse and rightfully so for the mistakes he made. He gets a confidence level from playing a lot in the AHL and I think looking at our young [NHL] guys and how they’ve come along, I think that he could establish that with this team next year. I think we’d have to play him at center though and make the decision that we’d have to live with [his mistakes] for the short term. He just needs consistency; don’t be afraid to make mistakes because they’re going to happen but limit the mistakes.”
    – Prendergast’s answer when asked if he could put a finger on where Pouliot failed before and what he’d have to do to stick with the team.

  22. Black Dog says:

    I think there are a lot of things Lowe could do to help this team win more games next season but both last year and this year he has not done that so I am thinking we’re not going to see a Havlat or a veteran D airlifted in.

    Lowe can point to this run and say “hey even with the injuries we just came up short” and most people would take that – hell, most people were taking it when this team was languishing way back just a few months ago.

    So, my point is this and I think its moot anyhow. I don’t think Stoll is going anywhere and I think trading him for a bucket of pucks would be stupid anyway. I think that him between Pisani and Torres isn’t a bad line at all.

    But what about Pouliot in that position? I don’t see any kids coming up next season. Do you think that they run with him there?

    Not going to help them win many games but if you’re looking down the road (and they have been for the last two seasons) is that a possibility?

    Sounds like they have not given up on him.

  23. Lowetide says:

    Once these kids see the NHL the only voice worth listening to imo is MacT. His Rita stuff was hilarious.

    MacT has been very frank about Pouliot in the past and if they send him down the road there can be little complaint from the fanbase about not getting his 500 at-bats.

    Having said that, KP’s words are interesting and maybe tell us about what the Oilers are thinking re:MP.

  24. Steve says:


  25. Bruce says:

    [Pouliot] had a couple of bad games and put himself in the doghouse and rightfully so for the mistakes he made.

    I’m thinking the line-change game aginst Detroit is #1 on the bad-dog list. MP was given one more game, and when he didn’t respond, out he went for a few months. And “rightfully so”.

    But I sure like much of what I’m seeing in his latest rise from the ashes. Maybe he’s the 13th forward, but Marc needs to develop at the NHL level next year. I wouldn’t be all opposed to seeing him afforded that opportunity here; this is the wrong time to cut the cord.

    LT: Lenny Faedo? I love your site …

  26. Bruce says:

    ” … AT all opposed …”

  27. IceDragoon says:

    They have had a lot of the young guys really improve this year. Most of them really, but Gagner is starting to look like a really good bet to be a difference maker in this league.

    And young players get better, usually even when their counting numbers don’t.

    Especially when these young players are highly intelligent.

    The Oilers have always had a nucleus of intelligent players. Weight and Horcoff being the apex of the last decade. This year we’ve added a handful of young men who are at least the intellectual equals of 39 & 10, plus a few who are damm close, like most of our boys. ;-D

    I’d say that MacTavish is in his element. He’s building his team, and right now it’s all about the game.

    Whether this single game focus helps the boys accomplish the near impossible or merely gives them a reason to come to TC ’08 with a purpose…

    it’s all good.

    The kids have come a long way this year. And I’m thrilled about watching them continue to develop.

    On Gagner … best to hold back on the enthusiasm, I keep telling myself. But damn, he’s winning battles now. And he’s a boy. And he’s the size of my sister.

    The counting numbers recently are the same aberration that happens to every player in this league regularly, imo … and even though his underlying numbers are no hell, they are improving at crazy speed. And he’s just a freaking boy, for Christmas sakes.

    Sky is the limit. This could be a special player. I worry about an egregious cheapshot, like Suter on Kariya, fucking him up.

    Welcome to the dark side, Vic. I know you’re hooked just like I knew Lain was hooked. You fear for young Gagner’s safety.

    Buckle up, you are in for a helluva ride.

    Gagner has elite intelligence, elite focus, and he trains as an elite athlete. In the interview I mentioned ^^^ MacTavish said that Sam already has elite gamesmanship, ramping up his game under pressure and exploiting/creating opportunities. The little bugger just keeps adjusting. He’ll have more impact as a centre, yet is thriving playing a little C and a lot of RW. A freaking 18 year old is MacT’s utility offence.

    btw – Cheap shots are a risk to every player. Gagner doesn’t appear to expose himself long enough to be blindsided. His head is on a swivel and he’s not one to admire his passes, like Cogliano and Nilsson sometimes do. He has been lined up for a few vicious open ice hits and has deftly sidestepped them creating odd man rushes the other way. I’m only a little nervous about a nasty hit taking our boy out. I keep telling myself.


  28. dstaples says:

    “Redefined shamelessness,” says Vic in regards to me. Just came across that as I caught up on Lowetide posts.

    Well, not sure what I said at Hockey’s Future to bring on your critique, but I might as well come out and admit it: I can be as shameless as a $10 hooker.

    I go by what W.O. Mitchell always used to say, that he’d get naked and flak like a chicken on the steps of the Lethbridge Public Library if he could sell one book.

    You see, I’m not shy, and I’m something of a lunatic. I’m not easily deterred. I don’t stop with a project until I’ve pushed it as far as I can, carpet bombed the entire Oilogosphere.

    For instance, my obsession and promotion of the “error” stat, which I continue to believe in, even as others take more comfort in Corsi numbers.

    Anyway, Vic, from one Springsteen fan to another (I’m sure I caught an oblique Boss reference in one of your recent posts), “Tramps like us (well, me at least), Baby we were born to run.”
    P.S. Still waiting for that F.A.Q. on the strengths and weaknesses of Corsi numbers ;)

  29. Dennis says:

    Well, that certainly explains a lot.

  30. Bruce says:

    Especially when these young players are highly intelligent.

    Hear hear, Louise. It’s good to see your voice of reason back in the mix, and congrats on the grandkid if I haven’t already. I agree with you on smart players, the Gretzky Oilers used to be the smartest team in the league. Besides the Great One, who understood the game better than the on-ice officials, Kurri, Huddy, Gregg, Jackson and yes, Lowe and MacT all stood out in this respect. Meanwhile, the Corson Oilers were the dumbest team we’ve ever had around here, and had the results to prove it.

    To add to your modern list, one Oiler youngster who looks a lot dumber than he really is, is my man Zack Stortini. One of the things that really attracted my interest in this guy long back is this little nugget from Hockey’s Future:

    Captain of the Sudbury Wolves of the OHL for the past two seasons. Named two years in a row as the team’s Academic Player of the Year.

    Two seasons as captain is very rare at the junior level, and the other speaks for itself. All of which suggest leadership skills, smarts and application of same. Can’t have too much of that, on the first line or the fourth.

  31. Dennis says:

    Being the smartest player on an OHL team is like being…insert joke here;)

  32. Bruce says:

    Dennis: Beats the 19 alternatives of not being the smartest player on an OHL team, surely. :)

    I’m with Louise, I like the smart ones. Which is why I don’t mind there being 9 college boys on the current Oilers. Not saying A = B, that everybody who went to college necessarily has a clue, but as a general rule, pursuing an education while pursuing the hockey dream is a pretty smart thing to do. To do so while playing junior hockey is not so easy, and I admire those that make the attempt.

  33. IceDragoon says:

    Being the smartest player on an OHL team is like being…

    … the smartest player on a QMJHL team?
    … as in… M. A. Pouliot!

    Yeah, Bruce, Stortini is one of the ones who are ‘damm close’, tho Pouliot is one of the ‘handful’.
    I think one of the reasons MacT was so ticked at MAP early in the year was because he expected much more.

    High IQ is my favourite intangible, so my player research targets scholastic achievements. I have some discreet help with Canadian and US born players, but very little access to info on European players. Coaches’ comments can reveal enough to have a general idea of a player’s intelligence. ie: MacT’s comments on Grebeshkov’s ‘coachability’ leads me to believe he’s in the upper IQ echelon, tho I didn’t include him in the ‘handful’. I did include Pitkanen, because Ken Hitchcock said Joni is one of the smartest players he’s ever coached.

    My research says we have one player (Gagner) in the 99.99th percentile (Nash is there too, but not an NHLer yet); 4-5 players (Horcoff, Gilbert, Cogliano, Pouliot & ~Pitkanen) in the 99th percentile; and most of the rest are at least in the 97th percentile.

    Even considering that high end athletes tend to be well above the average IQ, I think the Oilers’ team make-up is rare, and very telling of the management/coaching team’s priorities, imho.

    And, Bruce… I was a mom raising a young family in Calgary during the Corson (very few) days. Out of sight… out of mind, I guess. One of these days I’ll learn not to use absolutes.


  34. IceDragoon says:


    Thanx for the congrats, Bruce.

    Grandson is visiting for Easter. And at just two months old he has nearly doubled his birth weight.

  35. Bruce says:

    I was a mom raising a young family in Calgary during the Corson (very few) days. Out of sight… out of mind, I guess. One of these days I’ll learn not to use absolutes.

    Corson was a complete muttonhead, not just on the ice but in the room and in the community. He was the most visible of ten first round draft picks that Oilers had taken off the reclamation pile, who individually and collectively demonstrated the principle known as “all the tools, no tool box”.

    Corson’s widely reported off-ice fight with his young protege Jason Arnott over the awarding of an assist was a low point in the history of the franchise. Corson wound up being stripped of the captaincy and George Burnett fired as coach over that lovely little incident, which occurred in the middle of a playoff race. Needless to say, an unsuccessful one, as the whole team lost focus.

  36. Bruce says:

    PS Louise: Thanks for the “heads-up” on Pouliot. That’s (welcome) news to me.

    And Nash.

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