Brodziak A Key Component

In Bob Stauffer’s column in the Sun today (here), we get some interesting information on Kyle Brodziak and his possible role on the club next season:

  • (look for) Kyle Brodziak to see significant minutes on the third line, including first unit penalty-killing.
  • (Brodziak) has been one of the Oilers who has been prominent at team functions, such as the Daryl Katz press conference and the unveiling of Graham Rahal’s Oilers-sponsored car at the Rexall Edmonton Indy.

The first bullet basically tells us he’s going to fill Jarret Stoll’s role on next season’s team, and the second bullet implies (probably correctly) he’s in the “In-Crowd” amongst management and ownership. Brodziak’s being a part of a major Edmonton event involving Oilers ownership is in sharp contrast to Raffi Torres and his profile in the last 12 months, as an example.

How prepared is Brodziak for this role? Was he used on PK a lot last season? What about faceoffs? Good questions, and here are the answers:

  1. What kind of competition did Brodziak face one year ago? Low-level. According to Desjardins numbers, Gagner, Brodziak and Cogliano faced about the same toughness of opponent one year ago, which was well below the tough sledding Stoll, Reasoner and Horcoff (when healthy) faced this past season. Which makes sense, MacT was going with veterans in situations he felt the kids would get demolished.
  2. What kind of linemates was he out there with? This is where there is a bit of a disconnect between Brodziak and the Glimmer Twins. Whereas Gagner was playing with top level linemates and Cogliano was getting secondary help, Brodziak was getting the dregs to play against the dregs. Stoll and Reasoner got the short end of this stick too by the way, which has to be considered when discussing their final numbers.
  3. How did he perform based on level of competition/linemates? Pretty well. Brodziak’s 5×5/60 number was 5th best on the team (2.09) and his Corsi number (-5.4) was mid-pack on the Oilers. Cogliano (who faced similar opponents with better linemates) was -11.7 Corsi and Gagner (who faced similar opponents with top level linemates) ended up with an almost identical Corsi number (-5.6) to Brodziak. Using this information, Brodziak would appear to be the best possible option among the young centermen who played all of last season to have his toughness curve increased for 08-09.
  4. What about Pouliot? He’s an interesting prospect among the young centers because there’s all kinds of things flying around him. Apparently he balked at MacT’s suggestion he could fill a “Guy Carbonneau” role on the team (which is exactly the role we’re discussing) and Pouliot’s career has been rife with bad timing (mono, poor starts, avoiding the Mandelbaums).
  5. What about Pouliot the player? There is SOME evidence he may be the best player for the role we’re discussing. Understand this is in limited time (24 games, about 1/3 of a season) but Pouliot played with the dregs and against the dregs while coming out with a positive Corsi number (3.4). There’s not enough here to suggest Pouliot is a better option than Brodziak for the role but he would seem to be the best guy after him on the depth chart (as it stands today and assuming we exclude Horcoff).
  6. Could Brodziak end up being the best player from the 2003 draft? We talked about it a long time ago at hf and I think it’s at a point where it’s probable. We always say “this season will tell us a lot” and I think it will. The Oilers have Pouliot signed to a nice contract and Brodziak will be looking for a big payday next summer. The “role player” scale for the Oilers seems to be in the low 1′s these days and I don’t know that Brodziak will be in the mood to sign at that level a year from now. In order to get the Stoll money he’d have to step up offensively.
  7. How much time did he spend on the PK? According to nhl.com Brodziak spent 2.5 minutes a game last season on the PK, trailing only Reasoner, Stoll, Moreau (only 25 games) and Horcoff. He would be an obvious choice to replace the Stoll minutes here (along with Pisani who was next on the list) and seems to have the skill set required for the job. He did go 1-2-3 shorthanded this past season.
  8. What about faceoffs? As one might expect when so many rookies are taking faceoffs, this was an area of weakness one year ago. Andrew Cogliano took 542 faceoffs and won 39.5% of them, Gagner took 299 and won 41.8%. Among the kids, only Brodziak could manage over 50% (he won 153 out of 297, 51.5%) and for that alone he would have to be considered a strong favorite for the 3line, PK and “taking RH draws in the Oilers end” roles on the team.
  9. What will the increased competition do to his stats? I’ve left this until last because his numbers are unlikely to increase this season. Brodziak went 80gp, 14-17-31 -6 last year and with the increase in difficulty I’d say a season anywhere close to those totals would be top drawer. If he can hold this job, he’ll be a very valuable young player next summer.

By The Numbers

  • 07-08 5×5 per 60m: 2.09
  • 07-08 5×4 per 60m: 0.00

My Prediction for this Season

82gp, 10-20-30 (.366 per game)

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42 Responses to "Brodziak A Key Component"

  1. Jonathan says:

    Using this information, Brodziak would appear to be the best possible option among the young centermen who played all of last season to have his toughness curve increased for 08-09.

    On the other hand, Brodziak’s GAON/60 was a really ugly 3.44, while Gagner posted 3.19 and Cogliano posted 2.99. Personally, I think that shows Cogliano as most ready for an increase in opposition, regardless of his size.

  2. hockeyaddict101 says:

    Good comments Lowetide.

    A lot of people thought it was Glencross who was the catylyst to that 4th line but I always thought it was Brodziak.

    He is a smart player and can defend well and has some offensive flair.

    Mactavish used them a lot after the first and second line so that they faced weaker competition to take advantage so the corsi numbers may be a bit deceiving but it was interesting that he did well anyway.

    Pouliot needs to adjust and realize that being a third line checker may be his niche, while Brodziak seemed to relish in any role that he was put in.

    Advantage Brodziak….

    Jonathan while I do not disagree that Cogliano could handle the role I am not sure that is the role Mactavish will use him in unless Brodziak or Pouliot fail.

  3. Schmidty says:

    I liked Brodziak’s complete game at the end of the year. Offensively, he always seemed to get lots of chances and he started to finish towards the end.

    As he fills out more I see his physicality improving. I doubt he will ever be a bonecrusher…but I can see him being able to finish checks with more regularity.

    I agree he is a smart player and pairing him winth Nando then adding the grit of Moreau could be a great fit.

    Can’t wait to see it.

  4. Big T says:

    Have to agree with LT re: Brodziak vs. Cogliano. Brodziak put up a better corsi number with lesser linemates and similar levels of competition. He also did this while facing the tough for the first 1/3 of the season or so on the wing with Marty and Sanderson.

    T

  5. Traktor says:

    Brodziak played a lot tougher role than behindthe net suggests, IMO, and is why I don’t put all my marbles in the stats basket.

    I see an elite 3rd line center or a 2 way 55 point 2nd line center in the future for Brodziak. He is infact a key component.

    Jonathan: Only Kurri, Arnott, Anderson and the Great One have scored more goals in their rookie season than Cogliano in Oilers history.

    Why do we want him playing on the checking line again?

    Please (anyone) tell me what element Cogliano is missing from his game which prevents him from becoming an 80 point player.

  6. knighttown says:

    I never loved Brodziak on the Pk for two reasons, quickness and stamina. These aren’t measureable and I’m sure almost any Oiler who played 4 vs. 5 has good Desjardins numbers b/c of good systems, but I find he gets beaten to loose pucks often and if he gets stuck out for a minute and a half, he seemed to always run out of gas. A big body takes a little more ATP to move around you know.

    Saying that, he has very strong positioning and is coachable and with our PK system maybe that is enough.

    And I agree with the poster who mentioned Brodz made our 4th line go. I have never seen someone as easy to play with. He gets the puck and makes a perfect dump-in virtually ever time and that is an underestimated skill. When you;ve got hounds like Storts (who needs a head start) and Glen-X chasing, a soft dump is just what’s needed, something say, Sanderson never caught on to.

    Ethan, who frankly can be a “puck-hog” does not seem to be a fit on that line. Maybe this is where Jacques can claim a role.

  7. Jonathan says:

    Brodziak played a lot tougher role than behindthe net suggests, IMO, and is why I don’t put all my marbles in the stats basket.

    I see an elite 3rd line center or a 2 way 55 point 2nd line center in the future for Brodziak. He is infact a key component.

    I’ve previously compared Brodziak to Horcoff: he has an underrated offensive game in a lot of ways, and I have no idea where the ceiling is for him yet.

    That said, while he was playing with Reasoner and Sanderson, his performance wasn’t, as far as I saw, much better than his linmeates; i.e. he was bleeding goals against with them.

    Jonathan: Only Kurri, Arnott, Anderson and the Great One have scored more goals in their rookie season than Cogliano in Oilers history.

    Why do we want him playing on the checking line again?

    Please (anyone) tell me what element Cogliano is missing from his game which prevents him from becoming an 80 point player.

    Oh, I think Cogliano’s future in the NHL is as a scorer, no doubt. I also don’t think that one year in a checking role will prevent him from realizing that; I think it will help create a more well-rounded player, a guy who while scoring at a top-six rate can do so against quality opponents.

  8. Sean says:

    I’ve been bullish on Brodziak for over a year now. My preference would be to invest in Cogliano as a scorer and Brodziak in the shutdown role but its too early to pinpoint them. Both would be effective counter attackers with their speed. Brodziak would likely be the better option because of his size. Either way, playing with Pisani anyone of Brodziak, Pouliot or Cogliano should succeed. Fernando is a beauty.

  9. Traktor says:

    That said, while he was playing with Reasoner and Sanderson, his performance wasn’t, as far as I saw, much better than his linmeates; i.e. he was bleeding goals against with them.

    He might have oozed goals but I don’t recalled many times while watching him play that I wasn’t happy with his performance. I remember when he was dead tired and half assed coming back into the defensive zone and his man (the trailer) scored on a rebound goal. He was in the PB the next game. Other than that I don’t think he was as deficient defensively as his GA suggests.

    Oh, I think Cogliano’s future in the NHL is as a scorer, no doubt.

    Good, I’m glad I don’t see any talk about “Is his shooting percentage sustainable?”

    To me that is a flawed question. A better question would be “Is his scoring opportunites substainable”

    If he gets the same chances (which I see no reason why he wouldn’t) I see no reason why his shooting % would drop as most of his shots come from high % scoring areas.

    “I also don’t think that one year in a checking role will prevent him from realizing that; I think it will help create a more well-rounded player, a guy who while scoring at a top-six rate can do so against quality opponents.”

    There is nothing wrong with 2 way players but at the same time you’re not going to develop a purebred by playing him on a checking line and having him dump pucks in and change rather than taking on players at the blueline.

    I’m not trying to turn Cogliano into a player that can play tough minutes, rather I’m looking to turn him into a player that other teams think they are playing tough minutes when playing against him.

  10. RiversQ says:

    Traktor said…
    Brodziak played a lot tougher role than behindthe net suggests, IMO, and is why I don’t put all my marbles in the stats basket.

    You mean the stats presented thus far. These aren’t the only ways to express how difficult his minutes were.

    I’m not sure why everyone overlooks Pouliot’s contribution from two years ago. He posted even better numbers at that time, particularly defensively, over a larger sample size. I think we can stop waffling over the 24 games and realize he’s got the equivalent of a full NHL season playing with middling to poor linemates against middling opposition and his defensive numbers have been stellar.

  11. Jonathan says:

    Good, I’m glad I don’t see any talk about “Is his shooting percentage sustainable?”

    To me that is a flawed question. A better question would be “Is his scoring opportunites substainable”

    If he gets the same chances (which I see no reason why he wouldn’t) I see no reason why his shooting % would drop as most of his shots come from high % scoring areas.

    Cogliano’s a fast player; he gets more than his fair share of scoring chances, and that isn’t something that’s going to change. He’ll always have a high shooting percentage.

    On the other hand, he isn’t Kovalchuk, and probably never will be, so I would be shocked if he kept posting 18%+ in that category. 14-15% is much more reasonable and likely, IMO.

  12. Traktor says:

    You mean the stats presented thus far. These aren’t the only ways to express how difficult his minutes were.

    Is there another way besides stats or viewing live/watching on tv?

    I don’t mind stats but not often will a spreadsheet reverse my opinion. I would appreciate other information if you have it though.

    “I’m not sure why everyone overlooks Pouliot’s contribution from two years ago.”

    Because what you did a few years ago means nothing. Re: Torres and Stoll.

    “He posted even better numbers at that time, particularly defensively, over a larger sample size. I think we can stop waffling over the 24 games and realize he’s got the equivalent of a full NHL season playing with middling to poor linemates against middling opposition and his defensive numbers have been stellar.”

    He might have shown in the past that he will not hurt us but has he proved that that he can help us? At this point I don’t think that he is entitled to anything. Hell, even Garon is going to have to prove himself again this year in camp.

  13. Jonathan says:

    There is nothing wrong with 2 way players but at the same time you’re not going to develop a purebred by playing him on a checking line and having him dump pucks in and change rather than taking on players at the blueline.

    I’m not trying to turn Cogliano into a player that can play tough minutes, rather I’m looking to turn him into a player that other teams think they are playing tough minutes when playing against him.

    Playing on the checking line won’t hurt Cogliano’s development – Horcoff turned out okay, and I’m betting a guy like Staal in Pittsburgh turns out okay too.

    Besides, I never said he should stay there all season, just that he was better prepared than Brodziak for the position at this point in time. My preferred choice has been Pouliot, because of his performance in 2006-07 (as alluded to by RiversQ), but only if he can show something out of the starting gate, something he hasn’t done yet in his NHL career.

  14. RiversQ says:

    Jonathan said…
    Personally, I think that shows Cogliano as most ready for an increase in opposition, regardless of his size.

    This is a little over the top. You’re putting a whole lot of stock in three goals, which is all those rates amount to with the respective minutes played for Cogs and Gagner. As for Brodziak, he’s a few GA clear of those guys, but it’s really not that much when one considers the context, particularly d-zone faceoffs.

    Now first I should say that Cogliano is one of my favourite young players on the Oilers. Speed kills and has that for sure. Also, when Dennis was worried about his offense and the Marchant comparisons around the midway point of the year, I noticed the kid just didn’t shoot enough – can’t really put up offense without having a meaningful shooting rate.

    Now he resolved that during the stretch drive IMO. Of course he rode the crest of some silly shooting %, but he did shoot more IIRC and Desjardins shows he led the team in how close those shots were. Regardless, I’m not worried about his offensive game – he’ll score enough to be a positive contributor I think.

    Having said all that, I thought Cogliano was way more lost in his own end than anyone seems to acknowledge. He often coasted around without a mark and struggled to make a difference moving the puck in the right direction. These are things that serve you well in Staples-land, but they make it hard to win hockey games. I will admit he looked OK in the neutral zone where his speed buys him room for error.

    Cogs and Gagner were also pretty much useless at faceoffs, which will hopefully improve thanks to MacT. However, I think size matters a little there, especially on d-zone draws where you don’t have to win them cleanly. So how much better will they get especially in just one year?

    Cogliano has as much work to do defensively as a guy like Gagner IMO. Relative to most Oilers discussions this amounts to praise for Gagner and some tempered enthusiasm for Cogliano.

  15. RiversQ says:

    Traktor said…
    Is there another way besides stats or viewing live/watching on tv?

    There have been only two “stats” presented here. They hardly should be considered representative of everything you can do by looking at the data. There are more.

    Because what you did a few years ago means nothing. Re: Torres and Stoll.

    This is pretty thick frankly. If you’re struggling with sample size it sure doesn’t hurt to look at a player’s contribution when he played on a worse team with worse linemates when he was just one year younger and he’s still a young player.

    As for Torres and Stoll, one bad year with a lot of underlying context doesn’t write them off as players. Track record matters, and within reason, previous success absolutely can predict future results.

    I guess if you had your way you’d have kicked Modano to the curb after his 76game/44point year in 03/04. Or Horcoff after his 06/07.

  16. Traktor says:

    “On the other hand, he isn’t Kovalchuk, and probably never will be, so I would be shocked if he kept posting 18%+ in that category. 14-15% is much more reasonable and likely, IMO.”

    He definitely doesn’t own a sniper that Kovalchuk has, it’s actually Cogliano’s heart and drive that I feel is the reason he is a special player. He wants it more than you.

  17. Jonathan says:

    This is a little over the top. You’re putting a whole lot of stock in three goals, which is all those rates amount to with the respective minutes played for Cogs and Gagner. As for Brodziak, he’s a few GA clear of those guys, but it’s really not that much when one considers the context, particularly d-zone faceoffs.

    Which is one of the big weaknesses of the statistic- but for the life of me I can’t remember Brodziak getting a ton of own-zone draws; he saw some on Reasoner’s wing IIRC, but I don’t remember a ton. (I am open to correction here- that was pretty early on and I’m a little foggy on it).

    He certainly didn’t see that many after Glencross’s arrival.

    Having said all that, I thought Cogliano was way more lost in his own end than anyone seems to acknowledge. He often coasted around without a mark and struggled to make a difference moving the puck in the right direction. These are things that serve you well in Staples-land, but they make it hard to win hockey games. I will admit he looked OK in the neutral zone where his speed buys him room for error.

    I didn’t think Cogliano was that bad- certainly he made errors, although a lot of times he was able to recover because of his speed.

    I thought he knew what to do in the defensive end but just wasn’t strong enough to be as effective as he could have been.

  18. Traktor says:

    “Playing on the checking line won’t hurt Cogliano’s development”

    It won’t hurt it but it will redistribute some of the skills learned on the job.

    “My preferred choice has been Pouliot, because of his performance in 2006-07 (as alluded to by RiversQ), but only if he can show something out of the starting gate, something he hasn’t done yet in his NHL career.”

    My preferred choice would be to trade a guy like Pouliot and prospect like Wild and get a 3rd line C via trade that isn’t afraid to bang and get dirty. I don’t think any of Brodziak, Pouliot or Cogliano is optimal. This team is going to get ran every night.

  19. spOILer says:

    “The Glimmer Twins” — nice ref to our rock and roll duo, but I wonder which one is the angel and which one the devil. I suspect Cogs is Keith since he gets less respect.

    3C seems to be the big issue this coming season.

    RQ is right in that prior to this past season MAP also put up good defensive numbers, including FOs of about 55% IIRC.

    Considering his GAON/60 has been so low event, you’d have to think he’s the most likely to be able to step it up against tougher comp.

    Even if he allows another whole goal per 60 he’s still around or under the other guys’ #s at weak comp.

    So, IMHO, MAP is option one for 3C, not Brodziak.

    I just don’t understand why we’re riskng the playoffs to develop a kid into a 3C who doesn’t want to play that role, when there were and still are cheap veteran options available. We’re developing enough kids, especially centres, why force another one to step it up?

    Are we at the beggars banquet hoping one of the kids doesn’t let it bleed? And if they can’t, are the media and the rabid boards going to turn a kid into goat’s head soup, while the rest of us pray for an emotional rescue undercover of the night?

    Or will one of them prove they can do the dirty work?

    The Oil must really like what they see. But they’re not saving a boatload of cash by having a kid take the role and they’re possibly giving up plenty of experience.

    Brodz is one of my fave players right now, and I see a lot of Horc in him, but IIRC Horc’s career path at this point took a turn to winger while he learned to play the tougher opp.

  20. RiversQ says:

    Jonathan said…

    Which is one of the big weaknesses of the statistic…

    What is? The context or the small difference?

    Anyway, they aren’t weaknesses, just things that have to be kept in mind when looking at them.

    As for the d-zone faceoffs, I’m pretty sure Brodziak saw more of this (especially in the first 2/3rds of the year) than the kids did.

  21. Traktor says:

    “I guess if you had your way you’d have kicked Modano to the curb after his 76game/44point year in 03/04. Or Horcoff after his 06/07.”

    I guess if it was your way you’d throw 5 million at Yanic Perreault because he was an allstar in 05-06.

    I don’t mind Pouliot, but I’m not going to give him a job because he was average 2 years ago, sorry.

  22. RiversQ says:

    spOILer said…
    I suspect Cogs is Keith since he gets less respect.

    I didn’t know Cogs was mindlessly ripping off Chuck Berry too?!?! That SOB.

    I just don’t understand why we’re riskng the playoffs to develop a kid into a 3C who doesn’t want to play that role,

    Is there any real evidence of this idea anywhere? I’d love to see the path from Pouliot to where this rumour got posted here.

    I think it’s bullshit.

  23. Vic Ferrari says:

    RQ:

    Yeah, Cogliano was an unmitigated disaster in his own zone I thought. He got the standard Oilers rookie treatment (blame was always pinned elsewhere when a mistake resulted in an goal against, this by the coaching, and no matter how flagrant the error).

    He’ll get better though.

    And a commenter above is pleased that nobody has mentioned his shooting percentage (19.8% at evens btw). Crosby(13.1%), Malkin (14.9%), Ovechkin(12.8%), Iginla(13.3%), Lecavalier(11.2%), Zetterberg(11.4%) all did very well at this last season, and probably will again. I mean Malkin may fall back a smidge and Vinny should do a touch better, but they’ll be in range. The track record is there.

    Cogliano though? I dunno. Will he continue to finish like Mario for next season? For his career? Personally I kind of doubt it, and if you must bet on an Oiler finishing in the teens at this next season, I’d advise putting most of the money on Horcoff and hedging with Hemsky and Penner.

  24. RiversQ says:

    Traktor said…
    I guess if it was your way you’d throw 5 million at Yanic Perreault because he was an allstar in 05-06.

    Only a fool would pay for All-star nominations or awards.

    I’d look at the actual data to make a decision on Perreault and I’d also consider that he was:

    A) Never all that good.
    B) Always a poor skater and that doesn’t age well.
    C) Almost 35 at the time he made it to that all star game and now 37.
    D) A token nominee for an awful Phoenix club

    I could go on, but I’ll stop there.

    Remember I said “within reason.” Thanks for coming up with an example that proves the point.

  25. Traktor says:

    “And a commenter above is pleased that nobody has mentioned his shooting percentage (19.8% at evens btw). Crosby(13.1%), Malkin (14.9%), Ovechkin(12.8%), Iginla(13.3%), Lecavalier(11.2%), Zetterberg(11.4%) all did very well at this last season, and probably will again.”

    Considering most of those guys were in the top 10 in total shots you’re right they did well in shooting %. Anything over 10% is nice when you shoot from any angle imaginable. Cogliano btw ranked 308th in the NHL in total shots, tied with Jordan Tootoo with 98 shots.

    Is it possible if Cogliano shot the puck 446 times (as much as Ovechkin) that his shooting % would drop?

    What would Ovechkin’s shooting percentage look like if he only shot the puck 98 times like Cogliano? 25-30%?

  26. Jonathan says:

    What is? The context or the small difference?

    Anyway, they aren’t weaknesses, just things that have to be kept in mind when looking at them.

    The context, and of course you’re right when you say it isn’t a weakness, but it is a problem for guys like me who occasionally omit the context.

    As for the d-zone faceoffs, I’m pretty sure Brodziak saw more of this (especially in the first 2/3rds of the year) than the kids did.

    Fair enough – like I said, I don’t remember clearly enough to be definite here, so I’ll take your word for it; it does make sense given who he was playing with.

  27. RiversQ says:

    Is it possible if Cogliano shot the puck 446 times (as much as Ovechkin) that his shooting % would drop?

    That’s kinda the point – although I don’t detect that the concept is being fully grasped here. Regression to the mean ain’t always down.

    The comparisons and their track records are being used to frame the sample size issue.

    What would Ovechkin’s shooting percentage look like if he only shot the puck 98 times like Cogliano? 25-30%?

    Or maybe just 10% or 15%.

    It depends on whether you think the shot selection bias is always a good thing.

  28. RiversQ says:

    Jonathan said…

    Fair enough – like I said, I don’t remember clearly enough to be definite here, so I’ll take your word for it; it does make sense given who he was playing with.

    Well, nor do I so don’t be too confident in what I say. Maybe Vic will set us straight at some point down the road.

  29. Vic Ferrari says:

    Traktor:

    So your theory is that forwards who take more EV shots should have a lower EV shooting percentage?

    It would be easy enough for you to prove just by cutting and pasting the stuff from behindthenet.ca. I suspect that you’ll find that the opposite is true, Traktor, though just ever so slightly.

    I think that there is way too much talk lately about “low event players” and their opposite.

    I mean you’re right that Ovechkin is on the ice for a lot of shots at net by either team, relatively speaking (56.0 per 60 minutes on average).

    Cogliano is on the ice for relatively few (53.1 per 60 minutes on average).

    Still the difference here, from high event to low event (56.0 to 53.1), I’m sure you’ll agree that’s not a hell of a lot. I mean the puck has to be somewhere.

    The biggest difference between these two players, at evens last year, was that the significant majority of the shots that happened when Ovechkin was on the ice were taken by Capitals players. The significant majority of the shots on goal that happened when Cogliano was on the ice were taken by opposing players.

    Now Cogliano is young, he’s learning, and he got better as the season went along. And he’ll get better next season too. Good player with crazy speed.

    But only a madman would bet on a repeat of that shooting percentage, and therefore a repeat of his EV goals totals. Hell his goal total overtall for that matter, because I don’t expect him to see much first unit PP time.

    So when the guy’s around the water cooler, the folks who call talk radio shows, and buddy who took the stool next to you at your neighbourhood sports bar … when they start talking to you about his sophomore slump, you’ll know it’s just stuff happening, right? :D

  30. hockeyaddict101 says:

    It certainly would not hurt Cogliano to put him in a checking line role but why if there are better options?

    To be honest I think in the long term it will be the perfect spot for Pouliot but I am not convinced that he is ready for that spot yet.

    So really it is Brodziak’s to lose and in reality the only way that Cogliano gets that spot if he fails AND Cogliano fails in this role. This is not really the outlook I want for this season.

    I still see Pouliot there before Cogliano though.

    Though the fact that we can discuss three possible players for this position makes Lowe’s trade of Stoll completely understandable

  31. Traktor says:

    Vic:

    Asking if Cogliano’s shooting % is sustainable is flawed because he could have his shooting % drop 5% and still score more goals by shooting the puck more than Jordan Tootoo.

    That’s why I think asking if his scoring opportunities is sustainable is a better question.

    People look to his high shooting % and think it’s not sustainable thus he will have a decrease in goals. I don’t agree.

    I won’t bet that he will put up a 18% shooting percentage again but I will bet that he matches or increases his goal production. That’s the crux of it. If his shooting % drops it will have more to do with increased shots from other areas than missing high % scoring opportunities (which I feel he will always generate.)

  32. RiversQ says:

    hockeyaddict101 said…

    Though the fact that we can discuss three possible players for this position makes Lowe’s trade of Stoll completely understandable

    Hmm… None of them seem all that attractive for the spot though do they? (Speaking strictly about the coming season – no sense arguing about even two years from now because they all look like players to me)

    Barring any non-hockey reasons I’d say they dealt those two more for salary reasons than anything else. I think Lowe wanted to take a swing at a big fish and he wanted to clear room to make that happen.

    With a big fish in this lineup, the lack of an experienced centre is understandable. Without it, one has to wonder. At this point he probably wants to wait and see because that’s his MO, but I doubt Lowe’s plan was to settle for this group of forwards though.

    Of course after the 05/06 and 06/07 offseasons who knows what’s going on.

  33. Vic Ferrari says:

    Yeah, I agree with all of that RQ. I mean from December on Stoll played really tough minutes and he and Reasoner were on the ice for an absurd number of defensive zone draws.

    Getting rid of the players doesn’t get rid of the tough icetime, it just means that someone else will have to play it. And nobody listed there is going to look good doing it. In fact most of these options are probably going to take a pounding doing it.

    Maybe Cole-Horcoff-Hemsky can pull it off and still be a threat, we certainly saw Smyth logging Sundinesque tough minutes for the Oilers in this role in the past and getting results. MacTavish is going to have to go with a checking line though, I think. Because the kid line is going to need the soft icetime.
    And the Oilers don’t have enough offense up front to make the opposition’s coach respect two other lines ahead of the kids.

    We’ll see. I’m sure we’ll see lots of shuffling about as young guys struggle and find form in alternating fashion, and as injuries happen (and as players shift roles due to playing through injury).

    They’ve got a lot of good players though, and a lot of young guys that are getting better. Plus a guy with crazy skill in Gagner. Should be an interesting year. If they played in the Eastern Conference I think they’d be odds on to make the playoffs for sure.

  34. Vic Ferrari says:

    Traktor:

    I’m sure that everyone would like to see Cogliano shoot more, and that would hurt his shooting percentage a touch. He’s only taking 22% of the Oiler shots when he is on the ice, I’m sure that the Oilers would like to see that up around 25% or so, maybe higher.

    But if you’re going to link that to his SheanDonovanIn04 shooting percentage from last year, the math won’t be kind to you :)

    That’s only going to make so much difference though. It’s not so much that Cogs “isn’t taking enough of the Oiler shots” as it is “the shots are mostly going to the other team when Cogs is out there”.

    So as far as Cogliano increasing his counting stats, the elephant in the room is the fact that the puck just spends far too much time in the wrong end of the rink when he’s out there. It’s YPD (young player disorder), and he’ll grow out of it, in time to take on better opposition and more difficult situations, so that the Riley Nash and Eberle (or similar) can take over the icetime that Cogs has now. Same as we’ve always seen.

    That area, which is mostly just a result of making better decisions all over the ice (easier said than done I know) has to improve. A lot. And I’m sure it will in time.

  35. PDO says:

    One reason why Cogliano won’t be an 80 point guy?

    Because, in all likelihood, he’s going to be too good at other aspects of the game to be used solely for his offense. He’ll take defensive zone draws, PK and play against good players on the other team. This will take away from offensive draws, PP time, and quick shifts against the other teams 4th line.

    Cogliano at 65-70 points with those kinds of duties is a more effective player than Cogliano at 80-85 points without them.

  36. Jonathan says:

    And the Oilers don’t have enough offense up front to make the opposition’s coach respect two other lines ahead of the kids.

    Maybe not, but if Penner hangs on to the first line duty, whoever gets wedged into the third line between Cole and Pisani is going to have some pretty nice guys covering for him. We all know what Pisani is, and at least as far as Desjardins goes Erik Cole looks like a tough minutes kind of guy, even if it was in the East.

    All of this is assuming that the Kid Line sticks together, something I have trouble seeing past game 20- sure, give them a shot out of the gate, but as soon as slumps come (and they will), those guys are going to be wherever.

    They could put one kid with two vets on each line and get away with it; they could also drop one of the kids (say Cogliano) out of the top-9 for Moreau in certain game situations.

    Whatever the situation, plenty of quality on the wings with 4 guys (Penner, Cole, Hemsky, Pisani) who should be able to handle whatever, another who’s close in Nilsson, and Moreau spotting up in certain situations which should help make up for the weakness behind Horcoff at centre.

  37. PDO says:

    I’m not Rawbears biggest fan by any means, but I’m convinced that he’ll spend time with Horcoff and Hemsky at some point this season.

  38. RiversQ says:

    They could put one kid with two vets on each line and get away with it; they could also drop one of the kids (say Cogliano) out of the top-9 for Moreau in certain game situations.

    I see what you and Vic are getting at, but I’m not so sure the Barry Trotz style of keeping all your liabilities in one box is such a bad idea here.

    (liability is harsh, but I don’t know a better way to put it)

    Just like this past season, the kid line concept has more to do with being able to effectively shelter them as it does with “chemistry.” That goes for linemates as well as which way the puck is going when you send them over the boards.

    Slightly aside: I certainly agree with Vic on Gagner – it’s impossible not to be excited about this kid given his results arc from last season. He’s got difference maker written all over him.

  39. PDO says:

    Riv, in large part, I thin kit depends on the team we’re playing as to who plays with who. If we’re against a Colorado, who is starting to really lack a “true” difference maker, I’d rather spread the kids out.

    If we’re playing Calgary who has Iginla, and that’s about it, up front… then load ‘em up together.

    As for Gagner… very special. I can see him having a Stastny-esque year next year where he just absolutely demolishes the dregs of the other teams.

  40. Paper Designer says:

    Considering MacTavish used to reward Marty Reasoner with some occasional powerplay time, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to suggest that Brodziak gets a tiny bit of spot duty on the powerplay. He may only play five minutes total, but I predict that Brodziak will end the season with a power play point.

  41. Asiaoil says:

    Nice thread and appreciate the input by Vic and Riv. My take on this is that the pipeline is jammed full of young centers and we simply have to find out who’s a player and who isnt this year. Reasoner was not in the longterm plans – and a blindman could see how hard they were pumping Stoll for a trade last season.

    So we will likely see which of the young centers can step up to the role – MAP and Brodziak are clearly the best options for now as Cogs is nowhere near ready. He’ll be a great 2 way center in this league……eventually. But he struggled in his own end last year and the shooting percentage glossed over a tough year defensively. As Vic said – it was a shooting gallery in our end when he was on the ice.

    MAP seems the best bet to me as well. The kid has not developed a single outstanding skill (although he’s a pretty damn good passer) but he’s not bad at anything either and he has some size which we need. I think he can keep his head above water on the checking line if he’s pair with say Moreau and Pisani who may also benefit from his passing skills. But who knows – we all made a completely sensible case for Conkanen a few years ago and look how that turned out. It will be an interesting year and I predict at least one of our young centers will be gone at the trade deadline – probably MAP or Cogs).

  42. Lowetide says:

    RQ: On July 8, on this blog (in the thread that talked about the Oilers signed Pouliot and Jacques) Louise said:

    Interesting bit of radio I just heard. Bob Stauffer said that MacTavish told Pouliot that he sees a ‘Guy Carbonneau’ in him. And apparently, our young C was not impressed. hmmm… Guess the kid still has dreams of grandeur. Certainly can’t fault him for that.
    ;-D

    I know Bob and later asked directly and he confirmed.

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