A Note About "Reasonable Expectations"

This is Dire Straits. There are times in life when you absolutely know something is fresh and new, and their “Sultans of Swing” was such a thing. Amid the disco beats, Chicago riding Peter Cetera’s formula to #1, the folkie hangers-on and Rod Stewart selling out by the single came a song that defied radio format. Sultans of Swing was like opening the windows on the first really nice day of spring.

“Reasonable Expectations” for Dire Straits at that time was maybe the Beatles 2.0. Seriously. The band’s story (wikipedia has it all wrong, giving credit to some Warner A&R person in NYC when the song was broken as a demo by a man named Charlie Gillette on Radio One London who also gave the world Graham Parker) added to their unqiue sound meant sky’s the limit. As their career rolled out it was less than that but a world without them would mean a less enjoyable 30 years past.

In the reasonable expectations series just completed, I have the Oilers scoring and giving up about as many goals as Philadelphia did a year ago. There’s still time for them to improve that number (trade for Jay McKee, don’t play Deslauriers) and even if they don’t change a thing you’d have to pick them for the playoffs (I have them third in the division currently but won’t predict it until early October).

I wanted to take a minute and talk about these predictions. They are NOT my personal preferences laid out over the roster, if that were true Horcoff would win the Hart and Gagner would win the scoring championship. No, these are guesses based on established level of ability, player comps and what they did in a specific year (Hemsky’s group take off, for instance) and how the coach might use the talent available to him.

Let’s take Sam Gagner as an example. Here’s his actual 07-08 and my prediction for this season:

  • 07-08: 79gp, 13-36-49 (.620)
  • 08-09: 78gp, 18-35-53 (.679)

I’ve had a few comments (here an pm’d at HF) regarding that prediction and it isn’t a stretch to say it was the most questioned in the group (Smid’s career path aside). Let me give you an idea about how I came to this conclusion.

The last two “phenom forwards” Edmonton has employed out of the draft (or one season removed) were Jason Arnott and Ales Hemsky. For fun, let’s run their first two seasons and see how much progress each made:

Arnott

  • 78gp, 33-35-68 (.872)
  • 42gp, 15-22-37 (.881)

Hemsky

  • 59gp, 6-24-30 (.508)
  • 71gp, 12-22-34 (.479)

Development isn’t in a straight line, there are bumps and benchings along the way. Injury is also a major concern and consistency is a moving target. Almost bigger than all of that is maturity.

So that’s why I have Gagner (almost) running in place. For the record, I think his maturity and pure skill level make it likely he’ll exceed “reasonable expectations” but that’s an intangible and intangibles are what we’re trying to get rid of in doing this exercise.

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53 Responses to "A Note About "Reasonable Expectations""

  1. Muller says:

    Great post LT. I feel the Oil will again be fighting for eighth with two weeks to go. I’m not sure this team will make the post season in the strong and improved west.

  2. HBomb says:

    I’m not convinced the division has improved (in fact, I’d go one further and say every team other than the Oilers has taken steps backwards). Outside the NW, I see Chicago making the jump into the top eight, but I do not see Nashville doing well “sans Radulov”. St. Louis and Columbus aren’t there yet. In the Pacific, we know they will have three playoff teams, but LA is terrible and I am not sold on Phoenix at all.

    I think this is a playoff team. They’re top eight. Add a McKee now and a Peca at the deadline. and they’re winning the damn division.

    LT: Hemsky vs. Gagner – I’ve got to ask, are you of my mindset that Gagner may be even better at the end of the day than 83? And I think Hemsky is damn good. The upside I see in Samwise though – well, it blows away anyone the Oilers have drafted since I was born (early 1982).

  3. GSC says:

    LT, you’re all right man. Anyone who references Dire Straits in a post to that extent has got my full attention.

    As for Gagner, he wants his MTV.

  4. Doogie2K says:

    Making Movies is one of my favourite albums ever.

    I personally have the Oil second in the NW and, if a few things fall our way (the kids don’t shit themselves at 3C, Garon stands on his head, the injury bug buggers off and decides to infect the Flames or the Wild instead), this division has gotten weak enough they can win it.

    As for the others, CHI and PHX both seem like teams that could make things really interesting.

  5. Lowetide says:

    muller: They need to trade Smid for another Staios and not play Deslauriers and then they’ll get a ringing endorsement.

    hbomb: As we sit idling in the driveway, I have the division:

    1. Minnesota
    2. Calgary
    3. Edmonton
    4. Colorado
    5. Vancouver

    The Oilers should slide by Calgary but appear unwilling to aim all of their cannons in the same direction (as in stop developing kids on the blue) and management aside from MacT seems to be convinced Deslauriers deserves his chance.

    All of that probably puts them behind Calgary IF Kipper is Kipper. We’ll see.

    As for Gagner v. Hemsky yes I think Gagner’s resume is more impressive. He’s not a more capable player physically, it’s just that he combines real intelligence with ridiculous touch. Now they need to find him his Jari Kurri (who may be Hemsky for all we know).

    gsc: I wish I could put into words the moment when that song came across my radio. You just knew.

  6. Lord Bob says:

    I actually think you have Gagner too high, LT. I think that he’s due to take a step backwards in terms of the boxcar numbers even as he improves as a player, simply because his numbers last year were driven by a few things not likely to repeat.

    In unrelated news, I don’t ever go to hfboards. What’s up with that? :P

    I do agree with HBomb about the division, by the by. The Oilers treaded water, the Flames traded one of their two decent EV forwards without replacing him properly, the Wild… well, it doesn’t matter because the Wild are always going to do what the Wild do… the Avs are starting Andrew Raycroft in goal, and the Canucks have three decent players followed by an AHL team, and their solution to that is to try and give $20 million dollars to a 38-year-old whose never won anything and whose commitment to even playing is questionable.

    That said, anything can happen in the Northwest this year. Right now, I think we’re second behind Minnesota. If Kiprusoff continues the Kiprusoff Slide, then we’re sitting pretty. If last year was a fluke for Garon, we’re faced with another year of scratching and clawing. If Andrew Raycroft learns how to play goal again… BHAHAHAHA. Okay, we’re probably safe on that count.

  7. Doogie2K says:

    The Oilers treaded water

    I find that statement baffling. Cole is a better player than Torres, Visnovsky is, if nothing else, more reliable than Pitkanen, and Strudwick will probably bleed less than Greene in a similar role. Are you telling me that losing Stoll and replacing him from within undoes all that? I’m unsold, to say the least.

    Canucks have three decent players followed by an AHL team

    To be fair, that’s a good description of their forwards, but they have a decent D corps. They just spent most of last year with at least three NHL defencemen on the IR at any given time.

  8. HBomb says:

    As for Gagner v. Hemsky yes I think Gagner’s resume is more impressive. He’s not a more capable player physically, it’s just that
    he combines real intelligence with ridiculous touch. Now they need to find him his Jari Kurri (who may be Hemsky for all we know).

    The last statement is important here, and I’ll throw this out again: despite the problem with having a bit of a mish-mash of a 3rd line (Moreau-Cogliano-Nilsson?), what would people think of the idea of using Penner-Gagner-Hemsky to “kill the soft” and running out Cole-Horcoff-Pisani as a completely badass power vs. power trio?

    It would be Jagresque deployment of #83, but lord knows he and #89 are going to be linemates sooner or later…..maybe such a trio gets a start this year as the first forward unit on the PP, with Cole-Horcoff-Nilsson being unit two? Something to think about.

    Anyways, I’ll close by saying that Bob Stauffer said awhile back as he sees Gagner’s upside as somewhere between Marc Savard and Scott Gomez. With all due respect to Stauffer and those two players….I think that’s short-selling the guy.

    If Crosby = Gretzky, Malkin = Lemieux, and Jonathan Toews = Yzerman, what’s to say Gagner couldn’t be the next generation’s Joe Sakic?

    He could be that good, in my mind at least. Not to put undue pressure on the guy, but what does 49 points in today’s NHL translate into in, say, the mid-1980′s? Where could one find the goals-per-game numbers to do a ball park comparison?

  9. Lowetide says:

    I think Gagner’s going to be a superior version of Vincent Damphousse. Some will say that’s a poor comp but it’s actually a really good one.

  10. Gord says:

    I keep thinking of what I describe as a learning curve; I firmly believe your expectations for Grebeshkov are wrong…

    He was Garbagekov for the first 1/2 of the season; became one of the best +/- players (sheltered minutes) on the Oilers the 2nd half of the season – then played in the World Cup.

    Mot only did he get 6 assists in 9 games but was the 2nd best +/- player in the tournament.

    I suspect the Oilers will try to hold him back (defensive pairings) so he does not run up the statistics (& cash in on a big paycheck) – but that is going to almost be impossible to do…

  11. Lowetide says:

    gord: But that’s my point exactly. I’m not trying to seer any of this stuff, I’m trying to create a “reasonable line in the sand”.

    Let me put it another way: years ago I went on a trip to Mexico and every night at about 1am they ran “Super Cadena” or some such. It was the Mexican league world series and every night Matt Stairs beat the living Jesus out of the ball.

    It meant nothing to me, all I ever knew about the Mexican league was a drunken evening I spent in Mazatlan heckling the home dugout because I thought a failed Expo prospect (Kevin Dean) was part of the team. Finally, the first base coach looked at me and said something like “he’s no longer on the team buddy.” Anyway, Stairs came back that spring and began putting together his major league career.

    Maybe Grebeskov DID turn a corner, but that’s not what I’m trying to do here. If he moves beyond what I’ve posted then we can agree he went past reasonable expectations.

    Right?

  12. Slipper says:

    Colorado could still sign Sakic and/or acquire a goaltender with some credentials. They’re a ways ahead of Edmonton on forward depth, atleast in terms of even strength scoring ability. The Avs young guns are a few years ahead of the kids on the Oil on the development curve. Comparing the two team’s defenses is a tad trickier as both have a little bit of hope invested in a couple blueliners that will require a few bets to be covered in order to be considered wise when March arrives.
    I wouldn’t even give the Oil a any signifigant lead in terms of goaltending. Raycroft and Budaj might be shit, with their .900 career averages, but they only cost about 1.5 million combined, and neither Garon or Roloson have extensive track records of putting up signifigantly better numbers.
    In the meantime, Colorado has a shitload of cap space left, even if Sakic signs. So they have a greater ability to improve ay area of their team without pressing the cap.
    The real question is who takes the replacement minutes this season. People can shit all over Stoll and Reasoner’s offensive production from this past year, and it’s merited, but all those own zone draws and tough sledding in the defensive zone- those hardcore minutes didn’t get shipped away to LA or Atlanta with those guys. Those minutes are going to bleed all over the rest of the roster, ecspecially the guys like Gagner, Nilsson, Brodziak and Cogliano.
    Nothing outside of hope says any of these kids are prepared for an extensive bump in competition, or can be entrusted with a shitload of own zone draws.
    MacTavish leaned heavily on 16-19 last season to keep those other guys out of those situations for a reason. They weren’t ready. So this year he’s left with leaning on Horcoff, Hemsky, Pisani and (oh my fuck!) Ethan Moreau, or else everybody’s wet dream comes true and the kids ARRIVE!.

    There are alot of teams in the western conference who weren’t signifigantly worse than Edmonton last year, except that they didn’t get 15 winning shootout points and/or they sold hard at the deadline and tanked the remaining twenty games. Those same teams are still not signifigantly worse the Oilers, yet many of them still have a signifigant ammount of cap room to play with (ten million or more in many cases) and improve with.

  13. Gord says:

    Lowetide,

    I understand & basically agree with your logic. But maybe I am missing your definition of “reasonable line in the sand”.

    My definition would be that if I was going to make a bet, that I would have 50/50 odds of the player being better than your suggested results.

    You have posted that Grebeshkov will get 2 goals & 22 assists. Unless injuries derail him, I would say there is a 90% chance Grebs will beat that projection. My gut feeling is that 5 goals & 30 assists is the 50/50 "reasonable line in the sand".

    Not only that, but I suspect Grebeshkov will be higher than +15 and Edmonton will be in a bidding war with Russia to keep him here.

    I know it is easy making projections over the summer but last summer I had Hejda & Gilbert as hidden gems.

    For some reason, I do a better job critiquing defensemen than forwards – and couldn't pick out a great goalie if my life depended upon it… lol

    My money would be on Grebs beating your point total expectations by about 50%…

  14. spOILer says:

    We’re going to increase our GF by 20 goals and lower our GA by 20?

    That’s a tough expectation.

    I can see our GF going up, but knocking 20 GA off with no experienced 3C and a poorer defensive defense?

    That’s a lot of faith on the effect of Strudwick and the health of Souray.

    Calgary, Van and Minnie are built the opposite way we are: from the net out, with strong defense. Avs have a decent defensive D, if no proven netminder. We may lead the Div — in goals allowed.

    As for Gagner…

    He has yet to show me he can skate well enough to be an elite centre, but he does have time on his side. He’ll never have the size, so skating will be paramount.

    I don’t mind the Damphouse comparison though, both very smart and very opportunistic goal-scorers. Jean Ratelle also comes to mind (for sheer hockey sense/vision), although Gagner strikes me as more of a battler than Vinnie or Jean… but that may be because the nature of the game has changed and there’s always traffic now (consider Stevie Y’s battle during his first 10 yrs and his last 10 yrs).

  15. HBomb says:

    I think Gagner’s going to be a superior version of Vincent Damphousse. Some will say that’s a poor comp but it’s actually a really good one.

    Not a bad comp. Damphousse was no slouch as a hockey player. He also revolutionized the “Edmonton is ruining my marriage” trade-demand-after-one-season move in summer of 1992, later perfected by one Chris Pronger 14 years later.

  16. spOILer says:

    Gord:

    5 goals for Grebs? Didn’t he record all of 34 shots last year? How can 5 goals be a reasonable expectation?

    You sound more like you’re trying to make an educated prediction at what the future may hold, whereas I think LT is providing what is reasonable to expect from a coaching/development perspective. Sorry LT to step on your toes here, I’m sure you can explain it better than I.

    I think 5 goals may be a future career high for Grebs. His assists are a different story though and I think 22 will be easy for him to attain.

    Your +/- also looks a little high hopes. Sure, he’s probably capable of attaining that number, but is it reasonable to expect so?

    If Grebs fails your numbers, say by 10%, wouldn’t those results have still have been reasonable to expect?

  17. Gord says:

    5 goals for Grebs? Didn’t he record all of 34 shots last year? How can 5 goals be a reasonable expectation?

    Fair question – simple to answer….

    Stoll is gone – Stoll took every 1st line PP on the point while Gilbert & Grebs were lucky to get 30 seconds with 2nd line forwards (decimated due to injuries)…

    Even with limited power play opportunities – Grebs got 3 goals in the last 1/2 of the season…

    Pro-rated; that is 6 goals this upcoming season…….

    Considering Hemsky's wrist has healed, Horcoff is healthy, Cole has been added, Penner will be in better shape while Gagner, Nilsson & Cogliano have a complete year of experience… Grebeshkov will be playing with better forwards on the power play & should add a couple of pp goals to his resume…

    As I posted above, I consider 5 goals for the upcoming season to be 50/50 odds…….

  18. Gord says:

    Your +/- also looks a little high hopes. Sure, he’s probably capable of attaining that number, but is it reasonable to expect so?

    Grebeshkov was +11 in the final half of last season then followed that up with +12 over 9 games in the World Cup – beating every player except for Burns & Heatley…..

    My expectation of +15 for the upcoming season seems very reasonable…

  19. Lowetide says:

    slipper: Things certainly can change in the NW before October that’s why predicting it now isn’t of much use. Still, if Colorado plans on addressing their goaltending in pre-season I think we can be a little critical of thay alone (unless they have a deal up their sleeve we’re not aware of at this time).

    Gord: I think you’re putting a lot of importance on the international result. I’m not saying you’re wrong, just that it was in no way a consideration for me.

    Why? I don’t have a history of these guys going to this kind of tournament and then using it as a springboard. Have there been a lot of defensemen who’ve stepped forward in the season following a strong showing in post-season international competition?

  20. PDO says:

    Gagner = Datsyuk.

    Cerebral smarts. Ridiculous hands. Workout monster. See’s the ice like few in this league do and will take the extra second instead of shoveling the puck in. Understands that offense can be created from great defense. Small but not a midget. Not fast, but not slow either.

    He’s obviously not yet.

    But it’s coming.

    The numbers will never match because of the path Datsyuk took to the show, but when Gagner is 27 and Datsyuk is about to retire, people will be going on about how he reminds them of Datsyuk.

    Especially when he raises the Stanley :-)

  21. Doogie2K says:

    We’re going to increase our GF by 20 goals and lower our GA by 20?

    Last year’s GF-GA was 220-247. LT’s predictions, show 248-242:

    32: 52 GP * 2.75 GAA = 143 GA
    35: 20 GP * 3.20 GAA = 64 GA
    38: 10 GP * 3.50 GAA = 35 GA

    And those GA numbers will, of course, be higher, as this assumes no overtime; 12 full OTs = one complete game, so assume an extra few goals there. So it’s an increase of 28 and a decrease of, at most, 5, but probably closer to even.

    Incidentally, the predictions have a Pythagorean win percentage of 0.512, compared to last year’s of 0.443, which if I understand the concept correctly, suggests that we should win more games “legitimately,” all other things being equal.

  22. Cloned says:

    I think Gagner’s hockey sense is already better than Hemsky’s. He’s making plays that Hemsky wouldn’t have made when he was 18, and that Hemsky STILL doesn’t make now.

    Hemsky is a terrific offensive forward with gamebreaking ability. I think Gagner will be a consistent offensive threat – he may never display the jawdropping gamebreaking talent that Hemsky is perceived to have, but he’ll make the plays that give the Oilers a chance to win every game he plays in.

  23. misfit says:

    I’ve always thought (hoped) Gagner could follow the Doug Gilmour career path. They seem like reasonable comparables. As for his production, I don’t see anything wrong with your prediction and definately not to the point where it would be the most highly contested of all of your “reasonable expectations” series.

    The biggest factor in Gagner’s production is going to be his powerplay time. If he replaces Horcoff as the center on the top powerplay unit (which I think he will given his abilities as well as how much Horcoff will be depended on in other areas), then a healthy imporvement in production should be expected.

    His ES production becomes the question mark. He was 4th on the team in ES points last year with 33, and he seemed to come by those numbers honestly. He had a modest 9.6% shooting percentage which should be eaily duplicated if not improved upon. The only question, I suppose would be is he going to have a hot shooter on his line to get assists from like he did last year (Cogliano was the league’s 6th most efficient shooter at 18.4%)? No idea, but I do have a hard time believing Cogliano will repeat that.

    If I were to make a prediction on his point production, I’d probably guess a slight overall improvement as well. A fair increase on the powerplay production and equal or slightly lower ES totals. My overall points prediction might be slightly higher than yours, but hey…I’m an optimist ;)

  24. Cloned says:

    misfit:

    I’d agree, I don’t have as much of a problem with the Gagner expectation as I do with the Gilbert one. I think he’s a lock for over 10 goals and at least 30 points. I think he’ll end up getting a similar amount of PP time as last year and he’ll probably put up the same number of points at ES vs PP as well.

  25. Lowetide says:

    Cloned: Okay, let’s look at Gilbert. Below are Gilbert’s Desjardins’ NHL equivalencies (and in the case of 06-07 a combination of NHLE and his actual NHL numbers in a dozen games.

    Age 20: 78gp, 5-12-17 .218
    Age 21: 82gp, 6-8-14 .171
    Age 22: 82gp, 9-16-25 .305
    Age 23: 60gp, 3-16-19 .317
    Age 24: 82gp, 13-20-33 .402

    Gilbert’s 07-08 season stands out among the group. It is NOT an established level of ability.

    So if we’re asking the question “what is a reasonable number to give Tom Gilbert to cover in 08-09?” we need to factor that in along with the changes made along the blue this summer. I gave him a number (.268 per game) that considered his new, more prominent role on the team.

    My estimate assumes he’ll play very little on the PP and that he’ll do more heavy lifting this winter. Completely reasonable.

    I nicked him a little on EVs and took away his PP numbers. It doesn’t mean he won’t cover that number and then keep on rolling, hell if Souray gets hurt maybe Gilbet and Visnovsky become terrific PP partners.

    But we can’t assume that, it isn’t reasonable. Tom Gilbert is going to be facing tougher opposition this year and he’ll be asked to take on a bigger, more important role.

    I think he’s a terrific player.

  26. Doogie2K says:

    I guess the fundamental disagreement on Gilbert is whether his PP time disappears or not. I wouldn’t think so, simply because you can’t have two RD on the same PP, so 44/71* will likely not (or at least should not) be a pair. 77 plays LD with either 44 or 71* on one unit, and 37 plays with the other guy on the 1A unit, with the group thrown out dependant on the two or three shifts prior. If that’s the case, I figure 77/37 rack up a ton of PPA by feeding the shooters.

    * – I’m assuming this is Visnovsky’s number until proven otherwise. Of course, EA has him at 47, so I dunno.

  27. Cloned says:

    LT:

    The .268 would indicate a season-long slump below his level of established ability – the guy’s been consistently around .300 in the years since the lockout, and that corresponds to when he first appeared on the radar as a prospect of interest (iow – when his development curve began to climb more steeply).

    I’m not saying that can’t happen, but I don’t think it’s a reasonable line in the sand.

    Stoll’s not here anymore to play the point on the PP so if I had to guess I’d say the PP units end up looking like this:

    PP1: Horc/Cole/Hemsky/Nilsson/Visnovsky

    PP2:
    Gagner/Penner/Cogliano/Gilbert/Souray

    Yeah, it’s not popular breaking up Souray and Vis on the 1st unit but I can’t see how they’ll play together given Vis prefers the right side there and Souray can’t pass the puck worth a damn on the PP. Grebs might rotate in and out there and Pisani will as well but I don’t think Gilbert is in any danger of losing any substantial amount of PP time.

    Given the acquisition of Vis and decent health by Souray, Gilbert could very well face a similar level and toughness of minutes as he did this season. I think a 10-20-30 line is completely reasonable as a line in the sand for him. Any less would be below expectations and any more would be above.

  28. Lowetide says:

    We’ll see. I think MacT is going to have to cheat for EVs with guys like Gilbert and Grebeshkov (plus of course Staios).

    As for Souray and Visnovsky, they sure as hell better be getting PP minutes since it’s a tremendous amount of their total value.

  29. Cloned says:

    There’s no question that Souray and Vis have to get their PP time. I’m just not 100% sure they’ll be playing together on the same unit all the time.

  30. Lowetide says:

    It’ll be interesting. It’ll also be very weird to see Souray or Visnovsky coming on the ice AFTER a powerplay.

    Not exactly good asset management.

  31. Cloned says:

    I don’t think Souray will play with Vis this year – that goes for EV, PP and PK.

    At EV I think we’ll eventually see something like:

    Grebs – Vis
    Souray – Gilbert
    Smid – Staios

    With Staios being moved up in the rotation depending on game situation.

    On the PP I think the points will be played by a combination of Nilsson/Vis and Gilbert/Souray, with Grebs getting in there now and then.

    The PK will undoubtedly be anchored by Souray and Staios, with Gilbert, Grebs and Smid getting some minutes as well (imo).

  32. Lowetide says:

    We’ll see. I know there’s been a bunch of talk about both liking RD more but on the PP there’s all kinds of movement anyway. Hemsky’s also played left point going all the way back to junior so there are plenty of options.

  33. Cloned says:

    The only issue I have with pairing Souray and Vis together on the PP is that only one of them can make a good pass. Which means you’d have Souray as the shooting option opponents will key on, and you’d be largely wasting Vis’ shooting ability.

    Splitting them up and pairing them each with capable passers (Nilsson, Gilbert) gives the option of one bombing option on each PP, allowing Vis to shoot more.

  34. Cloned says:

    This is assuming Vis can shoot better from the right as stated in his interviews. He was largely ineffective as a shooting option at LD on the PP last year in LA.

  35. Fake Craig McTavish says:

    PDO:

    Understands that offense can be created from great defense.

    ?????????

  36. Doogie2K says:

    It’ll be interesting. It’ll also be very weird to see Souray or Visnovsky coming on the ice AFTER a powerplay.

    Not exactly good asset management.

    Nor is putting both your right-side one-timers on the same power play. I’m not sure what other options there are.

    He was largely ineffective as a shooting option at LD on the PP last year in LA.

    In addition to saying he was on the wrong side, I’m pretty sure he indirectly called Rob Blake a puck hog, too.

    Splitting them up and pairing them each with capable passers (Nilsson, Gilbert) gives the option of one bombing option on each PP, allowing Vis to shoot more.

    I’d probably rather see 37 on the other point, and have 12 down low, just because having any of the kids on the point makes me itchy, WRT jailbreaks the other way. It’s yet to be demonstrably proven how much better of an option 37 would be back there, from a defensive perspective, but I’m willing to bet it’s still better than 12.

  37. Cloned says:

    In addition to saying he was on the wrong side, I’m pretty sure he indirectly called Rob Blake a puck hog, too.

    Yep.

    Souray isn’t a puck hog, but he may as well be if you put them together on the same PP unit. Souray can make short passes and bomb the puck – asking him to move fluidly and reverse sides with Vis periodically AND having him make passes that Vis can one time easily is asking too much imo.

    I’d probably rather see 37 on the other point, and have 12 down low, just because having any of the kids on the point makes me itchy, WRT jailbreaks the other way. It’s yet to be demonstrably proven how much better of an option 37 would be back there, from a defensive perspective, but I’m willing to bet it’s still better than 12.

    Perhaps, and I think Grebs will rotate into the PP at certain points in the season.

    Be glad; I was thinking of putting Schremp back there. ;-)

  38. Lowetide says:

    Well actually that’s something Schremp could probably do. He’s our Blake. :-)

  39. Cloned says:

    But in all seriousness I wouldn’t be surprised to see Schremp get a shot on the PP blue line at some point this season (if he actually makes the team and stays with the team).

  40. Lowetide says:

    He might get a look but if he had an actual impact that would be a stunner.

    Powerplay points/60 as rookies:

    Sam Gagner 4.33 (16 points/221 mins)

    Ales Hemsky 3.52(9 points/153 mins)

    info from nhl.com and differs from Desjardins because it’s all PP situations.

  41. Cloned says:

    Yeah, but I think Lowe will be tempted to at least give it a shot. MacT might disagree, of course.

    Speaking of Arnott, damn, I wish things had not gone sour between him and the Oilers. Granted his career never fulfilled superstar expectations but one always wonders what could have been…

  42. Lowetide says:

    Arnott was a terrific player and a tremendous rookie. Oilers made out okay when they dealt him, though.

  43. Cloned says:

    He just seemed like the perfect blend of what we always harped on back in those days: a good offensive center with size to play behind Weight.

    Sigh.

  44. Slipper says:

    He was and is a great player.

    I’d take Jason Arnott on this team RFN!

    4.5 million until he’s thirty five is a good deal, too.

    I wonder what the Preds would want in return? Schremp, Smid and a 2nd???

    GET IT DONE TINKERBELL!!!!

  45. HBomb says:

    Yeah, but I think Lowe will be tempted to at least give it a shot. MacT might disagree, of course.

    He’ll get his shot. With Strudwick and Stortini as his wings, for about 3 shifts in a February game against Nashville.

    This Schremp thing smells a wee bit like Jani Rita from where I sit. Organization wants kid to get a shot, coach ultimately disagrees (despite positive comments this summer).

    And really, I can’t blame the guy – who exactly would sit down in favor of Schremp?

    He’s dealt by the deadline this year – there’s no room at the inn for the Hockey Jesus. Book THAT.

  46. Keegan says:

    Slipper:
    What are these western conference teams going to buy with all that cap room? Cause from what I have seen there isn’t much left to be bought and if they are tarding for talent then they are probably giving something up as well.

  47. spOILer says:

    D2K

    Philly’s GA last year was 233, ours 251.

    And it sounded like all numbers were ballpark, so I did the same.

  48. Rick says:

    I must say, after reading your expectations for the goalies I am left feeling a little depressed.

    Based on the splits you suggested of 10, 20 and 52 games for the three guys and using the sv % listed, that would suggest that the Oilers as a team will have a a sv % in the neighbourhood of .907.

    Based on last years numbers that puts the Oilers right near the bottom of the league. Good times.

    However, if Rollie is well above 3 GAA and under .90 sv% and JDD is well over 3 GAA and under .90 sv% then I can’t see how they keep Garon at only 52 games.

    Particularily since they need to make a decision on his contract beyond next year. I would think they may want to ride the hell out of him to see what he is made of, particularily if there is such a big gap in the numbers between him and the other two.

    Which also leaves a couple obvious questions, Rollie at sub .900 and over 3 gaa won’t be much good to the Oilers so how quickly would they pull the trigger to get him outta dodge? Or could they even?

  49. Boondock says:

    This Schremp thing smells a wee bit like Jani Rita from where I sit.

    Yep, and both will forever have fans that will blame coaching and management for their lack of big-league success.

  50. misfit says:

    I’m coming into the conversation a bit late again as the topic has shifted slightly, but here’s my take on a couple of the topics being discussed here:

    Schremp:

    I can’t see him getting any meaningful powerplay time unless we have a run of injuries. It’s possible, but with Ganger and Hemsky as the mainstay’s he’d be in competition with Horcoff, Penner, and Cole as their LH counterpart. Maybe next year if we don’t re-sign Cole, we could see a Schremp-Horcoff-Brule #2 unit, but I’m not putting money on him making the grade this year.

    Gilbert/Souray/Visnovsky powerplay pointmen:

    Souray isn’t much more than a triggerman who I doubt would be as effective from the left point. Visnovsky can play that role more effectively, and does other things as well. Again, I think he’ll be more effective on the right point than the left, which he’s already come out and said. Gilbert can make plays with the puck, and has shown he can score goals too. Being a RH shot, makes him a decent one-time option at LD.

    I don’t doubt that we’re better off with Visnovsky at LD and Souray at RD than the other way around, but I’m not so sure we we’re better off than with Visnovsky at RD and Gilbert at LD. But I think we should be prepared to see a lot of the Souray/Visnovsky tandem with the extra man even though Souray’s ability on the powerplay is, by my eye, greatly overrated.

  51. Dennis says:

    I don’t think a lot of our kids will regress but I don’t think either one of them will take a big jump, either. 89 is the legit bet given his likely spot on the PP, but, as the man said, all development doesn’t happen overnight, either.

    That Kevin Dean reference made me laugh, LT.

    I can only imagine how much you hated Jack Daughterty

  52. IceDragoon says:

    Good day.

    Time is a four letter word.

    misfit: I’ve always thought (hoped) Gagner could follow the Doug Gilmour career path. They seem like reasonable comparables.

    I think Vic was the first to suggest ‘Gilmour’ as an upside comparable for Gagner. It rang true then, as it does now.

    The adjustments Gagner made throughout his eighteen year old rookie season… within a game… shift… suggest to me that he’ll be an absolute ‘killer’ in series play.

    Actually, my opinions on Gagner haven’t really changed much since my comments here starting last August 28th, tho they have progressed along with his NHL development.
    :-)
    For some reason, I can’t access your archives just now, Lain.

    L8r
    Louise

  53. Doogie2K says:

    D2K

    Philly’s GA last year was 233, ours 251.

    And it sounded like all numbers were ballpark, so I did the same.

    I took the GF-GA numbers from NHL Stats rather than NHL Standings, because the latter includes SO goals, and I know Vic would disembowel me for quoting them. =) I see what you’re saying, though.

    I’ve always thought (hoped) Gagner could follow the Doug Gilmour career path. They seem like reasonable comparables.

    Better hope he never needs a babysitter if that’s the case. ;)

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