Hrabal-Rouser

Josef Hrabal (left in photo) is a pretty good hockey player. Where he ranks on the Edmonton Oilers’ depth chart is still a mystery but we’re closer to having it solved than at any time since he was drafted 248th overall in the year Edmonton contracted Pouliot.

Unlike the buzz surrounding Jesus Mikhnov’s Atlantic (or Pacific, or Arctic) Crossing, there has been very little attention paid to Hrabal.

I’m pulling for this guy because Frank Musil must have done something to get him on the Oilers list and Frank Musil’s finds seem to be left in the Tickle trunk on draft day while the Oilers select 5 Swedes at a time every year.

I’m also curious about how good he might be, and about the fact we may have been fawning over the wrong guy (Traktor boy) while this fellow has been doing good things in the hinterlands. Consider the plus minus numbers for Hrabel’s 07-08 team:

  1. Alexander Shinin (23) 56gp, 9-8-17 +2 28pims
  2. Josef Hrabal (22) 56gp, 3-10-13 +10 73pims
  3. Petr Caslava (28) 54gp, 2-8-10 +5 69pims
  4. Yuri Aleksandrov (19) 45gp, 5-5-10 -2 32pims
  5. Mikhail Kuklev (25) 56gp, 1-6-7 -8 57pims
  6. Dmitru Krasotkin (36) 44gp, 3-1-4 -6 14pims
  7. Stanislav Egorshev (20) 21gp, 2-1-3 -1 8pims
  8. Dmitri Yushkevich (36) 29gp, 0-2-2 -7 22pims
  9. Pavel Kanarski (25) 10gp, 0-1-1 +5 10pims
  10. Sergei Gimaev (23) 39gp, 1-0-1 -4 30pims
  11. Andrei Esipov (27) 27gp, 1-0-1 -6 10pims
  12. Maksim Chudinov (17) 18gp, 0-0-0 -3 10pims

According to hockeydb (the numbers above are from eurohockey.net) his team (Cherepovets Severstal) scored 10 fewer goals than allowed and were slightly above .500 (26-24) as a team. Hrabel led the team’s defense in assists, +/- and pims.

Look, the RSL is a good league. Denis Grebeshkov was there in 06-07 and went 47gp, 8-8-16 +9 on a better club (by GF-GA and W-L) than the one Hrabel played for this past season. I’m not saying the Oilers mailed themselves another Grebeshkov but this guy might be a useful player as soon as this season.

Thanks Frank.

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21 Responses to "Hrabal-Rouser"

  1. 40oz says:

    Best Title Ever….

  2. Say No to Mike Johnson says:

    I have Frankie on as one of my scouts on East Side Manager. I’m in something like year 2020 right now and he is the only Oiler brass I still have on the payroll. The guy finds me gems in the 6th and 7th round every year.

    One thing we know with certainty is that Hrabel wouldn’t leave all that money he could make in Russia right now if he didn’t think he was good enough to make the show. He looked like a future player when he came over a few years ago and being the best defensemen on the 2nd best league in the world at his age is no small feat. I expect him to make some noise.

  3. Jonathan says:

    Good, compelling arguments, LT. I’ve been a fan of Frank Musil for a while now, and he does a good job of picking out players who bear a striking resemblance to himself.

    If it weren’t for the logjam at the back-end, I think he’d have a better than 50% shot a roster spot.

  4. Paper Designer says:

    Considering Matheson’s suggested Grebeshkov could be looking at going back to Russia, is Hrabel a guy they have in the system as a possible replacement if Grebeshkov decides to bolt?

    The timeline fits. He’s here under a two year contract, I believe. One year to acclimate to NA hockey, and be a call-up, the next year to be a part of the team if they need someone to take on a Grebeshkov role.

  5. MrMackey says:

    Extremely curious to see what Hrabel’s capable of. I’m sure he’ll get in to a game or two somewhere this season, but not sure if his longer term NHL impact will be closer to Hejda or Luoma.

    Either way, I think it’ll be with another team before he ever becomes a regular.

    LT – I find it interesting that you’re such a huge booster of Hrabel, but have reached the end of your rope with Smid. Smid’s a year younger and had hit some obvious speedbumps in his development, but stepped it up at the end of last season (I know – softer minutes, yada yada). Nobody’s suggesting he’ll be in a top pairing this year, but he’s ready to play reliable bottom-pairing minutes against slightly tougher opposition. Rather that then have Hrabel or Peckham come in and get sheltered for a 10-15 game stretch and watch Staios get lit up.

    For a guy that writes so often about the importance of NHL experience on the back-end, you really seem to want Peckham or Hrabel in for Smid.

  6. PDO says:

    Mackey:

    I think LT is implying that being a #1 D in the RSL and putting up numbers is much more impressive than being a #6 D in the NHL and getting lit up like a Christmas Tree with no offense to speak of.

    I can’t say I disagree. Give Hrabel a few months to acclimatize and we’ll be sitting pretty…

  7. Lowetide says:

    mrmackey: I like Smid. Always have. I just think that with the current roster makeup (and no “complete” defenders despite the 2 massive contracts) the Oilers can ill afford to have any of their top 6 at a developmental level.

    They couldn’t in 2006-07 and they couldn’t last season and yet the did both times. The trading of Greene eases that problem but with this bunch there will be injury and bingo bango we’ve got Smid in the top 4D.

    If you can assure me the Oilers won’t be heading out on a road trip this season with #5 as a key element in the top 4 I’ll back off.

    But once they dealt years and years of Pitkanen for one year of Erik Cole then that told me they are definitely going to the playoffs.

    And if you’re going for the playoffs you need to win the division. If you’re going to win the division you need to reduce mistakes and if you’re going to reduce mistakes then you need to start with a veteran group.

    The kids will play when the injuries come. The Oilers don’t need to start at a point where Smid is being counted on (and a veteran like Staios needs to mentor) when every game counts starting at G1.

    Nothing against Smid, hell I wish the Oilers had a complete defender who could anchor this group (with Staios or Grebeshkov, probably) and ease the pressure on the bottom pairings.

    But the Oilers didn’t go that way. They’ve got millions and millions tied up on the blueline for the man advantage.

  8. Say No to Mike Johnson says:

    “And if you’re going for the playoffs you need to win the division. If you’re going to win the division you need to reduce mistakes and if you’re going to reduce mistakes then you need to start with a veteran group.”

    Our 2nd line C is 19, our 3rd line C is 24 and our 4ht line C is 23.

    It’s pretty clear the cup isn’t going to be won tommorow so take your foot off the pedal. No need to trade Smid.

  9. Lowetide says:

    I’m not the one who traded for Erik Cole.

  10. Say No to Mike Johnson says:

    Joni signed for Millions less than Edmonton was offering. They rolled the dice that the coaching staff could help him grow up but he was living in a hotel with his mom for the entire season for frig sakes!!

    Why would you deal Pitkanen for a 1st and a prospect like Jeff Tambellini when you have too many young players and prospects as is?

    Pitkanen not signing for less than 5+ and the development of Gilbert ( top pairing 4 mill) is more the reason that Joni was moved. (Same reason why Smid could be moved)

    Why deal Gilbert or Peckham when they have half the value of Pitkanen and Smid but only a slight differnce in actual value in helping the team win? Right?

    Maximize those assets so when the time comes (not this year) you can afford to move the 3 prospects for Chara at the deadline if need be.

  11. Lowetide says:

    I’m not complaining at all. The Cole trade was a beauty. But if you’re going to make it then making the second season and seeing how fast this thing can go is probably the plan.

  12. Dennis says:

    If you’re throwing out “yada yada yada” with soft min success, then, I say “good day, sir.!!”

  13. Jb says:

    “LT – I find it interesting that you’re such a huge booster of Hrabel, but have reached the end of your rope with Smid. Smid’s a year younger and had hit some obvious speedbumps in his development, but stepped it up at the end of last season (I know – softer minutes, yada yada). Nobody’s suggesting he’ll be in a top pairing this year, but he’s ready to play reliable bottom-pairing minutes against slightly tougher opposition. Rather that then have Hrabel or Peckham come in and get sheltered for a 10-15 game stretch and watch Staios get lit up.”

    From my view, LT, as well as a good portion of Oiler fans in general are still seeing Steve Staios for much more than he currently is. When your still seeing Staios in that light (06), the only conclusion you can come to is fault his partner(Smid).

    Everyone strugged with Staios last year, Everyone. Staios strugged horribly last season. It wasn’t the fault of anyone else except Steve’s overall game and decision making skills going downhill.

    Seperate Smid from Staios and you get a new player next year.

    Could Hrabel come in and play some decent hockey next season? Ya I think he could… With Steve Staios though? Very Very unlikely that the guy even treads water.

  14. Jonathan says:

    Everyone strugged with Staios last year, Everyone. Staios strugged horribly last season. It wasn’t the fault of anyone else except Steve’s overall game and decision making skills going downhill.

    Seperate Smid from Staios and you get a new player next year.

    Staios (at least, according to behindthenet) played the toughest minutes of any Oiler last year. He finished just behind Tom Gilbert in total minutes with 1,805 (Gilbert had 1,820); that’s 17% more than the third guy on the list (Pitkanen).

    Personally, I think Staios will be just fine if he gets knocked down to 20 minutes a night and takes a step back in competition. He isn’t a top-pairing shut-down guy; and that isn’t a knock on him. He’s a reliable, tough-as-nails second-pairing guy.

    It isn’t Staios’ fault that he got thrown to the wolves last season.

    Off-topic, Tom Gilbert was incredible last season. If he can sustain his early-season play (albeit with a drop in goal scoring) it will mean a ton to this team.

  15. PDO says:

    It’s amazing how you tend to look like shit when you’re out for 117 more defensive zone draws than offensive.

    Of course Smid looked better away from Staios… he got to start at the better end of the ice against lesser players. In fact, of course everyone looked worse with Staios… they were getting thrown to the wolves.

  16. Black Dog says:

    Better trade him – bring back Matt Greene!

  17. Asiaoil says:

    So Hrabal looked good in Russia – well so did Mikhnov and Jussi Maarkanen was all-world in that league. RSL success and $2.15 will get you a nice fresh Americano at Starbucks :)

    LT you see the obvious problems on the Oilers backend….Staios playing top pair minutes, Souray being injury prone and an ES liability. I just don’t agree with your cure to those problems which is to trade Smid. He’s not the problem so why not ponder a solution that deals with the really issue….Souray and his contract.

    As for Hrabal – who knows what he is – but lower expectations are probably more prudent than high expectations at this point.

  18. Lowetide says:

    As I mentioned in the thread above, agree completely Asia. But trading Souray is a helluva problem since he has a NMC.

  19. Asiaoil says:

    Yeah I know LT – I’m just leery of making another mistake (trading Smid too soon) in an attempt to correct the error that is the Souray contract. Another full year of evaluating both Smid and Souray is probably prudent at this time – then see where we are at next summer.

  20. Schitzo says:

    I’m late to the party as I was out in the woods all week, but I have to assume that if Hrabal has a competent-looking training camp, Roy is done as an oiler. If you have Strudwick/Hrabal/Peckham all able to take the odd game, where does the one-hit (hah!) wonder fit?

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