Oilers Defense 08-09

The biggest difference for this fall’s defense from last year (and the year before) is NHL games played. The Oilers have been in development mode on the blue since the Pronger trade, but this fall the outlook is very positive in this regard.

Let’s have a look at NHL games played for opening night rosters since the lockout and then compare that group to the current 7 who look like they’ll make up the opening lineup for the Oilers in 08-09:

  • 05-06GP: 3333. This was the Stanley team, led by Pronger (722) but also featuring Jason Smith (710), Igor Ulanov (702), Cory Cross (603), Steve Staios (537) and MA Bergeron (59).
  • 06-07GP: 1844. Jason Smith (786), Steve Staios (619), Daniel Tjarnqvist (278), MA Bergeron (134), Matt Greene (27) and Ladislav Smid (0) made up a group that included some nice help in the PB but Hejda was unable to find the lineup early in the year.
  • 07-08GP: 1764. This was the nadir for Oilers experience and depth on defense. Steve Staios (677,) Sheldon Souray (506), Dick Tarnstrom (258), Joni Pitkanen (206), Matt Greene (105) and Tom Gilbert (12).
  • 08-09GP: 2130. I’m projecting Strudwick and his 488 NHL games to start the season in the pressbox. That means the top 6 are Steve Staios (759), Sheldon Souray (532), Lubomir Visnovsky (499), Ladislav Smid (142), Denis Grebeshkov (104) and Tom Gilbert (94). As a group, this is the most experienced lineup since fall 2005.

If the Oilers make a move before training camp, I think it’ll be the addition of a veteran NHL defenseman. A book end for Staios. As mentioned in the Smid comment, he’s the obvious choice to go should Edmonton make a move in this area.

Here are my predicted point totals for the Oilers D 08-09:

  1. Lubomir Visnovsky 76gp, 12-38-50
  2. Sheldon Souray 51gp, 10-17-27
  3. Tom Gilbert 82gp, 7-15-22
  4. Denis Grebeshkov 75gp, 2-22-24
  5. Steve Staios 82gp, 2-14-16
  6. Ladislav Smid 72gp, 0-5-5
  7. Jason Strudwick 54gp, 0-3-3

The big offseason pickup is going to carry the mail and Souray should contribute too if he can stay healthy. The young tandem of Grebeshkov and Gilbert will put up some EV points and Staios represents the back end of the offense from the blue.

  • 07-08: 35 goals, 79 assists= 114 points
  • 08-09: 33 goals, 114 assists= 147 points

The increase in points comes from the addition of Visnovsky (who is a strong bet to exceed Pitkanen’s 8-18-26) and Souray’s health being better (although I’ve cheated a little there too). So, adding up the forwards and the D, and comparing the clubs year over year:

  • 07-08: 220 goals, 379 assists= 599 points
  • 08-09: 248 goals, 456 assists= 704 points

I should mention here that my stats source on all of this is hockeydb, this sometimes becomes an issue because some posters prefer other sources and to exclude OT goals, et cetera. I also have the assists/goal ratio too high, but didn’t account for Visnovsky’s impact on the roster by shaving a few assists off the forwards. Oh well, no one is betting on these numbers, right?

I project the Oilers to score 28 more goals than a year ago, which is a very handsome increase. I’ve given most of the credit to the PP, Hemsky’s line and Visnvovsky, but there’s every chance that Gagner and others will step forward more than projected here. It’s going to be a fun team to watch.

Now that we’ve discussed the offense, how much is going to the other way? Goalies are next.

written by

The author didn‘t add any Information to his profile yet.
Related Posts

12 Responses to "Oilers Defense 08-09"

  1. Paper Designer says:

    Tom Gilbert’s totals are low. We have a team that’s built on transition offence, and you have only one blue-liner scoring above thirty points?

    I don’t remember Gilbert getting a lot of first unit powerplay time either. And let’s not forget that he plays the left point, if I recall, something that traditionally neither Visnovsky or Souray has done well. At worst, his powerplay time stays the same, but I see at least a slight bump.

    I think Gilbert’s going to actually take a bump upwards into the forty point range. He’s certainly got enough people around him to take or give a pass.

    Otherwise… ah, give Smid and Strudwick a goal. Over a season, you gotta figure they’ll shoot a puck towards the net, and it’ll bounce off a defender’s leg or something and go in.

  2. Lord Bob says:

    Gilbert shot 13.3% last year. That’s just freakin’ impossible. He’s due to regress through sheer mathematics, and it’ll just get worse if Visnovsky and Souray remain healthy and take up much of the offensive burden.

    Not to say Gilbert’s a bad player and that he won’t help this team, but the boxcar numbers aren’t going to be stunning.

  3. Bruce says:

    Gilbert’s Sh% is unlikely to be repeated, but it didn’t happen entirely by accident either. Like most guys with outrageous Sh%, he:
    1) took relatively few shots
    2) took high percentage shots

    Often the formula includes 3) got lucky, but I’m not so sure about that one in Gilbert’s case. I don’t remember him rattling in too many 60-footers off the defender’s stick or shin pads … the signature Gilbert goals that spring to mind involved Tom jumping into the play, taking a late pass and burying a 25-foot-wrister from the right circle just inside the far post against a scrambling goalie. He really picked his spots, both in when to jump in and where to put the puck.

    This year I expect:
    1) more shots
    2) lower Sh%
    3) somewhat fewer goals
    4) more assists

    … and something like 10-25-35 would hardly be a surprise. PD said the key words, “transition offence”, and Gilbert is a key part of that. He also likely will have a shitload of uncredited “third assists”.

  4. PDO says:

    FLA is adding a physical, expensive defenseman by all accounts in Bryan McCabe.

    They have a physical, semi-expensive defenseman in Bryan Allen making ~$3,000,000 a season.

    Allen is still relatively young AND can play tough minutes, and is signed for a few seasons.

    Ladi for Allen? FLA gets a “player type” in Van Ryn they’d likely be interested in and saves money. The Oilers use up some of their cap space on an organizational need.

  5. Ribs says:

    completely unrelated, but…“JOCKEYING FOR MICROPHONE

    Former Oilers SportsNet colour commentator Ray Ferraro is going to work for TSN, replacing Glen Healy, who took a paying position with the NHL Players Association. Two possible candidates to replace Ferraro are former Penguin winger Rob Brown, who has done some good Oiler pay-per-view work, and Rod Phillips’ longtime radio sidekick, Morley Scott.

    Here’s another longshot name to consider: onetime Oiler coach and goalie Ron Low, who was dumped by the Senators.” – Matheson

    Stauffer joins the radio broadcast and Ron Low may replace Ferraro on the tv? Nice!

  6. Ducey says:

    One of the things that I noticed Detroit do in the playoffs last year was to use their defence as trap busters. A forward would carry the puck up to the opposition blueline and face the usual problem of a bunch of opposing players standing him up. Usually this would mean trying to beat someone one on one or one on two or shooting it in. Either way, it means turning over the puck most of the time.

    Detroit would instead have one of their D men come busting up the ice at a relatively high speed compared to everyone on the ice. As he got to the blueline he would take a pass from the forward – who would fall back. The Dman would then be able to beat a defensive player who was basically standing still or would force the defensive players to back off and grant the blueline.

    I am excited because I think all of the Dmen the Oilers have (except Strudwick) are capable of this. I guess the question will be whether the Oilers will try this and whether the wingers are able to play adequate D in the event a D man gets caught up ice.

  7. jon k says:

    Missing Spacek and his games from the 05-06 defense. Makes the total games played even more impressive.

  8. Lowetide says:

    jon k: This was opening night D only. The Stanley team added experience as the season rolled along.

  9. jon k says:

    Ah, right. My mistake.

    For all the complaining at that time about how our defense was old and slow, the last few seasons have really hit home the value of having experience on the backend.

    Looking forward to seeing how this year’s defense compares if healthy.

  10. Schitzo says:

    Lowetide: I’m not sure they added experience so much as talent – don’t forget, we lost 1400 games when Igor and Cross came out of the lineup.

  11. Lowetide says:

    schitzo: Yeah, I agree you can go too far. It’s also true though that if the Edmonton Oilers had signed Markov and Jay McKee the day after dealing Pronger the last two seasons never happen.

  12. Dennis says:

    Cuthbert/Ferraro as TSN’s secondary broadcast team is one I’d rather listen to than the primary duo of Miller and Macguire.

    CBC’s still got Sat night, the playoffs and a lot of cache but they’re struggling to find a really good second commentary crew and TSN”S certainly bested them in that regard.

    This is probably old news but I find it funny that MacT-basher Stauffer will now be talking about Mactactics 82 nights a year.

    Stauffer’s a Lowe guy so most of his comments will be about the great job Lowe’s done providing the talent rather than how MacT’s utilizing it.

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

© Copyright - Lowetide.ca