Reasonable Expectations for 08-09 (Moreau)

There are some warning signs in the career of Ethan Moreau. He turns 33 in September and has always played a spirited, rambunctious style.

On October 6, 2006 Moreau was re-signed for 4 years by the Edmonton Oilers. It was a long contract for a role player and the money was an overpay, but the loyal soldier was being rewarded (as were many others not named Ryan Smyth) for service over a long period and his leadership role on the team that went all the way to G7 SCF.

Moreau was actually a pretty good bet in terms of health: he played in 313 of 328 (95.4%) NHL games in the four regular seasons previous to his signing the long term deal. Since signing the contract, Moreau has played in 32 of 164 games (19.5%) and has missed so much time in the last two seasons it’s an open question as to what the Oilers will get this season.

Moreau has been a go-to guy on the PK for several seasons. Here’s the breakdown in the three seasons 2005-08:

  • EVs: 15:58, 10:55, 12:10
  • PP: 0:50, 0:18, 0:55
  • PK: 3:19, 3:53, 2:48

The Oilers could use 80 games from Moreau to help the penalty killing, help the kids find their way and push some of the youngsters down the depth chart. Can they count on him? Moreau is obviously in outstanding condition and this two-season blip may be just that when we look back on his career. Based on the past two seasons, a “Plan B” might be a good idea.

Prediction for 08-09: 50gp, 10-7-17 (.340 per game).

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22 Responses to "Reasonable Expectations for 08-09 (Moreau)"

  1. Alice says:

    It’d be nice to see some of his fire rub off on a guy like Penner, though of course we would be less pleased to see him on the IR as well.
    Just for kicks I rang up all your Reasonable Expectations to this point. Was curious to see what the gross-up looked like. Turns out you’re slightly to the blue-sky side of the curve. So far – 11 of 12 reporting, just missing a Storts – you’ve got 201 goals for the forwards. If we add the 34 contributed by the D last year that’s 235. Give 5 to the 12th guy and that’s a clean 240, about 20 North of what looks like normal for last year (Edm 217, Pits 220, per tsn). If that sounds like 80′s hockey, there’d be no complaints here ~

  2. HBomb says:

    All I’m going to say is this:

    Should have kept Torres, should have dealt Moreau instead (and, subsequently, given the “C” to Horcoff).

    If he plays 40 games, I’ll be shocked.

  3. Big T says:

    I’ve said it before but Chopper’s injuries have not been of the chronic sort but more the freakish sort. I’m on the side that says the last two seasons have been a blip rather than something to expect going forward.

    My concern is the past two years have seen a similar injury pattern to Rich Harden and Bobby Crosby, both Oakland A’s (or former A’s in Harden’s case). Both are in peak physical condition like Chopper and have seen more than their fair share of ‘freak’ injuries over the past 3-4 years. Perhaps there’s a thoroughbread thing happening here where players in peak physical condition are more likely to suffer from this type of injury. As of now that’s just a theory – and not one to which I subscribe – but it would explain these injuries.

    T

  4. toqueboy says:

    i remember don cherry talking about lindros back when he was getting hurt (before the head stuff) and saying that guys were in too good of shape and that when they hit each other, there was not ‘fat’ to cushion the blows, and that it just looked like people were more brittle….

    i guess my example of this is when you put a piece of toffee on ice…it snaps super easy…

    anyhow…not many chances to bring disco don into the conversation, so i thought i would

  5. devin says:

    Big T- nope. Just bad luck (and possibly age in some cases). Many pro athletes train as hard as Chad Moreau trains the Oilers. Most fans don’t really have a grasp on that (see the hilarious HFBoards thread about how doing power cleans and squats will lead to injury!).

    Having a slap shot break your foot has little to do with your circuit training regime. Busting your shoulder throwing a punch might mean you’re getting old. Training your shoulder like Moreau or Horcoff does nothing but strengthen it, unless you’re doing something wrong, and I seriously doubt they are allowed/able to repeat any moves that compromise them.

    I love making fun of Mr. Glass, but I think he’s even money to be healthy all year. He’s getting old, and any of the old guys are liable to bust a gasket. Different people have different genetic weak points. To suggest Moreau’s broken foot has anything to do with 1- training regime or 2- some functional weakness is a pretty big stretch, though.

  6. devin says:

    toqueboy- Don Cherry is an idiot. He also was shocked that players don’t eat T-bone steaks as their pregame meals. Yeah. Most 4th line grinders could skate circles around the players in Cherry’s era and mop the floor with them to boot. I think we lose sight of 1- how elite these guys are, physically and 2- how hard they train to maintain/build on that.

    Lindros is a rare case of a guy with a brittle head — hey, it happens (Havlat’s shoulder, Gaborik’s groin, Bure’s knee) and no one likes to see it. But it has nothing to do with conditioning. Proper conditioning (and believe me NHLers do constructive training) prevents injuries in all cases. But there’s no training program to avoid concussions or slap shots hitting your ankle underneath the shin pad.

  7. Quain says:

    Wait, you’re telling me that all of Moreau’s injuries can’t be traced back to Chad Moreau forcibly withholding milk from his brother?

    I don’t believe it.

  8. Jonathan says:

    I love making fun of Mr. Glass, but I think he’s even money to be healthy all year. He’s getting old, and any of the old guys are liable to bust a gasket.

    Agreed.

    Lindros is a rare case of a guy with a brittle head — hey, it happens (Havlat’s shoulder, Gaborik’s groin, Bure’s knee) and no one likes to see it.

    Souray’s wrist, shoulder, groin and knee ;)

  9. Sean says:

    I was with HBomb but that was until we added Cole. For a 4th line option I’d rather have Morreau. For a 3rd line option, I’d rather have Torres. Save the half million, add some grit, leadership and consistency for a slight downgrade. Morreau brings it every night and is a good example for the kids. My only concern is that Morreau gets too many minutes.

    I say he gets a whole season or like 15 games. He’ll bounce back or the bad luck will worsen.

  10. PDO says:

    Here’s my question… if Cole’s not with Horcoff/Hemsky, he’s going to play RW, is he not? And then Moreau is on the 3rd line instead of the 4th?

    That’ll impact his ice time (and thus numbers, and injury risk) as much as anything.

  11. Rick says:

    I am wagering that Moreau plays 80 games this year.

    I just don’t see how either of his last two injuries are the result of him over training or being injury prone.

    The shoulder, I guess, could constitute injury prone but that falls at the feet of his doctors more than anything else. It’s beyond me why doctors don’t demand the more intrusive shoulder surgery for hockey players right off the bat as opposed to the more common and less effective arthroscopic surgery.

    Same damn thing for Souray last year.

  12. mc79hockey says:

    Rick, I’ll take that bet. How much action can you handle?

  13. Alice says:

    Does anyone else think that he might be less brittle for having avoided [most] of the grind for the past 2 yrs? I’d think his body at 33 will have less mileage than say Ryan Smyth’s

  14. Big T says:

    Devin Said;

    Big T- nope.

    Thanks for the thoughts Devin but if you actually read what was said (typed?) you’d see that’s exactly what I said.

    Just putting forward a theory I’d heard and then adding my thoughts:

    As of now that’s just a theory – and not one to which I subscribe – but it would explain these injuries.

    T

  15. uni says:

    I'm going to bluesky it all the way. Moreau-Pouliot/Brodziak-Pisani. Dishes left and right, and/or soft dump ins in that sweet spot, Moreau banging and Pisani dangling. Moreau plays 75+ games and pops 15 off of flubs and rebounds with a Glencrossesque shooting percentage.

    Also Bonsignore & Kelly run into each other in a Hollywood bar and after a night of reminiscing about glories past over coupious volumes of alcholic beverages realize their true calling in life. They promptly go into business together and make a very profitable living as high priced consultants for NHL clubs. Because of their perceived 'debt' to the Oilers and years of pointless guilt they perfect their services pro bono on Schremp, Pouliot, O'Marra, and Brule, all of whom go onto Hall of Fame careers while playing their core years in Edmonton silks. The Jason & Kelly show then goes on the road with high demand for their services, i.e. to visit prospects and give them motivational sessions, ala Chris Farley "van down the river" to get/scare 1st round picks back onto the right path.

    Now for another beer.

  16. Dennis says:

    I still remember that his first game as an Oiler was a home tilt against the Dys on HNIC and that he instantly melded with Marchant-Grier.

    And I also love what he brings when he’s healthy even though it’s getting to the point where the money could be used elsewhere because he’s not gonna get many tough min if everyone else is healthy.

    But as much as I like the guy I no longer believe in his ability to be part of a line-up card.

    If Schremp lasts in the org past training camp, Moreau’s loss will most likely stand to be Rob’s gain.

    At least in GP terms.

  17. Schitzo says:

    uni:

    I think “van down by the river” hits the nail on its hilarious head. Pouliot needs some of that Farley loving.

  18. devin says:

    Big T- yeah, my “nope” was actually in agreement. Wrong word- should have said “Yep” but I was replying literally to your last paragraph. :)

  19. devin says:

    Dennis – That’s all well and good because the data suggest that Moreau can’t really handle tough minutes anyway (not in the past few years anyhow). So he’s a 4th line LW making 2M – nice one Klowe.

  20. Hoos says:

    Injuries aside, people forget how when Ethan came back early last year the team went on a five game winning streak; and then he proceeded to be the Grinch who stole Christmas by telling the team through the media that nothing had really been accomplished and guys are getting to comfortable with themselves.
    You have a team with a good deal of young players that need to learn how to be professionals. Is there any more professional hockey player than that? Studwick?

    What I personally believe is that the Mandelbaum’s training method isn’t to blame as much as some players’ addiction to off ice training. Their bodies become so fatigued that their reaction times slow down; they’re very fit and can skate forever; but the exhaustion and grind of being a professional hockey player manifests itself in different ways that it would with say, Tkazuck.

  21. PerformanceOil says:

    I agree that the injuries are of the freak variety and unlikely to repeat.

    That said, I also agree that we haven’t really seen what Moreau can offer over a long stretch since 05-06. The memories might be sweeter than the reality.

    LT, your post on Moreau got me thinking though – I remembered a while back, someone mentioning that the Oilers record with Moreau was significantly better than without him.

    Turns out it’s true; since 03-04 (four seasons), the Oilers have gained 57% of the available points with Moreau in the line up, and only 47% when he was absent. This beats out Horcoff, Pisani, Hemsky, and Smyth (barely, and that is using his relatively poor Colorado numbers as well). Only Stoll was better (of these six).

    Now, these numbers probably aren’t all that meaningful. The last three Oiler seasons have been anything but consistent. 05-06 was a excellent season (relatively) and the team was deep. 06-07 saw a team that did very well up until December, then the wheels came off until the last 20 games when the Oilers made their injury-riddled push for Gagner by driving off a cliff. Finally, 07-08 was a pretty crappy team for some time, which came on strong on the back of luck, the kids improving, Glencross, and/or something else, depending on your choice of Faith.

    Point being, if you wanted to avoid being on the ice for an ‘L’, there was some pretty clear stretches of time that it was wise to miss over the last three years (03-04 wasn’t especially noteworthy, by my recollection). If you were ‘lucky’ enough to be hurt (or traded!) during some of those times, you would do pretty good by this metric.

    Still, if leadership is worth something in the standings, this would suggest our Captain has been providing it, given that his overall stats haven’t been particularly overwhelming.

  22. Dennis says:

    Just wanted to add one point about Moreau.

    I doubt he’s gonna get consistent top nine team but this is probably a year where he’s the guy used to kick fellows in the ass/give a line a spark.

    Given he’s gonna play LW, the two guys who could lose a little time to him would be 12-27 if they’re dragging ass any given game. I think Cole will be pretty much safe from such developments.

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