Farm Workers

This is Brian Conacher. He wasn’t a great hockey player but he was a good one, and over 35 years ago he wrote a tremendous book called “Hockey In Canada: The Way It Is”. Conacher’s book is very hard to find (library might have one) but if you haven’t read it it’s worth looking for if you like your hockey books intelligent and with a point.

He made many strong arguments in the book (and predicted much of what has happened since) but the one that has importance here is what he wrote about the Maple Leafs minor league team (Rochester Americans) of 65-66:

As in other areas of modern society, hockeys teams too have their generation gaps. This situation stood out on the Rochester team in 1965 which consisted of three groups: the veterans (had all resigned themselves to making the best of their minor league hockey careers), the young ones (who have stars in their eyes and are in the AHL for just a little time, or so they think) and the group somewhere in between (these players kept hoping that a break would come their way and they might get their chance in the “big tent”).

The Veterans

Now the Rochester Americans had some old buggers playing for them in 1965: Les Duff was 30, Don Cherry, Marc Reaume and Claude Labrosse were 31, Al Arbour was 32, Gerry Ehman and Eddie Litzenberger were 33, Bob Perreault was 35 and Bronco Horvath was 35. Dick Gamble and Stan Smrke were 36. That’s 11 players on a team that iced 28 (39.2%) over 30 years of age. That’s a ton. The 99-00 Hamilton Bulldogs had one player over 30 (Rob Murray), the 04-05 Roadrunners had no one over 30 and the current Springfield Falcons have 33-year old Derek Bekar. Safe to say men over 30 are finding better paydays outside the minor leagues (likely Europe), entered management early or find another career. The idea of dragging a family around North America ala Don Cherry in the 1960′s didn’t sound appealing and it’s no wonder that life has gone the way of calligraphy.

Because there are fewer of Conacher’s “veterans”, the chances of these guys doing much in the NHL (as a group) is even less than it was those long years ago. I’m not saying that these players won’t make an NHL appearance from here out, but the odds of an NHL team breaking camp with one of these players seems unreasonable.

From the 60′s bunch, Gerry Ehman caught on with expansion and played an additional 297 games in the show, Al Arbour had an even bigger impact in St. Louis and played 231 more NHL games. Bronco Horvath got into 14 game due to Bill Masterton’s death (went over as a special “loan” replacement). Finally, Marc Reaume would play for the 70-71 Vancouver Canucks (27 games). Let’s do the numbers by team:

  • 65-66 Rochester Americans: 569
  • 99-00 Hamilton Bulldogs: 0
  • 04-05 Edmonton Roadrunners: 0
  • 08-09 Springfield Falcons: Derek Bekar to track

The Young Ones

Next up are the young players, and Rochester had some nice ones in 1965. Mike Walton, Doug Dunville were 20, Gary Smith, Ted Bayliss and Andre Champagne were 21, Peter Stemkowski and Rollie Wilcox 22 and Conacher was 24 after having gone to college and then the Canadian Olympic Team to complete his education. The Americans also had a bunch of junior players (Darryl Edestrand, Jim McKenny, Mike Corrigan, Gerry Meehan, Neil Clark, Brent Imlach) who played a handful of games but that’s just going to skew the numbers since junior age players are not eligible to play in the AHL at this time. So, that’s 8 of 28 in the rookie group (28.6%) from 65-66.

The 99-00 Bulldogs boasted 20-year olds Dan Cleary, Alex Henry, Michel Riesen, Chad Hinz, Peter Sarno, Jason Chimera, 21-year olds Mathieu Descoteaux, Maxim Spiridonov, Alexandre Volchkov, Chris Hajt. That’s 10 players out of 35 (28.9%) for the turn of the century bunch, which is comparable to the 65-66 team.

04-05′s Edmonton Bulldogs had Jeff Deslauriers, Kyle Brodziak who were 20, Jeff Woywitka, Brock Radunske, Dan Baum, Doug Lynch, Simon Ferguson, Martin St Pierre, Mathieu Roy and Jesse Niinimaki were 21, Jordan Little and Kenny Smith were 22 and Jason Platt was 24. That’s 13 players out of 31 (I’m excluding JF Jacques) and 41.9% which is much higher than the other two clubs.

08-09 has Slava Trukhno, Gilbert Brule, Theo Peckham, Ryan O’Marra, Taylor Chorney and Cody Wild (21) plus Bryan Lerg (22) and Josef Hrabal (23)who are new pro’s. That’s 8 of 33, or 24.2% who are either new pro’s or early enough in their careers to be considered the young ones.

Let’s post the GP number moving forward by team:

  • 65-66: Peter Stemkowski (930 NHL), Mike Walton (588 NHL, 211 WHA), Gary Smith (532 NHL, 22 WHA), Brian Conacher (155 NHL, 69 WHA). Total: 2,507.
  • 99-00: Daniel Cleary (522 NHL), Jason Chimera (404 NHL), Alex Henry (175 NHL), Michel Riesen (12 NHL), Peter Sarno (7 NHL), Chris Hajt (6 NHL), Mathieu Descoteaux (5 NHL). Total: 1,131.
  • 04-05: Kyle Brodziak (125 NHL), Jeff Woywitka (104 NHL), Mathieu Roy (30 NHL), Martin St. Pierre (21 NHL), Jeff Deslauriers (6 NHL), Doug Lynch (4 NHL). Total: 290.
  • 08-09: We’ll see.

The point here isn’t to compare the numbers since three of the seasons are still in play and one of them is just getting started. The two pertinent points are:

  1. Among the group of players who are 20-21 and play any AHL games all of them come with some issues: Mike Walton is the most talented player on this list but wouldn’t be the first player chosen if they were all on a line, and the player Daniel Cleary was in 1999 doesn’t resemble the man in Motown. All of the players in the 08-09 group have a bright future based on what we know today, but somewhere in there is a Doug Lynch or a Michel Riesen.
  2. No matter the era, an organization is going to get a substantial number of NHL games played from the group who are in the minor leagues. One of Peckham, Wild or Chorney will take at-bats from the other two and someone in that trio is either going to disappoint us or head elsewhere and become what Patrick Sharp is to Philadelphia.

The Tweeners

These are the men who were once hotshot rookies but are either playing deep into their entry level deal or have signed a second contract that has them one a one-way but in the minors (Roy) or on a minor league deal that basically tells the world what they are. If you can’t negotiate a one-way deal after your first pro contract you are a de facto minor league player.

The final class is the biggest, the guys hanging in there waiting for a break. Rochester in 65-66 had Larry Jeffrey and Lowell MacDonald (24), Jimmy Pappin and Eddie Joyal (25), Red Armstrong and Darryl Sly (26), Duane Rupp and Wally Boyer (27), Larry Hillman (28). Pretty much all of these men became NHL regulars in the fall of 1967 when the NHL doubled in size. These 9 players represent 32.1% (9/28) of the Americans roster but I’ll bet when we add the NHL GP numbers they’re over 50% of the overall number for that team. If the NHL expanded by 6 teams tomorrow we can only imagine how many Falcons would be in the big leagues. Rob Schremp would be a regular getting PP minutes.

The 99-00 Bulldog team also had a big group here. Dan Lacouture, Paul Comrie, Brian Bolibruck, Elias Abrahamsson, Brian Urick, Mike Minard were 22, Eric Heffler, Adam Copeland, Brian Swanson and Ryan Risidoire were 23, Brent Cullaton, Todd Kidd, Ian Perkins, Trevor Roenick, Sean Selmser, Alex Zhurik and Brad Norton were 24, Sergei Yerkovich, Joacquin Gage, Bert Robertsson and Kevin Brown were 25, Vladimir Vorobiev and Martin Laitre were 26 and Andy Silverman was 27. That’s 24 out of 35, or 68.5%. Mammoth compared to the 65-66 team.

The 04-05 Roadrunners also had the heart of their team fall into this category. The 22-year olds were Tony Salmelainen, Brad Winchester, Joe Cullen and Jason Platt. The 24-year olds were JJ Hunter, Sean McAslan, Eric Beaudoin and Brent Henley. The 25-year olds were Toby Peterson, Mike Bishai, Nate DeCasmirro and Mike Morrison. Dan Smith and Rocky Thompson were 27, Jamie Wright was 28 and Rick Mrozik, Paul Healey and Tyler Moss were all 29. That’s 18/31, or 58.1%.

The 08-09 Falcons have 22 year olds Rob Schremp, Tyler Spurgeon, Sebastien Bisaillon, Liam Reddox, Stephane Goulet, Geoff Paukovich, Devan Dubnyk, Bryan Young. 23-year old Ryan Constant has just been added and there’s a bunch of 24 year olds including Ryan Potulny, Colin McDonald, Tim Sestio, Cory Urquhart and Cleve Kinley. 25 year olds are Jake Taylor, Mathieu Roy, Robbie Bina, Adam Huxley, Ryan Huddy, Glenn Fisher and Hans Benson, along with the men at 27 (Guillaume Lefebvre, Mike Gabinet) and old timer Carl Corazzini (29). That’s 24 out of 33, or 72.7% which is in line with the 99-00 Bulldog team and runs a little counter to the lockout club in Edmonton 04-05.

Let’s run the GP numbers for the tweeners on each team:

  • 65-66 Rochester: Jim Pappin (673 NHL), Larry Hillman (487 NHL 192 WHA), Lowell MacDonald (460 NHL), Duane Rupp (370 NHL 115 WHA), Wally Boyer (364 NHL 69 WHA), Eddie Joyal (359 NHL 239 WHA), Larry Jeffrey (198 NHL), Darryl Sly (77 NHL). TOTAL: 3,603.
  • 99-00 Hamilton: Dan Lacouture (334 NHL), Brad Norton (124 NHL), Brian Swanson (70 NHL), Bert Robertsson (54 NHL), Paul Comrie (15 NHL), Joacquin Gage (5 NHL), Mike Minard (1 NHL). Total: 603.
  • 04-05 Edmonton: Brad Winchester (132 NHL), Tony Petersen (101 NHL), Tony Salmelainen (57 NHL), Mike Morrison (29 NHL). Total: 319.
  • 08-09 Springfield: We’ll see.

Before we ask some questions (if you’ve read this far you’re crazy) let’s list each of the teams who’ve played games we can compare and which area their roster and then NHL games came from:

The Veterans
  1. Rochester: 39.2% of the roster played 569 games (8.5%)
  2. Hamilton: 2.8% of the roster played 0 games (0)
  3. Edmonton: nil
  4. Springfield: 3.0% of the roster and we’ll see.

The Young Ones

  1. Rochester: 28.6% of the roster played 2,507 games (37.5%)
  2. Hamilton: 28.9% of the roster played 1,131 games (65.2%)
  3. Edmonton: 41.9% of the roster played 290 games (46.8%)
  4. Springfield: 24.2% of the roster and we’ll see

The Tweeners

  1. Rochester: 32.2% of the roster played 3,603 games (54%)
  2. Hamilton: 68.3% of the roster played 603 games (34.8%)
  3. Edmonton: 58.1% of the roster played 319 games (53.2%)
  4. Springfield: 72.8% of the roster and we’ll see

Okay, what can we learn from this.

  1. Men who are over 30 and come out of the minors to establish (0r re-establish) themselves are pretty much a thing of the past. You’ll find the odd goalie or defenseman but unlike the orginal 6 era very few teams have enough depth and free agency makes it impossible to keep them on the farm. Which is a good thing.
  2. Pretty much everyone who is in the AHL past (say) 21 has some issues and is going to do some meandering (this is universal from 1965 through 2009).
  3. We shouldn’t expect Rob Schremp to play more career games than Sam Gagner or Andrew Cogliano. Whatever that line in the sand is, that line sticks.
  4. No one on the 2008-09 team is likely to do anything incredible like play in 1,000 NHL games.
  5. If you haven’t established yourself as a prospect of interest by 22 you are in trouble. Exceptions are college men.
  6. The few college men on this list show very well. NHL teams should treat the college signing season as extremely important.
  7. A large group of players on the current team could be described in the “tweener” division. History tells us we’ll have our answers on men like Schremp, Spurgeon, Roy and Reddox very soon. It also tells us we already have our answer on Colin McDonald.
  8. If we make a list of the minor league RFA’s this summer (Brule, Schremp, Dubnyk, Trukhno, Colin McDonald, David Rohlfs, Bryan Lerg, Stephane Goulet, Bryan Young, Sebastien Bisaillon, Mathieu Roy, Tyler Spurgeon, Ryan Potulny, Carl Corazzini-I believe this list is correct–SOURCE: Oilfans) we can probably as a group pick the cuts and be fairly close. That 50 man list is going to get a trim.
  9. As much as we talk about men like Dan Lacouture and Brad Winchester as disappointing, they were able to find a role and survive.
  10. Daniel Cleary and Jason Chimera became productive players in the toughest league on the planet. THEY are the stars in this study.
  11. For Rob Schremp fans, there’s exactly ONE pure offensive player who made it: Mike Walton.
  12. If I’m a betting man, Theo Peckham and Gilbert Brule from the current group would be my picks to be the new Cleary and Chimera.

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27 Responses to "Farm Workers"

  1. hwy16 says:

    Oilers need to improve on their drafing. Since the Lowe-Mactavish era have we drafted well? A few ‘good’ players make a big difference.
    As for the oilers this year since March 2008 – changes are:
    new owner
    new GM
    new assistant coach
    3 goalies
    Add Visnowski, Souray
    Lose Pitanen, Greene
    Add Horcoff, Cole, Strudwick, Moreau
    Lose Stoll, Reasoner, Glencross

    The team’s troubles from March vs Dec is that the 3 forwards aren’t producing like the 3 we had last March.

    The team

  2. hwy16 says:

    Also Garon is not producing

  3. Doogie2K says:

    Safe to say men over 30 are finding better paydays outside the minor leagues (likely Europe), entered management early or find another career.

    Or as you allude to later on, they had already found NHL jobs years earlier, because there are almost six times as many available now as there were then (690 vs. 120). Heck, Cherry almost had one himself right before he went to Rochester. Story is, he wouldn’t cut back on the drinking, so Pollock sent him back and grabbed John Ferguson the next year.

    That’s 24 out of 33, or 72.7% which is in line with the 99-00 Bulldog team and runs a little counter to the lockout club in Edmonton 04-05.

    Yeah, but that 04-05 club also had a couple of young NHLers on it in Jarret Stoll and Raffi Torres, who probably cost a couple of ‘tweeners their AHL jobs; that skews the numbers a bit.

  4. Schitzo says:

    Oilers need to improve on their drafing. Since the Lowe-Mactavish era have we drafted well? A few ‘good’ players make a big difference.

    Hemsky, Markannen, Greene, Stoll, JDD, Gagner, Cogliano, Brodziak, Pouliot, Stortini, Reddox have all made the show under this regime.

    Add in Dubnyk, Schremp, Peckham, Chorney, Nash, Petry, Wild, Eberle all bubbling in lower leagues and I’d say yeah, they’ve drafted OK.

  5. Scott says:

    Nice article.
    Is it sad that I read the whole thing?

    Off topic, MacT with harsh words for #12… “He’s a non-competer, I’ve seen enough”.
    I miss last year’s #12… “He could be the leading scorer on this team one day”.

  6. Lowetide says:

    I read it as Penner 2.0 in regard to MacT’s comments. Look, the guy doesn’t have a lot of options and isn’t going to call out the center of the roster (Moreau, Staios, Roloson, Souray, Horcoff, Hemsky, Pisani) because if he loses that group he’s really done.

    So he’s nipping at the fringes. Nilsson’s bunch (whoever they are) are younger and some of them will be in other towns soon.

    Remember Stoll/Torres last season? About like that. The Oilers can’t trade Penner’s contract but they can trade Nilsson.

    Not now, but in the summer when he’s finished with 35 points (or some such) and another team “saw him good.”

    The thing about Nilsson is he can play, he really can. But he could easily get lost in the flood. He might be part of the Gary Carter-Andre Dawson-Larry Parrish youth movement, or he might be Bombo Rivera who looked like he’d join them but got sent away.

  7. spOILer says:

    Re3: Bettman and the new downtown Wrecks-All Place:

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601009&sid=ay72YnXojdqk&refer=bond

    Asked in October how the Giants, or other teams, can mitigate the market chaos, Mara smiled.

    “Borrow less money,” he said.

  8. IceDragoon says:

    Good day.

    - Sorry, that was me. ^^^ I was in the process of composing this while at work. Not sure how/who hit “publish”…
    :-)

    This ‘elf’ business is exhausting. It may be February before I can catch up.
    :-)

    Lowetide: I read it as Penner 2.0 in regard to MacT’s comments. Look, the guy doesn’t have a lot of options and isn’t going to call out the center of the roster (Moreau, Staios, Roloson, Souray, Horcoff, Hemsky, Pisani) because if he loses that group he’s really done.

    So he’s nipping at the fringes. Nilsson’s bunch (whoever they are) are younger and some of them will be in other towns soon.

    Bang on, Lain. The guys who are working their tails off, with or without results, "have an ally in the coach"… and the hardworking leaders in the room. They've witnessed the behind the scenes attempts and understand the need to call out slackers when all else fails.

    IMHO, it was Cogliano's and Gagner's work ethic and confidence that dragged Nilsson's skill along for the stretch ride last spring. Their intensity forced him to focus on keeping up with two kids, 2 1/2 & 4 1/2 years his junior, respectively.

    This year the wunderkinds' (especially, Gagner's) confidence has waned, but the work ethic hasn't, so MacT continues to try and help them work thru it. He has little time for quitters and his whip can sting. I'm pretty sure Penner still feels the welts. Tho, I think he now has an ally in Horcoff, provided he keeps up.

    Just thinking out loud here…
    We all know that hockey players play thru various bumps, bruises, and even more serious injuries. Perhaps Nilsson has a low pain threshold. I don't know, but I do know that he has skill coming out the wazoo and it's not doing him or the team any good when he's not engaging in the play. And, he has shown that he IS capable of getting his nose dirty.

    Ah, well…

    Gotta run. I really only popped in to say…
    My prayers are with you and yours, my friend. Hang in there. You know how to reach me.

    L8r
    Louise

  9. Mark Miller says:

    I don’t find many references to Gerry Meehan (one of the 1965 players you mention). You might be interested in my Gerry Meehan Archives at http://gerrymeehan.blogspot.com

  10. knighttown says:

    Re Nilsson (and Jussi Jokinen):

    AS we learn more about this new salary cap world, it is becoming abundantly clear that those players at the bottom of the bottom 6, that make decent money are standing on the edge of a cliff. A demotion for them does not mean to the 3rd or 4th line but instead, right to waivers and then the AHL.

    Nilsson is a talented player who could produce 60+ points a year for the next decade however, because he can’t kill penalties, hit, fight or play vapor-lock defense he’ll always be one 20-game slump from waivers.

    Mark Parrish, Kristian Huselius, Sergei Samsonov, Vaclav Prospal, Mike Ryder, Ray Whitney, Viktor Kozlov, Joffrey Lupul and now add Robbie Nilsson. If these guys can’t develop into first liners (like Marc Savard did) or add intangeables to their “pretty-good” production, like Horcoff, well, they may be pushed aside. Coaches may have realized that 20 goals/40 assists and nothing else is likely not worth the 3 million plus some of these guys are asking for.

    Doesn’t bode well for Schremp and it makes you a little less bullish on Gagner. I’d say Robbie ends up the Southeast and puts up pretty good numbers on bad teams for the next ten years.

  11. Bruce says:

    Great post, LT. I read Conacher’s book years ago and it’s a beauty. Still on a shelf in my basement, I think; maybe it’s time to pull it out for a reread, esp. w.r.t. those predictions of the future you allude to.

    As for Nilsson, it’s more than a little disappointing that he was given a shot with Hemsky and didn’t bring enough game to last ’til the third period. Obviously MacT was more than a little disappointed too.

    Cogliano had no such problem. A highlight sequence occurred when Pronger caught him with what looked like an elbow — CFP? say it ain’t so — and Cogs was groggy as he went to the bench. But a little later that period some Oiler came in at a hundred miles an hour and knocked Pronger on his pouty posterior and what do you know? it was Cogs, and it was payback time.

    Gotta love it.

  12. RiversQ says:

    Bruce said…

    Gotta love it.

    Nice stuff Bruce.

    I like Cogs, I hope and think it will keep coming from him. He’s got the tools and wheels you can’t teach and although some guys never really grab a clue in their own end, you have to think he’ll have a shot at it.

    I just thought of this and it’s kind of funny – how many arguments were had back in the day about Cogliano being tabbed “Marchant With Hands?”

    This amuses me because so far in his career Cogliano has been a lot more like the “Hands Without the Marchant.”

  13. DeBakey says:

    I watched the Leaves last Cup win [in the Winter of Love] on the tube a while back.

    Montreal were kicking their butts.
    Sawchuk was keeping them in the game.
    The two guys who, I thought, turned it around for the Leaves were Conacher & Ellis.
    The two of them started speeding the Canadians to death.

    He was GM of the WHA Oilers for a bit.
    Conacher also did Oilers TV half-time analysis for a few years.
    He was good at that

  14. Lord Bob says:

    Early in his career, Marchant could get beat in a hurry by anybody you’d care to name. It was only a couple of years in that he became the Selke-calibre shutdown god we all knew and loved.

    So I’d argue we’re still on track for “Marchant with hands”. Marty Turco better watch his bacon come playoff time.

  15. dstaples says:

    That post, LT, is what blogging is all about, and I mean that as a compliment. I loved it.

  16. RiversQ says:

    Lord Bob said…
    Early in his career, Marchant could get beat in a hurry by anybody you’d care to name. It was only a couple of years in that he became the Selke-calibre shutdown god we all knew and loved.

    Oh sure, to some degree. I’m not sure Marchant looked like this after this much NHL hockey though. Cogs is awfully mindfucked in his own end.

  17. The Falconer says:

    Fantastic Stuff!

    I did some work last year on career curve’s on the yahoo Hockey Analysis Group. I used every player who played a least 1/2 of 1 NHL season in my study. Roughly speaking most Forwards make it to The Show by 21-22 defensemen and goalies get another year or so tacked onto their entry window.

    As you point out anyone who makes it later than these age cut offs usually has “issues” of some sort. Most of the time they are fringe NHLers who fill out the 4th line or 3rd D pairing or are the bench guy who gets to play 65 games because a regular has a season ending injury and they’re the organization’s insurance policy.

    The odds of a late arrive such as Tim Thomas making the All-Star game are pretty astronomical. Yet it only takes one extreme outlier every so many years to keep the hope alive among the minor league Tweener class that they might get the call.

    College guys are a big exception as you note.

    Another thing that stands out is that a number of late arrivals (Todd White, Eric Perrin come to mind) are smallish guys with some skill who might have gotten a 2nd look with the rules changes post-lockout (certainly seems to have made Perrin’s NHL career possible).

  18. devin says:

    Great stuff LT. I posted in the last thread about 12 and the particular play that set MacT off. I watched the video on it and it was indeed the SHG. 12 actually skated back hard to break up the 2-on-1, but when he arrived he failed to challenge Niedermayer and basically made an ECHL-level attempt on the guy’s stick. Just a weak, low-intensity, wuss play that any coach would hate and any NHL’er should know isn’t near good enough.

    I’m kind of surprised more ppl aren’t pointing to this moment, because I think for one it was obvious, and for two it was the straw for MacT.

  19. doritogrande says:

    Beauty of a post LT. One thing to nitpick though, Lerg will still have a year left on his contract after this season expires. He signed to a two year deal this offseason. Source: http://oilers.nhl.com/team/app/?service=page&page=NewsPage&articleid=358796

    You think it may be Brule that will be our more recent Chimera, but way I see it he's Columbus' version of that same story. I'll admit I haven't heard anything about this developing Nilsson situation, but he seems like the best compliment from the farm for the other younguns, plus he can PK and hit people. MacT loves these players.

  20. Alice says:

    Devin,
    You have a link? Sounds like something I can show to my Peewee girls, what the hell to do after you catch up, or in this case what happens if not. Let me guess – his feet stop and he reaches?

  21. Lowetide says:

    dorito: Cool. I’m a Lerg fan so an extra year to show what he can do is all good.

    Alice: It’s probably on the Oilers site, their highlight package usually includes all the goals.

    David Staples: Thanks. Merry Christmas, I’d like to do coffee in the new year.

    devin: Nilsson’s been through the sausage grinder before, even got sent out last fall. Honestly, I think his ripping Nilsson is probably a sign that the kid has some gumption. A smart coach knows the character of the people he can do this to and those he cannot. Say what you want about Dustin Penner but when called out he did what he needed to (man up) and I suspect Nilsson is made from strong stuff too.

    Falconer: Very interesting. Do you have a link?

    As for Cogliano, the Keon-Backstrom-Goring-Marchant group show themselves early on if we’re to believe news reports of the day and our collective memory. iirc w/regard to Marchant, he flew through the league in the first 40 games or so but certainly by year 3 he had established that he could play a more complete game than the other kids (and the Oilers had a lot at that time).

  22. devin says:

    Alice, the link to the NHL video is here:
    http://www.nhl.tv/team/console.jsp?hlg=20082009,2,473&event=EDM256

    Stops and reaches is a good way to put it. I'd say he needed to put his body b/w the goaltender and the player, and failed to do that. Hard to see how the puck got to 44 and it was probably a fluky bounce, but this is the kind of thing that makes a coach self-combust in a 0-0 game PP on home ice.

    Ok guys, trade idea. Pittsburgh will have 9 NHL D-men when everyone's healthy (and 8 next week). They also are short on skill wingers. How about Nilsson for Mark Eaton, straight up? I think both clubs do this…

  23. Fake Craig McTavish says:

    The new colour scheme is, ahem, interesting, LT.

  24. Jonathan says:

    As for Cogliano, the Keon-Backstrom-Goring-Marchant group show themselves early on if we’re to believe news reports of the day and our collective memory.

    Although Marc Savard took a looonnnggg time ;)

    In support of LT’s statement, Martin Hanzal’s been playing against top opponents with Mikkel Boedker the last few games for Phoenix (it will be up at OilersNation soon), and that’s backed up by Behindthenet. Cogliano’s been used as an offesnive specialist so far this season – at least, going by the faceoff data. To his credit, he’s produced.

    They also are short on skill wingers. How about Nilsson for Mark Eaton, straight up?

    Sold. On the other hand, Pittsburgh wasn’t interested in Jussi Jokinen (and neither was anyone else), so I’m not convinced there’s a huge market for Nilsson.

  25. Lowetide says:

    On color: lol. I’m color blind. I did some altering without my daughter’s help and she just gave me the thumb’s down.

    Fixed in a jiff.

  26. Bruce says:

    I did some work last year on career curve’s on the yahoo Hockey Analysis Group.

    The Falconer: I’ve been on the HAG list for over a year and don’t remember that particular discussion. Can you point me to the month it was published and the subject header, and I’ll look it up in the archives. Thanks.

    Another thing that stands out is that a number of late arrivals (Todd White, Eric Perrin come to mind) are smallish guys with some skill who might have gotten a 2nd look with the rules changes post-lockout (certainly seems to have made Perrin’s NHL career possible).

    Well to nitpick slightly, Perrin did win the Stanley Cup with the pre-lockout Lightning, playing 12 playoff games in 2004, but he was ceratinly an end-of-the-roster player at that stage of his career. He has become a 17-minutes-a-game regular since his return from Europe in 2006. Durable, too, missing just 1 game in two and a half seasons.

    Perrin sharing in the Cup celebration with his childhood buddy and fellow midget Martin St.Louis was one of the more heartwarming stories in recent years. Of course St.Louis’ own magic season (Hart and Ross Trophies, Stanley and World Cups) also preceded the lockout, and made valuable inroads in the perception of little men in the game. Long overdue.

  27. The Falconer says:

    LT: I only published the year-to-year % change numbers for NHLers. It is posted at the HAG group (http://sports.groups.yahoo.com/group/HAG_list/). If you’re not already a member just request to join and then you can download the stuff in the files section.

    I fooled around and tried to break the massive dataset into scorers and checkers and look at their debut age. Never published that part. I’ll try and dig it up and post one of these days. Frankly the dataset was so massive I grew weary working with it and was ready to move on to other questions by the time I got everything coded.

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