"Reasonable" At the AS Break (F’s 1-6)

At the beginning of the season I made a series of bets based on reasonable expectations for the Oilers. These were my estimates and it should be mentioned that many of them inspired disagreement from the knowledgeable posters who drop by this blog.

Still, the AS break is a logical time for us to review the numbers and see how these players are progressing.

Let’s begin by agreeing that the Oilers are about where they should be in the standings at the break. Seriously. The way they went about the first half was wing and a prayer but the results (thanks to a late run) imply it’s a playoff team.

Let’s look at the pre-season top 6 forwards (predicted V actual)

Hemsky P:41gp, 15-37-52 (1.27) A:36gp, 14-27-41 (1.14)

A strong finish to the first half improved his numbers as he was actually 1/1 much of the season until the games he played coming back from the concussion. His numbers suggest this might be his first season at >1/1 but my prediction may have been a little aggressive. My guess is he’ll need to perform at a little higher level (and stay healthy) if the Oilers are to make the playoffs. His Corsi (10.8) is the best on the club, as is his 2.53 5×5/60. The only member of my original top 6 who covered his first half bet.

Horcoff P: 40gp, 15-24-39 (.975) A: 46gp, 11-21-32 (.696)

The tendency is to say he needs to be better but part of me thinks he should have a little more luck after halftime. Horcoff’s CORSI (5.0 against tough opposition) should improve as the season rolls along and Tambellini is going to have to address the center situation before or at the deadline. He needs to post better numbers, this season most closely resembles the 06-07 season statistically (although that season had all kinds of tells that are not indicated in the boxcar numbers). 5×5/60: 1.36

Penner P: 46gp, 17-13-30 (.652) A: 44gp, 11-12-23 (.523)

Like Horcoff, Penner suffered when not on the Hemsky line. His Corsi (8.1) and 5×5/60 (2.11) are solid and he’s got skills that one sometimes doesn’t associate with big men (he’s an excellent passer, very good in the offensive zone). Considering his slot in the batting order and the dollars he’s making, Penner needs to have a better second half.

Gagner P: 44gp, 10-20-30 (.682) A: 43gp, 4-13-17 (.395)

He’s had a poor first half in the hockey card categories. Gagner’s secondary numbers (2.8 Corsi/1.445×5/60) show us that the underlying numbers are better than the boxcars but if this team is going anywhere this fellow needs to improve. His final 13 games leading up to the break saw Gagner score 2-7-9 and his plus minus number (EV) towers over his total one year ago at this time (-14). A second half that sees him score 30 points would save his season.

Nilsson P:43gp, 9-19-28 (.651) A: 36gp, 6-7-13 (.361)

Nilsson had all kinds of problems this half. His 5×5/60 is 0.70, and although his Corsi is a solid -2.2 this is against softer opponents with good linemates. On top of that, his coach called him out in a very public way and then he got hurt. Nilsson spent time in the minors last season in order to get his game turned around, the smart money this winter suggests he’ll be in another town by the time he gets his hat on straight again.

Cole P: 40gp, 11-15-26 (.650) A: 46gp, 11-10-21 (.457)

Cole started off so badly most of us were astounded by it. NHL veterans sometimes take awhile to adjust but here was a veteran winger with a good reputation who looked lost on the ice. Goals came few and far between and he was eating minutes with little result for a long time. He got very hot in the last 13 games before the break (7-5-12 including a hat-trick) and saved his secondary numbers (Corsi: -0.7; 5×5/60: 1.46) from being a disaster.

Next up: 6 more forwards.

written by

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

77 Responses to ""Reasonable" At the AS Break (F’s 1-6)"

  1. Black Dog says:

    Cole started poorly but I wonder what his numbers would be if he had a) played his position all season (and I do get MacT trying him on LW) and b) not been playing with Moreau and Brodziak for such a stretch

    I like Brodziak and I don’t mind Moreau as much as most here but Cole wasn’t going to produce a lot of offence playing tough minutes with those two

    Penner’s numbers would likely be better if he had been with 10 and 83 from the beginning

    I’m full of excuses for these guys ;)

    Horc needs some luck, to get healthy and to be better I think.

    Gagner is coming on.

    Nilsson has to pull it together. He did last year when it was all in jeopardy. Maybe he can do it again.

  2. mjsh says:

    LT. Good to see you writing about the Oil. I too am concerned about Nilson. He is not got it going at all. I would hate to see him traded and have things click somewhere else. I remember Calgary being very frustrated with his father because the magic act often disappeared but I think the kid has more try.

    It would appear to me that he has no confidence right now. IF things click for him look out. On Horcoff, I think the injury was a factor and I think Mac T is wearing him out. That third line centre with faceoff ability must come soon.

  3. The Rage says:

    I think your expectations for Hemsky were too high in terms of PPG. He already leads all RWers in that category.

  4. B.C.B. says:

    I am starting to get sick of this ‘what if Cole played all season on RW’ crap. During that time he was playing with our best player, and the only player that came close to covering Lowetide’s bet. What would Heskey’s numbers be if he had a winger that was better in the first 15 games of the season. We have to put some of the blame on Cole for his terrible start, and not heap it all on MacT.

    I am concern with our centers: two small skilled centers, without the ability to take draws, will be a problem soon (I say that as it is not already). The 3C puts one of Ganger or Cogs back on the wing again. If we plan to go anywhere in the playoffs- or even make it- we need to get someone sent in and teach one of the shrimps to play wing (better).

  5. Scott says:

    My guess is that the pressure the organization feels in regard to his performing at near his contract will be enough to get him the gold linemates and plenty of powerplay time.

    If this was your belief regarding Penner at the start of the season, I’d imagine his numbers cover his bet. He’s playing there now, but like BD said, his PPG would be much better if he’d been 1LW from the start and if he’d been getting consistent PP time. I think Penner has exceeded expectations so far.

  6. Black Dog says:

    B.C.B. – well then what about Pisani?

    A guy plays, what, 12, 15, 20 years at one position. Then you ask him to play out of position.

    Like I said I can understand MacT trying Cole at LW but I can understand Cole failing at it as well.

    So then he’s struggling with his confidence and they put him with a soph and a vet for whom 15 goals is a good year (although he looks to top it here) and they get to play against the other team’s toughs to boot.

    I understand MacT’s reasoning with Cole and Penner at the beginning of the year a bit – they wanted to keep the kids together – but it was an awful waste of Cole’s talents to put him with Moreau and Brodziak.

    Yes he is responsible, just like Penner is responsible for his lackadaisical play at times.

    But the whole idea is to put the players into a position to succeed, no?

  7. B.C.B. says:

    BD: I didn’t know we were talking about Pisani. I thought we where talking about our top 6 forwards.

    Yes, Cole was playing on a checking line but his lack of offensive play dictated that for a stretch. MacT made decisions we didn’t like and didn’t work out, but I don’t think Cole’s demotion was one of them. I am saying where do you put a gritty winger who isn’t scoring? On the checking line (in this case with Moreau and Brodziak), or you can put him in the press box so he can reflect on his ineffectiveness as a scoring winger. I think Cole played his way back to the top two lines with his consistent play, and he needed to be in our line-up because of his physical play: the third line is where he should have been put at that point based on his results.

    Cole was put in a position to suceed, with Hemsky. He didn’t and was put where his play dictated he belonged (the 3rd line).

  8. hunter1909 says:

    I’m stunned when people make intelligent predictions, while mine are usually in Canucks fan territory or worse. I was expecting Gagner to be putting up Kane type numbers this season, for example.

    Since January Oilers finally start playing hockey. The difference between most of the first 35+ games and since seems completely down to the defence, who are showing themselves as the driving force of the team.

    The forwards are still pretty spotty, overall as Gagner and Nilsson in particular look like they’re both waiting for a bus ride home; plus the usual low percentage fumbling with the puck from most of the others, but wtf that defence is feeding the puck up back up the ice so fast it’s amazing.

    So long as Souray stays healthy, Oilers make the playoffs. And no fucking way can Tambellini not upgrade the forwards with a couple of canny veterans ala Spacek and Samsanov – all of which which will make Oilers a first round matchup from hell for either the Wings/Sharks.

  9. godot10 says:

    //I am concern with our centers: two small skilled centers, without the ability to take draws, will be a problem soon (I say that as it is not already). The 3C puts one of Ganger or Cogs back on the wing again. If we plan to go anywhere in the playoffs- or even make it- we need to get someone sent in and teach one of the shrimps to play wing (better).//

    Phoenix has the same problem with young talented centres and a poor faceoff percentage. Gagner and Cogliano are going to be centres in the long term, so trying to move them to wing is a bad idea.

    Instead of a centre, it would be better to get a winger like Vermette who is good on draws and can kill penalties.

  10. bookie says:

    First, lets all admit Cole was a bit mismanaged and this had to do with some poor decisions by MacT and some less than perfect team structure (mix) by Lowe. I suspect both felt that they could ‘cheat’ perfect/optimal linups a bit and still win.

    Second, Gagner is a young sophomore, one of the things you need to accept is that these guys almost always have a slump. You have to let them play through it or you can hurt their progress. I think that the pain the team feels with every Gagner drop pass that goes wrong will be rewarded in the future with an outstanding forward. I (and the Oilers) could be wrong, but I think there is value in patience.

    Horcoff is probably hurt, but he has a week to gets himself all fixed up

    As per the Temujin post in the last thread about Hemsky being some kind of second rate player, methinks its someone who likes to provoke – or he is from some idiot town like Smithers, BC.

  11. jon k says:

    To be honest I think the most interesting aspect of this team is the production from the backend. I think that collectively our blueliners are close to the top of the league by a few metrics.

  12. doritogrande says:

    Everyone’s thinking veteran C, but I’d rather not throw young assets at a re-tread. I’d rather throw young assets at a young Jordan Staal. This guy wins faceoffs, yes?

    Pittsburgh needs cheap wingers. We have Nilsson under contract. Is there not a good basis for a trade there? Say, Nilsson, a young D (Plante? Petry?) and a 1st or 2nd?

  13. hunter1909 says:

    I don’t mind seeing Gagner contantly screwing up, any more than the other forwards(although Gagner is really playing horribly); so long as the team can get a couple of solid veterans ala Peca+Samsonov to balance them out a bit.

    Stall would be like money from home.

  14. PunjabiOil says:

    Penner has to go to Pittsburgh if we want Staal back.

    Penner + Nilsson + 2nd for Staal.

  15. Coach pb9617 says:

    Cole was put in a position to suceed, with Hemsky. He didn’t and was put where his play dictated he belonged (the 3rd line).

    He was put on the opposite wing – that’s not a position to succeed. The guy has been on the same wing since the Islanders were good, you can’t just flip him and expect results.

  16. doritogrande says:

    PunjabiOil:

    They’re up against the cap, and probably have to give Sykora a raise next year. Common thought is that they extended Staal so that he’d be more attractive for a trade partner. I doubt Pittsburgh would want to take on Penner’s salary, which is why I suggested the names I did.

    Of course, bringing in Staal all but guarantees Cole is gone next year too. But if we had Staal playing the second toughest minutes, I’d learn to live with that. He’d certainly be playing with better wingers than he’s got with the Pens. I’d envision a lineup for the rest of the season like this:

    27-10-83
    13-89-26
    34-Staal-78
    18-51-XX

    Next year, spot on the soft minute 2-line is open for one of Brule/Schremp/Eberle to claim.

  17. bookie says:

    Am i correct in assuming that Sabourin cleared waivers if we have not heard anything by now? (24 hours, right)

  18. B.C.B. says:

    I am not saying that Cole was managed perfectly. But players do switch forward positions everyone and a while.
    Did MacT wait to long to move Cole? most likely.
    Did he attempt to play the Oilers three best forward over the age of 25, who all can play PVP? Yes.
    Is that a bad idea? Not in theory, but it turned out to be one in practice.
    I just becoming angry that everyone blames MacT for all of Cole’s problems. Like none of them are his fault, it is just MacT’s crazy decisions to play a gifted winger with our best players, and then move him to a checking line when he doesn’t score. I am not saying MacT is blameless, but some of Cole’s (lack of) numbers are a reflection of himself. I too hope he plays better in the latter half of the season.

    PS: if we bring in Staal, what does that to to our # centers: Horcoff (1st line) Gags (2nd ?), Staal (3rd ?) and Brods (4th). Where does Cogs fit in the long run? Isn’t the reason that Pits is getting rid of is because he is behind two good centers, why would we trade a lot for a third line center (making top 2 money).

  19. doritogrande says:

    BCB:

    On any other team he wouldn’t be a 3rd line player, and that’s for damn sure.

    I have no problem with swapping Gagner and Staal position-wise. I’m just using the 2-line as an outscoring soft minute line, and that’s Gagner’s bread a butter. Cogliano makes the permanent shift to the wing.

  20. doritogrande says:

    Also, forgot to add:

    Which 2008 Oiler draft pick is 16th in his league in scoring? The answer may surprise you. Philippe Cornet has three more points than Eberle in only five more games played. Pretty damn good for a 5th rounder.

  21. Dennis says:

    We know that a big difference with 83 is that he’s shooting more and we forget how young he still is and maybe he’s just maturing now and feeling his oats and he’s using his shot Because he thinks it’s worthy.

    I noticed MacT not hard-matching 10′s line against Nash as much as I thought he would – or at least that’s the way it was in the first frame – and the way we match will have something to do with 83′s EV numbers. For instance, today I checked out the Ducks numbers to see that all the gains from Getzlaf/Perry-Ryan vs the soft are negated by the losses of playing the Pahlsson line against the toughs.

    There’s also the case of the other guy bringing along your EVTOI if they’re willing to go PVP with your heavies but if that’s the case, 83 will get more min but his counting stats will suffer for it.

    The other thing is just how healthy is Horc? ’09 Hemsky playing with ’06 or ’08 Horcoff means he’s almost certainly a PPG player but as the guys have said, 10′s coming from lame as of late.

  22. Ducey says:

    If this team can get rolling for awhile (and they have tough Feb) hopefully the offence will score more garbage goals.

    When is the last time anyone has scored on a deflection? Why do they continually pass onto the wing when they are in the slot? Other than Penner, noone makes a living in front of the net.

    This, along with hitting and toughness are the biggest weaknesses on this team.

    I for one hope this team makes the playoffs but doesn’t mortgage the future to get there. This aint a Stanley Cup team and the only guys leaving should be with an eye to the next two years.

  23. bookie says:

    I just becoming angry that everyone blames MacT for all of Cole’s problems. Like none of them are his fault, it is just MacT’s crazy decisions

    Uh, I blame MacT for everything. The other day I looked in my fridge and all of the cream was gone, so there I was with a coffee and no cream – F#$%in MacT

    Last week, I wasn’t paying attention to anything and I backed right over my neighbours dog – Motherf@#$#n MacT

    So, have a little respect for those of us who like to keep our analysis simple – anything more than “Fire MacT” gets a little difficult.

  24. The Puck Stops Here says:

    When everyone of the six forwards has under-performed to your prediction, I think we see that oyur predictions have been overly optomistic.

  25. hunter1909 says:

    All I know is, to my absolute fucking astonishment I’m starting to see the method in the first half of the season madness:

    The Oilers are going to be reliant 100% on the defence to run the game, other than the goalie who had better be Grant Fuhr sharp because he’s going to be getting quite a lot of work, haha.

    The forwards are collectively low percentage garbagemen, but wtf – with 4 defencemen fully capable of hammering the puck out of the zone and straight to the opposition blueline, they’re getting two or even three times the chances than in either of the past 2 seasons.

    Absolutely zero point in canning the coach, since the team is now making sense. To this rock star, anyway.

  26. B.C.B. says:

    DG: I agree Cole is not a third liner, and it seems that the Oilers agree as well (since the trades for him, he started on the 1st line, and is on the 2nd). But a player should be demoted off the top two lines if there offensive production is not coming along. MacT could have sat Cole after the his slow start, then inserted him on the second line, and thrown him under the buses if it didn’t pick p quickly. But he didn’t; what he did was demote him, let cole work on his consistency, and the return him to a position to succeed in (I will agree that the 3rd line is not a position to succeed your expectations, if you are Cole).
    What is wrong with this decision?
    Do you agree demotions are sometimes necessary for veteran players?

  27. hunter1909 says:

    Email to Red Fisher of the Montreal Gazette:

    Red: Can you help me settle a huge argument going on on Oilers blogland: Did Toe Blake ever criticise his players in the press?

    Thanks a lot.

    Hunter

    “Never. It’s one of the reasons he was respected by his players.” Red Fisher

    Blimey. Some people. The things you have to do these days.

    Happy?

  28. Yeti says:

    Well, dang it. I was looking forward to reading about bees. I’m sure LT would do a hell of an entomology blog.

  29. Councilman Les Winan says:

    The Puck Stops Here said…

    When everyone of the six forwards has under-performed to your prediction, I think we see that oyur predictions have been overly optomistic.

    Normally this would be a reasonable assumption, but take a look at the performance so far, and it’s hard to disagree that Horcoff, Gagner, Cole, Nilsson, and Penner (to a lesser extent than the others, perhaps) have struggled offensively. Horc’s defensive play has helped to ease the sting, though.

    Hemsky’s numbers might have been a bit ambitious, but this is the year where LT expected him to take the next step. I agree, and watching the last game, I think it’s hard to argue that he hasn’t. Consistency is the key.

    I think we’ll see some improvement once we look at the bottom six, though. Cogliano’s played well for most of the season so far.

    Kinda scary to think about where they’d be situated in the standings if the top 6 forwards had played consistently well in the first half.

  30. oilerdago says:

    Interesting column by Jim Matheson this morning on Sabourin. Oilers traded for him in the hopes the Islanders would take him off waivers. So it wasn’t about helping Dubynk develop and now the Oil are going to be “forced” to pay his NHL salary for his stint in Springfield.

    Sounds a little short-sighted to me. You won’t play Fisher and Dubynk can’t carry the entire load. What’s anyone thinking?

  31. LMHF#1 says:

    I really like the idea of making a move for Staal; especially if we can keep Penner. Thing is; don’t they need a defenceman? I can’t see us moving one right now or this season though; as we seem to finally have a crew we really like including Smid who would be in a deal like this earlier this year.

    Nilsson + Smid + 2nd + 2nd (next year)

    Now I think you’d have to part with a different package and I’m not sure what that is to be honest.

  32. doritogrande says:

    LMHF:

    Whitney just got of IR, hasn’t played this year. Gonchar’s due back after the Allstar break. IMO They’re pretty much set for defense.

  33. Sean says:

    I like going after Staal as well but

    Penner + Nilsson + 2nd for Staal.

    Who plays LW, Moreau? The Oilers LW is easily as week as C. I’d be happy if they got Staal (keeping Penner while dealing Nilsson and maybe Pisani plus) and dealed spart parts for Tkachuk. Tkachuk has the second best Corsi on a bad team and adds grit to the LW and respectable PP numbers. I was thinking the other day about the Oilers vs the Flames in the playoffs and I think we’d need some size to compete.

  34. Sean says:

    LT funny that your top 6 predictions were all optimistic but “2nd in NW, 6th in Conference. Book it!” seems to be on pace … Granted 2 pts less and Oilers could be in 10th but they have games in hand on most of the competition.

  35. bookie says:

    Jim Matheson this morning on Sabourin. Oilers traded for him in the hopes the Islanders would take him off waivers. So it wasn’t about helping Dubynk develop and now the Oil are going to be “forced” to pay his NHL salary for his stint in Springfield.

    Are we certain this is the case? First, does KatzCash care about the money, it does not affect the cap. Second, it will allow Dubynk to develop as it allows him to share the load. I guess I am not totally convinced that the Oilers did not consider his clearing waivers as a possibility.

  36. bookie says:

    and to further my comment on Sabourin. Wouldn’t any GM out there be somewhat glad to have Sabourin around in case our 50 year old goalie pulls a hamstring or something.

  37. oilerdago says:

    Bookie that’s the $64 question and the answers seems no one wants the guy.

    I seem to remember that VAN was pretty high on him when he was backing up Luongo but as has been pointed out, he’s not been as good in Pittsburgh – possibly because they don’t play that boring trap that Vigneault does and the goalies are expected to make a few stops.

    So if you can’t stop a shot there, chances are you can’t do it in Edmonton either.

    Still, when there is no alternative to Dubynk in Springfield, why not just pay the man and be done with it?

  38. Scott says:

    I think some of these Sabourin questions will be answered by whether or not he gets put on re-entry waivers. If he does, they really don’t want him. If he doesn’t then they obviously think keeping him around is worth about $125,000.

  39. Woodguy says:

    Which 2008 Oiler draft pick is 16th in his league in scoring? The answer may surprise you. Philippe Cornet has three more points than Eberle in only five more games played. Pretty damn good for a 5th rounder.

    While that is good to see, Cornet plays in the Q while Eberle plays in the W. I think the standard factor is to add 1/3 more points to a W total to figure out what they would score in the Q.

  40. Bill Needle says:

    Sabourin’s an AHL goaler, nothing more. Whenever he’s been in the NHL, he’s been found wanting.
    The Isles don’t want him because Yann Danis will take them to Tavares territory quicker and cheaper.

  41. oilerdago says:

    Bill, the Islanders with Danis in goal beat Anaheim 2-1 last night.

    That said, they are solidly in Tavares territory and that’s not going to change because they can’t score goals.

    You are right that Sabourin is an AHL goalie – so what’s wrong with giving Dubnyk help so he can develop right?

  42. godot10 says:

    Pittsburgh would not have made the deal with the Oilers unless the Oilers took Sabourin to balance out the salary from the Penguin side.

    The advantage of having a wealthy owner is that Sabourin’s contract isn’t a big deal, but then the Oilers aren’t adding overall salary in this deal because Garon is paid a lot more than Sabourin and Stone

  43. quain says:

    Rough glance at the two junior leagues, this season:

    WHL: 526 GP – 3,437 Goals – 6.53/GP

    QMJHL: 426 GP – 2,874 Goals – 6.75/GP

    I didn’t filter out any shootout goals, if they’re include, but I figure the effect is likely close enough to offset.

    Regardless of how close points-wise they are Eberle is a goal scorer whereas Cornet has more assists. There’s a need to adjust for that when talking about a player, as well. 100 points has a different value when it’s 50-50-100 vs 25-75-100.

  44. Scott says:

    Woodguy,

    In the QMJHL there have been 2,874 goals in 426 games, so 6.75 goals per game.

    In the WHL there have been 3,437 goals in 526 gmaes, so 6.53 goals per game.

    So where exactly are these extra 1/3 extra points coming from? The Q is a higher scoring league than the W this year but that math seems awfully excessive.

  45. rickibear says:

    While that is good to see, Cornet plays in the Q while Eberle plays in the W. I think the standard factor is to add 1/3 more points to a W total to figure out what they would score in the Q.

    That use to be the metric but LT has pointed out the offensive numbers in the Q are tougher to get.

    Desjardins age progression chart is a hint to me. Of the top 20 scorers in the Q what ages are they 13- 20 YR olds; 4-19 YR olds; 2 – 18 yr olds; 1-17yr old
    Cornet is the first player under 19on the list, Ben Casavant would be the 17 year old.

    Then to discount Omark who is second in scoring in the SEL Well I think we all know the list of U22 players that have been in the top 10 in the SEL. Sick.

    But the one who I am very intrested in is Hartikainen.
    He has 12G 3A in 36 Games in SM-LIIGA.
    The first 12 games he recieved around 9min/gm and got 1 assist.

    The next 11 games he got 11.75min/gm and got 3G.

    The last 12 he has 12.75 min/gm though the number is skewed. You see they backed off his ice time just before the world juniors. He has been playing around 14min/gm and has 9G 2A in these 12gm. Top 25in goal scoring in the finish elite league. He is however playing 3rd line tonight. 18 years old.

  46. rickibear says:

    Make that 10G 2A in 13GM. They bumped hartikainen back up to the first line in the third and he scored tonight.

  47. Unleaded says:

    I’m curious to hear an explanation as to why 12 is included in the top 6 and and 13 isn’t. I see that 12 is more often playing with our second line, but I don’t beleive for a second that means that 13′s not a top six player. I’d say that his performace this season has clearly shown that his play last year was not an abberation, and that (as many people suggested in December) that he may have more upside than Gagner. Don’t know i’d agree with that, but it’s definitely possible.

    So, what’s the deal LT? or do I need to wait for the bottom 6 report to get an explanation?

  48. quain says:

    Nilsson plays more ES minutes than Cogliano as well as playing on the second line.

    Regardless, I’m fairly positive LT isn’t making a value judgement on the quality of the players, it’s just lining them up based on ES lines.

    And I missed the who has more upside conversation, but whomever was on the Cogliano-side is completely wrong.

  49. quain says:

    I lied! LT is ranking them entirely based on his reasonable expectations for points at the beginning of the season. He projected Cogs to rank #7 in points, so he’s #7 on this list.

    If he got a do-over I doubt Nilsson would be so high.

  50. Bruce says:

    When is the last time anyone has scored on a deflection? Why do they continually pass onto the wing when they are in the slot? Other than Penner, noone makes a living in front of the net.

    I can’t tell you how many times I have anguished over the choice of a pass over a shot, when the best way of delivering the puck is via a rebound. Rather than passing to a breaking forward through the defenceman, fire it into the goalie’s feet while the second guy charges the net. You need the right bounce but if you get it the goalie is down and scrambling and the defenceman has to turn to clear it while the attacker sees the whole thing develop. As an added bonus, the first shot can actually go into the net of its own accord.

    Sam Gagner showed a lot of smarts in this area last year, just shooting pucks from bad angles right into the goal mouth, and he picked up a few assists in the process. I haven’t noticed this near as much this year, not sure why (could be I’m just not paying attention). With Cole barging around out there on Sam’s wing, it makes lots of sense as a tactic. Not pretty, but who the fuck cares? Just win, baby.

  51. Bruce says:

    Bill, the Islanders with Danis in goal beat Anaheim 2-1 last night.

    A particualrly fun set of highlights to watch. Ducks outshot the Isles 40-14 and Danis was fantastic. Giguere, not so much: 2 goals on 7 shots, after which he was yanked and threw a tantrum reminiscent of the time he melted down vs. Smytty. The goal that sent him to the showers and stood up as the winner was scored by one Kurtis Mclean, a 28-year-old former NCAA Div 3 player, whose reaction to scoring in just his second NHL game was pretty much the polar opposite to Giguere’s.

    Score (another) one for the underdogs.

  52. gary b says:

    Gerber officially on waivers today.

  53. Woodguy says:

    That use to be the metric but LT has pointed out the offensive numbers in the Q are tougher to get.

    My comment was a little tongue-in-cheek, but I guess my presuppositions are a little dated as well.

  54. Satisfied_to_Ignore says:


    I can’t tell you how many times I have anguished over the choice of a pass over a shot, when the best way of delivering the puck is via a rebound. Rather than passing to a breaking forward through the defenceman, fire it into the goalie’s feet while the second guy charges the net. You need the right bounce but if you get it the goalie is down and scrambling and the defenceman has to turn to clear it while the attacker sees the whole thing develop. As an added bonus, the first shot can actually go into the net of its own accord.

    Emphasis added by me.

    Bruce, are you for real? I agree with a lot of things you write on here, but this kind of tactic is only marginally effective in the pros. This works in minor hockey, but come on, give the goalies in the NHL some credit. Most times you send a shot through, if they can see it at all it is going to be stopped and directed out of danger or covered. And even if they can’t see it, they are likely in position to make a stop and keep the pick out of danger.

    On the other hand, a pass forces the goalie to move and expose some of the net, much increasing the chance of a goal.

    I don’t buy that just firing on net any chance you get is a valid game plan in the NHL and am generally disgusted by the fans urgency to shoot. If I am taking your statement our of context I apologize.

  55. DeBakey says:

    Kurtis McLean

    Wow
    There’s an “anybody can be president” story.

    Jr B, NCAA Div 3, ECHL, AHL, NHL

    4 goals in his first 32 AHL games
    The next season, 16 in 55.
    Then to 22 in 76

  56. hunter1909 says:

    Soon my blog will have enough hits that i can sell it lol

  57. hunter1909 says:

    Who cares how they score? How about they score 1 more goal per game, especially in April LOL

  58. Bruce says:

    I don’t buy that just firing on net any chance you get is a valid game plan in the NHL

    Emphasis added by me. No of course not, STI. When I wrote “I can’t tell you how many times” I did not mean every time. Far from it. The majority of goals will always be scored on skill plays, especially on this team. As Ducey mentioned in his initial comment questioning the lack of garbage goals, only Penner hangs around the goal mouthon a regular basis. Hemsky, Cole and Moreau will drive there, but they don’t tend to camp out.

    You’re absolutely right about NHL goalies and rebound control. But there are lots of plays that develop in close to the net where the shot is both the easier and the better option than the pass IMO. A shot from close enough range into the goalie’s feet or even stick will result in uncontrolled rebounds at least some of the time, and garbage goals are an occasional outcome. No doubt it’s all a matter of percentages; I don’t have all the experience of an NHL sniper to say the least, but sometimes I see a play develop where the passing option is bearing down on the net and my instincts say “Shoot! and go for the rebound!” and instead the pass doesn’t get through and nothing happens.

    Then again, there are times when I go “Shoot! Shoot! Oh, nice pass, Ales.”

  59. Dennis says:

    Bruce: you’re bringing up some good points as of oflate.

    First you mentioned how MacT broke tactics to go back to 83 at the tail-end of the PPG that tied the game vs CBJ. I know it’s listed as an EV goal but long before there was a Bruce on these forums;), me and Vic always spoke of how any goals scored in the first 5 seconds after a PP had expired were still basically PPG. In any case, MacT ran out 83 and then the kids and then went back to 83 to close and it paid off.

    Secondly, now you get to how 89 would pick up helpers last year by just throwing pucks to the net and how he’s slacked off on doing that this year. I”m pretty sure it was the last game vs Phx but the Oilers had an odd-man rush with 89 down the middle and 26 on the right wing and 89 was in the slot and he just passed it off and gave up the shot. It’s like I keep saying, the main thing I’ve learned from charting chances is just where from and/how goals are scored.

    That’s why it’s exciting to see 83 curl towards or to the middle and fire away.

    BTW, I think the natural evolution of this thread is how the EVTOI and roles should be doled once 34 comes back and my vote is for the secondary scoring line to be 13-89-26 and then go 18-78-34 secondary tough min.

    I’d like to move 12 before his stock really drops.

    Looking ahead to 2010, I’d sell high on Souray, pay 37 and make sure we’ve got a scorer to go alongside 13-89.

  60. hunter1909 says:

    Souray decides his future.

    Without Souray healthy, we’re doomed.

  61. hunter1909 says:

    Some of the bloggers in here know more about hockey theory than 60 percent of the people currently working for the OIlers lol.

  62. Jfry says:

    Just say no to Staal. Seriously, he is not the solution if we’re looking to improve our bottom six and stay within a salary grid. his contract is expensive and doesn’t take him into any “glory” years. he’s on pace to make a ridiculous amount of money, a la hartnell, simply because of the time they came into the league (as youngsters)…. no thanks

    here’s some data i pulled up on him when a few friends and i were discussing his new contract.

    _____

    the Pittsburgh PK is ranked 21st in the league. it was ranked 5th last year with the same percentage, but because there are so many draws in your own end on the PK with the rule changes, you’re starting to see why they’re moving Staal to the wing — he can’t win own zone draws averaging 47%, 69th worst in the league and as a result has seen his PK time drop as well.

    just so it’s out there…some stats on staal (i know, they mean nothing)

    had 29 goals in rookie year, but only 42 points (had a godlike 22% shooting percentage…most forwards average in the 12-15% range, which is why you don’t give big money to a guy after a career shooting percentage season; there’s great info on this if you do some googling for articles around the time Ribeiro signed last year while he was sporting his 37% shooting percentage)

    had 11 goals last year and 22 points (6% shooting average)

    is on pace for 20 goals and 40 points this year. (14% shooting average, finally a level)

    among Pitts center men who played more than 30 games last year, he faced the 4th toughest minutes with regards to competition and was middle of the road with regards to the quality of linemates he had (he actually had better teamates than the competition he was facing, which isn’t a good sign given output). and his corsi number was -5.2 which isn’t that good…not horrible, but on a team that won so much and lit is up, that’s a bad number

    this year among centers who have played more than 5 games (pits has played 41), he is facing the 6th toughest competition among centers, behind ryan stone, malkin, crosby, minard and kennedy. his corsi is almost identical, which means year over year, he’s allowing more offensive chances than are generated, all the while playing the 6th toughest minutes — not that impressive…think marty “sakic” reasoner not impressive at 4 times the price.

    i understand this contract if you’re going 6 or 7 years, because you’re getting the primes, but for 4 years, you’re not going to see any out performance on this contract.

    to me this is all about a salary grid and unless they plan to start giving him second line minutes and 2nd PP, this is bad news and an untradeable contract (yes, like penner, but at least penner fits in the grid, ie) taking up first line money, but at least playing on the first line…when penner was on the third line to start the season…that’s what staal will look like next year unless the move to win is permanent or they trade him)

    i’m not saying that he won’t turn into a beauty, but right now, for the 4 years he’s signed, in order for the contract to have any value, he will have to improve so quickly, unrealistically and play in positions he’s shown no acumen for.

    ___________

    anyhow…i’d rather we looked at players with a little less name value that shore up the team. seems like the only deals the oil are into are “marquee” names lately though…hopefully that trend stops.

  63. Bruce says:

    Bruce: you’re bringing up some good points as of oflate.

    Gee, thanks, Dennis, what a nice compliment! ‘course, I couldn’t find “oflate” in Dictionary.com, so I simply took your words in their obvious context as meaning “ever since you started posting”. :D

    The 83 change vs. Columbus was one of those things you might not even notice on TV, depending on camera angles. But the late change of just one forward, Hemsky, and not his linemates, was very obvious to me sitting in the upper bowl looking over the offensive zone from the players’ bench side. And i thought to myself: “Aha! Dennis will like this.” Guess I was right.

    As are you and Vic about the extra seconds after the end of the powerplay. I heard Roli banging his stick so I knew it was close, but the action around the puck was so riveting as I never did see the guy coming out of the box. For sure he didn’t get into the play, as it was in essence his man, the penalty-box side point man, who scored.

    Which happened to be Grebs, continuing his run of even-strength scoring; at the ASB he’s tied for 6th in the NHL in EV scoring by blueliners. This point was EV in technicality only; one wonders how often that happens over the course of a season, which would especially benefit* a second-unit guy like Grebs. (* “benefit” statistically in terms of EV scoring and +/-; it would work against him in PP scoring). Does anybody keep any stats on goals scored within X seconds of the end of a PP?

    Back to that particular Huge goal, besides Hemmer the four guys on the ice were all second unit: 26-37-77-89. The penalty was at 13:15, Cole and Gagner had come on with Pouliot at 14:21, then Hemsky came on for MP at 14:45. Let’s just say at that point of that game Ales Hemsky was more likely to make a difference with that group than Marc Pouliot was, and MacT made the change. For all people have been clamouring for more of this all along, give MacT credit for picking a very opportune time to pull this one out of his sleeve.

    Thanks for confirming the obs about Gagner not so much making those subtle little plays into the crease. He really made that work last spring, esp. with Penner at times on the PP, but you need that guy around the crease to make it dangerous. Which is where Erik “Garbage” Cole enters the picture.

    Jfry (I hate to say it but I hear “Joffrey” in my head when I read that): Excellent post on JStaal. We need more guys who outperform their contract, and that doesn’t appear to be Staal. If he was living up to his press clippings and that contract, Pittsburgh wouold be three-deep in top-notch centres and no way would they be in the trouble they’re in, Gonchar or no Gonchar. Those underlying numbers you cite are pretty damning. Nice dig.

  64. Bruce says:

    Kurtis McLean
    Wow
    There’s an “anybody can be president” story.
    Jr B, NCAA Div 3, ECHL, AHL, NHL

    Here he is, looking like a scowling Mathieu Garon. Sure wasn’t scowling last night.

    His background is so obscure that judging from the statistical record both at NHL.com and in the NHL Guide, he appears to have started playing hockey just before he turned 25. Makes Dustin Penner look like a first round draft pick.

    Even if he is literally a one-shot wonder, he can forever relive that five seconds where he burst over the Ducks blueline, stayed onside while taking a perfect NHL-class pass, before jumping in and wiring the game winner past one of the top goalies in the game. A guy could replay that in his head for the next 50 years and never get tired of it. Especially with the puck on the mantle confirming that it really happened.

    Carpe dream, or something like that. Well done, Kurtis McLean.

  65. Bruce says:

    Note: to see McLean’s goal, just click on the video option at the above link. Needless to say, there’s just the one clip. :)

  66. Unleaded says:

    @ Quain

    Thanks for the clarification about why Nilsson. I appreciate it.

    For everyone whether you wanted him or not, Vinny is here.

    http://deadfellows.blogspot.com/

  67. Woodguy says:

    the Pittsburgh PK is ranked 21st in the league. it was ranked 5th last year with the same percentage, but because there are so many draws in your own end on the PK with the rule changes, you’re starting to see why they’re moving Staal to the wing — he can’t win own zone draws averaging 47%, 69th worst in the league and as a result has seen his PK time drop as well.

    While this may contribute to Pitts’ powerplay decline, the major source of the decline is not having their quarterback Gonchar.

    They really miss his PP GFON/60 of 7.45 playing 5.47m/60

  68. Jfry says:

    @woodguy…PK, not PP.

  69. Dennis says:

    On dealing Souray: I think we’re starting to tie up too much money in the D, plus:

    - 37 might be for real.
    - I’d take my chances that some of 37-71-77 could keep the PP going
    - we need money to find a guy to round out Gagliano.
    - you sell high on Souray for obvious reasons.

    26′s an upcoming FA and we need someone to help along the kids and right now we’re tying up too much money in the D. One of the longterm pacts of 44-71-77 have to be dealt in order for that to happen.

  70. Jfry says:

    @ dennis

    couldn’t we just use cole’s 4 million to get someone for gagliano?

    i think our issue is with the large earning 3rd line contracts with pisani and moreau who only play 1/2 the games (if that).

    our dman salary structure isn’t that out of whack with the elite d squads in the league:
    detroit: lidstrom (7.5), rafalski (6.0), stuart (3.7), kronwall (3.0)

    SJ: boyle (6.7), blake (5.0), erhoff (3.3 next year), vlasic (3.2 next year)

    CGY: phaneuf (6.5), reggie(4), aucoin(4), sarich(3.6)

    oilers: lubo(5.6), souray(5.4), gilbert (4), staois (2.7)

    the oilers issue is with our 3rd line, where when healthy we have pisani making 2.5, moreau at 2.0… which means that they’re our 5th and 6th heighest paid forwards on the team. while we’ve paid handsomely to keep this guys, players in similar positions with other clubs aren’t making as much…

    again, look at SJ whre pavelski, grier and clowe all come in under 1.75

    or detroit where draper makes 1.5 and maltby makes less than a million

    or calgary where conroy plays for 1 million while glenncross and rene bourque play for 1.2

    the oiler’s don’t get enough out of their middling contracts…or rather we overpay on those by about 2 times what the rest of the league is. elite players cost money and that’s okay, but 3rd liners (as much as we all like them) shouldn’t cost as much as they do for the oil and shouldn’t be signed to ridiculous 4 year contracts, because they are to an extent replaceable on the FA market.

  71. Jfry says:

    @ dennis

    that doesn’t mean i don’t agree with your assessment of selling souray high…i just don’t think we need to sacrifice souray to help our second line…

    trading staois and splitting his money over smid and grebeshkov seems to make more sense to me.

    getting rid of nilsson and moreau clears up enough money to buy a really strong 3rd and 4th line while still having cole’s money to spend on the Gagliano.

    trading nilsson is one thing but getting rid of the “warriors” is another issue altogether that i can’t anticipate happening.

  72. Dennis says:

    J: how about this scnario. Is Hossa gonna take another haircut to play with the Wings? Couldn’t you see the Oilers moving Souray for a 1st round pick PLUS and letting Cole go and taking their combined salary to take another shot at Hossa?

  73. Bruce says:

    Dennis, that’s so “Dennis” of you to take a group of players (in this case 44-71-77-37) and jettison the strongest, toughest, meanest one of the bunch … and it ain’t close. If you have your way you’ll have a highly skilled team that would be run out of the Swiss League.

    Grebs’ skill set is much closer to Visnovsky or Gilbert, so if he stays one of them is more likely to go, esp. since they don’t have NMCs and Souray does. Sheldon isn’t exactly replaceable from within the current group, unless you think Smid is ready for top pairing duty. I personally like the chemistry we got at the moment and am not in a hurry to move any of these guys. Let’s see what happens in July.

  74. Dennis says:

    Bruce: Let’s have guys shoot from the slot and then all of a sudden not having 46 on the 4th line would mean so much less;)

    44 isn’t a forward who shoots from the slot so, yeah, I’ll be comfortable moving him.

    You Could think about moving 77 if the cap’s going down and you don’t think he’ll improve but you’d need a fucking boatload offered in return to consider moving 71.

  75. Jfry says:

    @dennis

    interesting way of thinking about it.

  76. Bruce says:

    44 isn’t a forward who shoots from the slot so, yeah, I’ll be comfortable moving him.

    Dennis, I fail to comprehend your logic. 71 isn’t a forward who shoots from the slot either. So aren’t a whole lot of other guys who are useful in the grand scheme of things, including all the defencemen and goalies. Your kingdom for a one-shot scorer?

    Which is kinda ironic cuz the closest thing we got to one of those right now is Mr. Souray.

  77. Dennis says:

    Well, I just think 71 does a better job of driving the bus at EV and could post comparable PP numbers if every play wasn’t going through 44.

    So, maybe I mixed up my points but it comes down to this:

    It’s been a long times since 44′s been this healthy and this productive at EV so I’d gamble that won’t happen again and thus he’s the contract I’d move.

    And I think a bigger problem with the forward corps is lack of slot- focus than toughness so that’s why I’d have no problem getting rid of 46.

    That being said, I wouldn’t mind keeping him around as the 13th guy, either.

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

© Copyright - Lowetide.ca