Every season NHL teams need help in role positions and send a call to the farm. In some seasons these men emerge as bona fide NHL players, passing others on the depth chart and creating some trouble in terms of roster slots.
We may have that situation for the Edmonton Oilers at the major league level at this time.
The player in question (Gilbert Brule) appears to be forcing his way onto the team at the expense of several others (including Liam Reddox in photo).
Let’s begin by listing the games played (and boxcar numbers) by callups in the 08-09 season (through the All-Star break):
- Liam Reddox 23gp, 3-2-5
- Steve MacIntyre 15gp, 1-0-1
- Gilbert Brule 11gp, 2-1-3
- Ryan Potulny 4gp, 0-3-3
- Rob Schremp 4gp, 0-3-3
- Tim Sestito 1gp, 0-0-0
I think that’s correct (please post any errors/omissions). There’s not much to say about the players who’ve dressed for fewer than 5 games except that Potulny looked very good and Schremp showed his impressive skill and why he isn’t in Edmonton fulltime in equal measure.
Let’s take a look at the three players who have played 10 or more games and see if one of them emerges as useful moving forward.
- Reddox -18.4
- Brule -18.6
- MacIntyre -30.1
We don’t really expect MacIntyre to perform well in any measurable area outside his role, but this is a very poor Corsi. He plays with dregs and against the least skilled men on the other side and still manages a dire rating. Ivanans in LA has a -6.8, Boogaard in Minny is -9.4. Reddox and Brule have been up and down with Corsi since arriving, according to Desjardins Reddox has been playing with much better linemates and against about the same level competition (which looks right based on viewings). So, Brule would seem to be the superior player from this group.
- Reddox 7-10
- Brule 3-6
Their GF/GA ON numbers are similar but Reddox has a better GA ON/60 (2.79 to 3.48). We’re not talking tremendous sample sizes and we know Reddox has been with better players so I don’t know if we can draw any conclusions here.
- Brule 1.74
- Reddox 1.40
I think this is a pretty strong tell despite the fact we’re not dealing in huge minutes overall. Brule has played with inferior help and is posting a better number. Brule has had 103EV minutes while Reddox has enjoyed 216EV minutes this season.
So if we’re looking at a candidate to send out it would probably be Reddox from the group. The obvious candidate to release is Jason Strudwick but I doubt the Oilers make that move.
Jonathan Willis continues to lap the field with his Springfield numbers. It’ll be interesting to see how the season ending numbers shake out but as Jonathan mentioned it looks like we can break down the “toughness of minutes” in Springfield into three distinct categories:
- Tim Sestito: 1.867
- Liam Reddox: 1.853
- Tyler Spurgeon: 1.819
- Colin McDonald: 1.710
- Carl Corazzini: 1.674
- Bryan Lerg: 1.638
- Guillaume Lefebvre: 1.610
- Geoff Paukovich: 1.590
- Vyacheslav Trukhno: 1.575
- Gilbert Brule: 1.536
- Derek Bekar: 1.536
- Ryan Potulny: 1.524
- Rob Schremp: 1.480
- Ryan O’Marra: 1.255
- Stephane Goulet: 1.190
I admit it’s a completely random break between categories with a healthy dose of logic (checking line plus Reddox at the top, veteran AHLers plus smart college men and those with a two-way rep in column two along with a thug or two, and then the guys who need to kick out the jams offensively lining up (when possible) against the dregs.
So, I think we can reasonably argue that the pecking order for end-of-the-roster players goes Brule, MacIntyre, Reddox at the major league level (with a coin in the wishing well for Strudwick’s walking papers) and then the callups would be players who played tough minutes and got results OR those who absolutely killed the soft parade.
Let’s line up Jonathan’s results with AHL EV scoring per game and see what we get:
- Potulny 37gp, 11-8-19 -4 (soft parade-.514/gm)
- Schremp 34gp, 2-12-14 -5 (soft parade-.412/gm)
- Reddox 13gp, 2-3-5 -2 (heavy lifting-.385/gm)
- Corazzini 44gp, 5-11-16 -5 (midlevel-.364/gm)
- Brule 20gp, 5-2-7 -2 (soft parade-.350/gm)
- Lerg 33gp, 6-5-11 -7 (midlevel-.333/gm)
- Trukhno 27gp, 1-8-9 -1 (mid-level-.333/gm)
- Bekar 39gp, 5-5-10 +1 (soft parade-.256/gm)
- Goulet 14gp, 1-2-3 +2 (soft parade-.214/gm)
- Spurgeon 44gp, 3-6-9 -1 (heavy lifting-.205/gm)
- McDonald 41gp, 3-4-7 -7 (heavy lifting-.171/gm)
- Lefevbre 43gp, 2-5-7 -5 (midlevel-.163/gm)
- Paukovich 27gp, 1-3-4 -8 (midlevel-.148gm)
- O’Marra 32gp, 1-3-4 -6 (soft parade-.125/gm)
- Sestito 35gp, 3-0-3 -8 (heavy lifting-.086/gm)
The callups are in bold. I’m going to be posting on this information in the next few days (the AHL break isn’t here yet) but thought it would be a good idea to post some of the numbers now.
Among the tough minute men, Reddox and Sestito have already seen the NHL and Spurgeon has some skills that may make him useful. McDonald appears ready to join Deborah Harry on the Island of Lost Souls. O’Marra is already there and owns property.
Among the midsection there have been no recalls which makes sense (who orders porridge?) with Lerg probably a year away from getting his NHL shot (or more).
From the Doors collection we have two recalls (Potulny and Schremp) with no one else in sight.
So, ranking the AHL players who made Jonathan’s list (and excluding Ryan Stone who I’ll deal with later) the natural callups would be Potulny, Schremp, Reddox and Brule. Only Sestito stands out and as we know there was a specific reason (grit, aggression) for his recall.
As always seems to be the case, the phone rings when you’re ready.