With the season now completed, we can begin to pick at the bones and make our own decisions on players. I think it’s especially important since this season we can’t seem to agree on much. Every Oiler has a group of boosters and a group of detractors and despite the obvious (the world is not black and white, it is grey) surely there’s some middle ground.

Let’s begin by stealing a bunch of stuff from Gabriel Desjardins.

First, let’s make a list of 5×5 points per 60. These numbers are not perfect but give us some indication about the team’s top performers during the heart of each game.

5×5 Performance 08-09 (Forwards)

  1. Hemsky 2.08
  2. Pisani 1.81
  3. Stortini 1.76
  4. Penner 1.71
  5. Cogliano 1.69
  6. O’Sullivan 1.69
  7. Gagner 1.69
  8. Pouliot 1.67
  9. Brodziak 1.62
  10. Horcoff 1.59
  11. Moreau 1.50
  12. MacIntyre 1.43
  13. Reddox 1.43
  14. Kotalik 1.38
  15. Nilsson 1.22

To put these numbers into context, the NW division had a 11 forwards over 2.00/5×5 per 60 this season. The Flames had 5, Vancouver 4, Edmonton and Minnesota had 1 and Colorado had none. So the 2 playoff teams had at least one full line doing it, and the other teams were crumbly. I don’t think we should make too much of Colorado not having one, Ryan Smyth was pretty close.

Now, let’s list the “toughness of minutes” for Oilers forwards this season:

  1. Horcoff .04
  2. Moreau .01
  3. Pisani .01
  4. Hemsky .00
  5. Penner .00
  6. O’Sullivan -.02
  7. Nilsson -.03
  8. Reddox -.04
  9. Cogliano -.04
  10. Gagner -.04
  11. Pouliot -.06
  12. Kotalik -.06
  13. Brodziak -.07
  14. Stortini -.13
  15. MacIntyre -.14

So here we get some idea of context. Horcoff delivered about as much per hour on offense as Brodziak or Pouliot but he did it against much better pitching. One player faced Roy Halliday every night, the other faced the Washington Nationals. Among the soft parade people, Zach Stortini performed the best and Ales Kotalik should be ashamed of himself.

Next up, we have quality of linemates. If you’re doing the heavy lifting, who are you doing it with?

  1. Hemsky .26
  2. Horcoff .18
  3. Gagner .11
  4. Penner .11
  5. Nilsson .10
  6. Kotalik .01
  7. Nilsson -.03
  8. Cogliano -.03
  9. Pouliot -.03
  10. O’Sullivan -.04
  11. Moreau -.04
  12. Pisani -.07
  13. Stortini -.12
  14. Brodziak -.12
  15. MacIntyre -.32

Adding this element gives us a chance to view Fernando Pisani’s season in a different way. He performed well (against the team collective) at 5×5 and did some heavy work with minus help. Ethan Moreau should get some credit for the same thing (but to a lesser degree).

At some point I’ll add the area of the ice where each player picked up his spade and began to dig, which will further benefit Horcoff and redeem Brodziak to some extent. I don’t think there’s much help coming for Nilsson and Kotalik, though.*

*I’ve included O’Sullivan and Kotalik although most of their seasons were spent elsewhere.

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