The Case for Hiring Khabibulin

In a thread below respected blogger speeds asked me a question about Nikolai Khabibulin and my support of his signing.

Quoting speeds: “What made you change your stance here, LT? I can remember the topic of Biron at 9 mil over 3 years coming up in the July 1st thread, and you mentioning that would be crazy. Is this not far “crazier” in your mind?”

I gave Michael a quick explanation last night, but felt a need to write a more coherent response this morning (plus can’t sleep anyway).

Earlier in the off-season, I gave my opinon about how the Oilers summer would go if they let me behind the wheel. My thoughts and various responses are here and detail my preference to replace Roloson AND Deslauriers with Jaroslav Halak and a veteran backup (I chose Jason LaBarbara in the model, now I’d chase Biron).

When the Oilers signed Khabibulin, it was certainly not my first choice as a fan. Those dollars could have been used up front on a free agent where there are a lot of question marks, or perhaps even better saved for a time in the summer (like now) when teams are drowning in dollars and cannot make a move without a salary dump.

So I began looking at reasons why the Oilers would have made this decision. At this blog and others everyone was well aware of the plethora of good goaltenders available through free agency this summer and it was completely reasonable to believe the Oilers could get a bargain who would also be more than adequate. However, as a new hire I’m not certain Tambellini would choose starting goaltender as the position he’d like to get ballsy on, especially with the new head coach probably expressing a strong desire for a proven starter.

I think Steve Tambellini sat down with Pat Quinn and Tom Renney and they made a list of off-season priorities. Right at the top was goaltending. I believe Tambellini said after the signing that the formet Jet was right at the top of their list but they weren’t sure he was going to come along. Remember, Khabibulin was coming off a successful season and a famous post-season so likely had increased value despite the warts (a very poor delivery on wins for the dollars Chicago spent over the last few seasons). It’s also true that Khabibulin’s SP (.919) was good for a 6th place tie league-wide in 2008-09. Further, the was no guarantee that there would be a Marty Biron standing at the end of this process, and in fact the Islanders ended up being a surprise free agent player at the goalie position. If a team like Philadelphia had suddenly entered the picture, or Chicago pushed harder to bring Khabibulin back, the Oilers could easily have been on the outside looking in July 1 (in terms of a proven starter, which was clearly the priority).

The contract (a long one for significant dollars) has been universally panned by the blogosphere. I’m not certain it’s the doom contract some are claiming, it seems to me the Oilers could trade the contract if Khabibulin is injured long term or retires. A team needing to get to the cap floor would no doubt have use for this type of contract, and although the Oilers may need to give up an additional asset at that time we may be going overboard in terms of the almost universal distaste for the contract.

The decision about what goalie to sign offers us major insight into the organization’s new hires (Tambellini, Quinn and Renney). It runs counter to Ken Holland’s first major move as General Manager of the Detroit Red Wings. The club had just won the 1997 Stanley and were having trouble signing Mike Vernon. Holland dealt him to San Jose for picks and elevated Chris Osgood to a starting role for the following season and they won the Stanley again with Osgood playing all but one of the playoff minutes.

Holland had a team that had just come off a Stanley and were loaded. Tambellini isn’t in the same position with this hockey club. I think there is a reasonable case to be made here that with the circumstances as they are, Tambellini was justified in taking what he believed to be the safest hire.

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316 Responses to "The Case for Hiring Khabibulin"

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  1. Asiaoil says:

    LT is up early – Asia is up late…

    I was mildly positive at the time but have become increasingly negative as the weeks rolled by and good options are still available for far less and for a far shorter a term. The Bulin signing seems a hasty move made for no reason – I guess it shows activity by the new GM – but little else in hindsight.

    This team needed a few things in the off-season: value vet contracts in the bottom 6 and especially at 3/4C, a start at moving the capkillers Nilsson, Moreau and Staios, and a reliable goalie at a reasonable price. Seems to me that we have doing nothing on the first two points and Bulin is questionable regarding both cost and reliability. Still some time to go before TC – but this summer has been both way too inactive and ineffective for team that missed the playoffs.

  2. alphahelix says:

    The moment this deal went through I was shocked. The first thing that ran through my head was "what is the term? if this is a 1 or 2 year deal, its a great signing". 4 year deal is just too ridiculous to cover for. Thats really what its all about. That 40 year old season. The one we desperately wanted Roloson to play elsewhere, for some reason.

    Reading your entire post… okay, you've convinced me LT, lets do 3 years. I'll push beyond my greatest instincts and inclinations and give him that 3rd year to make sure he comes here. But 4? Its just wrong. How about that Grebeshkov deal? Was Liam Reddox really a useless scab, or is he going to turn out better than Toby Petersen? (who immediately played a large role on a strong playoff team the year after we cut him out.) How about Brodziak for picks? Maybe Tambellini hasn't done anything that is going to devastate us for years to come, but when you add up a lot of these things combined with the fact that he has made literally 0 significant additions (Khabibulin is merely a replacement), this is a really bad summer so far.

    Most importantly, I have to suggest that you make an addition to the reasoning behind this signing: Panic. We paniced when Roloson signed that deal, and we did what it took to get Khabibulin under contract within the next few minutes (under an hour). That is panic. Is that a good trait to have in a GM?

  3. MilkMan says:

    I was and still am quite happy with the signing of Khabibulin. For all the praise that Roloson got last year he always seemed to give up too many rebounds creating extra shots. Now granted he saved many of those rebound oppertunities I think he put our defense under pressure too often. Khabibulin is far more polished in that art as well as his puck handling skills and those two things alone will make us tougher to score against.

    I would have preferred a 3 year deal but as elite goalies have proven to last into their late 30's I can live with the 4 year contract. And as Lowetide suggests, the contract is trade friendly.

  4. RiversQ says:

    This is not a case for hiring Khabibulin.

    You have made no points in favour other than "there was no guarantee that Biron would be left standing after July 1st" Which can be countered by pointing out that reasonably performing UFA goaltenders outnumbered the available positions.

    This is your interpretation of the Oilers thought process and you're simply not offering whether you think they're wrong or not.

    Do you question the prioritization of the goaltender position or not?

    Does having a bad team mean you should place the acquisition of mediocre goaltending above all else? At the expense of improving the skaters?

  5. Lowetide says:

    Rivers Q: I certainly do not question the goaltending as being a priority. I've given my solution in the previous post (linked in this post).

    I'm stating that the Oilers feel they acquired the best possible solution (.919SP in 08-09) and I'm fairly certain most NHL teams would do something similar given their situation.

    You seem to believe the Oilers will make no effort to improve the forwards before opening night. I don't share that belief.

    Beyond that, what criteria are you using to define him as a mediocre goaltender? Is that definition one that is universal or one that allows you to frame the issue in the best possible light for your argument?

  6. Smarmy Boss says:

    I don't think Tambo is going to have Anderson be the starter so the Oiler internet community can be smug.

    And Biron? Not that sexy.

  7. godot10 says:

    The goaltending decision is a result of the coaching decision. Quinn needed a "name" goaltender, with a track record, whom he could be confident in.

    Given the option of 4 years for Khabibulin or 2 years of Roloson, I would have chosen 2 years of Roloson, but 2 years for Roloson would have been as louded condemned as 4 years for Khabibulin.

    Khabibulin has a Stanley Cup ring, and has taken a second team to the Conference finals. Biron has basically been a playoff flop. Quinn wanted a guy who had done it.

    If they had gone the route of Arniel or Dineen, than a moneypuck goaltender would work. But the moneypuck solution was a non-starter with Quinn as the coach.

  8. quain says:

    Well, thank goodness we hired a proven coach from 1973. Linematching? That's for pussies! Sam Gagner is going to learn how to shut down Jarome Iginla, goddammit! Salary cap? What the hell is that? I never heard about one of those in Toronto! Bring me a guy who won a Stanley Cup some time after the Ice Age! No matter the cost!

  9. Lowetide says:

    quain: The one thing I don't think we've touched on enough this summer is Quinn's line matching or lack of it.

    I've been reading through some Pension Plan Puppets (fabulous blog) stuff and it really does seem as though it'll be a free for all.

  10. quain says:

    I'm all for it. Shawn Horcoff might nab a few more points when he's not playing every tough minute (less complaining about his contract!), and Gagner/Cogliano should get shelled which means, hopefully, cheaper second contracts.

    I'm not sure how a team makes the playoffs without line matching away some of the warts of this line-up, but that's just part of the adventure.

  11. Lowetide says:

    quain: I think this summer is going to come down to a couple of things. Does management feel they've seen enough of people like Pouliot and Brule in the roles they're slotted for currently?

    And do we as fans have to wait until Pat Quinn figures out who and who can't play before the club makes changes?

    I cannot believe the Oilers will stay with this hand.

  12. quain says:

    I cannot believe the Oilers will stay with this hand.

    I felt pretty confident there was no way we wouldn't acquire a Marty Reasoner at the trade deadline, but we didn't. If there's a move made, I'm fairly certain it's going to be along the lines of Heatley finally accepting the trade or a Souray dump rather than something boring, but necessary, like 'The Oilers sign Manny Maholtra to a two year deal.' I think we go into the season with a bottom six that looks exactly like our current bottom six.

  13. Fake Craig McTavish says:

    @ LT

    Ireland speculating this morning that the short term signing of Grebs was to allow some flexibility next season and she identifies Zherdev as a possible target.

  14. dawgbone says:

    Can we please stop giving Khabibuline credit for the Hawks post-season run? He was very good against Calgary, but was absolutely wretched against Vancouver and Detroit.

    When your team needs to score 4+ goals per game to win, you are not part of what's going well.

  15. Lowetide says:

    dawgbone: I don't think there's any credit due Khabibulin. iirc he had the word sp among playoff goalies this season (or close to).

    Having said that, the perception was that he'd had a strong postseason and it made him famous again. That was my point.

  16. linnaeus says:

    I have a guess about why they wanted Khabibulin. Quinn's teams play a very different style from MacT's Oilers. They don't line match, they crash and bang, and pinch. In other words we can expect our shots for to go up, possibly substantially, and our shots against to decrease, hopefully also by a large amount. However, when the system breaks down, and it will, you are going to see some very high quality opportunities for the opposition (Iginla on a break away). We are going from a counterpunch, it isn't what you create but what you leave team to an attacking, forechecking, puck possession team. Our style and Chicago's won't be so far apart anymore. Rollie might not have flourished whereas making the impossible stop is sort of what Khabibulin is known for. If he is motivated and focussed he'll be a good addition, though those are big ifs I'll admit. I should also point out that he has the reputation of being a good teacher and an excellent teammate, even when is head isn't in the game.

  17. Asciutto says:

    The Oilers are a non-play-off team
    and
    are up against the Cap.

    That's because there have been too many signings like this Khabibulin deal.

    It's likely the worst contract signed during the most recent
    Free Agent Frenzy

  18. Sean says:

    I'm not sure the moneypuck goaltender was the right choice either. It didn't work for Conkinen. Edmonton is a pressure market that needs a veteran goaltender. But I still don't like the term.

  19. B.C.B. says:

    I was always fairly happy with the Bulin Wall deal. I know the term is scary, but we signed Roli to a similar contract after 206 (and people didn't start sharpening their pitch forks on that on): Roli signed a three year, $3.6 million contract at 37; Bulin signed a four year deal, worth 3.75 million a season, at 36. What the f*ck, people? It is virtually the same contract.

    Another thing, I think it is irresponsible to think that the Oilers freaked out and signed Bulin as a response to Roli signing on the island. We all new for days leading up to free agency, that the Oilers where not signing Roli to a multi-year deal: so who thinks Tambo's plan was to wait till Roli can't find a two year deal and then match his best offer? If you do please think about get a vasectomy and save the world from your half retarded children. The Bulin deal could not have been negotiated from start to finish in the one hour between the announcement of Roli's contract and the announcement of Bulin's contract. There would not have been time for Bulin's agent to complete due-diligence and call around to see if there was a better offer, might as well that plus the negotiation itself and the NHL approving it. IMO, this deal was being worked on all Canada Day morning, and once Roli sign with NYI, the final touches where added and it was signed. It was not panic, but a strong plan B if the Oilers could not get Roli for 1 year.

    The Bulin Wall's save % and GAA is higher in the playoff then the regular (which are decent numbers in them self): He has a career goal against average is 2.67 in the regular season, and 2.40 in the playoffs! His save % is 0.908 in the regular and a 0.914 in the playoffs! Between that and his ring, I would say that he is a big game player.

    Sorry for the long post, but I don't know why we are making Khabibulin the problem with our team before we see him play a game.

  20. B.C.B. says:

    Asciutto said:"[the Khabibulin deal is] likely the worst contract signed during the most recent Free Agent Frenzy."

    nope. Chris Neil 2 million for 4 years, aka the new Moreau deal. At least we don't have it.

  21. Oilman says:

    Worst contract? That's a bit of a stretch I think.

    LT – I'm no cap expert and I know a lot of the angst over the Khabilulin signing is the over 35 clause – meaning the Oilers are on the hook for his cap hit, even if he retires next year, for the entire contract. What I don't know, but I'm hoping someone else does, is what if Khabibulin is assigned to the AHL before he retires. Hypothetically, if he says after 2 years that he's done, can he not do so after the next season starts and the Oilers assign him to the OC Roadrunners, where he would then announce his retirement? Essentially, is a retired contract buried in the minors = no cap hit? I'm thinking a loophole that big would be covered wouldn't it?

  22. speeds says:

    So your case for Tambellini hiring Khabibulin is that Tambellini wants to play it safe on his first goalie signing hiring and that the coach he hired wants a name in goal?

    I don't see how Khabibulin can be considered a safe signing. Do you mean safe as in Tambellini was protecting his job, that if the signing doesn't work out well he'll say something like " Well, I signed Khabibulin, who could have seen a #1 goalie have turned out as badly as Khabibulin did?", or safe as in Tambellini felt Khabibulin was clearly the goalie with the highest downside of those available? That you "know what you're going to get" with Khabi?

    I'll submit that we don't know what the Oilers are going to get from 36-39 Khabibulin, and that Biron was a "safer" signing. Better stats since the lockout, 4 years younger, no cap issues, less recent injuries.

    Khabibulin may be great, I really hope that he is.

    But at the time I didn't think there was much of a case to jump at Khabibulin and sign him to the contract they did. Biron is still sitting around, so I don't yet see the evidence that I was wrong at that time, though it's true that I don't have all the information the Oilers management could/should/does? have about Biron's asking price.

    All that said, I was not, and am not, necessarily against signing Khabibulin going into next season, but I am not a fan of this particular contract and when it was signed.

    If it were July 18th, and the papers had been reporting that the Oilers had been in talks for a week or two with both Khabi and Biron, and ended up signing Khabibulin for 2 years at 6 mil, I might disagree with choosing Khabi over Biron, and I might not like 2 years vs 1, but I would feel more confident that they had meticulously investigated and evaluated all their options.

  23. Hoos says:

    I'm going to have to agree with alphahelix here and say a couple of things:

    (1) Khabby seemed to be a panic move to me. For all his Obama-esque cool on the outside, both Heatley and Khabby came off as desperation. Even today, the chase for Heatley reminds me of Adam Sandler's sketch on SNL, "The Denise Show". We're about one day away from Tambo smelling Heater's hockey glove on Oilers Live.

    (2) It seems to me that cap space is the best asset that a team could have. the NBA's salary cap took a dip this year and is projected to fall $7-10 million for 2010. What does that mean for the NHL's? Spending up to the cap is only good when cap room is artificially created at the end of each season. These days are over, and the Oilers should be shedding salary in preparation for some excellent deals in the next couple of off seasons. Going after Heatley and Khabby are not the way to do this.

    (3) There are a few pluses on this team, and they begin primarily on the back end. But these pluses are quickly negated by their cap number. Are the contracts fair value? Maybe they are. But this again doesn't leave the Oilers much room to do anything positive anywhere else.

    (4) How much of a difference will Quenny make as coach(es)? I'm wafting on this, but we can all admit that Mac was BIZZARE for at least the last season if not before. Fighting with fans after games, destroying guys in the media … usually you could see the method to his maddness, but last season there were way more questions than answers. I don't think you need a top line LW IF Penner can be turn into the player he was in ANA. I don't think you need a top line centre if you use Horcoff appropriately.

    Never before have I been so confused and exhausted following the choices, non-choices and craziness that has made up the Oilers' offseason.

    I guess, can we agree that some players were not placed in positions to succeed last year? If we can agree on that, then why can't these players be used appropriately with a new "culture" in the room?

    I'm so confused ….

  24. Smytty777 says:

    Oilman: there is no way to bury an over 35 contract. Not through retirement, not in the minors and not retiring in the minors.

    That being said every player that I'm aware of simply gets put on LTIR and their cap space can essentially be replaced. See Rathje, Warrener, Mogilny, Hatcher, Zhamnov.

    The other alternative is to loan him to the KHL where I believe his contract would not count against the cap either.

    The risk of having to swallow his retired contract is very minimal in my mind, given that there are fairly simple ways around it, LTIR being the most commonly used.

  25. Oilman says:

    Makes sense – seemed to easy – which I guess it really is anyway.

  26. Smytty777 says:

    Just to clarify the KHL route may require a transfer agreement to be in place (I'm not actually aware of any players being transferred without an agreement in place). So that may not be as viable an alternative.

  27. mc79hockey says:

    Speeds has said a lot of what I want to say. Basically, I think that this is only a safe signing if you want to be able to say to the masses if it doesn't work out: "Look, he was a Cup winning goalie coming off a Conference Finals appearance. How could we know it wouldn't work out?" That line will sell, I think.

    Personally, as I've explained here and elsewhere, I think that there are all sorts of red flags about the guy and there were better deals available. This team needs some guys who beat their contracts. That's not really Tambo's fault – it's Lowe's – but you can't start the process of digging out of that mess by continuing to hand out contracts that are unlikely to be outperformed.

  28. mc79hockey says:

    Wow, apparently KP could be worse.

  29. Lowetide says:

    speeds: I'm saying that Tambellini made what he felt was the best bet. Again, I would have gone with Halak but then again I don't have the job so can blue sky all day long.

    MC touched on it imo, this was a cya signing. The other thing is the backup goalie and the fact he'll play a lot this season.

  30. Lowetide says:

    What was the term? Delores?

  31. Mr DeBakey says:

    "using a slang term associated with a woman’s anatomy"

    Jellyboobs?

  32. Ribs says:

    Makes sense – seemed to easy – which I guess it really is anyway.

    Yea, that over 35 thing is a bugger. I had completely forgot about it at the time of the signing.

    I do assume though that you could just trade him to a team that had signed an overpaid, underachieving player or one that bolts for the KHL and bury that player in the minors as long as they signed before they were 35. Katz money is supposed to make this kind of thing possible.

    Point is, any contract is moveable. There's no sense getting worked up about this one until he browns the sheets for an entire season.

  33. mc79hockey says:

    I just assume he called someone Sugartits.

  34. Lowetide says:

    Bernazard was a pretty good player btw. Bronfman didn't like him so the Expos dealt him away just as he was getting good. Sigh.

  35. Ribs says:

    …Tony Bernazard removed his shirt and challenged the Double-A players to a fight during a postgame tirade

    I never unstood the taking off your shirt thing to challenge people to fight. I've seen it many times but where does that come from?

    …If KP took off his shirt and challenged someone to fight it would be beyond hilarious.

  36. Ender says:

    Tim Thomas got a 4-year contract for 5mil/per this year. No other goalie (aside from Bulin) that has been signed so far has stuck as a #1 for more than a season.

    Just to put it in context: there are 9 teams paying less for goaltending this year than Edmonton. Most of the teams who are not are tied up long-term and are going to be screwed if/when the cap comes down. For this year, I'm reasonably confident that Bulin is good enough to be considered in the top 21 of the league.

    Yes, it's a long contract, and no, it's not a slam-dunk deal. But it's the closest thing to a safe bet via free agency that was (and is) available. I dunno about you, but IMO Edmonton is shitty with goalies in general, and want as little risk as possible. You're arguing risking money and cap space, which is fair, but what about risking your season on goalies who *should* be good enough like Mike Conkannen?

    Maybe they could have gotten him for three years and maybe they couldn't. Maybe they're hoping he'll at least be a good mentor to JDD and/or Dubnyk.

    I mean, I could swear I heard people applauding the Roli deal when it was done, and as % of the cap goes, this gets you a goalie with a higher high-end at less a % for *maybe* a year more than you'd like.

    Is that really enough to pan this over?

  37. RiversQ says:

    LT: The mediocre comment comes from the fact that his stats are below league average for several years running. Insert that in my argument if it makes you feel better.

    Anyway my original point stands – you aren't making a case for Khabibulin, you're trying to explain the Oilers' thinking. That's not a defense of any kind.

  38. mc79hockey says:

    But it's the closest thing to a safe bet via free agency that was (and is) available.

    Speaking of people ignoring the arguments of others…Biron has been mentioned repeatedly, if you don't have a taste for risk. What makes him not an appropriate bet, or not someone you use to leverage a better deal?

    You're arguing risking money and cap space, which is fair, but what about risking your season on goalies who *should* be good enough like Mike Conkannen?

    Simple proposition: You need $10,000.00 to go to university for the year. You have only two potential sources of funding: a) you can invest $1,000 in a business that will net you exactly $6,000.00 over the course of the summer or b) you can spend the $1,000 on lottery tickets.

    The correct decision is b, even though your expected return is lower. I think that the Oilers are far enough away from being a playoff team and in such desperate need of additional NHL players that they needed to take on the additional risk.

    There's a scene in a movie that talks about this, although I'll be damned if I can remember what it is. It's not Rounders, something else.

    I mean, I could swear I heard people applauding the Roli deal when it was done…

    Here's what I said at the time:

    I love Dwayne Roloson (aptly described as the Warren Zevon of goalies by Neate Sager) for what he did in the playoffs (although I'm no Roloson fetishist) but it blows my mind that Lowe ended up paying him $11MM/3. At least Lowe can point to Roloson's playoff performance as justification – Gerber gets a similar deal from Ottawa despite having been bombed in the playoffs. We'll see where Manny Legace ends up for and for how much but I'd say that it's probably a coin toss as to which of the three provides the most value over the next three years and I'll be surprised if Legace gets more than $2MM annually.

    Legace ended up getting $1MM for 06-07. Do the 2006-07 Oilers maybe make a playoff appearance if they leveraged shit a bit and had another $2.6MM to spend on something useful?

  39. Oilman says:

    What was the term? Delores?

    Mulva?

    What a great time to be a fan of both the Oilers and the Mets *sigh*

  40. slipper says:

    Here is a team with one NHL center, no second line, and a shitload of cap trouble over the horizon with some good, young players in need of raise. So they invest in an, at best, minor upgrade at goaltender while assuming a whole load of unnecessary risk with the term and the age.

    And it was a buyer's market?

  41. Oilman says:

    Legace ended up getting $1MM for 06-07. Do the 2006-07 Oilers maybe make a playoff appearance if they leveraged shit a bit and had another $2.6MM to spend on something useful

    I'm going to go out on a limb here and say no.

  42. Lowetide says:

    Rivers Q: I think it's pretty self explanatory. I'm not offering my opinion because it's been done previously and I posted a link. I'm not defending the Khabibulin signing as an option I prefer, just trying to understand their pov. I don't think this is terribly difficult to understand, especially for someone as clearly intelligent as you have proven to be over a long period.

    So, no defense is coming. Just an attempt to understand the thought process and to ask if we could reasonably expect a different result based on the quality of the team and the GM/coach tandem.

  43. kris says:

    LT's quite right. Can I put it this way: Given the fan base here in Edmonton, the org. had to sign a name brand goalie. If they'd brought in Labarbara (or even Biron) and he fell on his face, every fan on the number 8 bus would've thought management was insane.

    On the other hand, if Khabibulin falls on his face, you can always say we knew it might happen, but we did sign a goalie who had succeeded in the past. (It also creates excitment in the average fans, who desperately want something to hope for.)

    I think Rivers, this is a defense or justification in the way that spousal abuse is a defense in a murder trial.

    But I don't know. If you asked me to bet 5 bucks right now on who was going to have the better season, I thnk I'd bet on Khabibulin over Labarbera, Garon, Biron, and the others in the 'buyers market.'

    SP% is a funny number. And goalies are voodoo.

  44. Lowetide says:

    kris: Excellent post. That's really the thing here, along with the fact that (imo) we're getting angry at management because they're not playing by rules they're likely unaware of at this time.

    I suspect it would have been a similar feeling watching Jesus Alou play everyday, or knowing intellectually there was a platoon advantage but knowing your team's manager didn't believe in it. Basically anyone not named Gene Mauch in the 1960's.

  45. Showerhead says:

    Legace ended up getting $1MM for 06-07. Do the 2006-07 Oilers maybe make a playoff appearance if they leveraged shit a bit and had another $2.6MM to spend on something useful?

    There aren't many PR departments that could effectively spin trashing your Conn Smythe candidate after a tremendous performance in favor of a guy you beat who was so devastated by his own performance he nearly took his own life before you were done beating him.

  46. Satisfied_to_Ignore says:

    Man, this stuff just sucks you in when you're a passionate oilers fan hey!

    Nice points all here.

    I would like to propose there is no risk in the Khabi signing.

    If he comes in and plays great, all is good.

    If he gets hurt, long term especially, we go get Biron, Anderson, Halak or another goalie that has been mentioned here and put khabi on LTIR. A failed experiment with little to no cost to the team.

    If he comes in and sucks we trade JDD (if he can't handle the load obviously) for Biron, Anderson, Halak or another goalie that has been mentioned here and we are still sitting at what, 6 to 7 million for goalies? Not that unreasonable. Yes a little cost to the team here, but I'm sure that they find a way to move khabi to someone that needs to reach the floor or find a creative way to bury that salary hit.

    Was it the best move available, maybe. We are not privy to enough information to say. Was it a bad move, I would say no.

  47. Doogie2K says:

    I'll submit that we don't know what the Oilers are going to get from 36-39 Khabibulin, and that Biron was a "safer" signing. Better stats since the lockout, 4 years younger, no cap issues, less recent injuries.

    I would submit that the other factor that isn't discussed here is, maybe Biron didn't want to come to Edmonton. He'd be far from the first. And yes, Tambo said that Khabi was their first priority, but if he didn't have irons in multiple fires before the deal was signed, he wasn't doing his job.

    Bernazard was a pretty good player btw. Bronfman didn't like him so the Expos dealt him away just as he was getting good. Sigh.

    I remember that happening a lot with Ronald Corey and the Canadiens in the late 80s and early 90s, culminating in the Roy trade. Must've been something in the St. Lawrence.

    The mediocre comment comes from the fact that his stats are below league average for several years running.

    This was delved into a bit yesterday, but should it not be noted that he was playing on a crap team for each of those several years?

  48. kris says:

    there is no risk

    I think you mean 'less risk than some are saying'

  49. Oilman says:

    maybe Biron didn't want to come to Edmonton

    I think every armchair genius Gm in Edmonton consistently ignores this factor – even in the face of so much recent evidence that many players would not consider Edmonton. The "we could have signed Havlat for $5million" rants drive me crazy…as I've said before – no, we couldn't. We couldn't sign Hossa for $9million remember?

  50. mc79hockey says:

    There aren't many PR departments that could effectively spin trashing your Conn Smythe candidate after a tremendous performance in favor of a guy you beat who was so devastated by his own performance he nearly took his own life before you were done beating him.

    They've sold out the last three years of shit hockey. I think you underestimate what the Oilers can do.

    Plus, if they're running this team on the basis of what's easier to explain up front at the expense of winning games, it'd be nice if they'd let us know, I'll disengage myself and become a Jackets fan or something.

  51. mc79hockey says:

    I would submit that the other factor that isn't discussed here is, maybe Biron didn't want to come to Edmonton.

    It's been discussed here. Edmonton might not have been his first choice. Is it reasonable to think he'd rather be unemployed or in Russia?

  52. Ender says:

    Speaking of people ignoring the arguments of others…Biron has been mentioned repeatedly, if you don't have a taste for risk. What makes him not an appropriate bet, or not someone you use to leverage a better deal?

    You might have noticed that I mentioned that none of the other goalies has stuck as a #!, including Biron. For a team that deals so poorly with goalies, that has to count for something
    I think that the Oilers are far enough away from being a playoff team and in such desperate need of additional NHL players that they needed to take on the additional risk.

    Ok, I'll buy this. I disagree, but I'll buy it. However, what, exactly, is making them so far away from being a playoff team? I guarantee you that had Vis not gotten injured last year, we would have been in the playoffs (we sure as hell didn't miss by much) and we have more or less the same roster. What's changed to make this team so far away from a playoff team?

    Legace ended up getting $1MM for 06-07. Do the 2006-07 Oilers maybe make a playoff appearance if they leveraged shit a bit and had another $2.6MM to spend on something useful?

    IMO, no. No 2.6mil player is going to save you from the last 20 games of the season. Fair enough that you didn't like the Roli deal; I thought it was a bad deal too. But I think this one is better, much better. That said, I'm pretty sure that your opinion on Roli was not the norm. Not 100%, but pretty sure.

  53. mc79hockey says:

    This was delved into a bit yesterday, but should it not be noted that he was playing on a crap team for each of those several years?

    LaBarbera was playing on worse teams and posted a better save percentage in that time.

  54. quain says:

    The "we could have signed Havlat for $5million" rants drive me crazy.

    I live in Chicago rather than Minnesota or Edmonton, so this is from 20,000 feet, but they both seem pretty similar: Small, hockey mad, cold, and fairly desolate.

    And I think the idea that Biron didn't get signed because he didn't want to come here doesn't pass the smell test. Management said Khabi was their first choice, and he got a sweetheart deal. It's a lot more likely they just never talked to anyone else, and Khabi was happy to get a huge payday based off forty-five good games.

  55. Ender says:

    LaBarbera was playing on worse teams and posted a better save percentage in that time.

    In a different division when people played 8 games against their own div.

  56. quain says:

    In a different division when people played 8 games against their own div.

    I'd argue Labarbera's division was a whole lot harder than Khabi's over the time frame.

    San Jose, Anaheim, and Dallas vs. Detroit and that one year the Predators were good.

  57. mc79hockey says:

    You might have noticed that I mentioned that none of the other goalies has stuck as a #1, including Biron.

    Biron stuck as a number one until he got surpassed by Ryan Miller in Buffalo. He went to Phily, where he promptly became a number one again. He's not a platoon guy.

    I guarantee you that had Vis not gotten injured last year, we would have been in the playoffs (we sure as hell didn't miss by much) and we have more or less the same roster.

    I disagree with you that it's guaranteed that the Oilers would have made the playoffs with Vis. They finished 7 points out. Lubo missed 32 games. I'm fairly certain that he's not worth nine wins above replacement over the course of 82 games.

    With that said, I'm glad to hear that the Oilers have a plan that will ensure that no key players suffer serious injuries this year.

    No 2.6mil player is going to save you from the last 20 games of the season.

    No, but having Smyth might and he wouldn't have been gone if they were closer. And, while I'm always hesitant to get into the psych stuff, that team shut it down after the Smyth trade.

    As far as what other people thought about Roloson, looking around, I see Riv described his contract as "rather large".

    What they thought about Roloson's deal is, of course, irrelevant – I'm just kind of playing your game here. You complain that nobody's mind gets changed by the debate – maybe a bunch of people were influenced by me screaming about the goalie market for three years. So long as they aren't advancing arguments that they've previously rejected without explaining why they were previously wrong, I don't really get what the big deal is.

    I also don't get how you can, on the one hand, say that nobody ever changes their mind about anything in the sphere, and on the other, say that everybody was cutting the Roli deal some slack and this is the exact same thing. I mean, I don't have a philosophy degree, but those seem to be some pretty irreconcilable propositions.

  58. spOILer says:

    I'm okay with the Khabib signing. I want a guy who can thrive under the pressure of living near the fishbowl that is LT's place.

    None of the other keepers available have shown that ability, with the exception of Roli, and the possible exception of Fernandez — whose abilities really seem to be slding with age.

    That's not to say the other keepers don't have it or can't get it, but that's where the risk in signing them lies. Conklin was able to play fine in Detroit and Pitt where he had to start a significant number of games in both places, but suffered under the Edmonton microscope. Biron has been rejected twice as a go-to guy by his coaches and management.

    This is a team with poise issues as it is. Somebody cool and solid and vet between the pipes while the kidlets are running around in their own end isn't a bad idea.

    Would I prefer less $s? Yup. Name a player I wouldn't prefer to pay less if I could. Would I prefer less term? Yup, but term isn't really an issue. He'll either go to a cap floor team or on LTIR or to the K. Let's not invent problems.

    And if he performs up to contract, well he's signed long-term. By the way, what does the term say about what the Oil really think of JDD — and also DD!

    As far as using the cap dollars for scoring up front, to my eye goals against was at least as big an issue last year,if not bigger. With the kids developing, a better year from Horc and Penner, continued improvement from Hemsky, I'm not as concerned about our goals so much as I am our opponents' goal-scoring. And that comes down to getting a real 3C, improving the PK, and finding a vet better and cheaper than Staios to be a true crease clearer and anchor the D.

  59. Ender says:

    I'd argue Labarbera's division was a whole lot harder than Khabi's over the time frame.

    I'm not necessarily disagreeing, but let's look at the numbers:

    2005/06: CHI (28), LA (20)
    2006/07: CHI (26), LA (28)
    2007/08: CHI (20), LA (29)
    2008/09: CHI (6), LA (26)

    Khabibulin's numbers increased as the team got better.

    Labarbera played 2 of those seasons entirely out of the A, one year as a starter, and had a much higher SV% (.915) in Van than he did in LA (.905) over his NHL seasons.

    Do with that info as you will.

  60. Oilman says:

    This was delved into a bit yesterday, but should it not be noted that he was playing on a crap team for each of those several years?

    The three dmen that played the most games for the Hawks that first season with Khabibulin in Chicago were Seabrook, Vandermeer, and Keith – they had a total of 70 NHL games experience between them to start the season – all 70 were Vandermere's.

    Aucoin, Cullimore, and Spacek were the three most experienced Dmen for Chicago and they played a conbined 132games (cullimore with the most at 54). 5 other rookies played D on that team with a total of 5 previous games experience in the NHL. That team was a mess…..Not even Craig Anderson could post a good SP on that team!:o)

  61. mc79hockey says:

    Labarbera…had a much higher SV% (.915) in Van than he did in LA (.905) over his NHL seasons.

    I can't believe that the guy who snarked at Scott yesterday about having a background in math/logic already thinks that nine games in YVR show anything.

  62. DanMan says:

    There is a quote out there, I don't know who said it: "Goalies and Pitchers audition every night".

    This is true. Goaltending is all about potential. Not potential in the sense of youth, draft position, scouting reports, etc., potential for being able to steal a game on any given night.

    Do you want an average-to-above average goalie who can be above above average-to-good on any given night? Or do you want an above average-to-good goalie who can be good-to-lights out on any given night?

    To me, guys like Roloson and Biron fit in the first category, while Khabibulin and Halak fit in the second.

    LT: Does it bug you a bit that the Habs dragged their feet before deciding to sign Sanford. I think if Halak was available pre-July 1, the Oilers would provide more return than other teams with goaltending needs

  63. Oilman says:

    LaBarbera was playing on worse teams and posted a better save percentage in that time.

    Define worse team. LA had 42 wins and 89 points in 05/06. Chicago had 26wins and 65 points.

  64. spOILer says:

    Oh and to clarify further, to my mind the Khabib signing is not a bridge deal, but a Success Now deal, which is why I can't believe the other issues above have yet to be resolved.

    Sign Peca $1M for 1 yr so he doesn't have to retire. Sign Seidenberg or someone similar who can hit, play D, clear the crease, PK. Deal Staios.

  65. Ender says:

    I also don't get how you can, on the one hand, say that nobody ever changes their mind about anything in the sphere, and on the other, say that everybody was cutting the Roli deal some slack and this is the exact same thing. I mean, I don't have a philosophy degree, but those seem to be some pretty irreconcilable propositions.

    Do you really need to post things to try make me look arrogant rather than just replying to the things that I say? Apparently. I said nobody changes their minds on a player once they've made it up, actually – that doesn't necessarily mean that they can't look at two similar situations and see completely different things. Reconciled!

    Seriously though, re: Biron, I actually completely forgot that he started in Buffalo, since he only did so for 3 years before the lockout, and only started for philly for 2 whole year since then. 5 years of starting in a 10 year career. Very little playoff experience. Bulin has been a starter for 15 years with a lot of playoff experience.

    To me, putting myself in the place of management (where they can't figure out goalies to save their lives), Bulin is easily the safer short-term bet, and as far as long-term goes, he has enough experience that he should at least be a very serviceable mentor.

  66. mc79hockey says:

    To me, guys like Roloson and Biron fit in the first category, while Khabibulin and Halak fit in the second.

    I'm sorry DanMan, but this might finally be the stupidest thing I've ever seen on the internet. One of those guys has the greatest peak of any goaltender ever. The other had a nice little run of elite play that ended seven years ago.

  67. Ender says:

    I can't believe that the guy who snarked at Scott yesterday about having a background in math/logic already thinks that nine games in YVR show anything.

    I didn't "snark," but anyway…

    If you prefer, he started one year in the NHL. In the second, he failed miserably, though his stats rebounded when he went to van. You prefer I say "He started one year, and in the second went from .893 in LA to .915 in Vancouver"? Sure, there's a sample space issue, but you're the one arguing he's in a comparable position to Khabibulin without having any sample to speak of.

  68. DanMan says:

    "I disagree with you that it's guaranteed that the Oilers would have made the playoffs with Vis. They finished 7 points out. Lubo missed 32 games. I'm fairly certain that he's not worth nine wins above replacement over the course of 82 games."

    mc79: Whether he's worth wins or not doesn't really matter. We had been above water for most of December, January, and basically until Big Vish went down. We were boxed in the 6-9 range most of the year, never lower than 10 when he was here.

    In other words: Healthy Vishnovsky = Playoff team.

  69. General Factotum says:

    I love how so many of us are seemingly so eager to conclude that Tambo has no idea what he's doing.

    There's no need to overreact to the risk associated with this signing. Trust me, the Oilers will have a trap door if/when Khabibulin's performance drops off. In addition to the ones LT has already mentioned, I suggest we all familiarize ourselves with this term, as discussed by Larry Brooks and Puck Daddy last week: "Amnesty buyouts".

    In the meantime, all Tambo did was secure the services of what the Oilers clearly identified to be, in their opinion, the best goalie available. We can debate that judgment, and I think JW has done a very credible job of doing so, but if they happen to be right, that's a good thing.

    Time to relax, take a deep breath, and go outside to enjoy some fresh air.

  70. DanMan says:

    You know what mc79hockey:

    Anyone trying to tell me that Jason LaBarbera is a great goalie shouldn't be calling anyone stupid. He has shitty reflexes. He is a shit goalie.

    You actually think that you are smarter than an NHL scout, GM, or coach. That I find hilarious.

    I hate to pull this card on you: But have you ever played or coached hockey at a high-level?

    The answer is obvious to me.

    And until you do, I would advise you watch some of the stuff you say. Not all of us are impressed.

  71. Traktor says:

    Craig Anderson 1.8
    Manny Malhotra 2.5
    Curtis Glencross 1.2
    Jay McKee 0.8

    = 6.3 million

    Shawn Horcoff 5.5
    Khabibulin 3.75
    Ethan Moreau 2.0
    Steve Staios 2.7

    = 13.2 million

    lol

  72. quain says:

    Anyone trying to tell me that Jason LaBarbera is a great goalie shouldn't be calling anyone stupid. He has shitty reflexes. He is a shit goalie.

    Nobody is trying to sell Jason LaBarbera as a great goalie. He's being sold as a guy who, for $1M a year at low term, could end up playing just as well as Khabibulin. If he doesn't, it's unfortunate but fairly easily fixed. If Khabibulin shows up like he did for three of the four years of his Chicago stint, we're doomed.

    Vinny Lecavalier has a hell of a lot of skill, but sometimes you'd rather have a Marty Reasoner. It has nothing to do with actual talent and everything to do with cost-benefit.

  73. mc79hockey says:

    Anyone trying to tell me that Jason LaBarbera is a great goalie shouldn't be calling anyone stupid. He has shitty reflexes. He is a shit goalie.

    A shit goalie on shit teams with a better save percentage since the lockout than the guy the Oilers just handed $15MM to. I'm not the guy who thinks Khabibulin is in Hasek's class.

    You actually think that you are smarter than an NHL scout, GM, or coach. That I find hilarious.

    I explicitly said in a previous thread that I have no doubt that they're better than me at identifying subtle distinctions between players. I think that they're shit at translating that to dollars or wins. I don't even get why that would be a controversial concept. There are academic studies showing that baseball teams were terrible at valuing things like OBP in the past.

    And until you do, I would advise you watch some of the stuff you say. Not all of us are impressed.

    Huh. Well, if I don't have the "Khabibulin is in the same class as Hasek" group on-board, I might as well just retire from the internets.

  74. Traktor says:

    "In other words: Healthy Vishnovsky = Playoff team."

    The only way Visnovsky would have pushed us into the playoffs is if he was an elite special teams player.

    He's not.

    Actually his PK work is so bad that MacTavish didn't even see him as an option.

  75. Ender says:

    Huh. Well, if I don't have the "Khabibulin is in the same class as Hasek" group on-board, I might as well just retire from the internets.

    Oh, I'm pretty sure it's not just him. But then again, I'm the guy who is ridiculously arrogant. After all, you constantly imply it, so it must be true.

  76. mc79hockey says:

    Oh and because I think that this merits some continual mention – my approach to goaltending is shared by people like Ken Holland. So if you want to piss on me for my lack of high level hockey experience, fill your boots – there's a guy who not only has it but has enjoyed success in management while doing so.

    The greatest accomplishment of the group that you're currently defending is ensuring that Ethan Moreau and Steve Staios' children won't ever have to work and can take vacations together, just like their dads.

  77. Ender says:

    Oh and because I think that this merits some continual mention – my approach to goaltending is shared by people like Ken Holland.

    Seriously. Anyone can find a big name to back up what they're saying. I mean, my god look at all the crazies (apologies to any of you who this applies to – I just think you're nuts) who back up their opinions with Ayn Rand.

    Appeal to authority doesn't mean jack when there's any sort of controversy in the subject.

  78. mc79hockey says:

    Appeal to authority doesn't mean jack when there's any sort of controversy in the subject.

    I agree with you. I'm responding to an argument that I lack the high level hockey expertise to be taken seriously.

  79. Traktor says:

    "I'm responding to an argument that I lack the high level hockey expertise to be taken seriously."

    Is Ender Vic's alias?

  80. quain says:

    God's the best goaltender and he doesn't platoon. Take that for what you will, but it means everyone loses the argument, but me. Because I walk with God on my side. Dig it.

  81. mc79hockey says:

    Henceforth, this shall be known as the thread in which Traktor and the numbers guys banded together. It takes a special brand of loopiness to force that.

  82. spOILer says:

    MC, dosn't seven points translate into a little less than 3 more wins over 32 games? Is that so tough to believe when we shorten the sample? I know you are just expanding it to a season, although I have no idea why.

    And why 3 more wins over his replacement? The original argument presented was if he wasn't replaced. The Oil had a poorer record with his replacement, essentially proving the point that he was worth those wins.

    DanMan, neither you nor MC nor I will ever know if the Oil would have made the second season if Lubo hadn't been hurt. No one can equate or guarantee the statement either way. It's just blowing into the wind.

  83. SK Oiler Fan says:

    Ender,
    Ken Holland's approach to goaltending works well when you have Lidstrom playing half the game and Rafalski, Stuart, Kronwall in your top 4 D.

    The Oilers do not have this luxury nor do most of the teams in the NHL.

  84. Ender says:

    I agree with you. I'm responding to an argument that I lack the high level hockey expertise to be taken seriously.

    You might be better off responding to the argument about not calling people idiots without some sort of expertise to back it up. I think that was the more relevant point.

    ————–

    And yes, guarantee was a bit of hyperbole, but if I were a betting man, i'd make that bet in an instant.

  85. Satisfied_to_Ignore says:

    wow, go have a hug boys!

    I hear Hossa might need shoulder surgery, maybe they will want khabi back and this is all moot (I hear he can really put the puck in the net)!

  86. Bruce says:

    //To me, guys like Roloson and Biron fit in the first category, while Khabibulin and Halak fit in the second.//

    Huh. Well, if I don't have the "Khabibulin is in the same class as Hasek" group on-board, I might as well just retire from the internets.

    DanMan: You talking about Jaroslav Halak or Dominik Hasek? They're not exactly similar.

  87. mc79hockey says:

    Christ. Sorry DanMan, I misread that. I may disagree with a ton of other shit you say and not really understand the Halak reference there, given that he's played all of 56 NHL games, but that's not what you said.

  88. mc79hockey says:

    MC, dosn't seven points translate into a little less than 3 more wins over 32 games?

    ?

    They needed seven more points to tie for eighth. I make that as 3.5 wins over 32 games. That's what they needed to make up. To be able to reasonably expect that they were going to make the playoffs but for Lubo's injury, I think that the argument has to be that he's worth 9 wins above replacement over 82. Otherwise, he gets you close and you're hoping for variance to push you over the line.

    I think he was a huge loss to the Oilers but I don't think that they would have been an odds-on favourite to make it with a healthy Lubo.

    And why 3 more wins over his replacement? The original argument presented was if he wasn't replaced.

    Might be a terminology problem here. Obviously he was replaced, in the sense that the Oilers didn't just play without a second defenceman for the TOI he would have played.

    When I talk replacement level, I'm talking about the theoretical level of performance a team can expect from a replacement that can be acquired with minimal expenditure of resources. In the Oilers' case, his minutes probably spilled onto other guys a lot, with someone else being drawn into the lineup. Strudwick doesn't replace Lubo. Strudwick replaces the minutes that everyone else doesn't play if Lubo is unavailable.

    The Oil had a poorer record with his replacement, essentially proving the point that he was worth those wins.

    I disagree with this. The Pens were like 4-1 without Crosby this year – do you think that they should ditch him and be an .800 team?

    There's all sorts of things that factor into this. The randomness can probably overwhelm a single player's contributions for a chunk of time. The schedule matters too – I remember commenting here in early March or something that I figured they'd be in it at the end of March because they had a soft schedule and then they'd just need to get lucky. I'm not comfortable saying Visnovsky is worth X because of their record with him out of the lineup.

  89. mc79hockey says:

    You might be better off responding to the argument about not calling people idiots without some sort of expertise to back it up.

    I clearly misread what he said, but if he was comparing Hasek to Khabibulin, that was a stupid comparison. And, in fairness to me, I didn't call him an idiot. I said that that was the stupidest thing I've ever read on the internet. Smart people say dumb shit sometimes.

  90. Promethian says:

    Dumbing it down a little here but…

    Who thinks Roloson is better than Khabibulin?

    It might have come down to that with the Oiler brass.

  91. Ender says:

    I clearly misread what he said, but if he was comparing Hasek to Khabibulin, that was a stupid comparison. And, in fairness to me, I didn't call him an idiot. I said that that was the stupidest thing I've ever read on the internet. Smart people say dumb shit sometimes.

    It's very true. Doesn't mean that it's ever your place to even imply someone is an idiot (which, let's face it, you did) without any real credentials to back it up.

    Now that you've rationalized calling what you thought were his ideas stupid, explain to me why you're intentionally trying to make me look arrogant today, regardless of what I post ;)

  92. kamus says:

    I hope Khabi plays over his head, but there's no way that was a good deal.
    I think its obvious the Oilers didn't negotiate at all, and just came in with an offer that had Khabi's agent telling him to sign before Lowe and Tambs run out of LSD.

  93. Coach pb9617 says:

    Khabi's agent telling him to sign before Lowe and Tambs run out of LSD.

    THAT'S where Grebs gets it!

    By the way – I love adding Ender to a discussion thread. It's like putting a snake into a tent and watching everyone run around.

  94. mc79hockey says:

    I've been trying to avoid the bait that you've been put out about three times not but you know what? Much as I appreciate you complaining that my response to your response about appeals to authority should have been to some other salient point in his argument that you didn't raise in your own initial foray into the discussion, are we nearing the point in the arc of your appearances where you announce that you're leaving the site forever?

    I mean, we all know from past experience that it's coming…I'm just not sure how much to invest in the discussion when that's the inevitable result.

    As for the arrogance: I don't think that you're arrogant. I think that you flit into these discussions every few months, you aren't really familiar with the background of people's positions – see your point about everyone loving the Roli signing, something that wasn't true and has been part of a broader theme with me for years – you get upset when people don't just roll over for your insights into the dynamics of the group discussion and whatever point is under discussion and then you get pissy when people really start to give it to you and announce you're quitting the site.

    Happened at BoA, happened at my site, I think it's even happened here before…I've been trying to avoid having it happen again. So if you think that you sense me thinking you're arrogant, you're wrong – I've just seen this particular routine before, even if I wasn't the person who really got into it with you on the other occasion, and it's tired.

    And I'm not that difficult to get along with, even if I disagree with people – I've got no problems with your buddy D2K, who I assume will be along shortly to tell me that I'm an asshole. (That's like how sometimes in a movie, there's a scene after the credits.)

    So look – let's skip it. Cheers. Have a good one.

  95. Lowetide says:

    MC: I don't think I've expressed this too well, but one of the main themes I'm trying to get at here is that Holland came into a situation where he could be risky (as explained earlier sending away Vernon and elevating Osgood).

    The Oilers don't have that kind of pipeline, they don't develop players in that way (Osgood had played 110 regular season games when Holland gave him back the top job).

    It's a better plan, but do the Oilers have the talent base, the mission statement or the desire to make that kind of decision at this time?

    My answer is no. I think this result (and this is clearly hindsight) is somewhat predictable.

  96. rickibear says:

    When your team needs to score 4+ goals per game to win, you are not part of what's going well.

    Yeah Grant fuhr and Andy Moog were shit!

  97. Coach pb9617 says:

    Yeah Grant fuhr and Andy Moog were shit!

    Ricki, they were on the shit, not actually shit.

  98. Ender says:

    @MC

    You've repeatedly throughout this thread dropped things like 'I'm not a philosopher, so I wouldn't know' or 'you with your math and logic'. I'm baiting you? If anything you're baiting me. I replied the way I did regarding the fact that you didn't answer the real point of what he was saying because you were already seemingly doing it to me, trotting out goaltenders as comparables who can't compare and then bashing my math for entertaining your argument.

    I don't need people to agree with me. I really, really don't. I do like people to be civil with me. I do like to be treated as an equal in places like this because (guess what?!) you have exactly as much insight and experience in being a GM or coach as I do. You're a lawyer, so I assume you're at least pretty good with logic and you've spent enough time on corsi to be reasonably good with math. Any person here can be that way. In no way does that make you more an expert on anything than it does me, DanMan, traktor, Lowetide, or Vic.

    If by "when people really give it to you" you mean "personally attack" then yea, I do leave when people really give it to me. I don't think that's unreasonable.

    If I baited, I'm sorry. It was either completely unintentional or a response to you trotting out phrases that imply strongly that I'm an arrogant twat, and should just leave and save you the trouble of explaining yourself.

    I know, I know, it's the internet. Assuming a baseline level of respect is out of the question. But my god, for someone who spends so much time with numbers and statistics, you'd think that some level of respect for other people or other people's opinions would be reasobable. No?

  99. DanMan says:

    mc79hockey: Look man, I take you seriously. Just don't fucking call me an idiot.

    I said Halak, not Hasek, btw.

    Analysing goalies is the most difficult part of scouting. Save % is probably the best tool we have in terms of stats.

    The problem is that a lot of very good goalies can be wildly inconsistent, we can look 300 KM south and see that.

  100. quain says:

    To me, guys like Roloson and Biron fit in the first category, while Khabibulin and Halak fit in the second.

    I'm not sure why Halak makes the statement anymore plausible than Hasek. Roloson would've stolen a cup for Edmonton had he not been injured. I recall, easily, an Anaheim performance last season that was a game stealer. There are plenty of Roloson-standing-on-his-head performances for this piss poor team.

    My point being, why is Halak grouped in the game-stealer category, and Roloson isn't?

  101. B.C.B. says:

    Through out all of this amusing cat fight, I think we have got off topic. I am saying that each side has good and sort-of analytical points about Bulin Wall's contract. I side with the loopiness (and not for their reasons).

    Assuming LT is right (and we all have been here before and continue to come back, because he often is), and the Oilers- aka Tambo/Quinn- were going tin TC with a veteran number one tender, who do we think is better:
    a) Roli
    b) Khabibulin
    This is multiple choice questions (like the ones you get in high-school or undergraduate course), and hence you cannot write in your own answer. I am asking this because I would like to find out what the smart (ass) people who read this site think.
    thanks

    PS: I am going with Khabibulin.

  102. kris says:

    This thread is headed for the gutter. I'm always amazed at how people on the internet pull each other in to these confrontations that get personal, where one party is the abuser and the other the abused. It's happened to me a lot, on both sides. Weird.

    The more and more I look, the less value I see in SV% as a way to evaluate goalies, and the more I feel bad for GM's around the league who need to pick a goalie.

    The way we look at it, a difference of .01 or 0.2 means alot. We see 0.92 and say 'what a great season, good goaltender' We see 0.90 and say, 'pretty average.' O.8 is right out terrible.

    But if you look at goalies career statistics, a fluctuation of 0.05 to 0.1 is very common from year to year. From 2001/2002 to 2002/2003 Cujo's SV% went down 0.09. It then went back up 0.06.

    So you say, aging goalie X had SV% 0.886, 0.902 and .909. He mustn't be very good anymore. Then he goes and posts a 0.919.

    Is it an outlier in a decline? Maybe, but damn goalies often have rennaisances in their old age. Coversely, young goalies are sometimes flashes in the pan: you see SV%'s starting at 25 like 0.9, 0.91, and then, just when you think he's getting good, he goes and drops two seasons at 0.89 and finds himself in the AHL.

    And I don't see that averaging over multiple seasons helps you evaluate goalies either. Too many goalies take years of bad play to develop. Too many goalies come out of nowhere, even at an older age. Too many goalies deteriorate young. And the quality of the team in front of the goaltender may very well make a difference. Even if it's only a 1/2 percentage point, that's the difference between a prety average 0.90 and a much worse 0.895.

    I think this means that with goalies, unlike F and D, you have to go pretty much entirely with what your scouts say about his level of talent from watching his play. My guess is, there are a few people in the organization who watch Khabibulin play and think he's got game. For better or worse, I doubt SV% entered into their comparison of Khabi and Biron at all.

    Man, Goalies are voodoo. I refuse to burn Tambellini for this.

    Now if he doesn't get a PK'er and a faceoff guy…

  103. Oilman says:

    I'm trying to get at here is that Holland came into a situation where he could be risky (as explained earlier sending away Vernon and elevating Osgood).

    LT – it wasn't even that much of a risk – Osgood had posted 76 wins and only 27 losses previously with the Red Wings. He was robbed of a Vezina in his third season and fell just shy of a Calder in his rookie year (behind Brodeur and Arnott). That's not even remotely similar to signing a Craig Anderson or Jason Labarbera or trading for a Raycroft or Toskola.

    Oh – and this whole Ken Holland view is skewed as well. He doesn't invest money that he doesn't have into goaltending because of the salary cap. Prior to the salary Cap, Holland brought in Bill Ranford ($3.1m), Ken Wreggett(cheap), Dominic Hasek ($8m), and Curtis Joseph.($8m)
    he also gave Osgood a $3.5m contract at one point.

  104. kris says:

    That first paragraph should be,

    The way we look at it, a difference of .01 or 0.02 means alot. We see 0.92 and say 'what a great season, good goaltender' We see 0.90 and say, 'pretty average.' O.89 is right out terrible.

  105. Alice says:

    //Now that you've rationalized calling what you thought were his ideas stupid, explain to me why you're intentionally trying to make me look arrogant today, regardless of what I post ;)//

    Ender, here's a helpful hint for using the public space here in LT-land. I'm not being snarky either, I use this method myself.

    1. Type away. It's therapeutic.

    2. Before you press 'Publish', take a scan. If your comment is about You, or how You feel, or about another Poster, or his Tone, or what his motivations might be – especially as it might pertain to You, or your previous and possibly under-appreciated or misunderstood posts….

    Then you delete it. It's a lot of drek for people to wade through these semi-private sandbox squabbles, and it's not fair to your host, if he doesn't mind me saying so. A little Holding-of-the-Tongue is something all of us can try once in a while.

    Cheers,

  106. Ender says:

    @kris:

    An interesting thing is that ESV% fluctuates more. If the goalie is expected to have a SV% that is more variable that what they actually have, does that mean ESV% is a better or worse marker?

    Me, I'd say neither is great, but if you took the +/- difference between ESV% and SV% of a bunch of goalies going forwards, you should be able to get a better (maybe great, maybe not) idea of whether or not the whole goaltending thing is a crapshoot altogether, or if one seems to be a better indicator of success than the other.

    I haven't done the math, but I'd expect that it's slanted (though not entirely, and maybe not heavily) to ESV%.

  107. kris says:

    And that shoud read:

    But if you look at goalies career statistics, a fluctuation of 0.01 to 0.005

  108. Coach pb9617 says:

    A little Holding-of-the-Tongue is something all of us can try once in a while.

    When Grebs hits the brown stuff, everyone has to help hold his tongue.

  109. mc79hockey says:

    Because I'm not the one posting messages asking for a discussion about hurt feelings?

  110. Smarmy Boss says:

    I too like to be smug and take sports very seriously on the internet.

    Sports is riddled with very smart men like Billy Beane that take huge risks and make shrewd moves but nobody including most of the city of Oakland actually gives a shit.

    Occasionally you get the perfect storm where very smart sports people get to make decisions that also appeal with the unwashed masses like Boston Redsox. With every smart draft and follow made by Epstein there is a 20 mil a year Manram or a bloody sock for Joe sixpack to go nuts over.

    The Oilers don't have that perfect storm, and the majority of fans don't give a rats ass about guys like Craig Anderson, Jason Labarbera, or Marty Biron. They do take notice of guys like Khabibulin though. (I should know enough Oilfans came to chat with me about him at work)

    Tambo actually could be a pretty smart cat, but he has Lowe's legacy, Katz's demands, and an old school coach and he's got to try and get everyone on board with what he's doing.

  111. Doogie2K says:

    Is it reasonable to think he'd rather be unemployed or in Russia?

    Unemployed? No. Russia? If the price is right. We've seen it before.

    LaBarbera was playing on worse teams and posted a better save percentage in that time.

    I don't think the Kings were significantly worse than the Blackhawks prior to last season, though I'm open to being proven wrong. As for the better save percentages, he had a better SP once: 2005-06 (.900 vs. .886), when LA wasn't completely awful, at least for half a season. He spent '06-'07 in the minors, '07-'08 was effectively a tie (.910 vs. .909), and last year, he had a slightly worse SP on a comparable team (.915 in VAN vs .919) and a much worse SP on a bad team (.893, LA). Also, LaBarbara's played more than 40 games exactly once in his career, and he's turning 30 this year, and I think the dynamics of when a backup goes in (back-to-backs and injuries, but also easier teams the rest of the time) have to be considered, given the small sample we're working with.

    No, but having Smyth might and he wouldn't have been gone if they were closer. And, while I'm always hesitant to get into the psych stuff, that team shut it down after the Smyth trade.

    Just so I don't appear completely contrarian, I completely agree with this and have pounded this drum vigourously in the past. The Oilers were in the hunt until that mid-February road trip; a couple more wins on that, they stay on the bubble and can't trade Smyth for the same reason Florida (felt they) couldn't trade Bouwmeester. They may or may not make the playoffs, but they don't completely shit themselves, going 2-18 or whatever it was the rest of the way.

    Craig Anderson 1.8
    Manny Malhotra 2.5
    Curtis Glencross 1.2
    Jay McKee 0.8

    = 6.3 million

    Shawn Horcoff 5.5
    Khabibulin 3.75
    Ethan Moreau 2.0
    Steve Staios 2.7

    = 13.2 million

    lol

    I'm assuming that would be relevant if you were comparing apples to apples, right? Or if you were comparing decisions by the same GM?

    Is Ender Vic's alias?

    Comedy gold, Traktor. Comedy gold.

    They needed seven more points to tie for eighth. I make that as 3.5 wins over 32 games. That's what they needed to make up. To be able to reasonably expect that they were going to make the playoffs but for Lubo's injury, I think that the argument has to be that he's worth 9 wins above replacement over 82. Otherwise, he gets you close and you're hoping for variance to push you over the line.

    I dunno, I think I'd make that bet, too. I mean, there's a ripple effect down the lineup when a top player goes down. Lesser players tend to create a lot more trouble than they solve when they move up the lineup and try to do too much to make up for the loss of said top player. I wouldn't guarantee it, but given how close the margin of error often is on playoff spots, and given how many times they were one win away from fifth or sixth and essentially being home free, I'd be willing to throw a $20 on it.

    Finally, @Alice: I think that's advice we could all take. I'm as guilty of it as anyone at times.

  112. mc79hockey says:

    I do like to be treated as an equal in places like this because (guess what?!) you have exactly as much insight and experience in being a GM or coach as I do.

    Yeah, but that's not what it's all about. Part of the reason that you piss so many people off here is that you trot into these discussions and (to me at lesat) basically come off as demanding that people respond to your points, many of which are a) based on misunderstanding something (Glencross in the BoA thing, my position on Roloson) or b) have been dealt with at length elsewhere.

    You don't have a reservoir of goodwill to draw on here when you force people to either a) go and find where they've dealt with your point previously, b) correct whatever it is that you don't understand about the scope of the discussion or whatever incorrect assumptions you're making about people's positions or c) put up with posts from you in which you go on about the dynamics of the group, how nobody really ever changes their position or how nobody has dealt with your point. You come off as a martyr. Who proceeds to talk about how much he understands philosophy/stats/logic whatever. It's tiresome.

    As for expertise – that's a slippery topic. Anyone could know as much about this shit as I do. It's all on the internets. In this very thread, there are people talking about burying Roloson's contract in the minors. People who don't seem to understand that, save percentage wise, he's worse than "shitty goalie" LaBarbera. Etc. Etc. You'll notice that rarely get worked up when we're talking about subjective impressions of players. Someone sees something different, fair enough. Bad arguments are what get my blood going – I may not be an expert on hockey, but I'm very good at recognizing bad arguments. A ton of the arguments in favour of Khabby are just bad.

  113. spOILer says:

    Sorry, MC I did mean to say more. And thanks for the replacement response, I thought there had to be more there.

  114. DanMan says:

    I'm gonna try and keep this discussion about Khabibulin.

    To me, we have the starting goaltenter situation settled for at least the next 2 years. Some want JDD to start more games, some are worried that JDD will be playing more. I, for one, think it's high time the Oilers develop their own goaltender.

    A couple things to remember. Khabibulin was fighting for his spot all year in practices and games with Huet as another established NHL gaolie who they signed long term last summer. And he won.

    Dwayne Roloson is not a very nice human being. Whether it was personal or not when he sticks Cleary in the junk in the first 30 seconds of that game in Detroit, I don't know. I do know that it was a selfish play that hurt the team. I can't see him being helpful to JDD (especially in a contract year) the way Khabibulin can being signed long term. I can't see a bitter 40-year old Roloson teaching the tricks of the trade to a guy who could supplant him like Garon did.

  115. Oilman says:

    The Oilers were in the hunt until that mid-February road trip; a couple more wins on that, they stay on the bubble and can't trade Smyth for the same reason Florida (felt they) couldn't trade Bouwmeester. They may or may not make the playoffs, but they don't completely shit themselves, going 2-18 or whatever it was the rest of the way.

    The Smyth trade was an influence for sure – but didn't Hemsky and Staios both go down for the rest of the year after the deadline and we had Basillion and Peterson on D for a while…that team wasn't making the playoffs. The odds of shitting themselves was much higher

  116. Bar Qu says:

    I'm gonna try and keep this discussion about Khabibulin.

    Don't do that! There is a perfectly good childish squabble going on that you are interrupting with your desire to discuss topic at hand ;).

    Just so I can put my two cents in (less if you count inflation), but I agree with the belief of the mentality of the organisation which got Bulin his contract, though I am in agreement with the majority that it LOOKS like a bad deal from this end. Whether it continues to look like a bad deal from the other end is what we will discuss in 11 1/2 months. As someone said earlier, goalies are voodoo. And probably as hard to guesstimate as a 17 yr-old 2nd round draft prospect.

  117. Ender says:

    @Alice: I agree. I even deleted a post responding to yours because I thought it would cause more trouble than it's worth. MC saw it first though and replied, so I promise I'll keep this as brief as possible and hopefully it won't step on any toes.

    @MC:

    I understand optics. That said, I try my best to give everyone a clean slate every day. Like I've said previously, I have nothing against you and you're generally quite reasonable.

    As such, it bugs me that you would bring the things you say you hate about me into this thread, because I did not. I was on topic, discussing, and you brought in the philosophy/logc/whatever else into it.

    The only reason I made the comment that Alice quoted was because it's one thing when you do that to me, but it's another when it starts overflowing to other people. It puts me over an edge that I know I shouldn't go over, and as Alice said, I shouldn't have posted that, no matter how much I was thinking it.

    The only thing I can say with regards to you recognizing bad arguments is that I'm quite good at it as well. As you pointed out yourself, I'm formally trained in it. What you don't see is the weeks of me reading this blog and things like it, seeing the same things said and ignored over and over until something in me snaps and I feel compelled to post. You don't see me getting annoyed, you just see me annoyed. I get that. I apologize for that even. It's why things like this often end with me saying that I'm done, because If I'm already that annoyed and people aren't even going to give it a chance, I don't have a lot of patience to deal with it.

    But please, don't tell me that I'm the one and only problem here when for most of this thread I was on topic and playing by your rules, while you were bringing things in.

    Sorry Alice. I hope that wasn't too bad.

  118. kris says:

    Dwayne Roloson is not a very nice human being… he sticks Cleary in the junk in the first 30 seconds of that game in Detroit… I can't see him being helpful to JDD

    I for one would love it if JDD learned how to stick Cleary in the junk.

    What does Khabi know? How to flick Iginla in the balls? Puh-lease. We don't want our goalies to learn that.

  119. Steve says:

    He'll either go to a cap floor team…

    This is something I kept meaning to ask months ago, mostly in the context of Staios: are there any cap floor teams? Are there likely to be any after the cap falls?

    (As always, these are questions I'm asking because I want to know the answer. I'm not trying to make a point, because I'm far too ignorant to engage in the kind of wanton point-makery that seems to be in vogue around here.)

  120. Bar Qu says:

    Obviously I meant 18 yr-old, since 17 is too young to be drafted.

    Facepalm

  121. Alice says:

    Well there's Khabibulin, and there's his contract. Those are really Two topics, and complaining that Lowe and Tambo probably WERE negotiating against each other, which is the main complaint here, isn't a knock on the man.

    Lowe: I just got off the phone with Khabi's agent,
    Steve: Yeah, me too.
    Lowe: He had some pup on the other line offering 10/3,
    Steve: Well, actually…
    Lowe: I just blew that fucker out of the water – what was that?
    Steve: Umm, Right-o, skipper!!

  122. Oilman says:

    In this very thread, there are people talking about burying Roloson's contract in the minors. People who don't seem to understand that, save percentage wise, he's worse than "shitty goalie" LaBarbera. Etc. Etc.

    I assume you mean Roloson and you're directing this at me seeing I asked the question earlier of whether there is a loophole in the bargaining agreement?

  123. Mr DeBakey says:

    "wanton point-makery"

    Who you callin' a wanton point-maker, you weasel bellied varmint?

    NK may have been the best goalie available.
    The NK contract is bad Cap management.

    It's the Sheldon Souray story all over again.
    Which is frustrating,
    as I thought we had a new improved GM.

  124. Coach pb9617 says:

    Lowe: I just blew that fucker out of the water – what was that?

    Hot damn. That's almost as good as "I am rat".

    I just had two people walk bye to see what I was laughing at.

  125. mc79hockey says:

    Khabibulin, right.

    I'm not saying that as a shot at you – I don't expect everyone and their brother to have read the CBA. With that said, I take the opinions of people who understand it a little more seriously when it comes to whether or not this is a good contract.

  126. Alice says:

    Other Topics that are Known to pass Muster:

    Anything Coach starts with wine and butter
    Anything HBomb prepares with a blender
    The California Golden Seals
    Blue Monday
    Hall and Oates [ tho by dear Jebus I hope no more ]
    Barracudas, Dusters, all manner of lousy 70's Mopar stuff that LT's Dad made him drive
    Females, the ones that Slipper has had.
    Females, the other half-dozen, the ones BDHS is still mooning over.
    MSM, esp. lactation: "Mr. Simmons, you're leaking again".

  127. Ender says:

    Ok, so just so I'm clear:

    People like or hate the Bulin deal for two reasons (as Alice said) term or $.

    The only goalies who have been signed so far this offseason have never been regular starters (past 1 season, so we can't say too much about the context of "what a #1 goalie is worth this year."

    So the $ argument seems to branch into "Is Khabibulin a #1 goalie?" "Do we need a #1 goalie?" and "Injury risk!"

    Given the LTIR, can we throw out the last one? If someone retires due to injury, would they come off the cap?

    Regarding the first, is SV% the prime indicator, or is ESV%, or something else?

    Regarding the second, do we have an example of a team that isn't detroit excelling with no #1?

    —————-

    Now regarding term, I think the only point of contention is the cap. Again, I'm curious if retirement due to injury counts against the cap, given the LTIR does not. Could you refuse their retirement and just leave them on the LTIR for a few years?

    This is just so people don't need to muddle through the whole post. There's been enough off-topic that I figured a quick summary might be helpful.

  128. Ender says:

    I'd love to see something quantitative about first shots vs rebounds. It seems a pretty common thing to take lots of low-percentage shots, and hope some of them turn into high-percentage rebounds. If you coach in the defensive end to give more of the former and fewer of the latter, you might win a lot of those games where you get outshot, but not out-chanced. And give your goaltender a pretty high SVP%…

    That was actually my biggest argument about Roli all through the playoffs. He did a good job, but he didn't seem to need to deal with many rebounds so I figured his SV% way way overinflated. Good call on adding rebounds to the mix.

  129. DanMan says:

    kris: Thats funny stuff, man. Of course I would like JDD to chop down Iginla and the Sedins with some well-placed hacks to the back of the knee. But he's gotta get away with it.

    Roli put us on a PP vs the Dead Wings in the first 30 seconds, and they prompty scored. 1-0 and the game hasn't even started. We lost 5-0. I explained my frustration with the Nov 18 game vs the Av's in the last thread as well.

    I hate when goalies try and do too much. Their job is to stop the shot. The d-men can clear the front of the net (maybe not Gilbert, but the rest are ok).

    I just don't see Roloson being a positive influence on the team at this juncture.

  130. Alice says:

    Sorry , I scrubbed that one out so you're replying to thin air,

    but yes I think some teams and defencemen are better at that than others, and you can cherry pick 35-footers all night if you're team can help manage the crease/slot.

    And that kind of heads-up, team cohesion sort of stuff might help explain outliers like the very lucky '07 spring run we were mulling over couple days back.

  131. Oilman says:

    I take the opinions of people who understand it a little more seriously when it comes to whether or not this is a good contract

    Well, excuse me for playing along.

    But actually, your opinion, my opinion, or anyone else's has no bearing whatsoever on whether or not this turns out to be a good contract – which I never argued for or against in the first place.

  132. Woodguy says:

    Lowe: I just got off the phone with Khabi's agent,
    Steve: Yeah, me too.
    Lowe: He had some pup on the other line offering 10/3,
    Steve: Well, actually…
    Lowe: I just blew that fucker out of the water – what was that?
    Steve: Umm, Right-o, skipper!
    !

    Brilliant.

  133. Ender says:

    And that kind of heads-up, team cohesion sort of stuff might help explain outliers like the very lucky '07 spring run we were mulling over couple days back.

    That was my theory.

  134. Lowetide says:

    Biron just signed on the Island. 1-year, $1.4M. His should shoot his agent.

  135. speeds says:

    Biron signs with the Isles. Anyone think they got a not bad deal?

    http://www.nypost.com/seven/07222009/sports/islanders/islanders_add_another_goalie_180741.htm

  136. Lowetide says:

    speeds: Great deal.

  137. Ribs says:

    There must be something very wrong with Mr. Biron.

  138. Lowetide says:

    Ribs: Unlikely. He was the last man standing on what is a very small pool of jobs. They now have a three-goalie system though, unless DiPietro is really in a bad way.

  139. Woodguy says:

    Biron just signed on the Island. 1-year, $1.4M. His should shoot his agent.

    Wow.

    If he's healthy then the Khabby deal looks even worse.

    Much worse.

  140. Ribs says:

    He couldn't get a better one year deal from a team that doesn't already have two potential starters? He couldn't have signed with a better team for the money he's getting?

  141. Traktor says:

    Garth Snow: 1
    Steve Tambellini: 0

  142. Lowetide says:

    Ribs: There could be all kinds of factors. Perhaps DiPietro's injury is worse and he knows Roloson is 40. Perhaps this was his last chance at an NHL job.

  143. DanMan says:

    What I find really funny is that in the Oilogisphere Biron is considered a good option to be the Oilers starting goaltender.

    Yet, in reality, he is signed to be the 3rd-stringer on the worst team in the NHL.

    I know some of you guys proabably don't like me. I know I'm probably wrong about half the stuff I say.

    But, on this one, I'm right. And it feels pritt-ay good. (Curb reference for those who don't know)

  144. Lowetide says:

    DanMan: Actually you're wrong about this too. The Islanders have some real problems with regard to their franchise goalie and a 40-year old in Roloson.

    Plus they have some extremely nice young talent and are moving in the right direction. Biron may emerge as the #1 man on the Island this season. It's a nice place to land.

    I'd still fire his agent, though.

  145. Doogie2K says:

    Wow.

    If he's healthy then the Khabby deal looks even worse.

    Much worse.

    Or it implies something about Biron that we're not privy to, but other NHL GMs are.

  146. Ribs says:

    The Dipietro injury came to my mind as well, LT. It's the only thing that makes any sense to me.

    So Biron settles for less money but gets more playing time on the Island if that's how this is going down. Interesting stuff.

  147. Ender says:

    LT, doesn't it at least imply something? I mean the worst team in the league is the only team that would sign him, and even they think he's worth half the money and half the term Roloson is.

    I know that's assuming GMs are sane, but that's pretty damning on the surface.

  148. danny says:

    "Thank God I don't have any goalies and I can sleep well at night," Bartlett said. "There's still lots of bodies around, with teams thinking, 'Let's see if the price comes down after the early activity.' I know players are getting anxious. It becomes a case of musical chairs."

    Thats Steve Bartlett, a NHL Player Agent.

    So its not black magic we are dealing with here, the goalies are over a barrel and their agents know it.

    Considering the lower cap next season, Khabis money probably could have been significantly lower. If not Khabi, they could have likely got comparable replacement stats for much lower and shorter term no doubt.

    It looks like a serious misread of the market for sure, however it pivots on whether management had that money earmarked for a legit starter, or whether they had Khabi in their sights exclusively, and that was the price it took to get their man.

    Its difficult to think Khabi will outperform his cheaper replacements by such a margin as to warrant Tambellinis haste in locking him up so early.

    As far as I can see, the only way it really is justified, is if theyre positive that Khabibulin will be the best of the crop, and by a significant margin.

    Otherwise, it is very poor read of the goaltender market.

  149. Oilman says:

    Wow – so Biron is making less than Ray Emery? Is that a move the Flyers would still have made had that $5mil number for Biron not been floating around?

  150. Lowetide says:

    Ender: No. They're bidding against the KHL. Biron has no bargaining power. I'm still fine with the Khabibulin signing, just as I would be with the Heatley trade.

    Is it my choice? No. However, history tells us that there's more than one way to build a team.

  151. Ender says:

    Although it occurs to me that it's possible he only wanted to play for certain east coast teams. That's the only way the price cut makes any sense aside from some character flaw none of us are aware of, but even then, why would the isles sign roli first?

  152. Woodguy says:


    Or it implies something about Biron that we're not privy to, but other NHL GMs are
    .

    Good point.

    Perhaps other GMs in the market for a goalie asked Holmgren why he brought in a known trouble maker instead of resigning Biron and his answer was alarming…

  153. Ender says:

    Ender: No. They're bidding against the KHL. Biron has no bargaining power.

    Ok, I'm missing something. How did he lose his bargaining power? I mean, Roli had enough bargaining power to be taken on day 1.

  154. Lowetide says:

    Oilman: That's why you fire the agent. It's his job to read the market for his player, and although it's my belief he was never a consideration for EDM (imo they got their man and pursued him from the start) there had to be a point somewhere when the agent knew the dollars and opportunities were dwindling.

  155. Mr DeBakey says:

    "even they think he's worth half the money and half the term Roloson is."

    Bullshit!
    THey have him by the short & curlies.

    Which is the ENTIRE point of the Anti-39 signing crowd.

    Well, mine anyways

  156. DanMan says:

    Okay, LT, I'll bite.

    Earlier in this thread people were spouting the virtues of the genius Kenny Holland and how he has gotten bargains to fill in between the pipes.

    Why wouldn't he go after Biron? There was a hole, Biron certainly would have taken even less than 1.4 to go to Detroit.

    Free agency has been going on for over 3 weeks now. Why did 29 teams pass on Biron?

    My guess is that he just isn't very good. He plays a kind of hybrid style, which a lot of the top goalies do nowadays, but was classically trained in the butterfly. The change in style has helped with some guys (Tim Thomas really flourished after changing styles), but not others.

    With the increased importance and use of goalie coaches and training at all levels of hockey these days, getting your hands on a young guy with talent (Kari Lehtonen is my personal fav) is the best way to go.

    When you look at all these backup goalie signings (Anderson, Sanford, Conklin, Raycroft, etc.) it really makes you wonder if scouts know more about Biron than meets the eye. We don't always know why guys fall out of favour in the NHL.

    Remember what happened to Kirk McLean after he got divorced? Tommy Salo after the (alleged) Comrie fiasco?

  157. Oilman says:

    LT – they had the same agent right?

  158. Lowetide says:

    Ender: he was the last man standing. I don't think any NHL team could have counted on a goalie of Biron's quality being available at the point when all 30 teams were satisfied (in this area I run counter to the rest of the blogosphere) but this NYI deal is basically a team making room for him.

    As much as Tambellini is getting roasted her for a misstep, I'd always rather have a GM who makes aggressive moves when he's convinced of quality(the Whitey Herzog solution).

    Now, his job depends on his ability to judge value.

  159. danny says:

    Ender said…

    Although it occurs to me that it's possible he only wanted to play for certain east coast teams. That's the only way the price cut makes any sense aside from some character flaw none of us are aware of, but even then, why would the isles sign roli first?

    Well those reasons surely help keep your arguments intact. However, indications are, the agents are having trouble getting their goaltenders money… (aside from Khabibulin)

    Steve Bartlett is thankful he doesnt have a goalie. Shitty market. To me, thats a bit more likely than suggesting Biron has a major character flaw.

  160. Ender says:

    "he was the last man standing"

    Manny Fernandez?

  161. mc79hockey says:

    Biron actually did fire his agent, right before free agency. He signed up with a new guy – Roloson's agent actually – who brought him this.

    I don't know what to say to you guys who figure that there must be something wrong with Biron. The market works eventually. More seats than goalies. Obvious since last year. Biron got burned. If Khabby doesn't work out pretty well, Tambo looks awfully fucking stupid.

  162. Ribs says:

    Ender – Fernandez will be playing rec hockey for food stamps by the looks of things…

  163. danny says:

    Will Manny fernandez get substantially more than Biron?

    Probably not. Unless he has a major character flaw too?

  164. Lowetide says:

    DanMan: My understanding of the Detroit situation is that they want one of the young goalies as a backup this season. They can always trade for a Biron during the season or at the deadline if needed.

    Oilman: No matter. Roloson signed his deal early on and Biron was left high and dry. Now, maybe there was an option available that fell through later on but it's the agents job to find out the player's priority and get the job done.

    As an aside, there are STILL locations for goaltenders. I know that many (MC, speeds, etc) will disagree but I'm absolutely convinced the Oilers needed to be aggressive in their pursuit of a goalie. Chicago was in on Khabibulin, the Kings were a team I thought would pursue someone and there were other teams as well.

    I think you could make the case EDM might easily have been on the outside looking in had they waited. It's not like Edmonton has free agents beating down the door every summmer.

  165. Doogie2K says:

    Fernandez was making noises about retiring due to chronic injury at the end of the season. Probably no pursuing going on from either end on that one.

  166. mc79hockey says:

    My guess is that he just isn't very good.

    This guy who just isn't very good has been a lot better at stopping pucks since the lockout than our shiny new guy. I don't know anyone serious who thinks that shot quality is more than .010 at the margins, or that Buffalo and Philly have been stifling teams.

    Unless he's into trying to bang his teammates' wives or something, this just underlines the stupidity.

  167. Ender says:

    Well those reasons surely help keep your arguments intact. However, indications are, the agents are having trouble getting their goaltenders money.

    Ok. But Roloson got 2.5milx2 on day 1, which for him is big money/term. So did Khabibulin. Aside from those 2 and Fernandez (who I'm told has been muttering about retirement) the only other "#1" goalie available was Biron. And a bunch of good young backups got his kind of money in the first week.

    I mean, we're both using circumstantial evidence here. That said, do you think Bulin would still be unsigned if we didn't get him right after roli left?

  168. Mr DeBakey says:

    Did I read that Fernandez is hurt?

    Rollie + Biron = $3.9 Million

    39 + JDD = $4.4 Million

  169. Lowetide says:

    DanMan: You're missing the point here. Manny Fernandez is staring down the barrel of professional extinction. He's been passed over. He's yesterday's paper.

    MC: I'd disagree. Tambellini can say "we signed the best goaltender out there and sometimes these things don't work out" and my guess is 90% of the fanbase will nod their heads. It's an excellent bet for the GM.

  170. Mr DeBakey says:

    "That said, do you think Bulin would still be unsigned if we didn't get him right after roli left?"

    By whom?
    And, more importantly,
    at $3.75 for 4 years?

  171. Lowetide says:

    Mr DeBakey: I had heard Chicago, but obviously at less money and term (which is the reason he's an Oiler).

  172. mc79hockey says:

    LT: Sure, but I'm tired of cheering for a team that's run for PR purposes. I understand what you're saying in terms of it being the PR savvy ploy. Doesn't mean that it's defensible though. Let the kids on the public relations forums talk about how smart it is.

  173. PDO says:

    I think Khabibulan was the best goalie available.

    Did we overpay him (in term, at least?) absolutely.

    I'd prefer Biron at one year and $1,400,000; as I imagine most would. Still, personally, I'd rather have Khabibulan.

    I'm really perplexed why we had to offer him the amount we did though, when clearly (outside of the Chicago rumours) we offered him way more than we had to.

  174. PDO says:

    I believe the Chicago rumour was in the $7-8,000,000 range over 2 years.

    I read a shit load, so I could be wrong… but that's my gut reaction.

    We offered double that… couldn't we have just gone with three years and $11,000,000?

  175. Doogie2K says:

    MC: If this team were being run expressly for PR purposes, they sure wouldn't have given Horcoff they money they did. Sure, Tambo took the easy way out instead of making a gamble, and it could readily bite him on the ass, but so could the gamble. I refuse to condemn him for it either way without playing a shift.

  176. Lowetide says:

    MC: Okay, lol. Just one more point and I want to say that I appreciate you hanging in on this thread when it must have felt like no one was listening.

    Can we agree that the metric you're using is not a universally acknowledged tool? By that I mean your information (on your site) is probably ahead of the curve and will take some time to become trusted information.

    I think you're onto something, but will be honest in saying I don't completely trust it. I get that Grant Fuhr wasn't the player we thought he was, and it's probably true that Biron>Khabibulin.

    Having said that, I don't think Steve Tambellini's measurement of success for goaltending is similar to the one you are using. It's OBP in a world of boxcars.

  177. Ribs says:

    don't know what to say to you guys who figure that there must be something wrong with Biron.

    It just seems fishy to me that better teams wouldn't want a cheap upgrade in net for what he's getting from NYI.

  178. mc79hockey says:

    LT – I'm off to the Jays/Tribe game but will give you a response when I get back.

  179. Fake Craig McTavish says:

    Biron signs in Long Island.

    I year deal for $1.3M.

    Have at it.

  180. Lowetide says:

    MC: Work out a deal for Halladay would you? And make sure the GM goes with him!

  181. Fake Craig McTavish says:

    Sorry. $1.4M as per TSN.

    Looks like you called the market bang on MC.

  182. DanMan says:

    mc79hockey:

    Again, if Biron is as good as you claim he is, surely ONE of the other 29 retards could have figured it out by now.

    Are they all stupid? If you really think so, I would suggest you send in a resume.

    You guys may not like "name" goalies. But there is a reason that they are widely acknowledged: TALENT!

  183. PDO says:

    DanMan:

    Why is a team going to spend $1,400,000 on Biron when they already their goaltending situation taken care of?

  184. alphahelix says:

    So, LT, here we have it. Biron gets paid just over 1/3rd of what we pay Khabibulin.

    I think you should be honest to the tribe and make a post about how brutal this signing was given the market.

    Other goalies like Fernandez are still on the market, and they aren't going to be making 1.3 mil.

    Biron may actually be the better goalie and we could have had him for ridiculously less money. The Quinn argument doesn't hold up that well either, because I'm sure Quinn is very familiar with him from his days in Toronto. We lose again. We lose during the season, we lose in the off-season.

    Khabibulin's record in the last few years is dreadful. He had half of a good regular season this year and that is all.

    Sometimes I felt like I was on the same page as Lowe, but with Tambellini I have no idea what the hell he is thinking. Some of these decisions don't make much sense. Is he praying for a miracle to rescue this roster?

  185. Fake Craig McTavish says:

    DanMan said…
    Again, if Biron is as good as you claim he is, surely ONE of the other 29 retards could have figured it out by now.

    Apparently one of the retards did and signed him for $1.4M

  186. Lowetide says:

    alphahelix:

    1. Everyone here thinks for themselves. I don't control opinions. Believe me. :-)

    2. I can't post that because I don't believe it. I was against signing Biron at $3M/3 years which is in the original question speeds asked me, and I wasn't in favor of the Khabibulin signing. Tyler called it and he can certainly comment on seeing the market before it unfolded, but that's not my post to write.

    I'm fine with the Khabibulin signing. It's not my choice (I wanted Halak or similar) but the Oilers got their man and imo that's way better than waiting it out and hoping things suss out in your favor.

  187. Jonathan Willis says:

    I love how this has turned into "Biron must be crap because he signed cheap with a franchise that already has two goalies".

    Let's put it this way: Garth Snow, with an injured starter, signed Dwayne Roloson cheap and relatively short-term early on. Then he sees a young starter who can't find a job but has been a top-twenty goaltender for nearly a decade and he takes advantage of the situation.

    Martin Biron @ 1.4MM/1yr >> Nik Khabibulin @ 3.75MM/yr x 4 years.

    "Well maybe something's wrong with him…"

    Yeah. He's cheap, out of options and has a nice track record. But I guess you need to say something once the "well maybe he wants too much money/he won't sign in Edmonton" arguments are revealed to be farcical.

    Tambellini played this one badly. End of story.

  188. DanMan says:

    PDO and LT:

    There weren't many teams looking for goalies, eh:

    Edmonton – Khabibulin
    New York Isles – Roloson
    Colorado – Craig Anderson
    Vancouver – Andrew Raycroft
    St. Louis – Ty Conklin
    Philadelphia – Emery and Brian Boucher
    Toronto – Jonas Gustavsson
    Tampa Bay – Nittymaki
    New Jersey – Yann Danis
    Montreal – Curtis Sanford
    Pittsburgh – Brent Johnson

    Thats 11 teams, plus Calgary, Detroit, Boston, and others have backup goalie issues.

    You guys are talkin out of your ass on this one.

  189. rickibear says:

    Tambellini played this one badly. End of story.

    I will read the we paid too much for habby comments know. Then have to listen and read comments and articles whinning about why we don't have a #1 goalie.

  190. Ribs says:

    Tambellini played this one badly. End of story.

    It rarely ever is, I'm afraid.

  191. PunjabiOil says:

    With Biron signing at 1 year, 1.4M, Steve Tambellini should be fired for completely misjudging the goalie market.

    I would have more faith with a guy like Vic Ferrari, YK Oil, or Speeds as a GM of the Oilers than the current duo.

    It's quite sad, actually.

  192. DanMan says:

    If you guys think Garth Snow is a better option than Tambellini, I don't even know what to say to you.

    My 6 year old nephew could make the decision on drafting John Tavares.

    While we're on it how bout swinging a deal to bring captain Douggie back for Nilsson +?

    That would solve the 3rd line center situation.

  193. Spot The Loon says:

    I agree with what you say, LT. Tambi took a bold stand prior to the free agency frenzy. It was obvious that Roli wanted that second year on a contract and the Oilers weren't prepared to give it. So, they made a bold determination to go after the best available goalie.

    It is far too easy to look at the situation now, with Biron signing on the island and, with the ease of hindsight, second guess the decision to sign the Bulin wall. Tambi didn't have that option of hindsight when he signed the Bulin wall. So, for better or worse, the Oilers made a decision based on the information they had available at that time.

    I think it is a bold move. Would I have preferred a shorter term? Sure. But if a shorter term would have meant the player signing elsewhere, I may have provided that fourth year. Negotiations are give and take and it isn't like the Bulin wall didn't have other options at that time.

  194. DanMan says:

    Holy $hit I just checked on capgeek.com and the number's work!

    We could do it straight up. The only problem is that it's likely they wanna keep Weight around at least until the deadline to show Tavares the ropes.

    I'll be trumpeting this one for a while…

  195. Scott says:

    As help for the powerplay, Weight would be good.
    As help for PK and defensive play (especially own zone draws), I don't think he's the way to go (old, 45.1 FO%).

  196. Lowetide says:

    Jonathan: I disagree. I hate to be stubborn on this, but it seems to me we're doing a couple of things that make the general argument "Tambellini is a fool" that are unfair.

    First of all, we're assuming the Oilers knew the EXACT number of teams who would pursue a starting goaltender. Quoting MC from his site (this was posted in June 2009):

    "by my count that leaves two teams without a clear starting goaltender: Edmonton and Colorado. Otherwise, it’s backup jobs available, unless some team is willing to eat a pile of money."

    And then Tyler says later in the article:

    "There are a ton of competent or better goalies available: Craig Anderson, Nikolai Khabibulin, Dwayne Roloson, Martin Biron, Manny Fernandez and Manny Legace probably top the list."

    Okay, so according to Tyler (and I'm not picking on him, the guy does outstanding work) there are 6 competent goalies and 2 teams looking for help.

    So, Khabibulin comes to EDM and Craig Anderson goes to COL. Now, in order for the Oilers (a team completely exposed btw in goal) to take advantage of this abundance of goaltenders and not sign Khabibulin we'd have to imagine that there was no real market for the rest of them. As Tyler said "it's backup jobs available."

    However, Roloson goes to the Island and Scott Clemmenson goes to Florida on July 1 too.

    I think the Oilers made their list, it probably included Roloson before July 1 and several after with the guy they got at the top.

    Secondly, as we ALL so sure this is a terrible signing? I've read MC's work and he's talked me into all kinds of things (like Grant Fuhr isn't a HOFer) but I'm just not certain his evaluation tools (multi-year average for goalies etc) and arguments about age are correct.

    I think the reason goalies are having longer careers are obvious, so that when we say things like it's extremely rare for a goalie to be effective after 35 we might be witnessing a point in time when that number is going to increase.

    I'm not trying to be a jerk, I'm certainly not trying to be disrespectful of Tyler's impressive work and frankly I'm not interested in fighting with anyone on this subject.

    But respectfully, I've got some questions and honestly believe Tambellini's done fine here.

    Thanks for reading.

  197. Asiaoil says:

    Wow Tambo is just having an ever so excellent summer continuing to make a mess of our cap structure. I didn't think we could be worse off with a new guy running the show – but we are – and that's without the Heatley fiasco. Plus we have 3 players coming back who we have shown to be willing to dump, and still no real NHL centers for the bottom 6. Lovely.

  198. Coach pb9617 says:

    Anything Coach starts with wine and butter.

    Ingredients:
    4 Chicken Breast Scallopini – or regular chicken breast butterflied
    1 pint of cherry tomatoes
    1 shalllot
    3 cloves of garlic
    olive oil
    fresh mozzarella
    1/2 cup rough-chopped basil
    1/2 hot cherry pepper, seeded [from a jar is actually preferred]
    flour
    egg
    seasoned breadcrumbs

    slice the cherry tomatoes in half, crush and chop the garlic, dice the shallot, dice the cherry pepper

    on medium heat sautee the tomatoes, garlic, cherry pepper and shallot in 1/8c olive oil, when the shallots turn translucent, add the basil, season with salt and pepper to taste, stir and reduce the heat. remove from heat before basil turns dark green or brown.

    Meanwhile, coat the chicken in flour, then dip in the egg and coat in breadcrumbs.

    on medium high heat sautee the chicken in 1/4c olive oil, just until brown on both sides – maybe 30-45 seconds a side.

    Place the chicken breast in a baking dish, drizzle with olive oil, cover with the tomato mixture and cover that with fresh mozz. slices

    Bake on middle rack at 375F for 8 minutes.

  199. DanMan says:

    Its kind of a nostalgic idea.

    Weight sliding down the oil derrick and into the sunset.

    Plus having those semi-permanent shiners might give the young guys an idea of what it takes to play in the NHL.

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