Worst Summer Ever?

I’ve been reading a lot of negative comments about Steve Tambellini lately. I understand there’s some frustration about how the summer is going, but let us remember how badly a summer can go:

  1. June 28, 2006: Oilers decline the $1.9 million option on the contract of G Ty Conklin, making him an unrestricted free agent as of July 1.
  2. June 30, 2006: Oilers decline the option on the contract of F Todd Harvey, making him an unrestricted free agent as of July 1.
  3. June 30, 2006: Oilers sign RW Fernando Pisani to a 4-year, $10 million dollar contract.
  4. July 1, 2006: Oilers sign G Dwayne Roloson to a 3-year, $11 million dollar contract.
  5. July 3, 2006: Oilers trade D Chris Pronger to Anaheim for RW Joffrey Lupul, D Ladislav Smid and draft picks.
  6. July 4, 2006: Oilers sign C Marty Reasoner to a 2-year, $1.9 million dollar contract.
  7. July 6, 2006: Oilers sign D Daniel Tjarnqvist to a 1-year, $1.625 million dollar contract.
  8. July 10, 2006: Oilers trade a 7th rd pick in 2007 to Buffalo for D Jan Hejda.
  9. July 12, 2006: Oilers sign C Shawn Horcoff to a 3-year, $10.8 million dollar contract.
  10. July 21, 2006: Oilers sign D Tom Gilbert to a 2-year professional contract.
  11. July 21, 2006: Oilers sign C Jarret Stoll to a 2-year, $4.4 million dollar contract.
  12. July 25, 2006: Oilers sign RW Ales Hemsky to a 6-year, $24.6 million dollar contact.
  13. Summer 2006: Oilers do not pursue a long term contract with Ryan Smyth.
  14. August 11, 2006: Oilers sign F Petr Sykora to a 1-year, $2.9 million dollar contract.
  15. August 28, 2006: Oilers sign F Toby Petersen to a 1-year contract.

Important moments in bold. Steve Tambellini’s approach is more measured and bound by some of the contracts listed above. We should keep this in mind. Lowe never did replace Pronger’s minutes that summer and the Smyth decision (I believe) also had a long term impact. It’s going to take some time to dig out of this hole, folks. Pisani comes off the books in 2010, and the following summer Moreau and Staios are free.

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180 Responses to "Worst Summer Ever?"

  1. hunter1909 says:

    Yikes.

  2. hunter1909 says:

    I hate to sound like a broken record, but Pat Quinn's coaching alone going to make for an exciting season next time around.

    I personally like the Oilers defence, goalie, and with a smart coach even the youth stands a hope in hell of developing beyond the Bubbles behind the bench approach of recent days gone by.

  3. RiversQ says:

    LT, aren't you a little disturbed that we're effectively in Tambellini's first season and it's already time for the first Khrushchev letter? He'll be writing the second one shortly if things keep up.

    Anyway, I think it's still fair at this point even though the Khabibulin move is really close to grounds for dismissal in my opinion.

  4. Art Vandelay says:

    I thought summer of 1988 was way worse.

    /sorry, I'll be quiet now.

  5. Smarmy Boss says:

    Of course, that summer had some good moves as well. (Keeping Roloson, the Hemsky deal)

    This summer…

  6. Smarmy Boss says:

    I agree Hunter. Quinn will make things more fun in Oil land. No more talk of whiny, entitled, youngins gettin uppity.

  7. Peter says:

    I'd love to know what better deals were out there for Pronger. Instead of a 20 year old D and 23 year old forward, it would have been nice to do the opposite and get a young but semi-established D and prospect forward. A guy like Dan Hamhuis at the time, not that Nashville would have been interested in the least.

    I would rather have had Biron for the money/term they gave Khabibulin, simply because he's younger. Plus he probably would have gotten on well with Deslauriers, if they still think he has a future.

    This team isn't in a position to compete this year so I'm fine with the lack of moves. Let the young guys establish themselves in needed roles, and if they can't, then go shopping next year for people that can.

  8. NBOilerFan says:

    I wouldn't go so far as say it was the worst summer ever, and I'm not going to turn on Tambellini this soon, you have to cut him some slack knowing the position Lowe left him in.

    But the problem I have is that it feels to much like a Kevin Lowe summer and I expected different with Tambellini.

    A summer of another blotched effort at a #1 winger and no real signs of making small calculated upgrades to fill small roster holes. Almost like there is still no real gameplan, which I was hoping with a new GM.

    And I'm certainly not a big fan of the Khabibulin signing either. I wanted them to throw a contract like that at Biron, which we could have at least front loaded and been able to potential deal off again if wanted. But a 4 year term on a over 35yr old goalie is crazy risky, especially with a $3.75mil cap hit.

    Not real happy about dealing a 2nd round pick for a month of Kotalik either, and I hope to hell that Tambs gets Grebs signed before next Wed.

    I'm all for giving Tambellini plenty of rope, I just want to see some evidence that he really is the man in charge and has a game plan. And no, firing MacT doesn't count, IMO the writing was on the wall on that one regardless of who was the GM.

  9. Black Dog says:

    the only thing that worries me about this summer is that I have heard a few commentators/players/management types refer to Lowe as if he is still a big part of this, which I think he may be.

    overall though I think Tambellini, like Hunter, thinks Quinn and Renney will be the solution.

    Also i think that that teams are a little paralyzed because of next summer's uncertainty. There has really been very little movement anywhere.

    Have to figure that he will add some size/veterans up front.

    But overall status quo, while not great, is a far better alternative than 2006 when a team that came within a couple breaks of winning it all was gutted.

  10. Promethian says:

    Suprisingly (or stupidly) enough, I was optimistic in the Summer of '06. I remember thinking, "we haven't had this good of a forward corps since the glory days" and other idiocracies like that.

    I guess I failed to realise that our top D-men couldn't make a breakout pass to save their souls and Hemsky was our only true playmaker up front. Live and learn…

    This year – not so bad imo. I'm actually quite happy with the 'near misses' we've experienced in the past bunch of summers:

    1. Nylander signing – a bust with Wash

    2. Vanek offer sheet (LOVE the player…heard from an inside source he actually WANTS to be an Oiler, not just for the money, take it for what it's worth…but for 5 1st rounders, no thanks)

    3. Heatley trade – more bad cred to the city and organisation

    I would have loved for one of our 30-something high-priced D to be moved a the draft for a top 5 pick, but you can't make a deal until someone else does too.

    I'm unsure what to think about Habby but goaltending is very important so go with a quality guy I suppose. He also is a Flame killer and outdueled Luongo in the playoffs so that could help us get some points out of the division just on tending alone (I hope).

    Next moves, in order of importance that would make this a good summer in my eyes:

    1. Sign Grebs long-term, hopefully $3.5M for 4-5 years.

    2. Sign Smid at around $1.25M for 2-3 years.

    3. Sign Malhotra for $1.75M for 4 years.

    4. Sign Brule for $750,000 or less, one year.

    5. Get Samwise, Pouliot, Cogliano, Brule, Gilbert, Grebeshkov, Nilsson, and O'Sullivan on intense weight-training programs focussing on ballistics and fast-twitch muscle fibres. Prepare for shoulder injuries though.

    I may be optimistic on the suggested prices but they're not too far off.

  11. Dennis says:

    I don't mind sounding like a broken record at all:); especially when it's a hit song:)

    I was at a bar after hours on a pretty good bender the first time I heard Pronger had requested a trade; the TV was turned to Sportsnet and it was the last highlight show of the night.

    From that moment on I dreaded Lowe's possible return and it wound up being Mike Bossy and Tommy Albelin.

    Flash forward to the present and Edm "journalists" are still licking Kevin's ass and calling it ice cream.

  12. Promethian says:

    Oops.

    Forgot:

    6. Sign Dennis Siedenberg. $1.5M, 2 years. Staios will have to be ditched of course.

  13. mc79hockey says:

    I'd love to know what better deals were out there for Pronger. Instead of a 20 year old D and 23 year old forward, it would have been nice to do the opposite and get a young but semi-established D and prospect forward.

    I'm impressed at this witchcraft that Ottawa has discovered: when a disgruntled star asks for a trade, if the return isn't good enough, you tell him to go fuck himself.

    Magic.

  14. oilerdago says:

    Thank for the perspecive LT. I think we all needed it.

    It's still too early to say what the story will be for this summer. Certainly it could have been worse if the Heatley deal goes down.

    It's just going to be interesting to see what else is done w/the roster because if they get Brule signed, and Smid they still have one too many small forwards on the roster.

    Be nice if they could swing a trade to solve that but there's still time before camp.

    And they still need a 3C – although as each day goes by it looks like they're going to give Pouliot the chance MacT never did.

    Here's to hoping Quinn and Renney make as big a difference as we'd like. I'm not convinced at this point we're a playoff team, but that could be the on-going price of a poorly constructed roster and some bad contracts that have to work their way off the books.

  15. Peter says:

    I think the moves will come at this year's deadline and particularly the summer of 2010. This year will determine which of our young players we will build around. I hope we get a return on Staios at this year's deadline, because he certainly won't be worth anything after next year. We're probably stuck with him though, because no one will want a #5 or 6 defensive d-man for a 2.7M cap hit if the cap is declining next season. I'd also love to get rid of Souray, or Visnovsky, but only for a particularly good return in Visnovsky's case. This should also be Moreau's last year as captain, as a 3rd/4th line winger with heart is not the type of player to lead a team. Horcoff is more captain material, and I could also see Gagner/Cogliano taking on the role 3 or 4 years after Horcoff, assuming they're still here.

  16. P-Ow says:

    I'd love to know what better deals were out there for Pronger.

    Visnovsky and Frolov were on the table.

  17. Sean says:

    Adding a solid two-way forward and I'm ok (not thrilled) with the summer.

    I don't mind the "do nothing" approach. It basically relies on Gags/Cogs stepping up (the team we thought was 6th overall last year) or we should be able to sell off at the deadline and reload for real.

  18. Woodguy says:


    Visnovsky and Frolov were on the table
    .

    Really?

    Never heard that.

    Source?

  19. Mr DeBakey says:

    I hope we get a return on Staios at this year's deadline, because he certainly won't be worth anything after next year. We're probably stuck with him though,

    A Small Deal might work
    Givens:
    - Nilsson to AHL
    - Philadelphia over Cap
    - Columbus wants puck mover

    1. Staios + something cheap, Brule? to Philly for Carle. Philly now at 100% of Cap
    2. Carle to Columbus for Umberger

    Oilers get bigger, versatile forward and improve D,
    With Seidenberg at $1.25, Oilers at 99.7% of Cap

  20. Coach pb9617 says:

    It's going to take some time to dig out of this hole, folks. Pisani comes off the books in 2010, and the following summer Moreau and Staios are free.

    If the guy is trying to dig out of a hole, wasting a second on Kotalik and competing against yourself for Khabibulin is not the way to go.

  21. DanMan says:

    Mr Debakey: You do realize Umbruger is a 3.75 mil cap hit, right?

    Do yuou really want a 3rd liner making that much?

  22. Peter says:

    why would Philly want Staios for Carle? If they were going to deal Carle, it would be to upgrade the D or to get someone of value. A 3rd pairing d-man with a 2.7M cap hit would neither upgrade their D nor provide value. Carle for Umberger is also questionnable since Carle has been dealt off of 2 teams already, and this proposed deal would make 3.

  23. Alice says:

    I'm More than Ok with the summer,

    1. It's the off-season and we all want something to talk about. Doesn't mean front office should turn on the blender for our entertainment.

    2. The grass is always greener in the other guy's yard (dept. of Saw Him Good). Remember Cole looked like a great addition last summer. YMMV.

    3. 2nd for Kotalik was fine, regardless of Satan's availability. It was an investment in a test-drive to see how he'd fit with the other Ales. Fact that we were lukewarm in the end does not make it a mistake – it's exactly what we wanted to find out, and for relatively cheap.

    4. Still need the 3C, but also very much need some outperforming contracts. Not dipping into the 2.5M guys is just fine by me: MAP is cheap, as is the vine LT calls 'Homestead'. This will pan out, but not while we're still thinking about water-skiing.

    So good on Steve for not running around like a chicken with his head cut off, imo. The Heatley deal was an outlier, but that was more than strictly a roster play, and I think we all understand that.

  24. Alice says:

    Coach, agreed NK was an overpay. He's good for either the money or the term, but you shouldn't have to ante both.

  25. Black Gold says:

    So good on Steve for not running around like a chicken with his head cut off, imo.

    Leave that stuff to Mr. Lowe.
    That's why he's around isn't it?
    It wasn't Steve flying to see Jagr or Heatley.

  26. bookie says:

    The most unfortunate thing about 2006 is that it resulted in MacT, who was on a pretty fine thread at the time, hanging around for a few years longer.

    Pisani may well be worth it if he is one of those playoff superstars like Claude Lemieux was, but I guess we will have to get into the playoffs again to see this happen. To be fair to him, he probably isnt happy to have a major health issue either…

    Signing Smyth would have been valuable. I didn't mind losing him, but it would have been nice to get something back for him.

    The Pronger trade was bad, but as we see with Heatley, these things are not always easy.

    Signing Hemsky to a 6 year contract was brilliant, keeping a coach around that dogs his first line centre with defensive minutes and that puts the top left winger on the team on the third line or the press box….well, not so brilliant.

    Stoll signing was a good one, unfortunatly the guy just had an off year. Some of us think the total coaching madness that emerged this season was causing problems a few years earlier. Stoll also faced injury problems, hard to pin that on Lowe.

    The Moreau deal was a bit high at the time, but again, who knew that he was going to have 2 injury plagued seasons and then follow it up with a bonehead season. We were all big Moreau fans in 2006 so its pretty disingenous of us to slam Lowe too much for signings like these.

    Same with this summer. Pretty much every Oiler player had a miserable season last year. Coaching was a big part of that. I think the Heatley deal was a distraction that took away from other things we could have gone after, but again, keep in mind that the Oilers thought that Heatley had agreed to Edmonton as a destination and only found out AFTER that he had not.

    I am looking forward to this team (with one or two changes to come) under a new coaching regime.

    Also, Kotalik vs Satan was close, except for the fact that Kotalik was a pretty agressive player (more hits than any Oiler player) that the team thought might up Hemsky's game – Satan was not. A second round late pick is not a very valuable thing, so its not worth worrying about.

  27. Satisfied_to_Ignore says:

    Man, the off season really is the silly season. So much over analyzing and negative out look, just so you can say "I told you so" if we actually do suck. Quit analyzing everything and give it a chance to play out! :)

    Remember, we didn't miss the second season by much.

    Just maintaining our 5×5 and improving our special teams should give us a good shot at it this year.

    Some optimism please! When the Oilers are 25 – 10 – 6 at the halfway point everyone will be calling Tambo a genius and be wondering why we didn't get Quinn sooner!!

  28. Mr DeBakey says:

    You do realize Umbruger is a 3.75 mil cap hit, right?

    Yes

    Do yuou really want a 3rd liner making that much?

    GP . G . A . Pts
    82 – 26 – 20 – 46

    why would Philly want Staios for Carle?

    3,437,500 – 2,700,000
    Plus Philly love those Staios types

    Carle for Umberger is also questionnable since Carle has been dealt off of 2 teams already

    Why would Philly want Staios for Carle?

    Staios + something cheap, Brule?

    Make it Stortini instead
    Philly love those Stortini types

  29. Coach pb9617 says:

    Coach, agreed NK was an overpay. He's good for either the money or the term, but you shouldn't have to ante both.

    You do if you're the Edmonton Oilers.

    Just maintaining our 5×5 and improving our special teams should give us a good shot at it this year.

    Maintaining a 5*5 will be more difficult with a worse starting goalie who is injury prone to boot.

    Improving the PK will be difficult if you don't acquire any penalty killers.

  30. Satisfied_to_Ignore says:


    Maintaining a 5*5 will be more difficult with a worse starting goalie who is injury prone to boot.

    Improving the PK will be difficult if you don't acquire any penalty killers

    Man, sucking me into the over analyzing!

    Khabi is one of the premier goalies in the league. He has won the cup, and over the past two seasons is in the top 5 goalies 5×5 based on shot quality (see advanced stats for Goalies on Behind the Net). Injury prone? Maybe, but any more of a risk than Roli was? He is in the class above Roli for sure.

    We've got penalty killers, they just sucked the big one last year! And we added POS, who given a full season should prove very useful there as well.

    All I'm saying is some optimism is called for before we all throw in the towel! This league is too close to count us out before we start.

  31. Asciutto says:

    He is in the class above Roli for sure.

    Uh-huh:
    KHABIBULIN 0.919
    ROLOSON 0.915
    BIRON 0.915

    Plus, he won the Cup!

  32. mc79hockey says:

    It's a sample game too. Basically, it requires pretending that 2005-07 aren't relevant. I can accept that they should be weighted less; not sure why that weight is zero.

  33. Promethian says:

    //Maintaining a 5*5 will be more difficult with a worse starting goalie who is injury prone to boot.//

    I understand that many here don't approve of the Habby signing and he may be injury prone, but a worse goalie than Roloson?

    Their GAA, SV%, and shoutout/games ratio is similar, but NK has a much higher winning percentage.

    Not sure he's worse than Roloson, and added to the fact that he's played more games and is younger than Rolie, he's been quality for longer. Not to mention he's also played over twice as many playoff games than Rolie and has won a Stanley Cup.

    There seems to be two types of Oilers' fans:

    1. Bring in any big(ish) name and the people are happy.

    2. Bring in any Big(ish) name and the people criticise it.

  34. LittleFury says:

    Grebs signed per TSN. One year, $3.15M.

  35. Ribs says:

    One year seems odd to me.

  36. Gord says:

    Grebeshkov signed a one year deal today for $3.15 avoiding arbitration…

  37. Jonathan Willis says:

    All of the arguments run out in favour of the Khabibulin signing are essentially the same things that could be said when Chicago signed him after he won the Cup in Tampa Bay.

    We all saw how that worked out.

    I'll accept that there's a learning curve for Tambellini, but this is awfully early in his tenure to be dragging out the Summer of '06 as a reminder that things could be worse.

  38. Gord says:

    One year seems odd to me.

    Grebs likes one year deals – he outperformed the last one; I am fine with that.

  39. Asciutto says:

    There seems to be two types of Oilers' fans:

    1. Bring in any big(ish) name and the people are happy.

    2. Bring in any Big(ish) name and the people criticise it.

    The biggishness of His name has absofuckinlutely nothing to do with it.
    They gave $3.75 Million for 4 years to a guy over age 35 when there was no call to do so.

  40. Satisfied_to_Ignore says:

    Asciutto:

    I was referring to the stats from here:

    5×5 Goaltender Performance

    These take into account what shots the goalie faced, which to me is a lot better than straight up save percentage.

    And winning a Stanley cup is a big deal, isn't it?

    I guess you can't avoid the over analysis in Edmonton.

  41. Ribs says:

    Grebs likes one year deals – he outperformed the last one; I am fine with that.

    The only problem with him outperforming his contract is that his price goes up the next season. I would have liked to see at least a two year deal with a locked in price. I wonder which side stepped away from the 3 year deal that he was oh-so-close to signing awhile ago.

  42. Woodguy says:

    Grebs signed per TSN. One year, $3.15M.

    Good.

    Avoid the hurt feelings of arbitration, Grebs shows he can do it again and he'll get paid next year, and the Oilers retain his RFA rights.

    Good.

  43. Promethian says:

    //The biggishness of His name has absofuckinlutely nothing to do with it.
    They gave $3.75 Million for 4 years to a guy over age 35 when there was no call to do so.//

    They basically gave Roloson that same deal, just one year shorter (but age relevant to Habby's).

    That deal was OK?

    And how do you define 'no call to do so'? What would you have proposed instead to cure the goalie situation? Keep in mind (of course) that potential deals generally cannot be consummated for a variety of reasons.

    The Oilers needed a starting goalie and Khabibulin became available. Was it the best move? Who knows for sure yet, but at least they got a starting goalie.

  44. Promethian says:

    And nice job on the Grebs signing.

    Affordable cap hit, options for next year when the cap goes down.

    Kind of reminds me of the Pitkanen deal a couple years ago, just hope that Denis wants to stay in Edmonton for the long haul.

  45. Masamax says:

    I really don't understand why people are so upset over the Bulin signing. Let's compare for a second how bad it could be in terms of cap hit for goalies:

    Anaheim: $7.3 Million
    Calgary: $6.4 Million
    Minnesota: $6Million+
    Buffalo: $7.25 Million
    Boston: $5.6 Million+
    San Jose: $5.6Million+
    New York Islanders: $7 Million

    These are all teams who have goalies that IMHO are about the same skill level as NK or below.

    Edmonton: $4.375 Million

    Cap space is just as important as anything else. Even if we had to resign JDD at twice his current salary next year (unlikeley) we will still have one of the lower cap hits for what we get from our goaltending

  46. Phil says:

    That Hejda deal was a sleeping beauty. Too bad about the whole letting-him-go-for-nothing thing.

  47. oilerdago says:

    With Grebs signing a 1 year, does this mean that next year he's a UFA?

  48. godot10 says:

    In defense of Lowe, devil's advocate mode ON:

    Lowe gave MacT Hejda. MacT never played him. MacT's worst decision/evaluation ever. The decision that the last three seasons turned on. MacT was handed a cheap stud shutdown D, and coiuldn't see it.

    Grebeshkov signs one year deals because he thinks that he is worth more than he is currently being offered on a long term deal. I like a player who thinks he can be a lot better.

  49. mc79hockey says:

    Anaheim: $7.3 Million
    Calgary: $6.4 Million
    Minnesota: $6Million+
    Buffalo: $7.25 Million
    Boston: $5.6 Million+
    San Jose: $5.6Million+
    New York Islanders: $7 Million

    This is beyond stupid. Some of those teams made bad decisions in paying their goalies big bucks. Some of them are paying goalies that are considerably better than Khabby big bucks. No matter how you slice it, this is a criminally stupid decision.

  50. Coach pb9617 says:

    I really don't understand why people are so upset over the Bulin signing. Let's compare for a second how bad it could be in terms of cap hit for goalies:

    And none of those hits are guaranteed hits. Khabibulin's hit is.

  51. Smytty777 says:

    Oilerdago: I believe he will be under 7 years and the league and under age 27 so still should be an RFA. I could be wrong about that though.

  52. Traktor says:

    LT needs some new material.

    A laundry list of MacTavish's self-inflicted wounds would be a good start.

    Don't hold your breath though.

  53. geowal says:

    Will Grebeshkov not be a UFA next year then?

  54. oilerdago says:

    Gapgeek is saying he's still an RFA next season.

    So next year we're going to have to sign Cogs, Gags and Grebs with Pisani coming off.

  55. bookie says:

    All I'm saying is some optimism is called for before we all throw in the towel! This league is too close to count us out before we start.

    My God Man, what do you want us to do, just go outside and enjoy the summer? Next you will tell us to spend time with our families and to enjoy life. Get a Grip!

  56. DanMan says:

    Debakey: who would Umberger replace in your top-6? Your trade scenario didn't have any forwards being moved.

    Don't forget, we will be in a world of RFA hurt if Gagner and Cogliano put up similar numbers as the last two years. Even that is unrealistic, as the third full year is generally the breakout year for 1st rounders. If Gagner is in the 50-60 point range, thats $3.5 + cap-hit. Same if Cogs scores 25 goals and 50 points.

  57. kris says:

    Mc79 and JW,

    I guess I agree that this is an overpay, and the 4th year of the deal might require us to trade a retired player's 3.75 cap hit, bundled with a pick to a cap poor team. But I don't think burying him will be impossible.

    I just don't think it's quite as bad a signing as you're making it out to be.

    It's tough to judge the worth of goalies aside from the true Luongo-esque superstars and the fringe goalies. But this doesn't mean, as some have argued, that all middling goalies are equally valuable.

    Khabibulin has had some poor seasons. But he also has a high end game. He is old, but I think the odds are decent that he won't fall apart for at least 2-3 years of his deal. (The odds of a 40 year old Roloson falling apart were much higher, IMO.)

    So there's some chance that Khabi will play well and a small chance that he'll really excel, hopefully during the playoffs. That's a good goalie in my books. If he doesn't perform, he can be buried, even though there'll be a cost.

    I suppose the argument is that there were cheaper, younger goalies that were available, who were just as good and thus less of a gamble. I don't know about this. It's tough to calculate the odds that a young goalie who has had some success will fall apart, but it happens all the time. It's even tougher to determine the chances he'll become dominant during certain streaks of his career.

    I suppose that Khabibulin's age and past struggles are at least "a devil you know" while a young goaltender is a bit of a "devil you don't know" and the former is preferable.

    But now I'm rambling. I guess I'm asking for a more substantive critique.

  58. mc79hockey says:

    I suppose the argument is that there were cheaper, younger goalies that were available, who were just as good and thus less of a gamble. I don't know about this.

    Biron. Explain to me how Biron is a) worse than Khabby or b) still unsigned while Khabby has 4 years and $15MM guaranteed. It's nonsensical.

    And, you know, for all the talk about Khabby and the conference finalist Hawks, his save percentage in the playoffs was .898. I don't think that that's his true talent but then I'm not the guy who will be knocking lamps over when I stand up because I'm so excited about his proven clutchitude.

  59. NBOilerFan says:

    godot10 said…
    Lowe gave MacT Hejda. MacT never played him. MacT's worst decision/evaluation ever. The decision that the last three seasons turned on. MacT was handed a cheap stud shutdown D, and coiuldn't see it.

    From what I recall, Hedja was looking oput for a big paycheck, even before he earned it which was the biggest issue between him and the Oilers.

  60. Promethian says:

    //Biron. Explain to me how Biron is a) worse than Khabby or b) still unsigned while Khabby has 4 years and $15MM guaranteed. It's nonsensical.//

    Are you asking this from an Oilers' perspective or a general league-wide one?

    If it's from an Oilers' perspective, Khabby would sign here and perhaps Biron would not.

    League-wide, Biron has been a 1-1a his whole career and Khabby, until last year, has always been a #1.

  61. P-Ow says:

    @Woodguy:

    Visnovsky and Frolov were on the table.

    Really?

    Never heard that.

    Source?

    Personal conversations with media members. I had it independently confirmed to me three times. It seems like one of those things everyone knew about and no one wrote about, for whatever reason.

    I don't know specifics, but I believe the offer came in as Lowe was in the process of accepting the Anaheim deal. I also don't know what else, if anything, would have been included on either side.

  62. NBOilerFan says:

    PS – Don't get me wrong, I was hoping they would keep him, but that is what I think teh issue was, contract negotiations more then anything.

  63. bookie says:

    Khabibulin has had some poor seasons. But he also has a high end game. He is old, but I think the odds are decent that he won't fall apart for at least 2-3 years of his deal.

    And to be fair, perhaps some of the GM's have more knowledge about the source of those struggles. Sometimes problems of a personal nature impact on ice performance. So, the GM's may insights that we do not.

  64. Smytty777 says:

    MC: The problem I have with your argument is that it does not even attempt to recognize the most important factor in signing a player. Whether or not he will actually sign with the Oilers?

    You make solid, substantive arguments, but to say the signing is incredibly stupid is pure hyperbole.

    You don't know that Biron would sign for less (or sign at all), you don't know if Biron is a better goalie than Bulin. You don't factor in that Bulin could easily sign in the KHL, probably for similar if not more money (look at Hudler's ridiculous KHL contract).

    You have presented a strong argument, but you are ignoring the main weakness in your argument (likely because it is impossible for a fan to determine), whether or not anyone else equal to or better than Bulin would have signed with the Oilers for less? Tambellini likely knows that answer, but we don't.

  65. Scott Reynolds says:

    PS – Don't get me wrong, I was hoping they would keep him, but that is what I think teh issue was, contract negotiations more then anything.

    So the Oilers wouldn't meet his "greedy" 1 year $1M contract demands?

  66. Satisfied_to_Ignore says:


    My God Man, what do you want us to do, just go outside and enjoy the summer? Next you will tell us to spend time with our families and to enjoy life. Get a Grip!

    Now come on, I wouldn't go that far!!

  67. Mr DeBakey says:

    "If it's from an Oilers' perspective, Khabby would sign here and perhaps Biron would not."

    Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg here we come!

  68. Jonathan Willis says:

    I guess you can't avoid the over analysis in Edmonton.

    He's 36 years old and he's had one good season (his contract year) in the past four. His play has been so consistently bad that Chicago went out and forked over big money to a different starter even though they had to eat Khabibulin's cap hit (which they did when he went unclaimed off waivers).

    This isn't over-analysis. This is looking at the situation with something other than blind optimism.

  69. PunjabiOil says:

    Grebeshkov should have been made part of the core, and locked up 4-5 years.

    With Matheson whispering the Oilers were close to a 3 year contract with Denis at close to 3.25M, it's baffling why only a 1 year contract was agreed upon. Then, Tambellni admitted the hold up was that the Oilers were looking to see what was on the trade market.

    What is Steve Tambellini doing?

  70. Scott Reynolds says:

    Re: Khabibulin

    These are the UFA goalies (of some pedigree) that have signed contracts so far this offseason (with plenty of options still on the table in the form of Biron, Fernandez and Legace):

    Khabibulin – 4yrs 3.75M per
    Gustavsson – 1yr 2.5M per
    Roloson – 2yrs 2.5M per
    Anderson – 2yrs 1.8125M per
    Clemmensen – 2yrs 1.8M per
    Conklin – 2yrs 1.3M per
    Garon – 2yrs 1.2M per
    Labarbera – 2yrs 1.0M per
    Boucher – 2yrs 0.925M per
    Valiquette – 1yr 0.725M per
    Dubielewicz – 1yr 0.6M per
    Nittymaki – 1yr 0.6M per
    Sabourin – 1yr 0.6M per
    Sanford – 1yr 0.6M per
    Toivonen – 1yr 0.6M per
    Raycroft – 1yr 0.5M per

    Is there any acceptable reason for the Oilers to sign a 35+ goalie to a contract two years longer than any goalie contract given out this year for 1.25M more than any goalie contract given out this year? How much better would Khabibiulin need to be than Biron, Conklin, Anderson, Roloson, Fernandez and Legace for this to be a half-way reasonalbe deal?

  71. hunter1909 says:

    A hot irish blonde just gave me the "I'd really love to meet you" look.

    And with that, I'm supposed to be worrying about what a fucking hockey team is supposedly doing, or not doing?

    Pat Quinn is going to make the young players think it's Christmas Day, after MacScrooge.

    Smarmy boss: I want my young players uppity. Seemed to work like a charm for a small market hockey team in 1982-90. Their name is right on the tip of my tongue.

  72. Coach pb9617 says:

    Legace and Gerber for a combined $3 million for 1 year is a helluva lot better than this current contract.

  73. Dennis says:

    Ty: that quip made a fine summer's day even brighter:)

  74. gogliano says:

    In fairness, that list of signed goalies is a list of guys who are all questionable as uncontested starters.

  75. IceDragoon says:

    Good day.

    Black Dog: the only thing that worries me about this summer is that I have heard a few commentators/players/management types refer to Lowe as if he is still a big part of this, which I think he may be.

    Worry about important things, if you must, Pat. There's no point in sweating over this…
    he is.
    ;-D

    P-Ow: Visnovsky and Frolov were on the table.

    Much crap flies around here at times. But, this is a steaming patty of bull****!

    L8r
    Louise

  76. RiversQ says:

    In fairness, I'd argue Khabibulin is questionable as an uncontested starter from the beginning of this deal due to his age alone.

    There are only so many Roloson freaks out there.

    YKOil said it best – the Oilers have assumed all the risk here and it is massive risk that gets worse every year.

  77. mc79hockey says:

    You don't know that Biron would sign for less (or sign at all),

    I had an excellent sense of what Biron's options were. I assume that he wouldn't have retired rather than played in EDM for $1.5-$2MM.

    you don't know if Biron is a better goalie than Bulin.

    Neither does Steve Tambellini. All I have to go on is their past performance. Biron has a clear edge on Khabby over the past four years. Selective endpoints and all that, but we also know that goalies fall off a cliff as they age. I think it's plain and obvious that Biron is the better bet over the next four years. I don't see any basis on which anyone can argue that Khabby is clearly the better bet moving forward.

    You don't factor in that Bulin could easily sign in the KHL, probably for similar if not more money (look at Hudler's ridiculous KHL contract).

    How much dough did Hudler get? Even then, while I believe Khabby has a line he'd retire or go to Russia before he'd accept, I doubt it was 4 years and $15MM. Even if you lose him, maybe it improves Biron's position but you've still got another option.

    That's all if you don't have the balls to take a run at someone like Harding, which I would have.

    You have presented a strong argument, but you are ignoring the main weakness in your argument (likely because it is impossible for a fan to determine), whether or not anyone else equal to or better than Bulin would have signed with the Oilers for less? Tambellini likely knows that answer, but we don't.

    It doesn't sound to me like Tambo checked the market at all. You guys worry too much about that shit, the Edmonton stuff, to be honest. I'll bet Edmonton looks pretty fucking good to Biron right now.

  78. RiversQ says:

    Louise: Agreed on the LA business.

    There's no way Lowe would have waited long enough to do due diligence.

    That and 5 > 2.

  79. Scott Reynolds says:

    In fairness, that list of signed goalies is a list of guys who are all questionable as uncontested starters.

    What makes you believe that Khabibulin, from ages 36 to 39, is not questionable as an uncontested starter? Jonathan and Tyler have already brought up his 05/06 to 07/08 seasons which were very poor. Should those count for nothing?

    How likely do you think it is that Khabibulin will put up better numbers than Ty Conklin or Craig Anderson next year? About three times as likely? Twice as likely? Enough that it's worth the risk of four years? What about the other goalies that have been successful starters in the past (Biron, Fernandez, Legace)? Would one of them be willing to sign a one or two year deal for 2.5M at this point?

    I've also heard that it will be easy to flip Roloson's cap hit when the time comes to a "cap poor" team. Even if that is true, it's almost guaranteed to cost the Oilers something in the "Oilers trade N.K. and a 2nd round pick to Phx for a 7th round pick." It won't be free to move him.

  80. Satisfied_to_Ignore says:

    He's 36 years old and he's had one good season (his contract year) in the past four.

    Care to back that up in context of the quality of team playing in front of him?

    Based on the link I posted earlier taking into account the shots he faces he has been above average for the last 2 seasons. The two before that I do not recall Chicago being very good, but I admittedly have a short and selective memory.

  81. bookie says:

    It doesn't sound to me like Tambo checked the market at all.

    I think a statement like this is rediculous. These guys are professionals in a very very competative industry. Just because we armchair captins don't always agree doesn't mean that they take their job less seriously than the average Fry Guy at MacDonalds.

  82. gogliano says:

    I don't disagree that the Khabibulin contract is a bad one and he might not hold the starting job if he regresses to his performance of two years ago, but I don't think it is a bad bet that he'll be fine next season; the term of the deal is the killer.

    My main point is he is distinct from every member of that list. The closest comparable is a 40 year old Roloson who got 2.5 million during the ages of 40-42.

  83. IceDragoon says:

    RiversQ: That and 5 > 2.

    This is true
    :-)

  84. PDO says:

    On Grebs:

    I'm leaning towards calling this stupid.

    Major problems with giving him one year (what happened to the proposed $3,250,000 over 3 years that was leaked in the Journal?):

    #1) He's an RFA next season. So are Gagner and Cogliano; having all 3 of them being RFA's at the same time was avoidable.

    #2) It's nearly impossible to get an RFA signed to less than he made the previous contract.

    #3) So, unless Grebeshkov has a ****ing TERRIBLE season, he's still getting a raise next season.

    #4) And on the off chance he has a fantastic season, he's getting a huge raise.

    Not overly impressed here. $3,150,000 is a nice number for this season… but if all it took was getting that number up to the $3,300,000 range to have him for three years, the risks and rewards are far more in the Oilers favour.

  85. gogliano says:

    I'm also unconvinced that raw save percentage tells us as much as we need to know about goalies; the Conklin/LaBarbera solution has just as many questions as overpaying for a name goalie whose reputation exceeds performance. Maybe raw save percentage is the best we got but I don't think it tells the whole story.

  86. Ender says:

    Just out of curiosity, why is everyone ignoring Bulin's qualcomp/qualteam/qualshots while saying it's a bad deal?

    I mean, when it comes to Penner, the numbers come out. When it comes to Lupul, the numbers come out. When it comes to Roloson, people generally used the numbers to make him look as good as possible (with caveats).

    Why ignore Bulin's? Or was Luongo that amazing on Florida that all of his stats stayed the same?

  87. Smytty777 says:

    MC: You are again making two main assumptions. 1) Biron would have signed for that much less 2) Tambellini didn't check the market for other alternatives.

    Neither assumption is supportable with any real evidence and both seem wildly unlikely to me.

    The moment Biron signs for 1.5-2M (which I admit remains a strong possibility) then there is greater evidence that assumption 1 is correct. However, there is no way Biron would have signed for that amount July 1 or the Flyers would never have let him hit the market. But it still does not absolutely prove that Biron would have signed for 1.5-2M in Edmonton.

    If you are relying on assumptions to make an argument I think it is only fair to admit the impact if those assumptions are incorrect.

    Use these assumptions, the Oilers scouts identified the best goalie available (Khabby), the Oilers scouts know more about good goaltending than we do, the Oilers looked at a range of alternatives (Biron, Anderson, Harding, Khabby), based on conversations with agents (the Wild) the best value was to sign Khabby based on your scouting staffs rating of each available goaltender.

    I don't know that all of the above assumptions would be correct (they are at least logical), but it puts a different spin on the signing. It's certainly not the open and shut case that you make it out to be.

    I'm not a big fan of Khabby or the term of the deal, but there are two sides to the story and you're only painting one half here.

  88. Bank Shot says:

    PDO:

    5) Grebeshkov has a bad season, and the Oilers can get out from under the $3 million. If the cap drops and Grebs puts up 20 points he won't be getting $3 million through arbitration.

  89. Scott Reynolds says:

    Re: Khabibulin

    The fact that people defending the deal are saying things like "I'm not a big fan of Khabby or the term of the deal" and "I don't disagree that the Khabibulin contract is a bad one" should be telling about how bad the contract is.

    As for Khabibulin being different from the other signed goalies because he's a "clear starter," I just don't buy it. The reason that the Hawks brought in Huet last year was because they didn't think Khabibulin was good enough to be a starter anymore. They thought this because, in their opinions, his performance had been poor.

    Re: Grebeshkov

    I don't think it was a good signing. I don't think there was a lot of hope that Grebs would get much more than 3.15M in arbitration and there was a case to be made that he deserved less (in the 2M to 2.5M range but if I were presenting the case I'd argue for the top end of that range). Further, since it was player-elected arbitration the Oilers could have elected a two year term which, I think, suits their interests more than a one-year term since his qualifying offer will be 3.15M again next year anyway. It's not a disastrous deal, but I think it's poor.

  90. mc79hockey says:

    Just out of curiosity, why is everyone ignoring Bulin's qualcomp/qualteam/qualshots while saying it's a bad deal?

    I'm kind of iffy on the methodology and the value of it outside of the extremes. I don't think that Khabby has been at the extremes the past few years.

    IIRC, it also mixes ES/PP/PK together, which always drives me insane.

    MC: You are again making two main assumptions. 1) Biron would have signed for that much less 2) Tambellini didn't check the market for other alternatives.

    I don't know what kind of worlds some of you people operate in, in which you always have perfect inforamtion about everything. If you think that my assumption that Biron would prefer to have a starting job in the NHL than not is unreasonable, by all means say so. I'm not saying he would have signed on July 1 but then the Oilers didn't have a game that night.

    As far as Khabby goes, given that they signed him within a couple hours of free agency opening and he said that the offer was for four years…I'm inferring that they targetted him with that term and salary. If you think that's an unreasonable assumption, say so. Saying it's an assumption doesn't get you anywhere. Circumstantial evidence counts.

    As far as your scouting staff thing goes, as arrogant as this sounds, I think that I may well be better at putting dollar values on players than the Oilers' braintrust. I mean, Christ, these are the same people who gave a guy with a debilitating disease 4 years and $10MM. If the evidence is that they're stupid and not very good at evaluating the market – and they could have had the same quality of goaltending for a lot cheaper the past few years, as I said the day that they signed Roloson – I don't know why you would continue to defer to them.

    I have no doubt that they're better at identifying subtle differences between players than I am. I have serious doubt, which I think is supported by virtually everything that they've done over the past few years, that they have a clue about putting dollar values on those differences.

  91. Jonathan Willis says:

    Smytty777:

    Here's one thing we do know – Tambellini didn't attempt to bargain Khabibulin dwon term-wise.

    To quote Khabibulin: "We had some one-year offers. But when I had such a long commitment from the Oilers, it was a pretty easy decision to make."

    I know there are guys out there who don't like the dollars, but those I can live with.

    What bothers me is that the Oilers offered a four-year term rather than something in the 2-year range.

  92. DanMan says:

    Nikolai Khabibulin is a better option than Martin Biron because he is Nikolai Khabibulin and not Martin Biron.

  93. Bank Shot says:

    I wouldn't be surprised if the whole Khabbibuklin signing was a panic move to attempt to get Heatley to agree to waive his no trade clause.

    Still smells like Kevin Lowe around here.

  94. mc79hockey says:

    Nikolai Khabibulin is a better option than Martin Biron because he is Nikolai Khabibulin and not Martin Biron.

    Congrats on your site reaching the point that members of the Oilers front office post on it LT.

  95. mc79hockey says:

    I really feel like this season is going to be the last twenty games of 06-07 in terms of mood. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing, as I felt like I was at a creative high point, but man, when this team misses the playoffs by ten points because the goaltending sucks…I'm going to be livid.

  96. Jonathan Willis says:

    The real crime here is Deslauriers. Let's dump him and sign Ed Belfour to be the backup.

    After all, he's Ed Belfour.

  97. Scott Reynolds says:

    Just out of curiosity, why is everyone ignoring Bulin's qualcomp/qualteam/qualshots while saying it's a bad deal?

    My main reason for not taking it into consideration explicitly is that I'm not sure that there is a lot of variance in shot quality from team to team at even strength. I think EVSv% is probably a better statistic to use than straight Sv% for goalie performance since PP shots tend to be a lot more likely to go in and some goalies face a higher proportion of PP shots.

    So here's Khabibulin's EVSv% the last four years along with how he placed among goalies that played at least 30 games:

    2008-09 – .933, 5th
    2007-08 – .916, 31st
    2006-07 – .913, 29th
    2005-06 – .899, 40th

  98. spOILer says:

    I'm not sure what to think about the implications of a photo-less LT post.

    Into the darkness we go without a clear image of our destination?

  99. gary b says:

    I want my young players uppity. Seemed to work like a charm for a small market hockey team in 1982-90. Their name is right on the tip of my tongue.

    gold!

  100. Ender says:

    I'm kind of iffy on the methodology and the value of it outside of the extremes. I don't think that Khabby has been at the extremes the past few years.

    I get that. I'm iffy on what people are using Corsi to show. That said, for the last decade Chicago has been icing a nearly AHL-level team (with the obvious exception of this year, and possibly last) and Khabibulin's numbers with Chicago have been improving since he got there (and since say circumstantial evidence has a place here, since the team has been getting better). You don't see that as in the extremes? Keith and Seabrook are not exactly old vets but they're the first pairing.
    The rest of this post is not directed specifically at anyone
    I understand the argument about injuries and age, but it's less an issue now than it was 5 or 10 years ago. People have railed about Souray for ages, but he brings much more than what the blogosphere expected, and about what management expected. Injuries happen. it sucks. But nobody is injury-prone. Some people just get a rash of bad luck or don't rehab properly. You can't rely on him getting hurt going forwards.

    I get that you would play it safe. I also doubt your safely-built team would make the playoffs, or if they did, win the cup. I think it's odd that you would choose which set of numbers to believe in rather than assuming the answer was somewhere inbetween, but that's me.

    I dunno. I just don't get how this level of love/hate analysis furthers any agenda or equates to more than a pissing contest. I'm not sure how it shows or proves anything aside from some sort of Nostradamus-based witchdoctery which is mitigated itself by a thousand confounding factors. The whole armchair coach/armchair GM thing seems distanced enough that nobody can *know* the *right* answer, so I have no idea why people are so adamant about being right, or telling other people to effectively sit down and leave it to the experts (who have no more hockeysense credentials than anyone else). I guess that's why I don't regularly post.

  101. Coach pb9617 says:

    Not overly impressed here. $3,150,000 is a nice number for this season… but if all it took was getting that number up to the $3,300,000 range to have him for three years, the risks and rewards are far more in the Oilers favour.

    Probably because he was going to arbitration no matter what. He was getting $3,250,000 in arbitration for one year. Why risk a bigger award?

  102. Scott Reynolds says:

    The whole armchair coach/armchair GM thing seems distanced enough that nobody can *know* the *right* answer, so I have no idea why people are so adamant about being right, or telling other people to effectively sit down and leave it to the experts… I guess that's why I don't regularly post.

    I think the main thing to recognize is that people are here for fun. At least, I am. I like debating the merits of one signing or another. When others join the debate, hopefully we all learn something. We all know that we have imperfect information when we're making judgments about things. That's why no one is arguing one signing or another absolutely can't work out. People do argue that one signing or another is bad based on the probability of various outcomes as they see it. Is your main concern that people seem too certain about their judgments? Or is your main concern that we can't have enough information to make an educated decision about, say, the Khabibulin signing? Or is it something else?

  103. mc79hockey says:

    That said, for the last decade Chicago has been icing a nearly AHL-level team (with the obvious exception of this year, and possibly last) and Khabibulin's numbers with Chicago have been improving since he got there (and since say circumstantial evidence has a place here, since the team has been getting better).

    Save percentage as a whole has been rising since the lockout, so the increase for Khabibulin isn't as impressive as it looks. I think we're up about .008 since the lockout.

    While I question how much the numbers further back tell us about his future, Khabibulin wasn't exactly tearing it up in TB either and they were a playoff team/Cup champion at the end of his tenure.

    I understand the argument about injuries and age, but it's less an issue now than it was 5 or 10 years ago…Injuries happen. it sucks. But nobody is injury-prone. Some people just get a rash of bad luck or don't rehab properly. You can't rely on him getting hurt going forwards.

    Some injuries are chronic. In Khabby's case, we're talking about a guy who has suffered from back/groin problems that have caused him to miss time for the past four years. If we were talking about stuff like broken bones and such, I'd agree with you a lot more readily.

    People have railed about Souray for ages, but he brings much more than what the blogosphere expected, and about what management expected.

    The results have been better than I expected to date. With that said, and to your point about injuries:

    Last April, Souray went under the knife to repair the same shoulder. It was dislocated when he was with the Montreal Canadiens. He then separated the shoulder six games into his career with the Oilers — an injury which loosened up the previous repair job.

    I don't necessarily believe in injury prone but I'm a pretty solid believer in the idea that you don't come back 100% from injuries and surgeries – there's increased risk going forward. That was a lot of the argument about Souray and so far, he's missed about 35% of his team's games as a result of problems that were linked to pre-existing problems.

    I get that you would play it safe. I also doubt your safely-built team would make the playoffs, or if they did, win the cup.

    Play it safe is the wrong way to look at it. I wouldn't be willing to make high risk, middling return bets. This a capped out team that, if everything goes well, might slide into seventh or eighth. If I was running this team, the chances of seventh or eighth this year might be reduced (although I don't think by much), but they wouldn't be tied into big money deals that screw up their chances down the road. The chances of first to fourth in the future would be better.

    I think it's odd that you would choose which set of numbers to believe in rather than assuming the answer was somewhere inbetween, but that's me.

    It's info, I'm aware of it, I just think that, due to reasons of sample size and methodology, it doesn't really add a hell of a lot to the analysis. His track record of middling numbers matters a lot more to me.

  104. Ender says:

    Is your main concern that people seem too certain about their judgments? Or is your main concern that we can't have enough information to make an educated decision about, say, the Khabibulin signing?

    Both. People are still bitching about the Souray contract after solid numbers. Once someone's mind is made up on a player (for good or bad), they seem to stop listening.

  105. Mr DeBakey says:

    The real crime here is Deslauriers. Let's dump him and sign Ed Belfour to be the backup.

    After all, he's Ed Belfour.

    Johhny Bower
    He won a Cup

  106. mc79hockey says:

    @Ender: I don't like stupid arguments. I'm not certain that I am absolutely correct that Khabby will suck. If people want to think that this is a good deal, that's fine with me. What I don't like are stupid reasons, like "He's not Biron" or "Count the ringzzzz!!!!11oneoneoneone" A stupid argument is a stupid argument, regardless of whether it's in support of a noble cause.

    Oh – I'm not going to pick on why you don't post here but, unintentionally I'm sure, a lot of your posts seem to across as being written by a guy just looking to get upset and martyred. The bit at the end was an unnecessary comment and you're pretty much asking for snark with it, given your history.

  107. Scott Reynolds says:

    Probably because he was going to arbitration no matter what. He was getting $3,250,000 in arbitration for one year. Why risk a bigger award?

    I think you risk the bigger award for a few reasons.

    1. There's a good chance the award could be smaller than 3.25M.
    2. There's not a very good chance that the award would be significantly higher than 3.15M.
    3. They could make it a two year deal.

  108. Ender says:

    @MC

    It's an observation, and not one that has anything to do with me. I don't think I've seen anyone on this site change their mind about a player since they made a decision. Just because I don't post doesn't mean I don't read.

    In one corner you generally have you, CoachPB, Vic, and Slipper beating on the drum at varying volumes. That's not to say that each of you can't be reasonable – just that often it seems like more drum-beating than debate or discussion.

    In another you have hunter, traktor and a few others beating on a different drum, and not ever really discussing or debating either.

    Again, I stress that each of you can and do be reasonable. However, things can and do degrade quickly.

    I mostly only post when I get annoyed enough at the use or abuse of stats, so I understand why people would have that opinion of me here, I do. And I'm not saying I'm always right, or someone else is always wrong. Just sometimes I tip over an edge, which I'm sure everyone can understand.

    For example, today I went to C&B and saw Coach's quote from Hunt for Red October and thought "wow, for a non-expert to be correcting a non-expert with that quote takes balls. Then I came here and saw people going back and forth on the Bulin debate with neither side replying to the numbers that were presented from the other – but rather just ignoring it (in print) and moving on. That's not discussion, and yea, maybe I shouldn't have, but I said something about it. Your reply was perfectly civil, but it didn't have you say anything other than "you disagree with the methodology" and you ignored it again. Somewhere in there CoachPB treated their mock arbitration as being "how things would happen" jokingly or not. And you continue to say that you don't think it really matters without backing that up.

    And that's all fine. I just don't get it. That's why I wrote my other bit that you're having issues with. I like to discuss. I like to learn. I see none of that here, but it seems as though other people either want to discuss or feel they're discussing things here. And to me, that makes no sense. It wasn't meant as a snide remark. It was meant honestly. I don't get it.

  109. kris says:

    My main reason for not taking it into consideration explicitly is that I'm not sure that there is a lot of variance in shot quality from team to team at even strength.

    That's a pretty strong claim Tyler. I must be misunderstanding you.

    First, it wouldn't need to be 'a lot' to make a difference in the numbers, IMO, especially given the similarity in SV% of all goalies.

    Suppose team X and team Y play each other 20 times. Team X's shooters shoot at a 1% higher rate on average. (That's signifigant, but hardly unbelieveable.) Suppose we say team X and Y have carbon copy goalies and carbon copy defensive play. Suppose each team shoots 30 shots a game. As a result, team x will have a +6 goal differential, and team Y's goalie will have a SV% that is .01 worse that X's goalie. We can imagine Y's goalie at .900 and X's goalie at .910. That makes X's goalie look much better, no?

    Now, don't get me wrong, I get that winning at ES usually requires out shooting and winning the Corsi battle, but I don't see any reason to discard the intuitive notion that SP% influences SV% or that some teams have a better overall SP% or that crappy defenders might increase opposing teams SP%.

    My hunch is, having crappy defenders like Strudwick in front of you, and great shooters against you, hurts your SV%. In short, being on a bad team hurts your SV%.

    I must be missing something.

  110. quain says:

    That's all well and good… but do you love or hate Shawn Horcoff? That's the crux of the matter.

  111. kris says:

    Honest question:

    It's true that Biron has shown some staying power as a #1 guy.

    (Some of the other free agent options that keep getting mentioned, haven't shown staying power. Garon, Sabourin, and Valiquette appeared on one list. Pass.)

    So why hasn't anyone signed Biron for such a low price?

    It's possible that every GM is making a mistake, but there might be something there that we don't know about.

  112. quain says:

    My hunch is, having crappy defenders like Strudwick in front of you, and great shooters against you, hurts your SV%. In short, being on a bad team hurts your SV%.

    I don't have the time to hunt down the link, but Vic showed pretty conclusively that defense doesn't have a particularly noticeable impact on SV% (it's more of a Corsi/zone impact). Playing against a team with a higher SH% would obviously result in a lower SV%, but it's not often you play the Russian All-Star team in a normal NHL season, so the difference washes out, and there aren't many teams that have a substantially better rate of scoring at ES, I think it mostly manifests in PP.

    In fact, Detroit isn't a spectacular team when it comes to finishing at ES%, which is where you'd imagine Chicago/Khabi might have had some pain in the past few years. They just shoot a lot.

  113. mc79hockey says:

    It's possible that every GM is making a mistake, but there might be something there that we don't know about.

    The obvious answer, which has been obvious since about August of last year, is that there are more goalies than jobs. Teams are locked into people. Do you think if WSH could ditch Theo for Biron at half the cost, they would? I do. That's not a choice they have at the moment though.

  114. Ender says:

    @quain

    Ok, but if getting outshot leads to a lower SV% and having a worse team leads to getting outshot, wouldn't being on a worse team lower your SV%?

    I mean, Chicago has had some pretty high draft picks since Khabi's been in town.

  115. oilerdago says:

    //I like the fact that Grebeshkov thinks so highly of his own abilities that he is willing to "roll-the-dice".//

    Great points godot. If you're not willing/able to do a Gilbert type deal, this really then is the best option for right now with Grebs because the team holds the cards for next year.

    I went over to the ministry of info, er. Oiler's website and Grebs agent said that he would have liked to do a longer deal but that the Oilers still had some things they wanted to take care of regarding the roster.

    Perhaps things might brighten up yet for this summer?

  116. Ender says:

    I should also mention before CoachPB gets mad at me, I agree with what's written in those two articles I cited. I just thought use of the quote and his presenting the mock arbitration as prophecy here were extremely ballsy. YMMV.

  117. Scott Reynolds says:

    Faulty reasoning. The Oilers could NOT choose 2-year arbitration, because after that deal Grebeshkov could choose player arbitration to get himself to unrestricted free agency. The Oilers surrender control of Grebeshkov if they went for a two-year arbitration.

    Grebeshkov will be an unrestricted free agent in two years regardless. If he wants to go be an unrestricted free agent in two years I don't think there's a whole lot the Oilers can do about it. Grebeshkov could very easily take his qualifying offer next year and roll along into unrestricted free agency the year after. We'll either be negotiating a new long-term deal with Grebeshkov when he still has a year left on his deal (in the scenario I had favoured) or negotiating a long-term deal with Grebeshkov after in the year before he becomes a UFA (the situation that actually exists). I suspect the first year of that long-term deal will be a higher price then another year of his arbitration award. That could be significant in terms of the cap since the Oilers currently don't have much money to spend in 2010-11 but have a number of contracts coming off the books in 2011-12 (i.e. more room then for a Grebeshkov extension). That's why I think the two-year option is better.

    Vic showed pretty conclusively that defense doesn't have a particularly noticeable impact on SV%

    http://vhockey.blogspot.com/2009/05/scoring-chances-part-iii-of-many.html

    The discussion is what's particularly relevant. Also, this follow-up by Contrarian Goaltender:

    http://brodeurisafraud.blogspot.com/2009/05/shot-quality-effect-part-2.html

    Ender:

    I like to discuss. I like to learn. I see none of that here, but it seems as though other people either want to discuss or feel they're discussing things here. And to me, that makes no sense.

    It's a shame you feel that way, honestly. I'm actually surprised since I think I've learned quite a lot about hockey, math and argumentation since I started reading here.

  118. mc79hockey says:

    As far as opinions on things not changing much, I think that you're overreaching a bit here Ender. I can't speak for others, but there's a lot of shit that I don't have a strong opinion about. Reading stuff here, and elsewhere, frequently informs what I end up thinking. By the time I get around to posting a firm opinion on something, I've generally thought it through. I suspect that other people are the same.

    As far as ignoring the points from the other side, quite frankly, I've already commented at some length on the Khabibulin stuff, including a lot of the arguments presented here. The only one I haven't responded to, possibly, is the shot quality stuff, which I recently commented on Vic's site.

    I didn't even wade into this particular fracas until I saw someone listing teams that pay their goalies more than the Oilers will as if that justifies things. That was, as far as I'm concerned, a novel argument, albeit a stupid one.

  119. Masamax says:

    mc79hockey said:

    This is beyond stupid. Some of those teams made bad decisions in paying their goalies big bucks. Some of them are paying goalies that are considerably better than Khabby big bucks. No matter how you slice it, this is a criminally stupid decision.

    Certainly some of those goalies are questionably better, but are these team's goaltending tandems worth 2-3 million more than Edmonton's? Even if Khabby is a DECENT goaltender, if we can keep our goaltending hit under $5 million the next 4 years, we come out ahead of many teams.

    And yes, Khabby can't be buried, I agree with you. However, I think you are overestimating the wealth of many of the teams on that list and the NHL as a whole. The number of franchises that can bury a $2M+ salary in the minors is very small. A player signed at $6 million buried in the minors still is going to count against that team if they can't afford to replace him.

  120. Ender says:

    Vic showed pretty conclusively that defense doesn't have a particularly noticeable impact on SV%

    http://vhockey.blogspot.com/2009/05/scoring-chances-part-iii-of-many.html

    The discussion is what's particularly relevant. Also, this follow-up by Contrarian Goaltender:

    http://brodeurisafraud.blogspot.com/2009/05/shot-quality-effect-part-2.html

    Maybe I'm missing something, but neither of those seem to take into account where the scoring chances are taken from _or_ look at separate goalies. Given enough goalies, things should even out. IMO neither comes close to disproving the adjusted SV%.

    It's a shame you feel that way, honestly. I'm actually surprised since I think I've learned quite a lot about hockey, math and argumentation since I started reading here.

    And that's great for you. I just have quite a bit of experience in both math/stats and logic/argumentation and to me, nothing here ever seems to change. Obiviously YMMV.

  121. Ender says:

    @MC

    I don't think I'm reaching. I said that once someone has made up their mind it's made up, and they tend not to listen to anything else. I figure that people can learn from this site in that you will always have two sides presenting information, and even though neither generally deals with the other in a more than "that's a stupid argument" capacity, the info is out there for people to read and make up their own minds.

    Doesn't mean I'd consider that discussion or debate.

  122. kris says:

    Teams are locked into people.

    Okay, fair enough.

    But why did Philly let him go? They signed Emery for 1.5 million. Why not bring Biron back for a bit more. Los Angeles could use a goalie. The Avs too.

    But I'll concede the point here, since this is an argument from ignorance, but one last thing, which is the converse of my last point:

    I think if we're going to really critique Tambellini and the brass as being terrible, it ought to be because he's doing worse than other average-good GM's. But I see a lot of GM's doing things that look weird when it comes to goalies. The Khabibulin signing isn't as bad as it could've been.

  123. RiversQ says:

    Surprisingly, I agree with Ender to some degree.

    The Oilogosphere just seems far more opinionated to me lately. And certainly has more supremely confident posters.

    And that's coming from someone historically guilty of both.

    As for players I've changed my mind on through reading I can name several:

    - Horcoff (years ago now though, and actually before the blogs became popular, but still)

    - Penner (I still think it was a bad signing, but he's a useful player. I wouldn't have said that even last year.)

    - Souray (pretty much the same as Penner – still hate the signing because of the faulty logic and the continued chronic injury risk, but the player when healthy is a good player.)

    The only thing I'll add though about the whole blog atmosphere, is that it helps to screen out some noise. Some folks are far more guilty of planting their heads in the sand than others. They're easily ignored.

  124. Scott Reynolds says:

    Maybe I'm missing something, but neither of those seem to take into account where the scoring chances are taken from _or_ look at separate goalies. Given enough goalies, things should even out. IMO neither comes close to disproving the adjusted SV%.

    Unfortunately we don't have scoring chance location tracked (or even very many games for most clubs), so that's a piece of information we just don't have.

    The stuff from Contrarian Goaltender, I think, is pretty reasonable. What didn't you like about his conclusions? He doesn't list all of the individual goaltending situations, but that's because it doesn't really answer the question he was looking at (shot quality in the NHL in general). His conclusion is that the average difference in shot quality from one team to another is minor but that specific teams (as you would expect) could have a bigger impact. If anything, this speaks in favour of making a slight adjustment to SV% totals if we can zero in on which teams vary significantly from the norms. It's my opinion that, at this point, we aren't able to do this effectively, but you may disagree. If so, what method do you think would work well? If not, what about the article did you dislike?

  125. RiversQ says:

    I think if we're going to really critique Tambellini and the brass as being terrible, it ought to be because he's doing worse than other average-good GM's. But I see a lot of GM's doing things that look weird when it comes to goalies.

    First off, I don't think this position makes sense because there's only one GM in Tambellini's particular circumstance.

    Secondly, I can't think of any goalie move this offseason as questionable as Khabibulin. Can you?

  126. Ender says:

    Sorry Scott, I thought you were using Contrarian Goaltender's article to back up Vic, which, to be honest, I disregarded because I couldn't see how the two related ;). My bad. The thing is that "shot quality" can be measured in a similar way to the stats you've seen bandied about:

    http://www.behindthenet.ca/blog/2007/12/2007-08-5v5-goaltender-performance.html

    This would build on CG's stuff, and I think it's reasonable place to start making assumptions about goalies. Between the two, you can paint a better picture where people shoot at Bulin from and how bad of a team he needs to be on for that to really be an issue (affecting his stats)

  127. kris says:

    I can't seem to open the Contrarian Goaltender post, but Vic's post doesn't seem to refute what I was saying at all, and it relies rather heavily on somewhat subjective scoring chance data. Lot's of meta-analysis and interesting questions, but nothing conclusive. Poster JLikens even says, as I suggested, "the effect isn't too significant — you mentioned a possible effect of 0.01, which I think is reasonable."

    We have to be careful not to start arguing 'Ab Ferrarium.' Or is it Ab Ferrarii?

  128. quain says:

    Ok, but if getting outshot leads to a lower SV% and having a worse team leads to getting outshot, wouldn't being on a worse team lower your SV%?

    I don't think I understand what you're getting at. Getting outshot doesn't lead to a lower SV%, it leads to a higher GAA. If you let in a goal every ten shots, it doesn't matter how many shots you face because you're still stopping .900 of them.

    Or maybe I just don't understand, you do have a lot of experience in logic and math. How could I possibly compete.

  129. kris says:

    Secondly, I can't think of any goalie move this offseason as questionable as Khabibulin. Can you?

    Why does it have to be this offseason?

  130. Gord says:

    // why did Philly let him go? They signed Emery for 1.5 million. Why not bring Biron back for a bit more.//

    As of right now, Philadelphia has 19 players signed; they have less than $2 million in cap space remaining.

    Philadelphia does not have "a bit more"…

  131. kris says:

    Oh wait. Emery

  132. Bank Shot says:

    The Oilogosphere just seems far more opinionated to me lately. And certainly has more supremely confident posters.

    I think there are just more differing opinions now then there were in the past.

    Which is good, because at times in the past, the accuracy of the numbers were not being questioned enough.

  133. chartleys says:

    MC79:

    I literally raised my hand up in the air at that later comment before I realize I can't hi five a computer.

  134. Ender says:

    Maybe we're just misunderstanding each other quain. You said Playing against a team with a higher SH% would obviously result in a lower SV%

    And since Vic, at least through my interactions with him and the Corsi stat in general says that a higher SH% generally means that you have a better team, then playing a better team should lead to a lower SV%.

    I wasn't going to do this, but since you made the math/logic comment:

    You said playing against A (a higher SH%) obviously leads to B (a lower SV%).

    But if A also implies C (the team is better than you are) then C obviously leads to B – Playing against a better team leads to you having a worse SV%. If deltaD (the sh% difference between the two teams) is high (ie, they're much better than you are), then C leads to B and its results will be most evident when deltaD is large.

  135. godot10 says:

    Mea culpa.

    Actually, Grebeshkov is a year older than I thought. (Fact check, bozo). So my previous argument is invalid.

    The Oilers actually have only limited control over Grebeshkov now, regardless. But 1-year is still better than 2-year for different reasons:

    1) the cap is going down next year. And any increased flexibility next year is extremely useful.

    2) it gives Quinn a chance to decide if he likes Grebeshkov, and a better chance for both sides to assess Grebeshkov's true value dollar wise.

  136. Jonathan Willis says:

    Ender: I think you're looking at things through too narrow a scope. Over the course of a week or a month, not much changes. I've been looking back on my posts from a year ago, though, and I've been rather surprised to see a big shift in my view of a number of different things:

    1) Goaltenders. Last year I was in the "sign Garon while he's cheap" crowd, but Tyler's completely shifted my view of the marketplace. I believe the gap between goalie #10 and goalie #40 is much smaller than I used to and much more prone to fluctuation. This was a big shift.

    2) I've agreed with Trakotr repeatedly on different points this season. That wouldn't have happened a year ago, so at least one of us is getting more reasonably, and probably both.

    3) Faceoff data. I was just coming into looking at faceoff data as important last fall; now I'm solidly convinced that it's essential.

    4) Corsi. I figured Corsi was really, really sketchy a year ago. I've come to view it as one of the key indicators of on-ice play.

    5) QualComp. I've started looking through the QualComp lens at AHL players; something that only happened this winter.

    That's off the top of my head. I know I'm not the only one coming around on different ideas, and looking at those things there's a substantial shift over 12 months or so.

  137. Ender says:

    @Willis

    That's fair, but I bet that's more from reading both sides and coming to your own conclusions rather than discussing things with an open mind and bringing the blogosphere as a pursuit forwards. Again, YMMV.

  138. quain says:

    And since Vic, at least through my interactions with him and the Corsi stat in general says that a higher SH% generally means that you have a better team, then playing a better team should lead to a lower SV%.

    I disagree with him:

    http://www.behindthenet.ca/2008/team_data3.php?sort=16

    Regardless, Khabibulin didn't play against nothing but great shooting teams while every other goaltender played trash. He played a similar mix to every other goalie, and he stunk, excepting 08-09.

  139. Scott Reynolds says:

    1) the cap is going down next year. And any increased flexibility next year is extremely useful.

    I agree that flexibility for 2010-11 is good. That's actually why I want to have Grebeshkov on a two year term. Admittedly, this assumes that we actually want to keep Grebeshkov. If we agree there, and also agree that Grebeshkov will likely either seek a long term deal or take a one year deal then we likely don't gain flexibility for 2010-11. Either Grebeshkov takes his qualifying offer or better (minimum 3.15M for 2010-11) or he begins a long term pact which is almost surely going to have a higher cap hit. I think going to arbitration and hoping for a two year ruling around 2.5M gives them the most flexibility going forward both for hanging on to Grebeshkov and for having him there to trade.

    2) it gives Quinn a chance to decide if he likes Grebeshkov, and a better chance for both sides to assess Grebeshkov's true value dollar wise.

    I agree that this is true but am not convinced it's to the Oilers advantage that Grebeshkov get paid closer to his true value :)

  140. DanMan says:

    mc79hockey: You are a statistical nut, which I love.

    But what needs to be taken into account is the key saves made at key times of the game. Khabibulin is generally regarded as one of the 10 best in the NHL in this area (This is some bait for the advanced stats guys). Is there statistical data for save % in the last 5 minutes of a game or OT when tied or up by no more than 2 goals?

    Because Biron really let the Flyers (and Sabres) down with some questionable goals late in games. He was supplanted by Ryan Miller fairly quickly in Buffalo, but that is the nature of goaltending.

  141. Ender says:

    Sorry, I thought by mentioning Vic you were using his arguments as a base. My bad

    Regardless, Khabibulin didn't play against nothing but great shooting teams while every other goaltender played trash. He played a similar mix to every other goalie, and he stunk, excepting 08-09.

    I'm sorry, I don't understand this. If we assume Vic to be right, this would imply that Bulin *should* have artificially deflated stats.

    I'm not sure what your take is on your quote then, so I'll take a stab at the other options as I see them. Let's say that if a team badly outshoots you it either doesn't affect the SV% at all or articifially raises the SV%.

    If it doesn't affect the SV%, then using that as an argument against ESV% doesn't make any sense because you're comparing apples and oranges with no links between them.

    If it artificially raises the SV%, we have a different story. Assuming that more shots are taken, it's reasonable to assume that there should be a high shot to goal ratio. Classically we've seen that shots from certain places have a higher probability of going in than others for obvious reasons. So if people are shooting a lot but not scoring more, they're shooting more from low % zones. If they're shooting from low % zones, then the ESV% should be a better indicator than SV% because it gives lower weight to the low % shots.

    So either Vic is right, and Bulin's numbers are artifically deflated because he was on a bad team, the numbers don't change so you can't correlate any data between SV% and ESV%, but given the weighting the ESV% *seems* more accurate, or high-shooting teams artificially inflate SV%, but ESV% should be even more accurate.

    Are you arguing any of these three, or something else altogether?

  142. Jonathan Willis says:

    DanMan:

    Fun question – assuming that three goalies play the same team, and each lets in one goal on twenty shots (each goalie faces identical shots), which was the best of the bunch assuming that these were the goals scored against:

    - a goal on what should have been a routine save made ten minutes into the second; not awful, but not good
    - an incredibly difficult to stop shot midway through the third
    - a very weak goal early in the first

    I don't think it matters which of the goals gets let in; in every case, the team is down one goal. Now, if that goalie who lets in the weak goal lets in four more because his confidence is shattered, that's a big deal, but then that shows up in save percentage anyway.

    I've got my doubts about the value of the "big save".

  143. Ender says:

    @Willis

    You're treating players as robots. If a small victory means something in warfare, why not hockey? Hockey has more in common with warfare than baseball.

  144. DanMan says:

    No, you're right Jonathan it doesn't matter.

    I was looking at things through the Oilers lens. To me, Roli is almost as clutch as it gets, but I'm sure a lot of fans feel that way about their home team goalies because we watch every game.

    My concern is that I see this team scoring first much more than last year. It seemed like last year we were often playing from behind as early as midway through the first. Can Khabibulin shut it down?

    There are some goalies that play better in 2-1 games, and some that play better in 5-4 games. Some play better with the lead, some (like Roli) are better at not letting in the 3-1 or 4-2 goal and keeping the team in the game.

    With a team like Chicago, Khabibulin was often playing in end-to-end offensive-style games. To me, that bodes well for Quinn's style.

  145. Scott says:

    What I can't figure out is:

    1) Why Pierre McGuire reads this blog
    2) Why he uses the handle DanMan

  146. Scott says:

    EDIT:

    I meant to add a ;) at the end of that one…
    Just to show that I'm not trying to be a total dick.

  147. Fake Craig McTavish says:

    DanMan said…
    "With a team like Chicago, Khabibulin was often playing in end-to-end offensive-style games. To me, that bodes well for Quinn's style."

    Uh, no.

    Chicago gave up the 7th fewest shots in the league.
    Khabibulin will get shelled in the Oiler's net.

  148. NBOilerFan says:

    mc79hockey said…
    "…I'm not saying he would have signed on July 1 but then the Oilers didn't have a game that night."

    That had me laughing out loud for a good 3 minutes. Thanks for that.

  149. DanMan says:

    the 7th fewest!

    Well, that changes everything. You're right FakeMacT, Chicago is a slow, plodding, trapping team that gives few offensive chances the other way. (sarcasm)

    Seabrook, Keith, and Barker are 3 of the best shot blockers in the west. Not only that, they break up a lot of passes on odd-man rushes. Having a great group of defencemen usually translates to fewer shots allowed, we know that.

    Not every scoring chance ends up in saves or goals. Some shots miss the net, especially if your d-men keep the wingers at the perimeter (off the rush), some plays are broken up as well.

    You can't tell me Chicago didn't play an up-tempo game this year. I've always thought of Quennville as a kind of poor-man's Pat Quinn (if you can even make that analogy with coaches).

  150. Jonathan Willis says:

    You're treating players as robots. If a small victory means something in warfare, why not hockey? Hockey has more in common with warfare than baseball.

    Oh it means something; just not very much.

    I think those are comparable situations. Big save, big win in a fight.

  151. Showerhead says:

    Chicago is a slow, plodding, trapping team that gives few offensive chances the other way.

    I know you're being sarcastic but I'd suggest the low shots against totals are of real value to consider. My suggestion? Chicago's offense was very good, hence more time spent with the puck away from their net, hence fewer shots against.

  152. Lowetide says:

    Wonderful thread. I posted it and then drove from Great Falls to Medicine Hat to St Albert and was expecting some response but this is a thriller.

    One question: If we assume that Tambellini acquired Khabibulin because the organization felt he was the best available ("hey Pat, which goalie should we pursue?") then isn't it possible he has a back door?

    As in dealing the contract to a team attempting to reach the cap floor in the future? Didn't this type of deal already happen in the NHL?

    I'm fairly satisfied with Khabibulin in that it's not 5M and they apparently didn't want to go my way (Halak, etc). I understand the upset in regard to cap.

    I just don't know that it's going to be fatal. CAN they deal that contract if he's horrible? IS there a team who'll need help reaching the floor?

  153. Ender says:

    @Willis (reposted from ON)

    I seem to remember you being a history buff, so correct me if I’m wrong, but can’t a small victory (like a fight or a “big” hit) turn morale around on a team who feels nearly defeated?

    The thing your stats don’t take into consideration (and honestly, I’m not sure how I’d work these numbers out if I tried to myself) is how “down-and-out” the hitting team is when the big hit happens. No, I don’t think a big hit or fight will change anything in a moderately lopsided game. If the ice is tilted heavily, but the scoreboard is not, there’s a good chance that it *will* have a big impact psychologically. Also, a big hit or fight will also likely have some level of impact in a game that’s effectively a stalemate.

    All of these things have been shown to be militarily/psychologically true, and while the study you cite about fights says the opposite, it’s answering a different question than (I think) you’re asking: “Does it ever make a real difference?”

    The long and short of it is that you’re using a very broad measure to say a very specific thing about psychology (sure, you can dress it up as “who wins more games” but given team schedules and conferences I’m not sure the argument holds water) and I think it’s a stretch. In general, I think you’re right, and that it doesn’t make a difference. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t make a difference in certain cases and reducing the “big hit,” “big goal,” or “big fight” to “it doesn’t lead to more points” is doing a disservice to your own analysis.

    Besides, it’s sure to be skewed in an Ice Hockey way – some teams like 3 fat guys, some teams like 3 skinny guys. Are the skinny guys fast enough to get around the fat guys? Is the coach compensating for that? And besides, Detroit has classically been enough of a point outlier that I don’t think you can just add their points to Florida and call it a wash IMO.
    —————-
    Just sayin' not to throw out the baby with the bathwater.

  154. DanMan says:

    Showerhead: I agree with that to a point. I'm not going to look up the TOP numbers for the Hawks, but I'm sure its at least a couple minutes above 30.

    I think the Oilers are capable of doing similar things this year. We don't have a Kane or Toews, but we do have some players with a high offensive ceiling. If Quinn can get some of the forwards playing to their full offensive potential, and with one of the best groups (at least in terms of providing offence) of d-men in the league, I just can't see the doomsday scenarios that others do.

  155. Ender says:

    Oh, and regarding the hitting thing in general, Doogie worked this up and you might be interested by it: http://stillnoname.com/2009/07/a-correlational-analysis-of-the-relationship-between-hitting-and-standings-points/

  156. Jonathan Willis says:

    Ender: I read your comment over at ON, but I don't know that it goes straight across to Gabe's work (the link I put up wasn't to my article but to Desjardins' Puck Prospectus bit).

    Gabe looked at big wins and what happened immediately after; I think that was a much fairer study than my broad work with hitting.

    Thanks for the link to Doogie's piece, that's interesting, and more in line with what you'd expect to see.

  157. SK Oiler Fan says:

    Also ok with the 1 year deal for Grebs. Gives Grebs some insentive and the team some cap flexibility for next year.

    Nothing wrong with having some of your team with only one year left on their contract ala 2006. Most players have their career years on the last year of a contract.

    Of course locking up your young studs long term is also a good idea and if Grebs conitinues on his development path he will be a stud very shortly.

  158. speeds says:

    Ender wrote: Just out of curiosity, why is everyone ignoring Bulin's qualcomp/qualteam/qualshots while saying it's a bad deal?

    I can't speak for everyone, but my argument would be that it's irrelevant to one of my complaints regarding the Khabi signing.

    Which is that EDM didn't use their negotiating position to wait around a bit and see what happened with Biron and Khabibulin both available (potentially playing them against each other) and EDM seemingly the only remaining team with a clear starter's spot available.

    Also, ignorance, since I don't know an awful lot about the qualshots stats.

  159. Lowetide says:

    speeds: Two things. I think it's completely reasonable for the Oilers to be aggressive at the goaltending position. A new coach comes in and the organization wants a quality G (this was one of the reasons Bryan Murray was blown out of the water in Detroit. Bowman wanted a quality #1 and Murray delivered Essensa).

    Second, the contract seems to be the main issue for lots of smart people. Is this contract tradeable as I outlined in the post above?

  160. Scott Reynolds says:

    Ender:

    I looked up the shot quality stuff you mentioned earlier from BtN. I think that there are some problems with it, one of which Tyler brought up in the comments, which was scorer bias. I'm not sure that we really know how far away the shots are. I'm not confident that's being described accurately. I would definitely prefer to see an analysis of road games alone since that could control for the inefficiencies better. The range among goalies who played at least 30 games last year in expected save percentage is .890 to .919 which seems like a pretty wide spread to me but it's mostly a few outliers. 78% of the goalies fall between .903 and .914. Of course, Khabibulin is one on the margins, albeit barely, at .902. The year before this was even more true with his expected save percentage resting at .897. So I can see why you think it's a significant issue. If we look at how much goalies outoperformed their expected save percentage Khabibulin finisheds 2nd in 2008-09 (which confirms what straight EVSv% was already telling us) and 14th in 2007-08 (which is much better than his standing in EVSv% alone). Unfortunately that's as far back as the data went. Still, I have my doubts that either of his .913 or (especially) his .899 will end up looking great. It does make the signing look better, but, to me, it doesn't overcome the silliness of giving the 35+ goalie 4 years in term. I'd say the shot quality adjusted metrics leave him somewhere between 10th and 20th since the lockout with an outstanding season last year. I'm not convinced that's worth overpaying for.

  161. mc79hockey says:

    Second, the contract seems to be the main issue for lots of smart people. Is this contract tradeable as I outlined in the post above?

    I'll add that I think that there were guys who were better bets or who have more upside out there.

    Is the contract tradeable? Sure, it's tradeable. Anything's tradeable, if you're willing to give up enough that has value. With that said, I would assume that they'll only want to move him if he's a complete bust, which will mean giving up something along with that. Getting out of this is going to have a price.

  162. Scott Reynolds says:

    Second, the contract seems to be the main issue for lots of smart people. Is this contract tradeable as I outlined in the post above?

    I don't think anyone will want a broken down unretired Khabibulin since it doesn't save them real dollars (his contract isn't frontloaded) and a terrible goalie has negative hockey value. If you really are having trouble getting to the floor, you may as well take a guy like Briere instead. His cap number exceeds his salary and he can actually help you win games.

    For a retired Khabby, he could theoretically save a floor team money. That might look a bit better but it would be hard to sell to fans (we're saving money by not really spending to the floor!) unless they got something significant for the favour. And that's the rub. There are more teams that want to dump salary than there are teams that want to take it. Khabibulin is always tradeable if you're willing to give something up. Maybe N.K. and a 2nd for a 7th gets it done. Maybe you need more/less but it would certainly be the Oilers giving up the extra pieces.

  163. SK Oiler Fan says:

    Re Khabby:
    You advanced stats guys are amazing and us guys that are too lazy to look them up appreciate your digging.

    But, without looking at stats can we all agree that Khabby is in the top 15 of quality goaltenders in the leauge, perhaps top 10? I know as soon as I post this somebody will list 15 goalies that they think are better tham Khabby.

    Goaltending was one of the three glaring holes on the team for 09/10. Tambo filled it with quality. The cap hit seems right it's just a year or 2 too long.

    Goaltending is not a position to gamble on a long shot. Khabby and Biron were the best UFA bets for a team in the market for a starter. The Oilers chose Khabby. Once Biron signs we can judge Tambo here. That's assuming Biron wanted to come to Edmonton.

  164. DanMan says:

    mc79hockey:

    Don't those kind of trades have to be approved by the NHL?

    If they do, I can't see a scenario like that happening at all.

    I'm not a CBA buff like you, so I have no idea. That Toronto-Tampa trade that sent Kolzig to the Leafs was shady, but it went through.

  165. speeds says:

    I think it's completely reasonable for the Oilers to be aggressive at the goaltending position.

    That excuses anything and everything?

    Let's suppose The Oilers need a 3rd line C, does that make a 12 mil, 4 year deal for Malhotra a great idea?

    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?

  166. mc79hockey says:

    But, without looking at stats can we all agree that Khabby is in the top 15 of quality goaltenders in the leauge, perhaps top 10?

    I think that your problem is that an awful lot of us figure he's not.

  167. Woodguy says:

    Secondly, I can't think of any goalie move this offseason as questionable as Khabibulin. Can you?

    Why does it have to be this offseason?

    Because he was purchased this offseason.

    Most commodities have cycles.

    I am in an industry where the same item can fluctuate in price 30% or more within 12 months.

    Goaltenders in the NHL have certainly fluctuated.

    In years past Biron would have a home at 5M/yr for 3+ years by now. This year, he's still unemployed.

    The Oilers senior management probably overpaid for this player, given the market for goalies.

    Like others said, with this $$$ the term is too long, and with this term the $$$ is too much.

    In other years this signing is a homerun.

    Not this year though.

    But the over pay is probably slight.

    Unfortunately you say that about too many contracts on this team.

    Compared to teams with 7M+ tied up in goaltending, the Oilers are ahead from the broad look at it.

  168. Lowetide says:

    speeds: Nothing changed my mind. I still think the Oilers would be better off having gone the Halak/LaBarbara route suggested earlier.

    imo it's the better plan.

    I'm talking about what the organization is thinking. I don't think they even thought about the excess goaltending market this summer. In fact, I bet good money they made their list of goalies (it was the #1 priority) after Roloson said goodbye and pursued him successfully.

    I'm not arguing the better way, I'm trying to get an idea about this organization as it currently sits. I think it's reasonable for a new GM and coach to puruse a "name" in goal and I think it's probably also reasonable to assume that we evaluate goaltenders in a completely different way than most general managers do at this time.

    It's like knowing about the platoon advantage before mlb managers did.

    I should also say I'm not certain my pick would be terribly different if I was in Tambellini's shoes. You sign Khabibulin and the new coach is happy and the fans get warm and fuzzy about a name. Similar to the Souray moment, or maybe even Penner.

    As sure as we all are that this is a terrible move, I was as certain the Souray signing was a misstep too.

  169. gogliano says:

    Vrbata for Hale and Fedoruk = evidence that bad contracts can be moved for one-ways you are willing to dump on your 4th line or the AHL.

  170. SK Oiler Fan says:

    MC79,
    Point taken. He's closer to 15 than I thought he would be in my books.

    1. Luongo
    2. Backstrom
    3. Brodeur
    4. Nabokov
    5. Lundqvist
    6. Thomas
    7. Fluery
    8. Ward
    9. Mason
    10. Vokoun
    11. Kiprusoff
    12. Hiller
    13. Price
    14. Khabibulin
    15. Biron
    16. Roloson
    17. Turco

    Que the ripping on the above list.

    Back to the stats: In 42 games Khabby only had 8 losses. In 34 of 42 he got his team at least a point. Having said that Chicago was a quality team.

    Huet had 15 losses in 41 games in case you're wondering.

  171. alphahelix says:

    given circumstances that summer doesn't look very bad at all. there were a hell of a lot of expiring contracts, trade requests and players unwilling to negotiate. we had just gone to game 7 of the stanley cup final so everyone was looking to cash in. ultimately he did alright.

  172. Lowetide says:

    I don't agree. You only trade Pronger when the club has reasonable alternatives on the blue. They didn't. Smid was forced to play when he wasn't ready and they didn't bring back Spacek or Tarnstrom.

    The Hejda deal I'll give him credit for, the Hemsky deal is wonderful. But the Oilers entered fall 2007 horribly out of balance.

  173. Satisfied_to_Ignore says:

    I for one have learned a tonne here. I do like to be positive and at least go into the season with a solid thought that we have a good chance to not only make the playoffs, but also make a run.

    I think a big mistake for the NHL is having the contract numbers made public. I think this could be controlled and would likely give us a different perspective in our analysis. Who the heck cares how much he is getting paid? I don't. I know, it affects the cap, which affects what other players we get and blah blah blah. I want to have a good Oilers hockey team to cheer for and I honestly couldn't care less what they all make. I hate it when we quantify something with for a $x player we should have gotten more…

    Sorry, ranting. Probably good it isn't in the most current thread, I'm hoping it mostly gets ignored :)

    I saw a comment on mc's blog I think about percentage of team cap space contracts, is this not allowed under the current CBA? It just seems to make so much sense.

  174. Fake Craig McTavish says:

    DanMan said…
    the 7th fewest!

    Well, that changes everything. You're right FakeMacT, Chicago is a slow, plodding, trapping team that gives few offensive chances the other way. (sarcasm)

    Seabrook, Keith, and Barker are 3 of the best shot blockers in the west. Not only that, they break up a lot of passes on odd-man rushes. Having a great group of defencemen usually translates to fewer shots allowed, we know that.

    Not every scoring chance ends up in saves or goals. Some shots miss the net, especially if your d-men keep the wingers at the perimeter (off the rush), some plays are broken up as well.

    You can't tell me Chicago didn't play an up-tempo game this year. I've always thought of Quennville as a kind of poor-man's Pat Quinn (if you can even make that analogy with coaches).

    Of course, they played an uptempo style and spent an inordinate amount of time with the puck in their possession as well as shot blocking and superior defensemen who can keep things on the perimeter.

    Now please enlighten me on the puck possession and shot prevention skills of the Oilers we all know and love that should lead to life in a lawn chair for Khabibulin.

    He's going to get shelled.

    Oilers 21st in the league in SA/G when they had two guys who could win a faceoff.

  175. SK Oiler Fan says:

    Satisfied,
    It make it more fun for the armchair GMs if we know the salaries. It sure would change the armchair GMs opinions of players if we didn't know. Heck, Horc would be a perennial allstar if the "classic" armchair GMs didn't know his salary.

    The salaries would always get leaked to the media though. Just look at Heatlygate. Boggles my mind that these so called professionals give the media types so much information. I mean, if you were running a multi-million dollar business would you give any information to the MSM?

    LT, if you're reading this, I think a good discussion could be had on this very topic: Information leaks in the NHL vs keeping the media "satisfied". For example: Tambo seems to have a much tighter vault for what goes on in Oilerland than Lowe ever did.

    Also, I think the NHL office likes that salaries are public knowledge. More insight into the ongoings of the teams. the NHLPA might not like it though.

  176. slipper says:

    So, when I was a little younger, a pal of mine hooked me up with this friend of his girlfriend. Incredibly gorgeous and a sweet, sweet girl. Her ass was just mind blowing! In fact, the first time I ever laid eyes on this gal I was load-ed and she had her back to me, and I leaned into my friend's ear and groaned "nice ass!". Real gentleman like. She turned around to see which vapour emitting neandanderthal was chirping about her, but instead of the expected reaction of complete disgust, seconds later the girl was in my lap. I mean, I can't drum up the words to accurately describe just how perfect this posterior was. It was the type where you wake up at 6 AM with the remnants of cheap tequila and draught in the back of your throat and a throbbing in your skull that made you feel a Bantu village had put down stakes in your bedroom, and just when you're about to make exit for the head you discover this extraordinary creature nestled beside you, soundly asleep, and dawn is just breaking forcing the sun through your bedroom curtains which creates this literal halo surrounding this absolutely perfect, gift from the heavens ass that you can't help but to just lay there and marvel at, and everything else is copasetic.

    A couple months later, and I'm still riding the incomparable ass high. Me and this girl are nearly steady and we plan a road trip together. Our first road trip. It's the crack of dawn and we're quickly on the highway; the mountains in our sights with the west coast to follow. A half an hour into it and I realize my mp3 is dead and I forgot my charger. So I gently turn to my Madonna, the Mary mother off asses, and ask if she brought any music. She raises the console and pulls out a CD case and hands it over to me, and I clumsily open it as my eyes are on her and my mind is with her car seat.

    Then something horrifying catches my peripheral and rips me, bloody and gasping from the womb: Aerosmith! Aerosmith, Aerosmith, and fucking Aerosmith! Bootlegs, and dubs and legit Aerosmith. More Aerosmith than I thought existed; dozens upon dozens of Aerosmith where one is far too much.

    Anxiet engulfed me. I had her pull off to the side of the highway where the dry heaves into the ditch. She came around the car and sweetly asked what was wrong. When I looked up toward her my eyes tried to meet here gaze, but all I could see were her big, ugly ears and I suddenly became aware that she was dressed a lot like Alicia Silverstone in clueless…

    I can't really blame any of the eastbound drivers on Highway 16 for not picking me up that day, seeing as I was sobbing uncontrolably and cursing towards the clouds. So when I read people trying to defend building a half a billion dollar stadium by citing the draw of such stellar acts as Aerosmith and, better yet, ZZ Top, it really strikes a nerve with me.

  177. slipper says:

    Oops. Wrong thread;)

  178. DanMan says:

    I'm not saying he's not gonna see more rubber this year. If you looked at my previous posts, I was trying to figure out if he's a better goalie playing with a lead or from behind. If he's better playing an up-tempo style, rather than games where the scoring chances aren't as good.

    It's not all about the shots against, it's the positioning, how he actually moves in the net. Grebbert are not Seabrook and Keith, I know that. But when cross-ice passes are attempted, the goalie has to be on his toes more. If it turns into a cycle game, he has to sit back and try to stay sharp and focused. Unfortunately, there aren't really any stats that can quantify this.

  179. Satisfied_to_Ignore says:

    Hey SK:

    The league could control leaks I think. It is all about the punishment, if there is too much risk that a leak would really hurt the team, they won't happen. This could be by fines, team penalties like removing draft picks, etc.

    don't get me started on the canadian justice system. if we increased the punishment for jay walking we could eliminate it pretty fast… :)

  180. Ender says:

    @Scott

    Maybe I'm missing the bias, but I just don't see it. If we assume Corsi to be at all useful, ESV% should also be useful. The only difference is where on the ice the shooter was, and I'm perfectly willing to assume that whomever is marking that down is doing a "good enough" guesstimate. There's no way that it's anywhere near the bias of hits or scoring chances.

    @Everyone else

    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 those teams 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 two 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?

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