RE 09-10: Shawn Horcoff

In many ways Shawn Horcoff is out of step with the current edition of these Edmonton Oilers. An intelligent college man arrives at the turn of the century, hones his skills and learns the hard lessons of the game in slow, predictable order. 4th line, penalty kill, a quick trip to the minors, a move up the depth chart via injuries to others and trades of men with fewer dimensions.

A brief time in the spotlight that is Stanley, and then suddenly the Edmonton Oilers turn into team “fast track.” It effectively cut Horcoff off from a window of opportunity to win in his prime and meant a long period of waiting for the kids to grow up. For Horcoff, Hemsky is at the young end of his cluster. Gagner? Another era altogether.

Shawn Horcoff is more than a decade older than Sam Gagner, and is extremely unlikely to see a deep playoff run before he is passed on the depth chart by the wunderkind. In September he turns 31; there was only one Oiler that age when he arrived in 2000: Igor Ulanov.

  • Boxcars: 80gp, 17-36-53, 39pims
  • Shots: 178
  • Plus Minus: +9
  • Corsi: 0.4
  • GF/GA ON: 52-43
  • 5×5/60: 1.59
  • 5×4/60: 3.68
  • Quality of Competition: toughest available
  • Quality of Teammates: best available
  • FO %: 53.9% on 1756 sorties
  • 09-10 Cap Hit: $5.5M (capgeek)
  1. What do these numbers tell us? Horcoff is the most complete player on the roster. His Corsi, GF/GA ON and faceoff numbers were done while climbing Everest every night. Horcoff’s plus minus is also a splendid number. His EV and PP numbers are down, owing to several things (injuries, shooting percentage) but there were very few men in the NW division who topped 2.00 at EVs this season (I believe 8 is the number) and Horcoff’s EV number came against tough opposition.
  2. How could the numbers be better? I think he needs better luck in the shooting percentage department (two of the last three seasons have seen his numbers dip well below career average) but I also think he was taking some bad percentage shots last year (trying too hard). He could also use some more time in the offensive zone (Vic’s brilliant work in where players begin their shifts via faceoffs tells us Horc started at his own 5 yard line a lot).
  3. What about Gagner? I think Samwise will start taking some of Horcoff’s powerplay minutes beginning this fall. The kid is years from being able to fill other important roles but this one area could impact #10′s numbers significantly.
  4. What about LW? Horcoff is the “Adam Oates” on this line, although he doesn’t linger until possession is gained or flush the offensive chance at the first hint of danger. He might be a little more effective offensively if the Oilers gave this line a Pisani-type or if Penner was less plodding and more physically involved.
  5. Will Quinn continue to play him against tougher opposition? Quinn has no choice unless Tambellini adds NHL players to the roster. As crazy as many of MacT’s actions may have appeared last season, his use of Horcoff pretty much reflected giving his team the best chance available for a win. Horcoff will see the opposition vaunt and a lot of PK time, with (as mentioned) powerplay time reduced.
  6. What Else? I should mention the possibility that Quinn will do something MacT thought about a couple of years ago. Do you remember the flap during TC when the coach mentioned he might use Horcoff on the checking line? Well it makes a lot of sense if the Oilers aren’t going to bring in a veteran center. Quinn could run a Gagner-Cogs-Hemsky line (or throw in Penner or O’Sullivan) and have Horcoff’s line (a more veteran, conservative group) do the hard work without the gifted Hemsky. It would free 83 to make hay and it would also spell the end of Horcoff’s 50 point seasons.
  7. How important is Horcoff to this team? Vital. There are several skills (size, intelligence, experience, faceoff skills, playing successfully with Hemsky) that are not duplicated at center on this roster. At 6.01, 210 Horcoff is 15 pounds heavier than any of the other centers. He’s miles more experienced and an intelligent player. A lot to like about Shawn Horcoff, the Oilers could use two more.

Quick Facts

  • 06-07 5×5 per 60m: 1.52
  • 07-08 5×5 per 60m: 2.59
  • 08-09 5×5 per 60m: 1.59
  • 06-07 5×4 per 60m: 4.87
  • 07-08 5×4 per 60m: 4.00
  • 08-09 5×4 per 60m: 3.68

In terms of prediction, I’ve nicked him some for the powerplay minutes that are going away and added some offense for the (hopefully) improved shooting percentage.

Predictions Past 2007-08

  • Predicted: 82gp, 20-44-64 (.780 per game)
  • Actual: 53gp, 21-29-50 (.943 per game)

Predictions Past 2008-09

  • Predicted: 71gp, 26-44-70 (.986 per game)
  • Actual: 80gp, 17-35-53 (.663 per game)

Prediction for 2009-10: 71gp, 18-29-47 (.662 per game)

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