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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73 Responses to "RE 09-10: Shawn Horcoff"

  1. quain says:

    And here I thought it was going to be a boring day at work! Now I see that I'll get to read a wonderful firefight between people who love Horcoff, people who think he's $3M overpaid, and people who think he's blocking Schremp's true path.

    Beyond that, the prediction is probably pretty close to bang on. A guy like Horcoff doesn't have good stats until the kids can start cashing their checks with their heads held high. Before that happpens it's a lot of defensive zone draws and late nights with a half empty bottle of scotch.

  2. Yeti says:

    If Horcoff was a member of a classic rock band, which one would he be?

  3. danny says:

    curious LT, why the flop on Horc from last summer to this summer?

    Hes entering basicly the same situation. No help. Nightmare scenario where hes gonna be hated by the fans and the coaches MVP.

    were last seasons prediction based on expecting trade help, and this season you expect none?

    Or just a case of a year older a year wiser?

    Your prediction this year is bang on. Hes not an elite guy, and expecting him to be a near PPG player, 'while climbing everest' is foolish.

    I harp back to the same thing as i was blowing hard about last season. Edmonton needs to get help. They need someone to kill softs with Hemmer, and send Horc checking, or divy up Horcs everest duties with a Peca-like guy.

    The optics of maximizing Horcs offense to a $5.5M range (to appease the natives) can be done by adding a Malhotra type. Shawn will jump to a 70 point player again IMO.

    Two solid lines Penner/Horc/Hemmer + Moreau/Malhotra/Pisani is a lot closer to 2005-06 than what we have right now.

  4. Lowetide says:

    The Who. Unlike the Stones, The Who (Townsend) never really looked like he was having a good time. Effective, brilliant songwriter but not so much with the fun.

    As Keith Richard once said "Pete Townsend thinks too much."

    That'd be Horcoff.

  5. Yeti says:

    I was thinking Jon Lord from Deep Purple. Occasional great solos, but most of the time doing the heavy lifting so that Blackmore and Gillen could let rip. But you can be damn sure that it was Lord who characterised the DP sound.

  6. Lowetide says:

    danny: I nicked his numbers because imo Gagner gets his playing time on the PP. Horcoff was 8-13-21 on the powerplay, Gagner was 6-5-11 on the 2nd PP.

    In terms of total minutes, Horcoff was on the powerplay for 300 minutes of first line (Hemsky, Souray) powerplay and Gagner for 232 minutes of the 2nd bunch.

    So I nicked him 5 powerplay goals and 10 powerplay assists. If he stays on the 1PP the prediction would be 71gp, 23-39-62 .873 for the season.

  7. quain says:

    Are you kidding, LT? Horcoff has to be a bassist, I have no idea which one, but he's a bassist. Nobody ever appreciates the bassist.

    Or, on another note: I always imagine Horcoff and Hemsky getting into fights, and Horcoff screaming, "How can you tell, Ales? I'm just one of the out of focus guys!"

    And then Penner mumbles, "I'm just hungry man, let's just go out and find some barbecue or something."

    Or maybe Penner is the fat gay drummer. Maybe he's both!

  8. Lowetide says:

    Yeti: I still (very late 40's) listen to Machine Head a lot. Blackmore played stunning guitar on that album (solo's are wonderful) and of course the great riffs all over. A few years later Ritchie was riffing "Greensleeves" on the Rainbow album but before that he was as good as it gets.

  9. Lowetide says:

    quain: No, he's definitely Townsend. Jagger/Richard are writing the truly racist "Brown Sugar" and becoming Gods while Townsend is traipsing through rubble to find one specific yogi with the answer. The man was in a dance band and had two left feet.

  10. B.C.B. says:

    I am with Quinn, Horcoff is a bassest. Specifically Matt Freeman from Rancid (oh and a little band called Operation Ivy).
    While he is super talented, every only remembers the display and star power of Tim Armstrong and Lars Frederiksen. Freeman keeps the band musically-together and provides the signature sound of Rancid, but is not the show stopper. Horcoff does the same, keeps their head above water and adds significant fire-power, but nobody remembers his talents after watching Hemsky make a beautiful pass then skate slowly to the bench.

  11. Bruce says:

    A wonderful hockey player. I've never understood how (many of) the same people who wail and gnash their teeth about Smytty's departure pull out the long knives for this career Oiler who signed a long-term contract of similar value to the one Cryin' Ryan turned down. They're not similar players, but they are very similar in terms of professionalism, work ethic, and team-first play.

    In many admittedly-subtle ways Horcoff had a brilliant season at even strength in 2008-09. To have a positive Corsi despite a 3:2 split of defensive to offensive zone faceoffs was no mean feat, a point driven home by Coach PB/Derek's recent work. To (co-)lead the forwards in plus/minus despite the nature of his workload was remarkable.

    Horc did however take a major step back in his shooting efficiency. This is apparent in his Sh% (which was nearly halved from 18.3 to 9.6%), and by eye his timing was ever so slightly off. In '07-08 he was connecting on the one-timers and finishing a lot of Hemsky's feeds, and his confidence grew to the point that he was beating NHL goalies clean in shootout situations. In '08-09 however, he semi-whiffed on a number of great opportunities and his timing was ever so slightly off. Whether it was the shoulder or a vision issue or maybe he was just pressing too hard, it's hard to say. Let's hope he brings the same shoot-first attitude in '09-10 that served him so well two seasons ago.

  12. Lowetide says:

    Bruce: As I mentioned in point #2, I think it's a lot about luck. Injury might be part of it, pressing too hard for sure, but luck is a strange damn thing.

  13. godot10 says:

    //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.//

    Eric Staal and Rod Brind'Amour

    Horcoff is a fitness freak like Brind'Amour. Barring injury, Horcoff should be able to be an effective player into his late thirties, certainly in a shutdown role.

  14. Lowetide says:

    Eric Staal is a little different animal than Sam Gagner, godot10.

  15. RiversQ says:

    I think Horcoff will get at least 60 points if he plays 70+ games. He'll get 2nd unit PP time at worst (for which LT is predicting just 6 points, which makes no sense to me) and he'll still fill in on the first unit. I can't see him with less than 200 PP minutes by the end of the year. All this presumes Gagner will actually earn some PP time by producing there which he hasn't really done yet. MacT had the PP merit system for the PP backwards, but presumably talent isn't enough – you have to produce with the man advantage.

    The other reason he'll get more points is because I doubt that Quinn rides him as hard as MacT did. You have to care about matchups in order to do that.

  16. quain says:

    Off topic, but I just love looking at stat lines of 45/55/100 -8… You just stare at it and wonder, how the hell does someone with 100 points go -8? Obviously, the 40 powerplay points help (and all the shorties against), but goodness.

    Vincent Lecavalier will always be the king of those kind of stat lines, especially considering he gets good PK time to help offset some of the shorties against.

  17. Traktor says:

    "And here I thought it was going to be a boring day at work! Now I see that I'll get to read a wonderful firefight between people who love Horcoff, people who think he's $3M overpaid"

    I'm one of the more vocal critics but my beef has always been with how Horcoff has been deployed and not so much the dollars.

    "In many admittedly-subtle ways Horcoff had a brilliant season at even strength in 2008-09."

    But it was washed away with his disastrous special teams play.

    -3.03 PPPKGFON60 differential.

    If 20 minutes per game is played on special teams then we start every game down 1 goal.

    All and all it was a pretty horrible season from 10 but MacT was partly to blame for it. There was no sense in throwing Horcoff out every shift on the PP when his even strength duties were almost too much to handle alone.

    "Horc did however take a major step back in his shooting efficiency. This is apparent in his Sh% (which was nearly halved from 18.3 to 9.6%), and by eye his timing was ever so slightly off."

    He definitely wasn't seeing the ball well and when Ichiro isn't seeing the ball well there is no point in placing him 4th in the batting order.

  18. Traktor says:

    "The other reason he'll get more points is because I doubt that Quinn rides him as hard as MacT did."

    If we have one of the best defensive players in the NHL under contract then why wouldn't we use him accordingly?

    Horcoff should be out for 50% of own-zone draws, Pouliot out for 25% and Cogliano and Gagner out for 12.5% each. That's how I would run things.

  19. Coach pb9617 says:

    The other reason he'll get more points is because I doubt that Quinn rides him as hard as MacT did. You have to care about matchups in order to do that.

    That sentiment frightens me so much.

  20. Steve says:

    If we have one of the best defensive players in the NHL under contract then why wouldn't we use him accordingly?

    I think everyone here agrees with that. Our fear is that Quinn might not.

  21. Lowetide says:

    Quinn can adapt, I would guess. One thing that will be fun to see is if he grumbles. Quinn's PC postgame can be a little salty, should be interesting to hear.

  22. RiversQ says:

    I'm of the opinion that the game doesn't split up into offense and defense cleanly. Horcoff isn't a defensive specialist, he's an outscoring the best opposition specialist.

  23. Lowetide says:

    RQ: Certainly. Having said that Quinn/Renney are going to find out pretty quickly about the young guns, no?

    We can talk about Quinn's history all we want, but after a couple of nights getting your head beat in you maybe do things a little differently.

  24. boreal says:

    Lowetide:

    This is relevant to a previous post, but I thought it best to catch your eye here.

    http://www.newsday.com/sports/hockey/rangers/arbitrator-awards-zherdev-3-9-million-1.1344162

    As an ex-New yorker, I tend to run across these things. Interesting the Oilers are mentioned as a destination. I think the Rangers would take Nilsson straight up, or less.

  25. DBO says:

    boreal: they may take a player back. Wonder if Nilsson and Schremp would do it if they are walking away from Zherdev for nothing. Sather please take our garbage. On a serious note i wonder if that is all it would take? In my dream world we deal Cogs, Nilsson, Shremp and a pick (3rd) for Zherdev and Dubinsky. problems solved. Time for a beer. Yeah holiday Monday.

  26. Hockey Noob says:

    LT, the thought of Horcoff on a more veteran line to play the top opposition certainly intrigues me.

    Boreal, I like the idea of Nilsson +/- prospect for Zherdev.

    Here's something I recently saw on the Oilers' forum.

    From Racki:

    Penner O'Sullivan Hemsky
    Cogliano Gagner Zherdev
    Moreau Horcoff Pisani

    IMO, this is a very interesting idea if Quinn decides to line match Horcoff vs top opposition and if we can get Zherdev for Nilsson +/- a bad of pucks.

    I am not sure about Sulli's stats on the dot, but there's the option of Penner taking draws.

    Thoughts?

  27. boreal says:

    Hockey Noob:

    I really like the looks of your top 9, however they are mixed and matched.

  28. Steve says:

    I like the idea of Nilsson +/- prospect for Zherdev.

    What would "Nilsson – prospect" look like?

  29. misfit says:

    Bruce: He took a monumental step back in sh% compared to the previous season, but that 07/08 season was also quite a bit higher than his career average. He should probably do better than the 9.6% he put up last year, but to expect him to be anywhere near the 18+ he was connecting at a year earlier is just as crazy.

    BCB: …and every once in a while he pulls out a "Maxwell Murder" and makes all in attendance crap their pants. It's just too bad he doesn't have those moments more often.

  30. kris says:

    Just say yes to Zherdev.

    He's scored 20 plus the last two seasons, while playing pretty tough comp. and putting up nice Corsi numbers.

    He's 25 and has loads of talent.

    He's a RW, though -I think- and not the LW that we seem to be wanting.

    If we grab him without giving up players at F, we can roll three pretty good, young but balanced lines. In descending order of toughness of comp:

    Penner-Horcoff-Hemsky
    O'Sullivan-Gagner-Zherdev
    Cogliano-Pouliot-Pisani
    Moreau-Brule-Stortini

  31. misfit says:

    Depending on how you view the Oilers' roster, we may need a RW more than a LW anyway.

  32. Traktor says:

    I'd rather pay Nilsson 2 million than pay Zherdev 3.9 million but that's just me. Given the same set of circumstances I don't think we'd see a large difference in numbers, certainly not enough to justify paying Zherdev double that of Nilsson.

  33. kris says:

    I doubt Nilson really gets it done, though. I worry that a guy who's on and off the roster at 2 million a season may have negative, or at least zero, trade value these days, even if he's got serious skill.

    I think Smid would need to be part of the conversation: cheap, young roster player who can still improve.

  34. kris says:

    Traktor,

    Just curious: Do you think Zherdev wouldn't be a good bet to put up 20-25 goals while playing decent-tough opposition? Or do you think players who are a good bet to do that, who are just about to go into their prime, aren't worth 4 million a season?

  35. Lowetide says:

    I'd rather move another contract than Nilsson (or at least Nilsson AND something else). Still, they're dealing a two-year deal for a one-year audition so as long as a first round pick or a top level prospect aren't involved then I'm good to go on it.

  36. Lowetide says:

    Hockey Noob:

    Penner O'Sullivan Hemsky
    Cogliano Gagner Zherdev
    Moreau Horcoff Pisani

    Lots of talent on the soft minutes lines and the Horcoff line should be fine if healthy. Which of those two lines do we consider the one that can play the second toughest minutes?

  37. Hockey Noob says:

    Kris, I think your top 9 is probably a more conventional and logical choice. It would provide us with 3 pretty balanced scoring lines. That being said, I also agree that Nilsson's trade value is pretty marginal at best.

    Smid is a sensible choice in terms of a trade. With Zherdev, it's hard to see a fit for Nilsson in our top 6 or on our roster and he would have to be dealt with accordingly.

    Traktor, based on boxcars, it's hard not to think that Zherdev would be an upgrade over Nilsson. I agree that the question of value does arise at nearly twice the cost with a potential role on the 2nd PP and lines. This would also subsume that Quinn has the appetite for another project player.

  38. Hockey Noob says:

    LT,

    I would think that Penner/POS/Hemmer line would be the best choice for the 2nd toughest minutes.

  39. Gerta Rauss says:

    Acquiring Zherdev is interesting,but I'm not sure we're a good fit-it appears the Rags need defenceman more than another forward.

    Staios would seem like a nice fit,but we'd be eating 1.2M in cap space,only to be short a D man,and have yet another forward that plays small.

    I guess this would/may force a 2nd trade,which might not be a bad thing(3C?)

    We'll find out by tomorrow I guess…I like these trade proposals with built in deadlines.

    Zherdev doesn't summer in Kelowna,does he?

  40. Traktor says:

    kris:

    I think Nilsson can put up 50 points and make his 2 mill look like a bargain. He also has the potential to lead this team in scoring, even MacTavish said so.

  41. boreal says:

    One thing that intrigues me about the Zherdev situation is that Sather will have two options for only about 24 more hrs -release him or trade him. Two options gives him leverage. After that, by most indications, if he doesn't want to loss Zherdev for nothing, he will have keep him and trade him. I think it's likely something happens quickly trade wise. Thoughts?

  42. Traktor says:

    Malhotra-Horcoff-Pisani
    Penner-O'sullivan-Hemsky
    Nilsson-Gagner-Cogliano
    Moreau-Pouliot-Stortini

    1v1
    2v3
    3×2
    4v4

    Pisani can fill in for Stortini in defensive situations.

  43. Lowetide says:

    Hockey Noob: I agree, but am very interested in seeing what setting free 83 would look like.

    boreal: The trade happens soon, for sure.

  44. Hockey Noob says:

    LT,

    I had a feeling that's what you were thinking. If we were able to get that type of match up, it would indeed be very interesting to watch.

    Either way, the novel aspect with the Horcoff/Moreau/Pisani line is that it would free up 2 talented lines to provide scoring chances. Either one of which could tear up the softer minutes. One would expect that Zherdev/Cogs/Gagner line would be an impressive combination of both talent and speed.

  45. Hockey Noob says:

    Traktor, I like your thoughts of perhaps Malhotra being $2million better spent than Zherdev. I also like your thoughts of shutdown line with Horcoff and some scoring depth added to our 3rd line.

    However, do you think it would be a waste of a faceoff man to put both Malhotra and Horcoff on the same line?

  46. kris says:

    Traktor,

    Of course he "could" put in 50.

    What do you think the odds are that he will put in 50?

    By the same definition of 'can' should you say Zherdev could put in 75pts?

    I don't see the point in comparing Nilson's high end with Zherdev's low end. Shouldn't we compare them based on reasonable expectations derived from past performance?

  47. kris says:

    50 pts, I mean.

  48. B.C.B. says:

    If we are going to spend more the 2 million on a player can it be Robert Lang not Zherdev: we need a center god damn it.

    (I will precede to beat on my new dead horse till someone, anyone, agrees).

  49. DanMan says:

    Horcoff is John Paul Jones (not many solos, steady, doesn't ever get the credit he deserved)

    Hemsky is Robert Plant (could hit any note asked of him, a freelancer, has the most talent, and maybe the most fearless)

    Souray is Jimmy Page (the riffs are thundering bombs, a missed note is more noticeable that JPJ)

    MacT is John Bonham (the crap that came out of his mouth was his ultimate demise)

  50. kris says:

    Fair enough BCB.

    But Lang is 39. He's literally, quite literally, old enough to be Gagner's father.

  51. quain says:

    Lang is a stopgag for a season that doesn't really mean anything. I'd rather keep Pouliot where he is, let him try to take the second toughs job and, if it goes well, put another 80 GP under his belt for next year or, if he fails, hunt down a lasting option.

    If we're really going for this youth movement it's time to stop signing Sourays and, lord forgive me, Horcoffs and try to gather up a group of guys who, in a few years, are going to be good and on cheap second contracts. Collecting guys on UFA contracts and trying to raise a couple of 20 year olds is just the worse combination possible.

  52. Traktor says:

    Noob:

    I'm just looking for a player to compliment Horcoff and Pisani.

    Moreau isn't leak-proof and Pouliot is going to need some help on his wing if he's the new Brodziak.

  53. quain says:

    And, just because I'm in a mood to play Fake Line-ups ala HF, here's where this team could be if someone just said, "Let's try to keep winning" and made a few damn decisions to that effect:

    Smyth-Horcoff-Hemsky ($15.1)
    Penner-Cogliano-Sykora ($8.0)
    Torres-Reasoner-Pisani ($5.8)
    Moreau-Pouliot-Stortini ($3.5)
    MacIntyre & JFJ ($1.1)

    Hejda-Gilbert ($6.0)
    Visnovsky-Grebeshkov ($8.8)
    Staios-Smid ($4.2)
    Strudwick ($.7)

    Roloson-JDD ($3.1)

    Total – $56.2M

    I didn't even go on a full hindsight, sign every guy that turned good and waive every guy that turned bad tear. If you hired a mediocre GM, this is what the team could look like. It's no Stanley Cup team, but it could be competing for the division until late March every year.

    And when Smyth and Horcoff start to wear down? You trade everyone, tank for a Gagner, and then restart. None of this half-assed will he, won't he rebuilds.

  54. Bruce says:

    re: Horc's shooting eye, I agree more with Traktor's "seeing the ball well" rather than LT's "luck". If he was golfing, he would have spent a lot more time in the bush last season. In '07-08 he was hitting everything right down the middle.

  55. hunter1909 says:

    Of course Horcoff should play on the checking line. it's where his skills are the strongest.

    Seeing him fumble the ball endlessly on the opposition's 3 yard line tells me there has to be a better solution to Shawn playing first line hockey…be it Schremp, Cogliano, Gagner, hell even Pouliot from what I already know about Horcoff's non scoring abilities.

  56. hunter1909 says:

    Yeti: Horcoff would be the drummer in Creedence Clearwater revival.

  57. Lowetide says:

    Doug Clifford. He was drafted too, by the US Army. :-)

  58. B.C.B. says:

    quain said…
    Lang is a stopgag for a season that doesn't really mean anything.

    Well yes. but I don't see the point.
    Is a teaming going to build themselves complete from the draft? No.
    Are UFA always stopgaps, or useful players fulfilling specific roles in a specific time period? Yes.
    If the Oilers make the playoffs this year does it mean something? Yes; the kids will gain experience, Katz will make more money, and we will all have something to do in April (other then cry into our drinks).
    Lang will provide a useful player, with actual NHL experience, in the centerman position. He will reduce Horcoff's roles (by being a historically reliable PKer and tough minutes player), and hopefully allow Horcoff more space to flourish. He will provide leadership. He will provide goals. That is the kind of stopgap I want to see the Oilers sign every summer to a one year contract.

  59. Hockey Noob says:

    LT, the original idea for the top 9 that I recently posted in this comments section was from an Oilers forum post by Racki. I've just found out that he's started a new Oilers blog. Forgive me for shamelessly plugging his link in this thread, but here it is: http://www.puttingonthefoil.com/

  60. Lowetide says:

    Hockey Noob: I've added it to the blogroll.

  61. HBomb says:

    Noob:

    I'm just looking for a player to compliment Horcoff and Pisani.

    Moreau isn't leak-proof and Pouliot is going to need some help on his wing if he's the new Brodziak.

    You've hit on an important point here Traktor. Everyone seems to think that Moreau-Horcoff-Pisani is the "obvious" answer to play tough minutes.

    Me, I don't think Moreau can be trusted with anything more than marginal assignments at this point.

    Furthermore, Horcoff's certainly a top sixer, and Pisani could be a 2RW if you need him to be (there's above-average offense there, I believe). To me, the obvious LW solution on this roster is O'Sullivan (gives Horcoff two shooters and plays to his strengths as a passer). Penner-Gagner-Hemsky as the 1st line taking on second toughest minutes (accelerated learning for 89), while Nilsson-Pouliot-Cogliano (or maybe Nilsson-Brule-Cogliano, YMMV) get softy assignments.

    Two players that would complement Pisani and Horcoff together though? I'll throw out the names Raffi Torres and Curtis Glencross, for starters. Not saying, just saying.

    The most outside the box one that crosses my mind though for the job with 10 and 34? Ales Hemsky. Think about it for a second:

    - Pisani can play LW and has the ability to finish: has he ever been asked to play an "offensive" role here?

    - Those two plus Hemsky are probably the three most complete forwards on the roster. Yes, it would be a bit of an "Easter Line" approach (Penner-Gagner-Nilsson and Moreau-Pouliot-Cogliano are probably the rest of the top nine), but I could think of worse ideas.

  62. Rube Foster says:

    LT,
    These are the kinds of threads that make your site the must read that it is.

    I’ve always thought that Horc’s best comp was Dave Keon – Smart, excellent two way center, with lots of heart and the ability to put some points on the board but not the guy you necessarily want to carry the mail offensively for your team. He’s the guy you want on the ice when Beliveau’s line is out.

    I believe that Horc’s biggest problem was that he was never given an Ullman to help carry the load and that we’re still waiting for a Sittler to develop.

    As for a musician, I’ll stick with the bassist analogies – How about Bruce Foxton from the Jam? Absolutely no one knows who the other two guys from the Jam are, but everyone knows Paul Weller. Just listen to the bass run from “In the City” and you’ll know just how stellar and underrated Foxton’s contributions to the Jam were.

  63. Lowetide says:

    Love, love LOVE the Jam. Dammit, now I'm off to find the cd.

  64. PDO says:

    Penner – Horcoff – Pisani
    O'Sullivan – Cogliano – Hemsky
    Moreau – Gagner – Nilsson
    JFJ – MAP – Stortini

    How's that for a blender?

    I don't expect Bobby to be on the team, but that gives Hemsky two shooters on a line, and if Cogliano can figure out how to win a draw (or switches places with Sully?), I think it could be a secondary min line just fine. Penner was able to play PVP with Hemsky as his RW and the same C – you have to believe he could do it with Pisani. Moreau is a bit of a waste of with Gagner, and I'd love someone like Sykora instead of Nilsson there, but that third line would be interesting at the least AND it gives Gagner a body guard…

    Most importantly though, it gives Quinn 4 lines he can roll…

  65. Bruce says:

    Fernando Pisani has never:

    – scored 20 goals
    – scored 40 points
    – played 17:00 a night
    – been more than an emergency fill-in on a scoring line

    His shining moment was in the playoff run when he played on the "third" line with Peca and Torres. Peca had 23 points that season, Horcoff 73 and Stoll 68. While the trio caught lightning in a bottle that spring, they were hardly expected to be the scoring juggernaut they briefly became.

    Don't get me wrong, Fernando is one of my favourite Oilers ever, but with the greatest of respect he is what he is, which is already less than what he was. And what he was at his best was a terrific two-way forward whose best results came when lined up with other two-way forwards in a checking/penalty-killing capacity who could hold his own against the toughs for 14 minutes a night and occasionally surprise with the odd laser wrist shot. Wishful thinking notwithstanding, it's mighty late in the day to re-cast him in a top six role.

  66. misfit says:

    If your second line is better with Pisani on it than without him, what difference does it make how many points he gets?

    Torres and Stoll were never more effective than when they had Pisani as their RW. Ditto for Peca when he was here. Nilsson and Cogliano were better in 07/08 with Pisani than when Gagner was in his place to complete the kid line.

    How far do you have to go back before you can find a 2nd line the Oilers have iced that's better than one that included Pies?

  67. quain says:

    Ignoring context, games played, and anything else, Fernando Pisani has, in the past two years, exceeded Dustin Penner in G/60 and Points/60 at ES.

    There's certainly a lot of "Yeah, but…"'s to throw out, but it's interesting.

  68. Bruce says:

    Quain: You're right, that is interesting. Maybe he was better at C than I thought. :D

    Fernie's a nice ace to have our sleeve, that's for sure. Let's hope he has a healthy season. If he does, he'll help the team, full stop.

  69. GSC says:

    $5.5 MIL for a checking line centre is beyond an overpayment.

    While Horcoff may be an effective player, what matters is bang for the buck. If he puts up the numbers that LT suggests, it will get ugly.

  70. Bruce says:

    Oh come on, GSC, give or take his frequent appearances on Team Canada Horcoff hasn't been a checking line centre since before the lockout. LT has documented that he has been our first line centre on opening night the last four years running. He takes on the toughs and outscores them. That's a recipe for success whether you score 50 points or 100.

  71. Fake Craig McTavish says:

    Bruce said…
    Oh come on, GSC, give or take his frequent appearances on Team Canada Horcoff hasn't been a checking line centre since before the lockout. LT has documented that he has been our first line centre on opening night the last four years running. He takes on the toughs and outscores them. That's a recipe for success whether you score 50 points or 100.

    That is not a recipe for success if he outscores them by a small margin, they kill on the PP while he wilts, and he's your highest paid forward.

  72. B.C.B. says:

    everyone that doesn't value Horcof on the Oiler is insane. full stop. his contract is signed. even if we wanted to change it we can't. we can't trade him, not because of the contract, but because he brings too much value to the Oilers.

  73. GSC says:

    B.C.B. said:
    "everyone that doesn't value Horcof on the Oiler is insane. full stop. his contract is signed. even if we wanted to change it we can't. we can't trade him, not because of the contract, but because he brings too much value to the Oilers."

    Just because his contract is signed and he can't be moved doesn't justify that fact that he'd be paid $5.5 MIL not to produce the numbers that a 1st line centre should.

    That's a cop out if there ever was one, the "oh well, we're stuck with him" theory doesn't alleviate the issue of overpaying within the salary cap. Bang for buck is paramount.

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