Every once in awhile I’ll wander through the old Baseball Encyclopedia or an old hockey guide and wonder why so many old timey players hang on past their due date. Doug Mohns in Washington at age 41 played the whole season despite ending -52 plus minus; Johnny Bucyk scoring 5 goals for Boston, age 42; Davey Keon in a Whaler uniform finishing -31 at age 41.
It’s even more baffling when the player who remains on a roster doesn’t have strong emotional ties to the fanbase. Usually, a Stanley or an outstanding season is involved at at the very least miles and miles of quality play are often in the rear view mirror.
Jason Strudwick’s 3-year Oiler career has run at least one year too long. Re-signing him doesn’t improve on the replacement level player, re-signing him doesn’t give rookies more time to hone their skills in hopes of passing him in abilitiy. Whatever he brings to an NHL organization should be accessed via the coaching ranks. If he belongs on the staff, then hire the man.
Jason Strudwick 10-11
- 5×5 points per 60: 0.22 (8th among Oil D)
- 5×4 points per 60: nil
- Qual Comp: 7th toughest among D
- Qual Team: best available among D
- Corsi Rel: -17.5 (worst among D)
- Zone Start: 54.0% (2nd best among D)
- Zone Finish: 50.1% (6th best among D)
- Shots on goal/percentage: 9 shots/0 goal
- Boxcars: 43gp, 0-2-2
- Plus Minus: -16 on a team that was -52
- What do these numbers tell us? Jason Strudwick played third pairing minutes with the best help available (he played with Kurtis Foster, Ryan Whitney, Theo Peckham, Tom Gilbert, Ladislav Smid and James Vandermeer). His CorsiRel was the worst on the team, his zone start was easy but came back below average for this team. He was -16 (expected -7) and in 43 games got a shot through to the net 9 times.
- How Could these numbers be better? He played to the level of his ability. There’s no blame here.
- He brings toughness. You bet.
- He’s a mentor to the kids. I don’t know that there are a lot of Oiler kids in love with the idea of being paired with Jason Strudwick. If he can impart information and sees things that help young players get better, then the Oilers need to hire him as a coach.
- How many defensemen are actually ahead of him on the depth chart? Signed players? Tom Gilbert, Ryan Whitney, Jeff Petry, Kurtis Foster. Add in RFA’s Ladislav Smid, Taylor Chorney and Theo Peckham. That’s 7 before signing anyone, elevating anyone or trading for anyone.
- Did he do anything well? His 4×5 numbers were very good compared to other defensemen on this Oilers team. I don’t know how much of the PK is personnel and how much is coaching, but #43 did play well at 4×5 this season (relative to his defensive mates).
- But he shouldn’t be re-signed? Not as a player. Jason Strudwick played hard for the Oilers, balls out all the way.
- He’s a perfect #7–pressbox half the time, depth minutes the other half. If the Oilers want another #1 overall pick then signing Strudwick makes sense. If they want to get better, time to sign a good team guy as an NHL coach, an AHL coach or a travelling instructor. He’s squeezed every last drop out of his NHL playing career and good for him.