A Different Corner

Since the All-Star break, Sam Gagner is 5, 8-7-15 +6. His shooting percentage is in the 40′s. He is playing with the team’s best wingers and the dropoff at this point from 1-2 to 3-4 is astounding. We know this isn’t sustainable (not with that shooting percentage) but perhaps a better question is “has Sam Gagner turned a corner?”

Gagner has done more in the last 5 games to get noticed than he has since his draft day. All over the NHL we’re hearing Gagner talk–the good kind. Is this a legit move forward or is Sam Gagner all hat and no cattle?

I spent quite a bit of time (and as always this blog’s comments section provided good direction) comparing Gagner with two former NHL C’s–Doug Gilmour and Vincent Damphousse. I’m wondering how each of them did in their early 20′s, if one or more of them took a step forward at the same time as Sam appears to be.

  • Gagner at 21 .618
  • Gagner at 22 .766
  • Damphousse at 21 .85
  • Damphousse at 22 1.175
  • Gilmour at 21 .731
  • Gilmour at 22 .716
  • Gilmour at 23 1.3125

All ages are from hockey-reference, the NHL standard for age is what your birth certificate reads on opening night of each season. Damphousse stepped out at the same age and it took Gilmour one more season to blossom offensively. Gagner? Well, he still has many games to play this season and he could have a long dry spell that will spoil this little run.

However, based on the comparables used years ago to frame Gagner’s possible future, predicting an upturn in his offense and overall play would be reasonable based on age and experience.

A quick note about the numbers: if we adjusted for league offense, Gagner’s totals would rise relative to the other two. In Gilmour’s 23 year old season, the average NHL team scored 294 goals, in Damphousse’s 22 year old season the league average was 295. This season’s league average is going to be around 226 based on the first 53 games across the NHL.

 

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60 Responses to "A Different Corner"

  1. Suntory Hanzo says:

    I Liked Vinnie when he was an Oiler (had Season’s tickets in the expansion section for 2 years. $11 tickets and a you could get a large coke in a visiting team logo cup with refills…those were the days…) but it always seemed he needed 3 great quality chances before he would score. Buddies and I would start the count at the beginning of every game. He would eventually get the points, but would frustrate us on the way there.

  2. DBO says:

    If he is moving forward and stepping into both a leadership role, and emerging as a consistent threat, he is an ideal 2nd line centre. For balance, him with the super twins and RNH with some vets gives us (in theory) 2 solid lines that can play against anybody. Our issue going forward becomes dollars attached to term for Gagner. His agent, I’m sure, is thinking $4 mill. Can that be sustained? There is no need to move him since he’s an RFA, but if he gets Hemsky money that may spell the end of Hemsky.

    RNH needs some size and two way play around him to allow Renney to play him in a less sheltered role. Hemsky and Smyth in theory work, but maybe it’s MPS (who can play in his own zone) and ideally a snarlier winger with grit and skill. I wonder if the newest Forsberg in this years draft would be an ideal fit (ala Landeskog). RNH with the two big swedes (who are both two way players) looks like n paper as a great line.

    i could handle those top 2 lines for the next few years. Once again, it hasn’t been the kids who have let us down, it’s been the vets. We need better two way depth players in order to compete.

  3. Dalton says:

    Gagner did a lot of interviews after losing games this year and I thought that he was doing a good job at that (i.e., leadership role cliche). Two fights added to the data, but we already knew he had character.

    Gagner is a 2C even when his points tail off. I’m buying a Gagner jersey and I might have them put a C patch on it :D

  4. godot10 says:

    Pairs:

    Nugent-Hopkins, Eberle
    Hall, Gagner
    Horcoff, Hemsky (if he is signed) or Omark
    Belanger, Jones

    Experiment with wingers for each line.

  5. commonfan14 says:

    Gagner-Carter?

  6. pboy says:

    I’m really enjoying what Samwise has done since the All-Star break but before he’s locked into a long term contract for serious money, he needs to show some sustain for a prolonged period of time. I think he’s turned the corner in his career (just like Smid did this season) but if I was GM, I would need for him to produce for at least 80+ games before I would pull the trigger.

  7. godot10 says:

    pboy,

    Gagner needs a new contract this summer. He is 2 years away from UFA status.

    “he needs to show some sustain for a prolonged period of time” is something the GM is not going to have.

    Some sort of decision has to be made on Sam this summer. Short term, you have two years to find or draft a replacement 2nd line centre. Or medium term, you decide to buy one or two UFA years. 2 UFA years probably means 4 years @ $4 million. Buying 1 UFA Year probably means 3 years @ $3.5. If only 2 years, he will be UFA at the end of the deal.

    Or Gagner may just take it into his own hands. When he gets the qualifying offer, he opts for arbitration.

  8. pboy says:

    godot10: pboy, Gagner needs a new contract this summer. He is 2 years away from UFA status.“he needs to show some sustain for a prolonged period of time” is something the GM is not going to have. Some sort of decision has to be made on Sam this summer. Short term, you have two years to find or draft a replacement 2nd line centre. Or medium term, you decide to buy one or two UFA years. 2 UFA years probably means 4 years @ $4 million. Buying 1 UFA Year probably means 3 years @ $3.5. If only 2 years, he will be UFA at the end of the deal.Or Gagner may just take it into his own hands. When he gets the qualifying offer, he opts for arbitration.

    I clearly wasn’t paying attention to the fact that he was an RFA this summer. I would probably try the 3 year option, I like the player but I’m still not sure exactly the type of player he’s going to be for the rest of his career.

  9. Ducey says:

    Aside from the points I have noticed Sam with better wheels allowing him to lug the puck out of his own zone and through the neutral zone. He has also done a better job covering his man in front of the net down low.

    His Rel Corsi is 7.0. He has also boosted his face off % from 43.9 to 48.8. (Belanger is at 56.8!)

    Our little Sam might just be growing up.

  10. tubes says:

    Gags is good. He’s developing quite nicely into the 5’9 skilled, ‘power’ forward that every team desires.

  11. Clay says:

    Is it too simplistic to say that Gagner will have sustain for the rest of the year, as long as he stays between Hall and Eberle?

    Nine of the 15 points he’s had post-ASG have involved either Hall or Eberle or both. The issue can be framed either way, really, because 6 points in 5 games that didn’t involve 4-14 is pretty damn good too.

    I’m just happy for him, because the string of bad luck he had to endure with the freak cut last year, and then the slow start to the season with the ankle injury.

    I think it’s a bit ironic that, before his little run, a growing number of Oilers fans were hoping he’d show well to up his trade value. Now he may be too valuable to trade.

    I guess the real question will be how he responds to surgery after the inevitable shoulder injury he suffers this spring when he reaches 42 points.

  12. Captain Obvious says:

    We better not trade Gagner. He fits the exact criteria I’d be looking to snag from other teams (+ rel corsi, against first or second comp, with established scoring ability in the AHL by age 20). Sam Gagner is what every team in the league needs.

  13. Bos8 says:

    I started bitching about Horcoff/Smythe overuse about thirty games ago. Okay, that’s immaterial now. The thing is that the Oilers have screwed away opportunities for strength/size at a reasonable cost over the years. Brodziak, Glencross come to mind. Then they sign Belanger, another little guy. You watch a team cycle on the Oilers and the D gets worn out. I’d almost reccomend bringing up Hamilton and Pitlick just to get some size and some penalty killing in. They’re not scoring? Well gee neither is Belanger, nor half the team. It’s all well and great that Omark is looking good and will replace Hemsky but the top six will get even smaller. Lander and Petrell shoul have been in the AHL for the first half and would now be ready . Be that as it may, why isn’t MPS killing penalties? Did they even try him there?

  14. Bos8 says:

    Captain Obvious: We better not trade Gagner. He fits the exact criteria I’d be looking to snag from other teams (+ rel corsi, against first or second comp, with established scoring ability in the AHL by age 20). Sam Gagner is what every team in the league needs.

    Well, you’d better put a Jesus big, designated backchecker with him because he is a weak 190 pounder on the boards, as I have seen in some time. Not starting a pissing contest. He is what he is. The team has to deal with it in the most logical way possible.

  15. Ducey says:

    Bos8,

    The penalty killing is 12th. Belanger is 10th in face off %

    Those two things are not the problem.

  16. Captain Obvious says:

    Bos8: Well, you’d better put a Jesus big, designated backchecker with him because he is a weak 190 pounder on the boards, as I have seen in some time. Not starting a pissing contest.He is what he is.The team has to deal with it in the most logical way possible.

    Except none of those things matter. Size is irrelevant. Or rather, once you take into account tangible things like shots and goals, both for and against, how those shots are generated or allowed doesn’t add any information. Accounting for size is in that respect double counting for size since the positive effect of size has already been accounted for in the results.

    So, once again, you should never consider the size of a player when evaluating said player. Results are everything. If one player who scores a goal because they are big, and another player scores a goal because they are fast, or another player scores a goal because they are smart, all of these goals count the same.

    A team of 12 Gagners would be a good team. It would certainly beat a team of 9 Gagners and 3 Eagers.

  17. Ducey says:

    From the Bleacher Report:

    The Blackhawks currently occupy the No. 6 spot in the Western Conference, but they have been sliding as of late. The biggest culprits have been the defense and goaltenders, as Chicago has given up more goals than all but one team in the conference. Because of that, there have been many rumors surrounding the team, but one of the strongest has been regarding Edmonton Oilers defenseman Andy Sutton.

    According to Tim Sassone of the Daily Herald, the Blackhawks have some interest in the veteran rearguard. The 6’6″, 245-lb. defender is big, physical and he is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. The issue, however, is that Chicago may have to part with a prospect like Kyle Beach or Jeremy Morin. That would be far too much to pay for a rental who may not even have much of an impact.

  18. Bos8 says:

    Ducey: Bos8, The penalty killing is 12th. Belanger is 10th in face off %Those two things are not the problem.

    My point was that Horcoff and Smyth were worn out and I’d make book that it’s the tough minutes penalty killing. They get the tough minutes as it is That stupid energy line thing just drives me. There were so many holes on the team that it’s the one armed paper hanger and Smyth/Horcoff were all everything – They should attach a water can to their ass so they can pebble the ice. They’re mid thirties and tired half way through the season – Gee, ya think

  19. Bos8 says:

    Captain Obvious: So, once again, you should never consider the size of a player when evaluating said player. Results are everything. If one player who scores a goal because they are big, and another player scores a goal because they are fast, or another player scores a goal because they are smart, all of these goals count the same.
    A team of 12 Gagners would be a good team. It would certainly beat a team of 9 Gagners and 3 Eagers.

    Jesus, I’m being patronized. Gagner got to play with Hall and Eberle, he has been successful at home. And your point is?

    ” A team of 12 Gagners would be a good team” Chuckle

    I’ll respond to this – No, they wouldn’t be.

  20. stevezie says:

    On an unrelated note, I just got back from a Legends game between Finland and Sweden. Former Selke nominees Kurri and Tikkanen were seen mercilessly goal sucking, as well as shouting and slashing at everyone the whole game. Kurri scored the game;s nicest goal by walking through a couple Swedes, and Tik was… he started big by falling down and looking pretty hurt. He was interacting with the announcer the whole game (mid-shift), he gave an interview in Swedish, taunted the goalie and laid a hit on Borje Salming. Not a crushing hit, but since the recipient orders from the senior’s menu let’s count it. Obviously Tik got player of the game. Sweden won but I assume it was fixed. If there’s another game in Helsinki bet everything on the home team.

    Oh yeah, Forberg was there too. He looked good.

    You may now resume debating Horcoff.

  21. stevezie says:

    A team of Gagner’s would probabl have terrible penalty killing, and would certainly have trouble in the playoffs against teams like the Bruins, who would just run them over. I don’t think they’d be cup threats. He’s still an above average hockey player, in my opinion, and a team full of above-average hockey players would probably be an above-average hockey team.

  22. Bos8 says:

    Gagner – results Detroit game.

    Gagner was handed a breakaway. He fumbled the puck twice enroute to the net. The poor goalie was totally faked out. This was not a skill display.

    Second goal – Paajarvi did all the work, came out from behind the net and should have roofed it. Gagner got to the rebound.

    Gagner results – Two goals.

    Game results – Piss poor.

  23. Braintrust says:

    On a side note, since Detroit likes Hemsky so much, one trade I would make in a heartbeat would be Hemsky to Detroit for D Brendan Smith. That would be an intelligent hockey trade for Mr. Tambellini. I hope he is listening!

  24. spoiler says:

    Stevie, that game sounds like it was a lot of fun.

    Ducey,

    Beach would be interesting, but he suffered a devastating shoulder injury at the beginning of the season and still hasn’t returned.

  25. LMHF#1 says:

    stevezie:
    A team of Gagner’s would probabl have terrible penalty killing, and would certainly have trouble in the playoffs against teams like the Bruins, who would just run them over. I don’t think they’d be cup threats. He’s still an above average hockey player, in my opinion, and a team full of above-average hockey players would probably be an above-average hockey team.

    You can skate around and through teams like Boston, but you need to be highly skilled and very smart. We’re headed in that direction, but we’ll see if we actually get there. We’re missing a Joni Pitkanen on D (highly skilled, hits at high % for puck separation) specifically. Lubomir’s style would be useful in playing that kind of game as well. Ales and others haven’t been the same since Visnovsky’s departure.

  26. LMHF#1 says:

    spoiler:

    Beach would be interesting, but he suffered a devastating shoulder injury at the beginning of the season and still hasn’t returned.

    For Sutton and maybe a depth prospect/late pick though? Worth a thought.

  27. Captain Obvious says:

    Bos8,

    Are you insane? Do you really believe what you are saying?

    In any event. Gagner is an above average hockey player. How good is a matter of debate, but that he is above average is, I think, pretty much beyond serious dispute.

    And a team of above average hockey players would be a good team. I don’t see how someone could dispute that either. Moreover, subtracting some of those above average hockey players and replacing them with worse players (like Ben Eager) will always make that team worse. I don’t see how that can be denied.

    In short, what are you talking about?

  28. Jordan says:

    Captain Obvious:
    We better not trade Gagner.He fits the exact criteria I’d be looking to snag from other teams (+ rel corsi, against first or second comp, with established scoring ability in the AHL by age 20).Sam Gagner is what every team in the league needs.

    My name is not Stan Weir and I approve this message.

    I think Samwise the Brave fits the little man to a T.

    I’m not going to lie though – What we have seen from him is that when he plays with good players (players with ++hockeysense/IQ) he plays lights out. That’s what he was doing with Kane in London. When he plays with guys without that high-level processing, he’s not lights-out. He’s only average, and because he doesn’t produce as much, it becomes much more difficult to justify his other shortcomings.

    So, of course the best thing to do is ship him off for a #4 D man. D:

  29. Bos8 says:

    Gagner was a product of his father’s input. So, he got top level coaching and was much more a finished product in junior than his opposition. To be an above average player, theory says, you should have an above average tool chest. Gagner was not blessed.

    Then, thinking ability at speed and experience foster development. At some point the game has to slow down for the player to where he is ahead of the curve. Has this happened to Gagner? I have’t seen it. He’s continues reacting to plays.

    I’m sorry – comparing Gagner to Gilmour is not fair to Gagner.

  30. jb says:

    So, of course the best thing to do is ship him off for a #4 D man. D:

    What if you could get a #1-2 Dman for a Gagner package at the deadline?

    Might be worth it. Deal Sutton for some assets, and go for another top 4 D in the offseason and we’re heading in the right direction. All of a sudden we have 5 Top 4 D with Petry/whoever fighting it out for 6.

  31. Jordan says:

    Bos8,

    You’re right of course – comparing him to Gagner isn’t fair to Gagner. He’s better than Gilmour at the same age. All you need to do to see that is consider who Gagner’s team mates have been, and compare that to Gilmour’s.

    And, of course…. Doug Gilmour scored 8 points in 1 games how many times?

    No Contest – Gagner’s the better player.

    Of course, if you don’t see that…. well that says more about you than anything else.

  32. Jordan says:

    jb,

    There’s no way any team would trade their #1-#2 D man at the deadline. Period.

    Now, there are lots of teams that might move someone who would be a #1-#2 Dman on the Oilers, but why make that move now anyways? After the Gagner outburst, don’t you NEED to see if he is the real deal by playing him with Hall and Ebs?

    Another question that deserves asking: Is RNH really as good as he looked early in the year, or was that the Eberle effect?

  33. Bos8 says:

    Captain Obvious: Are you insane? Do you really believe what you are saying?
    In any event. Gagner is an above average hockey player. How good is a matter of debate, but that he is above average is, I think, pretty much beyond serious dispute.

    No, I’m not insane, (a little extreme there) and I really believe what I’m saying. Gagner is a complementary player on offense off the rush. He is not creative, he has used the same move on a shootout for five years, seldom will you see him come off the boards with the puck’.

    Defensively – Oy

    And this is puzzling because his dad was a hell of a defensive player. Defense isn’t difficult if you can read the play, ie smarts, realize your limitations.

    To summarize – a one dimensional complementary offensive player. Can he improve? Hell yes.
    Is he capable of it? Can’t tell

    So, I’m seriously disputin

  34. Bos8 says:

    Jordan: No Contest – Gagner’s the better player.
    Of course, if you don’t see that…. well that says more about you than anything else

    “Gagner is the better player” – Some things come to mind, like Jockstraps.

    Gilmour was the complete player – probably in the top 5 percentile in utilizing his limited abilities on the ice. Unbelievable smarts

    As to my inadequacies in vision and rating players. I’m dealing with them just fine, Thank you.

  35. bendelson says:

    Jordan:
    jb,

    Another question that deserves asking:Is RNH really as good as he looked early in the year, or was that the Eberle effect?

    Good question Jordan. Not the least bit original to those blog but hey… It remains an interesting question. I would suggest the Enerle AND Hall factor accounts for a great deal when looking at RNH’s early season production as well as Gagners more recent work. Can these two dynamos be split up and still have such a hugely positive impact on the centre they are playing with? What if it’s Horc? Belanger?

  36. cabbiesmacker says:

    Ducey,

    I had mentioned the Hawks as a likely destination for Sutton in an earlier posting. I wouldn’t even ask for Beech to be honest. Morin would be very nice but probably wouldn’t happen. I’d ask for Shaw or Hayes though. Two kids in the right tameframe to grow up with ours. Hayes would take our average Top 6 F size up about 4 inches immediately and has some pretty decent hands.

  37. Jordan says:

    bendelson,

    I initially was going to ask about Hall as well, but my recolection was that Hall was not spedning very much time on the wing of RNH earlier on in the year. I recall Smyth RNH Ebs being the domminant line early in the season, and Hall RNH Ebs being good, but not as good.

    Based on last years results, I don’t think anyone can lift Horc that much. Maybe now that they are a year older, they could, but I seriously doubt it. I’d also doubt that anyone would trade for him even if he did put up numbers between Haebs – I think everyyone who’s seen him play knows.

    It might be a different story if he wasn’t playing 78 minutes a game, but with the workload he’s carrying, he’s just not effective. I’d like to see him played15 minutes a night – lots of EV and PK, and leave the rest to someone else – see if he can recover.

    With Gagner playing as well as he is, it would seem there might be another Centre to pick up some of those minutes…

    Bos8,

    No doubt I am speaking with Hyperbole here, and I am sorry for the shot – I am simply frustrated with the doubt about him.

    I’d actually like to see him out there on the PK if for no other reason than I expect it would help his defensive Accumen.

    If this year is a lost year… Let the horses run and see what you’ve got.

    Trying to win the strategy battle, especially on the road… it’s a lost cause. Just let them play.

  38. cabbiesmacker says:

    Qualifier to my post above. Total F size as he’s not ready for top 6 duties by any stretch.

  39. cabbiesmacker says:

    Captain Obvious:

    A team of 12 Gagners would be a good team.It would certainly beat a team of 9 Gagners and 3 Eagers.

    Not if fisticuffs broke out. I gotta give Benny a slight edge there.

  40. Woodguy says:

    Khabby to start tomorrow as per Stauffer.

    Apparently “win and stay in” doesn’t apply to old Russians.

    Hopefully someone has interest and they are showcasing him.

    Otherwise Renney should be shot with a ball of his own shit.

  41. Woodguy says:

    Sutton in and Barker “probably” out.

  42. Bos8 says:

    Jordan: No doubt I am speaking with Hyperbole here, and I am sorry for the shot – I am simply frustrated with the doubt about him.
    I’d actually like to see him out there on the PK if for no other reason than I expect it would help his defensive Accumen.
    If this year is a lost year… Let the horses run and see what you’ve got.
    Trying to win the strategy battle, especially on the road… it’s a lost cause. Just let them play.

    Okay, you get Brownie points for the apology.

    You’re frustrated with the Gagner doubts? I’ve had to watch Hemsky get bad mouthed for carrying Horcoff all these years. No wonder his shoulders are shot.

    I’ve said it before about Gagner – He’s skated much better in the last little while, to where he is now above average. Nothing says he can’t improve in other facets of his game. A player with his limited set has to compensate with smarts, as in anticipate the play. So far, he’s still reacting.

    Gagner needs room to excell and if he doesn’t get it, he can’t perform. So playing with Hall is a Godsend. Hall will get bigger and God willing will get a coach or learn on his own to stop doing that stupid, blast up the ice and shooot at the goalie’s glove, thing. FaCrissakes, at least change speed once in a while, stop and see if anyone else is in hailing distance. As to defense – until Gagner starts to read the play better, best to leave him where he is.

    What I find most frustrating is the Oilers refusal to sign hockey players. There are all kinds of honest journeymen, that know their place, make the 1.5 to 2 mil, do their job and go home. The Oilers have zip, nada , nichevo.

    Jones – it must hurt to be so stupid. He has try, but boy, it’s very trying to watch.

  43. Bos8 says:

    Woodguy: Otherwise Renney should be shot with a ball of his own shit.

    And sued for stinkin.

  44. "Steve Smith" says:

    cabbiesmacker: Not if fisticuffs broke out. I gotta give Benny a slight edge there.

    And if French Impressionism broke out, we’d be better off with a Claude Monet or two. But we’re talking about hockey.

  45. Ducey says:

    Bos8,

    You were complaining earlier about being patronized. So I won’t make the same mistake. You are wrong when you say:

    I’ve said it before about Gagner – He’s skated much better in the last little while, to where he is now above average. Nothing says he can’t improve in other facets of his game. A player with his limited set has to compensate with smarts, as in anticipate the play. So far, he’s still reacting.

    Limited skill set? Compensate?

    Is that the skill set that got him 118 pts in one year of junior, 209 NHL points before he is 23 and the greatest number of points in one game in 22 years?

    He needs to mature, reach his physical prime and learn to play more consistently, but the skill set is there.

  46. "Steve Smith" says:

    I actually don’t fully buy into Captain Obvious’s thesis. He’s absolutely right about the risk of double-counting size, by valuing effective players with size over equally effective players without size; it’s a point I’ve tried to make, less eloquently, many times.

    Where we part ways is that I believe in complementary player types – not in the sense that you need Eagers to balance out the Gagners, but in that you need players that can pass and those that can shoot (for example). If you have a player with good instincts and passing skills but no discernible shooting ability, the stats are going to show (quite rightly) that that player is effective. Doesn’t mean a team full of them would be.

    Even in the realm of “outscoring”, which is the be(at)-all and end-all, it’s nice to have low event outscorers to put out when you’re protecting a lead, and high-event outscorers to put out when you’re behind.

    None of this means that people who think you can only have so many “skill players”, and that you need to fill out the rest of the roster with grit and truculence, aren’t morons.

    Anyway, Monet held his brush all wrong.

  47. stevezie says:

    I don’t see how anyone could disagree with what SS just said. I’m sure someone does, though.

  48. "Steve Smith" says:

    stevezie:
    I don’t see how anyone could disagree with what SS just said. I’m sure someone does, though.

    …if only on principle.

    (And don’t get me wrong, it’s a fine principle.)

  49. Ducey says:

    stevezie:
    I don’t see how anyone could disagree with what SS just said. I’m sure someone does, though.

    Mr Obvious was telling us the other day he was better than half the current GM’s, so I am betting he might…

  50. cabbiesmacker says:

    "Steve Smith": And if French Impressionism broke out, we’d be better off with a Claude Monet or two.But we’re talking about hockey.

    Post was pure sarcasm on my part BUT, if the Salon de Refuses comes to Edmonton your point would be quite relevent

    Preferred Renoir myself and I hold to the outside chance Benny kicks Sammy’s ass.

  51. Captain Obvious says:

    “Steve Smith”,

    I complete agree with those caveats. The way I would phrase it is that everything else being equal, passer+shooter is better than either passer+passer or shooter + shooter. However, I think this is mostly a theoretical point because everything else is never equal, and this only makes a difference on the margins. From a management point of view the only thing that should matter is improving the quality of the team by improving the quality of the players.

    That said, it is absolutely the coaches responsibility to put players together in such a way that 1) takes advantage of particular combinations and 2) he is able to adapt to real game situations. In that regard, if I was coaching I would run four lines that looked something like this:

    Scoring line–can play against anyone (my best players)
    Scoring line–can play against anyone II (my second best players)
    High event line–can score but may get abused against top competition
    Low event line–less likely to score but has a chance to break even against top competition.

    Into that mix I would also try and combine passers with shooters (on the Oilers I’d keep RNH and Hemsky away from each other) and try and distribute play movers throughout the lineup (if I had two Hall types I wouldn’t play them together.

    But the important point is that these lineup considerations should be subordinate to the general question of quality. Which is to say that as a coach I would want the best 12 players, whomever those players are, and then I’d find a way to use them effectively. Lennert Petrell would never play on my team because there is no situation in which he is a positive player.

    Add it all up and my healthy lineup for the Oilers would be something like:

    Hall–Gagner–Hemsky
    Smith–Hopkins–Eberle
    Paajarvi–Horcoff–Omark
    Eager–Belanger–Jones

    This doesn’t match my ideal type because the Oilers don’t quite have the horses. Still, I’m quite confident that this lineup would beat the lineup the actual Oilers have put out this year (when healthy of course). It gets the talent the Oilers have on the ice and it has the flexibility to play in all the situations that arise in a game.

  52. "Steve Smith" says:

    Captain Obvious:
    The way I would phrase it is that everything else being equal, passer+shooter is better than either passer+passer or shooter + shooter.

    I’d go slightly further, and say that you don’t need all else to be equal – there are times when a team would be improved by substituting a slightly worse “shooter” for a slightly better “passer” (or vice-versa). Had to imagine a team that would be improved by substituting Eager for Gagner though. In any event, agreed that it’s basically an academic question, but if you can’t agree on the academic questions it’s tough to find common ground in reality.

    Anyway, I’m off to see “The Artist”. My girlfriend billed it to me as “a John Goodman movie”, which I suspect may say more about her unexploited gift for marketing than it does about the movie, but we’ll see (although not hear, I gather).

  53. knighttown says:

    cabbiesmacker:
    Ducey,

    Hayes would take our average Top 6 F size up about 4 inches immediately and has some pretty decent hands.

    Admittedly, I don’t know Jimmy Hayes that well but unless he’s exactly 8 feet tall I don’t think the word “average” means what you think it does.

    C’mon “Steve Smith”. My job is to ramble on about building a defensive core with 10 NHL caliber defensemen. I don’t have time to be resident “definitions” jerk too. Pick up your game.

  54. Captain Obvious says:

    What is the evidence that Sam Gagner is a bad defensive player.

    Consider that, eespite playing second line competition,

    1) while Gagner is on the ice the opposition has scored 2.55 goals/60, better than good defensive player Eric Belanger, and tied for fourth best on the team. All of the players giving up fewer goals have played against significantly worse competition (Hopkins, Paajarvi, and Lander.

    2) while Gagner is on the ice the opposition is getting 27.3 shots/60. The only significant player better than Gagner is Taylor Hall. Eric Belanger is a team worst 30 shots/60.

    So if good defensive players limit opposition shots and opposition goals then the only conclusion is that Sam Gagner is a good defensive player. Once again, people who think Sam Gagner is a bad defensive hockey player have a mystical notion of what constitutes defense.

  55. bookje says:

    stevezie:
    I don’t see how anyone could disagree with what SS just said. I’m sure someone does, though.

    Well, I certainly agree about Monet. Then again, I woulld do a better job than all of the famous Fench artists out there if I just had the chance . Everything else SS said is just pure drivel. in fact, I would be better than half the Steve Smiths out there if I just had the chance.

  56. stevezie says:

    “Steve Smith”,

    She lied to you, but I’m all for it since I loved The Artist. I thought I’d hate it, but somehow it won me over. Just like the Ben Eager signing, but without the second half.

  57. Bos8 says:

    Ducey: Is that the skill set that got him 118 pts in one year of junior, 209 NHL points before he is 23 and the greatest number of points in one game in 22 years?
    He needs to mature, reach his physical prime and learn to play more consistently, but the skill set is there.

    First, I wasn’t complaining about being patronized , I was chuckling. Second, I shut down watching hockey for years. That waltz marathon they put on was boring as crap. The MacTavish walk, walk hockey was painful. I literally had a tough time watching more than a period of hockey in one sitting. It was still Hemsky killing himself and a horde of mediocrity, I started watching again last year and it was interesting to see Eberle and Hall. Love players like Eberle – ice awareness.

    So I don’t have the vested interest in Gagner that other people have. In two years I’ve noticed one play by Gagner that impressed me and that was the one up the boards to a breaking Hall and the follow up. Good play, well done. 100 plus points in Junior meh, 200 points in five seasons – damning with faint praise. Nothing about Gagner stands out, that’s why my rating of limited skill set. Give him open ice and he performs, so will a host of others. RNH had 5 points against the same team at eighteen. But Gagner does not create open ice for himself or others most of the time.

    And then, a one dimensional player who is a liability in his own end, to me, is an incomplete. Didn’t like Gretzky either, circling at center ice, while Kurri dug the dirt.

    I didn’t come to bury Gagner or to praise him.

    Gagner don’t drive the bus, he’s a passenger. When he starts to take his turn, I’ll be on board.

  58. cabbiesmacker says:

    knighttown: Admittedly, I don’t know Jimmy Hayes that well but unless he’s exactly 8 feet tall I don’t think the word “average” means what you think it does.

    You didn’t really go there just now did you KT? So many fire hydrants…so many asses.

  59. "Steve Smith" says:

    knighttownC’mon “Steve Smith”.My job is to ramble on about building a defensive core with 10 NHL caliber defensemen.I don’t have time to be resident “definitions” jerk too.Pick up your game.

    I do not think that “game” means what you think that it means.

    (As evidenced by your insinuation that I have got it, I mean.)

  60. Ducey says:

    And then, a one dimensional player who is a liability in his own end, to me, is an incomplete. Didn’t like Gretzky either, circling at center ice, while Kurri dug the dirt.

    This is kinda like saying “And then again, I don’t know anything about hockey”.

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