Early this morning the world got word that the Oilers are close to signing Andy Sutton to a one year contract extension. If you work real hard, you can find a way to be pleased with the rumor, but there’s also a dark cloud in the numbers.
First things first. As of yesterday, Sutton had been in the rumor mill as a player of interest for several teams. We’ve talked about this before, but at the deadline veteran blue have miles of value because teams are buying insurance against injury. Remember how many defensemen Buffalo lost in the spring of 2006? It was horrible. Well, a team like Chicago has a shopping list and with each loss the pressure to do something builds.
So there are two items of interest for me this morning. One, the rumor:
Second item: Chicago has lost 5 in a row and are not out of the woods in terms of playoffs:
Among the “outside looking in” group Dallas has a couple of games in hand and Calgary is finding a way to get things done. Chicago is still in good position for the second season but there has to be some desire on their part to improve things. Goaltending, yes. But also defense. Chicago has some nights when they are an absolute mess, and they must be a team on the lookout for help. Adding Sutton would allow them to sit John Scott, and based on showings this year that one move might be worth 500 goals this season. I kid, Scott barely plays altough he is listed by tsn as being on the roster.
We’ll know in a day or two, but sometimes a rumor like this turns out not to be true (the money Kypreos mentioned is dear, Sutton should sign that rfn) and perhaps the Oilers get lucky and the Hawks cave and make a deal that brings back useful things.
There are a couple of additional reasons to like this news:
- It makes it far less likely that the team will push a Klefbom, Marincin, Musil into the NHL and turns guys like Chorney, Plante and Teubert into callup options. It isn’t perfect, but the depth will be better.
- This isn’t a strong enough move for them to avoid the elephant in the room (Whitney’s injuries impacting his effectiveness) so the moves aren’t done by a long stretch.
- Sutton addresses the back of the roster. 5-6-7, although he can play a little higher in a pinch because of PK prowess. The top 4D of Whitney-Petry, Smid-Gilbert should get an addition, meaning that Sutton, Potter and Peckham will be fighting for two spots. If the Oilers risk waivers on Peckham or Potter, would the world end?
- Finally, it’s a strong indicator that the Oilers aren’t just trying to add bullets for Stu. At some point, signing Sutton becomes a good idea if only because the club will have more experience at the position. If he sits 30 games on merit, so be it.
Now the clouds. Sutton’s zone start this season is on the tough side of 50%, but honestly the blue is fairly tightly bunched:
That’s 5×5 and I think we could argue the gap from top to bottom is close enough that we might even call the difference random. Is that fair? He has a nice CorsiRel (4.0, third best on the club behind Potter and Gilbert) but the storms come in these two indicators:
- PDO of 1016
- SP of .926.
Signing men who are running luck usually means the money will be misspent. Here’s hoping the rumor serves to raise his value and the Oilers get something useful in return from Chicago.
That’s the best case scenario from my pov.