ERIC BELANGER 11-12: EL DORADO

He was a good bet. The signing of Eric Belanger last summer was seen by many (including me) as a positive. FINALLY the club was addressing center and adding a veteran NHL player. It didn’t work out. At all.

Eric Belanger 10-11 (PHX)

  • 5×5 points per 60: 1.85 (6th among regular forwards)
  • 5×4 points per 60: 2.05 (8th among regular forwards)
  • Qual Comp: 4th toughest faced among regular forwards
  • Qual Team: 5th best available teammates among regular forwards
  • Corsi Rel: 6.4 (4th best among regular forwards)
  • Zone Start: 46.6% (8th easiest among regular forwards)
  • Zone Finish: 49.4% (4th best among regular forwards)
  • Shots on goal/percentage: 127/10.2% (5th best among F’s >100 shots)
  • Boxcars: 82, 17-27-40
  • Plus Minus: +11 on a team that was +24
Eric Belanger 11-12
  • 5×5 points per 60: 0.64 (13th among regular forwards)
  • 5×4 points per 60: 4.32 (5th among regular forwards)
  • Qual Comp: 10th toughest faced among regular forwards
  • Qual Team: 7th best available teammates among regular forwards
  • Corsi Rel: -4.1 (10th best among regular forwards)
  • Zone Start: 43.2% (toughest among regular forwards)
  • Zone Finish: 48.9% (8th best among regular forwards)
  • Shots on goal/percentage: 118/3.4% (9th best among F’s >100 shots)
  • Boxcars: 78, 4-12-16
  • Plus Minus: -13 on a team that was -26
  1. What do these numbers tell us? He was full monty bad and then Lady luck gutted him from belt bucket through voice box. An absolute disaster. The Titanic had a better season in 1912. He played the soft parade and couldn’t get the ball out of the infield. Enormous disappointment.
  2. Is there anything positive?5×4 number is good, although he didn’t play much. About an hour 20. Also, he took 1007 faceoffs and won 55% of them. That’s a positive for damn sure.
  3. How can these numbers be better? Well, let me say this: he can’t do it again. No team would let him. If Belanger performs this badly his club (likely Oilers) will just send him down or place him on the IR. Wow. It was poor.
  4. Is he DONE? I think he’s probably a good candidate to recover, at least to a certain level. His shooting percentage was whack, that thing needs to come back to the median. He should be good for 10 goals, but he wasn’t good for 5. That should change if he gets 500 at-bats.
  5. Was his FO number near league best? 16th in the league.
  6. Did he PK?Sure, tied for 2nd on the team (behind Horcoff) in SH TOI per game. He had a pretty good 4×5 on ice plus minus according to behind the net (most of the numbers in this series are courtesy Gabe and behind the net btw).
  7. Were you surprised at how he was used? I felt they would run him more at evens, but he was 4line all the way 5×5 and it won’t be any better next season. I think they might want to use him on the wing if he hangs around.
  8. The Pisani? Well, he does have a 2-way reputation and putting him with Horcoff and maybe Smyth gives the club a veteran line. Worth thinking about anyway.
  9. Do they keep him? Probably. The Oilers need this player type even if they keep Lander on the roster this fall, and Belanger can’t be worse than he was this past season. We hope.
  10. He played with no help. Absolute trash. Well, Gabe’s numbers suggest Eager got the really bad end of the stick, but point made. Oilers had a noxious 4line all season and the blame goes to the coach and management in that case.
  11. He’s an older player now. Yeah, that’s the concern. Another long contract for a guy who may be a distant bell long before the checks stop coming. Oilers have a boatload during this administration.
  12. What would you do with him? Me? I’d send him out again next season, this time with better players. He has (or had) a nice range of skills, maybe he has a comeback in him.
  13. IF the Oilers can find a taker, should they offload him? I’d rather see Eager and or Jones gone to be honest.
  14. So you like him. I liked him enough to believe this would work out well, and we’ve seen free agents struggle in year one and then return to previous levels plenty. So, he’s a guy that I’d give another year.
  • NHL Prediction for 11-12: 68, 13-23-36 (.529)
  • Actual 2011: 78gp, 4-12-16 (.205)

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96 Responses to "ERIC BELANGER 11-12: EL DORADO"

  1. uni says:

    I thought and still think that Belanger was Toonces’s only good FA signing this season. It was a good bet on decent dollars (1 year too much but I suppose that was the overpay to get him).

    No one could have predicted the elevator shaft he stepped into this season, but he was possibly hurt so here’s hoping for a solid rebound next season if he’s still around. Can’t fault Toonces for this one. Now if only he’d made a few more solid low risk bets. Potter, Petrell, Tyrvainen I get as, they’re depth AHL signings, but none of those were expected to really impact the NHL roster.

    Now Barker, Hordichuk, Eager leave me clueless.

    Also early returns but FPB’s man Couturier is still trending up and makes the Jets look even dumber for passing on him. I mean that was a freaking gimme at 7th. I still don’t get how he slipped past the top 3. Hell I don’t even know how Larsson did as well. Then again I was out to lunch on how good Landeskog was so what do I know. Will be fun to see in 5 years how the 2011 draft pans out.

  2. MrSmitty says:

    One thing I noticed about Belanger is he is strong on the puck and is a relatively decent skater. His offense dried up big time this year. I think next year the shooting percentage should come back closer to the mean. I feel for the guy but he probably is going to have to accept playing most nights on the 4th line and occasionally move up onto the third line due to injuries.

  3. Ryan says:

    Sorry, my last post got killed by LT publishing a new article…
    –>

    “Assuming we draft the Nail, then I think we have to agree that it’s a death knell for Sam Gagner as an Oiler.

    Can we reasonably hope to compete with a top six of:

    The Kids in the Hall line
    Nail – Gagner – Hemsky

    in our top six especially if they’re backed up by Smyth – Horcoff – Jones on the third and the fourth line is playing a few minutes per night?

    Obviously the above top six would have tons of skill, but what would be the over/under on those two lines not getting their heads taken off on a nightly basis?

    On that note, we need someone like a David Backes.

    If Tambo called Doug Armstrong and said, “We want David Backes and I’ve got everything on the table minus the 4 prodigies (incl/ Nail), how long does it take until the line goes dead?”

    Other options maybe Dubinski who’s trade value has probably dropped given his recent 34 point season (in 77) games or even Patrick Berglund.

    thoughts?

    As for Belanger, he looked pretty good by eye at the start of the season. One can hope he was nursing an injury at some point (one for which he’ll fully recover) along with obviously being a victim of garbage line mates and the tough zone start.

    With Nuge / Gagner as the one two, the ice is going to have the slope of a brick wall for our 3rd and 4rth line centres.

  4. regwald says:

    I thought near the end of training camp or at the beginning of the season there was a report that belanger had a sore back. Maybe the sore back never got better or was nagging all year, which could explain some of the decline.

    But this guy sure did step into the elevator shaft – except for that face off %.

  5. gd says:

    Belanger’s year makes no sense to me. He had the 3rd most forward TOI for a playoff team in 2010-11 and then completely fars apart here. His play might be exhibit 1 of why I hope Renney is not back next year as I’ve got to hope a stronger coach like Vignault/Tippett or even Sutter would be able to get more out of Belanger than Renney.

    I can’t think of two guys having less chemistry than Belanger and MPS. Hell they did more damage for each other’s career than Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown. I don’t even want to look up how many games they played together because it is too depressing, but anymore than two was too many.

    That said he is more or less irrelevent for the Oilers long term plans, I just hope he can be a decent contributor for the next two years and Lander can adequately replace him in about 2 years.

    PS: Whoever first coined the phrase “Belanger Triangle” is the MVP of the Oilers Blogosphere. We’ll be using that term when Hall enters his Iginla in 2012 phase.

  6. godot10 says:

    There was nothing wrong with the signing. Renney set him up to fail.

    Cogliano, Belanger, Brule, Eager, Fraser, etc, etc

    Renney is gets underperformance out of proven role players, which is why he should not be brought back.

    This does not happen with good coaches. Good coaches maximize, not minimize what they have. Renney is NOT a good coach.

  7. regwald says:

    godot10,

    That is partially correct. However, he was even giving him PP time like Horc and that didn’t accomplish anything statswise or improve his confidence.

  8. oilersfan says:

    The tough guy the Oilers should go for is Chris Stewart. He is a healthy scratch in the playoffs. I wonder if MP for Stewart straight up would do it?

    Former 28 goal scorers x 2 who can fight are valuable.

  9. fuzzy muppet says:

    Ryan:
    Sorry, my last post got killed by LT publishing a new article…
    –>

    “Assuming we draft the Nail, then I think we have to agree that it’s a death knell for Sam Gagner as an Oiler.

    Can we reasonably hope to compete with a top six of:

    The Kids in the Hall line
    Nail – Gagner – Hemsky

    in our top six especially if they’re backed up by Smyth – Horcoff – Jones on the third and the fourth line is playing a few minutes per night?

    Obviously the above top six would have tons of skill, but what would be the over/under on those two lines not getting their heads taken off on a nightly basis?

    On that note, we need someone like a David Backes.

    If Tambo called Doug Armstrong and said, “We want David Backes and I’ve got everything on the table minus the 4 prodigies (incl/ Nail), how long does it take until the line goes dead?”

    Other options maybe Dubinski who’s trade value has probably dropped given his recent 34 point season (in 77) games or even Patrick Berglund.

    thoughts?

    As for Belanger, he looked pretty good by eye at the start of the season.One can hope he was nursing an injury at some point (one for which he’ll fully recover) along with obviously being a victim of garbage line mates and the tough zone start.

    With Nuge / Gagner as the one two, the ice is going to have the slope of a brick wall for our 3rd and 4rth line centres.

    You aren’t getting Backes. Period. So lets drop that.

    Dubinsky is definitely someone I would target. He’s 6’1″ 215. He was moved to the wing and didn’t care for it this season. His stats aren’t quite as good as Gagner’s, but he’s had a different role with the Rangers. Also won 52 % of the 300+ faceoffs he took.

    But, what’s an actual deal that would bring him to town?? Gagner is probably too much to trade for him straight across. And outside of 89, what do the the Oilers really have to offer??

  10. slopitch says:

    I thought Belanger was ok late with Horcoff. But he was a winger and his 55% draw ability was being wasted.

    After this years playoffs, size and grit is gonna be at a premium. It may have to come within. I dont get Chris Stewart. He was pegged for 35 goals by many and went awol. Bizarre.

  11. Ducey says:

    Doesn’t really seem there will be much movement up front for the Oilers unless they trade someone. Lets assume that everything breaks right in camp and these are the players that have earned a spot:

    Hall- Nuge – Eberle
    Yakupov – Gagner – Hemsky
    Belanger – Horcoff -Smyth
    Hartikanen – VDV – MPS

    VDV is an RFA and would have to be exposed to waivers so I’d keep him as I saw him good. He has size, some grit and can play some defence and PK.

    That leaves Jones, Eager in the press box and definitely no room for Mr Omark.

    I’d dump Petrell as he simply doesn’t bring a lot. He hits but doesn’t really mean it and he brings no offense and much less grit than you want in a 4th liner.

  12. rickithebear says:

    Ben Eager:
    one of 4 plus players: Eberle, gagner, RNH, Eager
    2nd best GA/60 1.68
    3rd best G/60 .90; Eberle 1.32; RNH 1.02

    Oilerfan:

    Eager the last 4 years .95G/60
    Stewart .97G/60

    This year .88-.97 EVG/60 highest to lowest.
    McCaurtur; Lucic; Lupul; Flieschman; Tavares; Marleau; Semin; Couture; Stempniak; Berglund; Filpulla; Zetterburg; Talbot; Hossa; Cooke; higgins; Sykora; larose; Booth; Eager; A. Stewart; Lecavalier; Mcginn; Grabovski; Peverley Vanek.

    taylor hall .87

    physiacl prescence on each line.
    i don’t know is it crazy to put the three best even goal scorers together.
    Eager-RNH-Eberle
    We know Eager can drive the zone like Hall. Has a wicked wrist shot driving the net.

    Eager is historically first line goal scoring production @ even.

  13. DSF says:

    In what world is Gagner “too much” to pay for Dubinsky?

    Dubinsky has scored 20+ goals twice, had 207 hits to Gagner’s 21, won 52 percent of his face-offs and is 6’1″ 210.

    While he may have had an “off” year, his P/60 was 1.45 despite having one of the toughest zone starts on the Rangers at 41.8% OZone starts while Gagner was at 54.1%

    The question should be “what do you have to add to Gagner to have a shot at Dubinsky?”

    (just noticed Brian Boyle’s Ozone starts was 28.8…wow.)

    Looks like Tortorella uses the “Sedin model” when deploying his players.

  14. rickithebear says:

    Ducey: Belanger – Horcoff -Smyth
    Hartikanen – VDV – MPS

    back to 29th on the PK

  15. Traktor says:

    I didn’t like the Belanger signing and I like it even less now.

    I thought Edmonton needed more grit in the bottom 6, including big center that played with an edge. That’s still my belief.

    Betting on Belanger again would be just be dumb. I can overlook the initial bet but Belanger has no chemistry with the players he will be playing with. Especially MPS.

    Cut your losses on move on.

    And for the love of god, please no more vanilla players. Bring in some bottom 6 players that don’t wear visors.

  16. TheOtherJohn says:

    At time of the signing I thought Belanger was a decent signing. Decent PK and good face-off guy but too old to be around when we start to win, too much money and a year too long a term.We overpay yet again

    No one though his offense would be this bad.

    Watching the playoffs the Oilers need some size and grit in the worst way possible. Not coke machines. Good sized bodies that finish checks and are hard to play against. Perfect descriptor: Curtis Glencross. He is, now, expensive but if our skill is undersized, and it most assuredly is, we need guys who punish opponents, finishing checks etc. Really do not see how we can do anything else because, for better or worse, our skill guys, excepting Hall who is ok sized, are all undersized Nail included. And if the NHL is going to let this type of rodeo continue in playoffs big, hard to play against roster players are absolutely necessary.

    STL has 7 guys over 220 lbs and 12 over 200lbs

  17. Bos8 says:

    Traktor: I didn’t like the Belanger signing and I like it even less now.I thought Edmonton needed more grit in the bottom 6, including big center that played with an edge. That’s still my belief. Betting on Belanger again would be just be dumb. I can overlook the initial bet but Belanger has no chemistry with the players he will be playing with. Especially MPS.Cut your losses on move on.And for the love of god, please no more vanilla players. Bring in some bottom 6 players that don’t wear visors.

    All of the above . Amen

    For God’s sake, can anyone rid me of a few little jobbers at center. Vanilla pudding all down the line at center. They’ve been getting moidered for years. What happened to strength up the middle? You need two top players per line but one of them has to be a center.

  18. Ryan says:

    DSF,

    Yeah, I definitely don’t think Gagner is an overpay and suspect we’d have to do Gagner plus. Either way, I would trade Gagner strait up for Dubinsky in a New York minute.

    We’ve got a toolbox full of shiny screwdrivers but don’t have many wrenches or hammers.

    In other news I would like to welcome Brent Sutter as the new head coach of the Edmonton Oilers:

    ““He’s the type of guy, if I’m the manager, I would want leading the troops in the dressing room,” Lowe raved Monday about Brent Sutter.”

  19. Mr DeBakey says:

    But, what’s an actual deal that would bring him to town?? Gagner is probably too much to trade for him straight across. And outside of 89, what do the the Oilers really have to offer??

    Agree that Dubinsky would suit the Oilers fine.

    Agree with some others that Gagner isn’t enough.

    As for what else they have to offer – I’m thinking prospect D.

    The Oilers have a logjam of young D all trying to turn pro at once – Marancin, Klefbom, Musil, plus guys like Bigos, Blaine & Davidson. One of those first three would certainly sweeten any pot.

  20. fuzzy muppet says:

    DSF:
    In what world is Gagner “too much” to pay for Dubinsky?

    Dubinsky has scored 20+ goals twice, had 207 hits to Gagner’s 21, won 52 percent of his face-offsand is 6’1″ 210.

    While he may have had an “off” year, his P/60 was 1.45 despite having one of the toughest zone starts on the Rangers at 41.8% OZone starts while Gagner was at 54.1%

    The question should be “what do you have to add to Gagner to have a shot at Dubinsky?”

    (just noticed Brian Boyle’s Ozone starts was 28.8…wow.)

    Looks like Tortorella uses the “Sedin model” when deploying his players.

    Lets look at their seasons.

    Gagner 49, 41, 41, 42, 47 points.

    Dubinsky 40, 41, 44, 53, 34 points

    Wow Dubinsky must be head and shoulders better, because YOU know everything.

    Gagner has done most of it an age where Dubinsky wasn’t even in the league yet.

    Gagner is 5 years YOUNGER and 2 million cheaper.

    Yes Dubinsky brings a different skillset, but just because YOU think you know more than everyone about hockey doesn’t make it true. That’s been obvious for years….

    Why do I even bother responding?

  21. Ryan says:

    Ducey,

    Yikes, thinking about those lines gives me indigestion:

    Hall- Nuge – Eberle
    Yakupov – Gagner – Hemsky
    Belanger – Horcoff -Smyth
    Hartikanen – VDV – MPS

    Lines 1&2 will be sloped down hill if possible leaving 3&4 to kill penalties, take d zone draws, and ‘create energy.’

    Ever thought about having only one forward skater in your entire starting lineup who can effectively throw a body check who’s playing limited minutes on the 4rth line?

    VDV has size, grit, and can sort of PK, but he”s got a parachute strapped to his back.

  22. till_horcoff_is_coach says:

    I like MPS – a terrific skater and real talent; however I think he has to be the sweetener. Yakupov is a clear upgrade and some minutes will have to be given to a bull like Harti. So he may be talented but from here it looks like he will peak at 3rd line minutes simply because of the other talent playing above him.

    Even if they are only getting 90c on the dollar, I think they have to deal from this strength to significantly increase the presence at C or elite level of D. Gagner is also a real talent, but if they could get a moose like Getzlaf then the size of the 2 forward lines would cease to be an issue.

  23. Ryan says:

    Anyways, the problem contributing to the Oilers not having sandpaper in their top nine is the lack of openings. IMHO, they need a different type of 2C than Gagner given the current roster make up. Someone who can hit and PK like Dubinski or other. They could also use a Clutterbuck in 3RW thought that’s never going to happen.

    I’m dreaming now, but:

    HUGELY
    Nail – Dubinsky – Hemsky
    Smyth – Horcoff – Clutterbuck
    Eager – Belanger – Jones

    MPS / Lander – in AHL to develop or traded if necessary

  24. raventalon40 says:

    Traktor,

    Agreed. Eager at least has the hands, the grit, and the agitate. Which, if the Oilers make the playoffs this decade, will be more valuable than what Belanger brings right now.

    However, I’m not convinced Belanger has no value, though. I’d say shop him, b ut keep him until the end of training camp to see if he can win the roster spot back from competing with whichever free agents or prospects at camp are competing for the same spot.

    We say it every year about making guys earn spots, but now that we are in a spot where we have to deal from a position of strength to fill areas of need (too many “top 6 forwards”) we really really need to follow through and not award roster spots based on quantum meruit. We can only have so many Ryan Smyths on the roster without having too many Eric Belangers.

  25. ashley says:

    These role guys may come from within. O’Marra’s game is being described word of word in several posts here. Oddly, we traded him. Hartikainen, Pitlick, and others will show some sandpaper to make it in the bigs. They don’t give these jobs away, so when it starts to look like you’re not going to get there on skill, the kids will resort to that role. I don’t think the Oilers “have” to do anything imminently. I do think our blog needs a little patience (and to stop looking at the weight and height of the roster).

    I keep hearing rumblings about Brent Sutter and the Oilers. I’d be okay with that. In fact, he should be on the shortlist if they gas Renney. I shudder at the thought of how bad the Flames are going to be next year without him at the helm. A good coach, and currently a free agent.

  26. fuzzy muppet says:

    Ryan,

    I agree with you. Dubinsky is a better fit over Gagner because of what he brings. The Oilers need more willingness to punish other teams. I’d also like to see Belanger on the wing and bring in a guy like Gaustad(though he may not be the age the Oilers are looking for) to handle 3-4c duties.

    I like Eager(this would be for RIckibear) too, but he wasn’t brought in for his EVG/60. He was brought in to be a bitch to play against and he most certainly was NOT for whatever reason. He better ramp it up if he’s going to be on the team in the future

  27. raventalon40 says:

    ashley,

    This might be true. But might is a word one uses when hoping for something to work out.

    It’s up to the Oilers to sign as many of these guys (yes the Belangers and Eagers and Hordichuks) and it’s up to the prospects to earn these roster spots out of camp or by performance on the farm.

    We can definitely improve on the Belangers but it’s a start.

    More a matter of who is available on the market, trade or free agent, at the time.

  28. raventalon40 says:

    Ryan,

    I wonder how much it would take to get guys like Clutterbuck and Tootoo? Sure they might have reputations, but these are guys who can agitate AND score. You can never have too many David Clarkson types around.

    If we had a

    Eager-Dubinsky-Clutterbuck

    line, I’d lose my proverbial poop.

  29. Jonathan Willis says:

    So, just so I’m clear: the fourth line for much of the year was Eager, Petrell/Hordichuk plus one of Lander/Belanger… and the problem is that there wasn’t enough Eager and Petrell/Hordichuk?

    It’s stupid. It was stupid when Quinn stuck Jacques on the top line. It was stupid when the Oilers went out and grabbed Eager and Hordichuk. It’ll be stupid again if the Oilers go out and get the centre equivalent of Ben Eager to play on the fourth line.

    I mean, gosh it’s fun to say ‘we need players who don’t wear visors’ but as far as management strategies go I’m hard-pressed to think of something more idiotic.

    Greg Campbell was the Bruins’ fourth-line centre last year. John Madden was the guy for the ‘Hawks in 2010. Craig Adams for the Pens in 2009. Darren Helm for the Wings in 2008. Marchant for the Ducks in 2007. Kevyn Adams for the ‘Canes in 2006. That’s a heck of a lot of vanilla.

  30. fuzzy muppet says:

    raventalon40,

    I’m pretty sure Clutterbuck isn’t available. TooToo might be, depending on the Suter/Weber situation

  31. Jonathan Willis says:

    raventalon40,

    Two of those things are not like the other. Here’s a hint: the “other” is the only one the Oilers currently have.

  32. Gerta Rauss says:

    Terry Jones on the Sutter for coach rumours.

    Anybody think Jordan Staal may shake loose if Pittsburgh bows out in 4..? 1 more year at $4M then his a UFA.

  33. Ryan says:

    till_horcoff_is_coach,

    Yeah, I agree. You have to break a few eggs to make an omelette.

    Some fans seem to get a little too emotionally attached to every player on their team. I like Sam Gagner just fine as a player, but looking at our roster needs and the fact that he has trade value…

    @Raven,

    Yeah, you always hear guys like Staffer saying things like there’s no way the Wild will trade Clutterbuck.

    We know this to be patently false :) Everything has a price, it’s just a matter of how much it would cost.

    If you look at Minnesota’s forward roster, Brodziak is 3rd in scoring behind Koivu and an aging Heatly. They don’t have any offense at all on the wings after Heatley and Setoguchi.

    I’d say there’s an opportunity for a trade right there. Omark + ? I have no clue.

    Hahaha, I certainly wouldn’t look forward to stepping on the ice as an opposing dman against E/D/C. – not that I would load them up on one line often though.

  34. Traktor says:

    raventalon40:
    Traktor,

    However, I’m not convinced Belanger has no value, though. I’d say shop him, b ut keep him until the end of training camp to see if he can win the roster spot back from competing with whichever free agents or prospects at camp are competing for the same spot.

    Belanger might have value on another team but he is part of the problem in Edmonton. He contributes to the lack of toughness.

    To bring in a bottom 6 player that not only lacks toughness but swings the pendulum even further in the direction of “easy to play against” is absurd.

    One of the posters above mentioned the lack of available roster spots given Edmonton core of small, skilled players which is why keeping Belanger doesn’t make sense. Anyone that doesn’t play with a certain edge shouldn’t even be considered an option playing on Edmonton’s bottom lines.

    That doesn’t mean Belanger can’t be useful on another team but we need to look at what we have and what we need. Belanger is exactly what we don’t need.

    If we trade Gagner for Ott and Horcoff for Zack Smith then all the sudden Belanger becomes a better option.

  35. fuzzy muppet says:

    Ryan,

    Traktor,

    The Wild have Granlund, Zucker, Bullmer all coming next year. Johan Larsson not too far behind.

    You aren’t getting Clutterbuck for Omark +.

    And yes you have to overpay for certain guys. But, You don’t overpay for 3rd liners.

  36. Ryan says:

    Jonathan Willis:
    So, just so I’m clear: the fourth line for much of the year was Eager, Petrell/Hordichuk plus one of Lander/Belanger… and the problem is that there wasn’t enough Eager and Petrell/Hordichuk?

    It’s stupid.It was stupid when Quinn stuck Jacques on the top line.It was stupid when the Oilers went out and grabbed Eager and Hordichuk.It’ll be stupid again if the Oilers go out and get the centre equivalent of Ben Eager to play on the fourth line.

    I mean, gosh it’s fun to say ‘we need players who don’t wear visors’ but as far as management strategies go I’m hard-pressed to think of something more idiotic.

    Greg Campbell was the Bruins’ fourth-line centre last year.John Madden was the guy for the ‘Hawks in 2010.Craig Adams for the Pens in 2009.Darren Helm for the Wings in 2008.Marchant for the Ducks in 2007.Kevyn Adams for the ‘Canes in 2006.That’s a heck of a lot of vanilla.

    Jonathan, did I miss something? I don’t follow your conclusion at all?

    ” and the problem is that there wasn’t enough Eager and Petrell/Hordichuk?”

    I’m fine with Eager as a serviceable 4rth liner though he didn’t work very well this past season.

    Petrell and Hordichuk are both a waste of a roster spot IMO.

    “It’s stupid.It was stupid when Quinn stuck Jacques on the top line.It was stupid when the Oilers went out and grabbed Eager and Hordichuk.It’ll be stupid again if the Oilers go out and get the centre equivalent of Ben Eager to play on the fourth line.”

    Jacques on the top line would’ve been stupid if it weren’t so funny. It wasn’t quite as bad as watching Pettrel playing with Nuge though.

    I read enjoy reading your blog posts and have for a long time, but when did Dubinsky become the centre equivalent of Ben Eager?

  37. bill needle says:

    Belanger proved to be the perfect replacement for J.F. Jacques.

  38. Traktor says:

    Jonathan:

    If Edmonton had Lucic, Chara, Horton, Marchand, Thornton, McQuaid ect I don’t think anyone would care about Belanger’s lack of toughness.

    Great job at misrepresenting Edmonton’s need for grit.

  39. hunter1909 says:

    Belanger was brought in as a third line centre, right?

    Maybe the new head Coach of the Oilers won’t have heard that Horcoff’s bubby-buddy with the owner and management in general and reduce his role to the 4th line, plus penalty killing specialist. That way Oilers can start getting a real third line together.

    if there is injury, ok ok Horcoff goes straight back up the pecking order.

    “Seriously, Horcoff’s fucking this team up in so many ways it’s not funny anymore” Taylor Hall

  40. Jonathan Willis says:

    Traktor,

    Remind me again… what about Detroit’s need for grit?

  41. Jonathan Willis says:

    Ryan,

    Dubinsky isn’t. Neither is Clutterbuck. Both guys can play.

    That’s the point: there’s an idea out there that grit is more valuable than playing ability. It’s not true. In the modern NHL, grit’s useless unless it’s meshed with playing ability. So going out and grabbing a bunch of guys who ‘don’t wear visors’ isn’t going to fix anything.

  42. Lowetide says:

    Jonathan is sounding rational here and the feel of this thread is getting a little crazy. The Oilers BLED chances when the 4line was on the ice and the problems were knuckle-draggers and rookies. GRIT is fine if supplied by the 2002 version of Mike Grier or Pisani 2005.

    But adding more coke machines would result in another 4line disaster.

  43. Ryan says:

    Lowetide:
    Jonathan is sounding rational here and the feel of this thread is getting a little crazy. The Oilers BLED chances when the 4line was on the ice and the problems were knuckle-draggers and rookies. GRIT is fine if supplied by the 2002 version of Mike Grier or Pisani 2005.

    But adding more coke machines would result in another 4line disaster.

    LT,

    I really should have had that second cup of coffee. Sorry, I’m switching from working nights to days tomorrow

    I thought we were having a polite conversation about looking for a bigger 2nd line centre who can play 2 way and hit like a Dubinsky along with maybe a poor man’s Clutterbuck for the third line…

    Then Jonathan jumps in with the conclusion that we’re talking about not having enough goons on the team or Pettrels.

  44. Jonathan Willis says:

    Ryan,

    There are a couple of different conversations going on. I get the appeal of Dubinsky; he’s a good player and the sort of guy every team wants in their lineup.

    But then there’s the whole ‘well, yes, I know Belanger kills penalties and wins faceoffs and entering the season looked like a great fit for team need but he wears a visor‘ nonsense. There’s a school of thought out there that believes the Oilers need to have a fourth line with a primary focus being on muscle. It’s bogus. Grit’s a good thing to have, and something that should be added whenever possible, but not at the expense of actual playing ability.

  45. Bos8 says:

    You can’t go out and grab a bunch of grit. First everyone else is looking for it as well. If the Oilers got two this year that would be a coup. The attention to detail should be on all parts of the team. What the Oilers need are assets. This group got rid of Brodziak and Glencross for God’s sake, signed Eager and Hordichuk at the same time. There is one player that does his job well on the bottom six at a reasonable rate and that is Petrell. If Jones has some value, trade him for a younger version. The fourth line should be the place where you groom players not this pretend tough guy edition. Personally I would look at one overpaid tough center with some talent and look to bring up Pitlick and Hamilton. They won’t embarass you defensively and any goals is a bonus. It’s a gamble but the Oilers are in a tough spot. They’d at least have a higher ceiling than what’s out there at this time

  46. Traktor says:

    Ryan: Jonathan, did I miss something?I don’t follow your conclusion at all?

    I’m pretty sure he purposely misrepresented what you were staying

    Jonathan Willis:
    Traktor,

    Remind me again… what about Detroit’s need for grit?

    Perhaps you are not old enough to remember the grind line?

    Franzen 6’3, 218
    Bertuzzi 6’3, 230
    Abdelkader 6’1, 220

    Holmstrom isn’t huge but plays with a ton of grit. Kronwall is one of the best open ice hitters in the NHL. Brad Stuart is a bitch to play against as well. Helm and Cleary play with an edge.

    There is always going to be an exception to the rule, its true that Detroit is more known for their skill but that doesn’t mean its smart to try and emulate Detroit.

    Its probably easier to trade for Steve Ott than it is for Lidstrom.

    I already went over Boston. You mentioned the Ducks.. they were the most penalized team in the leauge when they won the cup. George Parros even played 5 playoff games.

    When the Hawks won the cup they had Brouwer, Ladd, Kopecky, Byfuglien, Burish, Bickell, Bolland. That’s a ton of grit to go along with complete players in Toews, Hossa and Sharp.

    Gosh, even Ben Eager played in 18 playoff games,

  47. TheOtherJohn says:

    Sorry if I may have sounded like I was supporting knuckle draggers. I am not. Hordichuk is good at fighting, icing the puck and little else,The Oilers are not going anywhere in the playoffs if they cannot find good sized bodies WHO CAN PLAY and still add a physical element. If we get the Eager that is engaged, skates hard, uses the body and finishes checks 60 games a year. No problem. Disinterested Ben, no thanks

    Jonathan easy answer is — what about Detroit. You are absolutely right problem is there is one Detroit and 29 other teams. Detroit has, in the past, absolutely punished teams with their powerplays. We may get there but our small skilled guys may be too injured by end of year to use their skill on PP

    Love Grier analogy, especially when boards bent back into the fans 8-10″ on one of his big hits. Pisani less so. Pisani might have been smartest player on Oilers at time, never out of position, always defensively oriented. Just not sure that we do not need guys who can play AND finish checks to offset lack of size

  48. Lowetide says:

    Traktor: Do you remember the Marchant-Moreau-Grier line? Would that line be acceptable to the group as a 3line? Would it also serve as a good template for a 4line?

  49. Jonathan Willis says:

    Traktor,

    Smid: 6’3″, 210 lbs
    Peckham: 6’2″, 235 lbs
    Eager: 6’2″, 240 lbs

    Hall isn’t huge but plays with a ton of grit. Sutton is one of the nastiest hitters in the league. Lennart Petrell is a pain to play against as well. Smyth and Jones play with an edge.

    When the exception to the rule is the team that’s been the most dominant club in the league over the past 15 years, maybe it’s time to ask if part of the reason is because they realize the rule doesn’t matter nearly as much as conventional wisdom would suggest. Don Cherry moaned the other day about Ken Holland thinking he was smarter than guys like him – well maybe, just maybe, Holland is.

    People don’t emulate Detroit because, fundamentally, they disagree with the assumptions of the Detroit model. They think Detroit undervalues toughness. They think Detroit undervalues goalies. Maybe the truth is that Detroit correctly assesses both toughness and goalies, while the rest of the league overvalues them.

  50. Ryan says:

    Traktor,

    It sounds like there’s a disconnect here and not just the disconnect between myself and the much needed second cup of coffee.

    @Jonathan

    Thanks for the clarification.

    I think we all agree (both sides of both conversations) that what the Oilers don’t need is more grit in the form of guys who ride pine and can’t play hockey.

    I don’t think anyone here is lamenting about the lack of Petrells, MacIntyres, Ryan Stones, Hordichuks, , JFJs, etc.

    That being said, I would hope that we’re also in agreement that our top nine is in dire lack of the type of players like:

    Dustin Brown, Brandon Dubinsky, David Backes, Cal Clutterbuck, (along with the aforementioned players by Traktor), etc…

    It would be unrealistic to aspire to having a lineup with as much grit as Boston’s which is off the charts with Charra, Lucic, etc., however

    Hall-Nuge-Eberle
    Yakupov – Gagner – Hemsky
    Smyth – Horcoff – Jones

    looks as soft as velvet even if there’s a ton of skill in the top six.

    By soft I don’t mean guys who won’t stop pucks with their face like Horcoff or Smyth … rather guys guys who don’t apply physical pressure in the form of clean but hard hits against the other team

  51. Captain Obvious says:

    Traktor:
    Jonathan:

    If Edmonton had Lucic, Chara, Horton, Marchand, Thornton, McQuaid ect I don’t think anyone would care about Belanger’s lack of toughness.

    Great job at misrepresenting Edmonton’s need for grit.

    Grit is a meaningless word, as is size.

    The Oilers don’t need big players that can play. The Oilers need players that can play regardless of their size.

    The Oilers have big players right now. The problem is that these players are all terrible. Given this fact, and it is a fact, the worst thing the Oilers could do would be to go out and get more big players if those players aren’t also quality hockey players. But then what you are saying is that the Oilers need more good hockey players. Which is obvious.

    The Oilers aren’t a bad hockey team because Sam Gagner is too small. The Oilers are a bad hockey team because they don’t have enough hockey players as good as Sam Gagner. Or, if you prefer, the Oilers are a bad hockey team because they gave too many minutes to guys like Eager, Hordickuk, Petrell, Teubert, Peckham, Barker, and Whitney. I don’t understand how anyone could argue that the Oilers need to be bigger when the big players the Oilers have are the problem in the first place.

    The Oilers don’t have enough skill. It’s as simple as that. Trading Gagner for Dubinsky is just treading water. Trading for Dubinsky is a good idea but the price for an expensive player on the outs for a capped out team should be prospects, picks, and filler. Teams get something for nothing in the offseason all the time in precisely this way. If the Oilers give up real value (i.e. Gagner) for Dubinsky they don’t know what they are doing.

    Something like a second round pick + Musil would be fair value and might even be an overpay.

  52. Traktor says:

    Lowetide:
    Traktor: Do you remember the Marchant-Moreau-Grier line? Would that line be acceptable to the group as a 3line? Would it also serve as a good template for a 4line?

    That was a great line. I’m sure most would be happy with the reincarnation of something like that.

    I just think that before comparing our 3rd and 4th line to other teams we should recognize that Edmonton probably has the smallest top 6 in the league so if we want balance its likely that Edmonton’s 3rd and 4th lines need to be among the grittiest in the league.

    Obviously they need to be able to play but I would sacrifice a little bit of defensive play for grit.

  53. Traktor says:

    Jonathan Willis:
    Traktor,

    Sutton is one of the nastiest hitters in the league.Lennart Petrell is a pain to play against as well.

    Are you really comparing Sutton to Knonwall and Petrell to Brad Staurt?

    I never agree with much of what you have to say but you have reached a new low.

  54. Ryan says:

    Captain Obvious,

    With respect here, you’re first point a bold argument against a point that no one here has made. (i.e. that we need more big useless hockey players.)

    “The Oilers are a bad hockey team because they don’t have enough hockey players as good as Sam Gagner.”

    I have never said that Sam Gagner isn’t a good hockey player. In fact, I think he’s a very good hockey player and hopefully one that would be an attractive trade piece for other teams to obtain a 2nd line centre who would be a better fit for our team.

    Sam Gagner doesn’t PK and he’s mostly effective when paired with high end talent against softer opposition starting on the good end of the ice. Nothing wrong with that except in the context of Nuge/Gagner/Horcoff/Belanger…

    Horcs has clearly shown he can’t saw off the toughs anymore or effectively do the heavy lifting which leaves no one else for that role.

    “Or, if you prefer, the Oilers are a bad hockey team because they gave too many minutes to guys like Eager, Hordickuk, Petrell, Teubert, Peckham, Barker, and Whitney.”

    That’s not entirely true. To start with, Eager and Hordichuk didn’t actually play that many minutes–Hordichuk played ~4 min per game TOI over 43 games while Eager averaged 8 1/2 minutes over 63. Have you seen Eager’s cup ring? (joking, but true).

    Teubert and Peckham mostly played when injuries occurred.

    Barker was ineffective and given too many minutes as a gamble given that he was a reclaimation project that failed. Whitney was played far too much for his level of play likely with hopes of getting his old form back which may or may not happen.

    Overall though, I agree that Hordichuk, Petrell, and Barker played too much and are ineffective hockey players. Peckman sadly regressed big time from last year while Whitney lost his pre injury form. Clearly the Oilers last season we’re not built to content for anything.

    There’s no question that the Oilers would be better with the cutting the wheat from the chaff. That being said, it does nothing to argue against the idea that the Oilers wouldn’t be an even better hockey team if they had a more balanced lineup.

    “The Oilers don’t have enough skill. It’s as simple as that. Trading Gagner for Dubinsky is just treading water. Trading for Dubinsky is a good idea but the price for an expensive player on the outs for a capped out team should be prospects, picks, and filler. Teams get something for nothing in the offseason all the time in precisely this way. If the Oilers give up real value (i.e. Gagner) for Dubinsky they don’t know what they are doing.”

    I don’t even pretend to play armchair GM and will concede that I’m terrible at it. If the Oilers can get Dubinsky for prospects, picks, and filler, that would be fine with me. If the asking price is Gagner, I do that too though.

  55. speeds says:

    fuzzy muppet:
    Ryan,

    Traktor,
    The Wild have Granlund, Zucker, Bullmer all coming next year. Johan Larsson not too far behind.

    You aren’t getting Clutterbuck for Omark +.

    And yes you have to overpay for certain guys.But, You don’t overpay for 3rd liners.

    The Wild also have a pair of forwards coming from St. John, in Phillips (23 pts in 8 playoff games) and Coyle (21 pts in 8 playoff games).

    They’ve got some quality F prospects coming, will be interesting to see how young they go with their F’s next year.

  56. Jonathan Willis says:

    Traktor,

    Yes. I was also comparing Theo Peckham to Todd Bertuzzi, because clearly they’re completely comparable players.

  57. VOR says:

    Grit and size matter but only if the player can play NHL hockey and well.

    You can be a physical force and be small, Theron Fleury.

    You can be huge and not be a physical force, Dustin Penner. Not saying he was a bad player just not into contact for contact’s sake.

    What matters if you are a forward is can you go in the corners against the toughtest players in the league and come away with the puck and can you set up shop in the slot or crease and maintain your position. On defence can you go in the corner against a stonger fore checker and come out of the corner with the puck, can you move the man out of the crease or out of the slot, and will you fearlessly block shots. I grew up watching a guy who stood 5’9″ and weighed 180 lbs be a dominant defenceman with the Boys on the Bus.

    What I think the Oilers lack is guys with the personality of Fleury, Siltanen or Don Jackson for that matter.

    When I suggested Kyle Greentree as a possible free agent signing it was because he comes to work with a lousy attitude and has magic hands. His size is a bonus. Kyle Beach if he matures is another of those guys. Andre Deveaux who I mentioned was on my list because he has learned how to score consistently in the AHL and to play defence. He shows signs of being a reformed knuckle dragger who can play 4th line minutes. Hordichuk can’t help because he can’t take a regular shift.

    My interest in Daniel Winnick who is a fairly big man is he can play the toughs and win puck battles against anyone.

    But if I was after a free agent center I’d be looking at two little men (relatively speaking), Derek Mackenzie and particuarly Jim Slater. They hit a lot, play solid defence and get under the opposition skin. I’d prefer Slater because he can kill penalties and consistently wins puck battles. He will be cheap. Paul Gaustad won’t. Gaustad looks like he should dominate, but he and Slater have remarkably similar underlying statistics. Go for the cheap guy.

    My point is grit, size, and talent can come in the same package but if you can only get grit and talent or size and grit take grit and talent. I don’t know why so many people can’t see past size. Also the Oilers don’t need more headliners they need more skilled role players, Jackson and Pouzar as I said before.

  58. FastOil says:

    I think as Captain and others have said, trading a good player to get another in the same position is not moving forward. Trading a good player from a position in which there is excess, to fill a hole in another position may make the team better. Do the Oilers have an abundance of good players anywhere? – maybe RW wing or centre, if you consider having 2 good players at each an excess. Or 3 good defense an excess. I don’t count Sutton, Horcoff, Belanger or Smyth because they are all on their last legs career wise and aren’t part of the future. Or Whitney until he recovers.

    One thing I will say about Detroit, is that they have big wingers to play with the smaller centres. Philly the same. That being said Datsyuk and Zetterberg aren’t actually small. They are shorter, but both 195-200 lbs. They are pretty solid guys. Chiarelli says they look for weight. Getting stronger doesn’t mean players that are giant. I’d be happy even with a few more 200 lb guys. I don’t believe any of the Oiler top 6 are over 190, even if they list Hall and Gagner as 195. Maybe with equipment on after a practice.

    The Oilers to me have possession problems because the skill guys are all pretty light, and as a result have trouble retaining O zone possession consistently. Age contributes as well to that. On defense the problem is not enough good players – can’t retrieve the puck and do something smart with it consistently.

    But as JW says, at the end of the day you should get the BPA no matter what, and keep looking for your wish list. If they happen to have decent size, and are also mean (but in control) all the better. It’s an ongoing process for most teams.

  59. Ducey says:

    With respect here, you’re first point a bold argument against a point that no one here has made. (i.e. that we need more big useless hockey players.)

    Exactly, its not an either/ or. But the hockey geniuses of the world like to always portray it that way when they make their “size doesn’t matter” argument when critcizing GM’s.

    Having said that, is Dubinsky really an upgrade on Gagner? Intuitively you would say sure, we need more size in out top six. But if the underlying numbers like Corsi or even the boxcars say it isn’t, its tough to say it is.

    And the JFJ thing is misrpresented. He was a pretty good player in junior and in the AHL (box cars). It was only reasonable to give him a spin in the NHL with some good players to see if he might work out. I think he was significantly impacted by injuries.

  60. Traktor says:

    VOR:

    You can be a physical force and be small..

    Agreed.

    Jordin Tootoo, 5.09

    Tootoo actually had a nice offensive season this year after given up the bottle.

    Tootoo – 24 assists
    Horcoff 21 assists
    Jones -16 assists
    Belanger 12 assists

    Hell, Gagner played the same amount of games and only managed 5 more assists than Tootoo and I’m pretty sure Tootoo didn’t get to play with anyone as good as Hall or Eberle.

  61. Traktor says:

    Tootoo actually had a better assists per 60 than every Oiler not named Eberle.

    Hall was the closest at 0.87

    Tootoo 1.09
    Hordichuk 0.64
    Petrell 0.48
    Eager 0.45
    Horcoff 0.38
    Belanger 0.28
    Jones 0.25

    Those are some ugly numbers from Horcoff, Belanger and Jones.

    Add in the fact that Horcoff and Belanger were a combined -36 and its no wonder Edmonton finished in the lottery.

  62. VOR says:

    Traktor,

    You could have picked many better examples of the point I was trying to make. Like Derek Mackenzie for example. Instead you pick a player who really struggles to moce the puck in the right direction. Not that Tootoo isn’t tough and he manages to be not a total waste of roster space. But you chose to pump him up with cherry picking.

    This was the best year of Tootoo’s career by miles. Also, the guy loses puck battles with regularity. The guy can’t forecheck to save his life. He also plays the 22nd toughest competition on his team with the 22nd best linemates, in other words scrubs against scrubs and gets killed in Corsi. The ice tilts the wrong way when he is on the ice. Not to mention that on a superb defensive team this year he had arguably the worst defensive performance of his career (-5), not that he has ever been great.

  63. Ryan says:

    Ducey,

    Fair question and I’ll concede that I haven’t watched a ton of Dubinsky.

    If there’s a better target for a 2 way Center with some size who’s on a team that has some depth at that position from which he might shake lose, I had be happy with him too.

    Dubinksy

    4v5/60 = 5.85 (better than every Oiler forward except Belanger, though only 1.2 toi/60.
    5v4, Pts/60 = 1.34
    5v5, Pts/60 = 1.45 (1.93 the year prior)
    Zonestart = 41.8
    Zonestart finish = 49.2
    Corsi rel = 8.8
    QOC = .006
    QOT = -.180

    Gagner:

    P/60= 3.66 (3rd behind Nuge/Belanger)
    5v5, P/60=1.96
    Zonestart= 54.1
    Zonestart finish = 51.8
    Corsi rel = 6.3
    QOC= -.104
    QOT= -.018

    We can’t always trust the math, but Gabe’s numbers certainly suggest that Dubinsky is a better bet for being a Horcoff replacement than Gagner.

    Dubinsky’s Zone starts, PK time, less 5v5 toi/60, and tough comp with poor linemates would certainly account for some of the difference in counting numbers (boxcars) between the two over the past year.

    His 200+ hits vs. Gagner’s 21 wouldn’t hurt either I would hope.

  64. Captain Obvious says:

    The advanced stats love Dubinsky. I have an adjusted +/- formula that takes into account pts, shots for and against, zone start, QC and QT by +/-.

    By that measure Dubinsky is a +12 player (best on Rangers by a mile is McDonagh at +30 he should be a Norris trophy candidate.

    Gagner is only a +2. So by that measure Dubinsky is the better player and I’d probably agree with that assessment. Nonetheless Gagner is younger and cheaper and those things matter.

    Other players mentioned in this thread:

    Tootoo +1
    MacKenzie -4
    Slater +5
    Gaustad +7

    Oh, and Eric Belanger had one of the worst seasons in the league at -19.

  65. godot10 says:

    Captain Obvious:
    The advanced stats love Dubinsky.I have an adjusted +/- formula that takes into account pts, shots for and against, zone start, QC and QT by +/-.

    By that measure Dubinsky is a +12 player (best on Rangers by a mile is McDonagh at +30 he should be a Norris trophy candidate.

    Gagner is only a +2.So by that measure Dubinsky is the better player and I’d probably agree with that assessment.Nonetheless Gagner is younger and cheaper and those things matter.

    Other players mentioned in this thread:

    Tootoo +1
    MacKenzie -4
    Slater +5
    Gaustad +7

    Oh, and Eric Belanger had one of the worst seasons in the league at -19.

  66. Master Lok says:

    What’s the point of adding grit if they can’t play very well in Edmonton?

    I like Renney, but I have to ask the question – is it Renney’s fault if a player fails to perform or the player? normally I would say player, but we’ve had so many failures that I have to wonder … is it Renney and his system?

    Eric Belanger had an abysmal year playing the fourth line – but prior to this season he was a consistently good two way performer.

    Colin Fraser had an abysmal year playing the fourth line centre role last year. From some reports, he is playing decently in LA and wasn’t terrible in Chicago before he came to the Oil. Gilbert Brule looked lost last year. Now he’s apparently making an impact with Phoenix.

    What do you think – is it Renney?

  67. godot10 says:

    Ryan,

    I like Dubinsky too, but Gagner would have a lot better stats playing in with the Rangers defense and the Rangers goaltender.

    The Oilers forwards stats are not adjusted for actual quality of the defense playing behind them, which is bottom quartile (vs Dubinsky, top quartile).

  68. SoxandOil says:

    LT,

    I see Neil Young and Crazyhorse are headlining Outside Lands Music Fest in San Fran (along with Stevie Wonder and Metallica?). You deserve a vacation after another year of all these posts, you could check out Neil, take Mrs. LT to some wineries and watch some great ball.

  69. Traktor says:

    godot10:
    Ryan,

    I like Dubinsky too, but Gagner would have a lot better stats playing in with the Rangers defense and the Rangers goaltender.

    I doubt Gagner would have much of a role in New York. Tortorella likes meat and potatoes. Gagner is tossed salad.

    The most comparable player is probably Derek Stepan.

    Points

    Stepan 51
    Gagner 46

    Hits

    Stepan 137
    Gagner 21

    Blocked shots

    Stepan 44
    Gagner 23

    Takeaways

    Stepan 51
    Gagner 27

    Average PK

    Stepan 1:17
    Gagner 0:02

    I could see Winnipeg being interested in Gagner if they don’t sign Wellwood.. though I doubt they would pay anything comparable to Dubinsky.

  70. Lowetide says:

    SoxandOil:
    LT,

    I see Neil Young and Crazyhorse are headlining Outside Lands Music Fest in San Fran (along with Stevie Wonder and Metallica?). You deserve a vacation after another year of all these posts, you could check out Neil, take Mrs. LT to some wineries and watch some great ball.

    That would be awesome. Mrs. Lowetide has warmed to Neil’s special brand of music over the years so it might actually work! Except for the job and the kids and the yard work…..

  71. DSF says:

    godot10:
    Ryan,

    I like Dubinsky too, but Gagner would have a lot better stats playing in with the Rangers defense and the Rangers goaltender.

    The Oilers forwards stats are not adjusted for actual quality of the defense playing behind them, which is bottom quartile (vs Dubinsky, top quartile).

    How do you think Dubinsky would do playing sheltered minutes with much better line mates and starting in Ozone 54.1% of the time?

    Dubinsky is the definition of an outscorer and before you give all the credit to Lunqvist and the Ranger defense, his ONSV% the last three seasons were: .934, .892 and .917

    That he was able to put up 24G 54P in 10/11 while playing the toughs with junk, tells you what kind of hockey player he is.

    This past season his shooting percentage fell from 11.9 to 7.1 and he took 60 fewer SOG.

  72. SoxandOil says:

    Lowetide,

    Well the event is in Mid August. Lots of time to plan.

  73. Lowetide says:

    SoxandOil:
    Lowetide,

    Well the event is in Mid August. Lots of time to plan.

    We’re going to Toronto so my daughter can check out a film school. I’ll be working until I’m 90. :-)

  74. raventalon40 says:

    Is it just me, or would I rather see Danis or LeNeveu backing up Dubnyk than Khabibulin?

  75. Lowetide says:

    raventalon40:
    Is it just me, or would I rather see Danis or LeNeveu backing up Dubnyk than Khabibulin?

    certainly Danis would have earned a shot somewhere in the NHL next season imo–in a backup role.

  76. DSF says:

    raventalon40:
    Is it just me, or would I rather see Danis or LeNeveu backing up Dubnyk than Khabibulin?

    Gump Worsley might be a better option than Khabibulin.

  77. godot10 says:

    Nobody does “sneaky, cheap, dirty, and deadly” better than Raffi Torres.

  78. fuzzy muppet says:

    He won’t be playing til next round(if there is one. Its almost as bad as The Horton hit in last years finals

  79. vishcosity says:

    Lowetide: We’re going to Toronto so my daughter can check out a film school. I’ll be working until I’m 90.

    A buddy has a boat in San Fran, he said he loves Neil and is wide open to ideas about hosting hockey fans from Canada. (I gave you a little plug.)

    There are film schools in CA and the cost of living here is dropping like Slovaks around Torres. How possibly is hat guy still in the game? His feet were a foot off the ice. Unreal.

  80. danny says:

    Adam Larsson lost his roster spot to Harrold, a cautionary tale to anyone contemplating the merits of moving down and drafting Murray?

    Cue rickibears 18 year season analysis.

    You’re welcome oilogosphere.

  81. VOR says:

    So DSF,

    Your guy had a OZ start of 64.5% in his rookie year, 57.3% in his sophmore year, 47.6% in his 3rd year.

    Sam Gagner was 52.8%, 55.4%, 48.8%.

    Last year Dubinsky was 48.5% and Gagner 50.9%.

    It is only this year Dubinsky started getting truly horrible zone starts.

    Dubinsky has in his career in New York played the 3rd toughest competition with the best linemates, the 3rd best competition with the 2nd best linemates, the 2nd best competition with the 4th best linemates, the best competition with the 2nd best linemates (not toughs with junk unless Ryan Callahan, Dan Girardi etc are junk and I think they and Michael DelSotto would be offended – please fell free to callt hem junk to their face), and the 2nd toughest competition with the 5th best linemates.

    Gagner has played the 4th best competition with the 2nd best linemates, the toughest competiton with the best linemates, the third best competiton with the best linemates, the best competition with the best linemates, and lastly the 2nd best competion with the 2nd best linemates.

    Dubinsky has 213 points in 393 games, Gagner 220 in 366 games.

    Dubinsky’s average relative corsi is 7.02 while Gagner is 6.16.

    Dubinsky is +24 against a projected of +24.

    Gagner is -42 versus a projected of -55.

    Neither guy takes any where near as many face offs as their time on ice would predict. This year Dubinsky took 519 faceoffs and Gagner 701. Dubinsky also went from #1 minutes to #3 minutes and Gagner is in danger of going the same way.

    So make of that what you will but there is no evidence in any of this that says Dubinksy is better and he is more than three years older.

    Yes Dubinsky hits more but hits are negatively correlated with winning hockey games. Derek Mackenzie hits more than Pavel Datysuk but which guy do you want on your team? Dubinsky is better in the face off circle but again winning faceoffs isn’t correlated with winning hockey games.

    Don’t get me wrong, I like big tough guys who can play and Dubinsky is certainly that but he is slowly being pushed into a third line role and even then he isn’t being sent out to take the key faceoffs and he is sliding off the penalty kill as well.

    We have a 2nd line center who next year will get third line minutes, a third line center who will likely get no more than third line minutes next year if he is luckly. Both guys get some PP time and produce good numbers and outplay their linemates. Big whooping difference.

    Dubinsky is suddenly the number 5 center for New York in this year’s playoffs by the way. Either he is hurt or he has started developing sideburns. Or maybe he isn’t as good as you think.

  82. Schitzo says:

    Forget Ethan-Marchant-Grier, i would sacrifice a testicle for Torres-Peca-Pisani again.

  83. DSF says:

    Not sure where you’re coming up with this.

    Gagner played the 8th toughest competition this past season among forwards, third among centres behind Horcoff and Hopkins.

    Dubinsky has the worst possible line mates.

    Gagner had the 4th best.

    Gagner had a 54.1% Ozone starts this past season not 50.9 as you stated.

    Dubinsky was 41.8 Ozone starts.

    Setting up your straw man McKenzie/Datsyuk argument is just silly.

    Dubinsky has been pushed down in the batting order because the Rangers signed Richards and, if the Oilers were to sign a player of that calibre, Gagner would be pushed down to the third or fourth line and would be effectively Kyle Wellwood.

    Who knew?

  84. Traktor says:

    Rieder had 3 points tonight in a 7 game match vs Plymouth.

    His 23 points in 12 games is tops in the OHL.

    Grigorenko and the Remparts blew a 3 game series lead tonight and in game 7 vs Halifax and a bunch of 16 year old kids.

    Halifax has 3 players that could go in the top 5 next year. Has that ever happened before?

    Drouin, MacKinnon and Fucale.

  85. rickithebear says:

    danny: Cue rickibears 18 year season analysis.

    Silly boy!
    Dmen develop slower.

  86. spoiler says:

    So let me get this straight… There are two unsigned coaches, one of them ours. The other coach is made coach of Team Canada by the President of our very own hockey team. Meanwhile our guy is told to “take a holiday.”

    Hmm.

  87. Lowetide says:

    spOILer: Hitchcock made brilliant movies on less suspense!

  88. Bos8 says:

    Let’s see now – Yakupov 5’11″ 190 RW
    Reider 5’11″ 190 RW

    Scoring about the same per game.

    Reider kills penalties with 7 SH goals

    Reider looking good since W/Juniors and in PS.

    Oilers weak down the middle, last shot at top player – Yakupov the answer?

    Mumble, mumble

  89. VOR says:

    Actually DSF your man got passed by both Richards and Stephan, now Boyle has passed him in the playoffs.

    I said last year (we are still in this year) Gagner had a 50.9% OZ start and Dubinsky a 48.5. This is just a statement of fact. Go look at BTN.

    You compare all forwards, centers are not all forwards. So I am comparing center to centers.

    This year.

    Corsi Quality of team mates Gagner 2nd, Corsi quality of competition Gagner 2nd. That was what I am using.

    Corsi Relative Quality of Team (if we accept Eberle is not a center whatever BTN thinks) Gagner 2nd.Corsi Relative Qulaity of Competition Gagner 3rd.

    +/- Q of Team Gagner 3rd. +/- Q of Competition Gagner 3rd.

    Also comparing only centers. Corsi Quality of Team Dubinsky 5th, Corsi Quality of Competion Dubinsky 2nd.

    Coris Relative Team Dubinsky 5th Corsi Quality of Competition 2nd.

    +/- Q of Team Dubinsky 7th, +/- Q of Competiton Dubinsky 3rd.

    That is all from BTN. Just looking at the centers that played regularly for both teams.

    Just the facts dude just the facts.

    Earlier you said last year Dubinsky played with junk and you are just plain wrong. He had the 2nd best team mates by both corsi of team and relative corsi of team. Only by +/- Q of Team were they the worst and if you need to know which stat is right consider his top linemates last year were Girardi, Stall, Callahan, and Artemanisimov. This year those bad linemates we are talking about were Ryan McDonagh, Dan Girardi, Ryan Callahan, Brad Richards and Brian Boyle. They faced the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 11 toughest minutes on the Rangers this year. It is no wonder they sucked. They must just be terrible players, right DSF?

    The year before Callahan, Girardi, Stall, and Artemanisimov were 1,2,3, and 5 in terms of +/- Quality of Competiton on the Rangers and had the worst linemates on the Rangers. Poor Dubinsky, he was clearly dragging junk around both years. Like I said, please feel free to go post your thoughts on the abysmal quality of Dubinsky’s linemates on a Rangers blog.

  90. Schitzo says:

    Oh Raffi. Never change.

  91. bookje says:

    spoiler:
    So let me get this straight… There are two unsigned coaches, one of them ours. The other coach is made coach of Team Canada by the President of our very own hockey team.Meanwhile our guy is told to “take a holiday.”

    Hmm.

    Typically the coach of the WC team is a truly unemployed coach (I think) – Renny is not that as of yet.

  92. spoiler says:

    bookje: Typically the coach of the WC team is a truly unemployed coach (I think) – Renny is not that as of yet.

    In other words you have no fucking idea.

    Well that’s typical about things I write that you disagree with.

    Why then did Lowe state he was asking Sutter even before Sutter’s meeting with Feaster?

    Why did he ask after Ruff first? How did Babcock get to coach this team?

    Sometimes they’re unemployed. Sometimes not so much. What they typically are, is not in the playoffs.

  93. Ryan says:

    VOR,

    Are you smoking the drapes or did you suffer from some type of hypoxic brain injury? Go to a free online dictionary and look up the term, “non-sequitur.”

    You cite a lot of stats that really don’t connect to anything or make a clear point. You’re also have a flawed comparison basis with your stats, so no, I don’t agree with you at all that it’s just the facts. It’s actually a blatant misrepresentation of the numbers in fact.

    “Actually DSF your man got passed by both Richards and Stephan, now Boyle has passed him in the playoffs.”

    What does that have to do with the price of rice in China? As DSF said, where would Gagner stack on New York’s depth chart at centre?

    “You compare all forwards, centers are not all forwards. So I am comparing center to centers.”

    That’s just fucking brilliant.

    Is there a better way to make Gabe’s QOC date meaningless than to compare two players on how they ranking on their respective teams among centres while excluding their ranking among forward skaters. ?

    Here’s a reality check for you my friend.

    Last season:

    Sam Gagner
    QOC: 4rth among centres / 10th among forward skaters
    Corsi rel QOC: 3rd among centres / 8th on team
    Corsi QOC: 2nd among centres / 7th on team

    However, from my past usage of Gabe’s numbers, the raw numbers moreso than just team rankings aslo paint a very useful picture

    Sam’s QOC:/QOT -.032/ -.018
    A negative QOC is not tough opposition. His opposition was worse than his linemates.

    Brandon Dubinski
    His Corsi QOC and Corsi rel QOC were 3rd and 4rth toughest on the Rangers.
    Raw numbers: .006 / – .180

    In his 2010-2011 year, his raw numbers were .073 / -.126 vs Gagner’s -.013 / .056

    The raw numbers say Dubinsky played against better quality opposition than his linemates. For Gagner, they suggest the opposite.

    “Yes Dubinsky hits more but hits are negatively correlated with winning hockey games. ”

    Stating a correlation as fact is beyond absurd. I think I remember someone writing about this in a blog post, JW IIRC. Without correcting for PDO and Corsi, it really is meaningless. We can look at the NHL hit stats:

    http://www.nhl.com/ice/teamstats.htm?season=20112012&gameType=2&viewName=realTimeStats

    Teams like Calgary that have physical players but very little talent are ranked 4rth. They were 24rth in G/G. Calgary definitely missed the second season because they spent too much time hitting other players and not because they’re too old, slow, and don’t have a talented roster.

    Vancouver was 28th in hits which must have been why they won the President’s trophy–not because they were 5th in G/G and 4rth in GA/G.

    At any rate, you’ve missed the entire point of this discussion. Assuming that the Nuge gets the Sedin treatment in terms of Zonestarts etc, then someone has to do the heavy lifting. Horcs numbers suggest he did the heavy lifting last year and drown.

    Assuming our goal is to win hockey games, we can’t shelter both Gagner and Nuge while leaving the heavy lifting to Horcs and Belanger. see: 2011-12, Oilers.

    As I’ve said before, I very much like Gagner as a hockey player, but he’s never been used in the tough minutes role and I think our goal should be to find a better option for that type of role.

    That being said, the type of player we need doesn’t grow on trees. The fact that the Rangers have so much depth at Centre could mean that Dubinsky could shake loose… If not him, than perhaps a centre with a more complete range of skills than Gagner for the number 2 hole.

  94. FastOil says:

    Traktor: Agreed.

    Jordin Tootoo, 5.09

    Tootoo actually had a nice offensive season this year after given up the bottle.

    Tootoo – 24 assists
    Horcoff 21 assists
    Jones -16 assists
    Belanger 12 assists

    Hell, Gagner played the same amount of games and only managed 5 more assists than Tootoo and I’m pretty sure Tootoo didn’t get to play with anyone as good as Hall or Eberle.

    Height is only part of the story. On the Preds site, Tootoo is listed at 199lbs. At that weight his height isn’t as much of a factor. If he was 170 lbs, maybe not so much of a “force”, even if the effort was the same. The Giz is 5’6″. I saw him in person, and the reason he could play pro football is he was 5’6″ wide as well.

    As for points, put any Oiler forward in front of Weber and Suter and I’ll bet money their points go up. Put Tootoo on the Oilers and he’ll be scoring like Petrell.

  95. FastOil says:

    Bos8:
    Let’s see now – Yakupov 5’11″ 190 RWReider5’11″ 190 RW

    Scoring about the same per game.

    Reider kills penalties with 7 SH goals

    Reider looking good since W/Juniors and in PS.

    Oilers weak down the middle, last shot at top player – Yakupov the answer?

    Mumble, mumble

    Yakupov has the most value in the draft. Take the BPA, but the second part of that concept is that deals have to be made with the acquired talent to balance the team, and this is where we have seen nothing yet. I feel uneasy about the current group attempting those deals after what they have done. There is nothing wrong with sitting on these lottery picks and first rounders until something good is available. It will happen at some point.

  96. Gret99zky says:

    The Titanic had a better season in 1912.

    Gold, Jerry. Absolute 24k gold.

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