LET’S GO KRUEGERING

Ralph Krueger is an interesting interview, a well spoken guy and a man with the ability to get his point across in a winning way. I imagine all of those things have value in the coaching job he’s now doing for Edmonton, and it gives us a chance to have a close look at his vision. Lots of verbal=lots to discuss.

 In this article from Jonathan Willis, he quotes Krueger discussing Nail Yakupov and Justin Schultz during a Bob Stauffer interview:

  • Krueger: “They will be strongest, probably, in those [power play] situations early on. It’s the 5-on-5 game in the National Hockey League that truly tests young players – to find their way defensively first of all and then to create offensively is quite difficult when you’re new into the league. On the power play their skillset will have a little more time and space and they should be able to add to our power play strength immediately.”

Skilled rookies probably enjoy the PP time, no real heavy lifting and extended periods in the offensive zone riffing off other talented players.

Question: are rookies a good option for the PP? Fortunately for us we have a fairly large group of players we can look at over the past few seasons. Here are Oiler rookies, their PP TOI totals per game as rookies, their 5×4/60 and where it ranked among regulars in their freshman season:

  1. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (11-12) 3:00; 7.30/60 (1st among regular forwards)
  2. Jordan Eberle (10-11) 2:32; 3.92/60 (3rd among regular forwards)
  3. Sam Gagner (07-08) 2:48; 3.88/60 (4th among regular forwards)
  4. Magnus Paajarvi (10-11) 1:50; 3.45/60 (6th among regular forwards)
  5. Linus Omark (10-11) 2:38; 3.35/60 (7th among regular forwards)
  6. Taylor Hall (10-11) 2:43; 3.27/60 (8th among regular forwards)
  7. Tom Gilbert (07-08) 2:15; 3.01/60 (1st among regular defensemen)
  8. Andrew Cogliano (07-08) 2:01; 2.52/60 (9th among regular forwards)
  9. Jeff Petry (10-11) 2:11/1.67/60 (4th among regular defensemen)
  • First conclusion: Nuge is a freak. That was actually the best number in the entire NHL last season among players who would be considered regulars on the PP.
  • Beyond that, Eberle and Gagner posted nice numbers and after that everyone is in a bunch. You really can’t tell Linus Omark from Taylor Hall after Gagner on the list.
  • Among defenders, Tom Gilbert shows up nicely in a lot of areas over the years. Don’t trade that guy.
  • If we’re counting “top 3″ among forwards and “top 2″ among defensemen, then only Nuge, Eberle and Gilbert qualify as rookies who were able to establish themselves as quality options during their rookie seasons.

What does this tell us about Yakupov and Schultz? The biggest item is that the coach is of a mind to use them on the powerplay. After that, their individual performances will dictate the future. I would say that with the forward talent available on the current Oilers, Yakupov getting 1st unit PP minutes would seem to be a tough assignment. Hall, Eberle and Hemsky would be stronger bets for top unit usage.

For Justin Schultz, opportunity knocks and in a big way.

 

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47 Responses to "LET’S GO KRUEGERING"

  1. BlacqueJacque says:

    I get the feeling Schultz is going to get Gilberted by the fans in town, all because of media hype. =/

  2. Lowetide says:

    Well Petry will get Gilberted first, so there’s that.

  3. Bar_Qu says:

    That picture certainly emphasises his, umm, “Swiss” features. Alpine nose and all.

    With the vast improvement in special teams last year, I suspect Krueger will continue to enhance the young guys numbers by optimal placement on the PP. Didn’t he also say that there will be 4 forwards on the first unit too? Which means there are 7 spots available on the first two PP units.

    Gagner-RNH-Eberle-Harti-J.Schultz
    Hall-Yak-Hemsky-Whitney-Smid(?)

    Plus a various assortment of vets to cover off on the 3rd PP or sub out the young fellas.

  4. bookje says:

    BlacqueJacque:
    I get the feeling Schultz is going to get Gilberted by the fans in town, all because of media hype. =/

    I think you mean Brewered Or is it Poti’ed

  5. Cactus says:

    Lowetide:
    Well Petry will get Gilberted first, so there’s that.

    To some extent, this is a function of the team’s lack of success. When things aren’t going well, fans are going to look for someone to blame. For most people, it’s difficult to track goals against in their head across even one game, let alone several (and there’s no point even considering possession numbers mentally). Thus, when the Flames score their 3rd goal to go up 3-1 in a game, if Gilbert was on the ice and he wasn’t putting someone’s head through the boards, it becomes easy to blame him.

    Once this team starts winning, these complaints won’t go away, but I expect they’ll be much quieter/more infrequent.

  6. Lowetide says:

    Cactus: True, but Oiler fans like nasty defensemen who play a Jason Smith style. I was there when they booed Coffey, and that guy was incredible!

  7. Cactus says:

    Lowetide,

    I was pretty young for the end of the Coffey years, but I heard the same tales. You’re right in that the Edmontonian blood lust will never go away, but winning will quiet a lot of complaints.

  8. Woodguy says:

    It’s the 5-on-5 game in the National Hockey League that truly tests young players – to find their way defensively first of all and then to create offensively is quite difficult when you’re new into the league.

    This quote gives me hope that he’ll find a home for MPS on the Oilers.

    Renney demoting MPS and keeping Lander up was bizarre to say the least.

    MPS has shown an ability to out-shoot opponents in his first two seasons in the NHL (albeit middling to low comp)

    He’s got the toughest part (defense) figured out.

    I have some trust that The Krueger will find a role for him on the team.

    Having MPS turn into a Frolik type is not a bad result.

  9. jp says:

    Lowetide:
    Cactus: True, but Oiler fans like nasty defensemen who play a Jason Smith style. I was there when they booed Coffey, and that guy was incredible!

    Man, I miss Jason Smith. We’ve got other solid defensive D, but none who adds the meanness that he brought at an overall high level.

  10. regwald says:

    Before they get the chance to boo him out of the rink, the fans will be after Gagner for his contract. Stupid fans …

  11. justDOit says:

    Bar_Qu,

    You do know he’s from Manitoba, right?

  12. Lowetide says:

    JP: I remember a play, don’t remember the year or team. Anyway there’s 3 seconds left and the puck is in the crease and Smith is battling a forward. Smith DOESN’T have position so keeps hitting him in the back of the head. Ref’s arm goes up, who cares? Man. I always thought that play kind of defined Smith.

  13. Lowetide says:

    When I was talking usage charts with Robert Vollman yesterday he mentioned that Paajarvi (blue balloon) would be a candidate to move up in terms of qual of comp.

  14. gd says:

    I’ve got to think Schultz choosing to sign here buys him a lot of goodwill with Edmonton fans and his low salary base also keeps him from being Gilberted for a few years. If he collects his full bonuses he will be a hero.

    I also think Petry’s low contract keeps him out of the fan’s ire as well. Horcoff basically has that job for a few more years.

    Someone on yesterday’s top 20 will be the new Gilbert/Poti, but I am hopeful that if the team is winning the ire will be muted. As much as fans were frustrated with Coffey, it was rarely toxic, we won 3 cups with him and he left over money.

  15. jp says:

    Lowetide,

    I always loved that grin Gator got when going into a scrum. How different would the top 6 look with a Jason Smith in it this year…

    Pretty much opposite player type – but I really hope Kruger finds a role for MPS. I know he’s basically ideal trade bait, but he’s going to be a valuable player for someone down the line.

  16. Zack says:

    Lowetide,

    What kind of impact do you think the CBA negotiations will have on this season, especially with the current pitch on the table? Some reporters make it sound like it could be a doozy – I think it was Matheson who stated he’d eat the first few pages of the NHL rule book if training camp begins in September.

    Also, I’m not sure how it works but would the contracts be “suspended” until the season returns? Not too bad for the younger players and prospects if this was the case, but Smyth isn’t getting any younger and another year with the MVP in the books would be less than desirable.

  17. jp says:

    Re: Schultz being Potied/Gilberted.
    Wasn’t there a lot of love for those guys in their surprising/successful rookie years? And only after watching them not progress really quickly and not suddenly develop a physical game that they were booed? If so, this should buy Schultz a year or two of goodwill at least. I’m not from Edm and wasn’t at the games though, so may be I’m wrong on this and Poti/Gilbert were targeted from early on…

  18. Lowetide says:

    Zack: I think we’ll miss the start of the season, but not all of it.

    Not that you were asking, but my basic feeling is this: I learned from the baseball strike in 1994 that staring and fretting don’t do me a bit of good. I just worked myself into a tizzy and was a jerk to the people I love. So, it ends. or not. Fortunately, I also love the WHL, AHL and prospect side so there’ll be lots to discuss.

    I won’t be doing any posts on the subject. Billionaires versus millionaires and I don’t have a dog in the race.

  19. wuthering says:

    That Stauffer interview sent Kruegers up my spine. Clarity instead of a decade of obfuscation? (hence the Kruegers). FWIW it seems such clarity began with MacT’s initial interview . . .

  20. Lowetide says:

    btw, ‘lets go krogering’ is part of the jingle for kroger. Don’t know if they still use it.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_i0n5qXDAQQ&feature=related

  21. Ribs says:

    Lowetide: I won’t be doing any posts on the subject. Billionaires versus millionaires and I don’t have a dog in the race.

    …And if you did you’d blow it all on getting your hands on Stu’s draft listings.

  22. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Lowetide:
    Zack: I think we’ll miss the start of the season, but not all of it.

    Not that you were asking, but my basic feeling is this: I learned from the baseball strike in 1994 that staring and fretting don’t do me a bit of good. I just worked myself into a tizzy and was a jerk to the people I love. So, it ends. or not. Fortunately, I also love the WHL, AHL and prospect side so there’ll be lots to discuss.

    I won’t be doing any posts on the subject. Billionaires versus millionaires and I don’t have a dog in the race.

    Good on you, LT. I sincerely wish I could say the same (not having to write about it) but I sure respect your position.

    Saw about a two-minute clip yesterday of teams of suits carrying briefcases walking purposefully into air-conditioned buildings (and directly behind closed doors) while the voice-over spoke in sombre tones, and it just about turned my stomach. Does it have to come to this every fucking time?

  23. Lowetide says:

    Ribs: lol. too true.

  24. TheOtherJohn says:

    Only date at or near the start of the season that means anything to Bettman and NHL management is Wings/Leafs outdoor game New Years day.It’s one of the marketing centre pieces of the American broadcast strategy. To keep that date, lockout will have to end in mid to late November. If we blow past that date, it could take a very long time. I do not think Bettman has ever dealt with a NHLPA leader like Fehr. It ain’t his first rodeo. Bettman holds far and away best cards. Fehr will play his cards very very well. Informed members will be much better this time than with Goodnough/Saskin. Huge negotiating committee

    Definitely hope Krueger is everything we hope he is, because beyond Krueger total changes to 29th place team is 2 rookies. Now optimists will say: young stars will be year older: yup and people doing so much of heavy lifting will be a year older

  25. TheOtherJohn says:

    Bruce

    Players had two opportunities to opt out of the deal. Both times, they affirmed contract. This is first opportunity for owners to end CBA, it certainly look like lock out is coming. 57% HHR is unsustainable but the initial asks from owners certainly look pretty stupid

  26. Ducey says:

    Woodguy:
    It’s the 5-on-5 game in the National Hockey League that truly tests young players – to find their way defensively first of all and then to create offensively is quite difficult when you’re new into the league.

    This quote gives me hope that he’ll find a home for MPS on the Oilers.

    Renney demoting MPS and keeping Lander up was bizarre to say the least.

    MPS has shown an ability to out-shoot opponents in his first two seasons in the NHL (albeit middling to low comp)

    He’s got the toughest part (defense) figured out.

    I have some trust that The Krueger will find a role for him on the team.

    Having MPS turn into a Frolik type is not a bad result.

    Right now it seems MPS cheats for defense. At the NHL level he leaves the offensive zone rather than making the extra attempt to forecheck. I’d prefer he gain the confidence to stay in the offensive zone a little longer.

  27. OilClog says:

    Ducey,

    It’s ok for MPS to cheat for defense, most the cheating goes the other way. Or they just look lost out there, atleast with MPS on the ice we don’t get scored on much. MPS would become my choice for team shadow.. Burrows may beat a horcoff to the net, but a MPS not so much.

  28. sliderule says:

    I agree Edmonton fans like their players tough but in the case of Coffey it was his lack of defensive ability especially in first few years that had fans occasionally booing him.I went to 90 percent of the games and I don’t remember it happening too often.The difference ibetween then and now Slats didn’t
    care if a player made a few mistakes and didn’t hit too much as long as he delivered offense.

    Brodziak,Cogliano and Gilbert were all dealt out because Lowes idea of a soft player is pretty harsh.
    It’s been said that because after his concussion Stoll played careful that is the reason he was moved.

    Players that want to stay like Gagner know this and that’s why he picked a fight with one of the league tough guys

    It’s not so much the fans it’s management who give up on players.

    That why I think MPS is not long for Edmonton

  29. VOR says:

    In Swedish hockey (at least a lot of coaches teach it this way) the left wing has primary defensive responsibility. In the NHL it is mostly the center who has the complex d role. This past year the only time MPS looked good he was playing with Horcoff and Hemsky. Horcoff told the press what he said to the kid was, “stop worrying about the defence so much, my job,” and MPS briefly generated offence. So it amy not be personality but coaching that leads to the cheating for defence.

  30. Germoil says:

    I also think Petry’s low contract keeps him out of the fan’s ire as well. Horcoff basically has that job for a few more years.

    I lol’d

  31. godot10 says:

    regwald:
    Before they get the chance to boo him out of the rink, the fans will be after Gagner for his contract. Stupid fans …

    Gagner is going to be on a one year contract decided by an arbitrator, or on a one-year deal decided just before going to arbitration. It will be hard for anyone to get upset about that. It looks to me like the Oilers want to see that new CBA first before showing Gagner duration.

  32. regwald says:

    godot10,

    No, I am betting the Oilers roll the dice and try to sign him for more years before Friday’s arbitration deadline. I am guessin 2-3 years. But, what do I know … just a guess. They are not ready to let the kid go just yet.

  33. rickithebear says:

    Bar_Qu: Which means there are 7 spots available on the first two PP units.
    Gagner-RNH-Eberle-Harti-J.Schultz
    Hall-Yak-Hemsky-Whitney-Smid(?)

    Posted this a.m. as part of a gagner comment in the post before.

    /// People Say gagner is only a even player.

    Last year he was top 40 on the pp from the first two unit in the league by TOI.
    We ran alot of 4 forward sets.

    Sadly for him 40th puts him 5th on the team behind 4 top 20 forwards
    Hall #3/180
    RNH #7/180
    Horc #17/180
    Eberle #20/180

    Gagner will get about 2min on the PP with the second unit.

    Likely #2 PP unit players.
    Last 4 years the players that were in the top 2/3 of first two units in the league.

    Gagner every year.
    Smyth every Year
    MP 10-11
    Hemsky 09-10 top 50
    Good start to a second unit. ///

    You will notice no Hemsky

  34. godot10 says:

    First PP, Gagner/Horcoff (for faceoffs), Nugent-Hopkins, Hall, Eberle (left point), Schultz (Jeff)
    (why fix what ain’t broke).

    2nd PP, Smyth(faceoffs), Hemsky, Yakupov, Whitney, Petry. (we won’t have to worry about Hemsky not shooting because Yak will shoot the damn puck).

  35. DeadmanWaking says:

    Just Gilberted? What about all the rest? Why don’t we just slot him into the hard-as-tadpole-fingernails exodus calendar showing off his beauty headman for the whole month of October? Bonus feature: Tom Poti contributes a beat poem on Manhood in the mode of Mike Myers. No tool shop complete without Woemanizers 2013! Get yours now! Six easy payments take no number no interest due, or free with any purchase of a 12″ double-dog! (Offer void in Flin Flon, Skookumchuck, or Swastika, Ontario.)

    Back to the thread of reality, I read that “Grand Kru” is French for “great growth”, moments before landing here. My first white will be a South African Chenin Blanc. I let the whitecoat proprietor talk me into this as an all-purpose crowd pleaser. For reds I tend to pick me-pleasers. I’ll be drinking my fat Amarone with its “wonderfully powerful finish” when the season begins. One of the Amarone kit designers had this to say:

    Well, it’s something we debated, but at the end of the day we (and me specifically) couldn’t see folks wanting thirty bottles of wine that’s 17% alcohol, rich as heck, and slightly off-dry. It’s a hand-grenade disguised as red wine.

    My kit seems to be rev-limited to 14% Crap, I sooo can’t wait to tip off the season.

    As Kaiser of the white board, I’d be tempted to structure the PP as 1A and 1B, sending out whichever legs are rested and fresh. You might earn some interesting matchups after the PP expires.

  36. Lowetide says:

    Insight as always, DMW.

  37. bookje says:

    The Horcoff as whipping boy comment got me thinking, maybe the Oilers should develop a designated whipping boy position and hire guys into it.

    Basically, you take some guy who is a 3rd or 4th liner not getting any icetime elsewhere, tell him that you are going to pay him about $2 million more than he is worth, hype him up in the media, give him a nice metrosexual makeover and tell him never to hit anybody. Be up front with him, tell him that he is going to get booed, not only every time he steps onto the ice, but every time he orders a cup of coffee at a Tim Hortons in Edmonton. Promise to trade him after 3 years and then replace him.

    That way we might keep the fans from driving away players who are actually pretty good.

  38. Rondo says:

    LT,

    After listening to your interview of Rob Vollman, Why wouldn’t the Oilers got after Andrej Sekera?

    BTW excellent stuff.

  39. Lowetide says:

    Rondo: It was a revelation for me. Man. WOW. It’s funny I’d read it but when you talk to the guy making the graph and realize that a guy like Hall is (after two years) one (albeit difficult) slot in the batting order away from being a guy who has a big blue ballon in the toughest possible quadrant!!!! :-)

    I’m reading through as we speak and man it’s obvious some coaches are looking at the game through 1975 glasses. Renney actually cost himself a job imo because of the Lander/Petrell/Eager/Hordichuk line. That and the Whitney situation, the Khabi oh hell we all know why he lost his job.

    But yeah, Sekera. Absolutely.

  40. DeadmanWaking says:

    I just realized this article I read earlier this morning describes my wine-making style completely: The Perfect Bagel Is Engineered in California. I’m a total Nathanite, but I’m not quite ready to spring six bills for a cookbook, no matter how impressive. (One can glean similar morsels for free at The Food Lab. Do not put additives in J. Kenji López-Alt’s hamburger, or you will die a thousand deaths from his poison pen.)

    “There’s a whole wealth of technology and applied science out there that is not being used in the culinary field,” Graf says.”It’s slowly working its way in… As people start to realize that you don’t need to be rooted as deeply in tradition, that there are other ways of doing things, there will be more people who are trying to kind of push the boundaries of what a specific food product is — that change it and tweak it.”

    There’s warm bread to feed the soul of any numbers guy. Pretty much exactly my sentiment when I divide my experiences into the whitecoats and coonskins. The one that really kills me is cleaning your equipment with a jar of chemicals that decimated to the power of five … last week.

    That’s why bottling yesterday took so long. Along the way I figured out that a mild k-meta solution acidified with a small amount of citric acid is fabulously powerful and cheap enough to flush, whereas a potent solution of k-meta at J-Random tap-water pH might or might not be wise to preserve in a jug to use again a month later. Coonskins. We hates them.

  41. DeadmanWaking says:

    I have to admit, the Luongo photo was in my psyche when I wrote that, but not from Roberto’s masterpiece, as written up by Bruce some while ago, which I just found now.

    Luongo had conspired to allow exactly 15 goals in 93 minutes of action in Boston, honouring both Schmidt’s sweater number and his age!

    Now I get Bruce’s command of all things Pleiadian! Too much of that and they strap you down and stick you full of so much insulin you find yourself bobbling on your carapace, treading water, swatting away a giant swarm of Africanized hockey pucks, threatening to pass between goalposts no-one else can see.

    … if [Luongo] can just keep up his home ice performance for one last game …

    I’m not sure if my brother, a die-hard Knucklehead, even bothered to turn on the TV, risking his participation in the pop of the cork of the cherry champagne. He’s got two copies of the writing-on-the-wall gene, and he didn’t even need them both. It was that bad.

  42. Dipstick says:

    DeadmanWaking:
    I just realized this article I read earlier this morning describes my wine-making style completely: The Perfect Bagel Is Engineered in California. I’m a total Nathanite, but I’m not quite ready to spring six bills for a cookbook, no matter how impressive.(One can glean similar morsels for free at The Food Lab.Do not put additives in J. Kenji López-Alt’s hamburger, or you will die a thousand deaths from his poison pen.)

    There’s warm bread to feed the soul of any numbers guy. Pretty much exactly my sentiment when I divide my experiences into the whitecoats and coonskins.The one that really kills me is cleaning your equipment with a jar of chemicals that decimated to the power of five … last week.

    That’s why bottling yesterday took so long.Along the way I figured out that a mild k-meta solution acidified with a small amount of citric acid is fabulously powerful and cheap enough to flush, whereas a potent solution of k-meta at J-Random tap-water pH might or might not be wise to preserve in a jug to use again a month later. Coonskins.We hates them.

    I always used the easy smell test. If I smell sulfur, its still good. K-meta, that is. If I smell sulfur elsewhere, I tend to get suspicious that the dog farted again.

  43. mustang says:

    Alrighty then…

  44. Lowetide says:

    If things don’t pick up this week I’m going to sponsor a ‘Veet genital story contest’ here at Lowetide. The last installment was truly splendid:

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/product-reviews/B000KKNQBK/ref=cm_cr_pr_btm_link_1?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=0

    turned WG into a legend.

  45. Woodguy says:

    Lowetide,

    Just listened to the Vollman segment. Great stuff.

    So those of us who bitched about the bottom six are vindicated a bit. Nice to see.

    Bra and Panties just tweeted this:

    Tracy ‏@TreenasOil

    Oilers talking with Habs Oilers interested in Josh Georges

    I’d give up a tidy little pile to get Georges.

    Wonder what it would take to get Georges and Pacioretty?

    Yak + Marincin?

  46. Woodguy says:

    Lowetide:
    If things don’t pick up this week I’m going to sponsor a ‘Veet genital story contest’ here at Lowetide. The last installment was truly splendid:

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/product-reviews/B000KKNQBK/ref=cm_cr_pr_btm_link_1?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=0

    turned WG into a legend.

    I took off from the deckchair like Usain Bolt out of the TV adverts. Within 12 seconds, the bathroom was filled with steamy fetid barse broth, and I had the clock weights, biffin’s-bridge and Sherriff’s badge under ice-cold running water at the tap end of the bath. This did not please the missus, as she was relaxing in there at the time surrounded by floating petals and candles, although she did say that the sight of my ringpiece flashing like a brake light was impressive, and she was pleased to see that my arse barnacles had all but disappeared.

    World class.

  47. Rondo says:

    Vollman’s chart for top defensive pairing is definitely interesting.

    http://nhlnumbers.com/2012/5/30/top-defensive-pairings

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