IF YOUR MEMORY SERVES YOU WELL

It’s been some time since we talked about Oscar Klefbom, but there’s a little news on the Oilers defense prospect today.

Klefbom has a “damaged joint capsule in the shaft” when we run this article through google translate and it sounds like we’re looking at the end of the month for return:

  •  In exactly two weeks, it is thought that he will be back in the normal exercise again. 
    He trains with the puck on his own before going on the ice. November 21 is the date for him but it will take probably until the end of the month before he’s back feeling and the timing, explains the club’s training Leif Carlsson. He’s currently working on getting up flåset again using the skating and cycle.

The Oilers prospect blue has been hit hard with injuries again this season:

  1. Oscar Klefbom: shoulder.
  2. Martin Gernat: shoulder surgery.
  3. Alex Plante: suspected issues from concussions (based on performance)
  4. Brandon Davidson: cancer.
  5. Kyle Bigos: lower body injury.

Since 2009, the Oilers have drafted 11 defensemen, and 4 of them (all but Plante) have been derailed in one way or another this season.  I remain convinced that another of the 11–Jeremie Blain–should have been signed in the summer.

Defensemen get injured, and some of those injuries end possible NHL careers. The Oilers went to all the trouble of drafting Blain, he covered the bet, and they should have signed him.

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31 Responses to "IF YOUR MEMORY SERVES YOU WELL"

  1. Dipstick says:

    Since that horrible year of injuries (2009?), injury prevention and rehab management has become an issue for the Oil. I expect that they have addressed it at the senior team level. Seeing how little information was available regarding Gernat and Klefbom, I am suspicious that the team does not have a means of monitoring the injuries and rehab of prospects. I hope that I am wrong.

  2. Clay says:

    The amount of shoulder injuries on this team still freaks me out. I thought it was ol’ Chad “Mandelbaum” Moreau’s fault, but apparently not.

    At some point in the near future, I expect to see a guy in a white lab coat among the entourage of people that walk up to the podium during the draft, and shake hands with the new picks. “…this is Daryl’s son, isn’t he cute, and this is your new shoulder surgeon, Dr. White. Now, if you’ll just step this way, we’ll get started on replacing your shoulders with titanium…”

  3. OilClog says:

    Clay,

    if only the shoulders are replaced with titanium.. it’s going to be like working on my camaro.. Can’t just change part of the front end, got to do the whole wolverine make over, or it’s all gonna break down around it..magneto styles.

  4. gcw_rocks says:

    Its definitely looking like they should have signed Blaine. Does anyone own his rights now? Maybe they can correct there mistake.

  5. Matt.N says:

    Seems like a good time to talk about a concept I read about recently. Injury predictability.

    The basic idea is trying to use some sort of statistical modeling to predict which athletes will be made of glass and which will be ironmen. As usual, baseball leads the way. Billy Bean refered to this as the natural progression of statistical analysis.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/08/sports/baseball/08injuries.html?_r=2&hp=&pagewanted=all&

    http://www.texasleaguers.com/home/2009/7/12/searching-for-a-way-to-predict-injuries.html

    The next link is a quick study that talks about correlation between “Q angle” (Q angle is the angle formed by a line drawn from the ASIS to central patella and a second line drawn from central patella to tibial tubercle;) and occurance of injuries.
    http://bjsm.bmj.com/content/45/6/545.2.abstract

  6. DSF says:

    gcw_rocks:
    Its definitely looking like they should have signed Blaine.Does anyone own his rights now?Maybe they can correct there mistake.

    Signed to a minor league contract by Vancouver.

  7. stevezie says:

    Remember when they used to use chicken wire behind the nets instead of glass? I’ll bet that was a lot easier on shoulders and heads. Let’s bring that back.

  8. dessert1111 says:

    gcw_rocks:
    Its definitely looking like they should have signed Blaine.Does anyone own his rights now?Maybe they can correct there mistake.

    I THINK Dallas owns his rights now, but I’m really not sure at all. He’s playing well in the ECHL it seems so far and yes he probably deserves a contract by his play, but I’m betting his racist remark had the Oilers take a character guy in Brandon Davidson instead. The chances of Blain developing into a quality NHL defenseman are still slim — he’s in the ECHL, after all — and I suppose the decision not to want him in the organization. I think he was always fringe prospect so racism and maybe other off-ice stuff could have easily contributed to their decision.

  9. art vandelay says:

    Any team that finishes 30th as consistently as the Oilers can’t afford to overlook a prospect just because he dropped an N-bomb in the middle of a heated on-ice exchange. If all NHL teams operated that way, most wouldn’t be able to ice a lineup.

  10. godot10 says:

    Vancouver didn’t have to waste one of 50 limited NHL contracts on Blain, like the OIlers would have had to. The Oilers didn’t have the option of offering Blain an AHL contract like Vancouver did. Once the Oilers didn’t offer an NHL contract, there was no way Blain would ever sign with Edmonton.

    29 other NHL teams (Vancouver included) thought the same as the Oilers, and that it wasn’t worth wasting an NHL contract for 3 years on Jeremy Blain.

    So Lowetide and a few Oilogosphere commenters are the only people who thought Blain deserved an a three year NHL contract, one of the precious 50 an NHL team has to offer.

  11. Rocknrolla says:

    Those shaft injuries are always touchy….

  12. Jonathan Willis says:

    If only Lowetide had existed 15 years ago…

    Random guy: “Man, the Oilers should totally sign Brian Rafalski. Point-per-game defenceman in college, lighting up the SEL right now.”

    Godot10: “He wasn’t drafted, then he wasn’t signed. Every team in the league could have had this guy and they all passed. So the only people who think Rafalski deserves a contract are you and some other random internet people.”

    If only Lowetide had existed 11 years ago…

    Random guy: “Man, the Oilers should totally re-sign Tim Thomas.”

    Godot10: “They let him go, and nobody took him. Every team in the league could have had this guy and they all passed. So the only people who think Thomas deserves a contract are you and some other random internet people.”

    If only Lowetide had existed 10 years ago…

    Random guy: “Man, the Oilers should totally sign Alex Burrows – 35 goal guy, big pest coming out of junior.”

    Godot10: “He wasn’t drafted, then he wasn’t signed. Every team in the league could have had this guy and they all passed. Now he’s in the ECHL. So the only people who think Burrows deserves a contract are you and some other random internet people.”

    Naturally, I’m not saying Blain is an NHL’er. In all likelihood, he’s not. What I’m saying is ‘no NHL team did!’ is a stupid argument.

  13. OilLeak says:

    Off topic, but how are these rosters chosen for the Subway Super Series? I just noticed that Moroz and Ewanyk are on the WHL team, which kind of makes me scratch my head a little.

    Then again none of the Forwards on the team are that impressive.

    G 1 Comrie, Eric TC 1995 2013
    G 31 Broissoit, Laurent EDM 1993 CGY

    D 2 Pulock, Ryan BDN 1994 2013
    D 4 Rielly, Morgan MJ 1994 TOR
    D 5 Siemens, Duncan SAS 1993 COL
    D 8 Reinhart, Griffin EDM 1994 NYI
    D 24 Dumba, Matt RD 1994 MIN
    D 27 Murray, Ryan EVT 1993 CLB

    F 9 McNeill, Mark PA 1993 CHI
    F 14 Brassart, Brady CAL 1993
    F 15 Sissons, Colton KEL 1993 NSH
    F 16 Holmberg, Mitch SPO 1993
    F 17 Lowry, Adam SC 1993 WPG
    F 18 St. Croix, Michael EDM 1993 NYR
    F 19 Shinkaruk, Hunter MH 1994 2013
    F 20 Ouellette, Trent REG 1993
    F 21 Ewanyk, Travis EDM 1993 EDM
    F 23 Reinhart, Sam KTN 1995 2014
    F 28 Lazar, Curtis EDM 1995 2013
    F 29 Moroz, Mitch EDM 1994 EDM

    Defense is solid, however.

  14. nelson88 says:

    Jonathan Willis,

    stupid jonathan? don’t you think that might be a little bit harsh coming from a supposed math guy? it’s pretty clear cherry picking in your examples and with every teams 50 contract limit i don’t imagine the numbers support many 4th (?) round draft picks who pass through a 2nd year of eligibility actually have a successful NHL career (the original point I believe was being made). Maybe you have some data that says otherwise?

  15. Jonathan Willis says:

    nelson88,

    Nope. As I said, he’s probably not an NHL’er.

    But the point being made wasn’t ‘look this guy’s a fourth round pick who passed through the draft; the odds are against him’ (which I would agree with) it was ‘you’re wrong because you’re disagreeing with the collective wisdom of NHL teams’ (which I emphatically disagree with).

  16. godot10 says:

    Jonathan Willis:
    If only Lowetide had existed 15 years ago…

    Random guy: “Man, the Oilers should totally sign Brian Rafalski. Point-per-game defenceman in college, lighting up the SEL right now.”

    Godot10: “He wasn’t drafted, then he wasn’t signed. Every team in the league could have had this guy and they all passed. So the only people who think Rafalski deserves a contract are you and some other random internet people.”

    If only Lowetide had existed 11 years ago…

    Random guy: “Man, the Oilers should totally re-sign Tim Thomas.”

    Godot10: “They let him go, and nobody took him. Every team in the league could have had this guy and they all passed. So the only people who think Thomas deserves a contract are you and some other random internet people.”

    If only Lowetide had existed 10 years ago…

    Random guy: “Man, the Oilers should totally sign Alex Burrows – 35 goal guy, big pest coming out of junior.”

    Godot10: “He wasn’t drafted, then he wasn’t signed. Every team in the league could have had this guy and they all passed. Now he’s in the ECHL. So the only people who think Burrows deserves a contract are you and some other random internet people.”

    Naturally, I’m not saying Blain is an NHL’er. In all likelihood, he’s not. What I’m saying is ‘no NHL team did!’ is a stupid argument.

    Rafalski was coming out of 4 years of university hockey. Not a direct comparable to a foul-mouthed CHL graduate. The Oilers had to offer Blain an NHL contract. Rafalski wouldn’t have had to be offered an NHL contract. Again, non-comparable. And again, 30 teams passed on Rafalski until he had several years of European hockey under his belt. Rafalski had 4 years in Europe. So signing him to an NHL contract out of college would have been a bad idea. He didn’t have his breakout year in Europe till his 4th season. Probably more than New Jersey offered Rafalski a contract after than season. Nobody offered Blain an NHL contract.

    It took Thomas 6 seasons to make the NHL after he chose a contract in Europe rather than signing a contract with an NHL team.

    Burrows was offered an AHL/ECHL contract intially by the Canucks, not an NHL contract. You know like Arocbello, who started out on an AHL/ECHL contract.

    So offering an NHL contract to Rafalski out of college would have likely have been a dumb decision, since it took him 4 full years of hockey after 4 years of university to earn an NHL contract.

    Offering Thomas a contract when he was with the Oilers, even if he hadn’t already decided on Europe likely for money reasons, it would have taken 6 more years.

    And well the Canucks didn’t offer Burrows an NHL contract initially, so I don’t see how that is a comparable, when the Oilers had to offer Blain a 3-year NHL contract that would use up on of their 50 contracts for three seasons.

    Please point out one 4th round draft pick out of the CHLwho has passed through the draft twice who has been signed to an NHL contract immediately who has become a legitimate NHL player, and that player will be a comparable for the OIlers and Blain.

  17. Marc says:

    Jonathan Willis:
    nelson88,

    the point being made wasn’t ‘look this guy’s a fourth round pick who passed through the draft; the odds are against him’ (which I would agree with) it was ‘you’re wrong because you’re disagreeing with the collective wisdom of NHL teams’ (which I emphatically disagree with).

    TSN’s draft rankings are nothing but the collective wisdom of NHL teams. What’s your take on drafting a player significantly higher than his TSN ranking?

  18. godot10 says:

    The draft last summer was a weak draft. They were drafting guys who had been passed on once left and right. Every other GM and head scout still passed on Blain. No NHL GM or head scout thought he deserved an NHL contract.

    No NHL GM nor head scout was willing to stake a 3-year entry level NHL contract on Jeremy Blain.

    So Willis, lets see your statistical evidence that Blain deserves a 3-year NHL contract.

    Lamorello didn’t off Rafalski a contract until he was an actual NHL hockey player. The Canucks didn’t offer Burrows and NHL contract until after he proved himself on his minor league deal.

    Please tell us why committing one of your 50 contracts for 3 years on Jeremy Blain is a good idea.

    Tell us what you see that 30 NHL GM’s and head scouts could not see.

  19. Jonathan Willis says:

    godot10,

    “[T]he point being made wasn’t ‘look this guy’s a fourth round pick who passed through the draft; the odds are against him’ (which I would agree with) it was ‘you’re wrong because you’re disagreeing with the collective wisdom of NHL teams’ (which I emphatically disagree with).”

  20. Jonathan Willis says:

    Marc,

    In the majority of cases, the consensus rankings are the best bet. However, consensus wisdom isn’t infallible. That’s the point.

    Take the Oilers’ decision to draft Devan Dubnyk instead of Marek Schwarz. Consensus wisdom was that Schwarz was a superior goaltending prospect. Ultimately, the consensus wisdom was wrong and Dubnyk has emerged as the superior player. You can make the same case for any overage draft pick – the selection the following year is a manifest admission by at least one club that 30 NHL teams were wrong not to make the decisions the year prior.

    Collective wisdom is a good, strong indicator. That’s all it is, and infallibility is not a quality it possesses.

  21. Jonathan Willis says:

    Please point out one 4th round draft pick out of the CHLwho has passed through the draft twice who has been signed to an NHL contract immediately who has become a legitimate NHL player, and that player will be a comparable for the OIlers and Blain.

    Sure. Aaron Rome.

  22. Marc says:

    Jonathan Willis,
    Completely agree.

    I don’t think collective wisdom is infallible, but as you say, it’s a good, strong indicator.

    In this case, the team that knew Blaine best didn’t think he was worth a contract. The fact that the team with the most detailed information about a player decided he wasn’t a player isn’t infallible, but it’s a good, strong indicator that he isn’t.

    The fact that 29 other teams reached the same conclusion is another good, strong indicator that he isn’t.

    The fact that players drafted where he was, rarely become NHL players is yet another good, strong indicator that he isn’t a player.

    The fact is there is that there are a lot of reasons to think Blaine won’t make it – none of them conclusive, but each strengthening the others.

  23. Lowetide says:

    The Oilers were pushed up against the 50 man cap limit–a terrible reason to pass on a worthy player.

  24. Lois Lowe says:

    Dustin Penner went undrafted, was signed to an entry level contract; and subsequently became a legitimate NHL player.

  25. RexLibris says:

    Just to get back to the blueline injuries for a moment…

    Bigos’ “lower body injury” is a stubbed toe due to kicking someon’e butt, right?

    I may be wrong on this point, but part of me is relieved that these players are getting their shoulder’s repaired as prospects rather than NHL veterans. It seems that the surgery generally prevents it from being a recurrence and while some range of motion is lost, overall a player can learn to adapt and still achieve at a high level. Taking the time for all of this now, as opposed to when the player is required to fill a role on the NHL roster, seems to me to be the silver lining in the whole deal, with the obvious caveat of a danger of derailed development.

    Or am I wrong?

  26. RexLibris says:

    Lois Lowe,

    Yeah, but so did I and I haven’t done squat yet. Go figure.

  27. Jonathan Willis says:

    RexLibris,

    You signed an ELC, Rex? I’m impressed! :)

  28. godot10 says:

    Jonathan Willis:
    godot10,

    “[T]he point being made wasn’t ‘look this guy’s a fourth round pick who passed through the draft; the odds are against him’ (which I would agree with) it was ‘you’re wrong because you’re disagreeing with the collective wisdom of NHL teams’ (which I emphatically disagree with).”

    We’re told every year here that Bob McKenzie’s list is the “gold” standard. Well the source for Bob McKenzie’s list is a subset of the 30 NHL head scouts that passed over Jeremy Blain in a weak draft where overagers were being picked in record numbers.

    How many words of the Oilogosphere churned over Moroz being picked a round too early.

    And yet, a completely rejected, undrafted Jeremy Blain, by all 30 GM’s and head scouts is supposed to deserve a 3-year NHL entry contract. NOT only NHL team thought Blain would worth a 3-year NHL contract..

    Those saying he deserved one…those who say that Bob McKenzie’s list is the gold standard, should give a reason why those people are wrong they are right.

  29. VOR says:

    Godot10,

    This is in no way meant as personal. I am just trying to answer your question. I have no idea whether Blain should have received a NHL contract from the Oilers or not. However, you seem to be saying that you can’t think McKenzie’s list is a good predictive tool and also believe all 30 GMs can be wrong. You’ve added that to your point that the behavior of the leagues other GMs in the Blaine case is a good tell that the Oilers made the right call.

    Lets start with the first point where you seem to be saying you can’t have it both ways. Either consensus thinking matters or it doesn’t. Bob McKenzie’s list is an example of collective wisdom not consensus thinking. The GMs behavior is an example of individual decision making in a complex and contaminated environment, each made the same decision but each was not acting on the same information.

    McKenzie gets data from numerous scouts. He then uses his knowledge of those scouts and the teams they work for to weight the data. The result is an attempt to predict the likely draft order of the earlier rounds of the NHL draft.

    The actions of the other 29 GMs in the Jeremie Blain case will have been contaminated in many ways by the Oilers decision. Not the least important issue is that every GM will have been going, “is that just because of the racist taunt or do they know somethign we don’t?” Then each GM has very specific organizational strengths and weaknesses, contract issues, etc. We have no idea what decision the other 29 GMs would have made if they could have acquired him as a free agent prior to the Oilers decision.

    Lots of fourth rounders certainly do have NHL careers. Since 1992, 36 of the 369 players who were drafted in the fourth round of the NHL Entry Draft have had or are having significant careers (16 by the way had gone undrafted in their first eligible year and often more). There is, therefore, a non-trivial chance that the Oilers tossed away a valuable asset. Other teams had the chance to sign Blain to an AHL contract and one did (this option was not available to the Oilers). That gives the Canucks, I think it is, most of the benefits of the 1 in 10 chance of getting a useful player with very reduced risk.

    From all the observed behavior I would say the strongest argument you could make would be to say the likliehood of Jeremie Blain having an NHL career is clearly diminished by the action of the other 29 GMs. It is not however strong evidence that the Oilers decision was right at the moment they made it.

  30. spoiler says:

    VOR: Godot10,This is in no way meant as personal. I am just trying to answer your question. I have no idea whether Blain should have received a NHL contract from the Oilers or not. However, you seem to be saying that you can’t think McKenzie’s list is a good predictive tool and also believe all 30 GMs can be wrong. You’ve added that to your point that the behavior of the leagues other GMs in the Blaine case is a good tell that the Oilers made the right call. Lets start with the first point where you seem to be saying you can’t have it both ways. Either consensus thinking matters or it doesn’t. Bob McKenzie’s list is an example of collective wisdom not consensus thinking. The GMs behavior is an example of individual decision making in a complex and contaminated environment, each made the same decision but each was not acting on the same information. McKenzie gets data from numerous scouts. He then uses his knowledge of those scouts and the teams they work for to weight the data. The result is an attempt to predict the likely draft order of the earlier rounds of the NHL draft. The actions of the other 29 GMs in the Jeremie Blain case will have been contaminated in many ways by the Oilers decision. Not the least important issue is that every GM will have been going, “is that just because of the racist taunt or do they know somethign we don’t?” Then each GM has very specific organizational strengths and weaknesses, contract issues, etc. We have no idea what decision the other 29 GMs would have made if they could have acquired him as a free agent prior to the Oilers decision.Lots of fourth rounders certainly do have NHL careers. Since 1992, 36 of the 369 players who were drafted in the fourth round of the NHL Entry Draft have had or are having significant careers (16 by the way had gone undrafted in their first eligible year and often more). There is, therefore, a non-trivial chance that the Oilers tossed away a valuable asset. Other teams had the chance to sign Blain to an AHL contract and one did (this option was not available to the Oilers). That gives the Canucks, I think it is, most of the benefits of the 1 in 10 chance of getting a useful player with very reduced risk. From all the observed behavior I would say the strongest argument you could make would be to say the likliehood of Jeremie Blain having an NHL career is clearly diminished by the action of the other 29 GMs. It is not however strong evidence that the Oilers decision was right at the moment they made it.

    VOR, I think the use of “contamination” here is argument by connotation. I also think you should define non-trivial. I’d believe “non-zero”, and if that’s the sense you mean it in, I’m okay with it.

    I think though that the argument Godot is making is that it is difficult to criticize the organization for making the same decision as the other 30 owners. The issue of whether that decision is right or wrong is much more difficult to establish and might not even be known even if Blain has a 200 game career… because as you rightly point out here VOR, there are many more factors playing into the decision than whether or not Blain can become an NHL player.

    I think Godot is both right and wrong, as are the opposing bloggers. We can disagree with the Oilers decision, as LT has done, because hell we can disagree with any decision. There is nothing wrong with having a differing opinion. But taking the next step and criticizing the Oilers for the decision should be considered harsh or over-critical in this instance. Defending their decision is far easier than opposing it.

    JMHO.

  31. VOR says:

    Spoiler,

    First, let me try to be clearer.

    I was trying to say that Godot10′s argument is not as strong as it might be since the action of the other 29 GMs was influenced by the action the Oilers took. It also follows the Oilers decision and thus is irrelevant to that decision and any argument about it. It is not a useful data set for supporting or opposing the Oilers’ decision which was made without reference to what the other GMs would do subsequently. Only time will tell us if it was a good or bad decision.

    Consider that in 2000 every NHL GM looked at Martin St. Louis on the waiver wire and passed. The Calgary Flames choose to buy him out and made St. Louis a UFA. In retrospect it was one of the most bone headed moves in the history of the NHL. But every NHL GM thought he was not worth the waiver pick up. Knowing the outcome allows us to see how wrong they all were. Time will eventually let us determine if not signing Blain was a good move or a bad move or just bleh – who cares.

    Additionally, neither the example of the 29 separate GMs not signing Jeremie Blain nor that of the McKenzie list are true examples of consensus/collective thinking. McKenzie filters and weighs the data starting with which scouts he talks to and thus it very much reflects him not the consensus of the industry. The 29 GMs each decided independently on Blain. You can therefore agree McKenzie’s list is the gold standard in predicting the draft and still believe Blain should have been signed to an NHL contract without being guilty of sloppy thinking. The first merely requires us to respect McKenzie and his demonstrated ability to predict the order of the draft. The second only requires us to think that all NHL GMs can have a collective brain fart, which seems to happen reasonably regularly actually.

    By non-trivial I meant there is a 2-4% chance of Jeremie Blain playing 200+ games in the NHL. It is bad asset management to give that chance away for nothing. That is a sound argument without reference to the player in question.

    Blain may be a poor player and a toxic team-mate in which case getting rid of him was a great move. On the other hand he may be Dan Boyle in which case getting rid of him was beyond stupid. Time will reveal and outcome until then the general argument of bad asset management remains perfectly valid since we know zip all about Blain the player.

    By the way, this is why saying all the injuries the Oilers blue have suffered this fall is an argument for having signed Blain. We have zero evidence for whether or not Blain could step in and replace one of those injured players and even less way of knowing if that would be a good thing for the organization.

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