DEFENSE V DEFENCE

During the Stanley Cup finals, the Oilers employed a strong top 4D of Chris Pronger, Jaroslav Spacek, Jason Smith and Steve Staios. Pronger (30:57) and Spacek (25:52) played big minutes in all three disciplines and then Jason Smith (22:28) and Steve Staios (21:31) took regular turns at evens and PK but didn’t get powerplay time.

The current Oilers couldn’t get to that 2006 group in a day. Flying a lear jet. For some reason, the Edmonton Oilers learned the wrong lesson that spring. For Oilers management, the lesson of the 2006 SC run wasn’t “lets get veterans like Pronger, Spacek, Smith and Staios” it was “man, that Matt Greene is going to be something some day.”

Last season’s defense minutes were spread out. Here are the 7 TOI leaders from a year ago:

  1. Jeff Petry 21:45 (1+ on PP, 2+ on PK)
  2. Ryan Whitney 20:57 (2+ on PP, 1 on PK)
  3. Ladislav Smid 20:54 (3+ on PK)
  4. Corey Potter 19:54 (2+ on PP, 1 on PK)
  5. Nick Schultz 19:42 (2+ on PK)
  6. Theo Peckham 16:52 (2+ on PK)
  7. Andy Sutton 16:41 (1+ on PK)

johansson19

None of the defenders from a year ago approached the Jason Smith level in 2006, let alone the penthouse suite of Spacek or Pronger’s “touch the face of God” stratosphere.

This Oilers blue starts TC with the following questions:

  1. Can Ryan Whitney return to pre-surgery levels of defense?
  2. Can Smid-Petry repeat an impressive 2012-13?
  3. What kind of impact will Justin Schultz have?
  4. Can Nick Schultz keep up after so many NHL sorties?
  5. Good Potter, Bad Potter?
  6. Can Teddy Peckman step forward and play more and bigger minutes?
  7. Can Steve Tambellini wade in to free agency or the trade market and pull out a useful replacement for Andy Sutton?
  8. Can this group stay healthy enough to avoid Teubert and Fedun callups?

Man, that’s a lot of major questions for a team some of us expect to contend. Justin Schultz was an amazing addition, but the club can no longer count on Ryan Whitney as the #1 defender. It’s a helluva problem, it really is.

One thing is certain: this group will get tested early and often. Those NW teams didn’t exactly lose weapons over the last year.

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72 Responses to "DEFENSE V DEFENCE"

  1. speeds says:

    I think my take is the same as last year. No, this isn’t a top of the league defense by any stretch, and they are susceptible to injury problems (whether it be because injuries are more likely than for most teams or because if there are injuries, the depth isn’t great), but I think the group is a little bit underrated and given a bit too much of the blame for the overall team defensive problem, which surely they are a part of, but I think they are taking on at least a bit of the “blame” that should go to the F and/or G.

    Compared to last year, I’d expect the group of Smid, Petry, and Whitney to be about the same as last year, hopefully better. I think they are more likely to be better than worse (as a group of 3) but perhaps that’s a biased fan opinion?

    I’d rather still have Gilbert than N. Schultz. I expect Peckham and Potter to be about the same, hopefully Peckham somewhat better as a youngish D still improving. Justin Schultz picking up Teubert and Barker’s minutes (and a big chunk of Potter’s as well) is unknown, but likely to be a big improvement IMO, and possibly a huge improvement in which case he bumps a numbere of the guys down the depth chart.

  2. Ryan says:

    No question the Oilers need a vet dman.

    Look no further than the 2008-9 edition of the Oilers. That team missed the second season, but was in the traditional race for 8th place till the end of the regular season. At the time, many thought that the oil had too much cap space on d, too many offensemen, and overall not a good mix or balanced crew of dmen. Yet with a forward roster of complete porridge, they were still in the mix.

  3. Oilanderp says:

    It’s disturbing for sure. We already knew this but now that you’ve forced me to look at it in the light of SC Cup run ’06 TOI… I am frightened to death! If I was a betting man my money would be on everything NOT going perfectly. But what’s to be done? Trade away prospects in exchange for regret? Are there any FAs left worth considering? At this point anyone who keeps Fedun and Teubert in Okc is probably worth it.

  4. Rondo says:

    I think the Oilers need to trade for a young D man. If they want a quality D man they will need to trade quality players or player.

    I would rather they take 1 step back and 2 steps forward. Trade for high potential not for a band aid.

  5. gcw_rocks says:

    Its not a defence to fear, that is for sure. Whitney is key, followed by avoiding injuries. I would have felt a lot better about the group with Sutton at 6.

    I am more optimistic about Fedun than LT appears to be, and I would not be surprised if he outplayed Potter and Peckham if given a chance in training camp, but the smart move would be to go an get another veteran defender.

    Of course, with this management group, and I include MacT in it, the odds of that happening are slim.

    Afterall, Dreger tweeted that one of MacT’s responsibilities when he was hired was input into the draft, and wow, suddenly we are drafting coke machines again. Coincidence, I think not.

  6. oilswell says:

    Managerial incompetence is a problem, but I don’t think there is a will or expectation to really compete this season, and that they plan not to. No matter one’s opinion about ideal timelines and methods for rebuilding, it seems to me that pointing out the problems on this club is a little bit like yelling at the puppy for the turd in the middle of the carpet: things will get better, but that puppy is not cleaning up that turd. Signs out of management were that they were thinking of drafting the key piece on D last June. Surely a revelation for their timeline, no?

    I’m not sure how J. Schultz is not going to get a whole lot of minutes this season. Adversity is more likely to see them shuffle his D partners looking for magic before cutting back on the minutes. I’m also very interested in seeing how they’re going to mix the D with the F. J. Schultz on ES is probably going to be best matched with a skill F line that the opposition aren’t keying on with their best 2 way forwards or highly offensive players. With a lot of different looks up front we might witness some fun games in mixing the F around to try to draw the D matchups. At least I hope its more interesting to follow than Quinn’s all-pawn chess games.

    Nitpick: I am not going to enjoy Schultz sweaters with the first initial on them. Yuck.

  7. justDOit says:

    Watched an interview with Methot last night, and now see a little more value to that signing-trade (can`t remember which) – watching over Karlsson. After that sensational rookie season he had, other teams and other teams` knuckle-draggers will targeting him. I`d want a tough, capable partner for him, and Methot is certainly tough enough to fill that role. With Karlsson`s top-flight skill set, Methot will theoretically only have to touch the puck once per shift.

    It sure would be nice to see J Schultz have the same option – a capable partner who can chuck knuckles with the best of em. Maybe Teddy is ready to be that guy?

  8. WeridAl says:

    LT you make it sound like at 30yrs N.Schultz is over the hill, you would think that he is coming into his prime. From the looks of things he has also remained healthy for most of his career.

    IMO the big question is can Petry pickup from where he left off from last season. If he can and Smid continue’s his solid play the Oilers should be OK. Pair the Schultz’s together, not because it sounds good (which it does ), but N.Schultz is a perfect fit for J.Schultz. A veteran stay at home D to school the kid. I’ve notice some people would like Whitney with the kid, but Dubie would be hung out to dry to often with a pairing like that.

    Pairing Peckham and Whitney together could help Theo. Theo would only have to worry about his defensive game and let Whitney carry the puck out. Also with the limited minutes it would give Whitney the chance to test his ankle out, without having to over work it.

  9. striatic says:

    i honestly think that the plan is to wait for Bouwmeester and Phaneuf to go UFA, and pick up one or both at a discount as the young guns hit their prime.

    local boys and whatnot.

  10. Rondo says:

    These teams seem to have an excess of young D-men.

    Pittsburgh, Colorado , New Jersey ,Phoenix ,and Toronto

  11. Backhand says:

    Following Peckham on twitter has not made me feel like he has really committed to improving himself. I don’t know what it is specifically but he just hasn’t given me that vibe. Not to mention what ever happened with him and his echl team. I have a feeling Peckham is a bench warmer at best

  12. WeridAl says:

    Backhand,

    I know he left the ECHL team for family matters, was is the problem with that. He just didn’t leave, he went to management and requested a release and was released.

  13. Clay says:

    For Oilers management, the lesson of the 2006 SC run wasn’t “lets get veterans like Pronger, Spacek, Smith and Staios” it was “man, that Matt Greene is going to be something some day.”

    That is so well put, LT. You perfectly summed up 7 years of fan frustration in one sentence.

    There were 5 teams that had 3 dmen score 30+ points last year, and the upside to the Oilers defense (healthy Whitney, bona fide Schultz Jr., river don’t rise) is that they are in that conversation now – potentially one of the league’s top d groups in terms of generating offense.

    As far as preventing opponent’s from scoring? If they could just add one more true NHL defensive defenceman to Schultz Sr. and Smid, whoa man.

    IF ONLY IF ONLY IF ONLY. It’s the unofficial fight song of Oilers’ fans.

  14. Clay says:

    OT – Brian Burke sacked! Didn’t see that coming.

  15. justDOit says:

    Clay,

    Wow. Not good if you are an anti-fan of the Makebelieves.

  16. Derek says:

    PK Subban would be the perfect answer, unfortunately he’s probably untouchable given that the stink around his RFA holdout is probably just the Montreal media being the Montreal media.

    What the hell is going on in Toronto? There’s plenty of speculation that the Luongo trade/non-trade created a rift between T.O. ownership and Brian Burke. How plausible is this? The organization now has 10 days to find a new GM, 10 days for that same GM to assess the TML roster, while working on a new CBA. Why do this now?

  17. hunter1909 says:

    Clay:
    OT – Brian Burke sacked!Didn’t see that coming.

    Tyler Seguin says hello.

  18. hunter1909 says:

    And other things, obviously. Like missing the playoffs as often as the Oilers, with next to nothing to show for it.

  19. OilClog says:

    I like the Oilers style Of upper management, just slowly rotating titles until no one can figure out who does what, Tambi giving interviews like a cheery Christmas elf, Lowe stroking his eyebrows, MacT becoming a mad scientist creating a h

  20. russ99 says:

    Seems there is an expectation among Oiler fans that the forwards will do all the scoring and defensemen doing the defending. Would be nice but it’s not the 80′s anymore.

    We’re going to have problems keeping the puck out of the net even with an experienced defender added, unless Dubnyk is a much better goalie than we think.

    As long as Smyth, Horcoff and X are playing the 3rd line/tough shifts, this will be a problem. Hopefully next offseason we can add a few big 2-way forwards to man the third line, as that is the key to playoff success in the West.

  21. Bos8 says:

    russ99:
    Seems there is an expectation among Oiler fans that the forwards will do all the scoring and defensemen doing the defending. Would be nice but it’s not the 80′s anymore.

    We’re going to have problems keeping the puck out of the net even with an experienced defender added, unless Dubnyk is a much better goalie than we think.

    As long as Smyth, Horcoff and X are playing the 3rd line/tough shifts, this will be a problem. Hopefully next offseason we can add a few big 2-way forwards to man the third line, as that is the key to playoff success in the West.

    Amen. A whole bunch of meows on this team. True anywhere not just the west.

  22. Lucinius says:

    Surprised to see Burke get fired. Kinda pleased and saddened. Pleased because he’s an asshole (or was in my brief interaction with him at an airport [and to be fair, who isn't an asshole in an airport?]) and I dislike him. Saddened because it means the Leafs may improve. According to TSN it isn’t likely to be just the Luongo thing, but more than Burke isn’t a corporate guy; doesn’t play that kinda of politicking game and the new owners took exception — which I can totally see happening.

    As for the Oilers, apparently Taylor Hall is already trying to injure Dubnyk; rang a hard shot off his mask in practice — enough to apologize for, but not enough to stop him from going roof on the next attempt.

  23. WeridAl says:

    Lucinius,

    How did Dubnyk take it.

  24. Lucinius says:

    WeridAl,

    They both laughed it off, according to Rishaug. Its amusing because Dubnyk brought it up recently in an interview.. might of been on Oiler’s Nation or something, about how Eberle likes to go high, but since there’s nothing behind the shot Dubnyk doesn’t care if it hits him in the mask, but Hall has more oomph on all his shots so he can feel them and also likes to go high in practice.

  25. nelson88 says:

    I’ll step into the traffic and state that if Whitney is healthy (and even 90% of his 2010/11 self) the Oilers D and the teams overall ability to keep the puck out of there own net is going to be much, much better then most folks are predicting. Whenk healthy this group is underrated.

    if they loose Smid, Whitney or Schultz (the older) for significant periods of time we are in trouble.

  26. mps91 says:

    LT,

    Do you agree the Oilers need another viable, veteran D in their top 6 if they think they’re actually making the playoffs? If so, who do you look at as possibilities? J-bo, Volchenkov, Tallinder, Regehr?

  27. rickithebear says:

    russ99: As long as Smyth, Horcoff and X are playing the 3rd line/tough shifts, this will be a problem. Hopefully next offseason we can add a few big 2-way forwards to man the third line, as that is the key to playoff success in the West.

    this is the trite pie in the sky Crap we get from liquor on HF Boards.
    Give options!

    1. what were horcoffs roles on the team last year
    2. Give us the one or two players to cover these roles.
    3. Provide realistic ways to acquire these players.

    You will start to feel unconmfortable when the cap hits for TWO realistic players exceeds his Cap hit.

    Like Sheep!
    Bah!

  28. hunter1909 says:

    rickithebear: You will start to feel unconmfortable when the cap hits for TWO realistic players exceeds his Cap hit.

    You honestly think Horcoff’s anywhere near value for his cap hit? He’s washed up, with the reality he never was all that much to start with, unless you’re looking for the shittiest NHL captain imaginable – one so wack he “leads” his team into absolute Palooka-Ville…that is, the lottery pick regions of the NHL.

    When factoring in his cap hit, Horcoff is pure, unadulterable garbage. And one always must factor in the cap hit. Otherwise a certain Irish GM who miraculously still has a job will offer 6 million a season to every bum who shines for a few months.

  29. hunter1909 says:

    And yes, for argument purposes Kevin Lowe is running the team.

  30. justDOit says:

    Lucinius,

    I think he was asked which team mate has a knack for putting shots off his mask in practice. Shows some good-humored ribbing by giving Ebs a shot in the process.

    I see Hall is already sporting a high cut on his face… yikes!

  31. Lucinius says:

    justDOit,

    Yeah, that was it.

    I think Hall got that cut down in OKC.

    And man, Sportsnet is going wild on the Burke firing. Trotting out everyone and anyone they can find to give their two bits of uninformed gossipy opinion.

    Was hilarious to see Kypreos whine on air about how he had to go to the bathroom but couldn’t because there hadn’t been any breaks and the host basically had to order him to get up and go to the bathroom. Very professional!

  32. Captain Happy says:

    rickithebear,

    Dave Bolland and more than a dozen others could do the job, do it better and give you more than $2 million change on $5.5 million.

    And before you launch into your Zone Start litany…Bolland’s Ozone starts were 32.5% with Ozone finish 46.3%

    While playing tough competition with dreadful zone starts, Bolland managed an on ice GF/GA Diff of -0.26.

    Horcoff managed -1.07 …227th in the NHL.

    Only 10 regular forwards in the entire NHL had a worse +- Diff.

  33. DBO says:

    By e bye Burke. I expect he may replace Gay ybettman as commish. Just my feeling. Gary leaves in 3 years, Burke top dog. That would be a fun CBA negotiation in 8 yrs.

    AS for the Oil and D. The Blackhawks have 8 NHL dmen, and next year they are already over the cap with only 18 players signed. They will buy someone out, but not one of their big 4 forwards, and not Seabrook or Keith. So a deal may happen sooner rather then later. the Oil have had a hard on for hjarlmarsson before. $3.5 mill cap ht for this year and next, 25 years old, and is a solid dman who would be great with Whitney. That would be a shrewd move in my opinion. Would prob take a prospect like Marincin and hell maybe Omark as a throw in, but that seems like fair value to me. He’s basically a younger Nick Shultz, and that is a good thing that we could use. especially if you look at our 2 year window with Hemsky, Smyth, Dubnyk, Horcoff (lol) etc. Means the Nuge new deal won’t be affected by his contract.

  34. DBO says:

    Smid-Petry
    Shultz-Shultz
    Whitney-Hjalmarsson

    I like that D. Especially if Whitney is healthy, that is the best D we have had since Pronger, and prob strongest 1 through 6.

  35. dessert1111 says:

    This guy has Oilers 3rd in the power rankings to start the year? http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/nhl/news/20130109/nhl-preseason-power-rankings/

    I think I will go ahead and predict that the Oilers win the Stanley Cup this year. That way, if they defy odds and do, I will look really smart. This guy might be doing the same sort of thing.

  36. stevezie says:

    Captain Happy,

    The hard part is not saying, “I wish we had Bolland instead of Horcoff.”

  37. cabbiesmacker says:

    DBO:
    Smid-Petry
    Shultz-Shultz
    Whitney-Hjalmarsson

    I like that D. Especially if Whitney is healthy, that is the best D we have had since Pronger, and prob strongest 1 through 6.

    How much better do those pairings look if you subtract a Schultz and add a Gilbert to the top 4. Sorry but I still don’t get it. I might even be more confused now than I was in April 2012.

  38. cabbiesmacker says:

    Captain Happy:
    rickithebear,

    Dave Bolland and more than a dozen others could do the job, do it better and give you more than $2 million change on $5.5 million.

    And before you launch into your Zone Start litany…Bolland’s Ozone starts were 32.5% with Ozone finish46.3%

    While playing tough competition with dreadful zone starts, Bolland managed an on ice GF/GA Diff of -0.26.

    As a Blackhawks fan first and foremost allow me to just say “Bugger Off.” “You can’t have him.”

    If he goes anywhere it’s to Vancouver to play with Mary Kate and Ashleigh.

  39. stevezie says:

    You know who I would like to see the Oil go after? Paul Ranger. He could really help in the AHL and has a shot at being an NHL d-man again here.

  40. RickDeckard says:

    cabbiesmacker,

    I remain convinced there was a trade request to be sent there. Suter and him played together for a season and the Suter/Parise plan is said to have been is action since January.

  41. Marc says:

    cabbiesmacker: How much better do those pairings look if you subtract a Schultz and add a Gilbert to the top 4. Sorry but I still don’t get it. I might even be more confused now than I was in April 2012.

    Semi-plausible reasons that I’ve come up with:

    1. They knew he had no interest in re-signing and decided to move him when they could get a veteran player for him (as opposed to a likely return of picks and prospects at this season’s trade deadline) and in a season when they definitely weren’t in the playoff race as opposed to a season when they potentially could be.

    2. They were worried about how much cap space resigning him would take and moved him for a guy who was as good defensively but had lower counting numbers. When the Oilers signed Gilbert at $4M per year the cap was $50.3M and he wasn’t nearly as good of a defenceman as he is now. Now the cap is higher and he’s better, he could plausibly ask for $5M-$6M per year for his next contract (especially if PP time with the kids drove up his counting numbers), whereas I doubt Schultz will be able to get more than $4M per.

    3. Character issues/didn’t mess well with the kids.

    4. They really, really liked Schultz and gave up what they had to get him.

    I personally think 2 is the main reason, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there were elements of all 4 behind the trade.

  42. jp says:

    dessert1111:
    This guy has Oilers 3rd in the power rankings to start the year? http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/nhl/news/20130109/nhl-preseason-power-rankings/

    I think I will go ahead and predict that the Oilers win the Stanley Cup this year. That way, if they defy odds and do, I will look really smart. This guy might be doing the same sort of thing.

    This guy should probably lose his job no? I mean, 3rd overall?? Previous rank was 25th (presumably before the lockout), and moved up to 3rd?? I’m all for the optimism and the high expectations but that’s a bit too much. It’s nice to hear, but the guy obviously isn’t overly familiar with the team. I’d be glad to eat my words, but that prediction seems well outside the realm of possibility. Hopefully they squeak into the playoffs though :)

    Marc: Semi-plausible reasons that I’ve come up with:

    1. They knew he had no interest in re-signing and decided to move him when they could get a veteran player for him (as opposed to a likely return of picks and prospects at this season’s trade deadline) and in a season when they definitely weren’t in the playoff race as opposed to a season when they potentially could be.

    2. They were worried about how much cap space resigning him would take and moved him for a guy who was as good defensively but had lower counting numbers.When the Oilers signed Gilbert at $4M per year the cap was $50.3Mand he wasn’t nearly as good of a defenceman as he is now. Now the cap is higher and he’s better, he could plausibly ask for $5M-$6M per year for his next contract (especially if PP time with the kids drove up his counting numbers), whereas I doubt Schultz will be able to get more than $4M per.

    3. Character issues/didn’t mess well with the kids.

    4. They really, really liked Schultz and gave up what they had to get him.

    I personally think 2 is the main reason, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there were elements of all 4 behind the trade.

    You’re right there may be elements of many points, but I seem to recall Tambo/Lowe last year essentially saying that #4 was the correct answer. They’ve liked N. Schultz a lot for a long time.

  43. knighttown says:

    When you look at this team on paper, in the traditional way, forwards, defensemen and goaltending, it looks solid.

    Forwards- crazy talent level and if you look at the main line in their job description; scoring goals, this is an exceptional group.

    Defense- Petry/Smid provided an actual, honest-to-goodness number 1 defensive pair last year. It’s not Weber/Suter but they weren’t 3/4′s disguised as 1/2′s. Schultz/Schultz certainly seems on par versus other teams 3/4′s. Then we’ve got Whitney, Sutton, Peckham, Potter, Teubert, Fedun and Plante and really, that group should be able to handle 5/6/7 duties.

    And in net, most consider Dubnyk to be just below league average with some upside.

    So great offense from the forwards, acceptable defense and adequete goaltending…why does this team suck so bad?

    Way too many of our guys are only great at the first item in their job description especially at forward. Hall, Eberle, Nuge, Yakupov, Hemsky, Paajarvi and Gagner are awful in their own end and provide little to no penalty killing, can’t win faceoffs and provide no physical play. Horcoff, Smyth and Belanger would be considered two way forwards but they aren’t even above average at it anymore. The result is that all of the little things like lead to scoring chances don’t happen and over the long haul we lose more than we win.

    If we played a theoretical 60 minute game of Hall-Nuge-Eberle against the Bruins 3rd line of Peverley-Kelly-Marchand (or whomever) we’d expect to win easily but I bet we lose that game because of the way the NHL is played. These guys are pros who do the little things so well and even though they don’t score as much they do score more than they let in and that’s the way to win.

  44. rickithebear says:

    Captain Happy: Dave Bolland and more than a dozen others could do the job, do it better and give you more than $2 million change on $5.5 million.
    And before you launch into your Zone Start litany…Bolland’s Ozone starts were 32.5% with Ozone finish 46.3%
    While playing tough competition with dreadful zone starts, Bolland managed an on ice GF/GA Diff of -0.26.
    Horcoff managed -1.07 …227th in the NHL.
    Only 10 regular forwards in the entire NHL had a worse +- Diff.

    I asked at HF boards who could fill all horcoffs roles.

    Will Start With Role #1
    PP:
    Face off, Down low Front Net presence Center on a unit that gets 8.54 GF/60 while he is on the Ice.

    Lets look at centers with his GF rate.
    M. Fisher 9.50 GF/60 4.2M
    P. Statstny 8.86 GF/60 6.6M
    N. Backstrom 8.77 GF/60 6.7M
    F. Nielson 8.70 GF/60 2.75M
    P. Marleau 8.50Gf/60 6.9M
    D. Backes 8.36 GF/60 4.5M
    E. Malkin 8.16 GF/60 8.7M

    Role #2
    Even;

    there are 96 basic even situations a player can be subjected to.
    that yields an expected point rate and ga rate for each group.

    Cause no one is stupid enough to think.
    1. you can score equally whether you start in offensive zone or D zone.
    2. there is no difference betwen 1st line comp and 4th line comp.
    3. there is no difference between 1st line teamates and 4th line teamates.

    Shawn horcoff played
    Less than 45% zone start Center;
    Facing 1st comp
    with 3rd line teamates.
    this has been the most difficult situation in the league.
    10 forwards face this each year.

    The average since the lockout:
    A forward is expected to get 1.1Pt/60 and have 2.87 EVGA/60
    Last year horcoff
    Was 1.04P/60
    2.89GA/60
    Slightly under expected average for situation.

    no longer the 07-08 or 08-09 Horcoff who averaged
    2.05P/60 and 2.51Ga/60

    Last year horcoff got tough zone coverage so the likes of

    RNH 62.5%zone start 2nd Comp 1st Teamates
    Expected P/60 2.35 actual 1.97
    Expected GA 2.55 Actual 2.73

    Eberle 60.7% Zone Start 2nd Comp 1st Teamates
    Expected p/60 2.35 Actual 3.08
    Expected Ga 2.55 Actual 3.08

    Hall 56.5% Zone Start 2nd Comp 2nd Teamates
    Expected p/60 2.10 Actual 2.07
    Expected Ga 2.55 Actual 2.87

    could get the easy sledding.

    proper coaching is slotting your roster in the 96 situations that best help you to win.

    any how!

    The forwards who played in this role:
    Bolland
    Laich
    Plekanec
    Backlund
    Couturier (my pick for the Selke and Calder)
    Just a freak year.
    Best defensive year in the last 10 years.

    Role #3
    PK
    1/2 PK unit 2.5Min
    A 6.15GA/60 Center

    Equal numbers
    Couturier
    Talbot
    Malhotra
    Gordon

    Slighty better
    kopitar
    Stoll
    Gaustad
    Belanger
    Plekanec

    So I think we have our answer.

    David Boland
    wil get you superior Even results.

    Sean Couturier 1.37M EL
    Thomas Plekanec 5.0M
    will get you better Even & Pk results for horcoffs situation
    but these two fail on the PP

    A combination of
    Gaustad 3.25M
    Fisher 4.2M
    come the closest to covering all three situations>

    While I love the Buy out Horcoff Montra.

    Any time someone says buyout horcoff.
    it says
    1. to lazy to look at replacement
    or
    2. complete lack of understanding of the game
    -were you start
    -who you face
    -with who
    -goals you get
    -goals you give up.
    or
    3. in grade 1-7 and just want to fit in with the peers on HF Board.

    Buy him out.

    The majic hockey fairy will make us a center who can fill his role for 7.5M

    Or we can trade for
    Fisher
    and
    Gaustad.

    Which one of you gets plastic surgery to look like Carrie Underwood.

  45. Traktor says:

    rickithebear: -Wall of text about Shawn Horcoff-

    The majic hockey fairy will make us a center who can fill his role for 7.5M

    Ricki’s Conclusion: Horcoff is 2M underpaid

    I know its early but Ricki looks like a strong contender for dumbest post in 2013.

  46. Oilanderp says:

    hunter1909,

    You honestly think Horcoff’s anywhere near value for his cap hit? He’s washed up, with the reality he never was all that much to start with, unless you’re looking for the shittiest NHL captain imaginable – one so wack he “leads” his team into absolute Palooka-Ville…that is, the lottery pick regions of the NHL.
    When factoring in his cap hit, Horcoff is pure, unadulterable garbage. And one always must factor in the cap hit. Otherwise a certain Irish GM who miraculously still has a job will offer 6 million a season to every bum who shines for a few months.

    Wow, why don’t you tell us how you really feel? If you’re arguing that Horcoff’s cap hit sucks then I don’t think you’ll get any argument from anyone. If you’re arguing that Horcoff is a bad hockey player, I think you’re flat out wrong, and here’s why: Horcoff has tread water against the toughs with pretty much completely defensive zone starts. WHO in the heck do we pick out of thin air to replace him? Look at it graphically: (goto page 25)
    http://www.hockeyanalytics.com/Research_files/Player_Usage_Charts_2012.pdf

    You can talk about cap hit all you want but a cheap cap hit doesn’t get the damn puck out of the zone and going in the right direction, actual real hockey players do. I invite you to check out Bolland’s performance in the same quoted article.

  47. Ryan says:

    Marc: Semi-plausible reasons that I’ve come up with:

    1. They knew he had no interest in re-signing and decided to move him when they could get a veteran player for him (as opposed to a likely return of picks and prospects at this season’s trade deadline) and in a season when they definitely weren’t in the playoff race as opposed to a season when they potentially could be.

    2. They were worried about how much cap space resigning him would take and moved him for a guy who was as good defensively but had lower counting numbers.When the Oilers signed Gilbert at $4M per year the cap was $50.3Mand he wasn’t nearly as good of a defenceman as he is now. Now the cap is higher and he’s better, he could plausibly ask for $5M-$6M per year for his next contract (especially if PP time with the kids drove up his counting numbers), whereas I doubt Schultz will be able to get more than $4M per.

    3. Character issues/didn’t mess well with the kids.

    4. They really, really liked Schultz and gave up what they had to get him.

    I personally think 2 is the main reason, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there were elements of all 4 behind the trade.

    Who is this Marc guy? Always seems to have something reasonable to say and sometimes sounds almost like he’s a player agent.

  48. Captain Happy says:

    rickithebear: I asked at HF boards who could fill all horcoffs roles.

    Will Start With Role #1
    PP:
    Face off, Down low Front Net presence Center on a unit that gets 8.54 GF/60 while he is on the Ice.

    Lets look at centers with his GF rate.
    M. Fisher 9.50 GF/60 4.2M
    P. Statstny 8.86 GF/60 6.6M
    N. Backstrom 8.77 GF/60 6.7M
    F. Nielson 8.70 GF/60 2.75M
    P. Marleau 8.50Gf/606.9M
    D. Backes 8.36 GF/60 4.5M
    E. Malkin 8.16 GF/60 8.7M

    Role #2
    Even;

    there are 96 basic even situations a player can be subjected to.
    that yields an expected pointrate and ga rate for each group.

    Cause no one is stupid enough to think.
    1. you can score equally whether you start in offensive zone or D zone.
    2. there is no difference betwen 1st line comp and 4th line comp.
    3. there is no difference between 1st line teamates and 4th line teamates.

    Shawn horcoff played
    Less than 45% zone start Center;
    Facing 1st comp
    with 3rd line teamates.
    this has been the most difficult situation in the league.
    10 forwards face this each year.

    The average since the lockout:A forward is expected to get 1.1Pt/60 and have 2.87 EVGA/60
    Last year horcoff
    Was 1.04P/60
    2.89GA/60
    Slightly under expected average for situation.

    no longer the 07-08 or 08-09 Horcoff who averaged
    2.05P/60 and 2.51Ga/60

    Last year horcoff got tough zone coverage so the likes of

    RNH 62.5%zone start 2nd Comp 1st Teamates
    Expected P/60 2.35 actual 1.97
    Expected GA 2.55Actual 2.73

    Eberle 60.7% Zone Start 2nd Comp 1st Teamates
    Expected p/60 2.35 Actual 3.08
    Expected Ga 2.55 Actual 3.08

    Hall 56.5% Zone Start 2nd Comp 2nd Teamates
    Expected p/60 2.10 Actual 2.07
    Expected Ga 2.55 Actual 2.87

    could get the easy sledding.

    proper coaching is slotting your roster in the 96 situations that best help you to win.

    any how!

    The forwards who played in this role:
    Bolland
    Laich
    Plekanec
    Backlund
    Couturier (my pick for the Selke and Calder)
    Just a freak year.
    Best defensive year in the last 10 years.

    Role #3
    PK
    1/2 PK unit 2.5Min
    A 6.15GA/60 Center

    Equal numbers
    Couturier
    Talbot
    Malhotra
    Gordon

    Slighty better
    kopitar
    Stoll
    Gaustad
    Belanger
    Plekanec

    So I think we have our answer.

    David Boland
    wil get you superior Even results.

    Sean Couturier 1.37M EL
    Thomas Plekanec 5.0M
    will get you better Even & Pk results for horcoffs situation
    but these two fail on the PP

    A combination of
    Gaustad 3.25M
    Fisher 4.2M
    come the closest to covering all three situations>

    While I love the Buy out Horcoff Montra.

    Any time someone says buyout horcoff.
    it says
    1. to lazy to look at replacement
    or
    2. complete lack of understanding of the game
    -were you start
    -who you face
    -with who
    -goals you get
    -goals you give up.
    or
    3. in grade 1-7 and just want to fit in with the peers on HF Board.

    Buy him out.

    The majic hockey fairy will make us a center who can fill his role for 7.5M

    Or we can trade for
    Fisher
    and
    Gaustad.

    Which one of you gets plastic surgery to look like Carrie Underwood.

    Ricki…they don’t “fail” on the PP, they don’t play on the PP and neither should or will Horcoff.

    Playing on one of the top PP units in the league last season, Horcoff scored 3.20 P/60.

    Of forwards who played more that 60 games, that ranks 142nd in the league.

    Now considering each team, on average will have 6 players who get consistent PP minutes, that would rank him, on average, almost at the bottom of those 180 players.

    A team would be much better off signing Dave Bolland, who managed 4.16 P/60 5V4 for $3.5M and Kyle Wellwood, who managed 3.30 P/60 5V4 for $1.6M to go fetch coffee.

    BTW, Bolland put up those PP numbers playing on the 27th ranked PP in the league.

  49. DeadmanWaking says:

    Coke machine master blueprint: big, fast, strong, hard working, and no damn good.

    We know MacT likes three of those with mustard on top. He might even have mentioned a fourth attribute as part of his “input” (which is normally construed here as infinitely more potent than Tambi’s input into his actual job of title-warmer-in-chief).

    MacT might even have repeated the fourth attribute year after year, all the while consistently receiving all five coke machine pleasures in his xmas stocking of babyhead briquettes. Coincidence? I think not.

    It’s a mug’s game to pin a group decision behind closed doors on one member of the group or another, unless you’ve got something strong on the side to back it up, such as MacT quoted as saying in a post draft interview “damn, I hope we got extra helpings of big, fast players who can’t actually play”. Did he ever say that? He did say some remarkable things over the years and I’m not sure I heard them all.

    I’d pin the whole thing on MacT in a heartbeat if he’d been running a pre-draft coke machine tryout camp, and we got what we got after he got a look up close–with pucks on the ice and drills to dispense them.

    OK, that was boring, because we’ve bored this hole before.

    Willis has a nice piece today on Cult: The deal to end the NHL lockout makes the rich richer, plants the seeds for the next labour war

    I’ve said many of these things in less restrained language. For my taste, he doesn’t dig deep enough into why there ought to be revenue sharing from a conceptual perspective (as opposed to mere pragmatics). It’s hard to say he ran out of room, exactly (all blogs have bell bottoms) unless we’re talking room to breathe with his paymaster looking over his shoulder. No, let’s just say it: he ran out of room.

    Let’s imagine as a thought experiment that the eye in the pyramid really exists. For some, this will be easy. This eye in the pyramid blinks open circa 1979 and decides to take mind control over all 22 hockey franchises. We can now consider the entire NHL to be run by one lofty, unblinking eye. Important footnote: no one in the public knows this, except for some large-block Alcoa shareholders who make a lot of noise on BBS discussion forums populated by dimwits and dingle-berries.

    What would this income-amassing all-seeing-eye choose to do with his revenue-raking toy? Thirty years later would there be a team in Phoenix? Would the payroll for this team meet or exceed gate revenues? Would the unblinking eye consider his league broken and unprofitable if this were the case?

    If it’s conceivably rational for the all-controlling all-seeing eye to position a loss-leading franchise in Phoenix and not care about the loss as measured locally, then you have to ask some serious questions about how the NHL franchises are currently apportioning catchment areas and total league revenues.

    The tension underlying these repetitive CBA fiascoes will never go away until this problem is addressed within and among league ownership. Balkanizing the GTA and it’s horseshoe outskirts would be a good start. I would love to see one notorious blowhard disemburke to Hamilton. The eye couldn’t have planned this better.

    OK, that was boring because I violated the 9.5 year moratorium with the dew still wet. Parting shot, I guess.

  50. Captain Happy says:

    Oilanderp:
    hunter1909,

    Wow, why don’t you tell us how you really feel?If you’re arguing that Horcoff’s cap hit sucks then I don’t think you’ll get any argument from anyone.If you’re arguing that Horcoff is a bad hockey player, I think you’re flat out wrong, and here’s why:Horcoff has tread water against the toughs withpretty much completely defensive zone starts.WHO in the heck do we pick out of thin air to replace him?Look at it graphically: (goto page 25)
    http://www.hockeyanalytics.com/Research_files/Player_Usage_Charts_2012.pdf

    You can talk about cap hit all you want but a cheap cap hit doesn’t get the damn puck out of the zone and going in the right direction, actual real hockey players do.I invite you to check out Bolland’s performance in the same quoted article.

    You really should have looked at that more closely before you linked to it.

    Here’s is a direct quote from it:

    “Dave Bolland plays some of the ugliest minutes in the league, and pays for it. The same can be said of Bryan Bickell and Michael Frolik, but to an increasingly lesser extent.

    Thanks to players like them, Jonathan Toews, Viktor Stalberg, Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp can start mostly in the offensive zone and really dominate. ”

    Bolland had much tougher zone starts than Horcoff, tough competition and still managed to outscore Horcoff while sporting a zero on the plus/minus meter while Horcoff was -23.

  51. Oilanderp says:

    Captain Happy,

    You’re reading it wrong. Bolland did have slightly more defensive zone starts, but Horcoff had slightly tougher competition. The point is that Bolland was badly outshit, while Horcoff was more or less even.

    My point is that if you think Horcoff’ is “…washed up.., was [not] all that much to start with, unless you’re looking for the shittiest NHL captain imaginable… pure, unadulterable garbage.” then you’d simply be wrong. If Bolland got badly outshot on the Blackhawks, what do you think would happen on last year’s Oilers? I’d like to have either of them on my team any day, but don’t go around spouting horseshit like that about Horcoff.

  52. mps91 says:

    DBO:
    Smid-Petry
    Shultz-Shultz
    Whitney-Hjalmarsson

    I like that D. Especially if Whitney is healthy, that is the best D we have had since Pronger, and prob strongest 1 through 6.

    Yes, I love the idea. It solidifies things back there and that is a legit, playoff-type top 6. Hjalmarsson isn’t as physical as some would like in that role but he’s mobile and blocks shots. I wonder what they would want in return?

  53. Captain Happy says:

    Oilanderp:
    Captain Happy,

    You’re reading it wrong.Bolland did have slightly more defensive zone starts, but Horcoff had slightly tougher competition.The point is thatBolland was badly outshit, while Horcoff was more or less even.

    My point is that if you think Horcoff’ is “…washed up.., was [not] all that much to start with, unless you’re looking for the shittiest NHL captain imaginable…pure, unadulterable garbage.” then you’d simply be wrong.If Bolland got badly outshot on the Blackhawks, what do you think would happen on last year’s Oilers?I’d like to have either of them on my team any day, but don’t go aroundspouting horseshit like that about Horcoff.

    And, while Horcoff “outshot” Bolland, Bolland “outscored” Horcoff.

    Here’s a look at the SV% of the 4 goalies involved.

    Emery .900

    Crawford .903

    Dubnyk .914

    Khabibulin .910

    Looks like Bolland finishing even was quite an accomplishment.

    And the spouting was all yours.

  54. Dee Dee says:

    I remember an old Kevin Lowe quote when he mentioned something like: “Gee, one day I looked around at our team and I was shocked to see how many defensemen we had”. Had to have been a little after the SCF run.

    Back then the team had a great defence but no offence to speak of. Then he traded away all of the defenders for forwards.

    Then he said we needed more Centers and proceeded to trade away half of the remaining centers.

    I believe Lowe has the best job on the entire planet. Wonder if he will be sending Burkie a box of chocolates.

    With that being said.

    The past few seasons have some pretty awful teams. And bad teams magnify things. They make weak defenses look weaker, and stifle everyone’s statistics.

    If the entire team takes a step forward they will be spending more time in their opponents zone. If they spend more time in their opponents zone they will take pressure off of their defence. This will in turn make them look better.

    Smyth-Horcs were forced to do some heavy lifting the past few years. Lessening their role a little will prolong their effectiveness. Let them play tough minutes and any scoring will be considered a bonus. There’s a whole stable of young’uns that can take over now.

    The defense is thin, granted. One injury away from big trouble, but I’m not going to hold my breath looking for a trade. If it happens it happens.

    Khabibulin is a wild card, anything could happen. He’s playing for his next contract.

    The team has underperformed for many years. We’ll see if Krueger can turn things around.

    Bookies have the team finishing in as high as 6th place in the West. When was the last time that’s happened?

  55. Gerta Rauss says:

    Dee Dee:
    I remember an old Kevin Lowe quote when he mentioned something like: “Gee, one day I looked around at our team and I was shocked to see how many defensemen we had”. Had to have been a little after the SCF run.

    I believe you’re looking for “Holy Mackerel”…:)

  56. VOR says:

    In terms of corsi relative Horcoff was fourth amongst the tough minutes guys (he and the other fourteen centers who played anything like as tough minutes as Horcoff based on Vollman). Marcel Goc – a steal at $1.7 was #1, David Backes at $4.5M was #2, Jordan Stall – not a steal at $6.0M per year was #3, Kyle Brodziak at $2.833M was #4, and Horcoff at $5.5M was 5th. After that there is a gigantic drop off in corsi relative. To put it in context Horcoff was -1.0 and Bolland is -9.7.

    So first, there just aren’t many players in the NHL who face the sort of competition Horcoff is expected to which makes it a bit more difficult to replace him don’t you think?. Several aren’t going anywhere because of their youth (Sean Couturier anyone?). None are coming up for UFA or even RFA in 2013. Therefore saying Bolland is a cheaper Horcoff isn’t true because Horcoff is simply better at the same job – and don’t get me wrong I think Bolland is a great player and still getting better. It also ignores the cost of acquisition. Horcoff costs you nothing but the salary and the Oilers make money and aren’t cap stressed. Bolland costs you assets – trading to get an inferior player in order to save dollars does not take you towards the Stanley Cup. Not to mention you still have the dollars you have spent to buy Horcoff out that aren’t accounted for.

    So the idea of Horcoff and Bolland being interchangable parts is the sort of simplistic and muddled thinking that we have come to know and love from Captain Happy and his fellow multiple personalities.

  57. Oilanderp says:

    Captain Happy,

    You’re arguing that Horcoff is useless. That’s extreme, and is what I would call spouting.

    You support this essentially by citing the plus minus of Dave Bolland.

    I am arguing that Horcoff is at the very least NOT completely useless.

    I am supporting that by showing a chart of the even strength Qoc via RelCorsi (calculated relative to how the team did without him).

    The chart clearly shows that Horcoff is better than useless, and implies that if he were removed from the roster a large hole of responsibility would open up.

    If you disagree, then there is nothing more that I can say except perhaps the Church of Scientology is on line 2.

  58. Lowetide says:

    Horcoff has been pushing a boulder up a hill for a long time, and has been paid well for it. Before we flush him, might want to make sure there’s a better man on the roster.

  59. rickithebear says:

    Traktor,

    is that what you got from that!

    LT: stated it.
    if you buy out you must replace.

    I can replace with better, But!

    7.5 Million? No thanks!

    PP Front net presence.

    Horcoff worked on being a front net man with Smyth.

    Is our win the draw, screen centre. he is amazing in front of the net.

    I look forward to your real analysis showing the best front net presence centers.

    All he ever does is do what is asked of him.
    Thatis a leader you take 100 stitches for!

  60. hunter1909 says:

    Tonight has some of the best commentary ever.

    Oilanderp,

    I agree that Oilers need real hockey players.

    Shawn Horcoff – in any arguable way a fit choice to captain a storied NHL franchise? Clearly not. Now, if you want a tank dynasty(3 1st overall picks which are the envy of 29 other teams), Horc’s your man.

    But seriously, I’m simply too stoked thinking about the five super kids and which other players are going to be able to make the grade as the new dynasty is assembled.

    Horcoff is decent as a defensive player I’ll give you that. Unfortunately for Horcoff, that’s simply not good enough anymore. In my universe, “Real” hockey players don’t fuck up their teams.

    Obviously they might as well keep him on for another season, since it’s not like the management understands where to get replacements for any of their their carefully developed shmucks.

  61. Captain Happy says:

    Oilanderp:
    Captain Happy,

    You’re arguing that Horcoff is useless.That’s extreme, and is what I would call spouting.

    You support this essentially by citing the plus minus of Dave Bolland.

    I am arguing that Horcoff is at the very least NOT completely useless.

    I am supporting that by showing a chart of the even strength Qoc via RelCorsi (calculated relative to how the team did without him).

    The chart clearly shows that Horcoff is better than useless, and implies that if he were removed from the roster a large hole of responsibility would open up.

    If you disagree, then there is nothing more that I can say except perhaps the Church of Scientology is on line 2.

    You are putting value on Rel Corsi.

    I don’t.

    Otherwise we would all be annointing Paajarvi as an accomplished NHL player. But he isn’t.

    Here’s is what really matters:

    GFON/60 1.85

    GAON/60 2.89

    Did Horcoff have a tough row to hoe?

    Sure he did.

    And then he was hung from a tree, cut down, his body doused in gasoline, burned, and, only then did they bury the corpse.

    There are more than a few players who had a tougher row to hoe and the results were much better.

    While I agree with LT that you might want to find a tough minutes centre before sending Horcoff away, they are available every year.

    And none of them cost $5.5 million.

  62. hunter1909 says:

    Advantage Captain Happy.

  63. Lowetide says:

    Paajarvi is on the way to being a fine hockey player, and CorsiRel is part of the equation.
    http://lowetide.ca/blog/2012/04/magnus-paajarvi-11-12-only-love-can-break-your-heart.html

  64. stevezie says:

    The whole debate seems pointless to me. What available player is better than Horcoff? I don’t care if Bolland is better; Bolland is not on the table.

    Horcoff is overpaid. Horcoff is a better option for his role than anyone else in the organization. If you argue with either of those facts, you are crazy.

    You want him replaced? Fine. With whom? And make it realistic.

    If you want to judge Horc purely by last year, this list should be a lot easier to make. I’m not sure that’s fair; speaking for myself, I am planning on a Horcoff bounceback because he looked like a guy who could use the time off. There was a time when this guy was winning skating competitions.

  65. hunter1909 says:

    stevezie,

    Lowetide has three hot button topics: Horcoff, Rob Schremp, MacT.

    Expecting anything other than the hounds of war unleashed once any of these three are mentioned is, imo, crazy. Your post was entirely reasonable btw, until you started chirping about Horcoff’s seemingly effortless, Bobby Orr like skating style.

  66. stevezie says:

    hunter1909,

    Fair enough. We can almost add Gagner and Hemsky to that list.

    Keep in mind a brash young number 10 once took on the best and won at the all-star skills competition.

  67. Oilanderp says:

    I have no irrational attachment to the old captain. It’s just… buddy has a disgustingly hard job and noone else we have can do it better than him. That’s gotta count for something. Next off-season I hope we sign 5 Sidney Crosbys and some Topps cards that end in 00 (they are the best ones). Then we’d be set!

    I was under the impression we needed D, but apparently we just buy out Horc and *poof*: Stanley!

  68. VOR says:

    Lets see, which tough minutes center was available this past off season? Two switched teams – Brandon Sutter and Jordan Stall – both of whom in my opnion would be a significant upgrade on Horcoff but we can see what the relative cost was. One, Pahlsson, has apparently retired, so now there are 14 (including Horcoff). Please, all Horc haters tell me which tough minutes center is it that is available this coming off season? DSF (oh pardon me Captain Happy) keeps saying you can get one every off season… if there isn’t one available this offseason and there wasn’t a free agent tough minutes center last off season then you are spouting BS, all of you. Horcoff is real – your candiates are all theoretical, if ever made real they would cost assets whereas all Horcoff costs is money. So you all of you need to say which candidates it is that are available this year and what their cost of acquistion is and then show that is better than just keeping the tough minutes center we already have. Otherwise it ain’t close – you lose.

    So Captain Happy, you don’t believe in Relative Corsi. So how are you rating the tough minutes? How do you know who is playing tough minutes? If you are basing it on Vollman, which you did above, then you are accepting the validity of relative corsi. If not, oh pray tell what marvelous new sabremetric have you created this time?

  69. VOR says:

    Also, which players had a tougher row to how, Captain. Please tell us. I get Jordan Stall being one. He certainly makes more than Horcoff. Names dude, give us names.

  70. VOR says:

    Finally, Captain Happy – Bolland’s GA/60 was 2.95. Whoops, your own argument proves you wrong.

  71. Marc says:

    Ryan,

    Thanks

    I am actually a lawyer, but in a far less lucrative field than player agency!

  72. rickithebear says:

    Happy : I understand there are better options for individual situations.

    But VOR gets what I am saying.
    Single options cost.
    Two and three players really cost.
    and there is zero chance of getting them.

    Otherwise if the pie in the eye options were available
    We can have anyone we want.

    Going thru this.
    I will be choked if Philly trades Couturier for Luongo.

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