Oiler fans love the Finns. The Republic of Finland sent us their best children back in the 1980′s, and we adopted Risto and Jari, and did our best to understand Esa. We’re like family, Oiler fans and Finns. Connected at some basic level, where brilliant hockey, an appreciation of it, and the love of life lived fully intersect–it’s a bond we could never have with a nation like England. Not enough sunshine, not enough good hockey players. Finland? It’s like someone visiting from Saskatchewan for the weekend–comfortable, satisfied. Home.
And so it gives me no great pleasure to identify Lennart Petrell as the redheaded step child. Honestly, we’re going to have to send him back. Sorry.
Lennart Petrell 11-12
- 5×5 points per 60: 0.83 (11th among regular forwards)
- 5×4 points per 60: nil
- Qual Comp: 11th toughest faced among regular forwards
- Qual Team: 10th best and worst available teammates among regular forwards
- Corsi Rel: -16.1(14th best, worst on team. 355th out of 368 in NHL>40 games)
- Zone Start: 48.7% (9th toughest among regular forwards)
- Zone Finish: 41.5% (14th best among regular forwards)
- Shots on goal/percentage: 36/11.1% (7th best among F’s >35 shots)
- Boxcars: 60, 4-5-9
- Plus Minus: -10 on a team that was -26
Lennart Petrell 12-13
- 5×5 points per 60: 1.36 (8th among regular forwards)
- 5×4 points per 60: nil
- Qual Comp: 12th toughest faced among regular forwards
- Qual Team: 14th best and among regular forwards
- Corsi Rel: -18.2(14th best, 2nd worst on team. 383rd out of 395 in NHL)
- Zone Start: 35.8% (2nd toughest among regular forwards)
- Zone Finish: 45.2% (14th best among regular forwards)
- Shots on goal/percentage: 23/13.04% (3rd best among F’s >20 shots)
- Boxcars: 35, 3-6-9
- Plus Minus: -4 on a team that was -15
- What do these numbers tell us? He improved year over year. Petrell had a tough zone start and still managed to post a 5×5/60 inside the top 9, and posted the same number of points as one year ago in basically half the games.
- But there’s a problem? Well, yes. He’s not very good at even strength. His CorsiRel ranks him at the very back of the line again this season, and we’ve seen this twice now. I think improvement means getting rid of pretty much the entire 4th line, and Petrell is part of that group.
- Name the wingers you’d keep ahead of Petrell. Hall-Eberle, Yakupov-Hemsky, Paajarvi-Jones, Hartikainen-Brown, Rajala.
- All of them? Yes, except Eager and Hordichuk.
- BROWN? You’d keep Brown? Sure, the Oilers like to have one guy who punches people and Brown’s fine by me.
- Will he get picked up by another team? I don’t think it matters. Petrell has played almost 1,000 NHL minutes now, and he had a nice penalty killing season in 11-12. He can hit people (63) and block shots (22) and he can skate well and he can score once in awhile, but Petrell is kind of the poster boy for that MacT quote last month.
- The one about non factor? Yes. The entire quote was: “We have to add some role players. In today’s NHL, even marginally, you have to be a threat to score. We had a lot of guys that the best they were going to be in any given game was a non-factor. The few times that they did (produce), we ended up winning those games. We’ve got to get more of an impact from them and add some complementary pieces.”
- That’s harsh. After the last 7 years, I’ll take a bushel of harsh over ten miles of inertia.
- You should say something nice about him. He’s a throwback as a checker. Aggressive on the forecheck, backchecks like hell and isn’t afraid to lift the stick and steal puck. Plus he’s a solid positional player, he’ll hit the opponent–not to knock his teeth out, but to take him out of the play–and change the on-ice equation. And he doesn’t back down plus he can handle the puck and has nice passing skills. Petrell has this thing he does on the PK where he goes stealth in the neutral zone and then darts into the play when the puck carrier hits center ice. It’s very effective, old timey too. Used to do that a thousand years ago.
- Well, that sounds good. It doesn’t work, the puck the puck the puck.
- You know what I’ve seen before? A headline that read ‘Oilers sign Petrell! Confuse Hundreds!’ It was thousands.
- So we’re sending Finland one of their own. With love and a wish for a warm summer.