SCOTT CULLEN LOOKS AT THE OILERS

Among national media sorts, Scott Cullen at tsn’s ‘off-season game plan’ features are outstanding: thorough, heavy on advanced stats and with enough projection to make for genuinely interesting reading. Cullen is a frequent guest on my radio show, and I hope to have him on in the next week or so, but wanted to discuss some of the points he made in this year’s edition of the Oilers Off-season game plan.

The article is here, and Cullen’s most interesting capgeek user-generated roster is here.

Cullen’s use of shot differential and other advanced stats to make his points is sensational, and because he’s looking at the right things (imo) his conclusions are sound and his solutions reasonable. We’ve been watching and monitoring msm for signs of advanced stats usage, so an article that uses them to establish team needs and then solutions is worthy of an ovation.

Cullen’s conclusions about this Oilers group:

  • The Oilers should get help up front from Maxim Lapierre and Dainus Zubrus
  • Sign Mark Streit for the blue
  • Add Jose Theodore to the goaltending depth chart
  • Trade Hemsky
  • Buy out Horcoff
  • Elevate Klefbom to the NHL

Now, we all have our own lists (my solutions are Boyd Gordon, Viktor Stalberg, Streit, Khudobin, keeping Hemsky and Horcoff, respectively) but the point is Cullen’s post could appear on any respected Oilers blog and be treated as an intelligent, reasoned assessment of need and solution. Do that for all 30 teams and I’d say you’re bordering on genius.

Outstanding work, with a hat tip for being savvy and using behind the net and the Vollman sledgehammer to drive the point home.

The Barons won last night, Tanner House took a hit and was knocked out of the game. That article also details a $50,000 donation from the Barons, the league and players (proceeds from the game) to help in the OKC recovery.

Over at Oilers Nation I wrote an item on Sam Gagner (MacT Job 1: Signing Samwise) and it got some nice response. One of the exchanges was with my good friend speeds and it got me thinking about length and term. Here are our viewpoints:

  • Diehard: LT, what would you be comfortable with? Would you do 5/6 years at cap hit 4.75?
  • Lowetide: I’d be fine with $4.5M times 4 or 5. The length may seem to be severe, but he’s young and should cover.
  • speeds: Severe? If Gagner goes UFA, there is only a small chance IMO that he doesn’t get a 7 year deal if he wants to sign for that long in the summer of 2014, assuming nothing out of the ordinary next season.
  • Lowetide: 7 years? I like Gagner a lot, but seven years is a long, long time.
  • speeds: 

    He would also be the youngest UFA of all time, according to MacT (group 3 UFA, I’m assuming he meant), if he becomes unrestricted next summer.

    I don’t disagree that 7 years is a long time, but it’s an unusual situation. Gagner would be 31 when that hypothetical 7 year deal, signed next summer, would be over.

What say you?

This morning at 10 on the Lowdown with Lowetide (Team 1260), we’ll be talking Oilers and off-season during extended open line time. Scheduled to appear:

 

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61 Responses to "SCOTT CULLEN LOOKS AT THE OILERS"

  1. Undisclosed_Personal_Reasons says:

    On Gagner – I’d like to see the Oil draft a C with the first pick this year (Lindholm, Monahan, Barkov) and sign Gagner to a 3 year deal. By the time Gagner’s contract is nearing its end they should have enough of a read on whether this year’s pick is going to fill the 2nd line centre role (possibly 1st line if they get a gem). At that point they can make a decision about whether to keep Gags.

  2. jonrmcleod says:

    Interesting that Cullen kept Belanger in his mock Oilers’ lineup rather than Horcoff.

  3. Lowetide says:

    jonrmcleod:
    Interesting that Cullen kept Belanger in his mock Oilers’ lineup rather than Horcoff.

    Yeah, I suspect that won’t happen but it’s interesting to see that was his take. Also had Hartikainen and Lander on the roster.

  4. jonrmcleod says:

    Lowetide,

    Have you been able to learn anything about Hemsky’s trade value? I think the Oilers are probably ready to cut ties with with and will be willing to trade him for a solid 3rd line player.

  5. D says:

    LT,

    Is this the first time in NHL history that the last four Stanley Cup Champions are meeting in the semi-finals? Interestingly, with Detroit being the final team to go down last night, that was the last five Champions.

  6. Henry says:

    I think the key for Gagner’s deal is not giving him an NTC. Just make it a policy much like Tambi did. If the numbers are high ($5M is high) but not exorbitant even a 7 year deal can be moved (if necessary) because of his age and steady production.

    NTCs really constrain an org and should not be thrown in willy-nilly. The player should have to pay significantly for them in the negotiation.

  7. CockyHockey says:

    Just like all of us passionate Oilers fans, Cullen has loads of fantastic advanced stats analysis and articles to read about the Oilers. My bet is he peiced together some various sources and revealed a summary to call his own. LT, I wouldn’t be praising him for any original work…but if he proves as thourough on all other 29 teams (who most of them don’t have the passionate advanced-stats coverage as our beloved), then I’ll eat my words.

  8. Henry says:

    Zubrus would be interesting.

    Streit maybe, but he is well on the back nine. I was pleased with the Belanger signing on July 1st, not so much on December 1st.

  9. spoiler says:

    LT

    I find it very interesting that you would sign Stalberg to play behind Ebs, Yak and Hemmer on RW.

    Why? What’s your reasoning for that move?

  10. RexLibris says:

    CockyHockey:
    Just like all of us passionate Oilers fans, Cullen has loads of fantastic advanced stats analysis and articles to read about the Oilers.My bet is he peiced together some various sources and revealed a summary to call his own.LT, I wouldn’t be praising him for any original work…but if he proves as thourough on all other 29 teams (who most of them don’t have the passionate advanced-stats coverage as our beloved), then I’ll eat my words.

    His piece on the Flames was bang-on. His metrics showed that they had one top-six forward worthy of the title, and just barely at that, in Lee Stempniak. The defense was under too much pressure, that goaltending wasn’t just a disappointment but an actual catastrophe and that the best prospects in the system are all in the “swing for the fences” range.

    I think that part of the reason his articles appear to be an amalgam of other perspectives we read in the Oilogosphere is that most sane minds are all more or less in agreement about the direction the team is heading, we’re just quibbling over which lane to take on the highway.

    I may not agree with Cullen on some of his prescriptions for the Oilers (I’d keep Horcoff and remove Belanger) but I think he makes a good point..

  11. mumbai max says:

    I say sign Gagner for as cheap and as long as possible. 4.5 x 6 for instance. If his contract
    is reasonable then it increases his trade value. I think we need to get used to the idea that
    a 50-60 point 2nd line center is worth 5m a year, and that is likely to increase.. He would easily get that on the open market.Tie him up for a ‘home town’ discount for as long as possible. He STILL won’t be 30 even at the end of that contract. That will probably cover all of his peak years. Depending on what happens at the draft, with UFA’s, and what needs can be filled by moving Hemsky, prospects and future picks, then decide what to do with Gagner. For now sign him up for the longest term possible.

  12. russ99 says:

    IMO we need two new centers minimum. Belanger and one of Horcoff/Gagner won’t be back.

    I’m also wary of plugging in Streit to the top pairing. With his decline in play, he should be a #3. Streit and a better defensive defenseman would be optimal.

    I’m still very hopeful of a brand new experienced quality 3rd checking line this fall, as that’s the surest route to the playoffs.

  13. mumbai max says:

    spoiler,

    One assumes Hemmer is gone in that scenario.

  14. Lowetide says:

    spoiler:

    LT

    I find it very interesting that you would sign Stalberg to play behind Ebs, Yak and Hemmer on RW.

    Why? What’s your reasoning for that move?

    I have Stalberg on LW, tsn has him either. Has he never played LW? I wonder if tsn knows.

    http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/teams/players/bio/?id=5978

  15. jake70 says:

    Henry:
    I think the key for Gagner’s deal is not giving him an NTC.Just make it a policy much like Tambi did.If the numbers are high ($5M is high) but not exorbitant even a 7 year deal can be moved (if necessary) because of his age and steady production.

    NTCs really constrain an org and should not be thrown in willy-nilly.The player should have to pay significantly for them in the negotiation.

    Couldn’t agree more. A NMC should be paid for dearly by a player. These NMCs give these player almost UFA status…..get his big contract from a “desparate” team, play a year or 2, then quietly ask for his trade if things don’t go well, puts his GM over a barrel, and then pick his team…..ridiculous (but hey, good for player). Do the deal with term and money, THEN if the player wants his no move, you start your negotiations for this off the original deal..DOWNWARD in money and term. Easier said than done I am sure.

    I hope if they sign Gagner long-term, this or similar approach is taken.

  16. mumbai max says:

    Lowetide,

    He was playing right wing for the Hawks prior to being scratched.

  17. Hall Awaits says:

    spoiler,

    Stalberg is a left wing and would slot onto the second line.

  18. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    On the Cullen list.

    It is an excellent assessment of need and systemic problems IMO. I think we can argue about a few of his solutions though.

    For my part I chose to interpret his solutions in the vein of LT’s, i.e., of the “in the family of” variety.

    The most important part is recognizing the right problems and Cullen is bang on here.

    LT:

    “(my solutions are Boyd Gordon, Viktor Stalberg, Streit, Khudobin, keeping Hemsky and Horcoff, respectively)”

    you forgot Tyutin.

    Also… It is interesting that some people are full names and others aren’t… we all do this and it rarely feels or reads unnatural (and it doesn’t here), but it just jumped out at me and I find it funny.

  19. Lowetide says:

    mumbai max:

    Lowetide,

    He was playing right wing for the Hawks prior to being scratched.

    Played last night unless I drank too much. Hey, if he can’t play LW I’ll revoke my naming of him to the Oilers starting lineup. It does happen from time to time (Erik Cole). That aside, I assume he can play either wing.

  20. mumbai max says:

    Rondo,

    Why would the Oil not sign him and bring him to camp. Who knows, maybe he shoots the lights out! He would seem to be worth more back in NA, at a camp, and doing well. This is an asset that is going to waste. Give him 850K for one year, and see what happens.The perfect sweetener for the mythical 3 for 1 deal. Maybe it needs to be 4 for 1 to make it work, and bingo, there is Linus ready to be tossed in. Get him to hold on to a bag of pucks, in case that is required too.

  21. mumbai max says:

    Lowetide,

    according to this link he played right wing last night. trying to find out more

    http://www.www2.dailyfaceoff.com/teams/lines/19/chicago-blackhawks

  22. mumbai max says:

    Lowetide,

    According to the NHL.com Hawk webpage depth chart he is listed at right wing behind Hossa and Kane. Yahoo Sports has him as a left winger.

    Aaah, finally a definitive answer, this quote from The Hockey News.

    assets:

    Is an incredibly fast skater that can blow by defenders. Also owns a big frame and some scoring ability. Can play on either side of center.

  23. BlacqueJacque says:

    Stalberg is the next Eager. The man rides the pine in Chicago on such a regular basis in these playoffs that only Tambellini would sign him and expect a significant upgrade.

  24. sliderule says:

    Stalberg shoots left.

    Probably has played both sides like a lot of euros

  25. Нинтендо⁶⁴ says:

    Hah. Nice to see what happens when a ref decides not to interfere with the game by penalizing both players. The back ref had 2 real options. Let the play develop or signal a delayed penalty to Quincy. But he did the cheap offsetting call to avoid affecting the game and he almost bolloxed the whole series.

    Kerry Fraser ‏@kfraserthecall:

    @timcurrell as the back Referee you have benefit of seeing entire play develop up ice. aggressor on the hit/infraction at bench was Quincy

    … when he doubled Saad over into bench then body slammed Hawk to ice. At this point I see 1 penalty to Det player!

    … l Saad weak right glove back @ Quincey did not equate as coincidental minor. Play should have been allowed 2 continue w/ Hawk poss

  26. Lois Lowe says:

    When I read Cullen’s column yesterday I thought it was penned by LT or JW.

  27. Cobbler says:

    I dislike the inclusion of Belanger for next year and he obviously had the Horcoff buyout in there. Not sure this helps the team and makes us weaker down the middle.

    The addition of Streit and Klefbom on D as the only changes and the thinner lineup at C would likely put this team outside of the playoffs again.

    I like that 4th line lots.

  28. Bar_Qu says:

    Нинтендо⁶⁴,

    The problem with the reffing wasn’t the coincidental minors after the fact, but that the whistles got put away 2 series ago and the players are playing with the assumption anything short of gunfire is “playoff hockey”. Call a game consistently and you will have fewer of those situations. Mind you, there will also be fewer close series because the skill teams with a PP will waltz past the teams which up the clutch-n-grab to keep pace in the playoffs.

    But I’d also cut out one ref to get back to allowing a single guy to manage the flow of a game. 2 refs has done nothing noteworthy for the NHL.

    I wouldn’t sign Gagner to more than 5 years, but it may be necessary to give him 6-7 just to keep the dollar figure reasonable. I doubt he takes less than 5 mill for a less than 5 year deal.

  29. rickithebear says:

    Filpulla injured in a uncalled incedent with shaw. Shaw standing over him filpula on the ice.
    refs go in. league says what the!
    Given directive!
    Qiuincy and Chicago player goes to ice.
    Ref calls play on directive.

    What disappointed me was none of the detroit players gave hjarlmalsson the stinky glove for shooting the puck into the net after a whistle.

  30. WeridAl says:

    Lois Lowe:
    When I read Cullen’s column yesterday I thought it was penned by LT or JW.

    When I saw Mark Streit mentioned, I would have to wonder about it being penned by LT, with Mark Streit looking for more than 3yrs at around 5M no thanks. Give it up LT. Jose Theodore still thinks he’s a starter, no thanks, there is some better UFA goalies that would be a better fit.

    In the Baron game, House wasn’t just knocked out of the game but knock out by a vicious hit to the head. Could be out for a number of games or the rest of the season. The AHL needs to do something about Terry Koharski, very poor officiating, lucky the game didn’t get out of hand. Eager did his job and went after the goon that hit House, and then gave Koharski a earful resulting in him getting kick out.

  31. Rondo says:

    What pick # does Edmonton have in the 2nd round #37 and ?

  32. godot10 says:

    With the inability to bury bad contracts anymore, the Oilers should NOT be offering Gagner more than 5 years, and probably 4 at a maximum.

    4 x $4.5 million would be ideal. I think 5 x $4.5 is one year too many.

  33. Vaclav says:

    The idea of signing Max Lapierre makes me throw up a bit in my mouth but I also think it’s a good idea to acquire decent players from divisional opponents who will have something to prove every time they play against their former team ala Kyle Brodziak.

  34. Bar_Qu says:

    Rondo:
    What pick #does Edmonton have in the 2nd round #37 and ?

    #37, 56

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2013_NHL_Entry_Draft#Round_2

  35. Rondo says:

    Bar_Qu,

    Thanks,

    I wonder what

    37 + 56 + Omark = ?

    or any combo of that

  36. Clay says:

    I would find it very difficult to have to start cheering for Max Lapierre.

  37. speeds says:

    I’m not necessarily advocating for signing Gagner to a 7 or 8 year deal this summer (although I would if the terms were right, if I were the GM), I’m only saying that he could likely get one next summer if he were so inclined.

  38. leadfarmer says:

    Rondo,

    Well Omark might get you a conditional 7th round pick so he’s not even a throw in.

  39. WeridAl says:

    leadfarmer:
    Rondo,

    Well Omark might get you a conditional 7th round pick so he’s not even a throw in.

    Omark should still get you around a 3rd or a 4th, the Oilers wouldn’t of protected him if he was worth a 6th or 7th.

    I’ve been hearing that Stalberg has a questionable attitude, do you really want him on a young team like the Oilers. I would take a shot at Bryan Bickell, his consistency is questionable, but he would be cheaper.

  40. Truth says:

    Jeff Schultz wants out of Washington

    http://prohockeytalk.nbcsports.com/2013/05/30/report-washingtons-schultz-requests-trade/

    Where else would he want to go other than the team with the highest Schultz’s per capita? Probably a less physical Fistric replacement. +50 one year, though*.

    *Ovechkin

  41. hags9k says:

    Stalberg…Why are we aiming so low? Make a hard run at Hartnell. Hemsky and Marincin.

  42. Truth says:

    Clay:
    I would find it very difficult to have to start cheering for Max Lapierre.

    I second that opinion. Although he probably falls into the category of hating him when you play against him and loving him when you play with him. Just a whiny, diving, cheapskate, all talk but no action Canuck to me right now.

  43. Ribs says:

    Truth:
    Jeff Schultz wants out of Washington

    http://prohockeytalk.nbcsports.com/2013/05/30/report-washingtons-schultz-requests-trade/

    Where else would he want to go other than the team with the highest Schultz’s per capita?Probably a less physical Fistric replacement.+50 one year, though*.

    *Ovechkin

    I guess Schultz was the guy being shopped back when every team was scouting Caps games. Interesting. I wonder what the asking price was then, and what it is these days. Could be a mighty useful pickup.

  44. DBO says:

    Edmonton Oilers ‏@EdmontonOilers 2m
    #Oilers have agreed to terms with Omsk (KHL) defenceman Anton Belov (46GP 9G 17A in 12-13) on a one-year entry level contract.

    Anyone know anything about ths dman?

  45. DBO says:

    according to elite prospects

    views: 9881
    Anton Belov

    Birthyear: 1986-07-26 Birthplace: Ryazan, RUS
    Age: 26 Nation: Russia
    Position: D Shoots: L
    Height: 193 cm / 6’4″ Weight: 98 kg / 216 lbs
    Youth Team: Mechel Chelyabinsk Contract: 12/13

    Their notes on him:
    A large defenseman, Belov is still an excellent skater. He can control the offensive game with his passing skills and hard shot. Could improve his defensive game.

    So 6’4 216 lbs and some offensive ability. nicely done MacT

  46. fifthcartel says:

    6 foot 4 and can move the puck, wonder if he starts in Edmonton or OKC.

  47. engineer says:

    Belov was suspended for 3 months for PEDs.

    Is a regular for team Russia. This guy ought to challenge for top 6 on the Oil. Alternative to Grebs, I guess.

  48. DBO says:

    Talk is he is NHL ready. Good O, not so good D. Hopefully this pushes Klefbom to minors to start so he is not rushed. Prob 3rd pairing to start.

  49. dessert1111 says:

    He was rumoured to be going to the Pens earlier today, apparently had 5-7 teams interested in him. From what I’ve read he’s a #1 KHL defenseman, one of the best in the league, and can be reasonably expected to make an NHL roster, at least the Oilers’ NHL roster. Although with transitioning to North American style and all that, a number of things can go wrong.

    My guess is this is Mark Fistric’s (or Corey Potter’s?) spot in the line-up. Now they just need to get a top-4 guy.

    Although it is entirely possible they don’t add anyone else and transition Klefbom/Marincin/Fedun instead.

  50. DBO says:

    engineer,

    Wonder if they still go for Grebeshkov. More of a vet with decent offense but better all around game. More Comrades for comrade Horcov and Yakupov! Also would allow them to move Shultz the elder.

  51. Truth says:

    Corey Pronman ‏@coreypronman
    New EDM D Anton Belov was one of the top offensive D in the KHL this year. Big man with skill who can skate. Not much defensive value.

    “Not much defensive value” is scary to the Oilers who don’t hold much value in playing defense.

  52. jfry says:

    This indicates that we’re not afraid of Russians and nikuchin is in play at 7?

  53. Ribs says:

    No idea who the guy is, but this is kinda funny…..

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=3r44G5whC94

  54. DBO says:

    from World championships this year:

    NAME Team GP G A PTS +/- PPG SHG GWG PIM SHOTS
    Anton Belov RUS 8 1 3 4 8 0 0 0 4 9

    4 points in 8 games. Solid.

  55. DBO says:

    Ribs,

    Wow. So he has a nasty streak and he kicked a guy down on the ice. OK, I like him.

  56. Truth says:

    Ribs,

    Nice. Big fan already. Mac T addresses size, the need for mobile defensemen, and unpredictability in his first signing.

  57. BlacqueJacque says:

    Truth,

    So…. Lapierre is kind of a Tikkanen?

  58. OilClog says:

    Can’t really every agree with Cullen’s take on much. The fact that he keeps Belanger on the roster shows just how little actually game play he’s watched of the west. And it’s not just his take on the Oilers that usually rubs me the wrong way, he is really biased towards the East.

    Again not sure on any of his player choices.. maybe Streit.. but I’m looking for younger help now, and later options before I sign the 35yr old.

    If you can get Gagner on a 6yr 4.5 deal.. do it. As long as he keeps providing his level of offense that contract will always be movable with value.

  59. Truth says:

    BlacqueJacque,

    ha. That would be a good comparison. Tikkanen was in his own class though.

  60. art vandelay says:

    I wonder what 37 + 56 + Omark = ?

    Bag o’ pucks.

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