#18 PROSPECT: LUKE GAZDIC

Long time readers of this blog will know that enforcers don’t rate well on the top 20—there wasn’t a great deal of love for Cameron Abney, as an example—but Luke Gazdic is a valuable prospect for two reasons (which we’ll discuss below).

PREVIOUSLY NUMBER EIGHTEEN OVERALL

  • December 2004: L Jani Rita
  • December 2005: G Jeff Deslauriers
  • December 2006: D Mathieu Roy
  • December 2007: C Chris VandeVelde
  • December 2008: L Teemu Hartikainen
  • December 2009: R Colin McDonald
  • December 2010: D Brandon Davidson
  • December 2011: L Phil Cornet
  • December 2012: D Taylor Fedun

By December 2004 Jani Rita was just about where Teemu Hartikainen is today—the Oilers had brought him over to have a look and MacTavish wasn’t impressed—and in the case of Rita a full NHL season was less than one year away (with Edmonton and Pittsburgh). Deslauriers is on every list twice, he was a prospect for 27 seasons, and the GP leader on this list today (believe it or else) is none other than Colin McDonald. He played pro hockey with the Oilers for 4 seasons, they should have signed him to another deal.

WHAT THEY SAID BEFORE EDMONTON

GAZDIC2

  • Les Jackson, Dallas Stars Director of Scouting and Player Development, 2011: “Gaz has really come on since we drafted him. For his role, I think he is one of the most improved players we’ve had. For playing down the lineup, he really knows his role. He’s a real good team player and he’s a real smart guy. I think Gaz has made some good steps ahead.” 

LUKE GAZDIC, BY SEASON

PLAYER TOTAL NHL E (.45)
GAZDIC 2010-11 AHL 72, 9-8-17 82, 5-4-9
GAZDIC 2011-12 AHL 76, 11-12-23 82, 5-6-11
GAZDIC 2012-13 AHL 59, 4-7-11 82, 3-4-7

These are Zack Stortini seasons, and I think that’s where the Oilers are hoping he’s headed as a player. Stortini had value (seriously, he did) as a physical 4line RW who could play a physical game and deliver less-than-ghastly Corsi numbers for this player type. Gazdic has good speed and is a better fighter, but I think that’s the role they see him filling on the team.

The other thing that gives him value comes in the form of asset management: if you have Gazdic and he can fill the role, you don’t have to:

  • trade picks inside the top 100 overall for Mike Brown
  • draft Cameron Abney out of order

I sincerely believe that’s the main value here. Gazdic (and Stortini and Laraque) have very difficult jobs that the organization believes worthy of a roster spot. There’s no math formula I can find to justify this player-type, but the Oilers value him and he’s going to play. The question in regard to Gazdic: how much will he give up? I think Craig MacTavish believes Gazdic is worth the price.

GAZDIC ETA

gazdic

Gazdic is making his stand and stating his case for NHL employment right now. He’s going to play a full season (unless injured) and based on early performance I can’t imagine a scenario where he is outside the NHL in 2014-15. Gazdic is one of three players on this year’s list guaranteed to graduate from it by summer:

  • #7 Anton Belov
  • #12 Mark Arcobello
  • #18 Luke Gazdic

with Taylor Fedun and Tyler Pitlick also among the possibles. I think there’s a very good chance Luke Gazdic is here for the long haul as an Edmonton Oiler. He fits right in, and when he’s involved in the offense (as he was the other night) the reaction from the team tells you everything you need to know: he’s one of them.

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50 Responses to "#18 PROSPECT: LUKE GAZDIC"

  1. VanOil says:

    If Gadzook prevents another break the bank all in UFA chase for a player like Clarkson he is worthy of a raise.

    I may wish that Gazdic spent more time in the press box, allowing prospects with up side potential to play, but I accept that the Oilers want this type of player. He is good at the face punching and less bad at the hockey than many of the recent players in this position. I just wish the 4th line was not Eakins response to goals for or against.

  2. bookje says:

    I am surprised you rated him higher than Yakimov. When are you going to do Yakimov?

  3. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    I’m really aghast at this placement here…

    I’d have all of the following ahead of Gazdic, in rough order:

    Bachman*
    Platzer
    Houck
    Hunt*
    Betker
    Laleggia
    Brossoit
    Zharkov
    Gustafsson
    Rimmer*
    Bunz
    Miller

    I’d have Gazdic clear of (in no particular order):

    K. Jones
    Campbell
    Hamilton
    Martindale
    Abney
    Kessy
    Ewanyk

    Muir is probably the only one I really have no idea about and could go either way on.

    *not sure if they count as “prospects” here or what.

  4. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    bookje:
    I am surprised you rated him higher than Yakimov.When are you going to do Yakimov?

    Ha!

    I didn’t think WG’s question the other day was worthy of this kind of ribbing… but it’s kind of funny all the same.

  5. stevezie says:

    I can live with that.

    I think one of the trickiest parts about being a fighter is getting the personality right. If you’re too aggressive (Domi, Scott) you will be dirty, and if you’re too “honorable” (Laroque, Thornton*) people will ignore you.
    To be an effective fighter I think you need to convey a great reservoir of anger and aggression that you’re willing to control if everyone does what you want. Gazdic seems okay at this. He bangs and crashes but doesn’t seem out to injure, but in that fight with… that COlorado guy he was clearly out send a ruthless message.

    *I think Thornton and Laraque had heard the questions as to whether they were too nice to be effective and started to doubt themselves. I think this showed up in Thornton’s actions last weekend, and in a few of Laraque’s plays while he was in Pittsburgh. I’m basing this on nothing, just pure armchair psychology.

  6. Lowetide says:

    bookje:
    I am surprised you rated him higher than Yakimov.When are you going to do Yakimov?

    Dinks! All of you!

  7. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Lowetide: The other thing that gives him value comes in the form of asset management: if you have Gazdic and he can fill the role, you don’t have to:
    trade picks inside the top 100 overall for Mike Brown
    draft Cameron Abney out of order
    I sincerely believe that’s the main value here.

    You said this about Brown too…

    I see the value, but I also am not convinced the team follows the same logic as you think they do here.

    And, the draft table was re-set by MacT, I think regardless of current roster.

    But… really, it’s your list… it should probably reflect value not falling into the “asset management” camp.

  8. Lowetide says:

    Romulus Apotheosis:
    I’m really aghast at this placement here…

    I’d have all of the following ahead of Gazdic, in rough order:

    Bachman*
    Platzer
    Houck
    Hunt*
    Betker
    Laleggia
    Brossoit
    Zharkov
    Gustafsson
    Rimmer*
    Bunz
    Miller

    I’d have Gazdic clear of (in no particular order):

    K. Jones
    Campbell
    Hamilton
    Martindale
    Abney
    Kessy
    Ewanyk

    Muir is probably the only one I really have no idea about and could go either way on.

    *not sure if they count as “prospects” here or what.

    All count as prospects, and all will be listed at some point (I haven’t decided whether to do top 30 in this format or 21-40 in one giant post).

    Suggestions? Which would you prefer? Drawn out? Or all at once?

  9. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    VanOil: If Gadzook prevents another break the bank all in UFA chase for a player like Clarkson he is worthy of a raise.

    He ideally prevents the team having 1) too many of these players; and 2) chasing more of them when current roster has one.

    But, he won’t prevent the hunt for the great white whale of a top 6 forward with thumbtacks for thumbs.

  10. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Lowetide: Suggestions? Which would you prefer? Drawn out? Or all at once?

    Middle ground?

    Maybe in chunks of 3 or 5?

  11. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Romulus Apotheosis:
    I’m really aghast at this placement here…

    I’d have all of the following ahead of Gazdic, in rough order:

    Bachman*
    Platzer
    Houck
    Hunt*
    Betker
    Laleggia
    Brossoit
    Zharkov
    Gustafsson
    Rimmer*
    Bunz
    Miller

    I’d have Gazdic clear of (in no particular order):

    K. Jones
    Campbell
    Hamilton
    Martindale
    Abney
    Kessy
    Ewanyk

    Muir is probably the only one I really have no idea about and could go either way on.

    *not sure if they count as “prospects” here or what.

    Oh… in that bottom list, add Tuohimaa

  12. Lowetide says:

    As for the ranking, I’m placing him here for TWO reasons. One, the one Rom has mentioned, is the value he offers in that the spot is covered and we’re not chasing waterfalls.

    Second, IF he can become Stortini (a low event 4line player with a physical side) I do sincerely believe that has value.

  13. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Lowetide: Second, IF he can become Stortini (a low event 4line player with a physical side) I do sincerely believe that has value.

    Shouldn’t we — if we target 4th line bruiser that isn’t terrible — target a little higher, i.e., in the Clifford range?

    The game has changed since Storts last full season with the Oil and is only going to continue to…

  14. Romulus Apotheosis says:
  15. Caramel Obvious says:

    Lowetide:
    As for the ranking, I’m placing him here for TWO reasons. One, the one Rom has mentioned, is the value he offers in that the spot is covered and we’re not chasing waterfalls.

    Second, IF he can become Stortini (a low event 4line player with a physical side) I do sincerely believe that has value.

    That’s funny. It evokes a nice image. http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Chasing%20Waterfalls

  16. Lowetide says:

    Caramel Obvious: That’s funny.It evokes a nice image.http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Chasing%20Waterfalls

    I swear this happens to me once a month now. Phrases and words have changed meaning!

  17. theres oil in virginia says:

    No one has scored against the Kings since Dec 3. 7 periods of shutout hockey and counting. MTL was wearing them out the other night in the first, and LA came away 2-0 after 1 period, en route to 6-0. Rope-a-dope?

  18. boxman says:

    LT I really like Gazdic but then I’m older than Hirt. He has really good senses on when step up and when to just glare. Since the playoffs are just a pipe dream I wish they would try throwing him up with the Nuge and Eberle ala Semenko.

  19. justDOit says:

    Just looked at the upcoming schedule. They better run Gadzooks through the Katz Clonenator 3000 a few times. There’s a storm a bruin.

  20. Brackenburied says:

    Caramel Obvious: That’s funny.It evokes a nice image.http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Chasing%20Waterfalls

    Lowetide: I swear this happens to me once a month now. Phrases and words have changed meaning!

    What, old birds wanting you to pleasure them???

  21. fifthcartel says:

    In this TOR-LAK game Lupul sees there’s a 2 on 1, decides to fight Voynov so the play is called dead before they can score. Probably the only time fighting has actually effected a game.

  22. stevezie says:

    Brackenburied,

    Some one give these old birds my number; I’m not busy running a blog and have all kinds of time.

  23. justDOit says:

    Tuukka out – Mucha in.

    Boston BruinsVerified account
    ‏@NHLBruins
    Tuukka has been hit by the flu bug so B’s invited goalie Kurtis Mucha from U of Alberta to practice with the team today as the 2nd goalie^CS

  24. nelson88 says:

    Shocked to see an enforcer on LT’s list but agree that they have likely found their man for the role. Right age, has some skill, good sense of when to step up and although he is not a nuclear deterrent he can certainly more than hold his own with the heavyweights. The McGrattan draw and Bordeleau (sp?) clock cleaning proved that.

    Welcome to the “cluster” young man.

  25. Juicy Judy says:

    stevezie,

    Pick one who has a pension.

    You can thank me later.

  26. Lowetide says:

    You guys. DINKS!

  27. gcw_rocks says:

    Wow, how bad is the prospect pool for this guy to rank?

  28. nelson88 says:

    Moroz with his 18th and 19th of the season.

    Who is the last WHL comparable if he runs a 40/65/200 stat line. Kyle Beech? Hasn’t done much as a pro but he was a pretty famous prospect coming out of junior.

  29. RexLibris says:

    nelson88:
    Moroz with his 18th and 19th of the season.

    Who is the last WHL comparable if he runs a 40/65/200 stat line. Kyle Beech? Hasn’t done much as a pro but he was a pretty famous prospect coming out of junior.

    18th and 19th what? Goals? Fights?

    ;)

  30. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    RexLibris: 18th and 19th what? Goals? Fights?

    burgers?

  31. nycoil says:

    LT,
    Why do you hate Yakimov so much?

    Watching the Hawks-Flyers game. Wish we’d managed to sign Raanta for the backup goalie position. And man, the Hawks can score at will. Perhaps some day again…

  32. Yeti says:

    RexLibris: 18th and 19th what? Goals? Fights?

    Waterfalls, clearly.

  33. bookje says:

    RexLibris: 18th and 19th what? Goals? Fights?

    Older ladies seeking waterfalls?

    Send him to LT for advice, he is the master at dealing with those.

  34. stevezie says:

    bookje: he is the master at dealing with those.

    So that’s what he meant by “DINKS!”. Good advice LT

  35. Pouzar says:

    Where’s Riesen on this list?

  36. Fixall with Rexall says:

    So your saying his value only exists when you put it in context. If there were no fighting he would probably be unemployed but because we can’t trust our management or less specifically, NHL ideologies, he helps us sleep at night, but not for anything he does on the ice.
    I hate fighting.

  37. Lowetide says:

    Fixall with Rexall:
    So your saying his value only exists when you put it in context. If there were no fighting he would probably be unemployed but because we can’t trust our management or less specifically, NHL ideologies, he helps us sleep at night, but not for anything he does on the ice.
    I hate fighting.

    This.

  38. Racki says:

    He fits his role quite well and is getting better at not treating the puck like a hand grenade. As a fighter, he’s pretty good at what he does. As a player, he just plays a simple game with few mistakes. Like it or not, fighting exists in the game and isn’t going away anytime soon whether you agree it should be in the game or not. His ~5 mins per game isn’t a concern, but he adds some excitement for us neanderthal fans despite the limited minutes.

  39. Hammers says:

    Lowetide: All count as prospects, and all will be listed at some point (I haven’t decided whether to do top 30 in this format or 21-40 in one giant post).

    Suggestions? Which would you prefer? Drawn out? Or all at once?

    Do 21-40 save all of us . Hell the top 20 have a hard enough chance of making it let alone the bottom 20.

  40. G Money says:

    Romulus Apotheosis: burgers?

    How did this thread suddenly become all about Theo Peckham?

  41. Hammers says:

    I do agree with Gazdic’s rating as this “type of player” continues to be needed not in every game but when & if a coach feels the need . The other point is that it allows Eakins to play his 4th line 8-9 minutes with Gazdic getting say 5 and Hall & Perron an extra couple each . With Lander as 4th line center with any of Jones , Joensuu or Smyth on one wing & Gazdic spelled by whomever is hot on any given night it should work .

  42. G Money says:

    Quotes from Claude Julien and Milan Lucic. Think the Oilers would listen?

    Julien “To look at a team, because they’re lower in the standings and think you don’t have to be ready for them is a lot of crap in this league. I think if you lose respect for any team that you play, you’re in the wrong business.”

    “But we’re not good enough right now to start looking at the standings and decide how we should play and how much effort we should put in our games.”

    Lucic:
    “Right now, I think, with guys out of the lineup, it’s up to the leaders to step up and set the tone right off the start and keep it going for the full 60 minutes.”

    “… There’s going to be ups and downs. You’re going to go through injuries and illnesses and all that type of stuff. But you’ve got to find a way to battle through it. We’re just trying to make sure that we control the controllables. That’s effort and staying sharp. That’s what we’ve always talked about here. Put all your egos aside. It’s about building a foundation, playing the right way. Playing in our structured game plan is what gives us our success.”

  43. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    G Money: How did this thread suddenly become all about Theo Peckham?

    Pancakes?

  44. spoiler says:

    Lowetide: I swear this happens to me once a month now. Phrases and words have changed meaning!

    It’s like we’re communicating in some kinda weird mix of ghetto rap and Cockney rhyming slang.

    lol…

  45. Henry says:

    Lowetide,

    Drawn out please. These posts on the individuals are really useful.

  46. jp says:

    Lowetide,

    I also like drawn out. Up to 25 at least. There are at least a couple of guys who aren’t going to make the top 20 list I’d like to hear more about.

  47. Bank Shot says:

    Henry:
    Lowetide,

    Drawn out please.These posts on the individuals are really useful.

    They are always interesting for sure, and its not like we have a playoff run to talk about or anything.

  48. Lowetide says:

    Okay, well I’ll go to #25 because there’s some interesting names to come and then we’ll review again.

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