HEAVEN AND HELL IN THE NHL

Oscar Klefbom made his NHL debut last night in Minny. The early portions of the game were a train wreck, the kinds of moments that NFL Follies turned into a lucrative television factory. After that, the young man settled in and made some very nice plays—adept passes in his own zone, stepping up to break up plays in the neutral zone, mobile moments when everything went as planned, and even a lucky assist. 15 minutes, he survived, now it’s on to St. Louis.

Klefbom is the second member of the Oilers’ 2011 Entry draft to make it to the NHL, joining the Nuge. That draft has a few prospects still percolating (Dillon Simpson, Martin Gernat, Tobias Rieder, David Musil, Travis Ewanyk, Frans Tuohimaa) and may end up being MBS’ best draft (the current leader in GP is 2008, but 2010 and 2011 will eventually run right by).

We are in the Jim Dorey-Mike Pelyk-Ricky Ley phase of Oiler defense development. It went like this in Toronto: the guy everyone agreed would be the best (Pelyk) ends up being only average while the crazy one (Dorey) ends up being the best. The lesson here: find the crazy.

Klefbom joins Marincin at the front end of the Goldrush, I imagine we’ll see Gernat and Simpson and Nurse and maybe even Eklbad along soon. Sometimes a Musil will slide in (he’s the toughest in pro right now, Nurse will be when he arrives) there but this group will push out a bunch of mid-level guys soon. It’ll be like passing a house on the side of the road.

THE MARLIE MOB

So far this season, former Toronto Marlie players have eaten up a number of at-bats. Ben Scrivens, Mark Fraser, Will Acton, Ryan Hamilton have played for Edmonton in year one, and I still think Paul Ranger could end up in Edmonton. I like Scrivens a ton and have no objections to this type of movement (the coach knows these guys) but there is some danger here. Edmonton has drafted, procured and developed players in the AHL who are coming to the end of their contracts (Lander, Arco, Pitlick) and the team will need to make a decision on them. I think it’s important to see Pitlick (as an example) down the stretch and see if he might be the guy to take over the 4line RW job next season.  And if there are more Marlies to come, let’s hope MacT aims higher, like Scrivens. That’s a helluva addition no matter where he comes from.

There’s chatter about Mark Fraser signing with the Oilers, I suspect that means the end of Belov here. With Ference, Marincin and Klefbom signed for next season, and Petry plus Justin Schultz RFA, Fraser would make six out of seven for next season. The club might send Klefbom down to the minors to start the season, but it’s getting mighty crowded for a blueline that we can all agree needs a great deal of work. Disconcerting? I’d say that’s the right word.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

Ann Margret10 this morning, TSN 1260. A lot to get to today! Scheduled to appear:

  • Ryan Batty, Copper and Blue. Klefbom’s debut, the win last night, Hall’s comments on Corsi.
  • Mike Ringrose, Associate Coach of the Spruce Grove Saints and associate director of Vimy Hockey. We’ll talk Saints season (10 losses!) and teaching offensive skills.
  • Corey Graham, Oil Kings PBP on TSN 1260. The club won a tight battle last night, and are on the road tonight.
  • Jeff Hauser, Radio Hauser. We’ll talk NFL free agency, including what the hell is Dallas doing?
  • Jeff Krushell, Krush Performance. Talkin’ baseball! and Rich Peverley.

10-1260 via text and @Lowetide_ on twitter. It’ll be a blast! Send your roundabout questions!!!!

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123 Responses to "HEAVEN AND HELL IN THE NHL"

  1. icecastles says:

    Hopefully some of these signings are value two-way deals that either are easily tradeable (better to get even a seventh round pick than to let someone walk for nothing) or give the team some call-up depth. I’ve got no objection to having defensemen at the ready who, while not truly NHL calibre, have some experience in the big league and playing within the coach’s system.

  2. frjohnk says:

    Lowtide,
    Its great to have all these prospects on the blueline but
    what happens if Marincin, Klefbom and Nurse (maybe Ekblad) are in the top 7 next fall? Do the oilers look at trading one of them in a package for an established top pairing Dman?

  3. HugThePost says:

    Keeping Fraser instead of Belov violently goes against this notion that MacT and Eakins wanted to build a ‘possession’ team.

    Do you think it was the singular incident of Gagner getting Kassian’ed in the pre-season that caused the team to change their course?

  4. Woodguy says:

    There’s chatter about Mark Fraser signing with the Oilers,

    MacT said a few time lately that the OIlers’ holes were “obvious”

    I assume he means the sorry state of the Dcorps.

    He may also mean the lack of puck battles won by a group of forwards, but I think its very safe to assume that he’s talking mainly Dcorps.

    I simply refuse to believe that MacT looks at the mess that is the D and thinks “Fraser helps”

    There’s just no bloody way a sane hockey person comes to that conclusion.

    Therefore I refuse to believe the chatter.

    MacT didn’t want to re-sign Fistric

    Why would he sign a slower and worse version of Fistric?

  5. su_dhillon says:

    Happy for Klefbom but scared that next years upgraded D includes 85 and 84 both in the top 6.

    LT I have no problem with the team and part of the fan base wanting the Fraser player type but good god almighty are there not going to be 50 guys available that provide those things but can also play the game a little? As Ryan Batty tweeted yesterday about Fraser, Aim Higher. Im not sure anyone has described the plight of the Oilers more succinctly than #AimHigher.

  6. Mark-LW says:

    Woodguy,

    Why would he trade for him? At this point nothing will surprise me. I fully expect them to resign Fraser and then try to trade for David Clarkson.

    Total train wreck.

  7. НИНТЕНДО⁶⁴ says:

    “and maybe even Eklbad along soon”

    Might be moot whether they prefer Ekblad or the forwards. The Islanders have played 2 more games than the Flames and Panthers. So there is now very little daylight between lottery picks 2 through 5. Heaven is more winning. Hell is losing the lottery and picking 6th. What this this team needs is to to keep their eyes on Heaven.

  8. rich says:

    High on the list of priorities this summer has to be finding a legit top pairing d-man. What it will take to procure that is going to be a challenge, but you can’t go into next season with a d-corps of: Petry, Marincin, Schultz, Ference, Klefbom, ??? and Fraser.

    What MacT will have to give up to solve that problem is going to be interesting. If they are in a position to draft Ekblad, would they trade that opportunity…or Nurse to get a legit top 2 NOW?

    If they don’t bring in a legit top pairing d-man, I can’t see the Oilers making any significant climb up the standings next season. This is just too big a hole.

    I will give them credit where it’s due. Not rushing Marincin or Klefbom has allowed them to develop on their timeline. Given this, I’d be very concerned if they rushed Nurse up to the pro’s. Let him get another year in juniors and then get at-bats in the AHL for a season to adjust.

    We wait.

  9. Pouzar says:

    I thought Klefbom was fighting some nerves early on. I think when nervous, the hands don’t work like they should. Then the kid settled in. Loved the little behind the back pass to Ferrence on the half boards which started a nice breakout.

  10. stevezie says:

    Woodguy,

    Kudos to the Oil scouting staff- those fools in Toronto thought he was an 8th at best, but it turns out he is a 20-minute defenceman! Getting him for a KHLer is a pretty good trade, eh?

    heheheheh

  11. stevezie says:

    Woodguy: Why would he sign a slower and worse version of Fistric?

    All trolling aside, I am more confused than apoplectic. I (and WIllis and Bruce, according to CoH) don’t hate Fraser as much as you do, but I think it is clear there are better versions of Fraser out there (Fistric!). If you want the type as number 7 that’s fine, but get a good version. Hell, Belov has more upside, no?

  12. stevezie says:

    Mark-LW: I fully expect them to resign Fraser and then try to trade for David Clarkson.

    If Toronto wants a mulligan there might some merit to this. As Dellow has pointed out the contract is uniquely structured so as to make a buyout almost pointless, so if the Leafs wanted out from under it, maybe I would give them Musil for Gardiner and Clarkson?

    This is in some fantasy world where the team that fell in love with Clarkson now considers him less than worthless, but it only makes sense if they’re wrong. Maybe I’m not making sense, but MacT was at least right about the utility of a Clarkson-type and God knows someone is going to buy low on Gardiner, might as well be me. Us. Them. Oilers.

  13. leadfarmer says:

    Their record in the next 6 games will speak a lot to where they finish, cause the last 10 games are almost guaranteed loses.

  14. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    caught first two periods last night. weird game, oilers game really.

    so, EDM wins… Minn gets all 3 stars:

    http://www.nhl.com/gamecenter/en/boxscore?id=2013020983

  15. thejonrmcleod says:

    I wouldn’t mind the Oilers signing Fraser if he’s their seventh defenseman who’s content to be a short-term injury replacement. (Though I personally probably wouldn’t sign him.) Maybe they’re thinking of a two-way contract?

  16. rickithebear says:

    Woodguy: MacT didn’t want to re-sign Fistric

    Yes the 3 year @ 1.25M MacT claimed he offered offered for the 9th best EvGA dman last year! did not happen.
    And
    Anaheim giving him 3yr @ 1.27M did not happen either.

  17. Woodguy says:

    Mark-LW:
    Woodguy,

    Why would he trade for him? At this point nothing will surprise me. I fully expect them to resign Fraser and then try to trade for David Clarkson.

    Total train wreck.

    He traded the rights to two players that MacTavish had no plans on ever using (Harski, Abney), so its kinda like a free test drive.

    That being said, the test drive has shown he is below NHL ability imo.

  18. Ducey says:

    Mark-LW:
    Woodguy,

    Why would he trade for him? At this point nothing will surprise me. I fully expect them to resign Fraser and then try to trade for David Clarkson.

    Total train wreck.

    You know, its getting harder and harder to hang out here.

    This type of bitchy, pointless, and negative comment really is becoming too common place around here.

    The only people that know anything about hockey are guys with a sliderule, a blog handle, and a cable contract. Right.

    Everything is just black and white. Its obvious. If only if MacT was a smart as you, eh?

    I continue to be astounded that supposedly smart people don’t take into account things like intimidation, confidence, experience, and development. Maybe they never played hockey. Maybe they forgot about the time when they were lined up against the big guy wiith a mean streak and gave up the puck a little more easily.

    Hall, Yak and the rest are going to play better if they have full confidence. If they are playing a team that punishes them, and intimidates them, they are likely to be less effective.

    You can bet that every opposing coach asks his team to be physical with the young Oilers in the hope that they will back down.

    If you are MacT you understand this. If you are around here you start at bubbles and ignore it.

    The obvious way to deal with the problem is to get bigger and more veteran (and therefore less likely to be intimidated) players. It is easier said than done. Big players who can actually play are coveted by all teams and are very hard to get.

    So you wait for your young players to mature. You get interim players like Fraser to try and mitigate some of the intimidation and keep your team’s confidence up. You keep trying to get the coveted players without selling the farm.

    Mark Fraser is not going to block anyone. He is not going to prevent them from signing anyone. He is not going to make the difference of whether they make the playoffs next year.

    He is a 6/7 defenseman FFS!

    And David Clarkson has a no trade and is likely to bounce back.

    **** End Rant******

  19. Woodguy says:

    stevezie:
    Woodguy,

    Kudos to the Oil scouting staff- those fools in Toronto thought he was an 8th at best, but it turns out he is a 20-minute defenceman! Getting him for a KHLer is a pretty good trade, eh?

    heheheheh

    Ha!

    “I think we found your physical Dman MacT!”

    *high fives all around*

  20. The Great One says:

    “22. Heard a couple times now that Edmonton took a long look at Buffalo’s Tyler Myers. That’s getting shot down. Think the name came up, but it was decided pretty quickly there wasn’t a match.”

    Friedman’s 30 thoughts:

    http://www.cbc.ca/sports-content/hockey/opinion/2014/03/30-thoughts-canucks-brass-must-resist-panic.html

  21. Woodguy says:

    Ducey,

    Appealing to the authority of the management ground that hasn’t made the playoffs in 8 years isn’t very convincing.

    So you wait for your young players to mature. You get interim players like Fraser to try and mitigate some of the intimidation and keep your team’s confidence up. You keep trying to get the coveted players without selling the farm.

    Explain exactly how Fraser hitting a guy after the whistle makes Eberle win more puck battles please.

    Why does everyone think you have to get giant players to be better against LAK, ANA, SJS?

    CHI beats them by icing more skill.

    COL has been beating them with skill and good goaltending.

    Oilers are a lot closer to icing 3 skill lines + Gordon line than they are icing MOARBIGGOOD players.

    Playing bad hockey players does not make a team better.

  22. Pouzar says:

    Ducey,

    I you can find a more objective forum of Oiler fans let me know cause HF and ON ain’t it.

  23. Pouzar says:

    The Great One,

    That can only be interpreted 8000 ways. Elliotte needs clearer thoughts

  24. Mark-LW says:

    Ducey,

    Ducey: Maybe they forgot about the time when they were lined up against the big guy wiith a mean streak and gave up the puck a little more easily.

    Fraser has a 40.5% CF 5v5 close. I don’t think his ‘mean streak’ is helping anything. When an organization has been as bad as the Oilers have been, they do not deserve the benefit of the doubt.

  25. justDOit says:

    A quote from Jagr:

    “These young kids, they don’t do it anymore. They just go straight out with the best speed they have and hit the boards and go the other way. But (Kane) is different. That’s why he can dominate the league because he plays a different style. He slows everything down but he has the first two steps so nobody can take the puck from him even though he’s not a big guy.

    “His intelligence is far ahead than a lot of guys (and) he knows how to use the strength he has to his advantage. Not many guys can do that.”

  26. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Woodguy: MacT didn’t want to re-sign Fistric
    Why would he sign a slower and worse version of Fistric?

    As Rikki, confusedly expressed no doubt, pointed out… MacT offered Fistric a 3 year deal and the two parties couldn’t come together on the terms.

    He walked from Peckham for making the team go get Fistric.

    Matty’s been saying MacT’s wanted a 3rd pairing meat-hammer all year. trading for Fraser proves him right. The coach saying nice things about him, playing him over 21 minutes and Stauffer saying they might re-sign him all suggest if they don’t re-sign him, they’ll re-sign someone like him.

    I completely hope they can find a Sutton (as you suggested earlier), i.e., a high end Fraser type, but from here it sure looks like they want this type of player more than they want a good version of it.

  27. Caramel Obvious says:

    stevezie: If Toronto wants a mulligan there might some merit to this. As Dellow has pointed out the contract is uniquely structured so as to make a buyout almost pointless, so if the Leafs wanted out from under it, maybe I would give them Musil for Gardiner and Clarkson?

    This is in some fantasy world where the team that fell in love with Clarkson now considers him less than worthless, but it only makes sense if they’re wrong. Maybe I’m not making sense, but MacT was at least right about the utility of a Clarkson-type and God knows someone is going to buy low on Gardiner, might as well be me. Us. Them. Oilers.

    I would do this. The negative with Clarkson is the contract. However, I think the Oilers are going to have a hard time spending to the cap and if they do spend to the cap it will only be by signing a free agent to a long, bad, contract.

    So if you take the long, bad, contract for granted (and I think you should) then this amounts to getting Gardiner for free.

  28. Mr DeBakey says:

    Ducey: You know, its getting harder and harder to hang out here.
    This type of bitchy, pointless, and negative comment really is becoming too common place around here.

    Yeah
    That’s why I hardly comment anymore, all I can think of are bitchy & negative.

    I’ve heard that players like a goon or two on the bench, makes them more comfortable about the shit goin’ on in the corners.
    But, surely the Oilers should be aiming higher than Fraser.

  29. Woodguy says:

    Romulus Apotheosis: As Rikki, confusedly expressed no doubt, pointed out… MacT offered Fistric a 3 year deal and the two parties couldn’t come together on the terms.

    He walked from Peckham for making the team go get Fistric.

    Matty’s been saying MacT’s wanted a 3rd pairing meat-hammer all year. trading for Fraser proves him right. The coach saying nice things about him, playing him over 21 minutes and Stauffer saying they might re-sign him all suggest if they don’t re-sign him, they’ll re-sign someone like him.

    I completely hope they can find a Sutton (as you suggested earlier), i.e., a high end Fraser type, but from here it sure looks like they want this type of player more than they want a good version of it.

    i forgot that he offered Fistric a contract.

    Love the 3rd pairing Meat Hammer line.

    Yes, Mac wants one.

    I see why.

    Fraser should not be that player as he is not a NHLer.

    I loved Sutton.

    Had the biggest Corgi among the Dmen that year too.

    If they want a Meat Hammer for the 3rd, get a Sutton, not a Fraser.

  30. Bag of Pucks says:

    Ducey

    I continue to be astounded that supposedly smart people don’t take into account things like intimidation, confidence, experience, and development.Maybe they never played hockey.Maybe they forgot about the time when they were lined up against the big guy wiith a mean streak and gave up the puck a little more easily.

    Hall, Yak and the rest are going to play better if they have full confidence.If they are playing a team that punishes them, and intimidates them, they are likely to be less effective.

    You can bet that every opposing coach asks his team to be physical with the young Oilers in the hope that they will back down.

    If you are MacT you understand this.If you are around here you start at bubbles and ignore it.

    The obvious way to deal with the problem is to get bigger and more veteran (and therefore less likely to be intimidated) players.It is easier said than done. Big players who can actually play are coveted by all teams and are very hard to get.

    So you wait for your young players to mature.You get interim players like Fraser to try and mitigate some of the intimidation and keep your team’s confidence up.You keep trying to get the coveted players without selling the farm.

    Mark Fraser is not going to block anyone.He is not going to prevent them from signing anyone.He is not going to make the difference of whether they make the playoffs next year.

    He is a 6/7 defenseman FFS!

    And David Clarkson has a no trade and is likely to bounce back.

    **** End Rant******

    Some great points here. Fully agree that some posters on here likely never played competitive hockey a day in their life and thus the struggle to understand this.

    Hockey is a physical game where fighting, intimidation and belligerence do factor into the mix.

    You’re either prepared to deal with these things as a team or you’re not. For every Lafleur, Shutt and Mondou on his team, Scotty Bowman had tough bastards like Robinson, Savard and Lemaire. And yes, the tough guys could play. It helps a ton when they can. Otherwise you’re left with bandaid solutions like MacIntyre, Eager, Hordichuk, Fraser, etc.

  31. RexLibris says:

    Bag of Pucks,

    I don’t think that a person’s athletic background necessarily comes into their ability to understand the concept of needing a player willing to be aggressively physical on a roster.

    Where the disconnect lies is that there are those who want a player to be just that, a player first and foremost, who can then bring a physical presence.

    As Woodguy noted above, Andy Sutton would be a good find for this team right now. Mark Fraser isn’t and, again, as another commenter noted above (Mark-LW), this organization has lost the benefit of the doubt.

    Credibility is gradually being restored, but there need to be more gains in that area.

  32. knighttown says:

    Woodguy:
    There’s chatter about Mark Fraser signing with the Oilers,

    MacT said a few time lately that the OIlers’ holes were “obvious”

    I assume he means the sorry state of the Dcorps.

    He may also mean the lack of puck battles won by a group of forwards, but I think its very safe to assume that he’s talking mainly Dcorps.

    I simply refuse to believe that MacT looks at the mess that is the D and thinks “Fraser helps”

    There’s just no bloody way a sane hockey person comes to that conclusion.

    Therefore I refuse to believe the chatter.

    MacT didn’t want to re-sign Fistric

    Why would he sign a slower and worse version of Fistric?

    I think one of the most fun things about this blog is trying to piece together based on interviews and comments, what the game plan of the men in charge truly is. As much as it seems like there isn’t a clear direction, we know there has to be.

    You need to remember that even a General Manager doesn’t make decisions without lots of input from is advisors; assistant GM, coaching staff, owenership, scouts etc. I suspect that GM Craig came in with a game plan to play with skill and possession based on:
    -the personnel. He made a comment about being “so far down the path with small, skilled guys…” that it doesn’t make sense to change gears now.
    -his belief about having guys that can play. Again, comments about having face punchers being useless unless they can take a shift. Also talked openly about needing 4th liners who are a threat to score.

    Most of us were pretty damn pleased in the offseason and preseason other than the one glaring hole in the middle. I remember being horrified that they’d open with no Nuge (shoulder) and so have Gagner, Gordon, Lander and Arcobello who we had never heard of.

    So sorry, off topic, but for the most part the team concept was kind of exactly in line with what the average LT reader would have done. We avoided the huge Schneider trade because we though Dubby was fine. We expected Petry/Smid to be a capable first pairing because they were one year prior. We had brought in tons of options on the blueline and looked like we could go 9 deep (2, 5, 19, 21, 15, Potter, Belov, Grebs, Larsson), all proven NHLers plus Belov whose creds were excellent. And amazingly enough, we had 3 scoring lines which was unheard of. Something like:
    4-93-14, 94-89-83, 57-27-64, 28-51-xx

    We knew the first pairing and kids could more than saw off against the toughs leaving Schultz and either 89-83 or 57-64 to destroy the soft parade.

    There was buy-in. The kids were going to be able to play their kind of hockey and the domination would begin. Not a Cup contender yet but should beat up some of the weaklings and scare enough good teams to play meaningful games in the Spring. But then Kassian happened and the centre depth and piss poor goaltending sent us on a death march.

    Around the time of the Gagner injury and lack of a response, I believe some of the other voices began to grow louder. Remember, outside of mother’s basements, the general consensus is that the Oilers needed to be bigger, stronger and tougher to play against. MacT went and got SMac and Gazdic and those moves were so far off his song sheet you’ve got to think it was a hat tip toward his worker bees.

    Once the losses started piling up, only an insanely stubborn person (say Brian Burke) would be willing to still say “NO! I am right and this will work and we don’t deviate from this plan while I sit in this chair!”

    He began to make more “customary” GM moves in an effort to get better goaltending, bigger, stronger and tougher to play against. We know the coach gave up on his system cause the guys lost a lot early on and I expect the GM did too.

    So instead of building towards a Chicago style team that moves the puck so quickly it keeps the bigs from coming near them, we’ve regressed into a Chicago/LA hybrid where we’ve combined the shittiest versions of both of them. We’ve got the big plodders that LA as without the ability to start or break a cycle and we’ve got the little speedy, skilled guys making high risk plays like Chicago without enough talent through the lineup to actually make it work. It’s like some grotesque Frankenstein monster of a team.

    I think that’s the ultimate horror to this season. We had a team that although wasn’t perfect, was built similarly to the way we would have built it and it completely fell on its face. The optimistic (or stubborn) person would have seen the goaltending and centre depth and puck luck and stayed the course. MacTavish and Eakins, both rookies in the jobs, wavered and now we’re in the middle of what I expect will be a great migration to become a mini-St.Louis. Yes, I believe that means another rebuild.

    What do you do when you create a plan, execute it very well and the outcome is an unmitigated disaster?

  33. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Woodguy: i forgot that he offered Fistric a contract.

    Love the 3rd pairing Meat Hammer line.

    Yes, Mac wants one.

    I see why.

    Fraser should not be that player as he is not a NHLer.

    I loved Sutton.

    Had the biggest Corgi among the Dmen that year too.

    If they want a Meat Hammer for the 3rd, get a Sutton, not a Fraser.

    Yep.

    Sutton was a very pleasant surprise. Still peeved he had to retire early. Easily one of Tambo’s rare good moves.

    A mean guy that can actually play the game would be a blessing in the same way LT holds up Gazdic (and Brown before him) in that it keeps the mgt. from chasing more of these guys, but even better than that since they can play.

    that’s an interesting project. mean 3rd pairing guys who can actually play. Any thoughts?

    my immediate thought is Ference actually.

  34. Clay says:

    justDOit:
    A quote from Jagr:

    “These young kids, they don’t do it anymore. They just go straight out with the best speed they have and hit the boards and go the other way. But (Kane) is different. That’s why he can dominate the league because he plays a different style. He slows everything down but he has the first two steps so nobody can take the puck from him even though he’s not a big guy.

    “His intelligence is far ahead than a lot of guys (and) he knows how to use the strength he has to his advantage. Not many guys can do that.”

    I know this is a bit off topic, but holy smokes, that’s some high praise. If I were Kane, I’d have all that put on a big plaque and hang it in the middle of my trophy room. If Jagr thinks you’ve “got it”, you’re doing a whole helluva lot right!

  35. Clay says:

    knighttown,

    “What do you do when you create a plan, execute it well and the outcome is an unmitigated disaster?”

    Well, normally you fire the people who developed such a terrible plan, but in this case, Oilers.

  36. Hammers says:

    Hoping Klefbom gets a few games if not the rest of the season . This is a good time to find out where he may fit .I would have liked Fedun to get a shot but it looks doubtful . LT Am I mistaken or is Gags ( with all the same warts ) slowly getting back to where he was last year and if he is will McT keep him . Somehow I think he will . As for last nights game they still don’t work for 60 minutes and that’s on the coaching .

  37. justDOit says:

    Clay: I know this is a bit off topic, but holy smokes, that’s some high praise.If I were Kane, I’d have all that put on a big plaque and hang it in the middle of my trophy room.If Jagr thinks you’ve “got it”, you’re doing a whole helluva lot right!

    Well, I think ‘slowing the game down’ part of that quote is exactly on topic – if the topic is what’s wrong with the Oilers. When isn’t that the topic?

    Maybe MacT would be smart to back up the Katz money truck to Jagr’s residence?

  38. Pouzar says:

    Hammers:
    Hoping Klefbom gets a few games if not the rest of the season . This is a good time to find out where he may fit .I would have liked Fedun to get a shot but it looks doubtful . LT Am I mistaken or is Gags ( with all the same warts ) slowly getting back to where he was last year and if he is will McT keep him. Somehow I think he will . As for last nights gamethey still don’t work for 60 minutes and that’s on the coaching .

    God I hate watching Sam Gagner play hockey. Please God No. I wanna take that mouthguard and stick it where the sun doesn’t shine. WE have twice the player in Arcobello rotting in OKC for a 10th of the cost. I swear if Samwise is with this team next year I am done.

  39. VOR says:

    I was just thinking about team toughness and how as the 1979-80 season was winding down the Montreal Canadiens acquired Cam Connor. Pierre Bouchard had retired and the kid they’d picked up to replace him was proving a bit passive so they needed a goon. A few games later they sent out five face punchers at once in a game, I think it was against Philly. What they shared in common was that if they dropped their gloves you really didn’t want to engage. Montreal gooning it up, imagine that.

    The center was Doug Risebrough as tough a team leader as ever played hockey. On left wing, out of position, was Cam Connor. Neither guy was well hinged but both could really play hockey (look at Connor’s WHA numbers, and his brief stint with the Oilers, or his final season in the AHL). The right winger was a young man still struggling to find his way in the NHL and about all that could be said about him in 1979-80 was that he was a willing fighter. A few years later in Pittsburgh Patty Hughes would emerge as one of the NHL’s true tough guys and in Edmonton he’d prove he was an actual player, a very valuable one. The defence pairing was Gilles Lupien, tall and tough, an adequate NHL defenceman with a mean streak whose much more famous now as one of the NHL’s top agents. His partner, the kid that couldn’t fill Pierre Bouchard’s shoes no matter how much the Canadiens tried to turn him into a goonish 5/6 D-man, was Rod Langway (didn’t pick fights but he didn’t lose them either).

    Skill and toughness aren’t mutually exclusive. Andy Sutton was a perfect example. Getting it cheap is the tricky part. Having a lot of players with both skill sets on your team is part of being a winning franchise. Having a surplus so you can ice a fourth line of face punchers like Montreal did that night is the key to being a dynasty.

  40. rickithebear says:

    Woodguy: Love the 3rd pairing Meat Hammer line.
    Yes, Mac wants one.
    I see why.
    Fraser should not be that player as he is not a NHLer.

    Completely agree!

    But Fistris’s 1.46 EVGA/60 last year and 1.78EVGA/60 this year makes him a great start to one of the better EVGA d pairs in the game. which gives you a EVGA mulligan for the other two d pairs.

  41. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Draisaitl with 1-1-2 +2 last night leaps over Reinhart in the scoring race:

    http://www.whl.ca/stats/show/type/top_scorers/ls_season/last

    caveat: he’s got games in hand.

  42. admiralmark says:

    Romulus Apotheosis says:
    March 12, 2014 at 10:36 am
    Yep.

    Sutton was a very pleasant surprise. Still peeved he had to retire early. Easily one of Tambo’s rare good moves.

    A mean guy that can actually play the game would be a blessing in the same way LT holds up Gazdic (and Brown before him) in that it keeps the mgt. from chasing more of these guys, but even better than that since they can play.

    that’s an interesting project. mean 3rd pairing guys who can actually play. Any thoughts?

    my immediate thought is Ference actually.

    I wonder would Matt Greene fit that 3rd pairing role at this point? or has he regressed too much? Pricey($2.95) but only 1 year left on contract?

  43. Well Oiled and Enthusiastic says:

    Pouzar,

    Gagner isn’t coming back. In the same way Dubnyk torpedoed MacT, so has Gagner. He really has embarrassed MacT for awarding him that deal (even though MacT’s hand was forced). I’m certain he has been chewing wallpaper having to play him (for optics and damage mitigation) while Arco tears it up elsewhere for a fraction of the expense. He couldn’t move him this season for fair value, but he has to over the summer. If he brings him back for next season and they are face planting early, MacT gets fed the green wiener (along with Eakins). Professional suicide i think. As MacT has aged and taken on this role, I don’t think he is sentimental or sympathetic. He is submarining him at first legit opportunity.

  44. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    admiralmark: I wonder would Matt Greene fit that 3rd pairing role at this point? or has he regressed too much? Pricey($2.95) but only 1 year left on contract?

    You sound like Matty!

    I think Matty is projecting here, but it’s entirely possible MacT goes back to Greene.

    http://somekindofninja.com/nhl/usage.php?f1=2013_s%2B2012_s%2B2012_p%2B2011_s%2B2011_p%2B2010_s%2B2010_p%2B2009_s%2B2009_p%2B2008_s%2B2008_p%2B2007_s%2B2007_p&f2=5v5&f3=Matt+Greene&f5=&f4=&f7=&bubbleType=corsiRel&yAxis=qoc&update-filters=Update+Results

    Not my favorite guy. But, he’s a clear and distinct upgrade on Fraser. I’d worry they’d pay him too much, for too long, too high up the batting order.

    There’s a tendency in the free agent market to reward players from good teams for team success. Ference comes to mind here again.

  45. Pouzar says:

    Well Oiled and Enthusiastic:
    Pouzar,

    Gagner isn’t coming back. In the same way Dubnyk torpedoed MacT, so has Gagner. He really has embarrassed MacT for awarding him that deal (even though MacT’s hand was forced). I’m certain he has been chewing wallpaper having to play him (for optics and damage mitigation) while Arco tears it up elsewhere for a fraction of the expense. He couldn’t move him this season for fair value, but he has to over the summer. If he brings him back for next season and they are face planting early, MacT gets fed the green wiener (along with Eakins).Professional suicide i think. As MacT has aged and taken on this role, I don’t think he is sentimental or sympathetic. He is submarining him at first legit opportunity.

    Boy I hope you are right. Do think they make a run at Jordan Staal this offseason? I would love Stastny but that’s a pipe dream.

  46. gvblackhawk says:

    Ducey: You know, its getting harder and harder to hang out here.

    This type of bitchy, pointless, and negative comment really is becoming too common place around here.

    The only people that know anything about hockey are guys with a sliderule, a blog handle,and a cable contract.Right.

    Everything is just black and white.Its obvious.If only if MacT was a smart as you, eh?

    I continue to be astounded that supposedly smart people don’t take into account things like intimidation, confidence, experience, and development.Maybe they never played hockey.Maybe they forgot about the time when they were lined up against the big guy wiith a mean streak and gave up the puck a little more easily.

    Hall, Yak and the rest are going to play better if they have full confidence.If they are playing a team that punishes them, and intimidates them, they are likely to be less effective.

    You can bet that every opposing coach asks his team to be physical with the young Oilers in the hope that they will back down.

    If you are MacT you understand this.If you are around here you start at bubbles and ignore it.

    The obvious way to deal with the problem is to get bigger and more veteran (and therefore less likely to be intimidated) players.It is easier said than done. Big players who can actually play are coveted by all teams and are very hard to get.

    So you wait for your young players to mature.You get interim players like Fraser to try and mitigate some of the intimidation and keep your team’s confidence up.You keep trying to get the coveted players without selling the farm.

    Mark Fraser is not going to block anyone.He is not going to prevent them from signing anyone.He is not going to make the difference of whether they make the playoffs next year.

    He is a 6/7 defenseman FFS!

    And David Clarkson has a no trade and is likely to bounce back.

    **** End Rant******

    Your body language tells me that you are angry.

  47. gcw_rocks says:

    admiralmark,

    In November I looked at what the follow teams spent by line. Here is the 3rd pairing numbers at the time (in ’000s):

    Pittsburgh $4,275
    Boston $3,300
    Chicago $4,900
    Detroit $3,125
    San Jose $2,500
    Vancouver $2,100
    Average $3,367

    A third pairing of Greene and Ference would cost $6,200K. Which, interestingly, was close to the second pairing average of $6,146K.

    Gotta spend that cap space wisely.

  48. gvblackhawk says:

    Pouzar: Boy I hope you are right. Do think they make a run at Jordan Staal this offseason? I would love Stastny but that’s a pipe dream.

    They might take a shot at Legwand, too, if he is available. Would need to overpay to land either Legwand or Stastny.

    My bet is that Gagner stays if they can’t get a decent return for him. His last quartile of games has been more reasonable and it appears that Hall makes him better (surprise!).

    The real question is: which of the top 6 players will be moved in order to improve the defense?

  49. gvblackhawk says:

    Pouzar: Boy I hope you are right. Do think they make a run at Jordan Staal this offseason? I would love Stastny but that’s a pipe dream.

    Oh yeah. Jordan Staal has a NMC. Do you think that he would waive it to go to the Oilers? The odds are very low.

  50. Big Dan says:

    Mark Fraser is not re-signing. Relax guys. MacT wants dmen badly – he watches the games just like us – but has learned it is extremely difficult to pick them up in the regular season. Fraser was a freebie for the rest of the season to add a little bit of a physical presence and glue after Potter, Schultz, and Belov (saved by an injury) were torpedoed out.

    I highly doubt Belov would re-sign with this mess. He’ll be a Pen on July 2nd.

    MacT knows Fraser’s not that great but he’s not going to deal away a 2nd rounder for a Meszaros type when we’re not making the playoffs. He’ll find somebody better this summer. MacT even talked about stop gaps a couple weeks before that trade. Relax!

    I really liked Klefbom’s game in the 3rd. And I like the Matt Greene rumor but Alec Martinez (a big downgrade) is likelier. Lombardi stockpiles guys like Greene, Regehr, and Scuderi.

    My bet would be Gagner for Clifford/Martinez this summer, seeing that Gaborik has fizzled out in LA so far. Cap hit seemed to be the only stumbling block – LA wanted us to eat dollars – and Lombardi went to Plan B (Gaborik) when MacT wisely balked.

    Ference-Schultz
    Marincin-Petry
    Nurse (first 9 games) & Klefbom (after)- VETERAN
    Extra: Martinez

    I am hoping for VETERAN to be a trade for a #1D like say Andrei Markov (trade and sign for 3 year, $18M?).

    I am dreaming he’ll be Shea Weber.

    It will be Ekblad if we draft first overall.

    It could be a core 25-minute guy (not Ehrhoff but somebody like that) for the first pick if we don’t finish last.

    Or the most likely scenario is Braydon Coburn (for say Musil or Gernat). Holmgren tried to hose MacT at the draft but he’s going to have cap issues even after Coburn and Meszaros are dealt.

    That’s because I think a blockbuster Weber for the likes of Couturier/Simmonds/etc will materialize on draft day.

    Why else is Nashville stockpiling puckmovers? They don’t want to pay $22M on July 1st for a guy that doesn’t want to be there.

  51. gogliano says:

    Romulus Apotheosis:
    Draisaitl with 1-1-2 +2 last night leaps over Reinhart in the scoring race:

    http://www.whl.ca/stats/show/type/top_scorers/ls_season/last

    caveat: he’s got games in hand.

    Part of the good news here is that Draisatl’s uptick is making the 4th pick overall look a little more valuable today than it was when he wasn’t scoring. We have a decent chance of sliding into that spot on draft day.

  52. НИНТЕНДО⁶⁴ says:

    gogliano: Part of the good news here is that Draisatl’s uptick is making the 4th pick overall look a little more valuable today than it was when he wasn’t scoring.We have a decent chance of sliding into that spot on draft day.

    If they aren’t picking 2nd, I suspect they’re picking 5th. This teams only knows how to be bad and not so bad. If they can clear one of those 3 teams, they probably clear all of them and Flames pick just before them and take the guy they want. Picking 5th in a 4 player draft? Because Oilers.

    They had a pretty good run of draft karma. They need to make luck on the ice now.

  53. Woodguy says:

    gvblackhawk:
    “His intelligence is far ahead than a lot of guys (and) he knows how to use the strength he has to his advantage. Not many guys can do that.”

    Win!

  54. Pouzar says:

    Rob Tychkowski ‏@Sun_Tychkowski 23m
    No Sam Gagner at Oilers practice in St. Louis

    Hope he’s ok.

  55. Bag of Pucks says:

    RexLibris:
    Bag of Pucks,

    I don’t think that a person’s athletic background necessarily comes into their ability to understand the concept of needing a player willing to be aggressively physical on a roster.

    I agree, except for those instances when people make statements like this.

    Explain exactly how Fraser hitting a guy after the whistle makes Eberle win more puck battles please.

    This clearly shows a lack of understanding of a critical element of the game, that you understand implicitly if you play/played it.

    Intimidation has an impact. If you have no response to the opposition’s intimidation, they will increasingly take more and more liberties. Conversely, if you intimidate the other team, it will make for an easier night.

    Players DO play with more abandon and are not as shy about going to the hard areas if they’re secure in the knowledge that teammates have their back, and more importantly, having their back means being able to respond to the other team taking liberties in kind.

    Woodguy and some others act as if intimidation doesn’t exist and there’s no possible way a player like Gazdic or Fraser can open up ice or instil increased confidence in smaller players like Eberle, Arco or Nuge.

    I’m sorry but that’s flat out wrong and I know it is, because I’ve seen and experienced it time and time again.

    Gretzy & Semenko. That was a thing, and it existed for a reason.

  56. RexLibris says:

    Romulus Apotheosis:
    Draisaitl with 1-1-2 +2 last night leaps over Reinhart in the scoring race:

    http://www.whl.ca/stats/show/type/top_scorers/ls_season/last

    caveat: he’s got games in hand.

    Yeah, but what was his gritchart rating? Did he try hard enough? Maybe if he’d given up one of those assists he could have notched a bone-crunching hit that would have turned the game in his team’s favour.

    ;)

    I see he also got the WHL Denny’s Player of the Week.

    Interesting that in that 6-3 loss he was still a +2 player.

    Here’s a new hope: the Oilers play well enough to finish the season such that the draft-day options are Draisaitl or a blueliner like Fleury. Make the choice so obvious that even they can’t screw it up.

  57. RexLibris says:

    Pouzar:
    Rob Tychkowski ‏@Sun_Tychkowski23m
    No Sam Gagner at Oilers practice in St. Louis

    Hope he’s ok.

    Is Gagner the one that Lander was recalled to replace in case of injury? If so, that would suggest that Eakins and MacTavish were going to perhaps play him with actual NHL wingers.

    I know it is all supposition based on a practice absence, but hey, we’re all looking for silver linings right now.

  58. НИНТЕНДО⁶⁴ says:

    RexLibris,

    Fixed it for you.

    “Here’s a new [fear] the Oilers play well enough to finish the season such that the [Calgary's] draft-day options are Draisaitl or a blueliner like Fleury. Make the choice so obvious that even they can’t screw it up.”

    #DraisaitlIsTheNewMonahan

    These guys play well and they’ll pass the Panthers, Flames, and Islanders. Time to win some games and take whatever lumps karma dishes out.

  59. Pouzar says:

    Bag of Pucks,

    It’s just like the shitty goal…some claim it has no effect and all that matters is Save %.

    From this shitty goalie’s personal experience I say nah….don’t think so.

  60. Pouzar says:

    RexLibris: Is Gagner the one that Lander was recalled to replace in case of injury? If so, that would suggest that Eakins and MacTavish were going to perhaps play him with actual NHL wingers.

    I know it is all supposition based on a practice absence, but hey, we’re all looking for silver linings right now.

    Not sure…but I want Arco or Lander ( i really want both) to audition with actual NHL wingers.

  61. НИНТЕНДО⁶⁴ says:

    Pouzar:
    Bag of Pucks,

    It’s just like the shitty goal…some claim it has no effect and all that matters is Save %.

    From this shitty goalie’s personal experience I say nah….don’t think so.

    From a smart GM’s perspective it pays to take the great Save % goalie off a weak team and to expect the GAA to improve. A shitty GM might indeed aim for the guy with great GAA but not so great Save % off a strong team and wonder what possibly went wrong.

  62. G Money says:

    Woodguy: Why does everyone think you have to get giant players to be better against LAK, ANA, SJS?

    CHI beats them by icing more skill.

    COL has been beating them with skill and good goaltending.

    This is not an argument that is supported by the data. The underlying assumption is that CHI and COL are also small teams like the Oilers that somehow overcome the size advantage of LAK, ANA, SJS via skill.

    That assumption is incorrect. Below are the weights of the teams you mention, in comparison to our Edmonton Oilers. These numbers are straight from the NHL rosters.

    I have separated the Top 4 defenders based on TOI.

    As you can see below, the bottom line is that CHI and COL do not beat those other teams with skill. They beat them by matching them in size and then beating them in skill (arguable for COL given the sv% and FF%).

    In fact, COL has the distinction of having the largest (by far) Top 4 D. Hawks are mid-pack.

    Ducks: Avg F: 202 lbs, Avg D: 210 lbs, Top 4 D: 204 lbs
    Oilers: Avg F: 201 lbs, Avg D: 199 lbs, Top 4 D: 190 lbs
    Kings: 206 lbs, 214 lbs, 208 lbs
    Sharks: 205 lbs, 205 lbs, 199 lbs
    Hawks: 201 lbs, 202 lbs, 205 lbs
    Avs: 200 lbs, 210 lbs, 213 lbs

    I have not separated out the forwards by TOI, but a quick look suggests if you did the same sort of exercise (Top 3 forwards by size), you would find an even larger discrepancy. For example, the Oiler Top 3 of RNH, Hall, Eberle average 187 lbs, for CHI, 197 lbs, for COL 199 lbs.

    *ALL* of these teams are considerably larger than the Oilers. Every one.

  63. rickithebear says:

    su_dhillon: LT I have no problem with the team and part of the fan base wanting the Fraser player type but good god almighty are there not going to be 50 guys available that provide those things but can also play the game a little?

    Jes……..

    Physical box protection Dmen with excelent EVGA.
    50 divided by 12 maybe.
    I see 3 UFA I would pick.

  64. Henry says:

    Corey Pronman ‏@coreypronman 23m
    NCHC First-Team: F Archibald (PIT), Dowd (LAK), Czarnak (FA), D Simpson (EDM), Laleggia (EDM), G Brittain (FLA).

    Bit off topic, but two more defensemen are tracking well enough to collect awards. Have my doubts on their pugilistic abilities.

  65. НИНТЕНДО⁶⁴ says:

    Bag of Pucks: I’m sorry but that’s flat out wrong and I know it is, because I’ve seen and experienced it time and time again.

    Rather than arguing that intimidation doesn’t work with the current rules, I’d argue it’s overvalued. Hitting is an important part of the game, but its foolish to pay for a high hit count when it shows possession is not so good when that player is on the ice.

    While I think there is some confirmation bias here and that teams do overpay for the intimidation factor at procurement (and in goals allowed when some of these players hit the ice), the belief of players does matter and the root of that belief is rooted in group psychology not having a lucky charm on the bench.

    War or dogpack metaphors are cliched, but in team sports confidence in your group is just as important to build as self-confidence. The primary way to confidence is building personal and team skill but confidence in the physical side of the game is important.

  66. rickithebear says:

    Romulus Apotheosis: I think Matty is projecting here, but it’s entirely possible MacT goes back to Greene.

    He would be my third choice cause of cost!

    We are not talking hitting!

    We are talking box/funnel protection with reduced shots inside 20 ft and reduced results for those shots inside 20ft.
    Championship teams!

  67. Bails14 says:

    If another Ferrence/Sutton-type Dman is what MacT is pursuing, what are the chances he takes a run at Brooks Orpik over the summer?

    Checklist:
    - Hits? In the top 10 for Dmen.
    - Minutes? Plays over 20 minutes.
    - Blocks shots? As many as Suter.
    - Leadership? Wears an ‘A’ in Pitt.

    Not my personal selection, (he’ll turn 34 next training camp) but it could makes sense from MacT’s angle.

  68. rickithebear says:

    G Money: Oiler Top 3

    Goals
    Perron 6’0″ 198lb 24G
    Hall 6’1″ 201lb 22G
    Eberle 5’10″ 21G

    Hall 6’1″ 201LB – Gagner 5’11″ 202LB – XXX
    Perron 6’0″ 198lb – XXX – Eberle 5’10″ 180lb
    XXX – RNH 6’1″ 180lb – XXX
    Hendricks 6’0″ 211lb – Gordon 6’0″ 202lb – Yakupov 5’11″ 187lb
    Gazdic 6’3″ 240lb – Jeonsuu 6’4″ 210lb

    Bowman pairs?

  69. mustang says:

    Ducey: You know, its getting harder and harder to hang out here.

    This type of bitchy, pointless, and negative comment really is becoming too common place around here.

    The only people that know anything about hockey are guys with a sliderule, a blog handle,and a cable contract.Right.

    Everything is just black and white.Its obvious.If only if MacT was a smart as you, eh?

    I continue to be astounded that supposedly smart people don’t take into account things like intimidation, confidence, experience, and development.Maybe they never played hockey.Maybe they forgot about the time when they were lined up against the big guy wiith a mean streak and gave up the puck a little more easily.

    Hall, Yak and the rest are going to play better if they have full confidence.If they are playing a team that punishes them, and intimidates them, they are likely to be less effective.

    You can bet that every opposing coach asks his team to be physical with the young Oilers in the hope that they will back down.

    If you are MacT you understand this.If you are around here you start at bubbles and ignore it.

    The obvious way to deal with the problem is to get bigger and more veteran (and therefore less likely to be intimidated) players.It is easier said than done. Big players who can actually play are coveted by all teams and are very hard to get.

    So you wait for your young players to mature.You get interim players like Fraser to try and mitigate some of the intimidation and keep your team’s confidence up.You keep trying to get the coveted players without selling the farm.

    Mark Fraser is not going to block anyone.He is not going to prevent them from signing anyone.He is not going to make the difference of whether they make the playoffs next year.

    He is a 6/7 defenseman FFS!

    And David Clarkson has a no trade and is likely to bounce back.

    **** End Rant******

    I have to agree, I pop in and lurk for a bit, read how brilliant everybody’s opinion and how much smarter they are than actually hockey people. I laugh then leave

  70. G Money says:

    mustang: I have to agree, I pop in and lurk for a bit, read how brilliant everybody’s opinion and how much smarter they are than actually hockey people. I laugh then leave

    Ummm, yes. You mean no one here could be smarter than “actual hockey people” like, say, Steve Tambellini?

  71. gvblackhawk says:

    mustang: I have to agree, I pop in and lurk for a bit, read how brilliant everybody’s opinion and how much smarter they are than actually hockey people. I laugh then leave

    Kind of like Mike Milbury? He is a hockey people. Don Waddell? Steve Tambellini? Should I keep going?

  72. gvblackhawk says:

    G Money,

    I would take you, G Money, over several hockey contemporaries if I had to choose. In fact, I can probably list 10 people on the Oilogosphere who would run an NHL team better than former hockey players.

  73. G Money says:

    rickithebear,

    I’m not sure what you mean.

    Personally, I have no problem with keeping Hall/RNH/Eberle together, even against big teams. But the problem is when those three guys are on the ice with e.g. Petry and Marincin against e.g. the top line/D of the Kings, we have a quintuplet averaging 189 lbs against a group averaging 208 lbs.

    You can’t expect that group to overcome a 19 lb per player (!!!!!!) disadvantage for 20 minutes.

    Can’t.

    What we need are some big defenders thrown into the mix. And not guys like Frazier (ha), but guys that can actually play the game.

    A lot has been said about Andrew Ference losing his mojo, but you have to wonder how much of that is due to the fact that last year he was partnered with Boychuk. More specifically, two hundred twenty five lb farmboy-strong Johnny Boychuk. That kind of size and strength buys an awful lot of puck and position battles (and the occasional neck fracture).

  74. wheatnoil says:

    I think some people here are over-stating the case. True the comments section here falls flat when people move to absolutes, but that has happened on both sides of the argument at times. There are posts today that the analytics people are too black and white and think they know it all… only to fall back on black and white opinions on how make the team better with the implication that they know it all. That’s not exactly fair.

    On the other side, analytics is not about absolutes. Hockey analytics particularly is still in its infancy and is an evolving topic. We’ve all gotten pretty used to things like corsi, but the next step is breaking things like corsi apart to figure out what it really means and find the naunces.

    None of this changes one simple absolute ;-) truth: Fraser may be big and tough, but he is not a great defenseman! Not by stats, not by eye, and not by the opinion of teams that have employed him before based on the fact that he had trouble making their rosters. I am all for intimidating defensemen… but they have to be able to play hockey… and I don’t need to have had played high level hockey to know that!

    #aimhigher indeed!

  75. G Money says:

    gvblackhawk,

    I’m blushing … although I suppose any positive comparison to Milbury, Waddell, Tambo, etc. is certainly measured praise!

  76. Bruce McCurdy says:

    stevezie: I (and WIllis and Bruce, according to CoH) don’t hate Fraser as much as you do

    Yeah, Willis & I merely “loathe” & “detest” him (respectively), not “despise” him to the degree of Woodguy.

  77. wheatnoil says:

    Bruce McCurdy: Yeah, Willis & I merely “loathe” & “detest” him (respectively), not “despise” him to the degree of Woodguy.

    So is it despise > loathe > detest?

  78. freedomisamyth says:

    Mark-LW,

    Well, CF% isn’t an NHL ’14 player rating. If you’ll notice, most of the other defensemen aside from Marincin/Petry have similar ratings. Watching last night it looked like Fraser spent a lot of time with the 4th line and looking on extra skater, 2 of his 3 highest TOI %’s is with Gagner and Eberle. None of which are exactly corsi forces. And, he doesn’t exactly get a whole lot of offensive zone starts.

    I’m not saying that he’s any world beater, but I hate these posts that tout a CF% like it is the definition of how good a player a player is. It’s not, and that’s completely misusing the stat.

  79. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Romulus Apotheosis:
    caught first two periods last night. weird game, oilers game really.

    so, EDM wins… Minn gets all 3 stars:

    http://www.nhl.com/gamecenter/en/boxscore?id=2013020983

    Ha ha, I saw that. Matt Cooke, first star, give me a break. I don’t give a shit if it was his 1000th game, that’s BS.

    Didn’t like his hit on Gagner, who hurt his ankle on the play and may miss time. Seems like Cooke has hurt 1000 people in his career, I know that’s exaggerating and can’t be more than 100. (Or so.) Even since he “reformed” that little prick keeps putting guys on the shelf. Nasty hitter, nasty piece of work.

    First star my ass. You lost, loser.

  80. icecastles says:

    Bruce McCurdy,

    Tell us how you really feel. :)

  81. G Money says:

    freedomisamyth,

    Corsi can be an extremely valuable stat when used correctly, but it is not very useful at all when applied to defensemen.

    Bruce McCurdy,

    Ha, love the venom!

  82. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Woodguy: That being said, the test drive has shown he is below NHL ability imo.

    #FamousTankBattles

    If MacT thinks it’s a higher priority to have a little muscle on the back end than it is to win games down the stretch of this sorry season, I’ll buy.

    Expiring contract, just enough time to determine if he has value. He’s a classic case of the #6/7 defender whose primary attribute is toughness. Call them the Shane O’Brien Tree, if only for the wonderful acronym, not because he was any sort of prototype. Those guys have been around for at least as long as teams have used three pairings — a better example of a prototype would be Don Jackson.

    Oilers have had a few guys in this role in recent years, off the top of my head Peckham, Strudwick, Vandermeer, Sutton, Fistric. Hard rock guys, call them “cycle busters” but frequently guys who don’t skate all that well, or handle the puck gracefully. At all. But dudes that will stand up for their mates, stand up to the opposition and make life a little miserable for them too.

    I am not against the player type, just not sure if this particular one is the solution. But with standings points being as valuable as they are just now, I’m willing to extend him a little latitude. :)

  83. thejonrmcleod says:

    Bruce McCurdy,

    I get the feeling that there have been some overturned board game tables in your past.

  84. wheatnoil says:

    G Money:
    freedomisamyth,

    Corsi can be an extremely valuable stat when used correctly, but it is not very useful at all when applied to defensemen.

    The problem with corsi and defensemen I think has a lot to do with the fact that defensemen don’t drive shots for nearly as much as forwards do (with a few elite exceptions, like Chara). I think there is evidence they do have an impact on shots against (though forwards also have a significant role to play here as well). That doesn’t make it useless tool… but it certainly has less power with D-men than with forwards, agreed.

  85. fifthcartel says:

    Jim Matheson ‏@NHLbyMatty 15s
    Sam Reinhart (183 lbs) is heckuva C talent but Oilers want D-man Aaron Ekblad or big German-born C Leon Draisaitl in June draft.#oilers.

    I would like to hear them interested in Bennett but this is good news too.

  86. G Money says:

    Just looking up some tidbits on ExtraSkater and the League Leaders board caught my eye:

    Best even strength Scorers P/60
    Ryan Getzlaf 3.38
    Corey Perry 3.08
    Taylor Hall 2.92
    Evgeni Malkin 2.75
    Kyle Okposo 2.73

    And by everyone’s admission including his own, Hall is not having a particularly great year.

  87. Bag of Pucks says:

    wheatnoil:
    I think some people here are over-stating the case. True the comments section here falls flat when people move to absolutes, but that has happened on both sides of the argument at times. There are posts today that the analytics people are too black and white and think they know it all… only to fall back on black and white opinions on how make the team better with the implication that they know it all. That’s not exactly fair.

    On the other side, analytics is not about absolutes. Hockey analytics particularly is still in its infancy and is an evolving topic. We’ve all gotten pretty used to things like corsi, but the next step is breaking things like corsi apart to figure out what it really means and find the naunces.

    None of this changes one simple truth: Fraser may be big and tough, but he is not a great defenseman! Not by stats, not by eye, and not by the opinion of teams that have employed him before based on the fact that he had trouble making their rosters. I am all for intimidating defensemen… but they have to be able to play hockey… and I don’t need to have had played high level hockey to know that!

    #aimhigher indeed!

    Not sure if your post is addressing some of mine specifically, but I did say in one post in this thread that it’s obviously much more preferable if your tough guys can actually play and if they can’t, they’re band-aid solutions to the problem at best. Functional team toughness is the best solution.

    In regards to intimidation being overrated, I always think of this one team I played on as the perfect counter to that argument. We weren’t a big team. We had a couple good size gritty forwards who liked to mix it up in the corners and slot and one really big gangly defensemen who didn’t have much of a mean streak unfortunately – and that was about it for size. But we had one of the best fighters in the league and man did we love him on the bench.

    This guy was a human ‘rock em sock em’ robot. Wind him up and he would punch people until they fell over. Like quite a few fighters, this guy was a bubble off plum and I remember quite a few guys on the team were actually leery of him off the ice, but the impact he had on our team psyche when we were playing was MASSIVE.

    His first year in the league, the bigger teams would come out in the first period and as Staffer’s fond of saying, they would ‘run our show’ Butt ends to the ribs in the corners, hacks on the wrist on the dot, two handers across the spine in the slot. Hockey is effing brutal when it’s a single ref and he’ looking the other way. This would go on until our lad sized up the biggest one on their team and then thoroughly dismantled him. Unless he got a game (and believe me, we hated playing when he was out of the lineup with a suspension!), his influence on the game as a deterrent was real and immediate. It’s amazing what it does to the chippy players on the other team when they see their supposed tough guy throttled.

    To НИНТЕНДО⁶⁴ point, rule changes in the NHL HAVE mitigated the impact of the enforcer, but one thing I think gets lost in this a lot is it isn’t usually the goons that take the bulk of the liberties against the smaller skilled players. The code IS a real thing and the superheavys targeting stars doesn’t happen very often in real hockey – only in movies like Slapshot and Goon. It’s the middleweight agitators (guys like Clutterbuck, Ott, Carcillo, Torres, Tootoo etc.) that are the ones committing most of the borderline infractions cos they have more icetime and thus, more opportunity – and it doesn’t look nearly as bad when an Ott gets a stick up on Eberle as it does if someone like John Scott is trying to board him. Gazdic and Fraser are a response to those middleweights hacks, and to MacT’s credit, they’re a far more effective solution to the problem than MacIntyre who’s going to find it next to impossible to find a dance partner on a nightly basis.

    For me, this is absolutely why the roster mix can’t work with all skill and no will or functional toughness. Look at Columbus’ record with Nathan Horton in the lineup this season. Huge! Functional toughness with skill in our Top 6 is a sure recipe for success.

    Here’s a stat for you. Number of times players like Zach Kassian have broken one of our player’s jaws since Gazdic got picked up. Zero. lol

  88. RexLibris says:

    fifthcartel:
    Jim Matheson ‏@NHLbyMatty15s
    Sam Reinhart (183 lbs) is heckuva C talent but Oilers want D-man Aaron Ekblad or big German-born C Leon Draisaitl in June draft.#oilers.

    I would like to hear them interested in Bennett but this is good news too.

    Rom! Did you hack Matheson’s twitter account?

    Well done, sir. Well done.

  89. justDOit says:

    Edmonton Oilers ✔ @EdmontonOilers
    Follow
    #Oilers have recalled centre Anton Lander from the Oklahoma City Barons (@OKCBarons) on an emergency recall basis.

  90. RexLibris says:

    I know we have a lot of Seinfeld fans here.

    Maybe you’ve seen this, maybe not.

    Scarface redone as a Seinfeld episode.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AD4Z32HB3U8

  91. Melman says:

    One gift from the Schedule makers – The last 10 games are against: SJ x2, Ana x3, NYR, Col, Phx, LA, Van. All but Van will be in playoff push mode. If Edm. is in any danger of finishing higher than 27th we had better see a full and steady diet of Larsen, Fraser, Jones, JJ, etc., etc.

  92. stevezie says:

    Bruce McCurdy,

    Didn’t mean to put words in your mouths- I know Willis has penned an article lamenting a potential contract- but he has averaged, what? A 4 or 5 for your ratings? WG has him at about -11,

  93. LoDog says:

    Corsi this, toughness that.

    I think everyone can agree this guys knows the key to success.

    http://imgur.com/CRpbAJr

  94. fuzzy muppet says:

    RE: Fraser

    I got home just in time to see the last two minutes of Regulation last night and promptly watched Mark Fraser turn the puck over twice. The direct result of one being that great Parise chance off the draw that would have cost the Oilers the game.

    If MacT signs him then this organization has no idea what the hell they are doing and anyone advocating his signing IMO has no idea what a good hockey player looks like. He’s terrible and has no business playing NHL minutes

  95. Bag of Pucks says:

    Btw, I think it would help tremendously with the widespread adoption of advanced stats in hockey, if the relationship between SOME of the numbers guys (quantitative) and some of the ‘saw him good’ guys (qualitative) wasn’t quite so adversarial.

    Along the lines of what Ducey’s saying, militant behaviour that’s so quick to discount the other side’s opinions doesn’t come across as being very enlightened or conducive to a dialogue.

    Playing, coaching, scouting, etc. There IS value to the qualitative knowledge that is gained in these endeavours. And just because there’s Milbury’s, Feaster’s, and Button’s out there, that doesn’t mean there hasn’t been Scotty Bowmans, Sheros, Neilsens and Sathers too.

    One of my favourite Oiler stories is the one Paul Coffey tells about Slats constantly yelling at him in practice to avoid the wide turn and hug the post when he was coming around the net on a breakout. Coffey realized later it was those little details that made him a great defenseman and it really points to the fact that those who’ve played and coached the game do understand some things that we can’t express in a spreadsheet.

    Rather than quantitative vs qualitative, we should be striving for quantitative + qualitative IMHO.

  96. Bag of Pucks says:

    fuzzy muppet:
    RE:Fraser

    I got home just in time to see the last two minutes of Regulation last night and promptly watched Mark Fraser turn the puck over twice. The direct result of one being that great Parise chance off the draw that would have cost the Oilers the game.

    If MacT signs him then this organization has no idea what the hell they are doing and anyone advocating his signing IMO has no idea what a good hockey player looks like.He’s terrible and has no business playing NHL minutes

    Small sample size much? If he’s that bad, the real question you should be asking yourself is why is Eakins throwing him out in the last 2 mins?

  97. fuzzy muppet says:

    Lowetide,

    I think the order of interest should be 1)Ekbad 2)Bennett (his late birthday is a BIG factor) 3)Reinhart (his production SHOULD put him ahead of Leon) 4)draistail

  98. fuzzy muppet says:

    Bag of Pucks,

    I’ve seen more than just those two minutes.I was using that as an example. Fraser isn’t an NHLer. If your team is playing Mark Fraser: your team will be bad.

    Don’t get me started on Eakins. I think he’s terrible but realize they’re stuck with him now.

  99. RexLibris says:

    Lowetide:
    Top Five 2014

    http://www.puckrant.com/Slapshot/2014_DRAFT_FAB_FIVE_

    Not to quibble, but you’ve got Reinhart spelled Reinhard in a few places there.

    Freudian slip?

    Personally, if this team finds itself choosing between Reinhart and Draisaitl on draft day the only thing I will worry about is if Calgary gets the next pick.

    There is no way, in my opinion, that the Oilers could go wrong with either of these two young players.

    I like Reinhart because he reminds me a bit of Nugent-Hopkins and a bit of Jonathan Toews.

    But if it is Draisaitl, I would have no qualms with that selection.

  100. delooper says:

    Fun fact, “operation Reinhard” was the original name for the event popularly known as “the holocaust”.

  101. RexLibris says:

    delooper:
    Fun fact, “operation Reinhard” was the original name for the event popularly known as “the holocaust”.

    I believe the Lebensraum initiative was a miscommunication between Hitler and his staff over the placement of a cup holder in the Fuhrer’s Volkswagen as well.

    Oops.

  102. Pouzar says:

    mustang,

    Been to HFOil in the last 10 years?

  103. Pouzar says:

    freedomisamyth:
    Mark-LW,

    Well, CF% isn’t an NHL ’14 player rating. If you’ll notice, most of the other defensemen aside from Marincin/Petry have similar ratings. Watching last night it looked like Fraser spent a lot of time with the 4th line and looking on extra skater, 2 of his 3 highest TOI %’s is with Gagner and Eberle. None of which are exactly corsi forces. And, he doesn’t exactly get a whole lot of offensive zone starts.

    I’m not saying that he’s any world beater, but I hate these posts that tout a CF% like it is the definition of how good a player a player is. It’s not, and that’s completely misusing the stat.

    Eberle was at 55% CF last night. Just sayin.

  104. frjohnk says:

    fuzzy muppet:
    Lowetide,

    I think the order of interest should be 1)Ekbad 2)Bennett (his late birthday is a BIG factor) 3)Reinhart (his production SHOULD put him ahead of Leon)4)draistail

    I’m thinking if Draisaitl and Reinhart are on the board when the oilers are picking, they may go with Draisaitl as he is the bigger body.

    While I don’t know if a team can go wrong picking either player, I’d like for the oilers to pick Reinhart for the fact that Reinhart is a right handed shot and would be the opposite of RNH on the power play, working the other side wall on the other PP unit. I think if the oilers play the 1-3-1 on the PP, Reinhart could be the guy feeding Yakupov for the one timer.

    Draisaitl will need to work on first step quickness, and overall skating. Its not terrible, but could use some work. But the potential exists that Draisaitl becomes that big tough center the oilers will need going forward. In that case, I’d like the oilers to swoop up and pick Draisaitl. Overall, I think Draisaitl becomes better than Monahan.

    Reinhart and Draisaitl are both gonna good/great.

  105. russ99 says:

    Gonna give MacT the benefit of the doubt here, hopefully he’s learned his lesson about spouting off in the press about future moves and being “bold”.

    That said if we’re not significantly better by the time TC opens, I’m gonna tear him a new one, especially if he’s a) kept the same assistants b) not resolved the Gagner situation and/or c) letting Eakins have any say whatsoever on personnel moves.

  106. Pouzar says:

    fuzzy muppet:
    Lowetide,

    I think the order of interest should be 1)Ekbad 2)Bennett (his late birthday is a BIG factor) 3)Reinhart (his production SHOULD put him ahead of Leon)4)draistail

    #3 *confused*

  107. Lowetide says:

    This blog is devoted to the advancement of conversation, and part of that is examining numbers and what they mean. That doesn’t mean that we don’t watch the games, and it doesn’t mean we ignore physical intimidation and its value.

    Those things, as they exist, and their value, show up in the stats. I firmly believe that to be true. So, instead of saying things like “more and more people are saying dumb things” perhaps the thing we all have to do is make an argument about a specific thing that moves the conversation forward.

    If you believe Luke Gazdic or Mark Fraser have value beyond the stats, that’s something we cannot prove. If you choose to make this blog’s stubborn insistence on bringing proof the hill you die on, then maybe we’re not for you.

    -Lowetide

  108. Pouzar says:

    RexLibris: Not to quibble, but you’ve got Reinhart spelled Reinhard in a few places there.

    Freudian slip?

    Personally, if this team finds itself choosing between Reinhart and Draisaitl on draft day the only thing I will worry about is if Calgary gets the next pick.

    There is no way, in my opinion, that the Oilers could go wrong with either of these two young players.

    I like Reinhart because he reminds me a bit of Nugent-Hopkins and a bit of Jonathan Toews.

    But if it is Draisaitl, I would have no qualms with that selection.

    Agree 100%…I’d be happy with any of the Centers or Ekblad or Top 4 IOW

  109. delooper says:

    To me it seems like the Oilers D situation is fairly rapidly being repaired. It’s not perfect but the prospects seem to be coming on in force now. What the Oilers need is a solid, big-bodied #1 or #2 centre that can play with the organization next season, that should be the draft priority if they can manage it. If the Oilers want some stud defender, they’d be best to sign a free agent to a 1 or 2 year contract so that it won’t be a long-term cap problem.

  110. НИНТЕНДО⁶⁴ says:

    Lowetide:
    Top Five 2014

    http://www.puckrant.com/Slapshot/2014_DRAFT_FAB_FIVE_

    Seems reasonable, but karma’s a bitch:

    1. Buffalo: D Aaron Ekblad (never enough lottery defenders, at least it isn’t a goalie)
    2. Florida: C Sam Bennett (Luongo misses last 10 games due to glove hand tweeting injury)
    3. NY Islanders: C Sam Reinhart (completely dominates the Reinhart draft war with Calgary)
    4. Calgary: C Leon Draisaitl (see, Monahan, Sean)
    5. Edmonton: L Michael Dal Colle (never enough lottery wingers)

  111. Numenius says:

    Pouzar: Agree 100%…I’d be happy with any of the Centers or Ekblad or Top 4 IOW

    I agree too. Any of the top 4 would be fantastic.

    Best case scenario for me would be picking Draisaitl 4th and the Flames picking 5th with a large drop off in talent.

    I don’t think Draisaitl falls that low though. He has a chance at going 1st overall.

  112. НИНТЕНДО⁶⁴ says:

    Lowetide:
    This blog is devoted to the advancement of conversation, and part of that is examining numbers and what they mean. That doesn’t mean that we don’t watch the games, and it doesn’t mean we ignore physical intimidation and its value.

    Those things, as they exist, and their value, show up in the stats. I firmly believe that to be true. So, instead of saying things like “more and more people are saying dumb things” perhaps the thing we all have to do is make an argument about a specific thing that moves the conversation forward.

    If you believe Luke Gazdic or Mark Fraser have value beyond the stats, that’s something we cannot prove. If you choose to make this blog’s stubborn insistence on bringing proof the hill you die on, then maybe we’re not for you.

    -Lowetide

    And even though coaches never seem to be quite as smart as the quants and quals, how the coach uses players (TOI, zone starts, TOI of on-ice competition etc.) are pretty good proxies of player utility.

  113. Numenius says:

    НИНТЕНДО⁶⁴: Seems reasonable, but karma’s a bitch:

    1. Buffalo: D Aaron Ekblad (never enough lottery defenders, at least it isn’t a goalie)
    2. Florida: C Sam Bennett (Luongo misses last 10 games due to glove hand tweeting injury)
    3. NY Islanders: C Sam Reinhart (completely dominates the Reinhart draft war with Calgary)
    4. Calgary: C Leon Draisaitl (see, Monahan, Sean)
    5. Edmonton: L Michael Dal Colle (never enough lottery wingers)

    I think it’s unlikely that the Oilers pass the Flames in the standings, even if they play very well for the rest of the season and pass Florida and the Islanders (which I hope they do).

    Oilers last 7 games of the season:
    Sharks, Ducks, Coyotes, Ducks, Avalanche, Kings, Canucks

    Flames last 7 games of the season:
    Leafs, Lightning, Panthers, Devils, Kings, Jets, Canucks

    One of these schedules is much easier than the other.

  114. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    RexLibris: Rom! Did you hack Matheson’s twitter account?

    Well done, sir. Well done.

    Ha!

    actually, it shouldn’t be that surprising. The only draft eligible player the Oilers have mentioned that I’m aware of is Draisaitl (twice), other than Ekblad of course. I think they really like him. I know I sure do!

  115. Lowetide says:

    НИНТЕНДО⁶⁴: And even though coaches never seem to be quite as smart as the quants and quals, how the coach uses players (TOI, zone starts, TOI of on-ice competition etc.) are pretty good proxies of player utility.

    Absolutely. I asked Tom Awad the following question:

    1. How do we best evaluate defensive defensemen?

    Answer: TOI, evens and PK.

  116. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Lowetide: Absolutely. I asked Tom Awad the following question:

    1. How do we best evaluate defensive defensemen?

    Answer: TOI, evens and PK.

    exactly. I might add qualcomp (which ever you prefer), esp. year over year for it and TOI. Can show if a player is being more or less relied upon.

  117. Bruce McCurdy says:

    knighttown: But then Kassian happened

    To me that was the turning point of this entire season. Before it ever started FFS.

    I hold Kassian in similar esteem as I hold Cooke. Speaking of which, watch Cooke’s stick during the Gagner hit. I know he hurt his ankle and all, but watch the blade of the stick on the follow through.

    Reformed, my ass.

  118. justDOit says:

    Bruce McCurdy:

    Reformed, my ass.

    More like refined.

  119. Marcus Oilerius says:

    Bruce McCurdy:
    Reformed, my ass.

    Over a century of hockey and how many times has anyone ever seen something like the Erik Karlsson injury happen?

    And of the 900-1000 players or so to play in the NHL that season, it just so happened to be Matt Cooke who was delivering the hit?

  120. B S says:

    Marcus Oilerius,

    I’ve said it before, biomechanically, I can’t conceive of a person falling backwards, yet reflexively putting their foot forward and down. Try it some time, preferably with a soft chair behind you.

  121. Bruce McCurdy says:

    thejonrmcleod:
    Bruce McCurdy,

    I get the feeling that there have been some overturned board game tables in your past.

    Distant past, but yes.

  122. Bruce McCurdy says:

    stevezie:
    Bruce McCurdy,

    Didn’t mean to put words in your mouths- I know Willis has penned an article lamenting a potential contract- but he has averaged, what? A 4 or 5 for your ratings? WG has him at about -11,

    Sorry, missed replying to this yesterday.

    Through 9 games:
    2: 2x
    3: 2x
    4: 3x
    5: 2x

    … for an average grade of 3.6.

    As a point of reference, the only other guys averaging 4.0 or below in as many as 5 GP were Mike Brown (avg 3.8 in 8 games) and Jason LaBarbera (4.0 in 7 GP). So our early reviews of Fraser are not that flattering, to say the least.

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