EDMONTON ACQUIRES WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY TO ACQUIRE NIKITA NIKITIN

Bob McKenzie tweeted out this morning that the Edmonton Oilers have acquired a window of opportunity to sign defender Nikita Nikitin. No word on return (will update) for CBJ but this would check off on of MacT’s stated needs (the stay-at-home defender). I wrote about him as a hard target search here, and we’ve known about this player as a possible acquisition for some time, certainly since Scott Howson arrived in good old our town.

mckenzie nikitin

8:35 am. The more I think about this acquisition, the more I believe this may be MacT/Howson’s choice for Justin Schultz’ partner. Nikitin played with Savard in CBJ and had success.

nikitin trade tweet 1nikitin trade tweet 2nikitin trade tweet 3

NIKITA NIKITIN PLAYER CARD THROUGH 41 GAMES, 2013-14

nikitin player card

NIKITA NIKITIN PLAYER CARD, SEASON’S END 2013-14

nikitia extra skater postseason

There’s a look at Nikitin through 41 games, and then through the entire season (hat tip to Alan Hull who picked up on it). Looks like he was above water until the final third of the season, and then things went haywire. We’ll have to break that down.

  • Columbus Head Coach Scott Arniel: “He’s a big-body defensemen, a defending defensemen. He has a big shot. We’ll get him in here and see what he’s all about. This was more about changing our look on the back end. Our scouts think he can play a well-rounded game.”

the hockey news nikitin

That’s from the Hockey News, good reading there for background.

MACT’S SUMMER 2014 LIST

  1. A veteran top pairing defenseman. Nikitin is not this player. The Oilers need a real man, big time EV minutes and a history of successful sorties.
  2. A 2line C with experience and the ability to play a two-way game. This is the other vital piece.
  3. A legit two-way winger who can score 12-15 goals. The Pisani role. Mentor, calms the waters.
  4. Find a way to get value, or make use of, Sam Gagner. This does not include time at center.
  5. Improve the bottom 6F’s.
  6. Retain as much of the young cluster as possible, understanding that the player who represents #1 on this list might cost a young D who will one day fill that role.
  7. Get Petry signed long term.
  8. Sign Schultz but DO NOT break the bank.

I don’t have a slot for Nikitin on the summer list. Why? Well, I didn’t have Nikitin on the list because, for me, the Oilers kids are better options. The depth chart as it may look now:

  • ?????-Petry
  • Marincin-Schultz
  • Ference-Nikitin

It pushes back Klefbom, no big deal because we know defensemen get hurt. I’m not sure about the move, this must be a case of Howson really knowing and believing in the player. If they are getting the 2011-12 version of this player, well it’s music. However, injuries and ineffective play reduced his role and impacted his numbers in Columbus. As the team got better, he faded.

Why? Perhaps Howson believes Nikitin can be a successful partner with Justin Schultz, something Nick Schultz and Andrew Ference were unable to do. Here’s what that might look like:

  • Marincin-Petry
  • Nikitin-Schultz
  • Ference-???

I think that’s probably it. Nikita Nikitin, second pairing and Howson believes that, at 28, there’s lots of track left with Nikita Nikitin.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

At first blush, it’s a confusing move—despite the fact there’s little surprise the club acquired this player. If the Oilers hired him for a support role, then what do they plan to do with Andrew Ference? If it’s a top four role, as I described in the second option, then we have another shoe to drop and it’s probably Martin Marincin for an established defenseman, as I described yesterday.

I think this is the replacement for Nick Schultz, and I do like him better as a player. Fewer miles, and he has been a success in the past. I’m not terribly upset that it pushes Klefbom down the roster, but am very concerned about where this puts Martin Marincin. I’m also not sure they’re any better today. At all.

Next up? What did they give up, and can they sign him?

UPDATE

mckenzie update

One final item: if this is the player acquired in the Greene/Engelland slot, then I’m well pleased.

 SISTER SLEDGEHAMMER

Vollman’s sledgehammer is down, so I’m going with the Sister Sledge from Extra skater:

nikita sledgehammer

VOLLMAN SLEDGEHAMMER

vollman nikita nikitan sledgehamer

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215 Responses to "EDMONTON ACQUIRES WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY TO ACQUIRE NIKITA NIKITIN"

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  1. hoser313 says:

    Woodguy,

    Thanks for that. That’s a good article by Dellow. dCorsi looks interesting too but it seems they still have some kinks to iron out.

    I guess I just don’t think it’s fair under corsi that defenceman get a +1 for shots for and a -1 for shots against when I would argue their ability to control shots against is a lot better than their ability to generate shots for.

    Maybe SF/60 (if you agree with Dellow’s article) and SA/60 both have merit but the results get skewed when we try to combine them into one statistic.

  2. borisnikov says:

    Caramel Obvious,

    The lesson I constantly take away from here is don’t think you are the smartest guy in the room and always listen to others. You’ll probably end up OK and on the correct side of the argument.

    I am never the smartest guy in the room!
    I listen more than I comment!

    I’m OK! lol

  3. Bag of Pucks says:

    G Money: If this is a true thing, then what you should see are two things:
    - the team will have a high shot count against, and a low GAA
    - or conversely, the team that gives up these five alarm chances will have a low CA, but a high GAA

    I don’t know how you’re arriving at these conclusions from my post.

    I’m not saying there’s no correlation between shot totals and goal production. That’s a given, predominantly because offenses are trying to maximize their shot output, particularly in close, and we may in fact, see a further correlation between shot distance and totals (i.e. once you fire off one in close, you’re likely to get a couple more).

    Rather, I’m saying corsi in isolation without shot quality/distance metrics may do a disservice to defenseman who are good at forcing shots from distance instead of in close.

    And yes, this may help to explain some of those outlier teams who lose the possession/shots total race but win more than we think they should. They could be evidence of your 1st point.

    Incidentally, the big trend in D zone coverage these days is collapsing down low after the original shot from distance. This certainly would seem to indicate that coaches are striving to out-man the opposition once the puck moves closer and both the quality and potential frequency of shots can increase.

  4. Racki says:

    “@JasonGregor: “He can be a 2nd pairing D-man at times. He has looked great at times, but consistency has been an issue. Portzline on Nikitin”

    “@JasonGregor: “He has a great one-timer. He seemed to play better when he played more minutes, he got into the flow more often.” Portzline #Nikitin”

    “@JasonGregor: “Columbus didn’t let Nikita go because he couldn’t play, they let him go becuase of Murray, Savard and Prout’s age and potential” Portzline”

  5. oliveoilers says:

    hoser313:
    Woodguy,

    Thanks for that.That’s a good article by Dellow.dCorsi looks interesting too but it seems they still have some kinks to iron out.

    I guess I just don’t think it’s fair under corsi that defenceman get a +1 for shots for and a -1 for shots against when I would argue their ability to control shots against is a lot better than their ability to generate shots for.

    Maybe SF/60 (if you agree with Dellow’s article) and SA/60 both have merit but the results get skewed when we try to combine them into one statistic.

    One thing I noticed the oiler’s d struggling with toward the end of the season was keeping the puck in at the blue line. I made a mental note during to watch other teams during the play-offs and the majority were very good at doing this (SJ, Hawks etc) Getting possession, keeping possession and when you lose it, working like a bugger to get it back. So, in a convoluted way, d-men can generate more shots for simply by keeping the puck in the o-zone.

  6. Deadman Waiting says:

    borisnikov:
    in regard to d-men and their effect on limiting shot quality

    I liked that passage you quoted. It highlights something I argue from time to time: that game theoretic factors tend to drain signal out of the pool.

    If the coaches aren’t blind to these small differences, small choices in their line-up strategies can even turn the original signal inside out.

    People either tend to presume that the NHL consists of 30 double-blind head coaches, or that 25 out of 30 is close enough for statistical purposes.

    I think the most useful arm-chair signal can be extracted on the presumption that the 30 NHL head coaches are the 30 best people in the world at judging which player delivers the goods when the puck drops. The coaches have vastly more information about the players, what they’ve been instructed to do, how they have looked in practice, and their present playing condition.

    What makes this analysis difficult is that the coaches are not all coaching to the same result horizon. Some are desperate to make the play-off cut line and others are engaged in a mixed strategy, some decisions aimed at improving the here and now and some invested in future returns.

    You’d have to restrict your window to coaching decisions made for teams that are on the play-off bubble (25–75% chance of making the playoffs over at SCS).

    The other factor that makes it difficult is that the shift chart doesn’t (that I know about) give the wall-clock time for the beginning of each shift. Without this information, it’s hard to know whether the coach is sending out his top line guy in the final minute half bagged in preference to his second line guy well rested (which signals a big drop-off in the coach’s perception of relative effectiveness).

    It’s also hard because there’s some relationship equity in players going out there with at least a few players they play beside fairly regularly.

    I don’t know whether these challenges are solvable, or not. I suspect they are, to some degree.

    The alternative analysis begins from the position that the people with the most information (the coaches) are the worse decision makers (any right-thinking armchair pilot could do better). In this world, I fear statistics can’t possibly accomplish anything, with all these imbeciles stirring the soup, not even double-blind, but worse than double-blind: as double-blind’s worst enemy.

    Then again, if the purpose of the exercise is to prove that the coaches really don’t know anything, it defeats the purpose to undertake an analysis with the enabling presumption that the 30 coaches are the smartest men in the room.

    The problem with this being a game theoretic analysis, is that competence doesn’t just come out in the wash: it’s also an enabling presumption, with a feedback loop from output to input.

    Statistics modulo game theory is a mighty slippery fish.

  7. oliveoilers says:

    Bag of Pucks: I don’t know how you’re arriving at these conclusions from my post.

    I’m not saying there’s no correlation between shot totals and goal production. That’s a given, predominantly because offenses are trying to maximize their shot output, particularly in close, and we may in fact, see a further correlation between shot distance and totals (i.e. once you fire off one in close, you’re likely to get a couple more).

    Rather, I’m saying corsi in isolation without shot quality/distance metrics may do a disservice to defenseman who are good are forcing shots from distance instead of in close.

    And yes, this may help to explain some of those outlier teams who lose the possession/shots total race but win more than we think they should. They could be evidence of your 1st point.

    Incidentally, the big trend in D zone coverage these days is collapsing down low after the original shot from distance. This certainly would seem to indicate that coaches are striving to out-man the opposition once the puck moves closer and both the quality and potential frequency of shots can increase.

    I agree with this. Taking it to extreme, 100 shots against, but all from acute angles and long range versus a team that only shoots 20, but all from the slot. By all accounts, 20 shot team is savaged by corgis, 100 shot goalie is a 7mill a year man!

  8. G Money says:

    Bag of Pucks,

    Fair enough.

    I’m not saying that shot quality doesn’t matter either BTW – in fact, I quite enjoy parsing the shots part of Ricki’s posts. Just his EVGA-based conclusions are not typically very robust. (that is to say – they’re often flat out wrong).

    With regard to Caramel’s statements, I actually disagree in a pedantic and purely technical sense that the “noise swamps the signal” in this case. In a signal processing context, “noise” is typically random, and yeah, boy oh boy are random effects a tough problem to overcome in hockey #fancystats, even with large sample sizes.

    But in the case of EVGA and shot quality in general, I don’t think you actually have “noise” – what you have are multiple correlated data streams convoluted into the goals data stream, and the persistent non-correlated effects of those other data streams (sort of the opposite of noise) swamps any valid signal you get from the goals data. The swamping effect is the same as noise, but the conclusion effect is much worse (noise gives you random results, these convoluted signals give you persistent and correlated anti-results).

  9. oliveoilers says:

    Deadman Waiting: I liked that passage you quoted.It highlights something I argue from time to time: that game theoretic factors tend to drain signal out of the pool.

    If the coaches aren’t blind to these small differences, small choices in their line-up strategies can even turn the original signal inside out.

    People either tend to presume that the NHL consists of 30 double-blind head coaches, or that 25 out of 30 is close enough for statistical purposes.

    I think the most useful arm-chair signal can be extracted on the presumption that the 30 NHL head coaches are the 30 best people in the world at judging which player delivers the goods when the puck drops. The coaches have vastly more information about the players, what they’ve been instructed to do, how they have looked in practice, and their present playing condition.

    What makes this analysis difficult is that the coaches are not all coaching to the same result horizon.Some are desperate to make the play-off cut line and others are engaged in a mixed strategy, some decisions aimed at improving the here and now and some invested in future returns.

    You’d have to restrict your window to coaching decisions made for teams that are on the play-off bubble (25–75% chance of making the playoffs over at SCS).

    The other factor that makes it difficult is that the shift chart doesn’t (that I know about) give the wall-clock time for the beginning of each shift. Without this information, it’s hard to know whether the coach is sending out his top line guy in the final minute half bagged in preference to his second line guy well rested (which signals a bit drop-off in the coach’s perception of relative effectiveness).

    It’s also hard because there’s some relationship equity in players going out there with at least a few players they play beside fairly regularly.

    I don’t know whether these challenges are solvable, or not.I suspect they are, to some degree.

    The alternative analysis begins from the position that the people with the most information (the coaches) are the worse decision makers (any right-thinking armchair pilot could do better).In this world, I fear statistics can’t possibly accomplish anything, with all these imbeciles stirring the soup, not even double-blind, but worse than double-blind: as double-blind’s worst enemy.

    Then again, if the purpose of the exercise is to prove that the coaches really don’t know anything, it defeats the purpose to undertake an analysis with the enabling presumption that the 30 coaches are the smartest men in the room.

    The problem with this being a game theoretic analysis, is that competence doesn’t just come out in the wash: it’s also an enabling presumption, with a feedback loop from output to input.

    Statistics modulo game theory is a mighty slippery fish.

    This is awesome!!!! I can see it now: An airport café, $15 mocha-choca-latte. Eakins sits down, across from a late 20′s/early thirties dressed in plaid shirt, Merrells and a beard. He spots DE, they make eye contact. DE recognises that this guy recognises him, nods accordingly. Open invitation, guy says hi. How are ya? Tough crowd last season. DE shakes his head, yeah, you could say that, still, we’re improving. I think we turned a corner. Guy nods, decides to chance his arm. So some of us were talking at work. Oh yeah? is DE’s reply, and because it’s inevitable, before he can drag the words back, out comes So, what did you come up with, out of curiosity?……. Guy is stoked, DE’s bored interest before catching a flight makes him feel all warm and fuzzy. That or the crown and coke. The ill-advised words come marching with the confidence of a five yr old….I’m no Scotty Bowman, but we’ve been following these stats, and this is where you’re going wrong, and, you’ll laugh, where Scotty Bowman went wrong. Guy delivers, DE listens. He’s polite, because in the cold light of empirical evidence, what can he say? Flights are caught, stories swapped. Guy returns to his job as a middle manager at a bank. DE is still an NHL coach, as far as I know…..

  10. borisnikov says:

    Deadman Waiting,

    I’m not even going to attempt to disagree with anything you just wrote but I would like to say something about this…

    The alternative analysis begins from the position that the people with the most information (the coaches) are the worse decision makers (any right-thinking armchair pilot could do better). In this world, I fear statistics can’t possibly accomplish anything, with all these imbeciles stirring the soup, not even double-blind, but worse than double-blind: as double-blind’s worst enemy.

    Then again, if the purpose of the exercise is to prove that the coaches really don’t know anything, it defeats the purpose to undertake an analysis with the enabling presumption that the 30 coaches are the smartest men in the room.

    How I understand the blog post is this. Shot quality exists but because of the fluid nature of bench management, finding that unique ability (difference) of (in) players and applying it individually in analysis to “grade” ones abilities is almost pointless. Pointless because of all the mitigating factors surrounding shot quality. Quality of teammates, quality of opponents, time of the game, time of the shift, varying distance of shots, varying location of shots, etc, etc, etc. I think that is the conclusion you’ve come to as well. No?

    I like the possession stats because it gives a basic starting point of which player is going to give a team the best opportunity, in conjunction with who he is on the ice with, to put pucks at the opposition’s net and limit those directed at your own. is it perfect? No. But add in the considerations of QoC, QoT, ZS, blah, blah, blah… and you’ve got a few ingredients for the recipe and can start to taste to see what else you need.

    I don’t take the purpose of the post as meaning to show that coaches have no clue what they are doing. It show’s that some have a better understanding of things than others, but that is a given. Coaches coach to win every game. The opponent and game situation alters strategy but the ultimate goal of each coach is the same… win this game. Deploy the best people for each situation that ultimately leads to my team winning. You’re not 100% accurate in saying the result horizon is different for each, therefore skewing the analysis, because on a micro level is isn’t. Win the shift, win the period, win the game, etc. That’s the ultimate point, no?

    I don’t even know what my point is any longer so I’ll stop here :D

  11. borisnikov says:

    oliveoilers,

    I’m not a plaid guy, I’m 35, I do not own merrils but I do have a beard. lol

  12. Lowetide says:

    Racki:
    “@JasonGregor: “He can be a 2nd pairing D-man at times. He has looked great at times, but consistency has been an issue. Portzline on Nikitin”

    “@JasonGregor: “He has a great one-timer. He seemed to play better when he played more minutes, he got into the flow more often.” Portzline #Nikitin”

    “@JasonGregor: “Columbus didn’t let Nikita go because he couldn’t play, they let him go becuase of Murray, Savard and Prout’s age and potential” Portzline”

    AND he’s just over 200 NHL games. It takes time, baby. It just does. I’m feeling good about this acquisition as evening draws near, seems to me Howson would have an idea about the player and the price point. Actual NHL player? Yes.

    More please.

  13. Racki says:

    Lowetide: AND he’s just over 200 NHL games. It takes time, baby. It just does. I’m feeling good about this acquisition as evening draws near, seems to me Howson would have an idea about the player and the price point. Actual NHL player? Yes.

    More please.

    I’m a fan. I was also lobbying for this too. I even have him in my keeper league, so you know I’m committed to this player. Lol

    I just hope they can sign him to reasonable deal. Maybe $3.5m over 3

  14. rickithebear says:

    Woodguy:
    rickithebear,

    Here’s the top 20 Dmen in terms of ONSV% last year.

    By eye 13 of the 20 are 3rd pairing D in front of decen to very good goaltending.

    Hey look!Nkitin is 5th.

    KEVANMILLERBOS.964
    IANCOLESTL.958
    DOUGIEHAMILTONBOS.952
    JOHNMOORENYR.943
    NIKITANIKITINCBJ.942
    BENLOVEJOYANA.942
    BRETTBELLEMORECAR.941
    ALECMARTINEZL.A.939
    JOSHGORGESMTL.939
    SLAVAVOYNOVL.A938
    DANNYDEKEYSERDET.938
    JAMIEMCBANEBUF.938
    DAVIDSAVARDCBJ.938
    MATTHEWBARTKOWSKiBOS.937
    ZDENOCHARABOS.937
    TOREYKRUGBOS936
    CARLGUNNARSSON TOR.936
    ANDREJSUSTRT.B.936
    WILLIEMITCHELLL.A.936
    PAULRANGERTOR.935

    5 of the 20 play in from of Rask, but goalies have nothing to do with it eh?

    Chiken or Egg

  15. oliveoilers says:

    borisnikov:
    oliveoilers,

    I’m not a plaid guy, I’m 35, I do not own merrils but I do have a beard. lol

    Hey Boris! It was semi-autobiographical, lol!

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