OILERS SIGN NIKITIN

The Edmonton Oilers evaluated the market for free agent defensemen this spring and landed on Nikita Nikitin (as per Aaron Portzline twitter). They made a low-risk move to get him onside, and this morning the Oilers signed their man. What do they see in him? What is he? What role will he fill?

  • Rob Vollman, ESPN: Good defensemen are hard to come by, he offers the potential of a solid top-4 option like he was in ’11-12 without the risk of a deal like Ference.
  • Corey Pronman, ESPN: He went from good, to average, to poor in the last 3 seasons. He was a good player to help youngsters few years ago, but now he needs help.
  • Corey Sznajder, Shutdown Line: He’s a very underrated player. Nice trade for the Oilers. He’s a good 4-5 defenseman. Special teams time dried up this year for whatever reason.

It’s always interesting to get other opinions, and the words from these three gents are encouraging. Here’s what I said about the possibility of Nikitin’s acquisition in January:

  • The Oilers need to get it  right this summer on the blue. A top-pairing defender who is proven and can play in all three disciplines is vital. Craig MacTavish may in fact call on Scott Howson for an update on Nikita Nikitin and the scouting report may be positive from the former Columbus GM. Nikitin can certainly play NHL defense, and that has value. I think he falls well short of being a proven top-pairing solution at this time.

I think that all rings true, and suspect the reason MacT targeted Nikitin had a lot to do with Howson. I read this acquisition (and signing) as an attempt to address the number one item on the Oilers shopping list this summer.

friedman nikitin

UPDATE: Elliotte Friedman tweets out the term. You will see a lot of reaction to the dollars, but it’s important to remember the Oilers signed Nikitin for two years. The shorter term, and overpay, is a better plan in my opinion. Edmonton has to stop tying themselves to long term deals for 6′s and 7′s and 9′s.

MACT’S SUMMER 2014 LIST

  1. A veteran top pairing defenseman. A real man, big time EV minutes and a history of successful sorties. Update: Nikita Nikitin is the solution.
  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.

This is the first step in the offseason, and as was the case last season (Andrew Ference) the Oilers acquire an actual NHL player, but one who is shy of the task at hand.

OILERS PROJECTED DEPTH CHART

LEFT DEFENSE RIGHT DEFENSE
MARTIN MARINCIN JEFF PETRY (RFA)
NIKITA NIKITIN JUSTIN SCHULTZ (RFA)
ANDREW FERENCE OSCAR KLEFBOM

So far in the young career of Justin Schultz, the Oilers have tried Nick Schultz and Andrew Ference as partners and neither veteran could cover off enough mistakes. I expect Nikita Nikitin is next into the fire, but would also suggest that Oscar Klefbom will be flying sorties with Schultz the rambler soon. In the world of Oilers chemistry, finding a suitable partner for Justin Schultz is becoming an annual rite of summer.

IS THIS A TERRIBLE SOLUTION?

Nikitin is a bit of a riddle in that his usage is confusing the conversation. He’s 28, has had an effective season in a prominent role, but has also faded for two seasons since. I’m pleased the Oilers have acquired an actual NHL defensemen—more, please—but concerned that once again the club has failed to address that top pairing in any way. Perhaps MacTavish has another surprise on the way, perhaps there’s land on the horizon when we wake tomorrow. And maybe there’s only Engelland after all.

And perhaps, and this is something we already know, perhaps Martin Marincin-Jeff Petry is the top pairing and shoring up the defense will come from adding actual NHL players to contribute down the depth chart. It’s bass ackwards, but the fact remains that the best LH defenseman on this roster today is a tall kid from Kocise with 44 big league games to his name.

NIKITA NIKITIN PLAYER CARD VIA EXTRA SKATER

nikitin es

THE VOLLMAN SLEDGEHAMMER

nikitin sledge

Nikitin played the soft parade, with David Savard, and a nice zone push. They were not able to get enough done with those fun minutes, and the Blue Jackets have other options. If Nikitin can fill the Schultz partner role, which is quickly becoming the ‘dead man skating’ role for veteran NHL defenders, then this deal will shine like a diamond in Edmonton.

written by

The author didn‘t add any Information to his profile yet.
Related Posts

220 Responses to "OILERS SIGN NIKITIN"

« Older Comments
  1. nycoil says:

    Did you guys know you can filter Extra Skater now for UFAs? I didn’t. Cool stuff. Here I am looking at P/60 for UFAs, but sort it how you like.

    Wouldn’t mind Jussi Jokinen, Radim Vrbata, and definitely want Grabovski for 2C.

    http://www.extraskater.com/players/standard?pos=F&sort=p&ufa=True&type=rate&min_gp=50

    Credit to Devils blog “In Lou We Trust” for identifying Vrbata as an under-the-radar, potentially cheap guy to target.

  2. nycoil says:

    Racki,

    Sounds like an almost direct response to me. Ha ha. I do see your point-of-view and do agree that the Oilers need to start somewhere. I think you mentioned it over at ON in the comments section as well. Hey, if the Oilers sign Fayne as well, that’s fine. It’s not Stralman-Fayne or Niskanen-Fayne but it’s better than no dance partner. That said, Fayne likely isn’t going to go for the higher cap hit for shorter term like Nikitin did, so hopefully the overpayment isn’t too bad.

  3. Lois Lowe says:

    I’d like to start referring to Nikitin as middle pairing D. Not quite top 2, not quite bottom 2.

  4. rickithebear says:

    Mark Fayne is a 2.48 EVGA/60 Dman when facing 1st comp last 4 years.
    when he faces 2nd comp or less he is a 1.66 EVGA/60 Dman.

    Fayne versus 1st comp is top 20 Box protection.
    Fayne versus 2nd comp is top 4 Box protection

    Tha crazy oilers mgmt seem to be targeting the best EVGA and Box protection Dmen regardless of Corsi!

    Crazy Bastards!

  5. Jordan says:

    TheOtherJohn: Bolland wants $7m per year for 6 yearsto sign in Edmonton…….. to use similiar reasoning to NNif he’s capable of 2C minutes its only a slight overpay

    If you ignore his (edit: Bolland) production numbers, his usage, and the extra 4 years of the contract…

    Then sure, it’s completely comparable. D:

  6. Well Oiled and Enthusiastic says:

    The structure of the NN deal and the comment by Howson that they have done their ‘whale hunt’ on D for 2014 says that this signing and the ambition of management is that this season and all signings this summer are a punt to 2015 season. Goal in 2014 is not playoffs but progression. Surround the core drafted talent with some seasoned character players that fall away through 2015 and 2016 when the existing core is firmly established and ready for prime time contention. Klefbom/Marincin core regulars in 2015. Possibly Pitlick and Lander in bottom 6 as well. Nurse, Draisaitl and Khaira or Yakimov are core rookie regulars in 2016 and the team is contending for deep playoff runs. Makes me believe they will not be pursuing any big forward signing this summer (like Stastny) and won’t swap out the pick (but select the future 2C talent). I would expect a couple of similar 2 maybe 3 yr type forward signings like B Richards or Heatley or the like to round out the experience/character quotient in the short term. These players being signed on are here to mentor, shelter and stabilize – not contend.

  7. Melman says:

    Well Oiled and Enthusiastic,

    Or they’ve decided not to tell all of their competitors what their plans are for the upcoming off-season

  8. RexLibris says:

    druid99999,

    I’ve done something similar in tracking picks taken between ’79 and ’09 and the relative success rates using a 200+ gp threshold of each team, round, year and so on.

    Broke it down six ways from Sunday and yes, there are some interesting trends.

    Your “pick of doom” doesn’t surprise me. I noticed that it seems sometimes in draft round that GMs or scouts get caught in a sort of slipping of mental gears.

    For example, when a team has multiple picks in a single round, they’re success rate at the in that round can actually fall below their traditional norm. It is almost as if they take the first pick conservatively, then treat the others in the round like found money to either go walkabout, reward a loyal scout, or some other motive.

    With the first round specifically, it can often be divided up into three strata of prospects, even in deep drafts. There is the top tier, extending anywhere from one to seven players, typically. Then a second tier followed by a third. On occasion the perceived third tier can actually be exhausted before the end of the round with the latter picks being deemed to be closer to 2nd round pick value for all intents and purposes.

    So what may be happening in that 15th overall slot, or thereabouts, is a team has failed to make a mental transition in how they have identified and valued their draft table. Perhaps at #15 they would be wiser to reach down and take a less-flashy, but more likely to develop prospect, for example.

    The one thing we can’t quantify with the draft is the mental processes that go on in establishing a draft list. Not only how a team identifies and places certain values on players, but how that team adapts and responds to the actions of 29 other organizations imposing their own subjective valuations onto that shared draft pool.

    In the way that a massive flock of birds flows and swirls around in the air like an organic aurora borealis, each individual decision by a team impacts that of the others around it.

    Except the Leafs.

  9. G Money says:

    rickithebear: Tha crazy oilers mgmt seem to be targeting the best EVGA and Box protection Dmen regardless of Corsi!

    It may surprise you to learn that Fayne’s Corsi is superb.

  10. RexLibris says:

    I’d bet money that Treliving signs Vrbata for the Flames. Phoenix connection and the RW depth chart there is, well, not.

  11. RexLibris says:

    G Money: It may surprise you to learn that Fayne’s Corsi is superb.

    Months ago I had a look at about 12 different pending UFA defensemen and settled on Fayne and Niskanen as the best targets. Niskanen has obviously garnered a great deal of attention, and I’d hoped that Fayne would be less noticeable.

    If he signs here it will be, as LT says, “Music”!

  12. G Money says:

    RexLibris: I’ve done something similar in tracking picks taken between ’79 and ’09 and the relative success rates using a 200+ gp threshold of each team, round, year and so on.

    and yes, there are some interesting trends

    I’ve done a bunch of number-crunching in this area recently as well.

    A cautionary word when trying to analyze “interesting trends” is that any such analysis suffers from the albatross of all statistical analysis: small sample size.

    Even using 30 years of draft data, each pick only has 30 data points, which just barely meets the threshold of statistical validity. Then when you consider those data points span 30 years, which underlie incredible changes in coaching, training, player development, and drafting – it might be more correct to treat the data as two or three differing sets of fifteen or ten data points instead, further laying the smackdown on your sample size.

    So any interesting trends that you observe with respect to any given pick or set of picks, especially unintuitive results, need to be taken with a heart-attack-inducing amount of salt.

  13. G Money says:

    RexLibris: and I’d hoped that Fayne would be less noticeable.
    If he signs here it will be, as LT says, “Music”!

    Sadly, it appears he is not so unnoticed …

    But if signing him is music, then the fact that the Oilers are talking to his camp is at least a catchy riff!

  14. FTO says:

    Lowetide,

    Hahaha I believe it, you prose is rock solid my man.

  15. spoiler says:

    G Money: It may surprise you to learn that Fayne’s Corsi is superb.

    My only concern with Fayne is his TOI (and maybe the team/system). It tells me he’s been playing 3rd pairing. However due to his age and experience, I think it’s a fairly good bet that he can handle tougher assignments as his career progresses.

  16. Caramel Obvious says:

    The Devils as a team have a track record of doing worsi than their corsi would indicate. The converse of this is that it may be that Corsi systematically overvalues Devil players.

  17. RexLibris says:

    G Money: I’ve done a bunch of number-crunching in this area recently as well.

    A cautionary word when trying to analyze “interesting trends” is that any such analysis suffers from the albatross of all statistical analysis: small sample size.

    Even using 30 years of draft data, each pick only has 30 data points, which just barely meets the threshold of statistical validity.Then when you consider those data points span 30 years, which underlie incredible changes in coaching, training, player development, and drafting – it might be more correct to treat the data as two or three differing sets of fifteen or ten data points instead, further laying the smackdown on your sample size.

    So any interesting trends that you observe with respect to any given pick or set of picks, especially unintuitive results, need to be taken with a heart-attack-inducing amount of salt.

    Agreed.

    The sample size of teams with multiple picks in a given round, spread out over three decades and countless management groups is not statistically valid.

    But, by the same token, if one notices that in 17 instances (to pick a number) only twice did a team meet or exceed an established success rate backed by a much larger sample size that does have some statistical validity, then there is some evidence to suggest that one could argue that it is not likely that a success rate is likely to increase in the case of having multiple picks in a single round.

    After that one is free to offer various hypotheses as to a cause or causes, usually discussed in forums such as these where a multitude of opinions and perspectives can serve to define an approximate boundary of reasonable explanations.

    Or share steak rub recipes.

  18. flyfish1168 says:

    Caramel Obvious,

    Very simple if you had more life experience. There is a correlation if you know how to read it and see it. Those were examples of greed. People are generally selfish and greedy. Think of number one 1st. You will learn and understand in time. Just remember this

  19. Caramel Obvious says:

    flyfish1168:
    Caramel Obvious,

    Very simple if you had more life experience. There is a correlation if you know how to read it and see it. Those were examples of greed.People are generally selfish and greedy. Think of number one 1st. You will learn and understand in time. Just remember this

    Please. Your thoughts are incoherent. A mishmash of truisms, cliches, and vague prejudice, that all appear sensible inside the jumbled assortment of thoughts that serves as a facsimile of a brain. Let me invite you to take the time and turn these impressions into a rational argument. It will make you a better person.

  20. flyfish1168 says:

    Caramel Obvious,

    Don’t think to high of one your self young one. Experience with knowledge will trump a young brain. When one focuses to hard at one point the surrounding and inbetween will be missed by the young and experience. Learn young one your time will come. My last lesson to you on this thread.

« Older Comments

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

© Copyright - Lowetide.ca