Many years ago I purchased a Baseball America at the Pike’s Place Market in Seattle. It was the first one I’d ever seen, and of course I read it cover to cover. Among the items inside was a story on a crusty old scout for the St. Louis Cardinals. He was tracking Dmitri Young in the article, and his scouting report talked about a great bat, baserunning issues and the mystery of his glove. Inside the article, he wrote ‘saw him good’ at the end of the article, and I’ve always remembered that phrase as a ‘catch-all’ for “I like this guy but don’t have the words.
At the exact opposite end of the spectrum is are the math people. A deal that makes sense can be sussed out via Extra Skater or Behind the Net in 15 minutes. A bad deal takes less. “Saw him Good” has no place in the math world, and math people are soundly derided by the saw him good group. It is, without putting too fine a point on it, the single least enjoyable part of my hockey experience at this time.
There is wisdom in both methods, and things to disregard in both as well. A few years ago, many experts from the math side were certain that faceoff percentage had no real impact, no matter the zone. As we learn more, there are things we held in high regard that we throw away or make less important. It’s a process, part of the information brought in and we’ve got some incredible minds working on the problem. It isn’t perfect, but it’s better than just watching by eye and we know it.
A perfect example of ‘saw him good’ versus math is Nikita Nikitin’s acquisition. I think this is clearly an example of Scott Howson arguing ‘saw him good’ and Craig MacTavish not having a better option (in his mind). It’s a tell, he doesn’t trust the math.
For readers, there are any number of ways to express the deal, I did it here, Jonathan Willis did it here and Tyler Dellow did it here. From the established media side, Mark Spector reported the story and the overpay.
There’s no way to express this deal as a net win. The Oilers overpaid in exchange for shorter term and ‘saw him good’ Howson liked him enough to convince his new boss to open the vault. He will probably play top 4 minutes for some of the season, bottom pairing for others. He’s over 200 games into his NHL career and can play a complementary role. Maybe that means he pairs with Jeff Petry and the OKC tandem of Marincin-Schultz get some NHL work. That’s for us to observe. I suggest you read the articles above, make up your own mind and tune out the ‘you’re the dumbest man alive—stupid stupid stupid’ verbal that goes on across the Al Gore.
OILERS PROJECTED DEFENSE
|LEFT DEFENSE||RIGHT DEFENSE|
|MARTIN MARINCIN||JEFF PETRY (RFA)|
|NIKITA NIKITIN||JUSTIN SCHULTZ (RFA)|
|ANDREW FERENCE||OSCAR KLEFBOM|
Martin Marincin remains the best LH defenseman on the team. Anyone disagree?