Just the numbers: with and without Strudwick at even strength

Jonathan Willis
December 29 2008 03:31PM

On Christmas Eve, I did a statistical evaluation of the defence pairings. By those numbers, it looked like Jason Strudwick was easily the worst defenceman on the team. However, Jason Gregor made an excellent point in the comments -- shooting or getting out-shot generally has a lot to do with the forwards on the ice. With that in mind, here are the numbers for Oilers forwards (even-strength only) in goals and shots for and against, with and without Strudwick. They’re probably worth considering when discussing an extension.

Horcoff: With -– 0GF/4GA, 20SF/38SA; Without -– 19GF/9GA, 243SF/173SA

Nilsson: With –- 1GF/2GA, 17SF/32SA; Without –- 11GF/13GA, 132SF/140SA

Cogliano: With -– 2GF/1GA, 31SF/43SA; Without –- 14GF/13GA, 147SF/150SA

Moreau: With -– 3GF/1GA, 29SF/61SA; Without –- 13GF/15GA, 160SF/201SA

Cole: With –- 2GF/2GA, 27SF/47SA; Without -– 10GF/12GA, 180SF/183SA

Penner: With -– 0GF/2GA, 18SF/34SA; Without -– 21GF/8GA, 194SF/139SA

Pisani: With -– 4GF/3GA, 22SF/38SA ; Without -– 4GF/8GA, 66SF/89SA

Stortini: With -– 2GF/3GA, 16SF/32SA; Without -– 2GF/3GA, 30SF/35SA

Brodziak: With –- 2GF/3GA, 21SF/50SA; Without –- 6GF/8FA, 102SF/121SA

Pouliot: With –- 1GF/4GA, 26SF/45SA; Without –- 12GF/5GA, 135SF/132SA

Hemsky: With -– 0GF/3GA, 16SF/34SA ; Without -– 20GF/12GA, 232SF/180SA

Reddox: With –- 1GF/2GA, 6SF/20SA; Without -– 2GF/1GA, 24SF/34SA

Gagner: With -– 1GF/1GA, 27SF/36SA; Without -– 14GF/15GA, 156SF/157SA

We’ll all draw our own conclusions here, but given that every single player has been out-shot by a massive margin (37:20 on average) when placed with Strudwick, I have to ask –- can any team win if it’s out-shot 37:20 every game? Is there any possibility Jason Strudwick isn’t driving these numbers?

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#1 Bruthah
December 29 2008, 04:51PM
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Struddy with Carcillo on the ice.... = PURE GOLD!

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#2 Smokin' Ray
December 29 2008, 05:05PM
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He's good to have on the team and to have around but... He really shouldn't be a defenceman on the Oilers. That said, I do like him on the 4th line. It suits him much better. But when Pisani and MacIntyre come back where does that leave Strudwick. Or Stortini? Or Reddox?

ps. Good post Jonathan. All those numbers really mess with a guys eyes.

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#3 Smokin' Ray
December 29 2008, 05:06PM
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Not that it really matters but, what are his "numbers" as a forward? Is he the same?

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#4 Antony Ta
December 29 2008, 10:53PM
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Strudwick is easily the weakest link. But it's good to have him around because if he wasn't around who would fill in for the MacIntyres and the Reddox's? Damn, we would still be using Boulerice.

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#5 Mel
December 29 2008, 11:58PM
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My sources are telling me Hartsburg will be fired Tommorow after morning practice, might last game. Murry to take over team interm. His job is also in may be gone, only problem Melnyk has is he needs Murry to rub the team but no trades with out Melnyk

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#6 David S
December 30 2008, 12:01AM
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Less drink. More think.

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#7 Jason Gregor
December 30 2008, 01:32AM
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@ Mel: Mel, Hartsburg is their 3rd coach in the last 100 games. They have tried different coaches and nothing has changed. A player move will happen before Hartsburg gets fired I would suspect. Firing the coach wouldn't change the results you would think, since it hasn't changed anything to date.

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#8 shakey
December 30 2008, 10:43AM
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Mel, my sources tell me you will enter a 12 step program before the New Year and thing stop cause can for too much drink.

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#9 Drago
December 30 2008, 01:16PM
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Judging by these stats Strudwick is Cory Cross, Jason Bonsignore and Ty Conklin all rolled into one craptacular waste of a roster spot...but anyone who has watched the games this season knows that that is quite the contrary. Strudwick has been very solid and one of the best bargain signings of the summer. I just think its a sign that stats can't always be the law when judging a player.

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#10 Jonathan Willis
December 30 2008, 04:00PM
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@ Drago:

You think so? I've been unimpressed watching Strudwick, and the difference between Staios with Strudwick and Staios without Strudwick is amazing, to use just one example.

Strudwick goes to the dirty areas, has grit and plays a character game, but he isn't helping the team win. He's the worst player on the roster right now, IMO.

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#11 shakey
December 30 2008, 04:19PM
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Jonathon, I really don't have a position on Strudwick but I want to know what do you expect out of a 6th or 7th defensemen/4th line forward? Where could he be better in your opinion? Who would you rather see play the role he plays with the injuries we have? I'm not disputing your comments, I just want to know your opinion.

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#12 Jonathan Willis
December 30 2008, 04:29PM
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@ shakey:

I'm fine with Strudwick as the 7th defenseman, or the 13th/14th forward. MacTavish playing him ahead of Smid was completely indefensible - thankfully he's since come to his senses.

The problem with Strudwick as a forward isn't Strudwick; the problem is that the Oilers are running three goalies, and they have Reddox, MacIntyre and Stortini on the roster too. Once MacIntyre gets healthy, that's three guys whose primary contribution is muscle at the tail end of the roster. The Oilers need some muscle that can play above the fourth line, and they need a fourth line that can contribute.

MacIntyre's got more of a heavyweight reputation than Strudwick, and Stortini's not only younger but a better hockey player and Smid's a better defenseman. What's Strudwick's purpose on this roster?

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#13 shakey
December 30 2008, 04:36PM
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Jonathan; I completely agree with you about sitting Smid and playing Strudwick...that was just wrong. It's no secret Reddox will be sent back down once MacIntyre comes back so do you think they will solve this 3 goalie issue soon? It looks like Roli has played himself into the undisputed # 1 spot so is Garon on his way out or do they keep all 3 until the playoff picture is cleared and move Roli if we're not looking like we're in the playoffs?

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#14 shakey
December 30 2008, 04:38PM
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I meant to say Playoff picture is clearer...not cleared.

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#15 Jonathan Willis
December 30 2008, 04:42PM
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@ shakey:

Well, Reddox going out doesn't solve anything, really. Any team dressing two of Stortini, MacIntyre and Strudwick is running a fourth line that can't play - each of those guys is good at providing muscle and character, but there's only so much room for that if that's all the players are adding.

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#16 shakey
December 30 2008, 04:48PM
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Jonathon; Again, I agree with you but what happens next? How is this solved?

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#17 Jonathan Willis
December 30 2008, 05:27PM
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@ shakey:

Better players. Either better guys on the top three lines, which would mean knocking down some players to the bottom line, or just some better fourth-liners.

Lowe/Tambellini aren't idiots; I presume the lack of action so far is because they're aiming high.

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#18 The new fourth line - OilersNation
January 07 2009, 10:38AM
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[...] Strudwick, who was easily the worst defenceman on the team, looks like a different player as a forward. He plays a safe, effective game and adds a physical [...]

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