In Tambellini's Boots

Jonathan Willis
December 01 2009 07:27AM

Yesterday, Robin Brownlee mentioned briefly the moves he’d be working on in the G.M.’s boots (pictured above). The following is my list.  If I've had one rule in making up my list, it's this one: don't sell low.

Forwards

There are four forwards on the team who can be relied upon to keep their heads above water against almost anybody. They are Ales Hemsky, Shawn Horcoff, Dustin Penner, and Sam Gagner. Those four will constitute the core of next season’s forward corps, and will be retained.

There are too many small, one-dimensional forwards in this group. Pick two of Cogliano, O'Sullivan, Nilsson, Comrie and Eberle who will be on the team next year. Given the relative trade values, at this point I'd lean towards keeping Comrie and O'Sullivan and sticking Eberle in the AHL, but there’s still plenty of time to make a decision, and the rest of the season should focus on which of these players to keep and which to move. For now though, I’d move out Nilsson and Cogliano.

This team has too many players who bring a physical edge but not much else; in reality there aren’t that many spots for these sort of players on a winning team (as none of the Oilers listed here can really handle a regular role checking top players). My list includes Ethan Moreau, J-F Jacques, Zack Stortini and Ryan Stone. Colin McDonald and Ryan O’Marra would also fit into this category, although I imagine both would clear waivers; I’d plan to store them as minor-league depth unless someone expresses interest in either of them or they impress as the season continues. Otherwise, I’d keep Stone and Stortini and move out Moreau and Jacques.

As for Gilbert Brule and Ryan Potulny, I think both can be useful NHL players. Again, part of the season would focus on evaluating Potulny, but I see him as a very good 13th forward for a playoff team. As for Brule, I’d test the market. He’s played very well, and frankly I like him a lot, but I don’t think he’s as good as we’ve seen to date. Right now he has a 20.0% shooting percentage mark; his career average is 8.9%. His on-ice shooting percentage is 11.6%, and his linemates aren’t that good. I see him as a good third-liner who can score some when called upon, but if he can put up 40+ points (he’s on pace for 58) I think he’ll get a contract as a scorer. There’s nothing wrong with the player; I’m just a fan of selling high and I think he’s as hot as he’ll be for the foreseeable future. Meanwhile, I continue to believe Marc Pouliot can get the job done on the fourth line, perhaps between Stone and Stortini. He’ll have to use the stretch run to prove he deserves a spot in the lineup over Potulny; if not he’s a cheap reserve forward. Lastly, if Fernando Pisani shows signs he can come back from his latest bout of colitis, I’d pencil him in as a reserve forward.

Despite the high volume of moves I’m suggesting (five), that would leave only three spots available up front, assuming that all of the prospects/AHL’ers (O’Marra, McDonald, Eberle, Paajarvi-Svensson, Omark, etc.) fail to make the jump to the big leagues. As G.M., I’d be having my professional scouts look at defensive specialists from this summer’s free agent class. I’d also suggest that bubble players on other teams who might be cheaply available be brought over for a test run towards the latter half of this season. If at all possible, I’d also try to swing a trade to bring in a genuine third liner or two. 

Defencemen and Goaltenders

On the defensive side of things, I’d entertain bids for Lubomir Visnovsky and Sheldon Souray, but only move them if the return was particularly compelling. Lubomir Visnovsky is the team’s best defenceman and a vital part of the team; his injury last year hurt the Oilers a lot. Meanwhile, Sheldon Souray brings a unique presence to the team and when healthy has been invaluable. While I can’t help but think that age and injuries could catch up to either of these players, winning in the near future will depend greatly on them, and they can only be moved if the return justifies it. It’s also important to remember that either of these defencemen can block a trade.

Assuming that both of those players are kept, the Oilers still have too much money invested in their defence, so one of Tom Gilbert or Denis Grebeshkov should be moved if the first two are kept. Gilbert is signed to a long-term contract, and his value has never been lower than it is right now. Grebeshkov is a pending free agent. I don’t believe teams should move players for pennies on the dollar, so that rules out trading Gilbert, meaning that Grebeshkov should be moved. If Grebeshkov is willing to sign a three-year (or thereabouts) deal for reasonable money ($3.25 million per year or thereabouts) I’d consider keeping him, but otherwise I’d try and move him at the deadline.

Steve Staios costs too much money for a third-pairing defenceman, and should be moved. Ladislav Smid is still signed to reasonable dollars and should be kept. Jason Strudwick doesn’t bring anything irreplaceable; if someone were interested I’d move him, otherwise he could be allowed to leave as a free agent.

That leaves three spots on the back end to be filled, and all should go to cheap and dependable types. I one of Taylor Chorney or Theo Peckham steps up in a big way down the stretch, one of them could take an NHL job next year (not both, because if both do that leaves the team without enough depth), which would leave only two spots to fill. Physical and defensively reliable are what we’re looking for here.

In net, I’d move Khabibulin if a trade presented itself. I know Tambellini won’t because he just signed him, but he’s locked up for too long given his age and injury track record. Some would argue I’m creating an unnecessary hole, but the fact is that Khabibulin has missed almost 20 games per season every season for the past four years, and I’m not comfortable with a part-time starter. I’d also make a decision on JDD and Dubnyk. I'd be leaning towards keeping Dubnyk, but use Khabibulin's absence to add to the data. I know that's too short a span, but the Oilers must make a decision this summer and they might as well decide now. Trade the lesser of the two. 

Transactions

  • Move two of Cogliano, Comrie, Nilsson and O’Sullivan – probably Cogliano and Nilsson.
  • Move one of Jacques, Stone and Stortini – probably Jacques.
  • Move Moreau.
  • Move Brule, depending on return.
  • Move one of Visnovsky, Souray, Gilbert and Grebeshkov – probably Grebeshkov.
  • Move Staios.
  • Move Khabibulin, depending on return.
  • Move one of Deslauriers or Dubnyk – probably Deslauriers.
  • Aim to acquire two or three two-way forwards.
  • Aim to acquire a pair of solid defenceman, at least one of whom can play a shutdown role.
  • If necessary, take a goaltender back in exchange for Khabibulin, but preferably not. Acquire as many draft picks as possible.
  • Sign whatever of the above haven’t been added via trade when free agency starts.
  • Sign a starting goaltender to replace Khabibulin; by my count there are 11 possible starters hitting the market, not one of whom is older than 34.  As with last year, there are more goaltenders than there are teams.

I know this looks like a lot, but I’ve got the rest of this season and all next summer to make these moves, and that’s the list I’d be working from.  The important thing now is to use the time left to get firm reads on which players in each of the above groups to keep.

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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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#101 BarryS
December 01 2009, 12:49PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

@ BarryS:

Good teams make moves; bad teams, with more things to fix, should make more.

Detroit added five players between November 2008 and October 09.

Pittsburgh made three trades, signed seven guys and claimed two off waivers between Nov. 08 and Oct. 09.

I see no problem with moving a half-dozen or so players and signing five between now and October 2010. This isn't a team with a solid core, this is a team that needs to build a solid core.

If you prefer a more recent example, between Nov. 07 and Oct. 08 the Flyers made nine trades, signed six and made a waiver claim.

And Pittsburgh has improved and has no cap issues? No.

And Detroit has improved and has no cap issues? No.

And the Flyers have improved and have no cap issues? No.

And your point is?

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#102 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
December 01 2009, 12:49PM
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And seeing as people don't consider Horcoff a top 6 because of offensive production. 30 teams in the NHL x6 top six players equals 180. In terms of production Horcoff would be 162nd, so he is a top 6 in terms of offesnive production only.

And yet again I am sticking up for a guy I don't like.

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#103 Hemmercules
December 01 2009, 12:55PM
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Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach wrote:

Just thrwowing it out there but all the teams except Chicago could've afforded the goalies they loss, although Biron was an odd ball situation all together.

Thanks.

Is it within reason to say that, aside from Khabbi, the oilers could of had or could get this summer a goalie thats better than JDD or DD for a reasonable price?? I guess I'm just not a big JDD fan and havent seen anough of DD. I do know that Bulin won't last if he has to play 65-70 games a season so Tambo should at least TRY to land a another goalie if he can.

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#105 BarryS
December 01 2009, 12:56PM
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Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach wrote:

And seeing as people don't consider Horcoff a top 6 because of offensive production. 30 teams in the NHL x6 top six players equals 180. In terms of production Horcoff would be 162nd, so he is a top 6 in terms of offesnive production only.

And yet again I am sticking up for a guy I don't like.

Now you've hit upon it, we all like or dislike some guys and inflate or deflate their true value to justify our likes or dislikes.

There is nothing wrong in liking or disliking someone, its just silly to try and justify something which can't actually be justified.

Taste in hockey players, like taste in women, or taste in chocolate bars for that matter, knows nothing of reason.

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#106 Digger
December 01 2009, 12:58PM
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I've seen this argument a ton over the interweb these days when people talk about Brule's production being a mirage, that he has this unsustainable shooting percentage that is overly inflating his value.

Interesting, kinda like when Pisani and Glencross had overly high shooting percentages early in their NHL careers...did those percentages make these players out to be paper tigers? Of course they didn't sustain their percentages, but did they not turn into pretty damn valuable players to have around that the Oilogosphere wish were either still Oilers or healthy?

As for Brule specifically, I do think it's fair to note that he'd already had 157 NHL games to his record that say he's "terrible", as RiversQ so eloquently put it recently. However, I also think it's fair to say, and to be honest I thought this would be rudimentary and not need to be even said, that not all NHL games are created equal when it comes to player development. To simply throw around shooting percentages and number of games played seems a bit simplistic to me.

For myself, I'm not really focusing on Brule's 17.9% shooting (funny how some bleat "20%!" when it's not even that), but the 10 assists that I'm fair sure have little to nothing to do with unsustainable shooting percentages. I seem to recall a very talented setup by him to Penner in the Vancouver game that didn't go off anybody's keister or bounce off a skate. Did he just throw that puck out blindly, and it happened to go perfectly on the blade of Penner's stick?

And for the record, the difference between this horrifically unsustainable shooting percentage and 12.8%? All of 2 goals. I dunno, it all seems a bit silly to me.

I'm not saying he's a star in the making, but I think at this point it'd be shortsighted to cash him out before knowing full well what we have in him.

If the Oilers sign him to a 3 year deal and he turns into another Torres, that would be annoying but it's not like they couldn't find somebody to give him another chance, heck it's how they got Brule in the first place.

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#107 Bucknuck
December 01 2009, 01:01PM
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@Ogden Brother

"So given the track record of mid range 1st rounders, why would you value them that highly"

Hemsky, Eberle and Cogliano are all mid range first rounders drafted in the last eight years. I would place all three ahead of Brule in the depth chart.

Of course the flipside to that is Pouliot and Shremp, who are fringe NHL players at best. The jury is still out on Dubnyk, Nash, and MPS, and the one dud was Jesse Niinimaki.

In all it's a pretty good bet you will get an NHLer... and you might just get an Ales Hemsky out of it. Is that worth the risk? Debatable, but a mid range pick has good value.

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#108 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
December 01 2009, 01:01PM
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@Hemmercules

I still think we got a decent deal. Anderson and Clemmenson were unproven goalies. At the time Biron want 4-5mil over a bunch of years. Tambo made it clear he didn't want to be stuck without a starter.

What would've been the response if we didn't sign Bulin and Biron signed in Russia?

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#109 BarryS
December 01 2009, 01:03PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

@ BarryS:

It's pretty clear you missed it. My point was that even good teams make more than the "one or two" moves in a year you talked about.

As for Philly, I imagine they're pretty happy with the progress their team has made since getting the second overall pick in 2007. They had to make moves to improve, so do the Oilers.

I'm not advocating trades for thw sake of making trades. I'm advocating making moves to improve this team for next season.

What will be even more interesting, is the moves they will have to make to keep under the cap when they don't win the cup again this year.

And how many of these trades were unforced by the player on their team, and how many were made without extenuating circumstances to purely improve the Team. Entropy applies to hockey teams too,

IMO of course.

As for trades to improve the team, the import is not what you give up but what you get back!

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#110 Dan the Man
December 01 2009, 01:04PM
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@Jonathan Willis

The problem with trading for a mid first round draft pick is that more often than not they don't turn out to be players. I think chances are far greater that Brule turns in to a regular contributor in the NHL than the average mid-round 1st round pick.

I went back 10 years and looked at picks 13-17 and sure there is the odd gem (Hemsky, Parise, Dustin Brown) but there are also an awful lot of guys like Nedorost, Schvarz and Knyazev.

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#111 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
December 01 2009, 01:04PM
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@Bucknuck

The problem is how long it generally takes for that 15th overall pick to actually become something. It could take 4+ year and still end up with nothing. Even Nilsson and O'Marra were 15th overall picks and they are still fighting to prove something. Brule at least is over that hump and at the very least is an 4th line banger.

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#112 Tyler
December 01 2009, 01:06PM
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Willis

So let me get this straight. With Brule the oilers have a guy that plays center, seems to be ok in the circle (or at least better than the rest other than Horcoff), who skates well, has some offensive upside, is young, cheap, is second on the team in goals, brings energy and likes to play gritty and physical. And you want to trade him? How many Oilers forwards that have some offensive ability other than Penner do any of that? NONE How many guys on the Oilers that can play center can even half of any of that? NONE. Horcoff, Cogliano, Gagner, O'Sullivan, none of those guys are physical or all that gritty. None of those guys bring all that much energy, other than Horcoff, none of those guys win draws on a regular basis. And you want to trade him? If he was old, sure I could see it be he is what 22? Pouliot? You keep Pouliot? WHY? How many more seasons do we have to watch him NOT accept the fact that he at best is a 3rd line center. How many more seasons do you watch a guy with his size play like a pussy. How many more non physical 3rd - 4th liners do the Oilers need?

Jacques? You would trade Jacques why, because he doesn't score goals on the 4th line? WHO CARES!! On a team lacking size at forward and lacking guys who play physical, you would trade a very big, young, tough, physical winger that can skate and maybe chip in a few goals once in a while. By all means trade Moreau but give Jacques his minutes.

Pisani? You would keep Pisani? How many more overpaid, soft 3rd liners do the Oilers need? What exactly does Pisani bring? Sure he has had injury problems but when he has been healthy, he hs done absolutely nothing for the Oilers since the cup run.

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#113 Dan the Man
December 01 2009, 01:07PM
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@David Staples

I really enjoy your work and I'm glad to see you posting here. It's always good to have intelligent, interesting and differing opinions such as yours and Jonathan Willis'.

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#114 Reagan
December 01 2009, 01:07PM
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I agree with your changes except for Brule. I think the monkey has finally jumped off his back, and we are truly seeing what Brule could be now. This team does need a BLOW UP!

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#115 BarryS
December 01 2009, 01:11PM
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Tyler wrote:

Willis

So let me get this straight. With Brule the oilers have a guy that plays center, seems to be ok in the circle (or at least better than the rest other than Horcoff), who skates well, has some offensive upside, is young, cheap, is second on the team in goals, brings energy and likes to play gritty and physical. And you want to trade him? How many Oilers forwards that have some offensive ability other than Penner do any of that? NONE How many guys on the Oilers that can play center can even half of any of that? NONE. Horcoff, Cogliano, Gagner, O'Sullivan, none of those guys are physical or all that gritty. None of those guys bring all that much energy, other than Horcoff, none of those guys win draws on a regular basis. And you want to trade him? If he was old, sure I could see it be he is what 22? Pouliot? You keep Pouliot? WHY? How many more seasons do we have to watch him NOT accept the fact that he at best is a 3rd line center. How many more seasons do you watch a guy with his size play like a pussy. How many more non physical 3rd - 4th liners do the Oilers need?

Jacques? You would trade Jacques why, because he doesn't score goals on the 4th line? WHO CARES!! On a team lacking size at forward and lacking guys who play physical, you would trade a very big, young, tough, physical winger that can skate and maybe chip in a few goals once in a while. By all means trade Moreau but give Jacques his minutes.

Pisani? You would keep Pisani? How many more overpaid, soft 3rd liners do the Oilers need? What exactly does Pisani bring? Sure he has had injury problems but when he has been healthy, he hs done absolutely nothing for the Oilers since the cup run.

I agree with Willis for two reasons on Pisani.

First, he is likely done due to his illness.

Second, if not done, who would trade for a player with a history of a serious illness.

Pisani stays because until he retires, you can't trade him.

Remember the whole point of making unforced trades is to get back something more useful than you give up, at least from the traders point of view.

Your first and second paragraphs I ignore as an emotional rant, like Shakespeare said - "Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."

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#116 Bucknuck
December 01 2009, 01:14PM
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Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach wrote:

The problem is how long it generally takes for that 15th overall pick to actually become something. It could take 4+ year and still end up with nothing. Even Nilsson and O'Marra were 15th overall picks and they are still fighting to prove something. Brule at least is over that hump and at the very least is an 4th line banger.

You are very right about that. Make no mistake, I don't think anyone is saying that Brule is a bad player. I think the point is that he may be overvalued by other GMs and we could get better value in a trade for him now than we might by the end of the year.

I like Brule and would hate to see him go, but if we drafted a star it might be worth it to lose him... even if we had to wait a few years. I don't see Brule being a star, though he will definitely be a useful NHLer, which Willis has stated above.

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#117 Crash
December 01 2009, 01:15PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

@ Crash:

There aren't six better forwards on this team than Shawn Horcoff. There aren't even three.

WRONG

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#118 Ogden Brother
December 01 2009, 01:16PM
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Bucknuck wrote:

"So given the track record of mid range 1st rounders, why would you value them that highly"

Hemsky, Eberle and Cogliano are all mid range first rounders drafted in the last eight years. I would place all three ahead of Brule in the depth chart.

Of course the flipside to that is Pouliot and Shremp, who are fringe NHL players at best. The jury is still out on Dubnyk, Nash, and MPS, and the one dud was Jesse Niinimaki.

In all it's a pretty good bet you will get an NHLer... and you might just get an Ales Hemsky out of it. Is that worth the risk? Debatable, but a mid range pick has good value.

See that's just the thing. it's a pretty good bet that you wont get an NHL'er drafting in the mid teans. And it's far lower in the 20's.

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#119 BarryS
December 01 2009, 01:17PM
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Crash wrote:

WRONG

Wrong is not an intelligent reply. An intelligent reply names them and backs them up with your opinon of the facts supporting your choices.

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#120 Ogden Brother
December 01 2009, 01:19PM
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Ha-ha, so well supported.

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#121 Hemmercules
December 01 2009, 01:25PM
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@Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

I think signing Khabbi for that long was just as much of a gamble as going for Clemmenson or Anderson, just my opinion. I still wonder who's pushing these deals (Heatley, Bulin, Nylander, Vanek, Penner), is the owner focing it or does Lowe have this mentality that he has to try to win the cup every year without cap repercussions??

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#122 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
December 01 2009, 01:32PM
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@Hemmercules

The term is the kicker that is for sure.

As for the deals, I really don't know. Lowe is kinda busy with team canada so I don't think he is doing to much trade talks. I could see him telling Tambo who is looking good via all his scouting.

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#123 Jason Gregor
December 01 2009, 01:32PM
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BarryS wrote:

At the moment Brule is even on +/-. And don't go trying to lay math and terms like subjective on me. Nearly every game has at least one goal or assist given or taken away on subjective judgement by the official scorer. The point is, teaching defence to a player who is an even player is likely easier than to one who is a high minus.

WTF does losing an assist or a goal have to do with +/-???? You keep bringing it up. Do you now know what +/- is? THe guy is on the ice, so who cares if he gets an assist or not. He gets the plus automatically if it is an EV or SH goal.

And please stop with your FALSE statements. The league does not miss a goal or an assist every game. Not even close.

Have something to add that is accurate or resist the urge...

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#124 Crash
December 01 2009, 01:35PM
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Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach wrote:

And seeing as people don't consider Horcoff a top 6 because of offensive production. 30 teams in the NHL x6 top six players equals 180. In terms of production Horcoff would be 162nd, so he is a top 6 in terms of offesnive production only.

And yet again I am sticking up for a guy I don't like.

Yes I'm sure the fact he makes it just under the wire at 162 shows that he is getting top six minutes....what I'm saying is he shouldn't be getting it and that if we had the proper make up in our top six he wouldn't be at 162.

I believe there are better candidates. At the very least we should be grooming the proper people for top six minutes even if Horcoff squeaks in as one of the top six most skilled forwards on the team which I don't believe he is.

I understand he is getting top 6 minutes...what is difficult to understand about the opinion that he doesn't warrant it and this team is going nowhere as long as he is getting it?

My team includes him as the checking center and nothing else and he sure as heck wouldn't be at 162 if he was playing where he should be.

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#126 Crash
December 01 2009, 01:40PM
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BarryS wrote:

Wrong is not an intelligent reply. An intelligent reply names them and backs them up with your opinon of the facts supporting your choices.

It's just as intelligent as simply stating that there aren't 3 better forwards on the team...

I can name name's but it's then a matter of opinion and my opinion is that he's wrong.

Hemsky, Brule, Penner, Gagner, O'Sullivan, Comrie just to name 6 all possess more top 6 skill than Horcoff. Some just haven't been given the opportunity to have the same top 6 minutes that Horcoff has been handed.

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#128 BarryS
December 01 2009, 01:43PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

WTF does losing an assist or a goal have to do with +/-???? You keep bringing it up. Do you now know what +/- is? THe guy is on the ice, so who cares if he gets an assist or not. He gets the plus automatically if it is an EV or SH goal.

And please stop with your FALSE statements. The league does not miss a goal or an assist every game. Not even close.

Have something to add that is accurate or resist the urge...

Other than you don't like +/- and I overexagerated on mistakes crediting goals, stats? This does not mean mistakes are not made, does it? You have read the whole thread and know the context of the statement?

So a guy with thirty points and is minus -8 means he is worth 6 - 7 million dollars a year.

Other than a drive by smear, that is?

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#129 BarryS
December 01 2009, 01:46PM
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Crash wrote:

It's just as intelligent as simply stating that there aren't 3 better forwards on the team...

I can name name's but it's then a matter of opinion and my opinion is that he's wrong.

Hemsky, Brule, Penner, Gagner, O'Sullivan, Comrie just to name 6 all possess more top 6 skill than Horcoff. Some just haven't been given the opportunity to have the same top 6 minutes that Horcoff has been handed.

So the coach who has all along complained about players who were given opportunities without earning them, should give Brule, O'Sullivan, Comrie, and Cagner opportunities they haven't earned?

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#130 David S
December 01 2009, 01:47PM
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Keep in mind that Horcoff is being unfairly judged right now. I'd bet he's playing with a shoulder that's every bit as bad as Hemsky's was. The only thing I can't figure out is why he just doesn't pack it in for this year and get it fixed. One more hit and he'll be gone anyways.

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#132 Jason Gregor
December 01 2009, 01:50PM
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@Jonathan Willis

Just curious how you say that junior numbers project that Stortini won't be more than a fourth liner, and that Jacques might improve. Fine, yet you suggest Brule will only be a 15-goal scorer and 40 point man. Don't Brule's junior numbers project him to being more than that?

He had 309 points in 164 games...He averaged 1.88 PPG. How does that only project to 40 points in the NHL?

Brule has much more offence that you think. As an 18-year-old Brule had 2.4 points per game, while Gagner has 2.2 as an 18-year-old.

I like both players and I'd be stunned if either is moved anytime soon, but Brule will surprise you with how much offence he produces in his career, barring injury of course.

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#134 Harlie
December 01 2009, 01:55PM
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good article J-dub...looks like a long laundry list...might as well put a fork in this season...it's done.

p.s - are those boots leftover from an end of the year sale at the RX-1 from the Anson Carter era?

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#135 The Real Scuba Steve
December 01 2009, 01:58PM
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I think Tambellini should read these posts and learn something.

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#136 Jason Gregor
December 01 2009, 01:58PM
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BarryS wrote:

Other than you don't like +/- and I overexagerated on mistakes crediting goals, stats? This does not mean mistakes are not made, does it? You have read the whole thread and know the context of the statement?

So a guy with thirty points and is minus -8 means he is worth 6 - 7 million dollars a year.

Other than a drive by smear, that is?

Has nothing to do with whether I like it or not, just understand it. I've read here and in other posts you arguing that the league screws up goals and assists and related that to plus/minus. That is wrong. The guy is on the ice, whether he gets a point or not is irrelevant.

Who said anything about a 30 point player who is -8 being worth 6 million??? If you are referring to Horcoff, he was never a 30 point guy when he got that contract. So once again, you aren't mentioning something factual.

Not a drive by smear, rather pointing out facts.

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#137 Crash
December 01 2009, 02:00PM
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BarryS wrote:

So the coach who has all along complained about players who were given opportunities without earning them, should give Brule, O'Sullivan, Comrie, and Cagner opportunities they haven't earned?

You like facts, so here's a fact for you...this team has been a bottom tier team for a long time now...this team has made many mistakes when it comes to grooming players and for getting them to reach their potential quicker..hence not having a farm team and hence playing Shawn Horcoff ahead of players with more skill....So tell me what did John Tavares do to EARN his spot on the number one line in NY? Oh right, it was handed to him because of his skill level. That's just one quick example. What does one do to "EARN" opportunities? I'm sure many of these players have done nothing less than Horcoff to as you say "EARN" opportunities. I've seen the play die with Horcoff on way too many occasions, I've seen the PP die due to Horcoff's lack of skill on way too many occasions. I've seen him make countless unforced errors in the offensive zone. So what has he done to earn this free pass to line 1, PP1?

It's time to groom the more skilled younger players and/or use the more skilled older players that we have ahead of him in the top 6. I'm not saying Horcoff is useless, I think he'd be invaluable playing a checking role.

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#138 BarryS
December 01 2009, 02:00PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

@ David S.:

Horcoff's definitely in trouble this year. Maybe it's something he can play through, but he sure looks rough in the meantime.

Despite that, some of the problem defensively has been the goaltending. Horcoff, Nilsson, Comrie and Jacques all have a save percentage between .871 and .873 behind them when they're on the ice, and I can't see that continuing (last year, Horcoff and Nilsson had a .919 and .921 SV% on the ice behind them).

Interesting stats but do they explain why two different coaches, when given the choice, play Horcoff and bench Nillson?

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#140 Jason Gregor
December 01 2009, 02:02PM
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@Jonathan Willis

And why are you sold on Stone after such a short period of time over Jacques? Jacques skates better, is more physical and in a season where Jacques stayed healthy he put up more points, than Stone did in any season.

Just curious why you favour Stone over Jacques?

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#142 Steve
December 01 2009, 02:05PM
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@BarryS

I can understand most of the moves you have written down. What l do not understand is how people continue to put (give away) Gagne up there as a player to keep. If l was the GM l would be taking calls to get him off my team. He has done nothing in my eyes to be worthy of a NHL spot. Perhaps he needs more time but and if that is the case send him to the minors and have him work his way back.

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#143 BarryS
December 01 2009, 02:06PM
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Crash wrote:

You like facts, so here's a fact for you...this team has been a bottom tier team for a long time now...this team has made many mistakes when it comes to grooming players and for getting them to reach their potential quicker..hence not having a farm team and hence playing Shawn Horcoff ahead of players with more skill....So tell me what did John Tavares do to EARN his spot on the number one line in NY? Oh right, it was handed to him because of his skill level. That's just one quick example. What does one do to "EARN" opportunities? I'm sure many of these players have done nothing less than Horcoff to as you say "EARN" opportunities. I've seen the play die with Horcoff on way too many occasions, I've seen the PP die due to Horcoff's lack of skill on way too many occasions. I've seen him make countless unforced errors in the offensive zone. So what has he done to earn this free pass to line 1, PP1?

It's time to groom the more skilled younger players and/or use the more skilled older players that we have ahead of him in the top 6. I'm not saying Horcoff is useless, I think he'd be invaluable playing a checking role.

Travares got a coach fired for not playing him when management wanted him played, if I remember right, Gagner was played because management wanted him to play, and helped get a coach fired, if I also remember right. This year Travares is top six because he seems to have earned it, don't follow the team enough. Gagner is up and down off top six depending on how he plays or injuries, doesn't seem to be top 6 full time yet.

Edit: Insert last years Phenom instead of Tavares who is this rears phenom and you get the point, such as it is.

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#145 Dan the Man
December 01 2009, 02:07PM
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@BarryS

+/- is subjective because some guys always play against the other teams top line and some guys always get the other teams 4th line.

Who do you think will fair better, a line that goes up again Staubitz, Shelley and Nichol or a line that goes up against Marleau, Thornton and Heatley?

Nash is not the worst +/- on his team, the majority of the players on Columbus are actually minus players. If he was far and away the worst minus then I think it's a reason for concern but that isn't the case.

Being minus 8 isn't a great stat but it doesn't mean he's not good enough for team Canada or not worth his contact.

If +/- is your main concern Nash was a respectable +11 last year, he also finished with 40 goals which was good enough for 5th in the league.

Travis Zajac has the best +/- of any Canadian player right now so maybe he should be on the Olympic team?

One last thing, due to multiple camera angles the NHL rarely makes mistakes on awarding goals and assists.

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#146 Jason Gregor
December 01 2009, 02:08PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

@ Jason Gregor:

I love Brule's junior numbers; I'm just of the mindset that the injuries he suffered during his rookie season have derailed him to the point where it isn't fair to expect him to live up to potential. I'd love to be proven wrong on that, not just from an Oilers' perspective but also because Brule's had a rough time of it the last few years.

One more thing; here's how Brule scored in the AHL last year compared to how he's scoring in the NHL this year (all numbers projected over 82GP):

08-09 (AHL): 82GP - 27G - 23A - 50PTS 09-10 (NHL): 82GP - 27G - 31A - 58PTS

Going from a 50-point AHL'er to a 60-point NHL'er has to be the biggest leap I've ever seen in a single season; I just don't believe it's sustainable.

Obviously that's just my opinion, but that's where I'm coming from.

Maturity and confidence, something that stats will never show. Numbers will give us one side of the equation, but the intangibles that they can never show play a big factor. We won't know who is right, but I'd be stunned if Brule doesn't project out to more than a 40 point guy.

And Springfield was one of the worst AHL teams ever...Hard to score playing with players with no talent...their defence couldn't move the puck up to save their life.

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#148 BarryS
December 01 2009, 02:15PM
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@Dan the Man

I agree 40 points + 11 is worth the money, but are this years numbers worth a spot on the team today?

I remember when the great complaint about the NHL was players were paid on their past performance not their current abilities and younger better players got shafted.

It dosen't actually matter to me if Nash makes the team this year, but rather do you pick him on past performance over current performance over a player playing better right now, assuming for this discussion we make the choice today and Nash won't improve his numbers by Olympic picking time which he very well might.

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#149 Homie
December 01 2009, 02:16PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

@ David S.:

Horcoff's definitely in trouble this year. Maybe it's something he can play through, but he sure looks rough in the meantime.

Despite that, some of the problem defensively has been the goaltending. Horcoff, Nilsson, Comrie and Jacques all have a save percentage between .871 and .873 behind them when they're on the ice, and I can't see that continuing (last year, Horcoff and Nilsson had a .919 and .921 SV% on the ice behind them).

In trouble this year? He barely cracked 50 points last year. Yes, he probably took too many faceoffs last year but that doesn't seem to hurt Stastny, Crosby, Thornton, Koivu, etc, who are among the leaders in faceoffs taken this year and manage to produce at their expected levels.

That said, Horcoff is definitely a top 6 forward just not top three. Maybe two years ago it looked like he could be when he got 50 points in 53 games, but not any more. That is one of the problems with his contract - he is being paid as strong two way forward who puts up 60 to 70 points. And I just can't imagine him getting anywhere near those point totals again now that he is on the wrong side of 30.

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#150 David S
December 01 2009, 02:19PM
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Steve wrote:

I can understand most of the moves you have written down. What l do not understand is how people continue to put (give away) Gagne up there as a player to keep. If l was the GM l would be taking calls to get him off my team. He has done nothing in my eyes to be worthy of a NHL spot. Perhaps he needs more time but and if that is the case send him to the minors and have him work his way back.

This is ludicrous.

Sam is 5th in team scoring right now. Given that he's probably not 100% healthy and is a notorious slow starter, he's still trending to exceed 50 points. At 20.

What in all that's holy up above makes you conclude "he's not worthy of a NHL spot"? Surely you know he'd be claimed by any smart GM 30 seconds after he was placed on waivers, where he'd go on to score 70 points this year with a decent team.

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