Patrick O’Sullivan: Better Than You Think He Is

Jonathan Willis
April 21 2009 10:40AM

O'Sullivan

The trade deadline move that sent Erik Cole and a fifth round pick to Carolina in exchange for Patrick O’Sullivan and a second round pick was roundly praised in the media (and by me). It was more than a little disappointing when O’Sullivan didn’t bring the same form to Edmonton that he had in Los Angeles.

The basic numbers show us a startling drop-off:

  • Los Angeles: 62GP – 14G – 23A – 37PTS, +1
  • Edmonton: 19GP – 2G – 4A – 6PTS, -7

On the other hand, I really don’t think that O’Sullivan’s counting numbers are fully reflective of his play, for a couple of different reasons. The first item is shooting percentage. Players get hot and cold, but generally they revert back to their career shooting percentage after a while. Here are O’Sullivan’s numbers over his career:

  • 2006-07: 44GP – 5.4 SH%
  • 2007-08: 82GP – 10.0 SH%
  • 2008-09 (LA): 62GP – 7.0 SH%
  • 2008-09 (EDM): 19GP – 3.4 SH%
  • Career: 207GP – 7.5 SH%

In Edmonton, Patrick O’Sullivan’s shooting percentage was less than half of what it was in L.A., 45% of his career number, and one third of his total from last season. Even if we were to imagine that he converted at the same rate he did in L.A., he would have scored twice as many goals.

The second item is on-ice shooting percentage. The first item looked at O’Sullivan alone, whereas this measures the shooting percentage of all of O’Sullivan’s line-mates when he was on the ice. Let’s do some comparisons (all numbers at even-strength):

  • O’Sullivan in Edmonton: 5.1 On-Ice SH%
  • O’Sullivan in Los Angeles: 7.5 On-Ice SH%
  • Edmonton Team Average: 8.8 On-Ice SH%
  • Worst Edmonton Number (Steve MacIntyre): 5.9 On-Ice SH%

I think it’s pretty clear that O’Sullivan’s number in this category is largely a result of luck. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that better players help the play stay alive and thus help generate better chances for their line-mates, thus bringing up their on-ice shooting percentage, but for O’Sullivan’s number to be so low is farcical. His numbers are below a) his average in Los Angeles, b) the Oilers’ team average (and I think it’s fair to say that O’Sullivan is an above-average offensive player) and c) Steve MacIntyre’s team-worst 5.9 on-ice SH%. The Oilers took 156 shots at even-strength with O’Sullivan on the ice. If we were to bump O’Sullivan’s numbers up to his performance in Los Angeles, it would mean that he was on the ice for 4 more goals for at even-strength. If we were to bump that number up to the Oiler’s team average (since on-ice shooting percentage is 80% a result of line-mates anyway), that would mean O’Sullivan was on for 6 more goals for. Not only would that likely inflate his assists totals, but it would almost erase his -7 rating.

The third item is on-ice save percentage. Vic Ferrari conclusively showed that this is completely independent of the quality of an individual defending forward; rather, it’s affected by quality of opposition, quality of goaltender, and to a large degree by random variance. In other words, whatever the save percentage was behind Patrick O’Sullivan, we can be relatively certain that it wasn’t of his doing. Did that have any effect on his plus/minus (all numbers again at even-strength)?

  • Patrick O’Sullivan’s On-Ice Save Percentage: .913
  • Edmonton Oilers’ Team Average Save Percentage: .925

Patrick O’Sullivan was on the ice for 173 shots against at even-strength. 15 goals were scored against while he was on the ice; if we were to adjust his on-ice save percentage to the team average, it would only be 13 goals against.

The combination of these three effects to reduce O’Sullivan’s counting numbers is incredible. If we compensate for all of these factors (and assume that he would have continued to post assists at the same rate for projected goals) the difference is stark:

  • Actual: 19GP – 2G – 4A – 6PTS, -7
  • Projected: 19GP – 4G – 7A – 11PTS, +1

That’s nearly double the output and an 8-goal swing. This isn’t to say that we should discard O’Sullivan’s actual performance; every player has hot streaks and cold streaks and over the course of the season these things tend to even out. The problem is with small sample sizes; when we start to break the season down into 20-game chunks, we can get a distorted picture because very few players produce four identical 20-game segments. Sometimes, the bounces go their way and they produce better results than are reasonably sustainable. In Patrick O’Sullivan’s case, his results (as compared to his actual play) were unreasonably low; over the course of a season they would certainly have been better. The lesson is not to underrate him based on the 20 games that closed out the season.

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Jonathan Willis is Managing Editor of the Nation Network. He also currently writes for the Edmonton Journal's Cult of Hockey, Grantland, and Hockey Prospectus. His work has appeared at theScore, ESPN and Puck Daddy. He was previously founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue. Contact him at jonathan (dot) willis (at) live (dot) ca.
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#1 Scott
April 21 2009, 10:46AM
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Now how about the same analysis for Kotalik? I'd be interested to see how the luck favored him in the home stretch.

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#2 baggedmilk
April 21 2009, 10:51AM
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I love O'Sullivan, the dude has some slick hands and a wicked shot. When he gets comfortable here (maybe with an offensive coach grooming him along) he is going to be a definite keeper. Let's not run this one out of town, eh Oiler fans? Great piece, Willis.

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#3 J-Bird
April 21 2009, 11:00AM
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Hardly a definate keeper. Another small guy of which the team has too many of, and another guy Oiler fans are trying to project to be better than they actually are. Wishful thinking. I have never seen a management team rely so much on the word "potential". It's a cry of hope when it comes to all the players.

I'd like some commodities that are proven. It seems that management is putting far to much in the word "potential", which only means they haven't done a damn thing yet.

They traded a proven NHL commodity in Torres for an AHL player in Brule for "potential". Who does that? Who won that trade?

Penner signed for the same reasons. Horcoff, Gilbert. Rediculous.

Can somebody in the media, anybody, point this wishful thinking type management out this team has and continues to have FFS? All the media sounds as irrantional as the fans are and it drives me nuts.

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#4 Archaeologuy
April 21 2009, 11:00AM
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I dont want to see this kid become another Lupul. Have everyone rag on him because he cant perform in a bad system on a bad team just to see him move on and play well for someone else. Even with ~my favorite player ever Horcoff~ I wouldnt mind to see the guys on the team play under a different coach before they get exiled. Too many bad performances this year for it all to be fluke.

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#5 Ogden Brother
April 21 2009, 11:02AM
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J-Bird wrote:

Hardly a definate keeper. Another small guy of which the team has too many of, and another guy Oiler fans are trying to project to be better than they actually are. Wishful thinking. I have never seen a management team rely so much on the word “potential”. It’s a cry of hope when it comes to all the players. I’d like some commodities that are proven. It seems that management is putting far to much in the word “potential”, which only means they haven’t done a damn thing yet. They traded a proven NHL commodity in Torres for an AHL player in Brule for “potential”. Who does that? Who won that trade? Penner signed for the same reasons. Horcoff, Gilbert. Rediculous. Can somebody in the media, anybody, point this wishful thinking type management out this team has and continues to have FFS? All the media sounds as irrantional as the fans are and it drives me nuts.

They traded a proven NHL commodity in Torres for an AHL player in Brule for “potential”. Who does that? Who won that trade?

Who does that? Every team trades vets for picks/prospects at one time or another.

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#6 Archaeologuy
April 21 2009, 11:04AM
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J-Bird wrote:

Penner signed for the same reasons. Horcoff, Gilbert. Rediculous.

You dont think Gilbert lived up to most of his contract? He put up more points than Bouwmeester, the next coming of Coffey according to many Oiler fans.

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#7 baggedmilk
April 21 2009, 11:10AM
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J-Bird wrote:

Hardly a definate keeper. Another small guy of which the team has too many of, and another guy Oiler fans are trying to project to be better than they actually are. Wishful thinking. I have never seen a management team rely so much on the word “potential”. It’s a cry of hope when it comes to all the players. I’d like some commodities that are proven. It seems that management is putting far to much in the word “potential”, which only means they haven’t done a damn thing yet. They traded a proven NHL commodity in Torres for an AHL player in Brule for “potential”. Who does that? Who won that trade? Penner signed for the same reasons. Horcoff, Gilbert. Rediculous. Can somebody in the media, anybody, point this wishful thinking type management out this team has and continues to have FFS? All the media sounds as irrantional as the fans are and it drives me nuts.

The dude has scored 20 goals in the show last year, and 16 this year. Not to mention he's locked up for another two years at a reasonable price. He kills penalties and can take draws if need be. Big problem too with Gilbert's 45 points and a positive +/-.

You want to talk about the Torres trade? His 27 goals a few years ago was great. Then what did he do? 15, 5, and then 12 this year in Columbus. Yeah we miss his size, but according to Tambellini that's something they're bringing back here this summer.

Know what drives me nuts? People like you that complain about every single thing with this team. You're the kind of guy that said, "ah well Souray is overpaid. $5.4 million? He's a bum." Then you probably loved him this year didn't you?

That's the reason that you're here complaining on a fansite and not a GM.

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#8 The Towel Boy
April 21 2009, 11:13AM
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@ baggedmilk:

Oh noes...bm is revved!

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#9 I'm a Scientist!
April 21 2009, 11:34AM
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@ baggedmilk: I slow clap your rant. All excellent points that i 100 percet agree with, but...

baggedmilk wrote:

That’s the reason that you’re here complaining on a fansite and not a GM.

Isn't that the reason we are all here?

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#10 Archaeologuy
April 21 2009, 11:37AM
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I'm a Scientist! wrote:

Isn’t that the reason we are all here?

I thought it was because I'm just lonely and bored all day...*weeps openly*

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#11 J-Bird
April 21 2009, 11:44AM
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Never complained about a proven commodity in Souray.

Gilbert, while not a bad player, had a ton of 2nd assists. But people, be honest, does he drive the bus out there? No chance. Secondary player, getting $4 million per season. He has value as a trading chip right now, and I think they gotta pull the trigger. Because it won't be long until other teams figure that out either, and we're saddled with another unmovable contract.

The same applies for Cogliano IMO. We've got Horcoff for the next thousand years, overpaid, big time, as a first liner. As usual. Gagner is on the 2nd line or 1st line. Where does Cogliano fit? I don't see it. I like him, and again, I think he has value in a trade. But he's not going to be a 3rd liner, a checker, so he's gotta go. Use the asset to fill a need.

For a team that lacked any type of physical play, trading Torres for an AHL project is inexcusable. Totally.

Kevin Lowe made one hell of a mess here, and I got news for all of Oiler nation, it's going to be a while before they get better too. 17% of the cap next year tied up in untradable contracts in Horcoff and Penner alone, and they'll be lucky to hit 50 goals combined. Getting value out of contracts this isn't.

A soft as marshmallows team doesn't need to commit to another midget in O'Sullivan, to go with the rest. Even our 4th liners, save Stortini, are a bunch of princesses out there.

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#12 Jonathan Willis
April 21 2009, 11:49AM
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Just wanted to share an article on my other site. I've adjusted the plus/minus for the entire Oilers team using the same save percentage method I used for O'Sullivan.

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#13 Jonathan Willis
April 21 2009, 11:52AM
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#14 Ogden Brother
April 21 2009, 11:54AM
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J-Bird wrote:

Never complained about a proven commodity in Souray. Gilbert, while not a bad player, had a ton of 2nd assists. But people, be honest, does he drive the bus out there? No chance. Secondary player, getting $4 million per season. He has value as a trading chip right now, and I think they gotta pull the trigger. Because it won’t be long until other teams figure that out either, and we’re saddled with another unmovable contract. The same applies for Cogliano IMO. We’ve got Horcoff for the next thousand years, overpaid, big time, as a first liner. As usual. Gagner is on the 2nd line or 1st line. Where does Cogliano fit? I don’t see it. I like him, and again, I think he has value in a trade. But he’s not going to be a 3rd liner, a checker, so he’s gotta go. Use the asset to fill a need. For a team that lacked any type of physical play, trading Torres for an AHL project is inexcusable. Totally. Kevin Lowe made one hell of a mess here, and I got news for all of Oiler nation, it’s going to be a while before they get better too. 17% of the cap next year tied up in untradable contracts in Horcoff and Penner alone, and they’ll be lucky to hit 50 goals combined. Getting value out of contracts this isn’t. A soft as marshmallows team doesn’t need to commit to another midget in O’Sullivan, to go with the rest. Even our 4th liners, save Stortini, are a bunch of princesses out there.

Why do people think the team gets better by simply removing Horc/Penner?

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#15 baggedmilk
April 21 2009, 11:56AM
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J-Bird wrote:

Gilbert, while not a bad player, had a ton of 2nd assists. But people, be honest, does he drive the bus out there? No chance. Secondary player, getting $4 million per season. He has value as a trading chip right now, and I think they gotta pull the trigger. Because it won’t be long until other teams figure that out either, and we’re saddled with another unmovable contract. The same applies for Cogliano IMO. We’ve got Horcoff for the next thousand years, overpaid, big time, as a first liner. As usual. Gagner is on the 2nd line or 1st line. Where does Cogliano fit? I don’t see it. I like him, and again, I think he has value in a trade. But he’s not going to be a 3rd liner, a checker, so he’s gotta go. Use the asset to fill a need.

Come on... The second assist thing is crap. If a play goes tick, tack, toe and in the net does the second assist not count? Jonathan did a post devoted directly to second assists a while back (Willis help me out with a link here) and it shows Gilbert isn't the worst when it comes to that. A point is still a point, but then I guess the oh say 800 second assists Gretzky got were crap too.

Trade Cogliano? You're nuts. The guy should be put on the wing instead of playing center. It would ease the pressure defensively on him, and he wouldn't have to take draws.

Who's next on your block? Hemsky? Gagner? Maybe with a career high 2 goals MacIntyre could be packaged for Lecavalier?

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#16 sittingatmydesk
April 21 2009, 12:01PM
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I beleive we have to trade one of Gagner or Cogliano, while they have some value, we cant keep both, its the reality, Cogliano cant win a face off, i think he would be better at the wing. At the same time we need to get bigger, so if we can trade for a 3 line center that can win face offs and be a energy guy, would be great..

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#17 Archaeologuy
April 21 2009, 12:02PM
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@ J-Bird: I agree that Gilbert is one of the best tradable assets on the team, but even 2nd assists are meaningful; otherwise everyone would have them.

Cogliano was mis-cast as a checker all year. He probably will be switched to the wing in the top 6 next year if a proper checking center is acquired.

Inexcusable trading Torres? have you ever seen him play for a whole season? He dissappeared more often than he showed up, that's why he was moved, and he couldnt justify his 2.25 mill salary. He laid a few great hits then would go 7 games without being a difference maker. I think your memory is only keeping the good stuff. Just dumping his salary was a good thing.

The 4th line of Brodziak, Storts, Jacques, and MacIntyre were hardly princesses. In the last quarter of the season they were the best line on the team too often.

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#18 J-Bird
April 21 2009, 12:04PM
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sittingatmydesk wrote:

I beleive we have to trade one of Gagner or Cogliano, while they have some value, we cant keep both, its the reality, Cogliano cant win a face off, i think he would be better at the wing. At the same time we need to get bigger, so if we can trade for a 3 line center that can win face offs and be a energy guy, would be great..

Exactly what I'm getting at. Good player, but doesn't fit with the team's needs.

FFS, this team missed the playoffs for the 3rd year in a row, and drastic changes are needed I would say. People wanting to stay the course, small and soft, clearly aren't paying attention.

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#19 Jack "FMNF" Bauer
April 21 2009, 12:07PM
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I truly believe that getting traded was a big shock to Patrick, and that he didnt want to leave LA/come to Edmonton. The same went for Erik Cole coming here. When these guys are disapointed to get traded they dont perform. Look at Cole now vs Cole in Edmonton. Sure you canbreak it down to line mates, ice time, different team, etc etc etc. But if the player isnt happy hes not going to perform.

Now thats not to say Patrick wont perform next year. You have a new year, new teammates, some success hopefully and maybe he will perform up to expectations.

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#20 J-Bird
April 21 2009, 12:08PM
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Brodziak doesn't hit anything out there, and I would say he's been groomed for the 3rd line anyways.

To those who want Cogliano on the wing. Picture this:

Gagner, Horcoff, O'Sullivan, Cogliano, Nilsson, Hemsky.

I cannot think of a softer top 6 in the entire NHL. Can any of you? And we don't need to get biggger, stonger, more difficult to play against?

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#21 Archaeologuy
April 21 2009, 12:10PM
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J-Bird wrote:

Exactly what I’m getting at. Good player, but doesn’t fit with the team’s needs.

The guy scored as many goals as our 1st line centre playing with Pisani, Stortini, and Moreau all year. He's blazing fast and young. But lets get rid of him. Could the Team maybe start with veterans who arent producing instead of the kids in their sophomore season?

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#22 topshelf
April 21 2009, 12:12PM
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@ Archaeologuy: annnndd he got 0 power play minutes. Just saying..

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#23 baggedmilk
April 21 2009, 12:13PM
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J-Bird wrote:

Brodziak doesn’t hit anything out there, and I would say he’s been groomed for the 3rd line anyways. To those who want Cogliano on the wing. Picture this: Gagner, Horcoff, O’Sullivan, Cogliano, Nilsson, Hemsky. I cannot think of a softer top 6 in the entire NHL. Can any of you? And we don’t need to get biggger, stonger, more difficult to play against?

You think Nilsson will actually be here next year? Of those he's the most inconsistant and will be traded. Book it.

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#24 Archaeologuy
April 21 2009, 12:14PM
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@ topshelf: thankyou.

Obviously the team needs to get bigger, but why get rid of the young skilled future of the team just to get a 3rd line banger?

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#25 Jonathan Willis
April 21 2009, 12:19PM
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@ baggedmilk:

Here's the link.

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#26 Jonathan Willis
April 21 2009, 12:22PM
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@ J-Bird:

I happen to agree with you on the Cogliano/Gagner conundrum; I don't think both can fit on to the roster long-term (unless Cogliano can move to wing). If Cogliano does move to wing, we do have an issue with size.

On the other hand, this team has had massive change since 2006-07; in fact two out of every three players on the Oilers two years ago are no longer in Edmonton. This team has been massively rebuilt over the last two years; now's the time for some incremental changes because they can't constantly pick a new direction every single summer and ever expect to get anywhere. Add size and grit - but the wholesale roster turnover should stop.

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#27 BGH
April 21 2009, 12:24PM
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Note : TF = Trade for

I would like to see :

TF Gagner Hemsky Penner Horcoff O'Sullivan TF Brule Cogliano Zach Brodziak Jaques - sub in Big Mac as needed

Defense Souray Vis Greb Smid Peckham TF Studwick

Can Go in My books Gilbert Pouliout Nillsen Moreau Pisani Staios Reddox

Thought Process : 1st Line : Get a finisher to play with Hemsky, move up Gagner and accept the fact that they gonna give up a few but hopefully score even more

2nd line : Penner is a soft player and I can live with that if we play him to his strengths. This will be a semi scoring / semi shutdown line. Can play either way as need. Also, Sully and Horc are first PK unit.

3rd line : This is the line I want to change the most. I feel Pisani and Moreau are past expiry date. I like Cog's, but not as center. I don't see moving him up unless Horc goes.

4th Line : Energy line and good to go. I liked Zac's play last year and felt he got the short end of the draw way too often.

Anyways, unlikely to happen but along the lines of what I would to see.

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#28 Chris
April 21 2009, 12:25PM
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Tambellini has already declared his intention to "get bigger". It's time for Oiler fans to begin wrapping their heads around the very real possibility that Coglino won't be an Oiler this fall.

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#29 Colin
April 21 2009, 12:34PM
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Trading cogliano??? AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA that's the dumbest thing I've heard in awhile.

He scores the second most goals on the team of any forward, playing on the third line with plumbers, 10-12 mins per night, no PP time, no PK time(where his speed would make him a threat) and as a checker. Clearly he should be playing wing on line 1/2, misused all season.

~Right, let's trade him, He's a bum, a talentless bum.

We do have too many top six forwards though, a couple need to be moved. Penner, Horcoff, Hemsky, Cogliano, Gagner, Nilsson, O'Sullivan, Kotalik?.

If you can trade Horcoff or Penner you probably do so, and Nilsson seems likely to be moved, the ? is whether or not you resign Kotalik to me.

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#30 Archaeologuy
April 21 2009, 12:35PM
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I think this line of thinking has been given way too much creedence. When exactly did moving one of the better young guys on the team become a good idea?

Get bigger? yes. Lose Skill? No.

Tambi said he wanted to see the skill on the team, not see the muscles bulge. He wants bigger and gritty to go WITH the skill. There are a lot of guys that ought to be moved before Cogs to make room for bigger guys.

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#31 Ducey
April 21 2009, 12:36PM
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J-Bird wrote:

Brodziak doesn’t hit anything out there, and I would say he’s been groomed for the 3rd line anyways. To those who want Cogliano on the wing. Picture this: Gagner, Horcoff, O’Sullivan, Cogliano, Nilsson, Hemsky. I cannot think of a softer top 6 in the entire NHL. Can any of you? And we don’t need to get biggger, stonger, more difficult to play against?

Hey J Bird, you were getting flamed because of your criticsm of Horcoff, Gilbert, Penner, the Torres trade, and Patty-O.

No one is saying the Oilers shouldn't be bigger. The freakin' GM just said it last week - so don't recast your argument.

Willis' point was the Patty-O could fill a useful role on this team. I think he can too. If you keep him you then have to look at how many Smurphs you can have on the Oilers.

I don't think Hemsky, Gagner, Cogs, or O'Sullivan should go anywhere. Add in a talented physical player to play in the top 6 with Penner and you have:

Hemsky-New guy- Penner Gagner-Horcoff-O'Sullivan Cogs-Pisani-Moreau

or maybe: Hemsky-Horcoff-new guy O'Sullivan-Gagner-Penner

I think those lines will play against most teams. If the Oilers are going to get more physcial it will have to be on the third and fourth lines - where Pisani and Moreau don't really scare anyone. I would like to see Brodziak - Cogliano and Stortini there, with some major grit on the 4th line.

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#32 Colin
April 21 2009, 12:37PM
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@ Colin: With the caveat that if you can get a large talented forward as a package including cogliano then you do so. You don't trade him "because he sucks" though.

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#33 Robin Brownlee
April 21 2009, 12:43PM
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Like you, I happen to believe that O'Sullivan is a better player than he showed after the trade, and I understand there's merit in the argument he could well bounce back, but the proof is in the pudding -- and it should be. O'Sullivan didn't produce as expected after his arrival and, no matter his numbers until now suggest he might do, if he puts together another 40 games like his last 20 he will have played himself out of any top-six plans a new coach might have for him. O'Sullivan is short in both size and grit, and if there's a move to get bigger and tougher, he joins Nilsson as a candidate to be moved unless he shows something -- the old boxcar basics of goals, assists and points right out of the gate next season. If he doesn't none of the other math will matter.

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#34 Chris
April 21 2009, 12:53PM
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It doesn't sound like Tambellini is interested in making incremental changes: I'd bet there is a total rebuild of the forward lines coming. Tambellini will use the existing defence to provide stability and offence. Horcoff will stay. Hemsky will stay. Gagner is the future: he will stay. Everyone else is in play. I expect to see a bigger, more vetran group this fall. The 08/09 Oiler special teams were crap. The 08/09 Oiler forwards didn't hit, didn't score, and didn't excite: how hard will it be to assemble a group that can do at least ONE of these? How hard can it be to improve on what may have been the most dysfunctional front twelve in the league?

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#35 Jonathan Willis
April 21 2009, 01:02PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

O’Sullivan didn’t produce as expected after his arrival and, no matter his numbers until now suggest he might do, if he puts together another 40 games like his last 20 he will have played himself out of any top-six plans a new coach might have for him.

I agree, but I'd be very surprised if that happened. O'Sullivan's got a solid track record, and he's been much better in Los Angeles than he has been here. I'm just cautioning against reading too much into twenty games that probably weren't nearly as bad as his boxcar numbers suggest.

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#36 Jonathan Willis
April 21 2009, 01:04PM
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Chris wrote:

How hard can it be to improve on what may have been the most dysfunctional front twelve in the league?

More dysfunctional than:

- the Islanders - the Lightning - the Thrashers - the Leafs - the Senators - the Coyotes - and the Wild?

Forgive me, but I think that's hyperbole.

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#37 Ogden Brother
April 21 2009, 01:05PM
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@ Jack "FMNF" Bauer:

Interesting part about Cole is that he really just ripped two of the worst teams in the league for a pile of points... the rest his numbers were the same as here. His goal scoring (which is what you have him for)was actually down.

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#38 Jonathan Willis
April 21 2009, 01:08PM
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Besides, what were the real deficiencies up front - and when I say that, I don't mean "GRIT! EMOTION!" I mean which holes were being filled by guys who shouldn't have been there? First line LW, third line centre? Maybe third line LW if we're feeling particularly angry at Ethan Moreau (though for the record, I think he'd be fine there with better linemates and some discipline).

The core is good. Add a top line talent and a nasty, gritty third line centre and a whole bunch of problems go away - that's not wholesale change, that's incremental change.

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#39 Ogden Brother
April 21 2009, 01:09PM
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@ Colin:

Why is it that people equate trading with getting rid of "bums". If you want quality back you have to give quality. Trading our scraps will bring back scraps.

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#40 Ogden Brother
April 21 2009, 01:12PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Besides, what were the real deficiencies up front - and when I say that, I don’t mean “GRIT! EMOTION!” I mean which holes were being filled by guys who shouldn’t have been there? First line LW, third line centre? Maybe third line LW if we’re feeling particularly angry at Ethan Moreau (though for the record, I think he’d be fine there with better linemates and some discipline). The core is good. Add a top line talent and a nasty, gritty third line centre and a whole bunch of problems go away - that’s not wholesale change, that’s incremental change.

We do need more size in the top 6 though... the need was their but not pressing with Cole in the mix... now with Cole gone the need is pressing.

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#41 Jonathan Willis
April 21 2009, 01:23PM
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@ Ogden Brother:

Okay, so who are the top-six candidates currently on the roster:

Penner, Horcoff, Hemsky, O'Sullivan, Gagner, Cogliano, Nilsson, Kotalik?

Horcoff, Penner and Kotalik (if re-signed) have size. Let's assume Hemsky is staying for the time being. Let's also call Gagner untouchable. That's 4 or 5 guys there. That leaves 1 or 2 spots for O'Sullivan, Cogliano and Nilsson. How does this problem get solved?

I'd argue that more size in the top-nine is the way to do it, and the best way to do that is to bring in a third-line centre who fits. Either way, somebody good (Cogliano or O'Sullivan) is probably out for size, and Nilsson's fate is probably sealed.

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#42 Chris
April 21 2009, 01:25PM
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@ Jonathan Willis: No. Not hyperbole. If you transplanted the forward core from most of those teams; and combined them with the Oiler D and Roli in net we may have made the playoffs. Run your numbers... and remember that if the guys in Ottawa had had a good first pass, they could of scored a lot more. The Oilers forwards couldn't move the puck, couldn't retrieve the puck, and couldn't protect the puck. MacT couldn't find even ONE fall back style of play that our front twelve, as a group could execute. Tambellini absolutely blasted "the players" at his press conference... then later complimented the play of the D...

The 08/09 forward core of the Oilers provided very little offence, and were not a factor physically: It's hard to imagine how making big changes up front will lead to a WORSE outcome. ANY journeyman group of hard working, physically committed forwards could have produced better results in conjunction with THAT D and the kind of goaltending provided by Roli.

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#43 Jonathan Willis
April 21 2009, 01:25PM
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@ Ogden Brother:

Good eye on Cole. 15 points in 17 games is impressive, but discounting two 4-assist efforts (against NYI and TB) it's much less so.

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#44 Jonathan Willis
April 21 2009, 01:33PM
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@ Chris:

Then who, exactly, were the problems? Let's see who fared the worst amongst Oilers forwards in scoring (relative to ice-time):

1. Robert Nilsson - 1.22 PTS/60 2. Ales Kotalik - 1.38 PTS/60 3. Steve MacIntyre - 1.43 PTS/60 4. Liam Reddox - 1.43 PTS/60 5. Ethan Moreau - 1.50 PTS/60 6. Shawn Horcoff - 1.59 PTS/60 7. Kyle Brodziak - 1.62 PTS/60

In bold are the guys who have the job of scoring.

And when you look at the D, I'm not sure you're factoring in a) Visnovsky being injured for a long time b) Souray not being an especially good puck-mover and c) the dropp off a cliff between #4 and #5 on the depth chart - Smid, Staios and Strudwick all have some value, but the first pass isn't exactly their forte (though Smid's been getting better).

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#45 Ogden Brother
April 21 2009, 01:38PM
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@ Jonathan Willis:

I don't expect Kotalik back (based on nothing but a hunch) so I don't really factor him in... and even though Horc is avergage size, he isn't exactly physical ie if he's your crasher and banger on the line, you are proabably in trouble. I'd like at least on 210+ guy of equivalent skill to Cogs/O'sully brought in... preferably two. I'd be more then happy to move Cogs and or O'sully + for a guy like Horton or J Staal

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#46 Ogden Brother
April 21 2009, 01:41PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

@ Ogden Brother: Good eye on Cole. 15 points in 17 games is impressive, but discounting two 4-assist efforts (against NYI and TB) it’s much less so.

And with only 2 goals (zero in the last 11 games) and a goose egg in the PO... it's not quite the offensive resurgence that it first appears.

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#47 Jason Gregor
April 21 2009, 01:41PM
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Jack "FMNF" Bauer wrote:

Look at Cole now vs Cole in Edmonton. Sure you canbreak it down to line mates, ice time, different team, etc etc etc. But if the player isnt happy hes not going to perform

Cole had two goals in 17 games with the Canes, good for a measly 0.11 GPG. He had 16 in 63 games with the Oilers, for 0.25GPG. He got a lot of assists, mostly due to Staal. You watched Cole here, did he look like a playmaker to you? His stats were favourable because of Staal. But the one thing that hasn't changed with him, is that he is a bust in the playoffs.

He has no points in three games this year. His career playoff totals are 6-3-9 in 28 games. Horrible numbers for a top six forward. Cole fits in Carolina because of Eric Staal.

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#48 baggedmilk
April 21 2009, 01:44PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Jack “FMNF” Bauer wrote: Look at Cole now vs Cole in Edmonton. Sure you canbreak it down to line mates, ice time, different team, etc etc etc. But if the player isnt happy hes not going to perform Cole had two goals in 17 games with the Canes, good for a measly 0.11 GPG. He had 16 in 63 games with the Oilers, for 0.25GPG. He got a lot of assists, mostly due to Staal. You watched Cole here, did he look like a playmaker to you? His stats were favourable because of Staal. But the one thing that hasn’t changed with him, is that he is a bust in the playoffs. He has no points in three games this year. His career playoff totals are 6-3-9 in 28 games. Horrible numbers for a top six forward. Cole fits in Carolina because of Eric Staal.

To add to Gregor's point, Cole was starting to get some points when he was playing with Gagner as well.

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#49 Ogden Brother
April 21 2009, 01:46PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Jack “FMNF” Bauer wrote: Look at Cole now vs Cole in Edmonton. Sure you canbreak it down to line mates, ice time, different team, etc etc etc. But if the player isnt happy hes not going to perform Cole had two goals in 17 games with the Canes, good for a measly 0.11 GPG. He had 16 in 63 games with the Oilers, for 0.25GPG. He got a lot of assists, mostly due to Staal. You watched Cole here, did he look like a playmaker to you? His stats were favourable because of Staal. But the one thing that hasn’t changed with him, is that he is a bust in the playoffs. He has no points in three games this year. His career playoff totals are 6-3-9 in 28 games. Horrible numbers for a top six forward. Cole fits in Carolina because of Eric Staal.

Exactly, Cole's assists aren't like Hemsky's...

For the most part he played with two guys that didn't crack 30 goals combined here, and one guy that scores 40 there.

I'm thinking helpers are alot easier to come by playing with Staal vs pass first Nilsson and 19 year old Gagner.

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#50 J-Bird
April 21 2009, 01:47PM
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I think it's hillarious that Oil fans think they can package up the junk, Horcoff, Penner and Nilsson and think the team will get players back.

My point is simple. When I look at who would have some value via trade, it's not those 3. I look at who might not be a fit with the team who has trade value.

Cogliano, many have admitted, may not be a fit here long term with Gagner and Horcoff being the 1-2 for quite some time going forward. Does he have value? Absolutely he does. Could he be used to address areas of weekness? Personally, I think he'd offer the greatest return.

I sit and look at our D. Long term we have Souray and Visnovski locked up. I think Grebeskov has come along nicely and could certainly fill a void should Gilbert be moved. The D is actually in pretty good shape. Could Gilbert provide a very good return in a trade? Absolutely he could.

I don't hate Cogliano. I don't hate Gilbert.

But nobody's trading for the team's garbage either. The Oil have a luxery right now in that they have too many small skilled centers, and an excess of realatively high end tallent on the back end.

I simply think that a Cogliano/Gilbert package could land a pretty damn good player.

Horcoff, Penner and Nilsson's are going to have to be dumped if they ever get moved. Just like Torres was.

Fair enough? Get it?

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