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 a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, 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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#51 topshelf
April 21 2009, 01:55PM
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@ J-Bird: Penner has scored 30 goals in this league so I don't know if I'd consider him garbage. Yes he had a tough year, most of which he spent not being put in a position to succeed. I wouldn't be surprised to see him get back up around 25 next year, IF the effort is there.

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#52 Jonathan Willis
April 21 2009, 02:00PM
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topshelf wrote:

@ J-Bird: Penner has scored 30 goals in this league so I don’t know if I’d consider him garbage. Yes he had a tough year, most of which he spent not being put in a position to succeed. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him get back up around 25 next year, IF the effort is there.

And the ice-time.

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#53 topshelf
April 21 2009, 02:01PM
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@ Jonathan Willis: Yes I was making the assumption that would be there.

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#54 J-Bird
April 21 2009, 02:10PM
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Penner has not scored 30.

29-23-17. Going the right direction for sure, sarcasm intended. More wishful thinking from Lowe stating, "We HOPE he'll be highly underpaid in those final years of his contract." Never mind the 3 draft pic's he gave up as well. Now we have fans defending that all out crap. Chug the Koolaid.

All I'm saying is if you think any team is going to take one of Horcoff, Penner or Nilsson off the teams's hands, you dreaming.

Players who may not fit here, who have some value via trade, still remain Cogliano and Gilbert.

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#55 Ogden Brother
April 21 2009, 02:11PM
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topshelf wrote:

@ J-Bird: Penner has scored 30 goals in this league so I don’t know if I’d consider him garbage. Yes he had a tough year, most of which he spent not being put in a position to succeed. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him get back up around 25 next year, IF the effort is there.

Agreed

Interesting note: For how much people complain about the Penner/Smyth trade off, they both have 40 goals since switching teams.... I'd be willing to bet Penner out scores him over the last three years as well.

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#56 Ogden Brother
April 21 2009, 02:12PM
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J-Bird wrote:

Penner has not scored 30. 29-23-17. Going the right direction for sure, sarcasm intended. More wishful thinking from Lowe stating, “We HOPE he’ll be highly underpaid in those final years of his contract.” Never mind the 3 draft pic’s he gave up as well. Now we have fans defending that all out crap. Chug the Koolaid. All I’m saying is if you think any team is going to take one of Horcoff, Penner or Nilsson off the teams’s hands, you dreaming. Players who may not fit here, who have some value via trade, still remain Cogliano and Gilbert.

.... the team is better with Horc/Penner then without

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#57 Chris
April 21 2009, 02:16PM
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@ Jonathan Willis: Look, I'm currently on a slow as sh!T wireless internet stick in a low service area of the boonies... I can hardley refresh this page, let alone pull up the necessary stat sites to back up my claims. You give a list of teams that supposedly are more dysfunctional on the front end. My guess is that you looking at numbers right now... How many of those teams got more offence from their forward core than the Oilers? How many of those teams wouldn't have seen improved offensive totals had they the benifit of working with the Oilers D? How many of those forward groups are bigger/ grittier? (I mean if you can't score you should at least finish checks...right?) Take agood look at those rosters...

Willis you already half conceded that the Oiler front twelve probably rank below at least 22 other teams. Would a clear statistical analysis actually rank them even lower? Would that ranking take into consideration all the intangibles. You gave me a list of players who weren't scoring: Every team has players who don't score. We have players like Nilsson, Brodziak, Pouliot, and on and on, who do NOTHING! We also have players like Hemsky, Horcoff, Moreau, etc, who don't do enough; and players like Gagner/Coglino who just aren't ready for the responsibility placed on them. I'm a huge Oiler fan. It's hard for me to imagine wholesale changes... but I think they are coming. (I think they are needed)

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#58 baggedmilk
April 21 2009, 02:27PM
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J-Bird wrote:

Penner has not scored 30. 29-23-17. Going the right direction for sure, sarcasm intended. More wishful thinking from Lowe stating, “We HOPE he’ll be highly underpaid in those final years of his contract.” Never mind the 3 draft pic’s he gave up as well. Now we have fans defending that all out crap. Chug the Koolaid. All I’m saying is if you think any team is going to take one of Horcoff, Penner or Nilsson off the teams’s hands, you dreaming. Players who may not fit here, who have some value via trade, still remain Cogliano and Gilbert.

You know who's chugging some kool-aid? You are dude. But yours has some kind of hallucinogens in it. I haven't read anything positive from any of the tripe you've thrown down here today.

People are saying, that it might be best to trade away some of the big deals that are bogging this team down, but you want to trade the talent. Never even occurred to you that Cogliano on the wing would be a hell of an idea did it? You assume that he sucks on the draw so ship him out.

Want to rip on Penner's goal totals fine, he underproduced. But how is the guy supposed to rip some big numbers when he's playing on the 4th line. Think the dude had the drive to play for MacTavish this year? Lost his first line job to Cole by default. Played with Pisani at center. Bounced from the top line after a couple of bad games, ripped in public, up to the pressbox, and down to the 4th line.

If your boss did that how would your work week go? I'm guessing you're going to say that it wouldn't happen because motivation from your boss doesn't affect you, and that you're ironman whose only weekless is bad trade ideas, and Corner Gas.

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#59 Ogden Brother
April 21 2009, 02:28PM
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Chris wrote:

@ Jonathan Willis: Look, I’m currently on a slow as sh!T wireless internet stick in a low service area of the boonies… I can hardley refresh this page, let alone pull up the necessary stat sites to back up my claims. You give a list of teams that supposedly are more dysfunctional on the front end. My guess is that you looking at numbers right now… How many of those teams got more offence from their forward core than the Oilers? How many of those teams wouldn’t have seen improved offensive totals had they the benifit of working with the Oilers D? How many of those forward groups are bigger/ grittier? (I mean if you can’t score you should at least finish checks…right?) Take agood look at those rosters… Willis you already half conceded that the Oiler front twelve probably rank below at least 22 other teams. Would a clear statistical analysis actually rank them even lower? Would that ranking take into consideration all the intangibles. You gave me a list of players who weren’t scoring: Every team has players who don’t score. We have players like Nilsson, Brodziak, Pouliot, and on and on, who do NOTHING! We also have players like Hemsky, Horcoff, Moreau, etc, who don’t do enough; and players like Gagner/Coglino who just aren’t ready for the responsibility placed on them. I’m a huge Oiler fan. It’s hard for me to imagine wholesale changes… but I think they are coming. (I think they are needed)

You know what the biggest problem of the top 6 was?

Games played coming into this year:

Gagner: 79 Cogs: 82 Nilsson: 124

We bet that a bunch of young guys could give us secondary scoring and lost that bet.

Cogs/Gagner aren't Crosby/Malkin or even Toews/Kane... it's going to take them a few years to polish their games and when that happens the team will move up the ladder in the West.

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#60 J-Bird
April 21 2009, 02:32PM
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3 straight years of missed playoffs that this franchise had us all believe would be strong, would compete, if only they had a cap. Well folks, they're batting .250 on just making the freeking playoffs in this new world order we as fans lost a year of NHL hockey for.

Keep putting huge term and dollars on the likes of maybe's, on the likes of hopes, on the likes of Horcoff's and Penner's, and we can expect this for some time.

I hope Tambelini can straighten out this dog's breakfast that Kevin Lowe has left for him.

I've just got the feeling this process is going to take some time, and lots of it.

The cap hit for Horcoff and Penner will be $9.75 million. Just over 17% of the cap. What will the cap be after next season and this economy takes it's course on the revenue? If the cap is $50 million, they jump to damn near 20% of the cap. 1/5 the payroll spend on, in a CAREER year, 50 goals, in an aveage year 40 goals. Horcoff's getting older and will start the slide backwards. At age 31, that's what happens in the NHL. How does a team recover from this type of LONG TERM mistake? Can it be done? What about when Samwise is due for his raise, if they hang on to Cogliano? How's the goaltending? Yikes....

Chris makes a good point on the fact that a large percentage of this team when they aren't scoring aren't doing a whole lot. That's why Cole was like here while he wasn't scoring because at the very least he was hitting.

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#61 Ogden Brother
April 21 2009, 02:34PM
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@ J-Bird:

unused cap space is worthless.

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#62 Boris
April 21 2009, 02:37PM
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@ J-Bird: I agree with a lot of what you said in your latest contribution but you seem have a bit of an attitude...Not all Oil fans are of the same central conciousness, we are not the Borg. Just because some people disagree with you, it doesn't mean that you should lump everyone into the same mold. Fair enough? Get it?

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#63 J-Bird
April 21 2009, 02:40PM
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@ baggedmilk:

What is there to be positive about after 3 years of no playoffs, and no end to the mess in sight?

You're hoping, just like our former GM did.

As a fan, it's you're right to do so.

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#64 J-Bird
April 21 2009, 02:41PM
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@ Boris:

I've been getting attacked non stop for posting the truth here. Gotta defend my stance is all.

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#65 Jonathan Willis
April 21 2009, 02:42PM
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@ Chris:

I think you're labouring under a misunderstanding. I just tossed out a few names of teams off the top of my head who seemed obviously inferior to the Oilers up front. I never conceded that the Oilers ranked 22nd or lower; I just listed some team names I think are obviously worse.

You're welcome to your opinion, of course, but for you and everyone else who wants dramatic change I say this: the Smyth trade, the Penner acquisition, the purge of veterans over the last two seasons; these all count as wholesale change. Change, even change that appears promising at first (remember that two-thirds of Oilers fans weren't opposed to the Penner offer-sheet) doesn't necessarily get the job done.

The changes this team needs have to be carefully executed; turning over half the roster overnight may do more harm than good because we'd be moving from known to unknown qualities.

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#66 Boris
April 21 2009, 02:43PM
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Man, I am with you Chris, I stop to make one comment and 15 more get logged before I can get mine in....need to get a faster system or something....

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#67 Jonathan Willis
April 21 2009, 02:47PM
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@ J-Bird:

A lot of what you're saying makes good sense (IMO) but you're being needlessly incendiary. For example, I don't think anyone here is still defending the Penner offer sheet (and people like me were opposed to it from the get go). That old saying about the fly and honey/vinegar would seem to apply here.

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#68 J-Bird
April 21 2009, 02:53PM
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baggedmilk wrote:

People are saying, that it might be best to trade away some of the big deals that are bogging this team down, but you want to trade the talent.

I'm simply stating that nobody is lining up to take those "big deals that are bogging this team down" off the Oiler's hands. And if the team wants to make changes, unfortunately you have to give up something to get something.

I think you're mis reading that I think Cogliano and Gilbert could be traded, would provide the best return in a trade, to equate to me hating them as players. I don't. I like them.

I dislike Penner, Horcoff (their contracts) and Nilsson just like every other Oiler fan man. But nobody's gonna take them off our hands. And if they did take them off our hands, we'd just be getting their problems back. Not getting better.

I think using Cog's and Gilbert could land some hefty returns because they are good players. That's how it works.

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#69 Chris
April 21 2009, 02:55PM
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Oiler Forwards:

Hemsky. Petulant. Disengaged. Has tonnes of talent but unable/unwilling to consistantly make an impact. When he decides to play; will go to tough areas on the ice. Under a good contract.

Horcoff. Fights the puck. The play dies with him waaay too often. Good work ethic, lot's of intangibles, eats up a lot of cap space.

Penner. Interesting to see which side of the Penner debate Tambellini comes out on moving forward. All the tools; not enough drive.

Gagner. Still a prospect. (If you EVER make excuses for shortcommings in Gagner's game citing his age, or lack of experience; than you are also conceding that he is a prospect)

Coglino. See above.

Moreau. Show me more. Show me discipline and leadership. Skate EVERY game. You're the Captain!

Nilsson. Gone. Too inconsistant to be useful.

Pouliot. See above.

Reddox. Gone. Too small to be an energy player on an already small roster.

Brodziak. Needs to be more physical or needs to move on.

JF Jacques. Running out of time.

Pisani. Solid. Worry about his health.

O'Sullivan. Good young player. Has a shoot first mentality that is lacking here. Has dimension to his game. Hard to tell if he will produce in Edmonton or go the way of Lupil.

MacIntyre. Love him. Not a great hockey player though.

Stortini. It's sad that Stortini was one of the best Oiler forwards this year. SAD SAD SAD.

In conclusion. Ineffective forward core. Was it coaching? Was it Chemistry? Were they just too small or too young? It's going to take more than one superstar and a third line center to fix the Oilers. This is a bit of a project... Aside from Gagner; for a fair return; I'd be happy to see any of them go...

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#70 Ogden Brother
April 21 2009, 02:55PM
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@ Jonathan Willis:

The Penner deal will basically come down to how those picks pan out.

It certainly wouldn't be the first 12th/42nd/72nd picks to bust (or give you one bit player)

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#71 Ogden Brother
April 21 2009, 02:57PM
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@ J-Bird:

I'd be interested to hear how Penner/Horc contracts bog down the teams on ice performance.

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#72 sittingatmydesk
April 21 2009, 03:01PM
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@ J-Bird:Penner has not scored 30.

29-23-17. do you see a trend...next year it will be 11 goals..

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#73 Jonathan Willis
April 21 2009, 03:11PM
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@ Ogden Brother:

I did a complete rundown on the final tally from the Penner deal here.

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#74 Jonathan Willis
April 21 2009, 03:15PM
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Honestly, looking over those names again it comes down to Penner vs. Gardiner. The rest aren't terribly notable.

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#75 topshelf
April 21 2009, 03:22PM
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@ Jonathan Willis: Does that mean that Kevin Lowe isn't the bumbling moron that most make him out to be? Or did he simply luck out?

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#76 topshelf
April 21 2009, 03:24PM
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sittingatmydesk wrote:

29-23-17. do you see a trend…next year it will be 11 goals..

Penner scored 17 goals while playing half the year from the bottom six and taking verbal lashings after every other game. I don't see the trend continuing.

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#77 Ogden Brother
April 21 2009, 03:25PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Honestly, looking over those names again it comes down to Penner vs. Gardiner. The rest aren’t terribly notable.

Yup, for the most part it's a bunch of "maybe's" and Gardner would likely be a servicable 4th dman...not a crazy return for someone that will likly get you 100 - 115 goals.

I think for the most part people overate draftpicks...and the likely hood of them panning out. All you need to do is look at what GM's will trade them for (especially picks outside of the top 10)

A third rounder is worth MAB?

A First is worth one season of Tanguay?

A First+ is worth 25 games of Smyth/Tkachuk/Guerin

2nd/3rd round picks are tossed around like nothing in the NHL.

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#78 Ogden Brother
April 21 2009, 03:26PM
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@ topshelf:

It means most people don't realize how unlikely DP are to pan out.

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#79 Chris
April 21 2009, 03:34PM
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I would love to know Tambellini's thoughts on Penner. Does Tambellini hate Penner as much as MacT; or does he think Penner was misused/ misunderstood? Does Penner have a future here under a new coach? I still think Penner can help the Oilers... I wonder if Tambellini agrees? Robin? Gregor? (I've heard your opinions on the matter... does anyone have insight as to what Tambellini's thinking?)

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#80 Ducey
April 21 2009, 03:42PM
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J Bird, I have to dispute your negativity because you forget about the last half of the 07/08 season. The Oilers young players looked all world. This year they stunk. Seems to me that they are a lot better than they showed this year, with the exception of Nilsson who can't keep his motivation up.

Retool with a new coach and approach. Add in some grit and factor in another year of experience for the young players, and I don't think you need massive changes.

Getting rid of Cogliano now is guaranteed to come off as a bad trade and a knee jerk reaction. He is one of the fastest players in the NHL, has good hands, and is developing an all round game. You are likely trading him at his lowest value.

I could see trading Gilbert from the D because the Oil have Smid, Peckham and Grebs to replace him. He also had a good year, so the Oilers would be getting fair value for him.

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#81 Chris
April 21 2009, 03:52PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

I just tossed out a few names of teams off the top of my head who seemed obviously inferior to the Oilers up front

Are you saying that that Ottawa with Spezza, Heatley, and Alfredsson have an inferior forward core to the Oilers? Are you saying that Tampa has less to work with up front? These teams lacked consistant goaltending and if given that, and the likes of Visnovsky, Souray, Gilbert, etc: would be safely in the playoffs. Play the roster game franchise, by franchise. Categorize the player... and compare. (ie Horcoff to Lecavlier) Look not only at the player, but how they played this season. The Oiler forward group does not stack up well against any franchise except the Islanders... (Who will soon have Tavares) Even with the deepest set of rose colored glasses: it will be easy to see the Oiler forwards of 08/09 should be ranked somewhere in the bottom five of the league.

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#82 Archaeologuy
April 21 2009, 03:52PM
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J-Bird wrote:

I think using Cog’s and Gilbert could land some hefty returns because they are good players. That’s how it works.

Given the lack of production from the top six, the Oilers better get one seriously hefty return for Cogliano. But I'm sure he isnt going anywhere.

And just because the Oilers are stuck with Horc's contract it doesnt mean he's stuck on the team. Katz can eat his contract in the Minors if there comes a point where there is a better option in the top 6 and no one will take his contract. There is no reason to trade Cogliano just because he is 3rd on the depth chart for Centres in his 2nd year. I'm sure the Oil could really get something back for Cogs, but if it isnt for a bonafide star then there isnt any point. I dont want to see Cogs go in an Upshall for Carcillo trade.

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#83 J-Bird
April 21 2009, 03:54PM
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Ducey wrote:

Getting rid of Cogliano now is guaranteed to come off as a bad trade and a knee jerk reaction. He is one of the fastest players in the NHL, has good hands, and is developing an all round game. You are likely trading him at his lowest value.

There's that risk, no doubt.

Here's the but. But, what if Gilbert and Cogliano landed the Oil (I'm just throwing a name out there) a Kovalchuk, or a player of his ilk? What then, or what would it take?

I guess I'm hoping (there's that word again!) they go after a true improvement on a legitamate NHL producer. No more "potential" if you know what I'm saying.

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#84 swany
April 21 2009, 03:55PM
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Off topic but Hemmer is going to CENTRE Jagr at the worlds, it would be nice to see Kotalik, Jagr, Hemmer line and in those positions, this could be the Oilers first line next year. That would make Horc our 7 mil 3rd line centre HAHAHAHAHA.

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#85 Archaeologuy
April 21 2009, 04:00PM
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J-Bird wrote:

Here’s the but. But, what if Gilbert and Cogliano landed the Oil (I’m just throwing a name out there) a Kovalchuk, or a player of his ilk?

does Kovalchuk sign an extension or will he be a UFA at the end of the year?

If he signs an extension of decent length then yes. If he will be UFA then we just gave away 2 guys who would be long term Oilers for one year of service on an unproven team. No deal.

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#86 Harlie
April 21 2009, 04:04PM
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what's happening in Minny? Did Leopold cuddle up with Gaborik and find out how much player haters that Lemaire and Risebrough had been to him that he decided to sack them?

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#87 J-Bird
April 21 2009, 04:07PM
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You get what I'm saying though, I think you could land a big fish with the right bait.

And I agree with the premise on that particular deal (I was just throwing a name out there), he would have to be signed long term to pull the trigger.

Penner/Horcoff/Nilsson's struggles wouldn't be magnified as much if this team had some offense coming from someboyd other than Hemsky. Seriously, if the team had a 40 goal guy, what Penner/Horcoff/Nilsson do or do not provide wouldn't matter as much.

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#88 Archaeologuy
April 21 2009, 04:16PM
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@ J-Bird: I do get your premise, I just dont think it's likely to happen. However, we live in a world where Roberto Luongo was traded for Bertuzzi and a career Back-up. So anything is possible. And Tambi was present in Vancouver for that bit of Nonis magic, so maybe he learned the hypnosis technique that caused Keenan to lose his marbles.

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#89 Word
April 21 2009, 04:57PM
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@ J-Bird:

Famous J-Bird?

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#90 RossCreek
April 21 2009, 05:49PM
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Well I'm a little under-the-weather, so I only skimmed through a few comments, but: I doubt Horcoff or Penner are moved. Nilsson, Kotalik & Pouliot/Brodziak are likely gone.

IMO, 1 of Gagner, Cogliano or O'Sullivan will be dealt (I highly doubt Gagner's going anywhere). Everyone who states its absurd to trade Cogliano (or any other player), is nuts. No one is suggesting you trade the guy for a pail of pucks. Give yer heads a shake - to GET something of value, you often have to GIVE something of value (would anyone out there move Cogliano in a deal for Jordan Staal? - I'd think so, not that I'm suggesting that they could do so). And you wouldn't trade Hemsky?? Ya, cuz he's carried this franchise on his back & lead them to several Cups, rite? I'm not saying I would either, but in the right deal - in a heartbeat. I've had this argument over & over with buddies. Lecavalier/Kovalchuk/Heatley/etc. are better without Hemsky than Hemsky is without any of them. I'm overheating now (fluids, fluids, fluids), so I'm out.

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#91 Jonathan Willis
April 21 2009, 06:32PM
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@ Chris:

You're getting blinded by the top three. The support players in both Ottawa and Tampa Bay aren't great, and the top three in those towns (Alfredsson and St. Louis excepted) aren't exactly known for their defense.

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#92 Jonathan Willis
April 21 2009, 06:33PM
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Just to clarify, because I know that comment is going to be misconstrued - wehn you have all offense players like Spezza/Heatley, there need to be some defensively reliable types in the lineup for balance and neither the Lightning nor the Senators have enough of them.

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#93 Jonathan Willis
April 21 2009, 06:39PM
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Chris wrote:

The Oiler forward group does not stack up well against any franchise except the Islanders…

Have you looked at the Wild's forwards? Aside from the 17 games Gaborik played, here's how they stack up:

Top 6: Mikko Koivu, Andrew Brunette, P-M Bouchard, Owen Nolan, Antii Mietinen, Eric Belanger

Bottom of the roster: James Sheppard, Stephane Veilleux, Cal Clutterbuck, Benoit Pouliot, Dan Fritsche, Colton Gillies, Krys Kolanos, Peter Olvecky, Craig Wellar, Derek Boogaard.

Say what you will about the Oilers, but they wouldn't have handed a combined 125 games to Kolanos, Weller, Olvecky and Pouliot. The only guy at the bottom of the Oilers' roster who is similarly embarassing is Liam Reddox.

That's one team. I could go through a bunch of others, but to say the Oilers are 29th in the league in forwards is hyperbole.

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#94 Chris
April 21 2009, 06:42PM
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@ RossCreek: Totally agree. I don't want Tambellini to trade Coglino but I won't be surprised if he does. This blog roll reminds me of a conversation on the Team 1260 morning show with Bryn and Jake: Jake talks about how the team needs to improve so Bryn asks him "who would you move?", and then proceeds to list individual Oilers player by player...Jake responds by saying, "No. No. Not him. No, give him one more year... No. No." and so on.

Fact is you can't change the culture of that room without changing some players... Key players. Top vetrans AND young guys. You can't get bigger without moving some of the guys who are smaller... If you want quality you trade quality. The Oilers have drafted more small players than they can realistically use thanks to the best player available concept. If a guy like Coglino (who was the BPA at his draft position) can fetch another quality player to address a specific need, like the need for a character power forward who can take draws and bang in twenty goals; Make the trade. It's not a waste if the team improves. It's about achieving balance. It's about winning games.

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#95 DonDon
April 21 2009, 06:49PM
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@ Ogden Brother: It depends on the choice of players that replace them! If the Oil can put a package together for a first or second line centre to replace Horcoff and a package for a couple of gritty wingers that have puck control to replace Penner, why not?

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#96 Chris
April 21 2009, 06:54PM
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@ Jonathan Willis: Didn't Koivu outscore Hemsky? Brunette had more points than ANY Oiler left winger... Aren't the Houston Aero's in the playoffs? Based on performance there isn't much to choose between OUR forward core and theirs... except maybe theirs has an identity, and is tough to play against.

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#97 Chris
April 21 2009, 07:12PM
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@ Jonathan Willis: Look at the Oiler list of forwards. At a glance, guys in Minnesota would scoff at that list too... This is a performance based business and Minnesota despite losing more man games to injury; and with less support from the back end; managed more wins, a better home record, and fewer goals against. Oh and thier group of forwards chipped in 181 goals...exactly the same number as scored by the Oiler forwards.

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#98 Ogden Brother
April 21 2009, 07:51PM
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Chris wrote:

@ Jonathan Willis: Look at the Oiler list of forwards. At a glance, guys in Minnesota would scoff at that list too… This is a performance based business and Minnesota despite losing more man games to injury; and with less support from the back end; managed more wins, a better home record, and fewer goals against. Oh and thier group of forwards chipped in 181 goals…exactly the same number as scored by the Oiler forwards.

This is like beating a dead horse. Our support scoring was sophmores... this isn't an unrealistic result. I think most realize that Gagner will likely be a 70+ point guy and Cogs a 55+ point guy... when that day comes, this team will move up the standings.

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#99 wiggs22
April 21 2009, 08:00PM
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So...a little off topic but with the 10th pic this upcomming draft...is there anyone who will help us now with size and grit or do we package it as an incentive?

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#100 Chris
April 21 2009, 08:30PM
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@ Ogden Brother:

So you are of the school of thought that Tambellini should make only a few minor adjustments, find a goalie, and let the kids mature... Or am I mistaken?

If that is your position; I don't necessarily disagree... after all it's a fine fine line between winning and losing in this league. But let's be honest in our evaluation of this team. Last offseason Willis tried to make a statistical argument that Horcoff was a better overall center than Getzlaf... The majority of people on this site wouldn't trade Hemsky for LeCavlier and so on... People Of Oilers Nation: TAKE OFF THE ROSE COLORED GLASSES! If the Oiler roster is so great: Why aren't they in the playoffs? Why didn't they play more than five complete games all season? Was it all the coach? I would like to see a total rebuild centered around REAL talent. Consistant talent. Game-day talent. Nobody on that roster aside from Gagner should feel safe this offseason.

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