Starting The Clock: Jordan Eberle

Jonathan Willis
July 28 2009 04:18PM

The salary cap era has been interesting, to say the least. One of the common themes of it has been that it pays off far more to develop younger players because they generally make less money due to a more restrictive contract.

That’s true, but many people take it to mean that young players should get more of a shot as a result. In point of fact, the opposite is true – at least for junior-aged players.

It’s because of the basic career curve. Will a player be better from the age of 18-20 or from 19-21 or from 20-22? In virtually every case, the player aged 20-22 will outperform the player aged 18-20.

Take Nathan Horton of Florida as an example. He was drafted in 2003, and spent the 2003-04 season in the NHL (55GP – 14G – 8A – 22PTS). Because of that, when the lockout came in 2004-05, he spent the year in the AHL (21GP – 5G – 4A – 9PTS). In the final year of his entry-level contract, Horton broke out offensively (71GP – 28G – 19A – 47PTS). That ended his three year entry-level deal, and burned three of his RFA years too, taking him closer to unrestricted free agency.

Now, let’s say that he had not been added to the NHL roster until 2005-06, when he was really adding some offense and competing in a top-six NHL role. His three seasons on his entry level deal would have looked like this:

  • 2005-06: 71GP – 28G – 19A – 47PTS
  • 2006-07: 82GP – 31G – 31G – 62PTS
  • 2007-08: 82GP – 27G – 35A – 62PTS

That’s a lot more bang for buck. The Panthers pay the same amount of money regardless, but in the first case they paid it for a player who only contributed top-six minutes for one year of three. In the second case, they pay it for a player who could be counted on for 27-31 goals every season. Additionally, it would have kept Horton a Panther longer – adding two more years of restricted free agency before he could test the open market. Meanwhile, if the Panthers really needed a 22-point scorer in 2003-04, they could have signed one cheaply via free agency; Horton simply wasn’t good enough to provide something the Panthers could have gotten for the same (or given that high-end rookies make considerably more than league minimum, less) money.

This is just an example, but it’s one case of many.

An argument against the policy that seems so sensible from a financial perspective is the development angle. Granted, I haven’t done a full-scale study, but from what I’ve seen and read it seems just as likely that a prospect will have his development derailed by injury in the NHL as he is by slow progress in junior. Horton had both his 18- and 19-year old seasons cut short by shoulder surgery; that may have happened in junior but it would have been much less likely. With a little more weight and physical maturity (which he would have had if he’d come into the NHL at 20) the injury trouble might have been avoided entirely. In the worst-case scenario, a player like Gilbert Brule can see his career completely derailed.

Sam Gagner is another example. He was lucky enough to avoid serious injury – a concussion suffered on a Nicklas Grossman hit during his rookie year turned out to be minor. He’s been more prolific offensively than Horton too, scoring 49 and 41 points.

That said, he was overmatched as a rookie. Those 49 points came along with a -21 rating; a rating that improved to -1 just a year later. He becomes a restricted free agent next year, at age 21. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent at the age of 25.

The Oilers will probably keep him. They got lucky on the injury front, and they’ll find the money from somewhere. But would the team have been better off to delay his entry into the NHL until he was 19? Probably. His 49 points looks impressive, but that -21 rating was both deserved and wasn’t helping the team win any games.

The point here is not to make this mistake again. The organization is making noises that Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson won’t even get a look until 2010-11. That’s a good thing, but it doesn’t get them out of the woods. Jordan Eberle is getting some attention as a roster option next season, and I think that would probably be a mistake. His 74 points isn’t exactly lighting the league on fire; players drafted this past year (Kane and Schenn to name two) posted better numbers than that. He isn’t big, and he probably isn’t going to be a good defensive player right away; he went -5 in just 9 AHL games this past spring.

If he’s ready to contribute – and I mean really contribute, contribute enough offense while not looking totally clueless in his own end – than by all means play him. But don’t bring him up if he’s going to chip in 30 points and be a liability in his own end – like Ales Hemsky was when he was rushed into the league at 19.

It’s stupid to start the clock on these kids ticking before they can actually help the team win games.

74b7cedc5d8bfbe88cf071309e98d2c3
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.
Avatar
#1 OILER86
July 28 2009, 04:35PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Eberle would have to blow the Oiler's doors off in training camp to make the team. No top 6 role for him currently, and not going to play in the bottom 6.

Avatar
#2 oilguyry
July 28 2009, 04:40PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Let them grow look at how well it works for Detroit enough said

Avatar
#3 DanMan
July 28 2009, 05:03PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

You gotta remember Eberle was on a crappy junior team where he was the only legit offensive threat. Teams keying on him certainly had an effect on his point totals. Kane is not a comparison. For one, he is a physical freak which Eberle is not, and secondly he was on the best team in the WHL this year.

The size issue doesn't bother me when I look at what 5'9" 165 Pat Kane has done in his first two years. I don't think he has even missed a game yet.

That said, unless there are multiple injuries to our top 9, I don't really want to see him in the show this year.

Avatar
#4 Digger12
July 28 2009, 05:11PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

As I recall, when Hemsky made the Oilers at age 19 it was done with more of an eye towards what they thought would be best for his future development, rather than how much he could help them win hockey games in 02/03. They said that they thought having Hemsky go back to the QMJHL would've been a waste because their wunderkind had already showed signs of being bored as an 18 yr old. It's a question that every organization struggles with when they have talented 'teens...which development path will result in maximizing the potential of your prospects if they show signs that beating up on 16/17/18 yr olds will result in diminishing returns? Hell, even when the Oilers sent Hemsky back to Hull after his first training camp, there was MacT in the media scrum publicly musing about whether or not it would be a mistake to send him back to junior.

As for Gagner, IMO he caught a bit of a lucky break that the Oilers kept him for the entire year, rather than send him back to London as I expect was the initial plan:

-One of his main competitors during training camp (Schremp) was still recovering from a knee injury

-Pouliot had a poor camp

-During Gagner's 10 game audition where he managed 7 points, the guy who was supposed to be the 2nd line center (Stoll) had a ridiculously poor start and was bleeding goals against like a stuck pig. They needed SOMEBODY to center that 2nd line, and Gagner was putting forth a good accounting of himself at the time.

The Oilers probably would privately admit that Gagner would've been better served by playing in the OHL as an 18 yr old, but what's done is done. If Stoll hadn't been such a bag of crap to start the year, who knows how different the team would look now.

Avatar
#5 Jonathan Willis
July 28 2009, 05:26PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Digger12 wrote:

It’s a question that every organization struggles with when they have talented ‘teens…which development path will result in maximizing the potential of your prospects if they show signs that beating up on 16/17/18 yr olds will result in diminishing returns.

It's true, and it's a tough balance I think. One of the advantages to drafting non-CHL prospects (i.e. European/NCAA) is that they can play at a higher level. The CHL quite simply isn't designed to develop players as much as it is to make money.

But the injury thing is a real concern.

Avatar
#6 jeanshorts
July 28 2009, 05:26PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

God damn Pierre McGuire has forever ruined that clip for me. Still gives me goosebumps though, for .7 seconds until McGuire opens his mouth.

Avatar
#7 Jonathan Willis
July 28 2009, 05:26PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Digger12 wrote:

If Stoll hadn’t been such a bag of crap the entire year, who knows how different the team would look now.

Fixed ;)

Avatar
#8 Mother Pucker Hockey
July 28 2009, 05:35PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

jeanshorts wrote:

God damn Pierre McGuire has forever ruined that clip for me. Still gives me goosebumps though, for .7 seconds until McGuire opens his mouth.

I hear you... I loathe that guy and if I have a channel option, I'll switch to the non mcdouche channel in a heartbeat! That blabber mouth ruins it for everyone.

Avatar
#9 Digger12
July 28 2009, 05:43PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Jonathan Willis wrote:

Digger12 wrote: If Stoll hadn’t been such a bag of crap the entire year, who knows how different the team would look now. Fixed

True enough, but my point still stands. ;)

If Stoll started the year better, Gagner would've likely been back in London.

Stoll and Torres were pretty much joined at the hip, so it's logical to assume that Torres would've done more as well, which would've helped out Nilsson's #'s (IIRC the 2nd line to start that year was Stoll/Torres/Nilsson), so maybe he would've gotten to stay up for the entire year on the 2nd line.

Who knows what would've happened to Cogliano, since his boxcars would've likely suffered a bit.

Perhaps Visnovsky would not be an Oiler today?

Avatar
#10 Wyseguy
July 28 2009, 05:51PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@ jeanshorts: I gotta disagree. As much as Pierre McGuire has a big ego, his passion for hockey, especially the world junior tournament is more than anyone else I've seen. He provides excitement for the games, and he's also the best "between the benches" colour guy out there. He knows the game and brings up things he sees and hears that you wouldn't notice otherwise.

A buddy of mine had to spend a couple of hours in a car with him, and said he didn't enjoy his ego the whole trip, but as a hockey broadcaster, he's good in my books.

Avatar
#11 jeanshorts
July 28 2009, 06:02PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@ Wyseguy:

I agree that he's good at what he does, and for the most part I can put up with him. But in this clip in particular he absolute ruins it by stealing the show.

He already talked about the Russian icing ad nauseum after it happened. He should have just let the crowd going absolutely haywire be the main focus. But he always has to be at the forefront with his encyclopedic knowledge of hockey. Guarantee any other color man would have waited until the replay to say their piece. He's also the same guy who constantly tries to scream over top of Gord Miller while he's calling the action.

Just seems to pushy for my tastes.

Avatar
#12 Jonathan Willis
July 28 2009, 06:03PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Digger12 wrote:

If Stoll started the year better, Gagner would’ve likely been back in London.

Then again, if the team had been put together a little better....

It's true, but I wish the Oilers had put that team together a little bit better. Or better still, tanked for another season, picked up a draft pick, and brought Gagner in at 19.

What's done is done of course, but a slightly longer rebuilding plan wouldn't have been a bad idea.

Avatar
#13 Death Metal Nightmare
July 28 2009, 06:16PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

what if nathan horton wouldnt have produced as he did after the lockout? its impossible to project that he would have been AS effective without the previous experiences. he could have been as good, or he could have been worse and put into situations where he didnt produce as much. i get the argument but the example isnt telling at all and its not empirical in any sense for a model on Eberle.

Avatar
#14 Ogden Brother
July 28 2009, 06:30PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

But then we'd have reading 1000's of posts complaining that guys like Gagner/Cog's ect wherent getthing a shot.

Avatar
#15 West Coast Oil
July 28 2009, 07:23PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Bringing kids up at 20 makes a lot more sense than at 18, 19 at least then you can send them to the AHL still let them develop and bring them up for short periods and control their exposure. How many times did we see Gagner struggle yet MacT had no choice but to play him because he couldn't be sent down and just sitting him or moving him to the 4th line may have killed his confidence. Regarding Gagner I still think MacT did a great job with his evolution.

Avatar
#16 West Coast Oil
July 28 2009, 07:24PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Thats about the only player though.

Avatar
#17 Jonathan Willis
July 28 2009, 07:30PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Death Metal Nightmare wrote:

its impossible to project that he would have been AS effective without the previous experiences. he could have been as good, or he could have been worse and put into situations where he didnt produce as much.

True, but it was only supposed to illustrate the point.

I certainly could have pushed on the Brule example if I were in the pushing mood, but the fact is I'm not sure exactly how the debate between NHL minutes vs. injury plays out.

I'd guess that the injury risk means players are better off developing in junior (or college) but I don't know that.

Avatar
#18 Antony Ta
July 28 2009, 07:44PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

I think it was mentioned elsewhere that the Detroit Red Wings call up prospects when they're past ripe, to avoid any question marks.

Avatar
#19 Andrew W
July 28 2009, 07:51PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@ West Coast Oil:

Really? You don't think he had any positive impact on Horcoff, Pisani, Stoll, or Greene, just to name a few? Even if you're only talking about last year, only Wanye Gretz is left denying that Grebeshkov took a big step forward, and Gilbert, Smid, and Stortini all did too. This is all without mentioning that Sourey had the most well rounded season of his career, and you don't think the head coach had any impact on any of this?

MacTavish made some decisions that didn't work out well last year. It bothers me when many of the positive things he did for the team during his tenure are overlooked because he played Pisani at centre for a couple of weeks and he lost patience with Penner. In my opinion, while a coaching change was needed, MacT's lessons to many of the core players will continue to influence their careers for years to come.

Avatar
#20 Ogden Brother
July 28 2009, 08:09PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Andrew W wrote:

@ West Coast Oil: Really? You don’t think he had any positive impact on Horcoff, Pisani, Stoll, or Greene, just to name a few? Even if you’re only talking about last year, only Wanye Gretz is left denying that Grebeshkov took a big step forward, and Gilbert, Smid, and Stortini all did too. This is all without mentioning that Sourey had the most well rounded season of his career, and you don’t think the head coach had any impact on any of this? MacTavish made some decisions that didn’t work out well last year. It bothers me when many of the positive things he did for the team during his tenure are overlooked because he played Pisani at centre for a couple of weeks and he lost patience with Penner. In my opinion, while a coaching change was needed, MacT’s lessons to many of the core players will continue to influence their careers for years to come.

Great post.

On a semi related note I went through and documented all the players that had their best offensive season under MacT (and at least a couple under other coaches to give a contrast) the list was long.

Avatar
#21 Jonathan Willis
July 28 2009, 08:20PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@ Andrew W:

Well done, sir.

Avatar
#22 Chris
July 28 2009, 08:26PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

I don't belive in developing prospects at the NHL level. Lets face it the team with the most actual, legitimate, NHL players: usually wins. IMO, both Gagner, and Cogliano were rushed into NHL service too early and have consequently bled chances against, taken roster spots that could have been filled with more experienced players, and have pushed themselves closer to UFA status while the team missed the playoffs, again and again.

Avatar
#23 DanMan
July 28 2009, 08:26PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

The way I look at it, some guys are just ready. Look at Tavares, I mean who REgresses during his draft year in junior? He probably could have played in the show last year.

Gagner started 07 on fire, then was invisible for about 40 games, and then brought it down the stretch. Inconsistent, but 98% of teenagers are, too.

I think the RFA years is a tool you use to separate 2 players who are close (maybe Eberle gets caught in this situation with a Schremp or Brule). It should not be something on the coaches and management's mind during TC. If a guy is NHL-ready, I believe it impedes their progress and development to send them back to juniors where they are expected to dominate inferior talent.

Avatar
#24 roadrunner
July 28 2009, 08:44PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Other than the kid line the sequel, when was the last time the Oilers gave a 19 year old a shot? If memory serves, Hemsky is the only player of note given substantial icetime in the 2002/03 season. He was on a very bad club at the time and played well. The top line consisted of Mike York, Mike Comrie and Anson Carter. Smyth played with Horcoff and Hemsky on the second unit.

I think Hemsky was the rotating RW between the top and 2nd line because of the broken ankle Smyth had suffered. Didn't they move Isbister to the number 1 unit on the left side with Carter on the RW and Comrie in the middle?

Anyway, my point is that Hemsky got the playing time due to the injury but if Smyth doesn't go down, Hemskys ice time is very limited that season. Eberles shot may only come if the same circumstances present themselves. Either via injury or trade, Eberle won't be donning the silks for extended stretches this year if he makes the club. The Oilers have shown from the past, they don't give 19 year old kids shots at the big time in anything but a supporting role and only on 4th or 3rd line "safe" situations.

Avatar
#25 Antony Ta
July 28 2009, 08:45PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Chris wrote:

I don’t belive in developing prospects at the NHL level. Lets face it the team with the most actual, legitimate, NHL players: usually wins. IMO, both Gagner, and Cogliano were rushed into NHL service too early and have consequently bled chances against, taken roster spots that could have been filled with more experienced players, and have pushed themselves closer to UFA status while the team missed the playoffs, again and again.

Depends on whether you're trying to build a team that wins at prospect development game or build a team that wins in the regular season but fails in the playoffs. Few prospects are ready to go right away but some will suffer from being in the minors too long. I'd say 90% of prospects do benefit from time in the minors, though.

In our case, we play well enough to miss the lottery and poorly enough to miss the playoffs.

Avatar
#26 Ogden Brother
July 28 2009, 08:46PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

DanMan wrote:

The way I look at it, some guys are just ready. Look at Tavares, I mean who REgresses during his draft year in junior? He probably could have played in the show last year. Gagner started 07 on fire, then was invisible for about 40 games, and then brought it down the stretch. Inconsistent, but 98% of teenagers are, too. I think the RFA years is a tool you use to separate 2 players who are close (maybe Eberle gets caught in this situation with a Schremp or Brule). It should not be something on the coaches and management’s mind during TC. If a guy is NHL-ready, I believe it impedes their progress and development to send them back to juniors where they are expected to dominate inferior talent.

Another related debate: Should 18 year olds be given access to the AHL? For some guys your seasons as a 18/19 year old seem like a waste in the CHL. Eberle for example is probably too good to play in the W at 19, but not good enough for the A

Avatar
#27 Ogden Brother
July 28 2009, 08:46PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Ogden Brother wrote:

DanMan wrote: The way I look at it, some guys are just ready. Look at Tavares, I mean who REgresses during his draft year in junior? He probably could have played in the show last year. Gagner started 07 on fire, then was invisible for about 40 games, and then brought it down the stretch. Inconsistent, but 98% of teenagers are, too. I think the RFA years is a tool you use to separate 2 players who are close (maybe Eberle gets caught in this situation with a Schremp or Brule). It should not be something on the coaches and management’s mind during TC. If a guy is NHL-ready, I believe it impedes their progress and development to send them back to juniors where they are expected to dominate inferior talent. Another related debate: Should 18 year olds be given access to the AHL? For some guys your seasons as a 18/19 year old seem like a waste in the CHL. Eberle for example is probably too good to play in the W at 19, but not good enough for the A

Oops: "Not good enough for the NHL"

Avatar
#28 Ogden Brother
July 28 2009, 08:48PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Chris wrote:

I don’t belive in developing prospects at the NHL level. Lets face it the team with the most actual, legitimate, NHL players: usually wins. IMO, both Gagner, and Cogliano were rushed into NHL service too early and have consequently bled chances against, taken roster spots that could have been filled with more experienced players, and have pushed themselves closer to UFA status while the team missed the playoffs, again and again.

To cut and dry. Should Kane/Toews have been in the OHL/AHL last year?

Avatar
#29 West Coast Oil
July 28 2009, 09:02PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

I have always contributed the growth and success of our Dmen to Huddy (who I really think we will miss). Stoll and Hords grew leaps and bounds with the help of Oates before that they were not the greatest in the face off circle. Players like Pisani who are strong two way players I totally give credit to MacT for as that was his style and he was great at teaching it. I feel MacT struggled with the skilled players though and the lack of players who broke through to that elite level shows. Am I saying MacT was a horrendous coach? Not at all, but, the coaches around MacT who specialized in specific player styles are the ones I feel helped the players grow the most. Last year we did not have an offensive minded asst coach and the numbers of every offensive player stalled or regressed... Coincidence? Plus it showed that MacT did not know how to handle the young kids in that role and move them to the next level. Feel free to comment.

Avatar
#30 Andrew W
July 28 2009, 09:04PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Maybe somebody can give me some insight into this issue...

For the life of me, I've never understood why 18 and 19 year old players are allowed to play in the NHL but not the AHL. Ostensibly, the barrier to the AHL is to protect younger bodies from getting hurt, but aren't there bigger and faster players in the NHL that are even more likely to cause injury?

Another confusing element is that it's not a rule for any other international professional league that I know of. European leagues allow teenagers to play for them, including the SEL and KHL. Might this be a route for some elite North American players to consider if the CHL is too easy and the NHL is too hard? The added emphasis on practice and reduced number of games might help their careers in the long run, too. Given the choice, I know I'd rather be a professional hockey player in Visby than an amateur in Sault Saint Marie, even before taking Swedish women into consideration.

Avatar
#31 Andrew W
July 28 2009, 09:07PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@ Ogden Brother:

You beat me to the post!

Avatar
#32 DanMan
July 28 2009, 09:16PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@ West Coast Oil:

That's a really good point, WCO. Why keep Bucky and not Huddy?

Maybe Huddy is attatched at the hip to MacT?

Avatar
#33 West Coast Oil
July 28 2009, 09:19PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@ DanMan

Ithink I heard on here that they are really good friends and where ever MacT ends up Huddy will as well.

Avatar
#34 Ogden Brother
July 28 2009, 09:22PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

West Coast Oil wrote:

I have always contributed the growth and success of our Dmen to Huddy (who I really think we will miss). Stoll and Hords grew leaps and bounds with the help of Oates before that they were not the greatest in the face off circle. Players like Pisani who are strong two way players I totally give credit to MacT for as that was his style and he was great at teaching it. I feel MacT struggled with the skilled players though and the lack of players who broke through to that elite level shows. Am I saying MacT was a horrendous coach? Not at all, but, the coaches around MacT who specialized in specific player styles are the ones I feel helped the players grow the most. Last year we did not have an offensive minded asst coach and the numbers of every offensive player stalled or regressed… Coincidence? Plus it showed that MacT did not know how to handle the young kids in that role and move them to the next level. Feel free to comment.

On the flip side GA has beens the teams biggest weakness that last couple of years.

Avatar
#35 West Coast Oil
July 28 2009, 09:30PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

I also question why we were unable to develop a face off winning center after Oates left. If you do not hold the coach liable who do you? The Oilers are so deep in center prospects how can they all be so bad at winning face offs?

Avatar
#36 digger12
July 28 2009, 09:35PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

DanMan wrote:

@ West Coast Oil: That’s a really good point, WCO. Why keep Bucky and not Huddy? Maybe Huddy is attatched at the hip to MacT?

The way I understand it, Bucky was kept around as a request by Lowe to Quinn.

IMO the belief is that Buchberger is supposed to be a quick learner who seems to be viewed by them as some kind of protege that also has a rep of working well with the young guys. Plus, he's got experience working with the Falcons alum.

He survived the purge because he knows which side his bread is buttered on, basically.

Avatar
#37 Andrew W
July 28 2009, 09:40PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@ West Coast Oil:

A couple of things:

MacTavish did not have many high-end-skill players to work with very often with the Oilers. Other than Hemsky, the only consistent point producer was Smyth, and his points came more from grit than skill. (Not unlike the few points I remember MacT getting, so he might have had some positive offensive influence there.) There might have been an argument to be made that he stunted the offensive development of players if some of them had blossomed on other teams, but can you name anybody whose numbers exploded after they left his defensive-minded coaching? Anybody at all?

Secondly, when he had a few skilled players to work with through the `06 drive he coached them very well. Samsonov fit in very well and greatly reduced the quantity of his defensive lapses for a few months. Peca, who has (had?) some underrated skill, was a primary reason why Pisani led the entire league in playoff goals. Hemsky did his dangling lone ranger thing too, and the offensive skill was well distributed throughout the lines. This was the only team that MacTavish had with enough talent to evaluate his management of offensive players, and he excelled with them.

It seems that we're bound to disagree about the contributions (or lack thereof) that MacT made. I think that he'll catch on with another team either mid-season or next summer, and heartily wish him good luck with them - even for the first game or two against the Oil.

Avatar
#38 West Coast Oil
July 28 2009, 09:59PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@ Andrew W

The debate was MacT and developing kids. I still state the support team had more to do with positive player development then MacT. The 06 team was experienced players so MacT wasnt developing the offensive players.

Avatar
#39 Andrew W
July 28 2009, 10:10PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@ West Coast Oil:

Fair enough.

But who, specifically, do you think he didn't develop well? Are there any particular offensive players that he mismanaged and kept from becoming 30 goal scorers or 80 point players? When I look through the list of the young talent he contributed to developing - with the rest of the coaching staff - the possible candidates for 30 goals or 80 points are few and far between.

Avatar
#40 West Coast Oil
July 28 2009, 10:20PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@ Andrew W

Probably some examples would be: Hemsky - everyone agrees he has not taken it to the next level which most people agree he is capable of. JFJ - the guy has shown he can score in the AHL but so far nothing in the NHL. Stoll - predicted to be a 60 plus point player but never lived up to it. Torres- another offensive talent who fizzled.

Those are 4 off the top of my head who were supposed to develop and never did. Some of the lack of success could be attributed to other things (Stoll concussion, Torres partying) but I find it odd we are always changing our top 6 on a regular basis due to lack of results.

Avatar
#41 West Coast Oil
July 28 2009, 10:35PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@ Andrew W:

I am thinking you could even through Pouliot and Winchester in there as well. Their AHL numbers have aways been decent but once again they couldn't get that production out of them in the big leagues. I also know you asked which players have gone to score high goal totals on other teams, but that opens up the debate of "is it the player or did the system kill their potential?"

Avatar
#42 Chris
July 28 2009, 10:38PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Ogden Brother wrote:

To cut and dry. Should Kane/Toews have been in the OHL/AHL last year?

Are Cogliano and Gagner the same caliber as Kane/Toews?

Antony Ta wrote:

Few prospects are ready to go right away but some will suffer from being in the minors too long.

How many combined games did Cogliano and Gagner play in the AHL? Young guys are simply immature both physically and emotionally. Young guys are inconsistant. Young guys have trouble keeping their emotions on an even keel throughout an entire season. Young guys stay up late, get drunk, womanize, eat pizza and play rock band... Be young! Have fun! But please: Do it in the minors! The NHL is a man's game. Crosby is the capatain of a Stanley cup winning team at 22... But he is also an annomally. IMO, many of OUR players could have benifited from more time in the AHL. Many, many, affordable thirty something UFA's could have competently played Gags/Cogs minutes at a reasonable price...

In 2006, the Oilers nearly won the cup with a roster consisting of at least seventeen solid NHL'ers... In fact, it was one of the borderline guys (MAB) who probably cost us the cup IMO. Last season it would be hard to argue that more than thirteen or fourteen guys would fall into that category. Let the super talented youngsters develop physically and mentally by humping the bus in the minors; let them fill in for injured vetrans. Bring up small numbers, of the very best, over a longer period of time. Why do I have to pay 100's of dollars to watch AHL'er skate Rexall ice?

Avatar
#43 Jonathan Willis
July 28 2009, 11:06PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Andrew W wrote:

For the life of me, I’ve never understood why 18 and 19 year old players are allowed to play in the NHL but not the AHL. Ostensibly, the barrier to the AHL is to protect younger bodies from getting hurt, but aren’t there bigger and faster players in the NHL that are even more likely to cause injury?

That isn't the reason. The CHL can be a cash-cow; and unlike USA Hockey (which seems bent on, you know, developing players) there doesn't seem to be much Hockey Canada can/wants to do about it.

Avatar
#44 Jonathan Willis
July 28 2009, 11:07PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

West Coast Oil wrote:

I also question why we were unable to develop a face off winning center after Oates left.

What happened to Kyle Brodziak?

Avatar
#45 Ogden Brother
July 28 2009, 11:10PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Chris wrote:

Ogden Brother wrote: To cut and dry. Should Kane/Toews have been in the OHL/AHL last year? Are Cogliano and Gagner the same caliber as Kane/Toews?

No, but you never made mention of caliber of player. Also, where do you draw the line?

Avatar
#46 Jonathan Willis
July 28 2009, 11:11PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

DanMan wrote:

If a guy is NHL-ready, I believe it impedes their progress and development to send them back to juniors where they are expected to dominate inferior talent.

Gagner went -21 playing in a very sheltered role. He was physically outmatched time and again and while he has both brains and shiftiness they weren't enough more often than not in his rookie year.

If he weren't a future-of-the-franchise type guy he would have been back in junior. Or do you seriously think Rob Schremp couldn't score 40 points and go -21 in a sheltered role?

Avatar
#47 Ogden Brother
July 28 2009, 11:13PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

West Coast Oil wrote:

@ Andrew W Probably some examples would be: Hemsky - everyone agrees he has not taken it to the next level which most people agree he is capable of. JFJ - the guy has shown he can score in the AHL but so far nothing in the NHL. Stoll - predicted to be a 60 plus point player but never lived up to it. Torres- another offensive talent who fizzled. Those are 4 off the top of my head who were supposed to develop and never did. Some of the lack of success could be attributed to other things (Stoll concussion, Torres partying) but I find it odd we are always changing our top 6 on a regular basis due to lack of results.

I'd be willing to bet 60%+ guys with multiple 30 goal and or 80 point seasons were drafted top 5. I'd also bet that number goes up to 70% in the top 10. Also (since the lockout) he was given all of 1 player who had scored 30+ goals elsewhere (Cole scored 30 all of 1 time)

He hasn't developed any high end talent because he hasn't been given any.

Avatar
#48 Jonathan Willis
July 28 2009, 11:28PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Ogden Brother wrote:

He hasn’t developed any high end talent because he hasn’t been given any.

Come now - everyone knows that Rob Schremp was a top-five talent in his draft year.

Avatar
#49 Andrew W
July 28 2009, 11:29PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

I just noticed that Vaclav Prospal has been bought out by the Bolts. Might he be a decent fit for the LW top line? I don't remember him playing with much grit, but he does have some size and finishing ability, and his salary demands might not be too high.

It's an interesting development even if it's also not a likely fit because of the number of forwards already on contract in Edmonton.

Avatar
#50 DanMan
July 28 2009, 11:33PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@ Jonathan Willis:

Gagner must have learned someting during that year, though. I think being around NHL veterans, and seeing what it takes to stick, is much better than being around junior players (95% of which will never play in the NHL).

Comments are closed for this article.