How Much Has The Oilers AHL Goaltending Mattered?

Jonathan Willis
January 28 2010 09:05AM

The Oilers goaltending has been a point of controversy since the summer. While the majority of the fans were supporters of the acquisition of Nikolai Khabibulin, a vocal minority spoke against the move, arguing that both his ability, health and age were all legitimate points for concern. Since Khabibulin’s injury, a pair of untested prospects in Jeff Deslauriers and Devan Dubnyk have covered the goaltending. How many points has that trio cost the Oilers?

I’ve been wondering how to make the comparison, but I hit upon an idea I liked this morning. The New York Islanders signed two free agent goaltenders this summer, Dwayne Roloson and Martin Biron, both goaltenders who were suggested as possible starters for the Oilers. The idea I had was in the form of a question: hypothetically, what if Steve Tambellini and Garth Snow had been reversed this summer, with the Oilers picking up two veterans and the Islanders snagging Khabibulin to cover for DiPietro?

Just for comparison’s sake, I stacked the game-by-game performances of Biron and Roloson up against the game-by-game performances of the Oilers trio. I multiplied the save percentages of the Islanders’ duo against the shots faced by the Oilers’ goalies, game-by-game (in other words, I didn’t just multiply Roloson’s .909 SV% against all his starts; if he had a 0.773 SV% night (and he did) or a 1.000 SV% night (he had that too) I multiplied it against the specific date. For games that now resulted in a tie, I did a 40/60 weighting between wins and overtime losses, to match the Oilers OT/SO record this season.

I had some very interesting results, which I'll break down here.

Oilers Actual Numbers

  • Overall: 16-29-6, 38 points
  • Pre-Khabibulin Injury: 8-10-3
  • Post-Khabibulin Injury: 8-19-3
  • Nikolai Khabibulin: 7-9-2, .909 SV%
  • Jeff Deslauriers: 9-15-3, .896 SV%
  • Devan Dubnyk: 0-5-1, .869 SV%

Simulated Numbers

  • Overall: 21-24-6, 48 points
  • Pre-Khabibulin Injury: 9-10-2
  • Post-Khabibulin Injury: 12-14-4
  • Dwayne Roloson: 14-17-3, .909 SV%
  • Martin Biron: 7-7-3, .900 SV%

Lots of interesting stuff there.

For starters, the notion that Nikolai Khabibulin was the team's MVP is hogwash; the team's record with him wasn't especially good and it turns out the team would have done better with the cheaper Biron/Roloson tandem, despite the fact that Deslauriers was spectacular in his first few starts.

Secondly, all those people who point to win/loss records as being terribly significant are simply deluding themselves.  A goaltender has very little impact on how many goals the team scores in front of him, and the way Martin Biron's record improves in this context shows that.  He's had the misfortune to start on nights the Islanders have been unable to score, and while I know there's a theory out there that it's a result of the team 'lacking enough confidence to play their game', I'll toss out a quote that fits: correlation does not equal causation.  Normally that term is bandied about by people who don't know what it means, but it fits here because anyone who has watched more than one NHL game knows that Martin Biron can't go out and score two goals to power the Islanders to victory.

Thirdly, as it happens we probably ought to be thankful that Steve Tambellini went with such a lousy goaltending plan.  I say that because even though his choices have cost the Oilers in the neighborhood of 10 points in the standings (i.e. 20% of the team's failings this season can be directly attributed to Steve Tambellini's goaltending choice), those 10 points aren't enough for the team to climb up to even 14th in the Conference; they'd still be three points back of Columbus.  Even with superior goaltending, this is a lottery team.

Fourthly, AHL results matter.  It would be nice if I could get a nickel's worth of backpay for every time someone reminded me the Oilers hadn't given Deslauriers a chance in the NHL yet, because I'd be at least a few dollars richer.  Jeff Deslauriers has been an average goaltender in the AHL, and while he'll probably still have an NHL career as a backup somewhere, his AHL results have been a very good predictor of his NHL results.  The Oilers have jumped through waiver-wire hoops for two years to see if the seven years of development they've sunk into this kid were a worthwhile investment, but they could have saved themselves some time by asking themselves how many goalies in the AHL were better than Deslauriers (Is the answer 10 or more?  Yes?  Move on).  Meanwhile, Dubnyk's two years younger and probably has a higher ceiling, but he's almost certianly never going to evolve into a franchise-calibre goalie.

That's what I see.  The most interesting points to me are a) simply how miserable Tambellini's goaltending plan was and b) even if his goaltending plan wasn't miserable, this team still wouldn't be near the playoffs.  The logical conclusion of those two points is that Steve Tambellini should be fired at the end of the season.  This was a collossal, predictable screwup that has cost the team not just a season, but has possibly cost Daryl Katz his new, publicly-funded arena and further eroded the credibility of the Oilers organization with fans and players across the league. 

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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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#52 BUCK75
January 28 2010, 11:28AM
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@Poo Czar

I like that idea. Kinda like Fleury in Pitts. Getting shelled for a couple of years & becoming one of the premier goaltenders in the league. Although an argument could be made that you don't have to be a 'premier' goaltender on a really good team.

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#55 Harlie
January 28 2010, 11:33AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

@ Harlie:

People argue with me more when I sum up. But if you'd like, here's the summary:

Kevin Lowe always gets the blame for this team, but that isn't fair because he's only partly to blame. As evidence, consider how crappy Steve Tambellini's team has been both with his oft-injured and signed-forever NHL goalie and with the pair of AHL'ers he's scared would be gobbled up on the waiver wire.

thanks...the summary works for me. Obviously it's nice that you did the due diligence and the stats back up your opinion. That's all I needed to hear instead of all the other noise which muddles the message at times.

p.s - i am definitely not an anti-stats guy as I also do stock day trading during the day and I use many statistical tools for making decisions. The stats don't always give an accurate forecast but they definitely point to trends and they help to understand why and when something happened. And from there a guy can make an educated guess/investment (or in your case) opinion moving forward.

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#56 BBOil
January 28 2010, 11:36AM
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Interesting scenario/proposal with JSG. Not the craziest thing I've ever heard, but I understand peoples reluctance to it.

I understand the merit of trying to open up some cap space trying to trade the likes of Souray, Sully, Moreau, etc....., but if you think of it as Souray for JSG straight up, we would be taking on a 6mil hit for next year while giving up 5.5mil the next two (correct me if I'm wrong). So essentially next years hit is a wash, your getting a very capable starter for a year to insulate the Bulin situations, and time to make a decision on your tender situation. Say JSG has a good year, you have a veteran rental goalie on the market come next trade deadline, and you have that space free end of next year as opposed to two years from now.

Essentially what I am saying is we still have to field a team next year, and salary cap space doesn't matter much if you are not going to use it, and instead go with a team of cheap young players + expensive old players. Don't see us trying to make a huge splash in the FA market in the summer, thus may be better to try and make dents in the cap and roster now, give some younger skaters a chance or more ice next year, and look at freeing up your cap for once your young team starts to develop. Then you have money to add players as needed, or sign RFAs.

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#57 Ninjafoot
January 28 2010, 11:44AM
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JW,

So, if some twist in the fabric of reality brings this summer around and Katz serves up both Lowe's and Tambo's head on a silver platter, who would you prefer to see upstairs after that?

Do the Oil just move Quinn up and let Renney handle coaching duties?

Or do they go out looking for a new management team?

What do you think?

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#58 EricOG
January 28 2010, 11:49AM
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@ Jonathan Willis:

I don't understand how it is that you so firmly write-off both JDD and DD given the state of the Oilers. They have given up many weak goals, but they can't be held accountable to the level you want to hold them accountable. How many goals have been a result of poor d-men plays? Or maybe you have already forgotten all those own goals at the start of the season. Or maybe you are also gonna propose that idiotic Souray for Guiguerre trade. Come on now. if those kids, DD in particular had a decent D-corps up front, they wouldn't be hammered so hard day in and day out. Also, stattistics are fun and a usefull weapon, aren't they? Those two will have respectable careers and the Oilers will lose out on one of them due to incompetence.

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#59 Bill Rizer
January 28 2010, 11:50AM
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Great article. I almost always agree with your opinion and thank you for putting it out there. As an aside after the Khabby signing I (in jest) pledged my allegiance to the Islanders. I will continue to do so until I see some sort of change in this organization. The Oilers will always be my team, but I can't completely support a frnachise that has its eyes closed.

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#60 Guy
January 28 2010, 11:50AM
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Jonathan agree with your view on the two goalies. I have a question what do you do with them next year as they are both RFA.

Would you sign them both to one way deals?

I would sign Dubnyk two year 500 per year one way contract.

I would only offer Deslaurier two way

Whats your thoughts.

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#63 VMR
January 28 2010, 11:54AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

@ Harlie:

People argue with me more when I sum up. But if you'd like, here's the summary:

Kevin Lowe always gets the blame for this team, but that isn't fair because he's only partly to blame. As evidence, consider how crappy Steve Tambellini's team has been both with his oft-injured and signed-forever NHL goalie and with the pair of AHL'ers he's scared would be gobbled up on the waiver wire.

Shouldnt you be going on about firing the whole management team and not just trying to pin it on Tambellini then? It's at least partly Lowe's fault, I'd say at least as much as it is Tambellini's or at worst a 50-50 split. If you want to run somebody out of town run them all out.

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#64 Wanye
January 28 2010, 11:55AM
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YES YES! YOU USE THOSE MATHS WILLIS

I wish I had picked JDD as my goat this year. Grebs: this doesn't mean I hate you any less, it's just that math now proves what a dud others are too.

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#67 EricOG
January 28 2010, 12:17PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

@ EricOG:

You don't understand? I thought I was pretty clear in the article:

AHL results matter. It would be nice if I could get a nickel's worth of backpay for every time someone reminded me the Oilers hadn't given Deslauriers a chance in the NHL yet, because I'd be at least a few dollars richer. Jeff Deslauriers has been an average goaltender in the AHL, and while he'll probably still have an NHL career as a backup somewhere, his AHL results have been a very good predictor of his NHL results.

I never wrote off Dubnyk, I just said he'd never be a franchise-type talent.

As for the Souray/Giguere proposal, I assume you couldn't bother to read the comments a little higher up explaining why I wouldn't do it.

Thing is, it sounds more like you are puting the most of the blame on those kids for the way things are going. Put better D-men in front of the them, and watch them get better.

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#68 Travis Dakin
January 28 2010, 12:17PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

60+% in favour here at Oilers Nation.

80+% in favour over at HFBoards.

I can dig up the links if you'd like. Over here people were buying into the 'one elite goaltender theory' and over at HFBoards the picture of Khabibulin holding the Stanley Cup with Tampa Bay was presented by their Oilers writer as the final word on the subject.

Don't you EVER use what people say at HFboards in your arguments again!!!

Next thing you'll be quoting ecklund...

HAHA

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#71 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
January 28 2010, 12:45PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

@ Original Ogden Brother:

In fairness, I've confined myself to making snide remarks about it rather than full-paragraph diatribes.

I don't think it's fair to compare Khabibulin to AHL goaltending and call him MVP; it's the comparison to what we'd expect from an NHL goalie that should matter.

And when healthy, Khabibulin has been okay. Not bad, not great, but okay.

It's not from comparing Bulin to DD/JDD that gives (or doesn't give) Bulin the team MVP nod, it is comparing Bulin to the rest of the inept roster.

Like I said before, the team had 4 clear players above the rest for the first 20 games: Penner/Hemsky/Bulin/Vishnosky (with honorable mentions to Brule).

Bulin may not of been the hands down best of those 4, but he was certainly in the mix.

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#72 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
January 28 2010, 12:50PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

I love the new handle, Travis.

X2

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#73 Jayamania
January 28 2010, 01:05PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

@ EricOG:

Out of curiousity, what has Jeff Deslauriers ever done, at any level, that makes you have faith he'll be more than an NHL backup?

It's not just about this season. It's not about this season and last seasons. It's about 7-1/2 years of development that measured as a whole point to a backup goaltender.

Totally agree. What has JDD done? He's had over 150 games played in the minors. That's plenty of time to assess what kind of a goalie he is.

Did anybody else laugh when Tambo said that DD was the best goalie prospect in the AHL last season? Ahead of Cory Schneider, Brian Elliot, Jonathon Bernier, Anti Niemmi, Tukka Rask, Jimmy Howard and Ondrej Pavelec.

And people say the Oiler fans overrate their prospects. Haha

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#74 EricOG
January 28 2010, 01:17PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

@ EricOG:

Out of curiousity, what has Jeff Deslauriers ever done, at any level, that makes you have faith he'll be more than an NHL backup?

It's not just about this season. It's not about this season and last seasons. It's about 7-1/2 years of development that measured as a whole point to a backup goaltender.

Out of curiosity, what 7 1/2 years are you talking about. You are the first one to point out what those years have been like. You like to use statistics???

Tell me, how big is your numbers size nhl wise for both of them????

As far as JDD goes, the minute he ends up in an organization that knows what the hell it is they are doing, he will be fine. He HAS had many good games. Specially, when the D-men have also played well.

DD's, ahl save percentage has also been good. I'm sure you have those statistics since you use them so much. How many NHL games does he have???? Look, my friend, what I would really like to get to is that it's not fair to hang these KIDS when the season has gone the way it has....

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#75 Ender
January 28 2010, 01:30PM
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@Willis

I might be misunderstanding your analysis, so take this with the appropriate grain of salt.

You're comparing how many goals a goalie lets in versus how many goals the other goalie lets in. By doing that you're postulating that if you plugged another goalie into the system, the game would play out almost identically - except how many goals the new goalie would let in.

This seems to completely disregard how many goals were due to the goalie vs how many goals were due to the defence. If it's a major defensive breakdown, no goalie will be able to stop the puck. If it's a rebound, they can make a difference. They're two very different scenarios. If it was purely large defensive meltdowns that caused every GA, I might be on board with you.

Different goalies will affect the game differently in ways other than GA. There's the Brodeur-esque outlet pass. There's the general handling of the puck around the net. There's the freezing of the puck. Especially regarding the freezing of the puck, FO% seems to be pretty close to a coin flip -- 50%. Can you guarantee that the same faceoffs would be won and lost with another goalie in the net? Can you guarantee that no major (or no collection of minor) changes would have occurred to alter the game in any way? While some goalies would save more of a certain kind of shot, others will save more of a different kind of shot. You can't even guarantee that the GA would be different - the goal might just happen on a different shot. A rebound might be put in a better or worse place. It's unlikely that even the SA total would be identical.

Hell, I know people tend to hate the idea of a "big goal" but psychologically not all goals are created equally. If the team is on the verge of a comeback and a goal is scored against them it can really knock the wind out of their sails. I know, I know, psychology isn't in the numbers -- but it's in the game, and you can't ignore it as a potentially mitigating factor. I mean, when I'm playing defense I'm much less tense if I have a good goalie behind me than a bad one. I pass the puck a lot sooner than I normally would, and I try to just get the puck out of the zone as quickly as possible. If I'm playing in net and my defense is a shambles I'm much more stressed and often end up cheating to one side or the other so that I have some chance at that cross-ice pass. Hell, depending on how often I've played against a certain forward I'll cheat up or down if I know they consistently shoot high or low. You can't just plug in a different goalie and assume that everything would play out the same. I guarantee it wouldn't. Would it be mostly the same? It might be; it might not be. Funny thing about this world of ours is that you can't say with _any_ (yes, literally any) certainty whether or not it would without a time machine. Not all goalies think the same; not all goalies react the same. The second that plugged-in goalie touches the puck the first time the game changes.

I'll toss out a quote that fits: correlation does not equal causation. Normally that term is bandied about by people who don't know what it means, but it fits here because anyone who has watched more than one NHL game knows that Martin Biron can't go out and score two goals to power the Islanders to victory.

I know that quote was regarding a different point (a point that I actually agree with) but I think it applies to the overall gist of your essay here.

But that's of course assuming I didn't misunderstand your initial methodology.

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#78 EricOG
January 28 2010, 01:47PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

@ EricOG:

Number of AHL goaltenders (25+ GP) with a better SV% Than Jeff Deslauriers:

2007-08: 15 2006-07: 20

Those are his two seasons as an AHL starter. This isn't exactly 'OMG, We NEED to get him to the NHL before everyone realizes how GOOD he is' territory.

As for Dubnyk, this is the first season where he's been a top-tier AHL goaltender, but at least he's now been a top-tier AHL goaltender.

Again, I ask you: what has Jeff Deslauriers done in his 7-1/2 years with the Edmonton Oilers organization to show that he's going to be an NHL starter? Aside from one strong season in junior (six years ago now) he's never looked like a high-end prospect, but he's looked a lot through both the ECHL and AHL like a guy who might end up being a decent #2.

Why do you think he'll be more than that?

Come on now, you know better than that. He has had many good NHL games. I concede that you know more about hockey than me. But I'm a very good judge of character and my instincts tell me JDD will be fine once he is outta here. I'm sure you recognize that too.

Mon ami, this has been intersting and fun, but I have to get back to work, cheers!!!

JDD will be fine and so will DD, you shall see...

P.S. wanna start a Hall vs Seguin back and forth?

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#79 Ender
January 28 2010, 01:49PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

@ Ender:

No, I think you're following things correctly, and you're right. This is an approximation; no more, no less, and I'd argue that it's probably fairly close to the reality of the situation (it certainly fits with what we know from having Roloson in net behind a nearly-identical defence last year).

It's rough, it's dirty and it isn't intended to be definitive. But I think it does give us a ballpark figure for what the Dubnyk/Deslauriers combination has cost the team.

I can't get behind that. Experience does mean something (in goal and FO at least). All you can tell from this season is how well these two goalies can do behind a team that inexplicably and randomly forgets how defense works multiple times a game. (INJURIES/ILLNESS!!! ;))

I don't think you can say that about most teams, and I don't think you can say that neither of these goalies has a #1 job in their futures. Like someone said in the comments above, JDD has had some really solid games - and those were the games that the defense didn't completely collapse.

IMO, you'd have more of a change having some defensive wingers than a different goalie given the current makeup of this team. I think it's unfair to blame it on the kids and I think it's unreasonable to judge their futures based on this.

After all, you keep pulling up SV% numbers in the AHL for these guys when they played on a proportionately equally "good" team. Of course their SV% will be easily projected. I don't think you can say that things would be no different on a good team.

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#82 Ender
January 28 2010, 02:13PM
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@Willis

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that you're wrong or anything. Just saying that it's still a bit premature to write people off. It's entirely possible they'll both wash out. I just don't think that goaltending is this team's problem at the moment, and because of that I'm reserving judgement until it is. Like 05/06.

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#83 Darren
January 28 2010, 02:20PM
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Feels like we are always being told to be patient and reserve judgement. When should we start judging? A long time ago I'd wager

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#84 Ender
January 28 2010, 02:29PM
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@Willis

Quick Question. I get that Khabi's numbers have been Roli-like (disagreements about how long it takes for a goalie to "get into it" at the beginning of the season aside). I also more or less get JDD's numbers because of really bad team defense and him being tired and in over his head. I even get that the biggest difference between the Oil and the Isles regarding goalies this year isn't so much SV% (though if you'd listened to people before the season Biron was the second coming) but just how many games the second stringer had to play.

I get all of this, and this is fine.

How much of Dubnyk's numbers are reasonably accurate given that he hasn't won a game? Multiplying by zero is always a problem, especially with the amount of really late goals the Oil have let in while he was playing. How fair is forecasting 0 to 0?

(I ask because I'm too lazy to do the math myself, and figure you've already taken a look at this particular problem ;))

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#85 Ender
January 28 2010, 02:31PM
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I should read better. You only adjusted the Isles' numbers.

Either way, isn't there a danger in using Dubnyk's numbers at all in this sort of comparison?

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#86 Ender
January 28 2010, 02:33PM
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Also, didn't Rick DiPietro contribute to 4 of those 10 points?

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#87 Helmerfied
January 28 2010, 02:38PM
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Jonathan,

Interesting take here. You've been quite adament in your stance that the current management should be dismissed based on the moves (and lack of moves) that has this team in the cellar. Many are saying that, since 2007, this team has 100% needed a rebuild. They've tried quick fixes to get into 6-8th place territory which haven't worked.

Off the top of my head I'm not exactly sure where your stance is on this (and maybe Robin and Jason have opinions on this as well) but what is the standard length of time a GM should have to mold his team to how he wants it to be? How long is long enough to judge his decisions (moves made and not made) before determining he needs to go? The general consensus I've heard/read over time is that a GM needs a good 3 years to really put his "stamp" on the team - up to that point he's still operating with his precessor's team. Thoughts?

I also wonder what directive was given to Tambo when he was hired...whether he was told he had something like 3 years to evaluate and make steps to change/improve as he sees fit in. If he wasn't given such a timeline, it makes sense that he's taken steps more so toward winning now rather than the full rebuilt that seems to be in order now in order to save his job. Clearly, he felt this team was closer along than it is and I'm not hockey genius but I tend to agree for a few reasons. I fully agree this team hasn't been close to President's Trophy-worthy but they weren't terrible last year either. Last season they were right in the thick of things till the last 10-game stretch.

This year, Gags/Cogs were going into year 3 so expecting them to come out of the sophomore jinx better shouldn't have been an unreasonable assumption. Vis and Souray were supposedly coming in healthy and, although O'Sullivan's end to 2008-09 wasn't promising, it shouldn't have been unreasonable to expect 20 goals out of him given his history. On top of that, a new veteran coaching staff was instituted. I'd agree that there was reason for optimism at the time and reason to believe a 4-8th place finish in the conference was possible. With this in mind, my guess is Tambo felt this team was on the way up rather than down. Thoughts?

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#90 Ender
January 28 2010, 04:00PM
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@Jonathan Willis

Yea, that was my bad. I didn't read it carefully enough apparently. I guess I just don't trust 0's in stats, even if that is an accurate YTD measure.

Just out of curiosity, why did you leave out DP? Outside of his shutout, his stats haven't been particularly amazing, and he's only started 2 games less than Dubnyk.

Also out of curiosity, how did you handle multi-goalie blowouts? Just register how many shots are against the goalie who gets the official loss?

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#91 jeanshorts
January 28 2010, 04:02PM
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@EricOG

You know who else had many good NHL games?

-Jim Carey

-Andrew Raycroft

-John Grahame

-Dan Cloutier

Just saying.

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#92 Ender
January 28 2010, 04:24PM
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@WIllis

Last thing (I promise). If the west is 103-62-19 this season, then the East must be (on average) worst than the West. 103 wins to 81 wins. That gives a factor of 1.27. Multiplying the Wins and OTL columns by that would give the oilers 4 more wins and 1 more OTL.

So isn't the difference (adjusting for conference) 1 point and not 10? And if that's the case, is either Roloson or Biron worth it?

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#93 Peter
January 28 2010, 04:54PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

@ Ninjafoot:

There's a lot of directions the Oilers could go, but one thing I'd do if I owned the team would be to bring on Tyler Dellow in some capacity (Assistant to the GM or somesuch). He's shown a lot more foresight into what the market is going to be, where the cap is going, and what's wrong with the team than anyone currently employed by the Oilers.

As for the big job, I'd look at Quinn, I'd look at the guy running the Manitoba Moose, I'd ask about assistant G.M.s in San Jose, Detroit and New Jersey, I'd look at Jarmo Kekkalainen, I'd look at Doug Risebrough. Basically I'd try to get a field of 20-or-so candidates in for the initial interviews and see what direction they wanted to go before narrowing it down.

Wow, that might be the stupidest comment I've ever seen you write. Yes hire someone who has zero experience because he supposedly wrote a few things about the Oilers...

You sit-at-home-bloggers drink your own bath water so much it is comical.

The fact you think it is that easy to run a team just proves that you don't understand any emotional aspect of the game. Crunching numbers is one thing, but who said the Oilers didn't know where the cap was going??? Every team has bad contracts.

Keep writing what you do, it is good, but you lose so much credibility with a ridiculous comment like that it is painful.

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#94 Helmerfied
January 28 2010, 05:10PM
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@Jonathan Willis

Jonathan,

Purely for curiousity of your opinion on what the direction should've been since Tambo came aboard, what do you think would've been the best course of action for him to take coming in? Should he have taken the stance on day one that this team needed to be stripped down to bare and rebuilt from the ground up? Possibly a longer-term rebuild plan from day 1 ala Dean Lombardi in L.A. (although there are many differences there)? In particular this summer, should he have ultimately committed to playing young prospects to gain them experience in preparation for a strong team within 1-3 years? In that sense, in your opinion, should he have gone with JDD and DD for the full season to gain them experience and evaluate?

Reason I ask is that, if it was determined at both the start of this season and last season that the team just needed a fix rather than a completely rebuilt, that obviously would invoke different decisions in player personnel and would more justify Tambo's thought process in trying to bring in bring in strong pieces rather than get rid of pieces. In this case, maybe the transition of the team to bottom-feeders this season is forcing the change in philosophy that maybe wasn't deemed to be required before this season and last season, thus, justifying to some degree the direction he has taken. With this in mind, my opinion is that it's too early to fire him. Not saying he should be completely absolved of blame or responsibility. And who knows how many variables come into play (ie. direction from above to win now, etc). Thoughts?

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#95 David S
January 28 2010, 05:11PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

@ Ender:

No, I think you're following things correctly, and you're right. This is an approximation; no more, no less, and I'd argue that it's probably fairly close to the reality of the situation (it certainly fits with what we know from having Roloson in net behind a nearly-identical defence last year).

It's rough, it's dirty and it isn't intended to be definitive. But I think it does give us a ballpark figure for what the Dubnyk/Deslauriers combination has cost the team.

This is such an excellent article Jonathan. I know I've been critical of your style in the past, but this is seriously great stuff.

I think you could go even further. What I mean is that the 10 lot points you're projecting might be the MINIMUM loss. Much of the team looks dog tired. I believe alot of that has to do with having to endure the psychological stress of losing on a constant basis.

It takes a whack more energy to play in a depressed state because there's no adrenaline to keep you going. Penner is exhausted, and I can't help think that not only is he being played way more than he's been in the past, but in lieu of Hemsky going down the mental burden of being "the guy" combined with playing in a perpetual losing state is vastly reducing his physical capacity, and mental acuity as a result. I mean, how many easy goals has he whiffed on in the past dozen games or so? By my eye, ALOT.

I'd bet that a decent goaltending tandem would have given us 14-16 more points if all things were taken into account. However, maybe that's why we went with our AHL tandem instead of getting a rental. I still believe that when we lost the Heatley sweepstakes, a decision was made to acquire a superstar via the draft.

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#100 Robin Brownlee
January 28 2010, 07:25PM
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@Jonathan Willis

Answering the point about zero experience with "Tyler's a lawyer" means what? There are a lot of educated people in a lot of different professions. Does it follow they should enter middle management with an NHL team without any experience?

-- There aren't any other people out there as educated as your friend Tyler who also happen to have at least some experience on the job? He's the guy? He's the best candidate?

-- Using a smart-assed jab by Rob Tychkowski isn't exactly fair. Rob gets beat by everybody and he'd rather write something sarcastic about something like Jagr than do the work to see if the rumour has legs. Likewise, using Staples as an example isn't fair ball either. He's a reporter by trade, not a pajama-wearer, and he's got Peter Adler, who used to be the Czech welcome wagon around here, whispering in his ear.

Tyler Dellow, from website to NHL front office, eh? That's a big peck on cheek for a friend if ever there was one.

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