Lamentable Streaks

Jonathan Willis
February 09 2010 10:52AM

Edmonton Oilers v San Jose Sharks

The Edmonton Oilers have been very bad this season, and especially of late. That badness is reflected in the individual statistics of their skaters.

What follows is completely unfair; I’ve cherry-picked numbers over the last few games, and my only rule was that these had to be current streaks that included last night’s game. I’ve tried to make each player look as bad as I possibly can. Following this list of failure is another list; four players who I struggled to make look bad, and so decided to make look good for the sake of contrast.

The Ugly List

  • Gilbert Brule: 15GP – 3G – 0A – 3PTS, -4
  • Andrew Cogliano: 22GP – 1G – 2A – 3PTS, -12
  • Mike Comrie: 10GP – 1G – 1A – 2PTS, -5
  • Tom Gilbert: 8GP – 0G – 0A – 0PTS, -4
  • Denis Grebeshkov: 9GP – 0G – 1A – 1PTS, -5
  • Shawn Horcoff: 14GP – 0G – 1A – 1PTS, -11
  • Jean-Francois Jacques: 13GP – 1G -2A – 3PTS, -3
  • Ethan Moreau: 30GP – 0G – 2A – 2PTS, -17
  • Robert Nilsson: 13GP – 0G – 5A – 5PTS, -10
  • Patrick O’Sullivan: 10GP – 0G – 4A – 4PTS, -6
  • Fernando Pisani: 19GP – 2G – 0A – 2PTS, -10
  • Ryan Potulny: 12GP - 3G – 1A – 4PTS, -9
  • Ladislav Smid: 20GP – 0G – 0A – 0PTS, -8
  • Sheldon Souray: 18GP – 1G – 1A – 2PTS, -14
  • Steve Staios: 25GP – 0G – 0A – 0PTS, -22
  • Ryan Stone: 15GP – 0G – 1A – 1PTS, -1
  • Jason Strudwick: 11GP – 0G – 0A – 0PTS, -9
  • Lubomir Visnovsky: 11GP – 0G - 1A – 1PTS, -8

There’s a veritable smorgasbord of disappointment; any of these players can be made to look bad using the above statistics.


  • Sam Gagner: 17GP – 6G – 8A – 14PTS, even
  • Dustin Penner: 9GP – 2G – 3A – 5PTS, even
  • Marc Pouliot: 10GP – 2G – 2A – 4PTS, -1
  • Zack Stortini: 7GP – 0G – 3A – 3PTS, +4

Lest anyone reading this get too hopeful, Dustin Penner has collapsed offensively from his early season performance, Sam Gagner’s out of the lineup with a serious knee injury, Marc Pouliot is an oft-injured depth player and Zack Stortini is a frequent healthy scratch.

The Point

Aside from discouraging everyone who reads this, I do have a point: basically, that just about any complementary player is going to look bad in the current situation. The fact that some players are looking passable is a real positive: Sam Gagner is playing as well as he’s ever played, and has emerged into a difference maker on the ice. Even when he isn’t contributing offensively, Dustin Penner doesn’t get lit up (he was plus-1 last night), and that has real value. Zack Stortini can be effective in a certain role, and we may finally be seeing Marc Pouliot arrive as an NHL player.

At the same time, the team needs to be careful not to undervalue players like Andrew Cogliano or Patrick O’Sullivan. They’ve struggled of late, they’ve struggled all season, but the odds are really, really good that they’re better than they currently look. That statement is true, to a greater or lesser extent, for most of the guys in the lineup. Just like in 2006-07, there are pieces in place that have value.

The trick is figuring out which ones.

Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including the Edmonton Journal, Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
#51 wes turner
February 10 2010, 06:55AM
Trash it!

evryone agree,s shaun horcoff cant be traded because of his contract.if he is going to be an oiler for the next few years i for one will hope he rebounds next year. what good comes of booing a player on your team

#52 RossC
February 10 2010, 09:17AM
Trash it!

Horcoff sucks. Give him the C.

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