Standing Out in the Crowd

Lowetide
July 25 2010 12:02PM

For the 09-10 Edmonton Oilers, life (as they knew it) is over. Buyouts, trades, declining to make offers to rfa's, the troops will look much different come fall. Fans are on board with the rebuild and will be watching the future closely beginning with training camp. The important new names? Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Magnus Pääjärvi and Chris Vande Velde. What now?

  1. You're including Vande Velde with the three Hockey Jesus'us? Yes.
  2. Aside from being an attention-grabbing move, why on earth would you include him? Vande Velde is a unique prospect on the current Edmonton Oilers, and if he shows well could play in the NHL this season.
  3. What makes him unique? He's a center, he's 23 years old (closer to NHL ready), he's 6.02, 207, 54% in the faceoff circle and you can reasonably use the word rugged in the scouting report. That's unique on this prospect list.
  4. You're way off. Winning a faceoff in college is NOT an indicator that he'll have success in the NHL. Actually, it is. Jonathan Toews was a terrific faceoff man in the NCAA and remains one in the NHL. Travis Zajac too, and guys like Drew Stafford and Zach Parise who eventually moved to wing. I'm not saying he'll be winning 50% in his first season, but he has a very nice resume in this area and could be a plus player down the line.
  5. Now you're comparing him to lottery picks and impact players. Beauty comps. Out to lunch much? The players mentioned above bring more offense to the game but in this one area VV is a very good prospect. And there are other areas, like size and winning battles.
  6. How do you know this? Scouting reports, anecdotal information--sometimes from the Oilers themselves. Oilers director of Player Development Mike Sillinger: “He has pretty decent speed, battles hard in the corners and always comes out with the puck. He does a lot of the dirty work. He would be a big addition to our farm team."
  7. Notice he said FARM TEAM? Besides, the Oilers are always telling us great things about their prospects. Not always. I can't find a lot of positive things about Riley Nash on the interweb, and they were quite grumpy about Jani Rita. Vande Velde wasn't a highly-touted pick, so there's less available on him. I can offer this from Redline Report: Despite his Moorhead side losing the state final for the second year in a row, centre Chris VandeVelde was really a "wow!" throughout the weekend. He had eight shots, a goal and an assist in the Spuds' 4-1 semifinal win over Duluth East, and versus Holy Angels, he scored a goal and had two assists despite the Stars' attempt to stifle him and his offensive mates. He has an incredibly long reach and is uncanny playing in traffic. When he got his skating legs going, he was nearly impossible to push off the puck, in an almost Keith Primeau–like fashion. Like Oshie, North Dakota has VandeVelde slated for the fall of 2006, and until then, he'll skate for the Lincoln Stars.
  8. He played for the SPUDS? Bad name, good player.
  9. If he's so good, why did the Oilers let him play 4 years in college? He continued to develop there, moving up their depth chart and taking on a larger role. NCAA players aren't 17-year olds, some of his teammates this past season would have been 23 or 24 years old. I should also mention that he led the UND team in points in 09-10. UND plays in the best NCAA division and he would have been playing tough opposition every night.
  10. Why do you think he'll make the Oilers this fall? I'm not certain he will. However, the Oilers have had a weakness in specific areas for years at center. Faceoffs, size, grit, ability to win battles. On top of that, the Oilers haven't (thus far) addressed the weakness at center this summer.
  11. They added Colin Fraser. Which was a good move, but I'm not sure he's going to be the answer in terms of faceoff and penalty-kill. He's not a known quality to us, and his Chicago winning percentage a year ago (48.8) wasn't in their top 4.
  12. Who did the Oilers use last year? Horcoff got the bulk of the load, with Potulny and Gagner both getting lots of work. Dustin Penner, Gilbert Brule and Andrew Cogliano also took over 250 faceoffs last season.
  13. Who had the best percentage from that group? Brule, followed by Penner and then Potulny and Gagner in a tie.
  14. Maybe they can run Brule or Penner at C? They might, although both had success on the wing last year so one would hope the Oilers might keep them where they've had success.
  15. How would you rank the C depth chart right now? Horcoff, Gagner, Brule, Fraser, Cogliano. Moran, O'Marra, Vande Velde, Kytnar.
  16. So you don't really think he'll make the team? I wouldn't be surprised if Vande Velde breaks camp with the big club, and I think it is very likely he'll see extended time in the NHL in 2010-11.
  17. How do you reach that conclusion? Opening night last season, the Oilers 4 centermen were Horcoff, Cogliano, Comrie, Gagner. Too small, not enough physical presence. Horcoff can win battles but Gagner is still learning the position and can't be considered a physical player. Brule is rambunctious but undersized, Fraser brings a physical element but is listed at 188. That leaves Cogliano as the odd man out, and I don't think he'll play center on this team in 10-11. Horcoff is the only C over 200 pounds among the projected NHLers on the depth chart. VV would make 2.
  18. What about O'Marra? I know the organization signed him but O'Marra doesn't bring enough offense to be considered a viable candidate.
  19. So it's Vande Velde? Sooner or later. Hey, maybe Tambellini trades Cogliano for a bigger guy, kind of like the deal that was discussed during the regular season last year (Cogs for Peter Mueller). Failing that, Vande Velde and his playing style are going to be very attractive to the Oilers.
  20. How many games will VV play in the NHL this season? Shawn Horcoff played 49 as a rookie in 2000-01, but he had more offense to his game. I'll say 30, unless the Oilers add an actual NHL player at the position before or during training camp.
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Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at lowetide.ca. He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on TSN 1260.
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#52 RossCreekNation
July 25 2010, 06:58PM
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DSF wrote:

Penner, Brule, Hemsky should work just fine. Kids sheltered on the second line.

Worth a look... although I'd be awfully tempted to look at Hall-Penner-Hemsky when camp starts.

If they can trot out 1-Penner, 2-Gagner, 3-Horcoff, 4-Fraser (with Gagner & Horcoff swapping depending on play/opponents/situations), there is some potential there.

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#53 KenMcC
July 25 2010, 07:24PM
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I am making this comment in total absence of all statistics, financial considerations, objective analysis, or comparisons with other Oilers. I LOVE watching Brule play! Anything we can do to get him more minutes at Centre would be fine in my books (unless he proves himself to be ineffectual after a while).

He's scary fast (which is lucky because of dumb turnovers). Hell, I just love watching him skate from a dead stop. He has absolutely no working knowledge of Physics. It matters not to him that he's likely 15 lbs. underweight or that the end boards are harder than he is. Fearless. Great attitude. High energy, nearly every shift. I swear he thinks he will die if he doesn't come out with the puck. (This is not to say he is our best Centre, he's just the one I love to watch the most.

Just sayin'

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#54 KenMcC
July 25 2010, 07:32PM
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@DSF

"Unfortunately, the Oilers have to play other teams that have better players and finding "less stressful" situations is hardly a way to build a lineup.

Putting players "in a position to succeed", which I know is the first thing that popped into your mind, would involve sending 2/3rds of the roster to OKC but, since that's not an option, how about finding out what these players are made of and put Horcoff in the less "stressful position" on the third line where he would be on any decent team in the league." -----------

Too funny. I can't stop the belly laughs. Can you imagine a 12 man roster here, and a 28 man roster in OKC!

I wonder if Hall would be thinking, "it's okay, this way i have a chance to succeed. And visiting the heartland of US oil exploration".

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#55 ted scheckler
July 25 2010, 07:38PM
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If you love him so much why don't you marry him? So let me get this straight Fraser's 48.8% in the NHL doesn't impress you but a 54% in college does? As for the story from the Redline report I'm sure if you looked hard enough you would find numberous storys out of Red Deer showcasing Colin when he was a Rebel, or anybody who is a player/prospect when they played junior,college or whatever the case may be.

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#56 KenMcC
July 25 2010, 07:42PM
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ted scheckler wrote:

If you love him so much why don't you marry him? So let me get this straight Fraser's 48.8% in the NHL doesn't impress you but a 54% in college does? As for the story from the Redline report I'm sure if you looked hard enough you would find numberous storys out of Red Deer showcasing Colin when he was a Rebel, or anybody who is a player/prospect when they played junior,college or whatever the case may be.

Wow, great comment Ted. Good insight.

For the record, I love watching Jessica Biel, but I wouldn't marry her. (Nothing in common I'm afraid. I checked.)

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#57 Crash
July 25 2010, 07:59PM
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Lowetide wrote:

GSC: Horcoff is a veteran and until someone proves they can play those tougher minutes he is the best (really only) option.

I'd like to see Brule succeed, but we don't have a lot of evidence that he'll be a tough minutes center. None, actually.

Enough of Horcoff already...he has proven he can't play those tougher minutes...I agree with GSC....

Pretty much the whole organization has been revamped this should include not playing a guy who can't handle all of these minutes...

Back to the early 80's mentality...play the young uns and let them live and learn through the mistakes together...

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#58 Oil_Loc8or
July 25 2010, 08:01PM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

I always get a kick out of how far you will reach to get a jab in on Gagner.

Reach ? Please explain how Gagner is better then Brule. Using facts. Fact is Brule is a better skater and has a better shot. He hits more and plays bigger than he is. I'm not saying I don't like gagner I just don't see him the same way you do. I don't think age matters at this point they are both young. Brule never got many chances with the jackets. Gagner has had lots with the oilers. Try judging brule as a oiler.

Skating plays a big part in a players game I like how Brule skates he is one of the top guys on the oilers in that aspect.

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#59 KenMcC
July 25 2010, 08:06PM
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Regarding Horcoff: Let's use the example of a best in seven series for a moment. Your No. 1 centre needs to be hitting on all cylinders during Game 1 or Game 2, at a minimum, or your team is virtually toast (unless you're Montreal). If Game 3 or 4 is bad, kiss the playoffs good bye.

I don't mind giving Horcoff 4 games to demonstrate he is a No. 1 centre, and if not let's put him into the lineup where he has the best chance of success.

We could measure his performance using old & new stats and compare him to the best 29 centres out there.

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#60 Crash
July 25 2010, 08:08PM
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Oil_Loc8or wrote:

Reach ? Please explain how Gagner is better then Brule. Using facts. Fact is Brule is a better skater and has a better shot. He hits more and plays bigger than he is. I'm not saying I don't like gagner I just don't see him the same way you do. I don't think age matters at this point they are both young. Brule never got many chances with the jackets. Gagner has had lots with the oilers. Try judging brule as a oiler.

Skating plays a big part in a players game I like how Brule skates he is one of the top guys on the oilers in that aspect.

Gagner is more skilled than Brule...he handles the puck better, makes better passes quicker decisions and has better hockey sense than Brule...he has a better chance of producing more offense than Brule and yes age does matter at this point...compare where Gagner is 2 yrs from now to how Brule was last year and then tell me if Brule is better...

Buchberger was a great skater too....

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#61 ted scheckler
July 25 2010, 08:09PM
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It was the Fraser's "not a known quality to us" that got me. He did play in four games in the regular season against the oilers in both of the last two seasons. And pushing around frat boys in the NCAA is a far cry from Fraser`s physical presence that he shown in the NHL and WHL despite not meeting lowtides 200 pound requirement.

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#62 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
July 25 2010, 08:10PM
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Oil_Loc8or wrote:

Reach ? Please explain how Gagner is better then Brule. Using facts. Fact is Brule is a better skater and has a better shot. He hits more and plays bigger than he is. I'm not saying I don't like gagner I just don't see him the same way you do. I don't think age matters at this point they are both young. Brule never got many chances with the jackets. Gagner has had lots with the oilers. Try judging brule as a oiler.

Skating plays a big part in a players game I like how Brule skates he is one of the top guys on the oilers in that aspect.

The "reach" comment was refering to how you'll go completly off topic to throw in an anti-Gagner comment. Read through a bunch of the old blogs, you'll almost always find some variation of "random Player X is better then Gagner" comment.

And if you want facts. Fact is Gagner has produced at a second line clip in the NHL for three straight years, Brule has done it once.

I don't care who has the better tools, I care who gets the job done with the tools they have, as of right now Gagner has the better NHL resume of getting the job done.

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#63 KenMcC
July 25 2010, 08:11PM
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@Crash

One thing I didn't like about Kelly's skating was that he could only turn one way and his idea of carrying the puck was to push it along the the wide side of ice in front of his stick until it fell off.

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#64 ted sheckler
July 25 2010, 08:16PM
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@KenMcC Not always he did do that move where he cut to the middle at the blue line once in a while, unfortuanatly it usually resulted in an offside, a pass 50 feet out of anyones reach or recieving a big hit.

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#65 Crash
July 25 2010, 08:21PM
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KenMcC wrote:

One thing I didn't like about Kelly's skating was that he could only turn one way and his idea of carrying the puck was to push it along the the wide side of ice in front of his stick until it fell off.

I just picked out Kelly for effect to show that there's much much more to the game than just being a fast skater :)

I do actually believe that Brule will be a much better player than Kelly was.

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#66 KenMcC
July 25 2010, 08:21PM
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@ted sheckler

Perfect. Yes I remember now. But, to be fair, that played right into his gameplan. At every whistle Bucky had a fantastic new opportunity to get an opposing player to break his knuckles on Kelly's forehead.

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#67 Oil_Loc8or
July 25 2010, 08:22PM
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I'm not a gagner fan so what. If you read my comment I said I'm judging Brule as a oiler. I wish I could predict the future like some people but I can't. To me Brule has better tool. Gagner is good at finding a open guy. Better hockey sense ? According to who ? I though this was on topic is the article about the center position ? I don't take a players age and find some stats to prove he will be a great player. I watch and see. Brule has had a rough start with little help from the jackets. Has Gagner improved since his rookie year ? I'd say not much. I don't want to get into this since then I'll be labelled as a hater when Im not.

I can say the same about Whitney. I'm not sold on him others may be. I'd like to see more before I judge him.

Horcoff has proven he can and can't play that role so I'm willing to give him a chance to prove it again.

I'd like to see Brule and Cogs get more ice and show us what they have.

Isn't this article about a kid that is older than 20? does this mean he won't be good.

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#68 KenMcC
July 25 2010, 08:23PM
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@Crash

Yup, I knew you were just using an example. And a darn good one at that!

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#69 Oil_Loc8or
July 25 2010, 08:30PM
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@OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

Unless the force is with you. Then I'm screwed

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#70 KenMcC
July 25 2010, 08:39PM
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@Crash

"Gagner is more skilled than Brule...he handles the puck better, makes better passes quicker decisions and has better hockey sense than Brule...he has a better chance of producing more offense than Brule and yes age does matter at this point... compare where Gagner is 2 yrs from now to how Brule was last year and then tell me if Brule is better..."" __________ ______________ _____ Ga. Gagner has tremendous "talent" and "thinking". The problem with him is, that a skilled 3rd or 4rth liner or a 4rth D can shut him down easily and he has no "Plan B" to bring to his ice time. If his talents and thinking aren't doing it for him, what does he turn to help the Oilers win?

Most years, what he turns to is the media, with great sentences like "Well . . . I'm just gonna stay positive . . . I'm doing the little things right and sooner or later things turn around . . . the important thing is not to get too negative". So he turns to his positive thinking while Brule throws another 32 mph body check into Robin Regher. Frustrating. I wish he'd get mad as hell at himself.

To be fair to Gagner, when he is on his game, he is much harder to defend against and he really helps his line mates look good. I just wish he had something to do when he slumps. He can't even win a faceoff and he's too slow for PK.

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#71 Oil_Loc8or
July 25 2010, 08:49PM
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@LT. Who would you compare VV to ?

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#72 RossCreekNation
July 25 2010, 08:54PM
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Crash wrote:

Enough of Horcoff already...he has proven he can't play those tougher minutes...I agree with GSC....

Pretty much the whole organization has been revamped this should include not playing a guy who can't handle all of these minutes...

Back to the early 80's mentality...play the young uns and let them live and learn through the mistakes together...

The only minutes that should be taken away from Horcoff are most of his PP minutes.

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#73 Crash
July 25 2010, 08:57PM
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KenMcC wrote:

"Gagner is more skilled than Brule...he handles the puck better, makes better passes quicker decisions and has better hockey sense than Brule...he has a better chance of producing more offense than Brule and yes age does matter at this point... compare where Gagner is 2 yrs from now to how Brule was last year and then tell me if Brule is better..."" __________ ______________ _____ Ga. Gagner has tremendous "talent" and "thinking". The problem with him is, that a skilled 3rd or 4rth liner or a 4rth D can shut him down easily and he has no "Plan B" to bring to his ice time. If his talents and thinking aren't doing it for him, what does he turn to help the Oilers win?

Most years, what he turns to is the media, with great sentences like "Well . . . I'm just gonna stay positive . . . I'm doing the little things right and sooner or later things turn around . . . the important thing is not to get too negative". So he turns to his positive thinking while Brule throws another 32 mph body check into Robin Regher. Frustrating. I wish he'd get mad as hell at himself.

To be fair to Gagner, when he is on his game, he is much harder to defend against and he really helps his line mates look good. I just wish he had something to do when he slumps. He can't even win a faceoff and he's too slow for PK.

What baffles me most about detractors of Gagner is that they haven't realized how young he is and that in his draft class he is the 2nd highest scoring player...

His faceoff % has improved in 3 consecutive years...

He has maintained his level of production in the 1st 3 yrs of his career while improving all other aspects of his game in the meantime...

He has endured stints on the 4th line alongside Zach Stortini and perservered and just continues to work hard...

IMO he is quickly becoming one of the leaders on this young team..

I don't understand how people can't see the skill and smarts in this guy and I sure can't for the life of me understand why people won't show some patience..

Just wait and Gagner will reward us Oiler fans handsomely...sooner rather than later I believe.

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#74 GSC
July 25 2010, 08:58PM
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RossCreekNation wrote:

The only minutes that should be taken away from Horcoff are most of his PP minutes.

And the minutes that he received with Penner and Hemsky.

He's a player with a diminishing role on this team. If he's such a good two-way player and can handle the tough competition, make him the shutdown centre on the 3rd line and be done with it.

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#75 Crash
July 25 2010, 09:00PM
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RossCreekNation wrote:

The only minutes that should be taken away from Horcoff are most of his PP minutes.

As well as 1st line minutes and he should never again be the forward with the most minutes played...

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#76 RossCreekNation
July 25 2010, 09:04PM
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@Crash

He should get middle-6 minutes & heavy pk minutes, while wearing the cheddar on his chest (and still probably play nearly the most minutes among fowards).

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#77 MattL
July 25 2010, 09:04PM
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DSF wrote:

Rather than shoot the messenger, why don't you address the issue.

Brule IS better at all aspects of the game than Gagner.

Checking - Brule. Shooting - Brule. Passing - Gagner. PP - Gagner. PK - Brule. Intangibles - you can't touch this. Hemmer time.

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#78 KenMcC
July 25 2010, 09:16PM
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@Crash

Actually you have a good point. Especially about his age and his attitude.

I have three sons, plus I can remember what I was like at age 20 compared to age 23 or 24. There is a lot of mass (not just fat) that just shows up during those years. I'll bet if Sam was just 10 lbs heavier he'd own the puck more. And I don't want him or anyone doing steroids to achieve that, so I guess we wait. And it's true he didn't complain one ounce about his unusual assignments last year.

Can you imagine your boss going on public TV and saying something like "I had heard of the player and that everyone says he has skill. But he hasn't shown it. Not to me anyways"? I'd start updating my resume . . .

The past two seasons have been chaos, and Gagner (and Brule and Horcoff and Cogs) have kept their head on straight and worked at their games. One of the things I tend to do is to wish Player X could be like Player X plus Player Y. I mean, Player Y makes it seem easy to be Player Y, so why can't Player X be X plus Y? (and so on). I guess a team needs to come together from many diverse parts.

Maybe the reason this discussion takes place, is simply that our team right now is still missing a few parts, and guys like me are hoping one of the Player X's can be a "Player C" or whatever.

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#79 Crash
July 25 2010, 09:16PM
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RossCreekNation wrote:

He should get middle-6 minutes & heavy pk minutes, while wearing the cheddar on his chest (and still probably play nearly the most minutes among fowards).

It remains to be seen where Horcoff is at as he soon starts the downside of his career if he hasn't already...

Are you saying he should be given all of these minutes (middle 6 and heavy PK) because you're a Flames fan and know this would lead to more Oiler losses?

How can you determine a player to be given those kind of minutes who has been so dismal over the last 3 yrs and last year was one of the worst defensive players in the entire league as well as having one of the lowest faceoff % on the Oilers?

Not sure how you can say "he should" anything

I'm just hopeful with reduced minutes that he will be able to stay healthy and contribute in a checking role...

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#81 Crash
July 25 2010, 09:20PM
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KenMcC wrote:

Actually you have a good point. Especially about his age and his attitude.

I have three sons, plus I can remember what I was like at age 20 compared to age 23 or 24. There is a lot of mass (not just fat) that just shows up during those years. I'll bet if Sam was just 10 lbs heavier he'd own the puck more. And I don't want him or anyone doing steroids to achieve that, so I guess we wait. And it's true he didn't complain one ounce about his unusual assignments last year.

Can you imagine your boss going on public TV and saying something like "I had heard of the player and that everyone says he has skill. But he hasn't shown it. Not to me anyways"? I'd start updating my resume . . .

The past two seasons have been chaos, and Gagner (and Brule and Horcoff and Cogs) have kept their head on straight and worked at their games. One of the things I tend to do is to wish Player X could be like Player X plus Player Y. I mean, Player Y makes it seem easy to be Player Y, so why can't Player X be X plus Y? (and so on). I guess a team needs to come together from many diverse parts.

Maybe the reason this discussion takes place, is simply that our team right now is still missing a few parts, and guys like me are hoping one of the Player X's can be a "Player C" or whatever.

I hear ya Ken, but I think that this team just may be getting closer to having those missing parts you are referring to...

It seems we have some possible great young talent...now we just have to be patient and let it run it's course..

Of course there's no guarantee but it's starting to look very promising

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#82 KenMcC
July 25 2010, 09:21PM
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RossCreekNation wrote:

He should get middle-6 minutes & heavy pk minutes, while wearing the cheddar on his chest (and still probably play nearly the most minutes among fowards).

perfect! Then your 1st and 2nd line centres don't have to spend as much TOI and should find it a bit easier to during the course of the game.

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#83 Oil_Loc8or
July 25 2010, 09:31PM
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It is easy to say a player will get better with age but to predict stats and compare to others is hard. Would playing the power play help your corsi ? What about playing the pk ?

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#84 KenMcC
July 25 2010, 09:33PM
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Someone mentioned the "Cheddar".

Would it be so bad to go a year with no C, only A's?

LT, do you know how often teams do without a C, even for half a season or so? What are the pros and cons?

Also, how often does a C get removed off of one player and passed to another (like Modano)?

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#85 Wanyes bastard child
July 25 2010, 09:34PM
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Is it just me or is all this endless debate about who should be our #1/#2/#3 centre, who is better than who going into next year, who should play with who is all pointless?

I say wait until training camp. See who comes back healthy, see who "wants" it more. Find the players that gel together and run with it.

Until then I don't see the point in all these pissing matches as nobody knows whats going to be happening until TC is over and maybe even then 10-20 games into the season.

Can't we all just... get along?

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#86 GSC
July 25 2010, 09:35PM
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Lowetide wrote:

With regard to Gagner versus Brule, it is a difficult discussion because we don't know their established level of ability. Gagner has played three NHL seasons, but at an extremely young age. Historically, that is a strong tell that he'll have some impressive offensive seasons in the next 7 years. Here's an item you might want to look at:

http://www.behindthenethockey.com/2010/1/21/1261318/nhl-points-per-game-peak-age

that discusses this issue at a more advanced level. Brule's advanced age, the time it took him to get this far, and the fact that Gagner's underlying numbers (2nd best Corsi among forwards this past season) are more impressive suggests this won't be a fair fight.

Brule may always be a better hitter than Gagner, and I can live with it.

Oil_Loc8or: I had a list--and thought I'd posted it on my blog--but can't find it. I'll have a look at get back to you.

A more advanced level? It's just averages and it includes assumptions made by the author. Heck, the title itself says "Estimation." I don't see how it's a more "advanced" discussion because of this reference. It's someone else's idea of averaging numbers and basing minor league point totals on a certain assumption. To me, all that does is raise more questions.

As for the "underlying numbers," Gagner's Qual Comp is amongst the lowest on the club and his Qual Team is 3rd highest on the club. His Corsi was high, so what? Other stats that you continuously cite have Brule rated higher.

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#87 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
July 25 2010, 09:38PM
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Oil_Loc8or wrote:

It is easy to say a player will get better with age but to predict stats and compare to others is hard. Would playing the power play help your corsi ? What about playing the pk ?

You're right, we never know who will get better with age. Their is lots of players that stay stagnet or even regress. However I would say with confidence that the majority of NHL players are better between say 22 - 30 then they were between 18 - 20.

No one knows, but the odds are in Gagner's favour.

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#88 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
July 25 2010, 09:40PM
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Wanyes bastard child wrote:

Is it just me or is all this endless debate about who should be our #1/#2/#3 centre, who is better than who going into next year, who should play with who is all pointless?

I say wait until training camp. See who comes back healthy, see who "wants" it more. Find the players that gel together and run with it.

Until then I don't see the point in all these pissing matches as nobody knows whats going to be happening until TC is over and maybe even then 10-20 games into the season.

Can't we all just... get along?

Good points, it should also be pretty clear that theirs going to be constant movement up and down the roster as well for essentially everyone outside of Hemsky and Big Mac.

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#89 RossCreekNation
July 25 2010, 09:41PM
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Crash wrote:

It remains to be seen where Horcoff is at as he soon starts the downside of his career if he hasn't already...

Are you saying he should be given all of these minutes (middle 6 and heavy PK) because you're a Flames fan and know this would lead to more Oiler losses?

How can you determine a player to be given those kind of minutes who has been so dismal over the last 3 yrs and last year was one of the worst defensive players in the entire league as well as having one of the lowest faceoff % on the Oilers?

Not sure how you can say "he should" anything

I'm just hopeful with reduced minutes that he will be able to stay healthy and contribute in a checking role...

No. No I am not. And surely you're not saying he shouldn't be playing middle-6 minutes or heavy pk. In fact, just scroll up a bit and you pretty much agreed with that sentiment.

All this talk about top 6/bottom 6, when I see it as top 3/middle 6/bottom 3. Horcoff is a middle 6 F. The only guys that have legitimately proven to fit in the top 3 are Hemsky & (perhaps) Penner.

People seem to get hung up whether Horcoff should be on the 2nd line or the 3rd line. Fact is, if you see him as a shutdown checking C, he'll likely see more minutes than the "2nd" line C because he's playing against the other team's top line (who happen to likely play the most minutes for the opposition).

With the Oil, in the middle-6, I see a secondary scoring line with sheltered/easy minutes & a shutdown/checking line that can also provide secondary scoring while playing more difficult minutes. You count whichever one you want as the "2nd" line, but at the end of the game, Horcoff will still likely see more than "3rd" line minutes.

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#91 RossCreekNation
July 25 2010, 09:43PM
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Wanyes bastard child wrote:

Is it just me or is all this endless debate about who should be our #1/#2/#3 centre, who is better than who going into next year, who should play with who is all pointless?

I say wait until training camp. See who comes back healthy, see who "wants" it more. Find the players that gel together and run with it.

Until then I don't see the point in all these pissing matches as nobody knows whats going to be happening until TC is over and maybe even then 10-20 games into the season.

Can't we all just... get along?

Yep... how's it goin' bud?

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#92 Archaeologuy
July 25 2010, 09:45PM
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RossCreekNation wrote:

He should get middle-6 minutes & heavy pk minutes, while wearing the cheddar on his chest (and still probably play nearly the most minutes among fowards).

I hope that "cheddar" is not your way of saying "the Captain's C". Your inner Flames fan is showing.

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#93 Wanyes bastard child
July 25 2010, 09:47PM
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@RossCreekNation

I look like a tomato but it was a great weekend at the lake!

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#95 RossCreekNation
July 25 2010, 09:53PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

I hope that "cheddar" is not your way of saying "the Captain's C". Your inner Flames fan is showing.

Who betta than Horcoff?

My inner Flames fan says Jacques should be on the 1st line... oh wait, that was Pat Quinn.

My inner Flames fan says Stortini should be on the 2nd line, Taylor Chorney should make the team & that Tom Gilbert should be captain.

Horcoff's our Langkow... under-appreciated & underestimated.

He had a bad year (or two)... get over it. So did the rest of the squad (with AN exception or 2).

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#96 GSC
July 25 2010, 09:58PM
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RossCreekNation wrote:

Who betta than Horcoff?

My inner Flames fan says Jacques should be on the 1st line... oh wait, that was Pat Quinn.

My inner Flames fan says Stortini should be on the 2nd line, Taylor Chorney should make the team & that Tom Gilbert should be captain.

Horcoff's our Langkow... under-appreciated & underestimated.

He had a bad year (or two)... get over it. So did the rest of the squad (with AN exception or 2).

Langkow is also paid $1 MIL less, isn't the highest paid forward in Calgary, and isn't expected to carry the torch offensively.

Horcoff is the least understood Oiler...according to Lowetide. I think some of us, including me, understand Horcoff just fine. C'est la vie, to each their own.

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#97 RossCreekNation
July 25 2010, 10:08PM
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@GSC

You just said it - you don't like Horcoff because he's paid more than any Oiler F. Okay, I got an idea to fix it - pay Sam Gagner more than him, ~then it will all be good~

Langkow would be the highest paid Oiler F... so would that make him a worse player in Edmonton (everything else aside). If Horcoff made a mil less than Langkow & wasn't the highest paid player on the Oilers, that would stop him from getting hated on? Even though he'd still be the same player he is today. And who expects Horcoff to carry the load offensively... because whomever they are aren't too smart.

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#98 Archaeologuy
July 25 2010, 10:14PM
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@RossCreekNation

Langkow had 7 straight years of 20 or more goals before his Horc-like season last year.

Horcoff has had 2 20 goal seasons in his entire career.

Horcoff wishes he was more like Langkow. Heck, I wish he was our Langkow.

The last thing Horcoff needs in his quest to become the player he once (and only ever once) was is the added pressure of being the Captain. He can be a leader in the room, he can be a good guy in the community. He can be those things the same way Ethan Moreau was those things BEFORE having the weight of the world sewn onto his chest.

Sometimes its better to do nothing than to do something just for the sake of doing something. No Captain is better than Horc being the Captain because "who betta?". It's better for him and what's better for him is what's better for the team.

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#99 Nesquik
July 25 2010, 10:15PM
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@Lowetide

What are SPCT, SVPCT, and PDO in regards to Corsi?

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#100 Crash
July 25 2010, 10:16PM
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Wanyes bastard child wrote:

Is it just me or is all this endless debate about who should be our #1/#2/#3 centre, who is better than who going into next year, who should play with who is all pointless?

I say wait until training camp. See who comes back healthy, see who "wants" it more. Find the players that gel together and run with it.

Until then I don't see the point in all these pissing matches as nobody knows whats going to be happening until TC is over and maybe even then 10-20 games into the season.

Can't we all just... get along?

I agree with you too, if we could just get the group that keeps wanting to trot out Horcoff as the only choice for all of these so called "TOUGH" minutes you would see an end to it...

But as long as they keep trotting it out you will see the backlash

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