Bring Back The Electric Norseman!

Jonathan Willis
February 07 2011 01:29PM

Once again, Patrick Thoresen wants to return to the NHL. He tried to land an NHL job last year and was unsuccessful after a spectacular KHL season, so this year he went out and had a more spectacular KHL season. This is a guy who deserves another crack at an NHL job.

Normally, for a player like this who was a defensive specialist the last time he played in the NHL, I’d be busting out the advanced statistics. For Thoresen, I don’t need to (although his are superb); I watched nearly every game he played as a member of the Edmonton Oilers. Defensively, his positioning was as good as any player on the team. He never backed down from a physical battle, he forechecked like a demon, and there could never be any doubt about his work ethic or intensity. Aside from his size, he was the kind of fourth-liner every coach dreams of.

Thoresen’s problem at the NHL level was producing offence. At 17, he came over to the QMJHL and spent two seasons playing major junior hockey in Canada, scoring 73 points in 60 games as a rookie and following that up with 108 points in 71 games the year after. Along the way he was stellar for Norway’s U-18 and U-20 international teams. He went over to Sweden, starting in the Allsvenskan before moving up to the Swedish Elite League for two seasons. In his second year he scored 36 points in 50 games, which was enough to convince the Edmonton Oilers to bring him over and give him a shot at an NHL job.

Thoresen produced relatively well at the AHL level, but managed only six goals and 24 points in a little over 100 games in the NHL. After two seasons, he couldn’t get another NHL job and was forced over to the KHL.

Thoresen’s been a revelation in the KHL. In 107 points in the world’s second-best league, he’s scored 51 times (remarkably, 42 of those goals came at even-strength) and added 66 helpers for a total of 117 points. Along the way, he went plus-63. He’s turned into a faceoff-winning machine over there; with a 55.2% success rate on 754 face-offs. He’s playing in all situations, and finished with a little under 18:00 per game this last season. He’s also been a staple for international Norwegian teams, managing a point per game at last year’s World Championships and five assists in four Olympic games in 2010.

Despite all the success Thoresen has had in the KHL, that’s not where he wants to be. In May of last season, Thoresen explained why he’d be willing to take a massive pay-cut to return to the NHL:

“I know I can score 20-25 goals in the NHL. If so, I’m going to earn the lost money and play in the NHL for many years. I have faith in myself and know what kind of potential I have.”

At 27 years of age, Thoresen’s been a bit of a late-bloomer offensively but he’s still a young man. He’s shown drive, grit and defensive responsibility at the NHL level before. His scoring has shot off the charts since his jump to the KHL, and could represent a major step forward from his last stint in North America. He’s added faceoff ability to his repertoire. Beyond that, all it will take to get him over here is a one-way deal near the league minimum.

This seems to me like a no-brainer. It’s time for someone to take a chance and bring back the Electric Norseman.

74b7cedc5d8bfbe88cf071309e98d2c3
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.
Avatar
#101 Crash
February 07 2011, 09:35PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
stevezie wrote:

Well Moore does have six times as many points as Fraser, and while I will admit to having missed most of the Tampa games this year, when Moore was with the Habs he hit, hustled and scored. He was also one of the best players on a bad Leafs team a couple years ago, and he's played 400+ games. I think that makes him more qualified than Fraser. You're right about him not being a difference maker though.
It seemed like your problems weren't with JW's current opinion, it was with his past ones. My problem with your opinion is that its wrong, all on its own. Not dramatically wrong; Thoresen might not be great, but he's obviously at least the tenth best forward on this team.

How was he a joke? Why are you ignoring that he is dominating a very good league? How many fourth liners would go to the KHL and do that?

Fraser has a Stanley Cup ring too....does that make him a star?

Yes, I have seen enough of JW's opinions to know that I don't share many of them.

So does this discussion get any better by me saying, my problem with your opinon is that you're wrong?

And how is it that Thoresen is obviously the tenth best forward on this team? Please show me the evidence on that because the last time I saw Thoresen nobody in the league wanted him.

Pretty much all of the guys who are leading the KHL are NHL castoffs, guys who couldn't cut it or guys who have never made it at all. Matt Ellison is the 10th highest scorer in the KHL for cripes sakes and Jagr is in there and Aleksey Morosov, who was cast off a long time ago. Pavol Demitra is right near the top too....if he was so good why did Vancouver let him go? Why didn't someone pick him up too. Why are you ignoring that Thoresen came and already failed? Why are you ignoring that many of the KHL's top scorers were in the NHL but can't cut it anymore? Why are you ignoring that some of the top scorers in the KHL couldn't even make an NHL roster?

I think you're giving the KHL a bit too much credit.

Avatar
#102 Jamie B.
February 07 2011, 09:38PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
Captain Obvious wrote:

You may think this but you are wrong. 100% of the top players in the KHL would be quality NHL players. There is no such thing as a KHL star who can't play in the NHL.

Please point out to me where I said Thoresen couldn't play in the NHL. Of course he could, he already has!

What I disagree with is Thoresen saying, "I know I can score 20-25 goals in the NHL." If I thought he could do that, yes, he would be an upgrade over Reddox/Brule/Cogliano. Good for him for having confidence but I'm not buying it. If he proves me wrong I'll be happy to say so.

As for your 100% claim, well, I have no idea how we'd prove that one way or the other so we can agree to (strongly) disagree.

Avatar
#103 Clyde Frog
February 07 2011, 09:48PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

So other than the fact that you don't like the kid do you have ANY basis to not giving him a shot on the worst team in the league? No?

Obstinance for the sake of obstinance, awesome!

To think it was only months ago everyone was having the exact opposite argument about Omark... Sure he didn't light it up in the KHL, but that was his team, the game, the coaching and on and on it went. Good thing we passed on him to, wouldn't want to let another smallish player near this roster. Using the logic of just cause, we might have to demote Taylor Hall to AHL to make room! Oh wait...

Yet here is a player that is actually performing well, fighting for top spot in the league! Oh no! Don't give him a shot, oh god he might replace one of the players on the worst team in the NHL! Oh noes!!!!

We already played him in a 4th line role, players can't develop! Please ignore, Cleary, Whitney, Franzen, Datsuk and the rest... That would never happen again! (Not saying he is a guaranteed 100 point man, but there is a definite shot he could better Fraser's 4 points...) He isn't gritty enough all he is doing is scoring goals, putting up points, playing defensively and winning faceoffs... How could we ever find a spot for that on this team, you can't tinker with a team like this.

Avatar
#104 Crash
February 07 2011, 10:10PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
Clyde Frog wrote:

So other than the fact that you don't like the kid do you have ANY basis to not giving him a shot on the worst team in the league? No?

Obstinance for the sake of obstinance, awesome!

To think it was only months ago everyone was having the exact opposite argument about Omark... Sure he didn't light it up in the KHL, but that was his team, the game, the coaching and on and on it went. Good thing we passed on him to, wouldn't want to let another smallish player near this roster. Using the logic of just cause, we might have to demote Taylor Hall to AHL to make room! Oh wait...

Yet here is a player that is actually performing well, fighting for top spot in the league! Oh no! Don't give him a shot, oh god he might replace one of the players on the worst team in the NHL! Oh noes!!!!

We already played him in a 4th line role, players can't develop! Please ignore, Cleary, Whitney, Franzen, Datsuk and the rest... That would never happen again! (Not saying he is a guaranteed 100 point man, but there is a definite shot he could better Fraser's 4 points...) He isn't gritty enough all he is doing is scoring goals, putting up points, playing defensively and winning faceoffs... How could we ever find a spot for that on this team, you can't tinker with a team like this.

You're something else, quite a bit condescending, no? I could also accuse you of obstinance, no? Once again, this team has needs....show me where I said this team doesn't need to be tinkered with.

Omark is getting his shot now....he's just starting and while it's early it looks like he just may have the jam to play in this league.

I have nothing against Thoresen, I'm just telling you, in my opinion he can't make it here, in this league, he doesn't have it. He showed us that already. This team has enough small skilled forwards and all of them are better options than Thoresen.

This team has needs, I already spelled out my thoughts on that...this team should NOT stand pat as is. Is there anyway I can say that louder so that you hear it? So that you know I'm not saying this team shouldn't be tinkered with.

This team needs some nasty, this team needs some push back, this team needs some d-men.

This team does not need Thoresen.

I'm out

Avatar
#105 Team Hall
February 07 2011, 10:23PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Ooohh, feisty tonite, aren't we Mr. Jonathan "Bruce" Willis? I like it. I always liked Thoreson, save the goal he scored against the flames in the last game of the year which cost us the lottery and Patrick Kane. Water under the bridges. A defensive guy like him deserves a spot on our fourth line. It's just that we have too many mighty mites already, we need size. If he could win faceoffs however... Plus, we have a guy just like him named The Red Ox who will deserve a spot next year. Another NHL team should take a shot at Thor though, for sure.

Avatar
#106 StrangePhD
February 07 2011, 10:36PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

And all this time I thought we remembered Thoreson with some fondness... Let's be reasonable though, if he were to find a spot on the Oilers, it would not be at the cost of an Omark or Paajarvi, but of a Jacques or Fraser. I see little reason to doubt that Thoreson is a better player than those two.

Avatar
#107 esa tikkanen
February 07 2011, 10:51PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

JW

Is there a way we can find out faceoff percentage in the KHL? What is Vasicek's?

If I am the Oilers that is who I go after for a one year deal to replace Colin Fraser. He will be 31 in September, three years younger than Marty Reasoner will be. In some ways a perfect age for a fourth line checking player. He is big and won the cup in Carolina in 05. Thanks

Avatar
#108 oilerbill
February 07 2011, 11:23PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

I got sick of reading all the bs comments on this, so I just decided to skip it and add my .02.

First of all I don't think Thoresen would be outing any of our top rookies for a spot. If he did then he better be showing something special.

Second why would you tell someone not to get defensive and then say they should defend their opinion? Makes no sence.

Third point is that I am ABSOLUTLY sick of hearing people compare this rookie or that player to the Sedins.... Just in case you morons didn't notice there are TWO of them. Claiming that Gagner needs more time to develop because those 6'3" swedish twins were late developers is pathetic to say the least!! There are no comparables to the Sedins unless you can find me to more 6'+ twins that have played together their ENTIRE lives!!

Fourth all the "so called" experts were saying that Magnus may be the most well rounded and ready of the three to step in to the league before the season started. All I heard is how this guy played with men for the last 3 years. Saying now that he should be held back or making any other excuse for him is a joke. The guy can play, we know that. He will come around in his abilities and will fit in nicely in the NHL.

Avatar
#109 David S
February 08 2011, 12:34AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

There's arguments on both sides of the table as to whether Magnus should have been kept in the AHL, and both sides have their points. However we all know the reality is that the Oilers had every intent of keeping him up here to sell the tank job "rebuild". So isn't this back and forth rather pointless?

Avatar
#110 PhillipSmithson
February 08 2011, 02:49AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

What do the Oil have to lose? The Norseman has a decent faceoff percentage too?? Do it! Put him in between Omark and Magnus and watch the ice melt with the speed.

Avatar
#111 dawgbone
February 08 2011, 09:42AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

The only league where Thoresen's offence hasn't translated is the NHL and that's unfortunate because it's clouded a lot of people's opinions on him.

The fact of the matter is he's at worst a decent bottom 6 NHL player. On a terrible Oilers team in 06-07 (and playing a regular shift during "the stretch"), he managed to not get murdered on the ice when everyone was bleeding goals against.

He was a low event player. His offense wasn't there but his defense was.

It would be a no lose situation for the Oilers to bring Thoresen into the NHL next year. At worst he's an upgrade on Smac/JFJ/Fraser and can contribute on the PK.

Avatar
#112 positivebrontefan
February 08 2011, 10:08AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Wow!!! Testy bunch! We must be in the Dog days of another 30th place run for this to be such a bitter place. Did we not ask for ELPH? Careful what you wish for fellas. Granted there have been points where the E in ELPH has been lacking but hey, we have another 1,2,or,3 pick comin our way! With a Sean Couturier in our lineup who needs Thoresen anyways. Does he deserve a shoot in the NHL? Hey Omark did. And I think hey's doing fine. Just not here. Give the new kids the ice time.

And stop bitching, it's not like we cheer for Toronto. We actually have an upside.

Avatar
#113 Dennis
February 08 2011, 12:46PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

what a garbage post by JW.

I don't think the Oilers brass needs to be looking outside of North America for players that might be able to help them win.

Avatar
#114 David S
February 08 2011, 04:33PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Hold on a minute!

This site isn't a frat-boy waste of time?

DAMMIT! Now you tell me.

Comments are closed for this article.