The Worst Offensive Season of Kurtis Foster’s Career

Jonathan Willis
June 13 2011 02:03PM

Kurtis Foster did not get rave reviews for his play in 2010-11. He slid down the depth chart, falling behind rookies and castoffs like Theo Peckham, Jeff Petry and Jim Vandermeer in terms of ice-time. Even that overstates the case; in terms of even-strength ice-time Foster was used just a little more than Taylor Chorney and Jason Strudwick on a per-game basis.

Does this past season reflect Foster’s real value? I have some doubts.

Hockey commentary and analysis tends to emphasize recent results over prior history. It’s the reason a player like Andrew Cogliano gets just barely more than half the money that Gilbert Brule gets despite the fact that career-wise the former has been more impressive than the latter.

I’m not sure that this uneven weighting toward recent results always gives us the best picture of what a player is going to be like going forward. I’ve always operated under the assumption that it’s better to defer to a long-term track record than a single season sample, unless there is a reason (such as serious injury) to believe a player has significantly declined in a short period of time.

That’s why I still think that Kurtis Foster could play a valuable role, either for the Edmonton Oilers or for another club if they opt to trade him. His track record is significantly better than his results in 2010-11.

Foster’s Offensive Track Record

Season EV TOI PP TOI EV PTS PP PTS EVPTS/60 PPPTS/60
2005-06 717.93 327.55 10 18 0.84 3.30
2006-07 760.08 213.37 10 13 0.79 3.66
2007-08 735.4 146.32 9 10 0.73 4.10
2008-09 108.98 18.22 4 2 2.20 6.59
2009-10 931.35 273.33 16 26 1.03 5.71
2005-10 3253.74 978.79 49 69 0.90 4.23
2010-11 1010.7 284.45 8 14 0.47 2.95
% Difference         -52.0% -30.3%

The chart above shows a staggering drop in Foster’s offensive performance this season. His performance last season was a more than 50% drop-off from his average output over the preceding five seasons, and his power play offense dropped off by nearly one-third. While we might look at the power play number and chalk it up to the Oilers’ anaemic special teams, there is no similarly easy explanation for the drop in even-strength offense. Not only were the majority of Foster’s numbers recorded with the ultra-defensive Minnesota Wild, but he was given a lot of offensive zone starts this year with Edmonton.

Similarly, we can’t blame the decline in offense on Foster’s catastrophic injury in 2008-09, given that 2009-10 was the best offensive season of his career.

Obviously, offense isn’t the only part of Foster’s game that deserves scrutiny. He was at times problematic defensively this season, but I suspect teams will forgive that if he can provide above-average scoring punch on the power play and at even-strength.

Can Foster rebound? It’s difficult to know without understanding exactly why he struggled this season, but his career to date suggests that he is a much better offensive player than he showed this season, and I would guess that we will see a big spike in his scoring next season.

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#1 mayorpoop
June 13 2011, 02:06PM
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free pass from me after the stuff he had to deal with.

next year make an assement.

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#2 pelhem grenville
June 13 2011, 03:48PM
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David S wrote:

Kurtis Foster is a prime example of why the term "Just puked in my mouth a little" was invented.

Buddy is a bad, bad ice hockey player. He should be glad a hockey team like the Oilers exist or he'd be spending his days putting extra cheese on foot-long Subway products.

"Do you want that toasted?"

"HEY! Aren't you Kurtis Foster?"

"Uhhh...yeah. Now what veggies would you like."

Our goalie is a prime example of why the term "just puked in my mouth a little" was invented

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#3 Dman09
June 13 2011, 04:05PM
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Well when you refer to a cup with a whole in it a Bulin cup that might be some cause for concern. Add to his porus performance the disgrace of his legal issues and ya it makes you puke a little. I think what pisses me off the most about Bulin was that he is supposed to be a role model he got caught drinking and driving, double the legal limit yet, and speeding in an Italian Supercar. Fine you made a mistake everyone does. but then to try and get out of it through technicalities. Y can't people just own up to what they did wrong and except the punishment? This is the perfect example of the pile of feces our society is becoming. Nobody takes responsibility for their actions anymore, they always blame it on someone else or something else and with Role models like our "MVP" leading the way, I would be embarrassed to be the owner. There is no honor, respect, or self pride anymore.

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#4 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
June 13 2011, 02:26PM
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#5 Matt Henderson
June 13 2011, 02:36PM
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mayorpoop wrote:

free pass from me after the stuff he had to deal with.

next year make an assement.

Absolutely. I wouldnt be able to get out of bed if that was me.

As far as I'm concerned Kurtis Foster doesnt start his Oiler career until this coming Fall, and he should get a friggin Medal for even trying last season.

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#6 David S
June 13 2011, 02:42PM
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What I meant to say was..."Kurtis Foster is a perfectly good third-pairing..."

Nope. Just can't do it.

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#7 James V.
June 13 2011, 05:12PM
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"sorry for the threadkill"

Paul:

You know what? Don't worry about it.

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#8 mayorpoop
June 13 2011, 05:24PM
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@pelhem grenville

i'm deeply sorry for your loss....no need for you to be sorry about anything my friend.

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#9 pelhem grenville
June 13 2011, 05:33PM
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...love your kids always forever and remember it's a very special feeling when the Cup's in the building...

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#10 David S
June 13 2011, 02:45PM
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This "Linus Omark" on the other hand, wheee-ooooo!

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#13 Oilcruzer
June 13 2011, 06:33PM
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PG and Haiku-dude...

You sirs are mighty men to carry that burden, talk about your burden, and move forward in life as your loved ones would have wished.

My heartfelt sorrows for your losses... and you each receive a personal salute of respect.

As does Foster.

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#14 Peterborough
June 14 2011, 12:44AM
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PG: man no worries, its nice to get some real perspective about serious issues.

On Foster: what have we got to lose. Only the worst people on the planet would dump a guy after that. It not like we are winning anything next year anyway.

Best case senario: He plays lights-out gets traded to a contender at the deadline for a nice asset and goes on to be a real contributor on a cup winner and get a nice fat contract in the spring.

Here's hoping, he deserves a good shake.

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#15 mayorpoop
June 13 2011, 02:11PM
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@mayorpoop

or assessment

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#16 Rogue
June 13 2011, 02:27PM
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He is a third pair dman, who at best, should get some PP minutes. Problem with this team is that once you get past Whitney as 1st pair and Gilbert as 2nd. pair, we are loaded with 3rd. pairing Dmen. Obviously the Oil hoped he could supply more minutes. They were wrong, as they were wrong with Fraser.

*If F is fail, what is FF?*

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#17 David S
June 13 2011, 02:37PM
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Kurtis Foster is a prime example of why the term "Just puked in my mouth a little" was invented.

Buddy is a bad, bad ice hockey player. He should be glad a hockey team like the Oilers exist or he'd be spending his days putting extra cheese on foot-long Subway products.

"Do you want that toasted?"

"HEY! Aren't you Kurtis Foster?"

"Uhhh...yeah. Now what veggies would you like."

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#18 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
June 13 2011, 03:05PM
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I'm sure he'll have somewhat of an offensive turn around next year, but I'd still be working hard to upgrade him this summer if it were up to me.

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For what he cost and for what offensive d-men are worth come the trade deadline, I see no reason not to give him another chance. Him on the bottom pairing isn't an issue for this team.

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#20 Quicksilver ballet
June 13 2011, 04:01PM
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The guy should've taken the full year off considering what happened.

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#21 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
June 13 2011, 04:01PM
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Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach wrote:

For what he cost and for what offensive d-men are worth come the trade deadline, I see no reason not to give him another chance. Him on the bottom pairing isn't an issue for this team.

True enough jr, might as well wait and move him at the TDD.

It's not like we'll be bringing in 3 superior defenders this summer.

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#22 pelhem grenville
June 13 2011, 04:02PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

The guy should've taken the full year off considering what happened.

...harsh

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#23 mayorpoop
June 13 2011, 04:10PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

The guy should've taken the full year off considering what happened.

let's hope you are in joke mode....if not give your head a shake.

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#24 Dman09
June 13 2011, 04:12PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

The guy should've taken the full year off considering what happened.

Thats not right man. You can say it as much as you want but when something like that happens to anyone there is no way you can't bring something like that to work with you. Try and deny it all you want but it happens. Even if everyone you work with has no clue and you never talk about it, it still effects you and your work. I would rather watch 5 nightmares of Foster than one of JFJ. I hope he has a break out season just to prove people like you wrong. The guy has never done anything to disrespect the team or the city and he deserves support.

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#25 Dman09
June 13 2011, 04:15PM
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mayorpoop wrote:

let's hope you are in joke mode....if not give your head a shake.

better yet if your not joking just put your head in a paint shaker. Figure your already half way there you might as well finish it off.

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#26 Quicksilver ballet
June 13 2011, 04:16PM
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pelhem grenville wrote:

...harsh

May come off sounding a little like that.

I must be down a quart or two of compassion this day, appologies.

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#27 mayorpoop
June 13 2011, 04:26PM
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@Dman09

PROPS!

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#28 pelhem grenville
June 13 2011, 04:41PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

May come off sounding a little like that.

I must be down a quart or two of compassion this day, appologies.

apology accepted sir...but...my friend i would give you a pass on ANYTHING else but this...you can't know about this kind of loss...it is unspeakable...therefore like the mayorpoop said Foster needs a break from everyone...all the people i work with understand why i'm not at work today...they know that 9 years ago today my son Jordan was killed by an impaired driver in Alabama. The loss is no different for me than it is for my poor fellow club member in grief Kurtis Foster...

Here's the thing Q...i only wish i had an accuracy meter reading for you...but under much different circumstances...i'm sorry

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#29 pelhem grenville
June 13 2011, 05:01PM
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...like i said i'm sorry...to all of you.

if there's any of you that think i shouldn't share with... tell me...grief can be selfish &

people in grief are everywhere...some are quiet some aren't...i have a big mouth...you all put up with me to whatever extent you need/want but it was scary that this thread involving Kustis Foster was even thought of by Master Willis...couldn't have been one of those Wanye dancing bear stories no ...it had to have loss connected to it...personal loss...and on this particular day...i'm sorry again...and

sorry for the threadkill

paulwodehouse

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#30 Quicksilver ballet
June 13 2011, 05:28PM
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Sorry PG.

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#31 pelhem grenville
June 13 2011, 05:35PM
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i said it fist

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#32 a lg dubl dubl
June 13 2011, 05:53PM
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Id say give Foster another shot this season, all year what I heard out of him was how much him and his wife loved the city and deeply apperciated that the Oilers gave him a shot, hopefully he can turn his game around and show Tammy Gilbert how to play defence.

He wants to play here let him play.

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#33 Oilers G- Nations Poet Laureate
June 13 2011, 06:24PM
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@PG...no haiku this time. I feel for you my brother. My wife and 3 lil ones were killed by a drunk, and I was badly injured myself, 3 yrs ago. We all feel your pain. Some of us a little more than others.

If you need to talk, manualbuzzer@shaw.ca

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#34 CanaDave
June 13 2011, 08:15PM
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I would like to see Foster get a chance to redeem himself this fall espeically since, as stated before, it's not as if the Oilers have a ton of D-men ahead of him on the depth chart. If he proves he's still got some game left to him, maybe he's worth a 2nd or 3rd round pick to a team at the trade deadline and if not, his contract is up at the end of the season.

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#35 T.C.
June 13 2011, 08:51PM
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maybe it's the chowder or lack of tea in boston But holy crap do the canucks crap the bed in beantown.

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#36 Muji 狗
June 13 2011, 09:50PM
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I like Jon's writing - always have - but his "regression towards the mean" themed articles are getting predictable and a little dry imo.

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#38 pelhem grenville
June 14 2011, 04:55AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

@ pelhem grenville:

There's absolutely no reason to apologize. I'm sorry if this thread has brought those feelings to the fore; I'm even sorrier about your son. I can't imagine.

JW...thankyou and please don't be concerned at the idea that your writing in any way causes feelings that i can't deal with here...as i said it was crazy that this thread had a personal connection. At times i feel i have to share without going tootoo far ...i am in Qs' debt for going off on him specifically but i'm hoping he'll let me buy him a cold beverage one day.Like six degrees of separation...you're only this or that far away from anything...i've written to OilerG Haiku MF and as the day starts for me today i will equally honor his huge burden of loss as well.

Again thank you ALL here ...let's get back to whatever might be considered normal shall we?

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#39 Oilers G- Nations Poet Laureate
June 14 2011, 05:38AM
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Oilcruzer wrote:

PG and Haiku-dude...

You sirs are mighty men to carry that burden, talk about your burden, and move forward in life as your loved ones would have wished.

My heartfelt sorrows for your losses... and you each receive a personal salute of respect.

As does Foster.

at Oil Cruzer, thanks

Glad to have the Nations love

PLEASE DONT DRIVE DRUNK KIDS

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#40 NamelessNed
June 14 2011, 06:12AM
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sigh....Foster....sigh.. Got so sick of hearing about his 'Big shot" from the point, and how he has a 'rocket'; yet all he did was throw weak wristers towards the net all year.....lamesauce

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#41 Kurtenbach25
June 14 2011, 06:20AM
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The Sedins are tougher then Kurtis Foster that is the problem. Combine Foster and Gilbert and you have the 2 most yellow defensemen in hockey. No team will win with either of these players, they don't play 'hockey'.

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#42 madjam
June 14 2011, 09:43AM
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As the defence goes this upcoming season, so shall our lot in standings . No immediate solution in sight , nor much coming in this years draft unless we take Larsson over Hopkins - which does not look like we are going to do .

Leaving us with 19th pick which i believe we will keep to get Olesiak, Siemens, or Musil . We may trade 31st pick and a current roster piece or prospect to move far enough down to get two of three d-men . I'd play with the 31st pick , but not the 19th pick !

I have felt all along that if we passed on Larsson , Colorado would have given us Liles for nothing just to get Larsson .

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#43 D-Man
June 14 2011, 01:54PM
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madjam wrote:

As the defence goes this upcoming season, so shall our lot in standings . No immediate solution in sight , nor much coming in this years draft unless we take Larsson over Hopkins - which does not look like we are going to do .

Leaving us with 19th pick which i believe we will keep to get Olesiak, Siemens, or Musil . We may trade 31st pick and a current roster piece or prospect to move far enough down to get two of three d-men . I'd play with the 31st pick , but not the 19th pick !

I have felt all along that if we passed on Larsson , Colorado would have given us Liles for nothing just to get Larsson .

Past history indicates that defensemen take time to develop - Larsson won't create any significant impact, even though his comparisons to Victor Hedman (and outlandish as it is - Lidstrom) are quite tempting...

Every major scout has declared RNH as the best player available... If the Magnificient Bastard agrees (which it sounds like he does), the first overall pick appears to be a no-brainer..

Although I haven't seen him play, I do like the sounds of Duncan Siemens with our 19th pick (assuming we don't use it in a package to move up)... Sounds like his upside is a tough d-man who can play on the PK and makes a solid first pass... It'd be a couple years, but he sounds like the #3 d-man we need...

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#44 D-Man
June 14 2011, 01:57PM
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pelhem grenville wrote:

...love your kids always forever and remember it's a very special feeling when the Cup's in the building...

I don't think I could have said it better myself... My apologies for your loss...

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#45 WeepForTheSin
June 14 2011, 01:59PM
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@madjam

You really think Avs would give up Liles just to know we won't take Larsson? With our "depth" at center a very hot topic for a few years?

You're dreaming, bud.

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#46 jeetz
June 14 2011, 03:09PM
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@ Willis

I really enjoy reading the articles on OilersNation, yours too. This however is in bad taste and over the top.

As far as I am concerned Foster's season last year is off limits. No analyzing or judgements allowed. I can only pray I do not have endure the hardships he went through. You should too.

The guy deserves a medal just for getting up in the morning and going to work. Good job by the Oilers for sticking with him.

This year will be alot different for Foster and the Oilers for sure.

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#47 Matt Henderson
June 14 2011, 04:31PM
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http://www.coppernblue.com/2011/6/14/2222329/is-even-strength-scoring-more-important

Hey JW,

Does the Reynolds piece over at CnB ease your mind a little about RNH and EV points vs PP points? Would like to hear your reactions.

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#48 rickithebear
June 15 2011, 08:23AM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

I'm sure he'll have somewhat of an offensive turn around next year, but I'd still be working hard to upgrade him this summer if it were up to me.

Upgrade! come on man! what about the the "hack for yak" or er " fail for Nail" or er.....

Ah lets upgrade!

Willis a performance increase into the veteran year age 27 a hold for 5 year and then a decline.

Post lockout: 05/05 (24); 06/07 (25); 07/08(26) season pace was 33 points

08/09 (27); 09/10 (28) pace was 47 points assist pace 39

10/11 (29) 22 points 14 assists (all decline on the helpers)

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#49 rickithebear
June 15 2011, 08:28AM
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Arch:

You hacked me for taking a sub set from 1st round only look.

yet you use a lame ass 1st round review from Reynolds.

Hypocrite. Your RNH love just hit the ultimate Kool aid level.

Maybe i can arange to have RNH doll made you can snuggle up to. Slurp Slurp Drink the Kool Aid.

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#50 Matt Henderson
June 15 2011, 08:47AM
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@rickithebear

1) Yes you can arrange to have the doll made. Wanye and I can play with our respective RNH and Eberle dolls at the "No rickithebear Clubhouse" I just made.

2) I hacked you for cherry picking the players that fit into your model and neglecting the rest, even ones from the 1st round. I also think it's ridiculous that you present players that scored 6 points as being analagous to a player that scored 106 points based only on the percentage of goals they scored compared to total points. It's weak and doesnt hold up to any reasonable standard.

3) I asked Willis what his thoughts/reactions were to the Reynolds article. I asked so that I could hear a dissenting opinion from a respectable source. Even in your blast towards me you were unable to inform me as to why you disliked Reynolds' work.

4) The kid is the consensus #1 pick. Kool-Aid or not, ISS, NHL CS, The Redline Report, Bob Mackenzie's scouts, the scouts Gregor polled, and apparently Stu MacG himself (courtesy Robin Brownlee) all have RNH a step ahead of the rest.

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