A Competitive Advantage

Jonathan Willis
December 22 2012 11:37AM

If the NHL starts up again in January, the Edmonton Oilers might be one of the league’s most improved teams. The shorter season means that low probability events – things like Nikolai Khabibulin's red hot start to 2011-12 or Jeff Deslauriers' five consecutive road wins back in 2009-10 – will have more impact than they would over an 82-game schedule. More than that, however, the Oilers have a competitive advantage.

That advantage is the Oklahoma City Barons. Robin Brownlee wrote briefly yesterday about the impact guys hitting the ground running could have and I’m in complete agreement on that score.

The fact that three of the Oilers’ top-six players – Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – will have 20+ games under their belt by the time the league is back in session is almost certainly a good thing. This isn’t the 1970’s, so “mid-season shape” doesn’t mean what it used to, but it seems entirely reasonable that a 20-year old who has been skating regularly in game situations is going to outperform a 30-year old who has not been playing competitive hockey all year.

For Hall in particular, starting in the minors is a positive. It was obvious that he was at less than 100 percent coming off shoulder surgery; he did not excel in his first few games with the Barons. He’s been exceptional since, though, rivaling Jordan Eberle as the team’s best forward.

The advantage goes beyond that, however.

On defence, Justin Schultz has been a revelation. I had high expectations, given what scouts and hockey men I respect have had to say about him over the years, but he’s blown those expectations out of the water. This summer, I posited that the Oilers needed a backup plan on the blue line just in case Schultz had difficulty adjusting to the majors. I still think the team could use some help on the back end but those concerns are gone: Justin Schultz is and was NHL-ready.

There is some fear that Schultz – as with many college players before him – hits a wall at the mid-season mark. But this is a guy who has been the AHL’s best player in the early going, a guy who on playmaking ability alone is probably the Oilers best offensive rearguard already. He should get top-four minutes in the first NHL game he plays.

Other Barons players either should or could play a key role in Edmonton.

Teemu Hartikainen appears to have won a job; he fit well on a line with Eberle and Nugent-Hopkins but at least as importantly has continued to be a factor when separated from the elite talent. I am still dubious about his offensive upside, but he looks to me like a guy who can be a decent complementary player on a skill line and given his size and willingness to play a physical game he is a good fit for team need. He is particularly adept at the cycle game in the offensive zone, something valuable regardless of which line he ends up on.

Magnus Paajarvi may or may not get a job immediately once hockey starts up, but there’s virtually no chance he isn’t on the Oilers’ roster at some point this year if hockey is played. He lacks the finishing ability of an elite player, but what he has a real knack for is puck possession – he is both a capable distributer and a great option for skating the puck up ice. Combine that with his penchant to cheat for defense, and he’s a guy who can fill in anywhere.

Yann Danis is the other guy who might crack the Oilers’ roster relatively early in the year. Nikolai Khabibulin was hurt this fall, and though it seems like he’s ready to go he also turns 40 in January; maybe the time off helps him, but there should be no tolerance for early season struggles. Danis has been excellent for the Barons after a lousy October, he has NHL experience, and he’s a capable backup if Khabibulin falters and/or is hurt again.

If the season starts in January, these guys – along with players who have played in Europe, like Ales Hemsky, Sam Gagner and Ladislav Smid – will give the Oilers an advantage other teams don’t have: a strong core of players who don’t need to adjust to playing hockey again. It’s the exact sort of advantage that could propel the Oilers up the Western Conference standings, and cause individual players to surpass expectations.

Recently by Jonathan Willis

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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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#51 Oilertown
December 22 2012, 10:40PM
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DSF wrote:

Pretty much sums it up.

And, of course the Oilers goaltending is suspect and their bottom 6 forwards are sketchy at best.

Oils bottom 6 is coming along with Jones Smitty Harski Horcs Vandevele and and Belanger and maybe MPS unless they decide to leave him in the minors. Their D is coming along with the addition of Schultz and a full year of Schultz SR. Dubnyk had a great end to the year.

A little more worrying about your aging Nucks and a little less with the soon to be perennial playoff team of the Oil.

Granted things may not go as planned but with the fab 5 atleast the future is very bright.

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#52 David S
December 22 2012, 11:17PM
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John Chambers wrote:

A COMPETITIVE DISADVANTAGE

The Oilers 6th defenseman is Corey Potter, a career AHL'er

The Oilers 5th defenseman is the fragile, underperforming Ryan Whitney

The Oilers 4th defenseman is a raw rookie, albeit an impressive one in Justin Schultz

None of the Oilers top-3 defensemen are legitimate top-pair options.

If they make that rumored "big trade", it had better be for a very good defenseman.

Totally agree. Lowe pretty much said the same thing a while ago. Not to mention our "#1" goalie hasn't had a puck aimed at him in anger in how long? And our backup is...well I don't really have to go there, do I?

My guess is there's gonna be alot of 9-7 games. Our boys will be able to put 'em in but it's going to be sieve city on the back end.

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#53 nuge2nail
December 23 2012, 12:51AM
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Oiler Domination To Follow

I Imagine Our top Two Lines will consist of + Players. Yakupov should be a nice addition and news is that Hemsky is healthy and strong as he has ever been.

Which means that if our third line Jones Horcoff Hartkainen outplay other teams third lines this team has a shot of getting into the playoffs.

When Whitney is your number 5 Dman your D isnt so bad. The Canucks backend is a model where you dont need a true #1 to win the presidents trophy. Its realistic to think SMID and PETRY will continue to develop, if WHITNEY stays healthy, and J SCHULTZ is a calder nominee - which is realistic... well than gents our Defence is turned around. NICK is going to be a leader, the more the rest od the Defence watches him the better they will get

Dubnyk/Loungo tandem would be nice...Before the Bertuzzi trade Vancouvers goaltending situation was much worse than ours... If we can get him for lets say Magnus, Anaheims second, and Gernat.

Dubnyk gets to develop with no pressure the way schneider has and if he continues to get better management has the option to trade him for a #3/#4 solid defenseman.

Ps. Hemkys Insurance Expired, Thats Why He Is Coming Home For The Holidays

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#54 Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!
December 23 2012, 01:03AM
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DSF wrote:

From Elite prospects:

Matias Strozyk Matias Strozyk ‏@MaStrozyk

Pardubice announce Ales Hemsky (14-18-32 in 27 GP), Jakub Kindl (1-10-11 in 27 GP), & David Krejci (16-11-27 in 24 GP) are leaving the team.

http://prohockeytalk.nbcsports.com/2012/12/22/krejci-hemsky-and-kindl-leave-pardubice/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

Wonder if this has anything to do with the Spengler Cup?

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#55 David S
December 23 2012, 02:48AM
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I have only one question to ask.

Where the h3ll did this "Oiler domination to follow" sh!t come from? Seriously. Where?

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#56 F$@k the NHL
December 23 2012, 08:35AM
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Unfortunately no one gives a sh@t about a shortened season and there will always be a asterisk beside it...

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#57 michael
December 23 2012, 09:27AM
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Your comments regarding MP are interesting. Has MP ever played center? he guy can skate as you say.Can hold the puck and is a heck of a play maker. Most of his points have been as a play maker this season. Would it be worth the effort to move him to center and see what gives. He isn't a defensive liability either just to note. I think a change to center would make better use of his skill set. There are times he reminds me of Hemsky in his unwillingness to shoot the puck. He is almost to unselfish.

Is January 11th the drop dead date for the NHL? Is that what were being led to expect in terms of when a CBA needs to be done by?

BTW. When did DSF get internet in his bunker? I thought he was waiting for the end of the world on December 21st. See any Mayans DSF?

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#58 Oilertown
December 23 2012, 12:31PM
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michael wrote:

Your comments regarding MP are interesting. Has MP ever played center? he guy can skate as you say.Can hold the puck and is a heck of a play maker. Most of his points have been as a play maker this season. Would it be worth the effort to move him to center and see what gives. He isn't a defensive liability either just to note. I think a change to center would make better use of his skill set. There are times he reminds me of Hemsky in his unwillingness to shoot the puck. He is almost to unselfish.

Is January 11th the drop dead date for the NHL? Is that what were being led to expect in terms of when a CBA needs to be done by?

BTW. When did DSF get internet in his bunker? I thought he was waiting for the end of the world on December 21st. See any Mayans DSF?

Lol now I'm picturing him wearing a tinfoil hat hiding in a basement somewhere haha thanks.

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#59 DSF
December 23 2012, 12:59PM
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Johe wrote:

Wait wait wait. Do you realize what you just said DSF? You said, and I quote, "there's a lot to look forward to regarding the Oilers..." It's a Festivus miracle! :)

But in all seriousness, yes, the Oilers have some holes. I mean, I think that's obvious. Only the most biased of fans would argue that.

If I could pick only one hole to fill before the season starts in October, my wish would be an experienced D-man who can play twenty reliable minutes a night, kill penalties, and chip in on the powerplay when called upon. I think that would be a reasonable expectation, though I won't hold my breath- yes, even I, a huge Oilers fan and believer, can admit that management doesn't always seem to like addressing need. That Schultz kid looks pretty good though.

So now it's your turn. If the Oilers fill only one hole before October, what would you like it to be? And be reasonable. This isn't NHL 13.(My first year controlling the Oilers we won the Cup, so yeah...)

While reliable veteran D who can play 20 minutes a night would be nice...adding another Nick Shultz to the mix won't make much difference.

The Oilers TWO top pairing D, a big capable second line centre and a goaltender.

If I had one hole to fill that would likely make the most difference, it would be #2C since top pairing D are very hard to acquire.

That said, teams also tend to hang on to their centres so filling that hole wouldn't be easy.

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#60 Oilertown
December 23 2012, 01:23PM
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DSF wrote:

While reliable veteran D who can play 20 minutes a night would be nice...adding another Nick Shultz to the mix won't make much difference.

The Oilers TWO top pairing D, a big capable second line centre and a goaltender.

If I had one hole to fill that would likely make the most difference, it would be #2C since top pairing D are very hard to acquire.

That said, teams also tend to hang on to their centres so filling that hole wouldn't be easy.

Here we go again way to generate some comments ppl. Where to start ok what is wrong with having Smid Petry as 1 and 2 Whitney if he is back to health is more then capable of #1 Justin Schultz who is absolutely destroying the Ahl for q defenseman can play in there somewhere.

So while we may not have a true # 1 we have enough very good pieces to make it work. Canucks don't have a true #1 either yet they seem to make it work well enough.

Gagner as a number 2 centerman while not "big" is capable of putting up 50-60 points with a healthy Hemsky and Hall or Yakupov flanking him.

The only thing I will give you is yes the Oil need a capable backup for Dubs. And I would also add they may need a cpl good vets for bottom 6 but 1 would pass

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#61 Taylor Gang
December 23 2012, 01:32PM
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I think its unfair to Dubnyk to suggest we need a new goalie... He played strong at the end of the season.

That said, we need a huge upgrade on D. The next step to the rebuild begins now. My recommendation would be to trade Whitney (no bias here, he's my favorite D-man on the oil), a second round pick and maybe one defensive prospect for a more reliable upgrade

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#62 DSF
December 23 2012, 01:40PM
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Oilertown wrote:

Here we go again way to generate some comments ppl. Where to start ok what is wrong with having Smid Petry as 1 and 2 Whitney if he is back to health is more then capable of #1 Justin Schultz who is absolutely destroying the Ahl for q defenseman can play in there somewhere.

So while we may not have a true # 1 we have enough very good pieces to make it work. Canucks don't have a true #1 either yet they seem to make it work well enough.

Gagner as a number 2 centerman while not "big" is capable of putting up 50-60 points with a healthy Hemsky and Hall or Yakupov flanking him.

The only thing I will give you is yes the Oil need a capable backup for Dubs. And I would also add they may need a cpl good vets for bottom 6 but 1 would pass

1) Smid and Petry are not top pairing defensemen on any good hockey team.

2) Relying on a rookie to play top pairing minutes in the best league in the world is a recipe for disaster.

3) The Canucks do have a legit #1D. His name is Dan Hamhuis and he is the best shutdown defenseman in the league.

James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail does annual lists of the best players at their position.

Take a look and please note the second best defensive defenseman is Jason Garrison who also now plays for the Canucks as does Alex Edler who also appears on the top 30 list.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/hockey/globe-on-hockey/the-nhls-top-defensive-defencemen/article576301/

3) Gagner has played with a variety of wingers including Hall, Hemsky, Penner and Cole but has yet to crack the 50 point mark despite playing soft competition. On a good team, you want to see your second line centre handle the toughs so the first line can outscore.

Gagner can not handle the toughs without getting his ass handed to him.

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#63 DSF
December 23 2012, 01:51PM
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Sanaa Montana wrote:

If Hamhuis is the best showdown D-man in the league then Gagner is the best #2 centre in the league.

I am sure Mirtle would like to see your calculations.

When you send them to him, make sure you copy Malkin.

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#64 Rogue
December 23 2012, 01:58PM
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Atta Boy, Defying Sanity Forever, Keep Playing Scrooge for the Oiler Faithful!

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#65 Sanaa Montana
December 23 2012, 02:01PM
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@DSF

I'm sure he wouldn't. He is probably just as ignorant and stuck in his ways and stats as you are.

I'd like to see his calculations and yours also seeing as you agree with him. I'd like to see how much Schneiders, Loungos and the rest of the overpaid Stanley Cupless defense of Vancouver factors into Hamhuis numbers. Or do they?

Would Hamhuis be the best playing in front of Khabi? Is he that "best"?

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#66 DSF
December 23 2012, 02:16PM
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Another way to look at the defensemen is GFON/60 GAON/60 Diff.

That means the difference goals scored for and against per 60 minutes play while that defenseman is on the ice.

While this doesn't account for quality of competition it does show you who is getting the job done at both ends of the ice.

5V5 70GP

1) Ian White 1.29

2) Dan Hamhuis 1.08

3) Nik Lidstrom 1.07

4) Zdeno Chara 1.04

5) Johnny Boychuck .99

6) Filip Kuba .94

7) Adam Mcquaid .91

8) Barret Jackman .86

9) Erik Karlsson .82

10) Kevin Shattenkirk .79

13) Seabrook

14) Weber

21) Suter

28) Garrison

30) Bieksa

35) Keith

46) Smid

74) Petry

85) N. Schultz

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#67 DSF
December 23 2012, 02:23PM
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Sanaa Montana wrote:

I'm sure he wouldn't. He is probably just as ignorant and stuck in his ways and stats as you are.

I'd like to see his calculations and yours also seeing as you agree with him. I'd like to see how much Schneiders, Loungos and the rest of the overpaid Stanley Cupless defense of Vancouver factors into Hamhuis numbers. Or do they?

Would Hamhuis be the best playing in front of Khabi? Is he that "best"?

Hockey is a team game.

If your defense sucks, your goalie is in tough.

On the one hand you would argue Luongo sucks and then you would try and argue Hamhuis sucks but in the end, it's results that matter and you can't have it both ways.

Mirtle's calculations are right there in his article.

You can choose to believe the facts or not but they're still the facts.

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#68 Romulus' Apotheosis
December 23 2012, 02:45PM
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Hamhuis is a great D.

I'd still rank him behind a variety of others...

and, I think you'd have to be insane to claim Smid and Petry are not top 4 in this league. That is a ludicrous claim.

at any rate, we might want some more up-to-date rankings.

From the DSF linked article:

"Published Wednesday, Apr. 13 2011, 1:30 PM EDT"

"And you can crown Dan Hamhuis the Rod Langway Award winner for 2010-11."

Not to mention, just 4 months prior Mirtle had Hamhuis at #16.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/hockey/globe-on-hockey/the-nhls-top-defensive-defencemen-at-midseason/article1867013/

It seems his rankings fluctuate a lot and cherry picking this or that list from two seasons prior seems a bad way to make one's case.

he didn't register the year prior... I guess I could have posted that list and called him garbage:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/hockey/globe-on-hockey/the-nhls-top-defensive-defencemen-2009-10/article610798/

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#69 Sanaa Montana
December 23 2012, 02:57PM
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@DSF

Seeing as your "stats" don't account for the quality of competition, we can't put all our eggs in that basket. Can we?

Please note, on the list that you pasted and chose to use for the arguement as to why Hamhuis is the best, Hamhuis is in at #2. 2 is not the best.

Smid is #46 on the list. Using your logic and stats, I could argue since Smid plays on the Oilers and Hamhuis on the Canucks, Smid is just as good player if not better than Hamhuis.

Smid is #46 and Hamhuis is #2. Hamhuis linemates include; Edler, Salo, Bieksa, Ballard, and Smid linemates are: Sutton, Peckham, Potter, Barker, Gilbert. Hamhuis plays in front of Loungo and Schneider, Smid plays in front of Khabi and Dubnyk. Hamhuis plays on one of the best plays PP in the league, Smid plays on one of the worst PK in the league.

Using your logic, stats, and previous arguements-I will easily argue that Smid is just as good if not better than Hamhuis. Smid just appears to be less fortunate.

The funniest thing is that I asked you a question and you ever do is comeback with other peoples thoughts and useless pasted stats.

You're like the google search of useless annoying sh!t in form of a pop-up.

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#70 DSF
December 23 2012, 02:59PM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

Hamhuis is a great D.

I'd still rank him behind a variety of others...

and, I think you'd have to be insane to claim Smid and Petry are not top 4 in this league. That is a ludicrous claim.

at any rate, we might want some more up-to-date rankings.

From the DSF linked article:

"Published Wednesday, Apr. 13 2011, 1:30 PM EDT"

"And you can crown Dan Hamhuis the Rod Langway Award winner for 2010-11."

Not to mention, just 4 months prior Mirtle had Hamhuis at #16.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/hockey/globe-on-hockey/the-nhls-top-defensive-defencemen-at-midseason/article1867013/

It seems his rankings fluctuate a lot and cherry picking this or that list from two seasons prior seems a bad way to make one's case.

he didn't register the year prior... I guess I could have posted that list and called him garbage:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/hockey/globe-on-hockey/the-nhls-top-defensive-defencemen-2009-10/article610798/

Didn't say they weren't top 4....I said they were not top pair and they aren't.

And yes there would be fluctuations on that list trhoughout the season that list but you can sure sure anyone who appears frequently in the top 15 is a #1D by definition.

You should also bear in mind that defensemen normally start peaking at around 28 which is when Hamhuis became part of that conversation.

If you examine the numbers from Behind the Net that I posed, Hamhuis is second for both 2010/11 and 2011/12.

By the way that story was updated on August 23 2012.

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#71 Romulus' Apotheosis
December 23 2012, 03:14PM
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DSF wrote:

Didn't say they weren't top 4....I said they were not top pair and they aren't.

And yes there would be fluctuations on that list trhoughout the season that list but you can sure sure anyone who appears frequently in the top 15 is a #1D by definition.

You should also bear in mind that defensemen normally start peaking at around 28 which is when Hamhuis became part of that conversation.

If you examine the numbers from Behind the Net that I posed, Hamhuis is second for both 2010/11 and 2011/12.

By the way that story was updated on August 23 2012.

I read this:

"The Oilers TWO top pairing D"

as 4 players... ie, two pairs... sorry for the misread.

I agree. both not (yet anyway) top 2, but both comfortable top 4 (and getting better).

If 28 is the age marker (fair I'd say), then excessive skepticism on the 25 year old Petry and the 26 year old Smid is even more obscene.

I don't have a problem with the fluctuation, or with Hamhius as a top 2D. but the fact remains he wasn't on the list in 09-10, well into his pro career, and picking one list out of three is less than forthright.

The story was not updated regarding the stats BY DEFINITION.

If I write a list of the best movies of 2010-11 and my editor, or myself, updates the website (for any number of reasons), I am certainly not changing the dating parameters of the article.

that would make no sense.

why would I update an article regarding the best films of 2010-11 to include films from any other year?

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#72 DSF
December 23 2012, 03:17PM
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Sanaa Montana wrote:

Seeing as your "stats" don't account for the quality of competition, we can't put all our eggs in that basket. Can we?

Please note, on the list that you pasted and chose to use for the arguement as to why Hamhuis is the best, Hamhuis is in at #2. 2 is not the best.

Smid is #46 on the list. Using your logic and stats, I could argue since Smid plays on the Oilers and Hamhuis on the Canucks, Smid is just as good player if not better than Hamhuis.

Smid is #46 and Hamhuis is #2. Hamhuis linemates include; Edler, Salo, Bieksa, Ballard, and Smid linemates are: Sutton, Peckham, Potter, Barker, Gilbert. Hamhuis plays in front of Loungo and Schneider, Smid plays in front of Khabi and Dubnyk. Hamhuis plays on one of the best plays PP in the league, Smid plays on one of the worst PK in the league.

Using your logic, stats, and previous arguements-I will easily argue that Smid is just as good if not better than Hamhuis. Smid just appears to be less fortunate.

The funniest thing is that I asked you a question and you ever do is comeback with other peoples thoughts and useless pasted stats.

You're like the google search of useless annoying sh!t in form of a pop-up.

1) Two different lists but either would indicate Hamhuis is a great #1D.

2) You can argue all you want that Smid is better than Hamhuis and moregibberish but the facts remain he would not play ahead of Hamhuis, Bieksa, Edler or Garrison so he would be #5 at best on the Canucks.

3) Hamhuis plays on 2nd PP unit and is an elite PKer s well. Smid doesn't play at all on the PP because he is useless offensively.

Edmonton had the 3rd best PP last season while Vancouver was 4th.

Edmonton had the 14th best PK last season not "one of the worst" as you said. Vancouver's was 6th and I would think a good part of that success had to do with the Canucks having better personnel...you know...like Hamhuis.

You can argue all day long that Smid is better than Hamhuis but only fools will believe you.

Your question being would he be the best playing in front of Khabi?

Maybe not but Khabi only played 40 games and Smid was Smid for the whole season.

BTW, the diffrence in Dubnyk's SV% and Khabi's last season was .004...hardly worth mentioning.

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#73 DSF
December 23 2012, 03:22PM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

I read this:

"The Oilers TWO top pairing D"

as 4 players... ie, two pairs... sorry for the misread.

I agree. both not (yet anyway) top 2, but both comfortable top 4 (and getting better).

If 28 is the age marker (fair I'd say), then excessive skepticism on the 25 year old Petry and the 26 year old Smid is even more obscene.

I don't have a problem with the fluctuation, or with Hamhius as a top 2D. but the fact remains he wasn't on the list in 09-10, well into his pro career, and picking one list out of three is less than forthright.

The story was not updated regarding the stats BY DEFINITION.

If I write a list of the best movies of 2010-11 and my editor, or myself, updates the website (for any number of reasons), I am certainly not changing the dating parameters of the article.

that would make no sense.

why would I update an article regarding the best films of 2010-11 to include films from any other year?

I don't believe the discussion was about whether or not Smid and Petry will become top pairing defensemen but rather that they aren't NOW.

They may well develop that way, they may not (Petry may get passed by Schultz)

If you're not happy with Mirtle, although I think his methodology is pretty solid with a couple of caveats, just tinker with Behind the Net.

No matter how you slice it, Hamhuis is a top ten D in the league by the numbers.

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#74 Sanaa Montana
December 23 2012, 03:33PM
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@DSF

Is he the the best of is he great? Help me decide when ever you do.

Fact remains that Hamhuis wouldn't have the same numbers on the OIlers as he has with the Canucks. He wouldn't be the same Hamhuis, neither best nor great. Thats a fact.

I didn't mention or bring up any years, I was talking in general. Spare me your bull$h!t.

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#75 Sanaa Montana
December 23 2012, 03:35PM
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@DSF

In a matter of a hour, Hamhuis went from being the best to being great and now he is top 10. You must take a while to wake up.

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#76 Romulus' Apotheosis
December 23 2012, 03:39PM
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DSF wrote:

I don't believe the discussion was about whether or not Smid and Petry will become top pairing defensemen but rather that they aren't NOW.

They may well develop that way, they may not (Petry may get passed by Schultz)

If you're not happy with Mirtle, although I think his methodology is pretty solid with a couple of caveats, just tinker with Behind the Net.

No matter how you slice it, Hamhuis is a top ten D in the league by the numbers.

Again...

these kind of uncharitable comparisons aren't very helpful. that is the bottom line.

it is simply peevish to draw up players in a zero sum fashion like this.

I'm not a party to some "Hamhuis = no good" narrative.

He's great. I wish we had him. Just because I like other players also, especially those on my preferred team, doesn't mean I can't recognize talent.

1) the point isn't that Hamhius is bad or anything of the sort. The point is that finding an old list in which he is #1 and then comparing him unfavorably to Smid/Petry is just plain weird.

2) to wander in and out of caring about age/development of players is weird.

3) I haven't complained about Mirtle's list. I complained about cherry picking from his lists. more info is always better, including counter-arguments is always better.

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#77 The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33
December 23 2012, 03:41PM
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It's two days before Christmas and the Oilers have not yet lost a game. I'll drink to that. Cheers mofos and Merry Christmas.

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#78 nuge2nail
December 23 2012, 03:56PM
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Oiler Domination To Follow

The Canucks were still winning the Northwest Division before Hamhuis came over and started playing 23 minutes per game.

To say he is the reason for their regular season success the last half decade is a poor example at best. Before Hamhuis the defence was Ohlund, Salo, Bieksa, Edler, Mitchell, O'Brien. There is no #1 guy you claim the team needs to compete.

Look at Pittsburgh who hasnt had a #1 guy for the past 6 years and have been in the playoffs in each one of them. As long as your forwards are plus players, your goaltending doesnt cost you games and the defence can make a play and get the puck out a team has a shot at the cup.

The problem was the Peckhams, Potters, Barkers, Suttons playing minutes outside of their capabilities.

You must admit the Defence looks better than it has in years. 12-13: Petry, Smid, Schultz, Shultz, Whitney, Sutton - 10-11: Gilbert, Whitney, Foster, Smid, Vandermeer, Peckham

I would say its safe to say Petry>>Foster, N Schultz>Gilbert, J Schultz>>>Vandermeer, 26 Smid>24 Smid

Our Defence is getting much better, it would be beyond moronic to try to convince anyone otherwise.

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#79 Romulus' Apotheosis
December 23 2012, 04:01PM
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@nuge2nail

" N Schultz>Gilbert"

I'm one who doesn't think it is safe to say that.

@Koolaid

hear, hear!! merry merry everybody!

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#80 DSF
December 23 2012, 04:26PM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

Again...

these kind of uncharitable comparisons aren't very helpful. that is the bottom line.

it is simply peevish to draw up players in a zero sum fashion like this.

I'm not a party to some "Hamhuis = no good" narrative.

He's great. I wish we had him. Just because I like other players also, especially those on my preferred team, doesn't mean I can't recognize talent.

1) the point isn't that Hamhius is bad or anything of the sort. The point is that finding an old list in which he is #1 and then comparing him unfavorably to Smid/Petry is just plain weird.

2) to wander in and out of caring about age/development of players is weird.

3) I haven't complained about Mirtle's list. I complained about cherry picking from his lists. more info is always better, including counter-arguments is always better.

1) Well, that list isn't very old and considering we aren't seeing any NHL hockey right now, it's pretty current.

2) Of course development is important but it does NOT go in a straight line. Petry and Smid might well regress or plateau while Hamhuis has already reached a lvel they only hope to.

3) Who's cherry picking? The list clearly show's Hamhuis as #1 and the BTN stats back it up. Ian White died and went to heaven last season playing with Lidstrom. I'd wager he'll drop back while Hamhuis carries on.

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#81 DSF
December 23 2012, 04:29PM
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@nuge2nail

The issue isn't that the Oilers defense is getting better...it is... but it started out as the worst in the league.

I was replying to a question about what the Oilers need going forward and said they need two top pairing D to be competitive.

The problem is, all the Oiler defensemen are playing a one level above their ability and because of that they aren't very good.

If you plugged in Hamhuis and Bieksa on the top pairing you would be good to go.

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#82 Oilertown
December 23 2012, 04:30PM
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DSF wrote:

Didn't say they weren't top 4....I said they were not top pair and they aren't.

And yes there would be fluctuations on that list trhoughout the season that list but you can sure sure anyone who appears frequently in the top 15 is a #1D by definition.

You should also bear in mind that defensemen normally start peaking at around 28 which is when Hamhuis became part of that conversation.

If you examine the numbers from Behind the Net that I posed, Hamhuis is second for both 2010/11 and 2011/12.

By the way that story was updated on August 23 2012.

Lol DSF and because YOU say they are not that makes them not a passable top pairing. Give me a break buddy you are not the be all end all.

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#83 DSF
December 23 2012, 04:41PM
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Sanaa Montana wrote:

In a matter of a hour, Hamhuis went from being the best to being great and now he is top 10. You must take a while to wake up.

He was the best went that snapshot was taken but circumstances like injury can change things.

Bottom line is, Smid isn't even in the top 30 and therefore is NOT a #1D.

Petry isn't even in the top 60 in GF/GA DIFF and, by definition, isn't a top pairing D.

By points and plus/minus, this isn't even a contest:

Edler - 82GP 11G 38A 49P 0

Bieksa - 78GP 8G 36A 44P +12

Hamhuis - 82GP 4G 33A 37P +29

Garrison - 77GP 16G 17A 33P +6

Petry - 73GP 2G 23A 25P -7

Potter - 62GP 4G 17A 21P -16

Whitney - 51GP 3G 17A 20P -16

Smid - 78GP 5G 10A 15P +4

While I am sure Justin Schultz will help, he has a lot of work to do to help that sorry lot.

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#84 Oilertown
December 23 2012, 04:53PM
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Petry in my opinion IS a number 2 Smid IS a #3 with as good or better shut down abilities as Hammy Schultz SR IS A very capable #4 throw Whitney and Schultz JR in their and I would say its passable. Just cause you say its not DSF doesn't make you right.

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#85 David
December 23 2012, 04:55PM
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nuge2nail wrote:

Oiler Domination To Follow

The Canucks were still winning the Northwest Division before Hamhuis came over and started playing 23 minutes per game.

To say he is the reason for their regular season success the last half decade is a poor example at best. Before Hamhuis the defence was Ohlund, Salo, Bieksa, Edler, Mitchell, O'Brien. There is no #1 guy you claim the team needs to compete.

Look at Pittsburgh who hasnt had a #1 guy for the past 6 years and have been in the playoffs in each one of them. As long as your forwards are plus players, your goaltending doesnt cost you games and the defence can make a play and get the puck out a team has a shot at the cup.

The problem was the Peckhams, Potters, Barkers, Suttons playing minutes outside of their capabilities.

You must admit the Defence looks better than it has in years. 12-13: Petry, Smid, Schultz, Shultz, Whitney, Sutton - 10-11: Gilbert, Whitney, Foster, Smid, Vandermeer, Peckham

I would say its safe to say Petry>>Foster, N Schultz>Gilbert, J Schultz>>>Vandermeer, 26 Smid>24 Smid

Our Defence is getting much better, it would be beyond moronic to try to convince anyone otherwise.

Pittsburgh has had of of the best Defensemen in the league in Kris Letang.

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#86 DSF
December 23 2012, 04:56PM
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Oilertown wrote:

Lol DSF and because YOU say they are not that makes them not a passable top pairing. Give me a break buddy you are not the be all end all.

Every statistical analysis you can find will say exactly the same thing.

If you choose to go whistling past the graveyard while the Oilers continue to suck on defense, be my guest.

I won't change the reality.

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#87 David
December 23 2012, 05:01PM
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@DSF

Of course the Oilers need a number one d. That's obvious. But defense is the strength of the future for the organization. The prospects we have are unproven for sure and we can't expect all of them to turn out but there are some dang good ones coming most notably Schultz. My personal opinion is that in 5 years the only question mark that could derail the team is goaltending. And Dubnyk might pan out. I was pleased with th bulk of his play last year.

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#88 DSF
December 23 2012, 05:02PM
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Oilertown wrote:

Petry in my opinion IS a number 2 Smid IS a #3 with as good or better shut down abilities as Hammy Schultz SR IS A very capable #4 throw Whitney and Schultz JR in their and I would say its passable. Just cause you say its not DSF doesn't make you right.

Well, I will certainly defend your right to be wrong but it doesn't help much.

Petry was the Oilers best offensive defenseman last season and that is his role on the top pairing.

That he managed to finish 61st in the league among defensemen in points and was -7 makes your argument look a little foolish.

Willie Mitchell, who is 164 years old and is the definition of a stay at home second pairing defenseman on the most defensive team in the league, finished 1 point behind Petry and was +20.

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#89 David
December 23 2012, 05:04PM
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New Jersey sure threw a wrench in the arguement eh? Look at their defense last year. Good but definately underwheling in the great department.

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#90 DSF
December 23 2012, 05:04PM
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David wrote:

Of course the Oilers need a number one d. That's obvious. But defense is the strength of the future for the organization. The prospects we have are unproven for sure and we can't expect all of them to turn out but there are some dang good ones coming most notably Schultz. My personal opinion is that in 5 years the only question mark that could derail the team is goaltending. And Dubnyk might pan out. I was pleased with th bulk of his play last year.

Actually I disagree with your opinion that defense is the strength of the future.

They all project, Schultz excepted, as bottom 4 defensemen and it appears the wheels are falling off for Marincin and Klefbom.

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#91 David
December 23 2012, 05:09PM
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DSF wrote:

Well, I will certainly defend your right to be wrong but it doesn't help much.

Petry was the Oilers best offensive defenseman last season and that is his role on the top pairing.

That he managed to finish 61st in the league among defensemen in points and was -7 makes your argument look a little foolish.

Willie Mitchell, who is 164 years old and is the definition of a stay at home second pairing defenseman on the most defensive team in the league, finished 1 point behind Petry and was +20.

Considering the fire power that the oilers are gathering up front and that they have an offensive dynamo in Schultz coming I'm not concerned with Petry and Smid's offense. It's their defense that I'm most interested in and they look pretty good. And they are young. I make no claims that they are elite but to suggest they aren't great and promising is silly. Marincin is another player coming who will bring the offense from the d. Klefbom probably won't be too shabby either.

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#92 David
December 23 2012, 05:17PM
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DSF wrote:

Actually I disagree with your opinion that defense is the strength of the future.

They all project, Schultz excepted, as bottom 4 defensemen and it appears the wheels are falling off for Marincin and Klefbom.

It is far too early to say the wheels are falling off and no evidence to suggest they are anyways. You were so bullish on Ryan Murray the other day even with his shoulder injury. Klefbom was tracking extremely well before he hurt his shoulder. Marincin will take a few years. Then he will be quite good. With that size and skating ability and the offense that he brings. Seeing as how the oilers have an excellent second pairing in Petry Smid and Schultz for the front with Klefbom and Marincin and Musil It looks promising. I'm not saying these players are a year away from being impactful NHLers I'm saying that in three to five years the Oilers should have a defense that is not a problem.

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#93 Oilertown
December 23 2012, 05:26PM
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Wow DSF I wish I was as smart as you are and could predict the future.

Reality is that no one knows what the Oils Defence is going to do now or in the future not even you who thinks you do.

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#94 nuge2nail
December 23 2012, 05:37PM
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David wrote:

Pittsburgh has had of of the best Defensemen in the league in Kris Letang.

Oiler Domination To Follow

Letang only played 50 games last year, Pittsburghs number one was Martin, Niskanen was number two and Orpik was number three.

They seemed to manage without a clear number 1. Im just saying lots of teams dont have a true #1 Dman and they compete for a championship.

IN 08-09 when Pittsburgh WON THE STANLEY CUP. Letang was a 21 year old rookie who was a -7. Gonchar played 25 games, Goligoski played 45 games, and Whitney played 28 games.

The team was lead by Hall Gill, Mark Eaton, Brooks Orpik and Rob Scuderi. There was true #1, no 28+ minute horse running the D.

Furthermore, Fleury had a .906 save percentage and a 2.61 goals against average, so he didnt have a spectacular playoffs or regular season. Bad goaltending and not having a #1 D did not prevent the pens from winning the cup. Thinking you require both is an old school Brian Burke mentality - and you can look up his team success over the years. Yeah but the real question is "What does James Mirtle think" of the 08-09 Pens and how many of them were in his top 30 rankings?

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#95 Time Travelling Sean
December 23 2012, 05:41PM
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When is N.Schultz on the ice? When we're down a man or protecting a lead. He is on against the best, trying to shut them down. His GF/GA differential are going to bad naturally. If he was playing cookie minutes with Hall and Eberle and never got a defensive zone start his GF/GA would be better, one would think.

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#96 DSF
December 23 2012, 06:38PM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

EDIT: double post... crap.

at any rate, writing off Marincin and Klefbom is mind-bogglingly stupid

No one is writing them off but they are currently not trending very well.

Do you deny that?

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#97 DSF
December 23 2012, 06:48PM
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David wrote:

It is far too early to say the wheels are falling off and no evidence to suggest they are anyways. You were so bullish on Ryan Murray the other day even with his shoulder injury. Klefbom was tracking extremely well before he hurt his shoulder. Marincin will take a few years. Then he will be quite good. With that size and skating ability and the offense that he brings. Seeing as how the oilers have an excellent second pairing in Petry Smid and Schultz for the front with Klefbom and Marincin and Musil It looks promising. I'm not saying these players are a year away from being impactful NHLers I'm saying that in three to five years the Oilers should have a defense that is not a problem.

I don't recall ever being bullish on Ryan Murray.

I would have picked Galchenyuk first overall.

I agree thee Oilers have a nice second pairing.

What they don't have is a first pairing.

Every team in the league has prospects like Klefbom, Marincin and Musil.

How would you like to be in Burke's shoes with Gardiner, Rielly, Finn, Blacker and Percy all under 25?

Hell, Minnesota has Suter and Gilbert as a top pairing and has Scandella, Brodin, Falk, Spurgeon, Dumba and Cuma all under 25.

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#98 DSF
December 23 2012, 06:52PM
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Oilertown wrote:

Wow DSF I wish I was as smart as you are and could predict the future.

Reality is that no one knows what the Oils Defence is going to do now or in the future not even you who thinks you do.

Keep studying, learn how to spell and pay attention when smarter people are speaking and you should be fine.

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#99 Oilertown
December 23 2012, 07:37PM
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DSF wrote:

Keep studying, learn how to spell and pay attention when smarter people are speaking and you should be fine.

Holy cow man what did I mis-spell Defence oh sorry Defense is that better for you. You think you may be smarter then everyone here but when ppl read your posts you sound as I imagine you are very dumb and ignorant.

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#100 nuge2nail
December 23 2012, 07:39PM
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Oiler Domination To Follow @DSF "How would you like to be in Burke's shoes with Gardiner, Rielly, Finn, Blacker and Percy all under 25?"

In what bizarre world would anyone want to be in Brian Burkes Shoes... Please dont respond with how the leafs have better prospect depth and are going to finish higher than the Oilers every year due to their vast Depth on D. Please Dont. Save yourself the time.

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