THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE REASONABLE

Lowetide
February 23 2013 08:37AM

We're one third of the way through this season and as always there are some who are performing above expected levels and others who have fallen behind. The list of overachievers for the Oilers is interesting, but the guys trailing "reasonable" are the story here.

Each year, before training camp, I create an offensive 'line in the sand' for each regular player. The idea is to create a 'reasonable expectation' for the player--not too high, not too low--based on their own past. It's like a handicap in golf: you're not playing against anything but your own score. Here's how things are going so far this season.

OILER RE (SO FAR) 12-13

  1. Sam Gagner +5 Actual: 16, 5-11-16 (14, 4-7-11). This is such a bizarre season for Gagner, who is scoring at a terrific pace while also centering a 2line that is getting its teeth kicked in at even strength. Still, offensively he's more than covering the bet.
  2. Justin Schultz +3 Actual: 16, 4-4-8 (RE: 15, 1-4-5). Schultz has exceeded his number smartly in the first one-third of the season. Although he does appear to be hurting a little, the young man is so talented his results rank among the best overachievers so far this season. Stud.
  3. Taylor Hall EVEN Actual: 16, 3-13-16 (RE: 13, 7-6-13). He's on pace and meeting expectations. Hall's goal total is a little low, but these things even out over time and we do know that he dedicated himself to improved passing this year.
  4. Jordan Eberle EVEN Actual: 16, 5-6-11 (RE: 15, 5-6-11). Eberle is where he should be based on reasonable expectations and he's been excellent on the powerplay. I think that entire 1line has been terrific, better than the numbers suggest so far, and if the Hockey Gods even things out we should see a nice run in March.
  5. Nail Yakupov EVEN Actual: 16, 5-4-9 (RE: 15, 4-5-9). Young Russian has been inconsistent--this is what rookie's do--but has met expectations and shown glimpses of what he will do in the future. Wonderful talent, his shot is breathtaking and I expect the Oilers will take better advantage in the coming weeks.
  6. Ladislav Smid EVEN Actual: 16, 0-2-2 (RE: 14, 0-2-2). Smid is not going to make his money posting goals and assists, but did enjoy a spike last season. His offense is where it should be, and we should not expect 5 goals in the final months of the season.
  7. Ben Eager EVEN Actual: 7, 0-1-1 (RE: 10, 1-1-2). Big winger had some injury troubles early but seems to be rounding into form. His most recent games have been (imo) his best as an Oiler. I have adjusted for his injury.
  8. Ales Hemsky MINUS ONE Actual: 16, 7-3-10 (RE: 12, 3-8-11). This is basically even, he's had a nice start to the year (especially on the PP) offensively. Like Gagner, Hemsky has some question marks surrounding him based on how many shots the line is giving up compared to what they're doing at the other end. The boxcars are fine.
  9. Teemu Hartikainen MINUS ONE Actual: 15, 0-2-2 (RE: 10, 1-2-3). The big Finn is on pace for what we'd expected, getting some PP time and then up and down the depth chart depending on which way the wind blows. It doesn't show up in the stats, but he's becoming a terrific down low battler, suspect Smyth's help is part of it.
  10. Shawn Horcoff MINUS ONE Actual: 7, 1-1-2 (RE: 15, 2-3-5). I adjusted for injury. Horcoff--like Belanger--is having a good season and his being placed on the IR coincided with a downturn in team performance.
  11. Nick Schultz MINUS ONE Actual: 16, 0-1-1 (RE: 16, 0-2-2). Offense isn't his calling card, although you'd think he would get some points just based on playing next to the other Schultz. It has been a struggle for him defensively of late, but the offensive numbers are what we should have expected from him.
  12. Lennart Petrell MINUS ONE. Actual: 13, 1-0-1 (RE: 10, 1-1-2). Winger had an injury that cost him a few games but he's on track for the season. Might get pushed with the return of Jones and the early season performances of Hartikainen and Paajarvi.
  13. Ryan Smyth MINUS TWO Actual: 15, 2-3-5 (RE: 13, 3-4-7). A minor downturn in terms of offensive output, I did predict he would have fewer PP opportunities and Smyth lost a game via healthy scratch. Smyth is an all-time battler, though and has played better since returning.
  14. Eric Belanger MINUS TWO Actual: 13, 0-2-2 (RE: 15, 2-2-4). Veteran has been playing an extreme defensive role, and the minus 2 RE should not be viewed as a negative. Belanger is delivering quality play and looks exactly like the player Edmonton thought they were getting summer 2011.
  15. Magnus Paajarvi MINUS TWO Actual: 13, 2-0-2 (RE: 1-3-4). All kinds of good things--including growing confidence in his offensive game--make this a very nice beginning for Magnus Paajarvi. Down slightly in RE, but in the range of what we could have expected.
  16. Ryan Whitney MINUS THREE Actual: 12, 0-3-3 (RE: 13, 1-5-6). I did account for some worry about his ability to play at previous levels but didn't nick him enough. I don't believe this is a slump or that he's not doing his best to perform at the highest levels.
  17. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins MINUS SIX Actual: 15, 1-6-7 (RE: 14, 4-9-13). The Nuge is injured and it is certainly having an impact on him. On the other hand, like all gifted offensive players he's getting chances galore and if healthy I belive the Nuge would be on pace. At this point, he's having a disappointing season.
  18. Mark Fistric DNQ Actual: 10, 0-2-2. I did not project Fistric (he was acquired later) but this number should be viewed as a positive. Big defender has had an impact in his first 10 Oiler games.
  19. Anton Lander DNQ Actual: 4, 0-1-1. I did not project Lander to play in the NHL this season. He did look good though, in between Harski and Paajarvi on the Nordic Line. Lander's injury was a bad turn. 

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

The RE numbers are here. I think everyone is in the range save for Gagner and Schultz (positive) and Nuge and Whitney (downside) but the two who are not performing at level have been/are injured and that has impacted performance.

The Oilers record is not because of overall downturns in performance. Their 5x5 scoring and the 2line's troubles are the major issues, with the 1line, Schultz the younger and goaltending the positives.

If this team does the same things for the next 16 games, they should win more games. Seriously.

 

C2a6955161684b5e3189319acfa5ebe4
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 Team 1260.
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#51 Chet134
February 23 2013, 11:32AM
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Lowetide: of course Katz is sticking to the gameplan cuz he's a businessman who's making money off the worse franchise in the last three years. It's easy to stick to a gameplan. The fans aren't asking for a miracle they are asking for progress and to actually see management make a tough decision which they haven't done yet. You honestly think that if the oilers get another lottery pick that's progress and it's apart of a rebuilt. No one should get fired. Did a gm get fired apart of chicago or pittsb rebuilt. Staying status quo until the summer is a disservice to the fans. If they end up 18 to 22 that's a little progress but would still hurt.

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#53 canucknnv
February 23 2013, 11:41AM
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@lowetide

I'm actually being serious when I say this and I know I'll get butchered for it but what would it take to get Penner from LA? a 4th? 5th? Plante? I he has the lazy stigma but he produced and he's big. If Krueger could use his motivational skills on him would he fit. He's a good guy and if he fit signed for cheap next year. Ship has sailed maybe he is an nhl player on a team that needs nhl players

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#55 Oilfred
February 23 2013, 12:03PM
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Lowetide wrote:

I'm with you. Gagner-Hemsky both have chem with Penner and if you split those two up Penner can help one of the two lines.

Suspect there are few of us who feel that way, but I always liked Penner. Interviews were hilarious.

MacT might be hard to convert, though. :-)

I'm down with a low risk type aquisition but this draft is not one I want to lose another pick in.

The Oilers could set themselves up nicely for the complementry types needed this spring.

Just want to win so bad.

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#56 RexLibris
February 23 2013, 12:10PM
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I'm with LT on this one. I think Tambellini deserves some credit for the positive sides of the franchise right now, including the Schutlz signing. Yes, he picked the Oilers pretty early in the process, but he partially picked them because of the talent that had been accumulated due to Tambellini's patience. At the same time, a bad GM could have easily turned the young man off the Oilers at a moment's notice.

In terms of the Oilers being a young team, my valuation of a young team is the age of the core players. Calgary, on paper, isn't considered a young team because they have a bunch of marginal players who are in their 20s. However, nobody familiar with hockey would describe that team as anything but old and aging quickly because their principal players are all in the back-9 of their careers.

As for the Oilers making a move to improve things right now, well maybe they need to make a play for O'Reilly (trade, not offer sheet) or target someone like Franson. Who knows? But they are only a few games away from losing this season prematurely. So long as it doesn't involve this year's 1st round pick, I think options need to be explored.

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#57 Dog Train
February 23 2013, 12:21PM
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What about Jeff Petry? I didn't bother to check but I am sure that his 0 points is obviously well below whatever his RE was set at. He's started to jump into the play of late but we need some more production from the backend and he needs to be a part of that. Him and Whitney need to get some points because J. Schultz seems to be losing some steam as he adjusts to the amount of games in a pro season.

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#58 canucknnv
February 23 2013, 12:24PM
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@Oilfred

I don't think the return for Penner would be enough to affect the draft. On the high end it would be a 3rd round pick that we don't have so then I would be a 4th + a spare part that we have plenty of. I think Penner is just a good guy, great interview and can put the puck in the net when he wants to. Let's face it even when he was getting lambasted in the media he still put up 30 goals. I don't see any problem with that and a pro rated 3.25 is affordable. In fact I would pay him that for 3 yrs.

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#59 canucknnv
February 23 2013, 12:32PM
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@Lowetide

I think MacT might have a different attitude now that the pressure of the daily coaching grind is off of him. DP doesn't carry the offer sheet contract anymore and on a pro rated 3.25 MacT might be swayed to think its worth it to inject proven chemistry into the lineup. Very low risk and if it panned out they would look brilliant for the original DP to LA trade. win win

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#60 Rama Lama
February 23 2013, 12:33PM
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RexLibris wrote:

I'm with LT on this one. I think Tambellini deserves some credit for the positive sides of the franchise right now, including the Schutlz signing. Yes, he picked the Oilers pretty early in the process, but he partially picked them because of the talent that had been accumulated due to Tambellini's patience. At the same time, a bad GM could have easily turned the young man off the Oilers at a moment's notice.

In terms of the Oilers being a young team, my valuation of a young team is the age of the core players. Calgary, on paper, isn't considered a young team because they have a bunch of marginal players who are in their 20s. However, nobody familiar with hockey would describe that team as anything but old and aging quickly because their principal players are all in the back-9 of their careers.

As for the Oilers making a move to improve things right now, well maybe they need to make a play for O'Reilly (trade, not offer sheet) or target someone like Franson. Who knows? But they are only a few games away from losing this season prematurely. So long as it doesn't involve this year's 1st round pick, I think options need to be explored.

Your assessment of Tamby is illogical and the credit you give him for Schultz is laughable.

Getting the first overall draft pick three years in a row does not show patience.......it highlights incompetence. If finishing last somehow make you a good GM, then please let's not have a GM at all. You and others like you have set the bar so low that any progress will satisfy you......for you to state that a bad GM would have turned off Schultz therefore he is good in your eyes.......this is a ridiculous argument.

If patience is your critical indicator in judging a GM........IMHO you need to readdress your argument.

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#61 Oiler Al
February 23 2013, 12:59PM
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I think the best deal Tambelini made under his watch, was sending the " Pancake Plunderer" to the Kings. Bringing him back would be a step backwards..this guy comes to play only when he feels like it, which is not that often.

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#62 Chet134
February 23 2013, 01:16PM
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Bloggers tell me when the last time u saw a Gm go through 4 coaches in 5 years, three consecutive first overall picks and Heading towards another lottery pick has ever kept his job. Now u want to give him any kind of credit for this mess. Wow

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#63 Serious Gord
February 23 2013, 01:55PM
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Being Penner back to be with hemsky and gagne?

That is the exact opposite of what needs to happen. Hemsky and gagne need to be moved to bring in size, fierceness and physicality to the first two lines. And Penner only meets one of those three requirements.

Oil fans need to come to grips with the fact that hemsky, gagne AND Smyth need to be moved elsewhere or - in the case of Ryan Smyth - into retirement.

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#64 Skidplate
February 23 2013, 01:57PM
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Surprised to see Khabby in net.

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#65 Skidplate
February 23 2013, 02:16PM
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BS penalty call

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#66 Skidplate
February 23 2013, 02:28PM
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Anyone?

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#67 Skidplate
February 23 2013, 02:28PM
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Nice effort by Gagner

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#69 leadfarmer
February 23 2013, 03:35PM
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DSF. While the true average is higher. The effective average is lower given that the old guys are bottom pairing defenseman, backup goalie and bottom 6 guys which all get a lot less icetime and are a lot easier to replace. Given that none of the top 6 are above 30, and Nick Schultz being the only top 4 defenseman that is 30 this is the youngest core in the NHL.

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#70 RexLibris
February 23 2013, 03:52PM
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@Rama Lama

So just to be clear: are you laughing with me, at me, or around me?

We've been through this before. I'm not a solid Tambellini fan, but based on what the average is for NHL management right now, the team could have done much, much worse in laying the groundwork for this rebuild.

I realize that is not praise, but I would much rather have had Tambellini in charge these last four years than Feaster, Burke, Sherman and a host of others.

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#71 Milli
February 23 2013, 05:21PM
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I'm interested to see how they do on the long road trip. I think for a young team, it might be better than we expect.

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#72 Milli
February 23 2013, 05:21PM
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I'm interested to see how they do on the long road trip. I think for a young team, it might be better than we expect.

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#73 pelhem grenville
February 23 2013, 05:24PM
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...LT...ink's not even dry on the divorce papers and there you are posting skingifs of the Lane womanShameless!!! and ThankYou

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#75 Spydyr
February 23 2013, 06:39PM
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Lowetide wrote:

Chet, imo Katz has stuck with the rebuild plan since early 2010 when the wheels fell off. I keep hoping for signs they've decided to turn the power on and add a legit NHL defenseman and a veteran winger, but we're coming up on three years now without it.

I really don't think it is their plan to add what is needed this year.Either that or they are incompetent.

Maybe this off season.Even the most patient fans are starting to get pissed.

Whatever they do.Don't trade any asset that might help the team in 2-3 years.That includes draft picks.

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#76 Bonvie
February 23 2013, 06:45PM
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Oiler Al wrote:

I think the best deal Tambelini made under his watch, was sending the " Pancake Plunderer" to the Kings. Bringing him back would be a step backwards..this guy comes to play only when he feels like it, which is not that often.

I disagree I always have seen Pancake Penner as a responsible defensive player that always made the play on the wall in the defensive zone and made room for his teammates providing chaos down low. opposing D always had their hands full when he brought the play to the net causing the needed chaos in front of the net. Besides I would much rather see my Oilers play with pancakes in their pockets then eggs.

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#77 Bonvie
February 23 2013, 06:51PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

Being Penner back to be with hemsky and gagne?

That is the exact opposite of what needs to happen. Hemsky and gagne need to be moved to bring in size, fierceness and physicality to the first two lines. And Penner only meets one of those three requirements.

Oil fans need to come to grips with the fact that hemsky, gagne AND Smyth need to be moved elsewhere or - in the case of Ryan Smyth - into retirement.

Are you talking about trading Hemsky to the Kings to play with Gagne and Penner? I think the rest of us are asking for Penner to come to the Oilers to play with either Gagner or Hemsky.

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#78 Rama Lama
February 23 2013, 08:23PM
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RexLibris wrote:

So just to be clear: are you laughing with me, at me, or around me?

We've been through this before. I'm not a solid Tambellini fan, but based on what the average is for NHL management right now, the team could have done much, much worse in laying the groundwork for this rebuild.

I realize that is not praise, but I would much rather have had Tambellini in charge these last four years than Feaster, Burke, Sherman and a host of others.

Never laughing at you my fellow OIler fan, that would be disrespectful. Just not buying your argument ..........Tamby is not a bad GM because he did not screw up JS coming here.

Tell me which NHL GM would have screwed up signing the most heralded defenseman coming out of college hockey?

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#79 Serious Gord
February 23 2013, 11:26PM
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Bonvie:

No. I'm saying don't trade for Penner - he doesn't deliver what we need. But DO trade hemsky and gagne.

They are both suited for first or second line play but we already have four of our top six spoken for for a long time - hall nuge eberle and yak. The other two spots need to be filled by big, fierce, physical players (think lucic). Trading hem and gag will get us a long way towards aquiring those two players - especially if they continue to play well.

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#80 pelhem grenville
February 24 2013, 07:29AM
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Lowetide wrote:

I do it for you and me, Pelhem!

... gawd where's my copy of "Unfaithful"

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#81 Hair bag
February 24 2013, 10:59AM
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Chet134 wrote:

Lowetide: of course Katz is sticking to the gameplan cuz he's a businessman who's making money off the worse franchise in the last three years. It's easy to stick to a gameplan. The fans aren't asking for a miracle they are asking for progress and to actually see management make a tough decision which they haven't done yet. You honestly think that if the oilers get another lottery pick that's progress and it's apart of a rebuilt. No one should get fired. Did a gm get fired apart of chicago or pittsb rebuilt. Staying status quo until the summer is a disservice to the fans. If they end up 18 to 22 that's a little progress but would still hurt.

You are an idiot - I'm a fan and I don't feel dis serviced. That's because anyone with half a brain realizes building a franchise in any sport takes time, patience and a little bit of luck. Dean Lombardi took 11yrs to put all the pieces in place to finally win a Stanley Cup. We're 3yrs in - anything before that doesn't count because there were other variables in play that affected the decision making - ie economic factors, chasing the dream of duplicating one magical run ('06) where the cornerstone forced himself out of town and a host of others - free agents shunning Edmonton, etc, etc... This is the first time since the glory days that there are some true building blocks in place and something really great has the potential to happen - so quit your pissing and moaning about the inner workings and thoughts of the management team when in fact you have no idea what is really going on. Sit and enjoy the skill that is on display, we're a long way from the Ethan Moreau, Dustin Penner days where the guys that had heart had no skill and the guys that had skill had no heart.

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#82 Hair bag
February 24 2013, 11:04AM
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Serious Gord wrote:

Bonvie:

No. I'm saying don't trade for Penner - he doesn't deliver what we need. But DO trade hemsky and gagne.

They are both suited for first or second line play but we already have four of our top six spoken for for a long time - hall nuge eberle and yak. The other two spots need to be filled by big, fierce, physical players (think lucic). Trading hem and gag will get us a long way towards aquiring those two players - especially if they continue to play well.

The player you describe isn't just floating out there on the breeze. What player in the league, like Lucic you think we could trade Hemsky and Gagner for? Who is this player - guys like this are harder to find than high level skill players.

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#83 Hair bag
February 24 2013, 11:14AM
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Chet134 wrote:

Bloggers tell me when the last time u saw a Gm go through 4 coaches in 5 years, three consecutive first overall picks and Heading towards another lottery pick has ever kept his job. Now u want to give him any kind of credit for this mess. Wow

MacT wasn't his hire, he was cleaning up Lowe's mess. Quinn was a legitimate hire at the time, no one could foresee that his best days were long behind him (rumour has it he couldn't even remember all his players names). I liked Renney but it did feel like change was needed. Basically, your coach argument is very circumstantial....the hiring decisions that were made seemed like the right ones at the time.

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#84 Old Retired Guy
February 24 2013, 12:37PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

Not sure if you are aware, but the draft lottery now includes the bottom 15 teams. Thus the bankable value of first round pick from a bottom-feeding team has been cut in half.

I think it's a great change BTW as it removes a lot of the incentive to tank a season.

Agreed...new draft rules are an improvement. But I still don’t fully understand the math behind it.

Under the new rules, if a team finishes 31st overall and LOSES the draft lottery, do they not still get the second overall pick??? Is that really a big disincentive to tank it at the end of the season???

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#85 Old Retired Guy
February 24 2013, 12:47PM
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Skidplate wrote:

I just think we are too far away yet. The something that Tambellini needs to do may be too much.

It will take more than one dman to get our 5 on 5 scoring up to snuff. By the time you address 5v5, faceoffs, toughness, defensive help we may not have any draft picks left and I am scared to think what we would need to remove from our team to get there.

I am OK with a top 10 pick this year, one more year of seasoning for our future stars and one more off season to address the teams needs. (I know, I know, how many chances does this management team need).

I don't get the idea that what you do this year, next year, two years form now...is a matter of timing. The evaluation period is over/done....from here on in you do everything you can to win/make the playoffs...and you take every opportunity that presents itself to improve your team through trades, the draft, and buying UFA's....

If you make the playoffs....great everyone on the roster gains invaluable experience...if you don't make the playoffs then you pick where you pick and maybe get lucky with a lottery win however unlikely.....

Point is the time for waiting is definitley over...There is no longer any value proposition in waiting......No Panic....But NO Dithering either....

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#86 Old Retired Guy
February 24 2013, 01:32PM
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DSF wrote:

The Oilers are not even close to the youngest in the league.

Columbus, Winnipeg, Toronto, LA, Carolina, Ottawa, Minnesota, St. Louis, Colorado and Buffalo all have a lower average age.

http://www.quanthockey.com/TS/TS_AverageAge.php

DSF raises a good point here. Experience is worth a ton in pro sports...Sweet Spot is typically 24 to 30....

Right now, experience and talent wise, we fall in a category with the Columbus, Winnipeg, Toronto, Minnesota, Colorado and Buffalo's of the league.

Hopefully, next year we'll move into the realm of the Carolina, Ottawa, St. Louis's and LA's of the league.

Within two years, as we age, the Chicago's and Pittsburgh's of the league.

But only if we don't panic and don't dither.

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#87 Old Retired Guy
February 24 2013, 01:43PM
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DSF wrote:

The Oilers should take a look at J.M. Liles.

With Gardiner set to return soon, the Leafs have 10 NHL defensemen on their roster.

I would image the Oilers could pick him up fairly cheaply.

He could certainly give a boost to the 3rd pairing and is another option on the PP.

I do like the fact that DSF actually comes up with names/specific players that could address our needs...as opposed to the hoards who just constantly scream for the anonomous Top 4 D-man.

While Liles doesn't add the much needed toughness we will eventually need, he would seem like a decent stop gap, in an attempt to gain a playoff spot, given that our top 3 offensive D-men are fading....Whitney is struggling in a big way...Petry's offense has tailed off this year...J. Schultz is looking much less inspired/agressive than he did in the first 10 games...

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#88 Old Retired Guy
February 24 2013, 02:11PM
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DSF wrote:

If you don't think Liles is an upgrade on Petry, Potter, Peckham and Fistric, I can't help you.

In 15GP, Liles has 1G 5A 6P +2.

Fistric, Nick Schultz, Petry, Potter and Peckham combined have 0G 3A 3P and are a collective -15.

One of the biggest problems with the Oilers is that they have ZERO secondary scoring and much of that is because the D is pathetic offensively.

For example, the Oilers have a total of 17 points from their defensemen, while a team like the Canucks has 35.

Even a team like Minnesota which isn't scoring much has 25.

It's a big problem since, if you shut down the kids, it's game over.

TRUE DAT!

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#89 Old Retired Guy
February 24 2013, 02:11PM
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DSF wrote:

If you don't think Liles is an upgrade on Petry, Potter, Peckham and Fistric, I can't help you.

In 15GP, Liles has 1G 5A 6P +2.

Fistric, Nick Schultz, Petry, Potter and Peckham combined have 0G 3A 3P and are a collective -15.

One of the biggest problems with the Oilers is that they have ZERO secondary scoring and much of that is because the D is pathetic offensively.

For example, the Oilers have a total of 17 points from their defensemen, while a team like the Canucks has 35.

Even a team like Minnesota which isn't scoring much has 25.

It's a big problem since, if you shut down the kids, it's game over.

TRUE DAT!

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