Ryan Whitney and Corey Potter

Jonathan Willis
April 05 2013 11:58AM

The Edmonton Oilers’ most-used third-pairing this season has had some ups and some downs, but more of the latter than the former. Ryan Whitney’s ineffective play has led to him being a healthy scratch at times, while Corey Potter is often seen as a reserve defenceman who inexplicably finds himself on the regular rotation.

What’s wrong with the pairing?

The two most common explanations are typically these:

  • Both players are terrible
  • Ryan Whitney has some warts, but is being brought down by Potter

I have typically leaned towards the first explanation, but thought it might be interesting to see what the scoring chance data says.

Whitney without Potter

If Ryan Whitney is in fact a decent player shackled to an AHL’er, we would expect to see on-ice scoring chances improve in games where Potter isn’t dressed. Fortunately for these purposes, Potter has spent significant time out of the lineup, so there is a long stretch of games where Whitney played with other partners. What happened?

The following are the Oilers’ scoring chances for and against at even-strength with Whitney on the ice, first in games where Potter sat, then in games where he played:

  • Without Potter: +41/-75 (35.3% of all scoring chances are for the Oilers)
  • With Potter: +68/-91 (42.8% of all scoring chances are for the Oilers)
  • Total: +109/-166 (39.6% of all scoring chances are for the Oilers)

In both situations, Whitney’s pairing is taken out back of the woodshed by the opposition, but it’s interesting to note that things actually get worse when Potter is out of the lineup.

Potter without Whitney

Corey Potter has not played in a lot of games with Whitney out of the lineup, so there’s not nearly enough data here to be definitive but what information there is caught my eye:

  • Without Whitney: +15/-9 (62.5% of all scoring chances are for the Oilers)
  • With Whitney: +68/-91 (42.8% of all scoring chances are for the Oilers)
  • Total: +83/-100 (45.4% of all scoring chances are for the Oilers)

The “without Whitney” data is so small that it shouldn’t be seen as sustainable – I very much doubt that Potter could sustain those figures, or anything close to them, over a full season played with Mark Fistric or Theo Peckham. But it does seem fair to say that Whitney suffers more from his absence than he from Whitney’s.

Valuation

Ryan Whitney’s an interesting player because the thing he does really well – provide offence – is one of those things that tend to be disproportionally valued. By that, I mean that a guy who gets two points in a 2-0 win and makes no defensive mistakes is objectively helping his team more than a player who scores three points and makes two critical defensive errors that lead to goals against in a 4-3 loss, but more often than not the latter will get more positive attention than the former.

There’s no denying Whitney’s offensive prowess. There was a certain amount of gloating on Twitter among his more fervent supporters when he ran up two points in the Oilers’ 8-2 win over Calgary. Getting less attention was the fact that Devan Dubnyk had to be very sharp in that game because the Oilers were awfully sloppy defensively – and that Whitney was more likely to be on the ice for a chance against than any other player on the team. The offence didn’t come against Vancouver last night, but once again Whitney led the Oilers’ blue line in chances against and made two very bad defensive zone turnovers.

Looking at the data, though, I can’t help but wonder if the Oilers would be better off running Potter and Fistric as their third pairing for a few games – or if not that, pushing Whitney more toward Marc-Andre Bergeron usage, where he plays the role of power play specialist and only gets spotted at even-strength (because Whitney does add value to the power play). At five-on-five, his scoring just doesn’t seem to outweigh his defensive zone work.

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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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#101 Romulus' Apotheosis
April 05 2013, 06:54PM
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Eddie Shore wrote:

Whitney can make an excellent first pass. Potter cannot. THIS is why he is more valuable to this team than Potter, warts and all. Its a shame there isn't a stat for that.

this is what you want:

http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2013/02/21/jeff-petry-carrying-the-load-as-oilers-top-puck-mule-on-the-back-end-and-weve-got-the-zone-exit-numbers-to-prove-it/

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#102 dougtheslug
April 05 2013, 06:58PM
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Rama Lama wrote:

Well if both of these players are bad and without merit as the stats suggest..........then why did Mr. Dithers not trade these guys and at least acquire a couple of draft picks/prospects??

Mr. Dithers reasoning was he did not want to send the wrong message to the team, how pathetic is that line of reasoning. Not playing Fistric ( for the last five games due to one error) is not only bad for his confidence, but fails to impress why we got him in the first place! I believe that he was brought in to be a physical force out there, which he has accomplished rather nicely IMHO.

Peckham is far better than Potter or Whitney and played well in the two games Krueger has had him play.......but he sits??

THis team is not designed to win the way it is currently put together, especially the bottom two lines and the third pairing defense. I'm glad we won five in a row but nothing has been changed on this team to improve our chances of making the playoffs........Tamby has to wear that.

I'm also not buying the narrative from the Oilers Brass that there were no deals to be made out there.........that my friends is called bullsh-t!

If both these players are bad and without merit, as you and so many people here are suggesting, how was Tambo going to slide that inconvenient piece of information past astute NHL GM's(Feaster, presumably, was too busy to be answering calls).Everyone knows whats going on out there, it isn't just members of ON that study staistics.

Really, if it is so obvious that these players are not useful to the Oilers, why are you so sure that other teams would find them so useful that they would be willing to part with their own assets to have them. You can't have it both ways - they are either useful or they aren't.

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#103 DieHard
April 05 2013, 07:07PM
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The reason Whitney and Potter are playing and why ST didn't make any moves is because:

1. It's April and we're still in the playoff hunt

2. We're a couple of points away from a top 10 pick.

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#104 GVBlackhawk
April 05 2013, 07:13PM
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Cutterov wrote:

What is our love affair with potter? He is not really an offensive d man, he sure is not a defensive physical presence, he is just there. Going back to the Nashville game potter came across the ice to play the man who Fistric had lined up to hit, to me it appears the Fistric was thrown under the bus for a play that I don't not believe was potters to make. Put it this way if Potter is a top 6 d man, we are not a playoff team, Potter is at best a number 7 guy. I'd give absolutely everything to be out there roughing up a guy like Glencross to make sure my boys (Nail and the boys) don't have to worry about that and yet potter grabs a guy for a junior high slow dance and makes Nail battle.

That play was not Potter's fault. Fistric was lining up Potter's man while his own skated right on to the net for a goal. He put himself out of position and gave Nashville an odd man rush. It was an awful play that got him rightfully benched.

No love affair for Potter going on. I also think that he's a number 7 defenseman.

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#105 DigDeepNBleedBlue
April 05 2013, 07:14PM
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@Rama Lama

Dude, I appreciate your enthusiasm. And, I look at you like my brah in arms! Know that.

I too want to see the playoffs. I just believe this team is on a smart path right now to something more special than a playoff appearance. Holding Stanley high over their heads.

I believe in this rebuild. I like the direction. Yes, they do need to fight for that last playoff spot! It's all part of the journey to euphoria.

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#106 Rama Lama
April 05 2013, 07:29PM
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@dougtheslug

I'm assuming that everyone understands the principal of " one mans garbage is another mans treasure".

We have skill ( the fab five) but need toughness on the bottom six and another real defenseman........there has to be something out there we could use, and I'm assuming someone ( Boston Detroit) needs a puck moving defenseman that does not need to play heavy minutes?

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#107 Eskimo44
April 05 2013, 07:52PM
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One thing to consider is that when Whitney plays with Fistric or Peckham iirc he is the one that plays the right side. So in most of the sorties without Potter he's playing at a bit of a disadvantage. It's a good article with strong points, i just thought that might be worth considering.

As for pulling Whitney from the lineup i think that's a mistake. He has more value than Potter because he's still a very good player in the offensive end of the rink whie Potter is good but not great. Because Whitney is still the best PP option on the blueline and can regularly make solid offensive plays he gives the Oilers a dimension Potter doesn't. Potter being a more rounded player doesn't make him more valuable because he shouldn't be a go to guy in any area like Whitney can be. So yeah i'd say Whitney in the M.A Bergeron role is the way to go.

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#108 DSF
April 05 2013, 08:00PM
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Arguing the benefits of two defensemen who wouldn't be on the roster of a contending team is ridiculous.

The Oilers need TWO top pairing defensemen so that players like Smid, Petry, Schultz and Schultz can be forced down the lineup into their comfort zone is the only solution.

At their current level of performance, none of Whitney, Potter or Peckham belong in the NHL and Fistric is no more than a 7th defenseman.

Good grief, the defensively challenged Dallas Stars cut Fistric loose.

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#109 Rob...
April 05 2013, 08:11PM
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@DSF

"Good grief, the defensively challenged Dallas Stars cut Fistric loose."

Yup, just like the Oilers cut Brodziak loose. Who did that bum go to again? Pathetic argument.

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#110 DSF
April 05 2013, 08:26PM
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Rob... wrote:

"Good grief, the defensively challenged Dallas Stars cut Fistric loose."

Yup, just like the Oilers cut Brodziak loose. Who did that bum go to again? Pathetic argument.

If you think Fistric is a defenseman you can't find in the remainder bin every offseason, I can't help you.

Now that Brodziak has been pushed down the lineup:

37GP 6G 4A -15

No surprise the Wild are more successful now that they don't have 3rd line players masquerading as 1st line players.

The Oilers will have more success when they don't have 2nd or 3rd pairing defensemen playing way over their pay grade.

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#111 Walter Sobchak
April 05 2013, 08:47PM
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I think Whitney had value much like M.A.B has some value, teams on a playoff run realize the value in players such as Whitney to quarterback a PP or be a depth player.

He may not have been worth a first round pick which I assume Tambellini was asking for, but you can see a second round pick with what teams were floating out there.

He'll, if Fistric is worth a 3rd then Whitney should have been able to get a second.

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#112 michael
April 05 2013, 08:50PM
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The defensive numbers for Whitney are what irks me.30 years old and he still can't play in his own end. Sure his ability to make the first pass is desirable buy imo it puts him on my good to go list. If we are going to think about playoffs then Fistric needs to be in the lineup more often. I'll take the ability to defend over the first pass anytime. I would take 6 Smids then 6 Whitneys.

Off season. Whitney you let walk. Fistric you sign. You move Potter and Peckham and make a spot for klefbom and one other "defender". I think we move N Shultz on draft day.I think that our 4567 dmen need to be more defensive type defencemen. Why do we need first pass dmen with the fourth line? You need those dmen playing when your 123 lines are on. Or in the case where you are line matching you put them where they will have the most impact offensively.

For example last night when Halls line was matched against the Sedins I would rather see a Smid Fistric pairing on the ice with Hall in that matchup rather than a J Shultz-N Shultz. You need someone heavy on the puck and the man rather than someone less physical when matched against the Sedins. They put Bieksa against Hall for a reason.It works because his pairing is heavy on the puck and the man. Combined with the Sedins skill it negates that lines ability to generate offence 5 on 5. J Shultz is not ready to match up against the Sedins nor is Petry. You need dmen willing to engage physically like Smid or Fistric to negate that skill that the Sedins bring.

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#113 Walter Sobchak
April 05 2013, 08:51PM
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DSF wrote:

Arguing the benefits of two defensemen who wouldn't be on the roster of a contending team is ridiculous.

The Oilers need TWO top pairing defensemen so that players like Smid, Petry, Schultz and Schultz can be forced down the lineup into their comfort zone is the only solution.

At their current level of performance, none of Whitney, Potter or Peckham belong in the NHL and Fistric is no more than a 7th defenseman.

Good grief, the defensively challenged Dallas Stars cut Fistric loose.

This is correct, the Oilers D is way over matched and to be honest way to much for a kid like Schultz to be given this much responsibility.

He should have been given the easy's this year and had some type shelter.

Nope, the Oilers sink or swim policy is driving me nuts!

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#114 DSF
April 05 2013, 08:59PM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

This is correct, the Oilers D is way over matched and to be honest way to much for a kid like Schultz to be given this much responsibility.

He should have been given the easy's this year and had some type shelter.

Nope, the Oilers sink or swim policy is driving me nuts!

Schultz and Schultz should be the Oilers bottom pairing.

Anyone who saw J. Schultz screwed into the ice by Derek Roy on Higgins' goal last night would agree.

xxx-xxx

Smid-Petry

Schultz-Schultz

Whitney/Fistric

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#115 Romulus' Apotheosis
April 05 2013, 09:10PM
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DSF wrote:

Arguing the benefits of two defensemen who wouldn't be on the roster of a contending team is ridiculous.

The Oilers need TWO top pairing defensemen so that players like Smid, Petry, Schultz and Schultz can be forced down the lineup into their comfort zone is the only solution.

At their current level of performance, none of Whitney, Potter or Peckham belong in the NHL and Fistric is no more than a 7th defenseman.

Good grief, the defensively challenged Dallas Stars cut Fistric loose.

I'd take one. two would be magic.

on this we agree.

though one of fistric/peckham is fine as a 6-8 player. no need to rag the guy.

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#116 DSF
April 05 2013, 09:20PM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

I'd take one. two would be magic.

on this we agree.

though one of fistric/peckham is fine as a 6-8 player. no need to rag the guy.

Fistric was replaced in the Dallas lineup by Aaron Rome who was 9th on the Vancouver depth chart.

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#117 Eddie Shore
April 05 2013, 09:24PM
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@DSF

Thing is, nobody has asked for your help.

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#118 DSF
April 05 2013, 09:27PM
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Eddie Shore wrote:

Thing is, nobody has asked for your help.

Nor yours.

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#119 Dog Train
April 05 2013, 09:53PM
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Unfortunately, we lack D-men who can actually move the puck. Petry has gotten better in that respect and J. Schultz isn't the player that he was earlier this season. Whitney definitely has big time issues defensively right now but I would still argue that he brings more to the table than Potter does.

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#120 Eddie Shore
April 05 2013, 10:01PM
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@DSF

If you think Fistric is a defenseman you can't find in the remainder bin every offseason, I can't help you.

Your arrogant comments are getting very old. Just because you have an opinion does not make it fact. Part of what makes this site so enjoyable is the differing opinions and the respectful dialogue between those that view things differently. Having you come on here day after day after day after day and tell us all how much we dont know and how much you do is getting very tiring.

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#121 Jeremy
April 05 2013, 10:03PM
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I must admit I find it funny how people are dismissive of what DSF says. Ignore the cherry picked self serving out of context stats and look at the actual message. Edmonton elevates prospects and players too soon, fails to use them in roles that suit their talents providing them with the best chance to succeed and the Oilers the best chance to win.

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#122 Eddie Shore
April 05 2013, 10:14PM
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@Jeremy

The way they've handled Klef, Yak and MPS has been much better hasnt it? Its easier to not rush them in when you have capable players, which we didnt have before (Gagner era).

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#123 Jeremy
April 05 2013, 10:26PM
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@Eddie Shore

It definitely looks like they are learning from past mistakes but one only has to look at the handling of Lander to see that they haven't quite figured it out. I think the big test will come in the next year or two with the graduating dmen. I hope they have...

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#124 Quicksilver ballet
April 05 2013, 10:37PM
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Good to have DSF back after the vendetta was lifted for yesterdays game. Good to see not everyone's wearing the rose colored glasses that are often present.

Tough day for our Oilers. One loss and suddenly we're 4 pts out again.

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#125 K_Mart
April 05 2013, 10:47PM
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JW you're absolutely right. Whitney should be used on the PP, but only spot duty 5v5.

He's a horrendous defenseman and a horrendous skater.

He can make a pass, and he can quarterback a powerplay. Every other aspect of his game is mind bogglingly awful.

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#126 Romulus' Apotheosis
April 05 2013, 10:47PM
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DSF wrote:

Fistric was replaced in the Dallas lineup by Aaron Rome who was 9th on the Vancouver depth chart.

who was replaced by Cam Barker?

funny logic.

again. some of these players are valuable when actually used appropriately. ragging on them because they wear oil colors is a stupid habit of yours.

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#127 K_Mart
April 05 2013, 10:52PM
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DSF wrote:

Fistric was replaced in the Dallas lineup by Aaron Rome who was 9th on the Vancouver depth chart.

Hah, lots of good that did them.

Fistric is under rated, especially by you.

His skating is actually better than Whitney's from what I can tell. He's the biggest hitter this team has had since Smith and there's no arguing that taking a man off his feet is a very effective way to separate him from the puck.

He has zero puck skills. ZERO. But there isn't a player on another roster that he can't crush, and he's one of the best players I've seen at timing his hits in a long time.

All he is supposed to do is make it hell for the other team to spend time in our zone(which he does), then get the puck to his d-partner if needed.

The hit he threw that cost him his spot in the line up was probably one of the worst plays I've seen by an oiler this year, but outside of his being a little over aggressive on some of the hits he goes for, he makes the opposition look over their shoulder all game. Just knowing he's out there will force players to change their game. Nobody wants to get hurt, and that's what will happen to the opposition if they aren't careful while he's on the ice.

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#128 Romulus' Apotheosis
April 05 2013, 10:52PM
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Jeremy wrote:

I must admit I find it funny how people are dismissive of what DSF says. Ignore the cherry picked self serving out of context stats and look at the actual message. Edmonton elevates prospects and players too soon, fails to use them in roles that suit their talents providing them with the best chance to succeed and the Oilers the best chance to win.

you don't need to routinely make bizarre player comparisons to understand that the Oilers are run by a bunch of hacks.

most people around here slam the mgt. constantly without finding the need to rag on every single oiler player without fault.

set your standards higher.

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#129 geeker99
April 05 2013, 10:55PM
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calgary is trying their best to do us a favor, I swear if Tambo doesnt at least get us ! top 4 d-man this summer the fix is in. Really surprising since K Lowe was a D-man for cripes sake. how does he go home and say 'no whitney + potter, fistric,peckham will get it done' ? mind blowin

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#130 Jeremy
April 05 2013, 11:12PM
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@Romulus' Apotheosis

Let me get this right, you are taking issue with me saying to ignore the crap he spews, and that there may be some truths hidden in all that crap...

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#131 Hair bag
April 06 2013, 01:10AM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

Here we go:

http://www.coppernblue.com/2013/4/5/4187708/wild-optimism

since 2000-01 season only one team that got outshot by 4.5 shots per game has made the playoffs.

That team had Hart and Vezina winner Theodore stopping everything.

Either DD turns in Craig Anderson's numbers down the stretch or we die.

not dumping Whitney, Jones, Belanger, Eager, Hordichuk and one of Fistric and Peckham was a huge mistake.

Someone has to want them in order for you to dump them... It always amazes me how people complain on here about bottom end players that aren't traded - well what makes you think that some other team is willing to give the Oilers anything for their low end talent! Most teams have depth enough that they don't need to pick up our scraps, they already have players that are on the same level.

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#132 dougtheslug
April 06 2013, 01:13AM
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Eddie Shore wrote:

The way they've handled Klef, Yak and MPS has been much better hasnt it? Its easier to not rush them in when you have capable players, which we didnt have before (Gagner era).

I agree with this observation - good teams with solid rosters don't play young players "too soon" because they are geniuses at player development, but because there is no room for rookies on the active roster. Bad teams with spotty rosters elevate rookies because often they are the best they've got at the position. Sure it can be risky but show me the evidence that it is always a bad thing. You can't go back and see if Sam Gagner would have developed quicker if he had spent 2 or 3 years in the minors.

As the Oiler roster fills with the fruits of their suckage years they will begin to enjoy the luxury of allowing players to apprentice - again, not because they suddenly realize the value in that, but because they can.

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#133 dougtheslug
April 06 2013, 01:16AM
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DSF wrote:

Arguing the benefits of two defensemen who wouldn't be on the roster of a contending team is ridiculous.

The Oilers need TWO top pairing defensemen so that players like Smid, Petry, Schultz and Schultz can be forced down the lineup into their comfort zone is the only solution.

At their current level of performance, none of Whitney, Potter or Peckham belong in the NHL and Fistric is no more than a 7th defenseman.

Good grief, the defensively challenged Dallas Stars cut Fistric loose.

Good grief, the defensively challenged Edmonton Oilers cut Cam Barker loose

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#134 wiseguy
April 06 2013, 02:51AM
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DSF wrote:

Fistric was replaced in the Dallas lineup by Aaron Rome who was 9th on the Vancouver depth chart.

Last I checked Cam Barker was replaced by Fistric, Potter and Peckham and Barker is top 6 in Vancouver.

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#135 wiseguy
April 06 2013, 03:06AM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

who was replaced by Cam Barker?

funny logic.

again. some of these players are valuable when actually used appropriately. ragging on them because they wear oil colors is a stupid habit of yours.

This is a Oilers fan site, correct?

fanatic - a person motivated by irrational enthusiasm (as for a cause); "A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject"--Winston Churchill

Why someone continues to come here to try to tell fans why their team sucks is beyond me. As the definition above states, we fans have a irrational enthusiasm and can't change our minds. If we did, we would no longer be fans and would not waste our time coming here. We don't the a crap about stats or how great other teams' players are. We are one in solidarity as OilersNation. W will suffer our teams suckage together and celebrate their small victories together. If you want no part of this and think much higher of another team, I'm sure they have a fansite too.

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#136 TheOtherJohn
April 06 2013, 08:17AM
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This time last year Whitney was selling the MSM that with all the recent surgeries, he had not had a chance to do powersksting in the offseason. Give him a full summer of power skating and many of Whitney's mobility problems would be solved. Some in the media ran with that cockamamie story (actually some in media more than others).

We had an extended off season, lots and lots of time for power skating, and Whitney' mobility problems are not fixed or improved, at all. So we get all kinds of rationales for why the one thing Whitney does well, should trump all the things he does quite poorly. Maybe we can simply say this: his passing skills are really quite good for a r sixth D man. His mobility is adequate for a junior B player. He's paid like a top pairing guy

His mobility ain't gonna get better. Nor is he gonna want to sign a new contract for $850K or 900K which is what the market is for 12 -14 minute a night bit players. So why not quit debating who's our best sixth defencemen. They're all pretty mediocre

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#137 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
April 06 2013, 08:39AM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Good to have DSF back after the vendetta was lifted for yesterdays game. Good to see not everyone's wearing the rose colored glasses that are often present.

Tough day for our Oilers. One loss and suddenly we're 4 pts out again.

yes, what fun would it be to have a fansite over run with fans.

DSF got run from hfboards (search dashingsilverfox for some EPIC swings and misses from our friend DSF) ... in time maybe the nation with be a DSF free zone as well.

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#138 geeker99
April 06 2013, 08:52AM
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I think one of the reason J Schultz picked the Oil was he was going to play big minutes. It would be nice to have a mentor in the line up that he could really learn from, but like all our rookies they come in and are close to being the best at there position. Tough way to learn but let's hope they are better for it.

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#139 Romulus' Apotheosis
April 06 2013, 09:14AM
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Jeremy wrote:

Let me get this right, you are taking issue with me saying to ignore the crap he spews, and that there may be some truths hidden in all that crap...

yes. yes, I am.

if he were the only one suggesting mgt. was terrible you may have a point.

also, suggesting prospects need to be brought along carefully (a la the Detroit model... LT's bailey wick) is a far cry from repeatedly ragging on said prospects.

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#140 Romulus' Apotheosis
April 06 2013, 09:16AM
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Hair bag wrote:

Someone has to want them in order for you to dump them... It always amazes me how people complain on here about bottom end players that aren't traded - well what makes you think that some other team is willing to give the Oilers anything for their low end talent! Most teams have depth enough that they don't need to pick up our scraps, they already have players that are on the same level.

there is a market for Whitney, Fistric/Peckham and Jones.

Belanger probably before his injury.

The others never should have been signed... eager has an outside chance of someone giving up a very late round pick... but unlikely.

the market for D at the deadline was very thin and high this year. Don't give ST/KL any more excuses.

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#141 Romulus' Apotheosis
April 06 2013, 09:18AM
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wiseguy wrote:

This is a Oilers fan site, correct?

fanatic - a person motivated by irrational enthusiasm (as for a cause); "A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject"--Winston Churchill

Why someone continues to come here to try to tell fans why their team sucks is beyond me. As the definition above states, we fans have a irrational enthusiasm and can't change our minds. If we did, we would no longer be fans and would not waste our time coming here. We don't the a crap about stats or how great other teams' players are. We are one in solidarity as OilersNation. W will suffer our teams suckage together and celebrate their small victories together. If you want no part of this and think much higher of another team, I'm sure they have a fansite too.

are you sure this is meant for me?

at any rate, if it is... I don't think healthy criticism of players and management is out of the reach of a fan.

sorry if I burst your bubble.

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#142 Oiler Al
April 06 2013, 11:27AM
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Lots of debate here. Lets be totally frank here; there isnt a real, genuine , honest to goodness, NHL, top two pairing on this team at this point. End of argument.

Justin is probably the only real hope,for that role. Petry may improve into top 4 playing. The rest is third pairings or worse.

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#143 michael
April 06 2013, 11:38AM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

are you sure this is meant for me?

at any rate, if it is... I don't think healthy criticism of players and management is out of the reach of a fan.

sorry if I burst your bubble.

I love my Oiler's as much as any ON fan. But I have to side with Rom on this issue. Criticism offers opportunity for improvement. The Whitney-Potter argument is one such way that we can look at the defense and find opportunity for improvement. The "numbers" quoted by Rom,Gregor,Staples and JW argue both sides of the equation. But truthfully the numbers that are the biggest tell are the wins and losses.

The game has evolved from a time when teams had maybe one guy who could carry the puck.Ala Paul Coffey or Larry Murphy. Now because of the speed of the game their appears to be a transition to having at least 3 of these type of dmen on a team. To me it seems that today's defencemen are being asked to do more than they were 20 years ago. But the cost in terms of increased plus/minus has in turn produced the more variant numbers we are seeing today posted by likes of JW and JG.

its an apples and oranges kinda thing. Your damned if you do and damned if you don't.By employing the likes of Potter and Whitney vs the likes of Smid and Fistric you create numbers that are reflective of the type of defenceman you are employing. Given that there are exceptions like Nick Lidstrom. For the most part you live and die with the choice you make on a nightly basis in your lineup.

I like a more aggressive/physical dman. On the other hand does that dman not then influence the game in other ways. he may play etter dfence. Be harder on the puck.But in turn does that man make it harder on the offensive transition creating less opportunity for the forwards. Its an extreme balancing act. One that I believe has no ready answer. Numbers and stats don't tell the whole story as we have seen on this blog. Certain intangibles come into play that can't be measured. Heart,desire, emotion in the moment on the ice, the opponent. They all play a non statistical factor in the outcome of a game.We can apply all the numbers all we want but in truth what we have seen this past week is testament to what players think about numbers.

The forwards wanted Whitney to stay.They felt that his play has a more positive outcome on the game than a negative outcome. So no matter the numbers,the fact that Whitney is a UFA. Has 2 bum legs and statistically is a defensive nightmare the players still felt that he was and is a key component to the success of the team. sometimes its not about numbers its about people.

Whitney has proven to be a desirable teammate in terms of what he brings off the ice and in the lockerroom. Intangibles like that can carry a whole lot more weight than numbers can. Whitney is proof that numbers be damned he is a player that the Oiler's value.

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#144 @Oilanderp
April 06 2013, 03:45PM
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DSF wrote:

Arguing the benefits of two defensemen who wouldn't be on the roster of a contending team is ridiculous.

The Oilers need TWO top pairing defensemen so that players like Smid, Petry, Schultz and Schultz can be forced down the lineup into their comfort zone is the only solution.

At their current level of performance, none of Whitney, Potter or Peckham belong in the NHL and Fistric is no more than a 7th defenseman.

Good grief, the defensively challenged Dallas Stars cut Fistric loose.

They also cut those other bums, Steve Ott, Mike Ribeiro, Brenden Morrow, Jaromir Jagr, and Derek Roy loose as well! I guess none of them are fit to play in the NHL. Good grief!

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#145 wiseguy
April 06 2013, 06:08PM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

are you sure this is meant for me?

at any rate, if it is... I don't think healthy criticism of players and management is out of the reach of a fan.

sorry if I burst your bubble.

My comment actually was meant to support your statement that a certain poster's habit of criticizing oilers players because of the jersey they wear is stupid.

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#146 2004Z06
April 07 2013, 10:04AM
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While I don't often agree with DSF, I do not understand why everyone here is so opposed to a devils advocate on the site. I personally don't want to continue to read how all of the fans here seem to be drowning in the kool aid.

Don't be afraid of calling a spade a spade.

The Oilers have some improvements to make and everyone seems to agree on that.

If you don't like what he posts....don't read it....even better, don't respond to it.

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#147 Pucker
April 07 2013, 10:54AM
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I was actually enjoying this thread till DSF showed up.

Too much of a good thing maybe??

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#148 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
April 08 2013, 10:01AM
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Oiler Al wrote:

Lots of debate here. Lets be totally frank here; there isnt a real, genuine , honest to goodness, NHL, top two pairing on this team at this point. End of argument.

Justin is probably the only real hope,for that role. Petry may improve into top 4 playing. The rest is third pairings or worse.

We know management have a game plan. (they aren't the shleps that Rama Lama would have you believe).

WE aren't privy to the plan so WE have to speculate. WE are short term thinkers.

I speculate, that their plan is probably longer term, and that they plan to buy via free agency, or trade for, a #1 Dman in the summer, and to groom Oscar Klefbom to be the 1-2 pairing partner through the 2013-14 season.

If Klefbom needs more than one NHL season to round into form, then J Schultz will end up playing in the 1-2 pairing. That's my best guess. It's a GUESS, because like you...I don't know!

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#149 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
April 08 2013, 10:10AM
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I am also speculating that the Oilers would prefer to ADD via the free agency route. And that if they can't get what they are looking for there, then they will be moving Ales Hemsky and others to make a trade happen.

I don't think that they are focused on a Shea Weber type, that would cost them one of the untouchables and seems unlikely.....but I hope they prove me wrong.

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