ARE YOU EXPERIENCED?

Lowetide
January 10 2014 04:44PM

How long does it take for a young defenseman to play at sea level in the NHL? How long before a team can count on him to throw away the training wheels, to stop making the sins of youth, to deliver consistently? Answer: a pretty long damn time.  

LADISLAV SMID

Corsi On and rank by year

  • 2007-08 -10.75 (7th and last on team, also ruined Staios' number)
  • 2008-09 -13.41 (6th and second last on team)
  • 2009-10 -8.95 (4th on the team)
  • 2010-11 -6.03 (4th on the team)
  • 2011-12 -5.60 (4th on the team)
  • 2012-13 -13.27 (6th on the team)

Where would you say the light went on? I'd say year three, he was in the top 4 and delivering consistent results on the team. Smid's time in Edmonton happened during a real downturn in quality, but I think we can all agree he was among the top four defensemen on the team from 2009-14 without much argument. I'd suggest that if we use 200 NHL games (2.5 seasons) as a "line in the sand" we can get an idea about how long it takes for defensemen to contribute, and how long it will be until any of the kids can be counted on for quality play in the NHL. 

HOW FAR FROM 200 GAMES?

Here are the current and future Oilers defensemen regarded as being possible options, and their total games played in the NHL:

  1. Jeff Petry (200!!!!)
  2. Justin Schultz (86)
  3. Anton Belov (38)
  4. Martin Marincin (8)
  5. Taylor Fedun (4)
  6. Brad Hunt (3)
  7. Darnell Nurse (0)
  8. Oscar Klefbom (0)
  9. Martin Gernat (0)
  10. Brandon Davidson (0)

I think we can agree that Schultz the younger has some way to go, and certainly everyone below Justin Schultz lacks experience, and is unlikely to be a useful plug and play next season. 

MEANWHILE BACK AT THE RANCH

NHL defensemen—the good ones—usually spent much of their 20's and 30's delivering consistently. The 1,000 game mark is a great sign of usefulness and durability, and represents a quality NHL career. It also indicates the end of the line is near, as Jason Smith (1008 career games) showed in his career. Edmonton traded Smith after a season in which he struggled, and he had been in the NHL for about 850 games by the time they sent him away. 

  1. Nick Schultz (855)
  2. Andrew Ference (806)

I think it's reasonable to suggest both veterans are less than 3 seasons away from the end of the line, and may now be outside their productive era as NHL defenders. It happens, no sin in that, but it does suck to be holding the bag. 

THE SWEET SPOT

If all this theory is true, the ideal NHL defenseman has played more than 200 NHL games and less than 850.  Here is the list of Oilers current defensemen who are in the range:

  1. Jeff Petry, later tonight 

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

There's no substitute for experience. 

I think Jeff Petry is going to have a long and productive NHL career, but he'd be playing better if Ladislav Smid and Tom Gilbert were in Edmonton to play defense tonight. The Oilers are too young at one end and too tired at the other. 

The results are predictable, and no rookie can help that situation. The Edmonton Oilers need actual NHL defensemen with experience, and that's where they should spend this year's first round pick. Trade for an experienced defenseman. 

Now. 

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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#1 D
January 10 2014, 04:53PM
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I still have no clue why Smid got traded.

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#2 #ThereGoesTheOilers
January 10 2014, 04:59PM
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With regards to Smid, perhaps we do have an abundance of prospects that play with a similar game and style to his. Then again, when you put our inexperience so plainly on paper, we're pretty emeciated. Why a trade right now? Why not at the deadline or this summer?

I can't stop laughing at the gif though. It's like our whole season in 5 seconds.

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#3 @Oilanderp
January 10 2014, 05:01PM
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What kind of defenceman can be had for a top 5 pick?

Let me re-state that question: What defencemen have have in the past been traded for a top 5 pick?

I'm going to try half-assed to have a look, but if any of you know and can link PLEASE help us out here.

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#4 Fred
January 10 2014, 05:04PM
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You can make stats do what you want. But the bottom line is this has been the worst team in the NHL for the last 8 years.

How are those advanced stats working for you?

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#5 Oiler Al
January 10 2014, 05:07PM
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Petrys game has regressed this year... is it him, the system or possibly the fact that he cannot handle play beyond 20 minutes per game.

One thing for sure Eakins system will not allow for D men to jump into the play.. look at the almost zero scoring from the backend.

PS. The SWARM, is not working in the Toronto either.

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#6 I AM KEVIN L.
January 10 2014, 05:07PM
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No need to talk about nothing this and nothing that. This team will be noticeably better during 2015-16 season. Promised.

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#7 ToppsSmith
January 10 2014, 05:12PM
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D wrote:

I still have no clue why Smid got traded.

Because of delusional managent.

Management Darn you phonics!!

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#8 RDS
January 10 2014, 05:13PM
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I used to be all for trading the first rounder, but whats the point now? Season is a write off. Might as well play the lottery and add another 18 year old to throw into the mix way before he is ready to play NHL hockey next year and waste a year of his entry contract.

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#9 DigDeepNBleedBlue
January 10 2014, 05:15PM
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I agree.

Stated many times that Eberle should be dangled for a stud. If you need to add a pick use the 2015 1st rounder.

Trading this years 1st round pick when it could be Ekblad would be a mistake. IMO

Try to acquire both if at all possible.

Magic time....

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#10 Jesse
January 10 2014, 05:21PM
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Fred wrote:

You can make stats do what you want. But the bottom line is this has been the worst team in the NHL for the last 8 years.

How are those advanced stats working for you?

Craig Buttons said today Oilers are 3-4 yrs away from the playoffs. Does he not realize KLowe is in charge, Oilers are decades away.

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#11 madjam
January 10 2014, 05:25PM
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ToppsSmith wrote:

Because of delusional managent.

Management Darn you phonics!!

Seemed like Smid was vastly overpaid for his services , and was let go cheaply . He is not performing much better with Flames either . Gagner could be going same route if his performances do not pick up .

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#12 @Oilanderp
January 10 2014, 05:47PM
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Fred wrote:

You can make stats do what you want. But the bottom line is this has been the worst team in the NHL for the last 8 years.

How are those advanced stats working for you?

Some people choose to try to understand the success/failure of their team by looking at things like which players help their team get more shots for and less shots against when they are on the ice.

Some other people choose to make monthly goat sacrifices.

You can choose to do one or the other. But never think that they are equal in letting you understand the game of hockey.

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#13 @Oilanderp
January 10 2014, 05:51PM
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@Oilanderp wrote:

What kind of defenceman can be had for a top 5 pick?

Let me re-state that question: What defencemen have have in the past been traded for a top 5 pick?

I'm going to try half-assed to have a look, but if any of you know and can link PLEASE help us out here.

Ok I've spent 3/4 of an hour doing my half-assed search and have come to several conclusions:

1. Man, research is hard.

2. I am lazy.

3. A lot of great D don't come from top 5 picks.

4. If you can trade a maybe for a definite....

DO IT.

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#14 lostdog82
January 10 2014, 05:57PM
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Trade first rounder plus whoever for a proven dman or physical forward. Enough "development" in the pipeline besides who have we proven to develop ? I realize we are more than one trade away from being a playoff team but its time to start putting some pieces together to look like a team that has playoffs in mind.

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#15 S cottV
January 10 2014, 06:01PM
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If they can get an experienced top 2 and top 4, it would sure help out.

Play a high potential kid with a vet that is not a stretch in a given rotation, helps to smooth out the learning curve.

In one way or another the Oilers are probably going to have to shelter a few of their high potential young d men in the NHL. There are things they could do such as,

Change the focus from run and gun to Hitchcockian like defence first, where risk and reward is held in balance, in all playing zones.

Adopt a d zone coverage system that works and don't allow forwards to short cut on their roles.

In particular centremen need to be able to support the down low d zone requirements. RNH needs 15 lbs of muscle this off season, Gagner can't do it, Arco (bless his heart) is too small, Gordon is good, need another Gordon like in 4C. Centremen need to be damn near as good as d men at shutting down low threats and getting the puck out of the zone. With the above conditions you might get away with fast tracking the likes of Nurse and others.

Right now - the way the Oilers elect to play, there is little to no support for d men and goalies for that matter. They are exposed to the degree that a young guy in particular would lose confidence.

The run and gun crapshoot has to go, to suit the realities of their back end. Should go anyway - you can't win consistently that way.

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#16 Rama Lama
January 10 2014, 06:15PM
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Gregor experience is overrated.........Wade Redden had tons of experience and was a top guy, .........no one would sign this guy. Tell me how Ference is better?

There were quite a few guys with experience available, but many of those guys are washed up. Doughty did not have any experience but did fine right out of the gate. So did Seth Jones.

It's more about drafting and guys that have played the North Amreican game IMHO?

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#17 Bucknuck
January 10 2014, 06:24PM
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If they trade this pick, it better be a bona fide #1 defender coming back, NOT "Another Ference type".

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#18 Jerry
January 10 2014, 06:25PM
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You can't have the worst team in the NHL for the last 8 years without having a majority of bad players. If Oilers continue on the same path they will never make the playoffs.

Any poster here could have done as poorly as KLowe in the last 8 yrs.

Then you get guys that crunch the numbers and tell us they are not as bad as they seem. A is A results are the results.

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#19 Vince
January 10 2014, 06:26PM
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KLowe can always sell stocks when he is done . There are enough suckers who will believe anything just look at the numbers

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#20 pkam
January 10 2014, 06:40PM
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@Oilanderp wrote:

Ok I've spent 3/4 of an hour doing my half-assed search and have come to several conclusions:

1. Man, research is hard.

2. I am lazy.

3. A lot of great D don't come from top 5 picks.

4. If you can trade a maybe for a definite....

DO IT.

What does a definite... mean? Does a definite 3rd pairing defenseman count? How about a 2nd pairing defenseman? Or just top pairing defenseman?

I agree with you conclusion #3. Among all NHL defensmen, Chara, Keith, and Weber are the top 3 and none of them are even 1st rounder. And I believe 5 of the 8 defensemen in Team Canada are not top 5 picks, only the pair from the Blues and Doughty are.

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#21 Rama Lama
January 10 2014, 07:02PM
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Rama Lama wrote:

Gregor experience is overrated.........Wade Redden had tons of experience and was a top guy, .........no one would sign this guy. Tell me how Ference is better?

There were quite a few guys with experience available, but many of those guys are washed up. Doughty did not have any experience but did fine right out of the gate. So did Seth Jones.

It's more about drafting and guys that have played the North Amreican game IMHO?

Sorry Allan.......meant to say LT.......not Gregor.

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#22 S cottV
January 10 2014, 07:43PM
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Jesse wrote:

Craig Buttons said today Oilers are 3-4 yrs away from the playoffs. Does he not realize KLowe is in charge, Oilers are decades away.

Absolutely agree with Buttons.

If MacT survives, which he probably will - we all might as well let him off the hook on the bold moves thing and let him gear to be a playoff contender by 2017, as long as the trending turns positive.

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#23 misfit
January 10 2014, 07:54PM
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I actually think 200 isn't enough to know if a defenseman is going to amount to anything. Defense is a tough position, and a lot of defensemen seem to be entering the NHL sooner.

I've always personally considered 300 games to be the point where defensemen can be counted on to deliver positive results if they're ever going to at all, but I admit the reality is it's probably a little earlier than that for most (I still think 300 for DFD types is accurate)

As for Smid, I actually think it was the 10/11 season where the light went on, which would put him at the 253 game mark. I don't remember being all that impressed with him, and I don't think your numbers show that he was any better than my memory either.

Besides, 250 games is almost exactly 3 full seasons, which is a nice round figure (and I think more accurate as well).

I've never really thought about a GP marker to signify the end of the line though.

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#24 Fresh Mess
January 10 2014, 08:01PM
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Klefbom left the game tonight. injured again.

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#25 Jay
January 10 2014, 09:29PM
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Fresh Mess wrote:

Klefbom left the game tonight. injured again.

He's really is gonna fit in nicely on this club! #glass

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#26 Serious Gord
January 10 2014, 09:29PM
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LT - if your point is that the oil can't wait for the in house roster to mature into a quality d-force, i agree.

But that has been the case for a couple of years - so before we look forward let's make sure we assign blame on management for not addressing it in years past.

Also I agree with at least one other commenter here and several journos that the proofing time for dmen is more like 240-250 not 200 games. And using that metric the failings of mgmnt are even more horrid.

And the problem is clear - the oil are looking at three years before the in house product can become a quality seasoned d - if it even would - there is nil evidence this coaching staff can competently develop players.

So with barely a three year window to get to cup-competitive before the budding stars are lost there is great urgency to get D (and other holes) fixed.

And that's the catch 22 that this organization has gotten itself into. They need ready to play parts to capitalize on the star assets but in order finger those parts they are going to have to trade some of those assets and in doing so will become far less of a team than was hoped.

These are heart-wrenching, discouraging times for oil fans.

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#27 Josh Oiler
January 10 2014, 10:02PM
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1. Kelly Buchberger and Steve Smith have to go!

2. Kevin Lowe is not the problem!

3. Dallas Eakins has 10 games into next season or else he's gone!

4. Play Bad for Ekblad - Draft Ekblad no questions asked!

5. Stock up on VETEREN defenseman and a #1 Goalie!

6. Win the Stanley Cup

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#28 Jaroslav Pouzar
January 10 2014, 10:52PM
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Good win. Now let's start tanking again and get Ekblad!

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#29 Hauk15
January 10 2014, 10:58PM
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Ekblad is 6'4 217. NHL ready size. He's also only 17, this guy is going to be a big highly skilled monster. Bad for Ekblad!

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#30 justthestatsman
January 10 2014, 11:50PM
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Interesting song reference in your title LT. Not sure I'm smart enough to understand Jimi Hendrix's lyrics for this one but I heard it helped to be stoned when you listened to it. Kind of like being an Oiler fan...

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#31 Wintoon
January 11 2014, 06:40AM
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I have been reading the comments and the article wherein people are stating that a defenseman should be reliable after about 250 NHL games. I am wondering to what extent this is skewed if the layer has not had the opportunity to play with a solid, experienced mentor over those 250 games. When I look at the Oilers blueline, I am seriously wondering who represents that mentor. Furthermore, how much will our developing D be damaged or limited by the lack of said mentor?

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#32 Ed in Edmonton
January 11 2014, 08:04AM
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LT, remember Smid jumped straight to the NHL, i.e no AHL time. You need to consider AHL time as well. Most D men (indeed most players) go via the AHL before hitting the show. So if the 3 year analysis correct at all, it might better expressed as 3 years of pro, not just 3 years in the NHL.

On a side note, I have been pleasantly surprised by Marincin. I felt sorry for him on the Pen's 1st goal when Petry played give away, twice.

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#33 Ed in PV
January 11 2014, 08:29AM
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Oops, I Smid had 1 year in the AHL before the Oil got him.

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#34 Neal
January 11 2014, 09:50AM
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I'm continually amazed that so many posters think that other GM's are going to part with the most valued and coveted players in the league for a package of our garbage. The problem is that the Oilers needs and assets are well known. MacTavish is not dealing from strength - he's the carcass and the other GM's are the jackals. It took years of ineptitude by 6Rings to build this defence, and as I've said before, even if Mac is a genius, it will take some time before it's improved to the point where we can contend.

We will have to part with at least 2 of the young stars. If we end up with a shot at Eckblad we have to take it. But logical projection has the Oilers spinning their wheels for several years. Firing 6 Rings doesn't do anything except provide justice.

We need luck.

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#35 Bushed
January 11 2014, 09:56AM
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Lowetide:

If 200 - 250 is the benchmark for "normal" D development/assessment, where do you see Belov on that timeline?

Current popular opinion seems to be trade him. I'd like to keep him for another season to see if he can continue to learn the NHL game. The skills, size, and physical play are all there, and early reports were that he could play a bit mean--don't we want this???

The management decisions of this team are wildly inconsistent. Gagner gets 7 years (and a huge overpay) to prove he can't play defence before he's on the trade block, but the Euros like PRV, Omark, etc get the bum's rush after a year or two.

Now with Belov, the timeline for Euros to prove themselves goes to under 6 months?

I'd be really nervous if I'm Yakupov or any prospect with long sideburns.

It will be interesting to see if Yakimov signs.

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#36 BLAKPOO
January 11 2014, 10:19AM
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D wrote:

I still have no clue why Smid got traded.

Easy. Brossoit.

If you look at the Oilers 3 years from now, our defence is decent. Our forwards, pretty decent. Goaltending? Terrible.

Although it seems weird to trade a serviceable NHL defenceman off of this team at this stage of the game, it's what needed to happen to get Brossoit. In 3 or so years when he's getting starts and amazing us all, we'll laugh that it only took Smid to get him from the Flames.

Speaking of the Flames, how they doing down there? Don't think Ladi's the 'truculent' difference maker Burkie expected him to be.

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#37 Romulus' Apotheosis
January 11 2014, 10:22AM
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Fresh Mess wrote:

Klefbom left the game tonight. injured again.

What are you blathering about?

http://theahl.com/stats/game-summary.php?game_id=1011624

he didn't play because he's been sidelined with injury for about a week now.

most recent on him

http://www.tendthefarm.com/klefbom-better-pickard-garth-utica-rescheduled/

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#38 2004Z06
January 11 2014, 10:55AM
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Buffalo will take Ekblad 1st overall and we will take Sam Reinhart. Another small skilled forward. Sigh....

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#39 Romulus' Apotheosis
January 11 2014, 11:13AM
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2004Z06 wrote:

Buffalo will take Ekblad 1st overall and we will take Sam Reinhart. Another small skilled forward. Sigh....

BUFF has an absurd number of D prospects of high value:

Myers, Pysyk, Ristolainen, Zadorov

They would probably be tempted -- if they are thinking draft for need in a saw-off -- to go with skilled scoring forward.

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#40 BLAKPOO
January 11 2014, 11:26AM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

BUFF has an absurd number of D prospects of high value:

Myers, Pysyk, Ristolainen, Zadorov

They would probably be tempted -- if they are thinking draft for need in a saw-off -- to go with skilled scoring forward.

Seconded.

Buffalo will take the best forward.

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#41 geeker99
January 11 2014, 12:33PM
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Petry is in a funk as his buddy gets shipped out of town. I bet Hall would suffer a while if ebs gets traded. Ebs would be my pick to go out of the Fab 4.[hall,yak,nuge,ebs]. I still scratch my head on the Smid trade. after a beatdown i used to play that earful he gave the boys after that OT loss against van on oil change. at least someone cared. To the shames to boot, I miss him.

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#42 hockeycrazed
January 11 2014, 02:37PM
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All we need is a heart transplant for most of the team! Trading them for better D-men? Who's going to trade for them? Nothing less then a fire sale would any GM part with a half decent D-man, so, face it we can't trade the whole team away, because that's what it takes!!! We all know that it takes a team effort to win games, but it also take a team effort to lose them too!!!! I mean, sure, from time to time we'll see a flash of good efforts from some of them, except, it's far and few in between!!! We've been blaming Katz and company for Oiler's downfall, but if the players don't play, what do you get? might as well put a pee wee team in there, at least you'll see the efforts every single night!

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#43 coco crisp
January 11 2014, 02:57PM
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Ekblad is the next Teuburt. A bum.

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#44 misfit
January 11 2014, 03:03PM
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2004Z06 wrote:

Buffalo will take Ekblad 1st overall and we will take Sam Reinhart. Another small skilled forward. Sigh....

The 6'1", 185lbs (small?) center ranked #1 overall for this draft and projects to be the league's next Jonathan Toews?

Yeah, that would be terrible.

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#45 Spydyr
January 11 2014, 03:05PM
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Malkin owned Petry last night. If he is the best the Oilers have they are hooped.

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#46 Brian Hitchinson
January 11 2014, 08:25PM
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@I AM KEVIN L.

Is this the same talk that the Oilers have been saying the last 3 yrs.? The Oilers can get any worse than last place & with this yr's team is one of the worst & that's saying alot. Petry has been awful & not getting better, so there are 3 things the Oilers must do. Trade him, send him down to the minors or release him. The Oilers have to rid the team from this guy!!

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#47 Brian Hitchinson
January 11 2014, 08:47PM
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@geeker99

If the Oilers again pick a small "skilled" player (which the will), hopefully then Katz will finally clean house & get rid of all the management. Lowe might be good at making Katz money, but he has been a disaster & team prez. This team has been a complete failure, with these supposed "stars", who have not gotten any better since being drafted, so a new management team, may rescue Edmonton from the Lowe tenure. I heard these coaches & g.m. were saying the Oilers have to make the playoffs this yr. & my guess is they will not. A fresh set of eyes , has been needed for the at least 6 yrs.

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#48 G-Unit
January 11 2014, 09:44PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Malkin owned Petry last night. If he is the best the Oilers have they are hooped.

The best player in the game last night was Nuge. Even before he scored the winner. Great to see him rise to the challenge. Why is everyone dumping on Petry getting owned by Malkin? Getting owned by Hanzel, that's the true test of Petry.

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