Have the Oilers improved?

Jason Gregor
August 07 2014 10:37AM

Improvement


For the sake of everyone in Edmonton, I sure hope so.

I do believe the Oilers have improved, which isn't hard considering they were the 3rd worst team in the NHL last season, but how much have they improved?

It is hard to say until we see the product on the ice, but I wanted to revisit an angle we looked at in May.

Three months ago, I wrote an article outlining the Oilers lack of size, strength and experience within their top-nine forwards compared to western conference playoff teams. Since then, Craig MacTavish has made significant changes to his top-nine.

How much better do they look on paper now than three months ago?

Here is how their top-nine looked in May.

Edmonton


Name  Height  Weight  Age 
Taylor Hall   6' 1" 201 22
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins   6' 1" 180 21
Jordan Eberle   5' 11" 180 24
David Perron   6' 0" 198 25
Sam Gagner   5' 11" 202 24
Nail Yakupov   5' 11" 186 20
Boyd Gordon   6' 0" 202 30
Matt Hendricks   6' 0" 211 32
Mark Arcobello   5' 8" 166 25
Average  5' 11" 191.7 24.7

I understand there is much more to the game than just size, strength and experience, but after speaking with Taylor Fedun on Tuesday and listening to him talk about the challenges of going against bigger, skilled forwards I thought it was worth looking at again.

In May, some accused me of fudging the numbers by including Mark Arcobello and leaving out Jesse Joensuu. The fact Arcobello played more games and minutes didn't matter in their eyes, but 90 days later I think it is safe to say Arcobello is in a much better position to be a top-nine forward on the Oilers than Joensuu, so I stand by what I wrote in May.

Here is how the Oilers projected top-nine forwards today:

Name  Height  Weight  Age 
Taylor Hall   6' 1" 201 22
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins   6' 1" 180 21
Jordan Eberle   5' 11" 180 24
David Perron   6' 0" 198 25
Benoit Pouliot
6' 3" 197 27
Nail Yakupov   5' 11" 186 20
Leon Draisaitl 6' 2" 212 18
Teddy Purcell
6' 3" 203 28
Mark Arcobello   5' 8" 166 25
Average  6' 1/2" 191.5 23.3


The Oilers got taller, but they are actually lighter and younger. I think most would agree they have more talent and a better mix of top-nine forwards now, despite being a lighter group. Pouliot, Draisaitl and Purcell have more combined skill than Sam Gagner, Boyd Gordon and Matt Hendricks.

I also believe that collectively they have better possession players. So that is a good thing. I also expect RNH, Hall and Yakupov to have added some weight this summers so the average might jump to 193 pounds, but they still won't be close to the average weight of the top teams in the West. Dallas (202), Minnesota (203), Chicago (204), St. Louis (206), San Jose (206), Anaheim and LA (207). The Blues actually got a bit bigger and more skilled adding Paul Stastny over Vladimir Sobotka. 

I expect the Oilers to be better than last season, but I still believe Craig MacTavish will need to add more skilled size in the coming years before they can truly compete with the top teams in the west.

BIGGER AND BETTER

1309243636-process

Much of the focus in Edmonton has been on their offence and the lack of a second line centre, which is fair, but the Oilers were the worst defensive team in the NHL last year. Goalies, D-men and forwards all need to be better in their own zone, but specifically the D corps has to improve. I also wrote a piece in May comparing the Oilers defence to the top teams in the west

MacTavish upgraded his blueline a lot in my eyes. They are more skilled and thankfully bigger and stronger.

Here is what they looked like in May:

Name  Height  Weight  Age GP TOI reg. season
Justin Schultz   6' 2" 188 23 74 23:20 min
Jeff Petry   6' 3" 195 26 80 21:35 min
Andrew Ference   5' 11" 187 35 71 21:03 min
Martin Marincin   6' 4" 188 22 44 19:09 min
Philip Larsen   6' 0" 182 24 30 17:10 min
Oscar Klefbom   6' 3" 213 20 17 15:47 min
Mark Fraser   6' 4" 220 27 23 15:29 min
Average 6' 2" 196.1 25.3



The thought of Larsen, Belov and Fraser hopping over the boards likely gives you cold sweats. The Oilers had the worst defence in the NHL last year, and it wasn't even close. "Our system wasn't that hard, but too often we had guys in the wrong position or making wrong plays," a defenceman told me off the record last month.

He said the team made too many mental mistakes in their own end. It was an interesting conversation, and it is hard to argue with his analysis. You need players who are skilled, but who also can think the game.

Three months later MacTavish has upgraded his blueline in experience, skill and size.

EDMONTON




Name  Height  Weight  Age GP TOI reg. season
Justin Schultz   6' 2" 188 23 74 23:20 min
Jeff Petry   6' 3" 195 26 80 21:35 min
Andrew Ference   5' 11" 187 35 71 21:03 min
Martin Marincin   6' 4" 188 22 44 19:09 min
Mark Fayne 6' 3" 210 27 72 18:18 min
Nikita Nikitin 6' 4" 223 28 66 17:06 min
Oscar Klefbom   6' 3" 213 20 17  15:47min
Keith Aulie 6' 6" 228 25 15 9:49 min
Average 6' 3" 204 25.8

Fayne and Nikitin are massive upgrades over Belov, Larsen and Fraser. It will be interesting to see who Dallas Eakins and Craig Ramsay use as D pairs this season. Willis had a good article outlining Fayne's ability to play against elite forwards, so I'd safely assume he will get a heavy dose of DZ starts against tough competition. I think Fayne will be paired with Nikitin.

The Oilers' blueline is more skilled and they are heavier, a nice combination that will help them in the D zone. Fayne and Nikitin are big enough and strong enough to play battle Getzlaf, Kopitar, Thornton, Marleau and the rest of the huge skilled forwards in the west.

That should allow Schultz and Petry to spend less time against the big, strong, skilled forwards, which should result in better possession numbers for both of them.

The Oilers blueline is now bigger, heavier and more experienced. They are getting closer to matching up to the size of the playoff team's blueliners: Kings (215), Blues (210), Avs (210), Stars (208), Ducks (205), Sharks (205), Hawks (204) and Wild (198).

At the end of last year, the Oilers spoke to Marincin about getting stronger and heavier so I'd expect he will come to camp heavier than 188. With his frame he eventually needs to be 200 pounds. If he is around 195 this year that will help him during one-on-one battles.

The Oilers' blue line needed an overhaul, and I believe MacTavish did a decent job. I never expected him to add a top-pairing guy, which would have been nice, but I expect he will keep trying to land one or hope that one of Schultz, Marincin, Klefbom or Nurse can become that guy in the future.

The Oilers needed to improve many facets of their roster, and getting bigger and stronger was one of them.

The added size combined with skill should make them more competitive this season. It won't solve all of their problems, but MacTavish has to check off his weaknesses one by one, and I think he did a solid job of addressing their lack of size and skill, especially on the blueline. 

Recently by Jason Gregor:  

Ddf3e2ba09069c465299f3c416e43eae
One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
Avatar
#51 dawgbone
August 07 2014, 01:11PM
Trash it!
74
trashes
Cheers
15
cheers

I'm not sure how big an upgrade Nikitin will be on Belov, especially at the price.

Avatar
#52 backup bob
August 07 2014, 01:20PM
Trash it!
34
trashes
Cheers
13
cheers

Optimism is high this time of year. On paper the team looks better, however there are serious deficiencies. MacTavish "fixed" the easy stuff. He gets C -.

The only new addition I like is Fayne. My concern is the Oiler system is far from the defensive system the Devils play. Look what happened to Scott Gomez after leaving New Jersey.

Avatar
#53 Rotten Ron
August 07 2014, 01:22PM
Trash it!
41
trashes
Cheers
20
cheers

If Nikitan is such an upgrade why did he lose his spot on the roster when columbus got Nick Schultz?

Avatar
#54 Robin Brownlee
August 07 2014, 01:24PM
Trash it!
12
trashes
Cheers
36
cheers
backup bob wrote:

Optimism is high this time of year. On paper the team looks better, however there are serious deficiencies. MacTavish "fixed" the easy stuff. He gets C -.

The only new addition I like is Fayne. My concern is the Oiler system is far from the defensive system the Devils play. Look what happened to Scott Gomez after leaving New Jersey.

What "happened" to Scott Gomez is he failed to produce offensively the way he had in the past.

Avatar
#55 Mike Krushelnyski
August 07 2014, 01:47PM
Trash it!
4
trashes
Cheers
39
cheers

The Oilers only got lighter up front if you actually accept as fact that Sam Gagner has 5 pounds on Benoit Pouliot.

Avatar
#56 Tom
August 07 2014, 01:53PM
Trash it!
12
trashes
Cheers
48
cheers
dawgbone wrote:

I'm not sure how big an upgrade Nikitin will be on Belov, especially at the price.

Nikitin should be a solid upgrade on Belov, and salary should have no bearing on the comparison.

Avatar
#57 The Soup Fascist
August 07 2014, 02:00PM
Trash it!
7
trashes
Cheers
26
cheers
Old Timer wrote:

Funny that the biggest top 9 forward is 18 years old and may be back in the WHL next season

Barring a trade for a 2C there is zero chance that Draisaitl is not on the roster.

Avatar
#58 916oiler
August 07 2014, 02:09PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
29
cheers

For the 'experience' category, I'd like to see you use NHL games played instead of age. Or at the very least, just add the extra column to help shine the correct light on the average age.

Avatar
#59 THRNHJE
August 07 2014, 02:19PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
17
cheers
cabaj wrote:

Perron and Gordon were A+ acquisitions. Especially Gordon - he's the most valuable bottom 9 forward this team has had in years.

It's sure possible that at least 2 of purcell, pouliot, fayne, nikitin will also turn out to be A+ acquisitions.

It's also possible that we're only missing a 2C and a top D before we're a legit playoff threat.

I totally understand your pessimism, but objectively, I like MacT's hits more than I dislike his misses.

If I had to bet on which two, it would be Fayne and Pouliot.

Avatar
#60 Gordie Wayne
August 07 2014, 02:20PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
21
cheers
916oiler wrote:

For the 'experience' category, I'd like to see you use NHL games played instead of age. Or at the very least, just add the extra column to help shine the correct light on the average age.

This is a great point, age doesn't equate to experience. Two teams with an identical average age of say 26 years old may have wildly varying degrees of games played (experience). One team might have an average GP of 200 and the other might be an average of 400.

Avatar
#61 vetinari
August 07 2014, 02:34PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
16
cheers

Seems like the defence got the most attention (which they needed) and the forwards simply got shuffled, although I like the current mix of talent and skill sets better (such as Pouliot's possession numbers over Gagner's).

And goal looks like it is set-- as long as Scrivens and Fasth don't have a Dubnyk-like October and November, we should at least be competitive, especially behind the rebuilt defence.

And while a solid "defence by committee" approach could work, I do have some concerns about the 2C spot, especially if RNH goes down and the centres need to be reshuffled-- and barring a trade, Draisatl looks like a lock for the opening night roster.

Avatar
#62 backup bob
August 07 2014, 02:41PM
Trash it!
24
trashes
Cheers
12
cheers

Here is a question for the next mailbag.

Hey Jason, do you ever feel alone, having to defend against an army of clowns and trolls?

Avatar
#63 Smythyyy
August 07 2014, 02:43PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
9
cheers

I wonder if weight plays a bigger factor than height. If I had to guess, I would think that the additional reach because of a player's height would contribute more towards success because you cover more ice collectively if you were a longer team.

Another thing that would be of interest is to compile how a team finished relative to their size and height over the years. Is this a recent trend? The oilers team of the 80s weren't that big relative to the competition at that time but they had a lot of success. I also remember the diminutive sabres team circa mid-2000s and they also had a lot of success.

Avatar
#65 A-Mc
August 07 2014, 03:01PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
28
cheers

The roster changed a lot last year throughout the season. Guys were being called up and sent down, players were acquired halfway through the season, Injuries, etc etc etc.

I look at the forward upgrades like this:

GOING OUT
Hemsky (2RW) 72" 185lbs 672GP
Gagner (2C) 71" 202lbs 481GP
Jones (3/4LW) 73" 208lbs 334GP

COMING IN
Purcell (2RW) 75" 203lbs 401GP
Draisaitl (2/3C) 74" 212lbs 0GP
Pouliot (3LW) 75" 197lbs 374GP

The averages Going Out: 72" @ 198.3lbs With a total of 1487 Games of NHL experience
The averages Coming In: 74.7" @ 204lbs With a total of 775 games of NHL experience

Avatar
#66 Sorensenator
August 07 2014, 03:02PM
Trash it!
4
trashes
Cheers
13
cheers
Jason Gregor wrote:

He didn't. Schultz played 1 playoff game in his place. Not sure why people equate that to losing his job.

No kidding, why some people cannot look past the insignificant negatives is beyond me

Avatar
#67 judgedrude
August 07 2014, 03:02PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
27
cheers

"I also expect Yakupov, RNH, Hall and Yakupov to have added some weight"

Yakupov....the name so nice, he named him twice!

Avatar
#68 Action Jackson
August 07 2014, 03:03PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
12
cheers

Gordon will play more than Arcobello; Replace Gordon with Arco and the average jumps from 191.4 to 195.4. The Oiler's size has been improved more than you are indicating here.

Avatar
#69 DieHard
August 07 2014, 03:09PM
Trash it!
9
trashes
Cheers
10
cheers
Al wrote:

This may sound corny but some teams overcome superior opponents because they have a lot of guys that just refuse to lose. A true developing star player reaches a point where his play evolves and he becomes fierce, determined and learns to apply sufficient effort in order to consistently succeed at the NHL level. I believe the Oilers have a number of these types of players evolving and that there will be a quantum leap in performance perhaps as early as this season. Also, we all know how important it is to have a goaltender perform in a manner that allows confidence to spread throughout the team. I think Scrivens will provide that. I won't be surprised if the Oilers challenge for a playoff spit this coming season.

I've been saying this for a while now. The core is older and more experienced, secondary players have arrived/improved, the defense is much better as well as goaltending. Throw in a much improved coaching staff and I believe we'll be still trying for a playoff spot in March. That's a big thing for me.

Avatar
#70 A-Mc
August 07 2014, 03:11PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
12
cheers
Action Jackson wrote:

Gordon will play more than Arcobello; Replace Gordon with Arco and the average jumps from 191.4 to 195.4. The Oiler's size has been improved more than you are indicating here.

I Agree!

I had a problem with Gordon's line being left out of the new assessment as well. I dont like the top 9 comparison, as opposed to the full 12 forwards.

The team is being structured to have 3 scoring lines and 1 defensive zone start line. It's not unreasonable to expect the defensive line (gordon, Hendricks and [Gazidc?]) to play more in a night than the 3rd scoring line on some nights.

There is no way gordon and hendricks are going to be relegated to typical 4th line minutes of 6-8mins/game. They are too important and are more valuable than that.

Avatar
#71 Quicksilver ballet
August 07 2014, 03:13PM
Trash it!
5
trashes
Cheers
29
cheers

So when does Ryan Smyth make his writing debut here on Oilersnation?

Avatar
#72 DieHard
August 07 2014, 03:15PM
Trash it!
8
trashes
Cheers
6
cheers
IM80 wrote:

Sounds like you need a cup of tea to calm down. I won't have the patience to interact with you. Stop whining about how I interact with Gregor. Are you his assistant coming to defend his honour?

If you have something of value to add, then please add it. Did I attack Gregor? not once, just the argument made. Trying to better understand his position.

Calling someone closed-minded based on what you read in a forum.......isn't that ironic.

But.... there are many ways to show team improvement and Gregor was using one. You then complained that he didn't use a different one.

Avatar
#73 dawgbone
August 07 2014, 04:05PM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Cheers
3
cheers

@Tom

It is when their difference in salary is enough to add another useful player (i.e. another C).

Looking at their usage and results, they are very comparable players.

Avatar
#74 Rickithebear
August 07 2014, 04:21PM
Trash it!
12
trashes
Cheers
6
cheers
Jason Gregor wrote:

He didn't. Schultz played 1 playoff game in his place. Not sure why people equate that to losing his job.

Oilers fans are becoming as educated aLeafs fans.

Avatar
#75 FayneFanatic
August 07 2014, 04:22PM
Trash it!
6
trashes
Cheers
6
cheers
IM80 wrote:

Sounds like you need a cup of tea to calm down. I won't have the patience to interact with you. Stop whining about how I interact with Gregor. Are you his assistant coming to defend his honour?

If you have something of value to add, then please add it. Did I attack Gregor? not once, just the argument made. Trying to better understand his position.

Calling someone closed-minded based on what you read in a forum.......isn't that ironic.

Do you forget what you write?

Your first post you whined, "Ugh why do I read these articles."

His position is easy to understand...it didn't involve your beloved Corsi so you automatically belittle it. Idiotic on your part.

You might not be close-minded, just not as smart as you think.

Avatar
#76 BlazingSaitls
August 07 2014, 04:24PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
14
cheers

A New DJ for Rexall/Oilers. Darn rights Oilers have shown improvement. Im not sure how you would rate Oilers entertainment corsi/feniwck but im sure its down there with Gazdic. Bold Moves! Bold frickin Moves!

Avatar
#77 Ed in Edmonton
August 07 2014, 04:31PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
7
cheers
dawgbone wrote:

It is when their difference in salary is enough to add another useful player (i.e. another C).

Looking at their usage and results, they are very comparable players.

Give or take what Schultz signs for, it would appear that the Oil will have in the order of $4M of unused cap this year. If they "bridge" Schultz unused space could well approach $6M. I think it is a difficult to support that Nikitin's (or anyone else) contract has prevented the Oil from signing a player due to lack of cap space this year.

Avatar
#78 Mason Storm
August 07 2014, 04:38PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
6
cheers

Looking at the numbers, and this may have been mentioned already, but our d is still on average smaller then the forwards of the top 8 in the west. Oilers had a lot of trouble breaking up the cycle last year, hope Fayne and Nikitin make a bigger difference then I think they will.

Avatar
#79 Muller
August 07 2014, 05:02PM
Trash it!
7
trashes
Cheers
10
cheers

The team has improved, but this team isn't good enough to make the playoffs.

Avatar
#80 Naky
August 07 2014, 05:05PM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Cheers
7
cheers

Our top 9 gets significantly better, bigger, and more experienced with the acquisition of ANY NHL caliber centerman taller than 5'9 and 165lbs.

Avatar
#81 David S
August 07 2014, 05:20PM
Trash it!
4
trashes
Cheers
11
cheers
vetinari wrote:

Seems like the defence got the most attention (which they needed) and the forwards simply got shuffled, although I like the current mix of talent and skill sets better (such as Pouliot's possession numbers over Gagner's).

And goal looks like it is set-- as long as Scrivens and Fasth don't have a Dubnyk-like October and November, we should at least be competitive, especially behind the rebuilt defence.

And while a solid "defence by committee" approach could work, I do have some concerns about the 2C spot, especially if RNH goes down and the centres need to be reshuffled-- and barring a trade, Draisatl looks like a lock for the opening night roster.

If RNH goes down, this team is all kinds of screwed. No way MacT goes into the season without adding a top 6 C.*

*Repeats to self while rocking on floor and sucking thumb*

Avatar
#82 David S
August 07 2014, 05:21PM
Trash it!
6
trashes
Cheers
11
cheers
Naky wrote:

Our top 9 gets significantly better, bigger, and more experienced with the acquisition of ANY NHL caliber centerman taller than 5'9 and 165lbs.

You mean, like Sam Gagner?

Avatar
#83 David S
August 07 2014, 05:23PM
Trash it!
5
trashes
Cheers
3
cheers
backup bob wrote:

Here is a question for the next mailbag.

Hey Jason, do you ever feel alone, having to defend against an army of clowns and trolls?

Oh man. You should listen to the Gregor show on the way home from work sometime. At least he has Meg with him most days to keep him company.

Avatar
#84 Oiler Al
August 07 2014, 05:32PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
16
cheers

The team better get their act together and learn how to play defensive hockey as a five man unit, particularly in their own zone.

Puck possession is key. Hopefully some of the new size will help them.

If they don't improve the "goals against" in a big way , they will be a cellar dweller again this year.

LA Kings scored one less goal than the Oilers last year... and they won the Stanley cup.

Avatar
#85 Danoilerfanincalgary
August 07 2014, 05:34PM
Trash it!
5
trashes
Cheers
7
cheers

I was a big fan of Gagner until last year, it seemed the guy was lost and he could not defend in a Patrick O'Sullivan kind of way. There has been an addition via subtraction and if Draisatl does nothing else but defend better than him we are eons ahead on that alone. I wasn't really worried about the top 9 I was more concerned about the bottom 6 and the defence where there is much improvement. We by eye are better.

Avatar
#86 David S
August 07 2014, 06:41PM
Trash it!
9
trashes
Cheers
13
cheers
Danoilerfanincalgary wrote:

I was a big fan of Gagner until last year, it seemed the guy was lost and he could not defend in a Patrick O'Sullivan kind of way. There has been an addition via subtraction and if Draisatl does nothing else but defend better than him we are eons ahead on that alone. I wasn't really worried about the top 9 I was more concerned about the bottom 6 and the defence where there is much improvement. We by eye are better.

Fear pretty much destroys an athlete's ability to perform. Sam's whole season last year was overrun with fear. He'll kill it in Phoenix next season being healthy and working with Tippet.

Avatar
#87 Rotten Ron
August 07 2014, 06:53PM
Trash it!
14
trashes
Cheers
13
cheers
Jason Gregor wrote:

He didn't. Schultz played 1 playoff game in his place. Not sure why people equate that to losing his job.

That would explain the games during their playoff run with Shultz playing and Nikitan a healthy scratch. Sorry for mistaking bringing in people to audition for his roster spot and not re-signing him as losing his job.

Avatar
#88 Pucker
August 07 2014, 07:21PM
Trash it!
5
trashes
Cheers
8
cheers
David S wrote:

Fear pretty much destroys an athlete's ability to perform. Sam's whole season last year was overrun with fear. He'll kill it in Phoenix next season being healthy and working with Tippet.

I'm with you Davids.

I believe MacT did right in trading him. I expect Gagner expressed concerns about playing the wing.

Although I like a lot of what MacT's done so far, the Gagner contract was a mistake, which I'm sure he's now well aware of.

Best wishes to Sam. I expect he'll do better with more appropriate help on the ice. I'm sure he'll lose his checks for many goals against and I'm sure he'll create some regrets in Oilerville but it's still an improvement by subtraction for the Oilers this season.

I firmly believe Arco outplayed Gagner last season but Arco is not a better hockey player.

Avatar
#89 NJ
August 07 2014, 07:43PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
6
cheers

Not only have the Oil gotten bigger, but we replaced our 4th line with our 3rd line by adding 2 experienced wingers (Pouliot and Purcell) to our top 9. Now, how Leon and Arco slot in is yet to be seen and some would suggest it won't turn out well which is a possibility. We do need further depth at center (or any at all), however over our 12 forwards, we HAVE improved.

Now, if Eakins has improved and any of the "CORE" have put on some much needed weight, we may actually see a team that competes this year. Maybe I'm out of my mind to think that Eakins would improve but with new assistants, he's the end of the road. I can't see the fan base or MacT dealing with any more crap if it hits the fan in October like it did last year which was about when we stopped watching meaningful games.

Avatar
#90 D-Unit
August 07 2014, 08:36PM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Cheers
4
cheers
Rotten Ron wrote:

That would explain the games during their playoff run with Shultz playing and Nikitan a healthy scratch. Sorry for mistaking bringing in people to audition for his roster spot and not re-signing him as losing his job.

I am not sure the whole 2 playoff games Schultz played backs up your point, versus the 5 of 6 that Nikitan played.

Avatar
#91 TigerUnderGlass
August 07 2014, 08:44PM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Cheers
13
cheers

@Rotten Ron

That would explain the ONE GAME during their playoff run with Shultz playing and Nikitan a healthy scratch.

I fixed this for you.

The Jackets played 6 games and Nikitin played in 5 of them averaging 16:21 TOI. Schultz played in 2 averaging 9:44.

I don't see how that equates to Schultz taking his job. Especially since Schultz is no longer with the team either.

Avatar
#92 D-Unit
August 07 2014, 08:45PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
8
cheers
David S wrote:

Fear pretty much destroys an athlete's ability to perform. Sam's whole season last year was overrun with fear. He'll kill it in Phoenix next season being healthy and working with Tippet.

I never was a fan of Gagner. Fresh start and health in Arizona should help him, but I don't see him "killing" anything. I had the opposite thought of Tippet on Gagner. Tippet seems very strict and demanding with his players, and Gagner has never had to deal with a coach he made him be truly accountable.

Avatar
#93 D-Unit
August 07 2014, 08:47PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
5
cheers
TigerUnderGlass wrote:
That would explain the ONE GAME during their playoff run with Shultz playing and Nikitan a healthy scratch.

I fixed this for you.

The Jackets played 6 games and Nikitin played in 5 of them averaging 16:21 TOI. Schultz played in 2 averaging 9:44.

I don't see how that equates to Schultz taking his job. Especially since Schultz is no longer with the team either.

Amazing how these stats can be so easily looked up on the internet.

Avatar
#94 TigerUnderGlass
August 07 2014, 08:52PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
10
cheers
D-Unit wrote:

Amazing how these stats can be so easily looked up on the internet.

Well, as I learned on this very site the other day, some fans don't like facts because it ruins all the best narrative.

Avatar
#95 Rotten Ron
August 07 2014, 09:16PM
Trash it!
9
trashes
Cheers
2
cheers
D-Unit wrote:

I am not sure the whole 2 playoff games Schultz played backs up your point, versus the 5 of 6 that Nikitan played.

I am aware of what took place in the playoffs. My mistake was wording of playoff run, I was referring to trade deadline till the end of the regular season.

Avatar
#96 MrBent
August 07 2014, 09:39PM
Trash it!
13
trashes
Cheers
5
cheers
backup bob wrote:

Optimism is high this time of year. On paper the team looks better, however there are serious deficiencies. MacTavish "fixed" the easy stuff. He gets C -.

The only new addition I like is Fayne. My concern is the Oiler system is far from the defensive system the Devils play. Look what happened to Scott Gomez after leaving New Jersey.

The Oilers have improved leaps and bounds! Take the time to listen to other hockey markets. They are SCARED of the Oilers. The only problem i foresee? Oiler "Fans" who think its cool to act like Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh. MacT gets an A+

Avatar
#97 TigerUnderGlass
August 07 2014, 10:29PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
5
cheers
Rotten Ron wrote:

I am aware of what took place in the playoffs. My mistake was wording of playoff run, I was referring to trade deadline till the end of the regular season.

Nikitin was hurt for much of the end of the year. None of this is hard to look up.

A guy who has lost his job doesn't get real ice time in the playoffs.

Avatar
#98 "Frank the dog"
August 07 2014, 11:05PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
4
cheers

I don't see the most significant reason for optimism mentioned in these comments yet.

From 2008 to 2013/4 this team was stuck with political appointees masquerading as Assistant Coaches, that demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt, under 5 different HC's, that they did not have a clue how to get even average performance out of their roster. This year we have people who are being used in their areas of demonstrated expertise, who are also indisputably on the same page as the current HC. This Coaching team would likely have achieved better results with last year's roster than the prior clowns and should be expected to perform significantly better with this improved roster. I'm not saying Stanley Cup, but I am saying challenging for the playoffs late into the season as a minimum, barring a catastrophic run of injuries to key players, which you can bet the goons of the league will try to inflict early on.

Avatar
#99 dawgbone
August 07 2014, 11:10PM
Trash it!
8
trashes
Cheers
7
cheers
Ed in Edmonton wrote:

Give or take what Schultz signs for, it would appear that the Oil will have in the order of $4M of unused cap this year. If they "bridge" Schultz unused space could well approach $6M. I think it is a difficult to support that Nikitin's (or anyone else) contract has prevented the Oil from signing a player due to lack of cap space this year.

$4mil that doesn't include things like a full 23 man roster and the fact that they still need another C, W and D.

They are paying nearly $8mil for Ference and Nikitin who could end up being their bottom pairing this year.

Avatar
#100 Jeffer
August 08 2014, 01:16AM
Trash it!
6
trashes
Cheers
7
cheers
MrBent wrote:

The Oilers have improved leaps and bounds! Take the time to listen to other hockey markets. They are SCARED of the Oilers. The only problem i foresee? Oiler "Fans" who think its cool to act like Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh. MacT gets an A+

Are you actually suggesting teams are scared of the oilers? You think a team with Arcobello as a 2C scares other teams? If you believe this I have some magic beans to sell you.

Comments are closed for this article.