Dean Lombardi has placed defenseman Tom Preissing on waivers (H/T to Puck Daddy). Lombardi’s a pretty bright guy; a big chunk of that San Jose Sharks team chewing up the league right now was his creation (not to take credit away from Doug Wilson, but he had a nice base to build from). Let’s take a quick look at Preissing’s numbers over the past four seasons:
- 2008-09: 22GP – 3G – 4A – 7PTS, -7
- 2007-08: 77GP – 8G – 16A – 24PTS, -6
- 2006-07: 80GP – 7G – 31A – 38PTS, +40
That’s a pretty funny career curve, and nicely highlights some of the problems with straight +/-. Here’s the +/- for Preissing’s teams over these seasons:
- 2008-09: -19
- 2007-08: -35
- 2006-07: +67
That clears up a bit of the confusion; obviously Preissing’s +/- has to a large degree reflected the success of his team. Still, let’s go one step further and look at his even-strength advanced statistics:
- 2008-09: QC-7th, QT-7th, Corsi/60-2nd, PTS/60-5th (0.47)
- 2007-08: QC-5th, QT-1st, Corsi/60-4th, PTS/60- 5th (0.74)
- 2006-07: QC-6th, QT-4th
Looking at this, we see that Preissing has always played third pairing opponents, and that this year he has had lower quality teammates than he has previously, which might partially explain why his +/- is so poor this season (he’s on pace to record a +/- four times worse than the number he posted last year).
Still, there’s a more obvious explanation. Using Vic Ferrari’s Time On Ice tool, we can see something more interesting. Preissing’s Corsi number is quite good, but L.A’s a bit of a shot-happy team, so it’s probably inflated a bit. Let’s compare four numbers, all at even-strength:
- Team Average SH%: 6.4%
- SH% with Preissing on the ice: 4.6%
- Team Average SV%: .918
- SV% with Preissing on ice: .882
In short, Preissing’s getting destroyed by the bounces. He’s played just over 20 games, so the smaller sample size makes the effect more pronounced, and he hasn’t gone from a decent third-pairing defenseman to garbage over the summer.
Still, despite the fact that Preissing is better than his counting numbers would indicate (and yes, I know he’s softer than butter), I wouldn’t pick him up on waivers. He’s being paid 2.75M per season through 2010-11; that’s outrageous money for a third pairing defenseman. At a guess, I’d say someone was unduly influenced by his +/- on a strong team, and his points scoring on a better powerplay. He’s a third-pairing defenseman who qualifies as a low-level special teams option. Lombardi’s right to put him on waivers and try to clear some cap space, but he’s probably already too late.
The real question, for Oilers fans: if Tom Preissing is getting this sort of treatment, what kind of treatment is Steve Staios going to get over the next couple of seasons? Staios is paid 2.7M per season through 2010-11; he has 8 points and is -6 through 60 games this season. I really don’t know if he’s tradeable.