The New Additions

O'Sullivan

Yesterday, long after the trade deadline had passed and I’d gone home for a much-needed break from yesterday’s live-blog (a lot of fun by the way – thanks to everybody who showed up), the news trickled out that the Oilers had made a deal. When the dust settled, Steve Tambellini had robbed Carolina blind, sending Erik Cole and a 5th round pick there for a 2nd round pick and Patrick O’Sullivan (acquired from L.A. for Jason Williams). Tambellini then flipped the pick to Buffalo (who apparently have forgiven the Vanek offer sheet) in exchange for Ales Kotalik.

TSN had some good analysis, although Pierre McGuire left me a little bit confused when he explained that the Edmonton Oilers had now traded Erik Cole and Joni Pitkanen in an overpay for O’Sullivan. Pierre: it doesn’t work that way. I could hear an audible sign from elsewhere on the panel and Darren Pang patiently sort-of refuted McGuire, despite McGuire’s interruptions. Anyways, I thought it might be useful to do an in-depth analysis of the players acquired.

Patrick O’Sullivan

Contract: 2.925M per season through 2010-11. Arbitration-eligible RFA after that.

2008-09: 62GP – 14G – 23A – 37PTS, +1
2007-08: 82GP – 22G – 31A – 53PTS, -8
2006-07: 44GP – 5G – 14A – 19PTS, -6

It doesn’t show up at first, but Patrick O’Sullivan is a great acquisition by this team. He just turned 24, so there’s plenty of upside, and I imagine that this acquisition spells the end of Robert Nilsson, probably at the draft this summer. He isn’t big or particularly gritty, but he’s a very affordable player who upgrades the Oilers depth at left wing. Most importantly, he’s versatile. It was claimed in the comments section yesterday that O’Sullivan doesn’t kill penalties, but that’s inaccurate. Here are his time on ice numbers so far this season:

Even-strength: 14:04/game
Power-play: 3:07/game
Short-handed: 2:15/game

Let’s take a quick look at his advanced stats over his two full seasons:

2008-09: QC-7th, QT-10th, Corsi/60-2nd, PTS/60-1.87, PPPTS/60 – 2.23
2007-08: QC-6th, QT-6th, Corsi/60-9th, PTS/60-2.05, PPPTS/60 – 3.07

The first thing that jumps out is that O’Sullivan’s power-play numbers are not very good; he’s probably a second-unit guy in Edmonton. The flip side of that (although it isn’t shown here) is that his short-handed numbers are very good; only Jarret Stoll has fared better killing penalties for the Kings so far this season.

At even-strength, O’Sullivan is playing softer opposition with very weak line-mates, but if he slots in where I expect (with Sam Gagner on the second line) he won’t need to play tough opponents. His offensive numbers have dipped a bit this season, but his Corsi has improved massively; in other words, he’s spending a lot of time in the offensive zone. I love this addition, and finagling a 2nd round pick out of Carolina to boot makes this trade a clear win for Steve Tambellini. Especially when you consider that O’Sullivan is signed at a reasonable rate for two more seasons, while Cole was unrestricted.

Ales Kotalik

Contract: 2.33M per season; becomes a UFA at the end of this year

2008-09: 56GP – 13G – 19A – 32PTS, -7
2007-08: 79GP – 23G – 20A – 43PTS, -5
2006-07: 66GP – 16G – 22A – 38PTS, -5

Ales Kotalik doesn’t kill penalties, but he adds some size. He played a major role on the Buffalo power-play as a point man; it seems clear that he was added at least in part to address the injury to Lubomir Visnovsky. It’s worth noting that he’s a right-handed shot, so he could very well be more effective than Visnovsky with Sheldon Souray – it’s been a little frustrating watching Visnovsky and Souray trying to get into the same spot to unleash their left-handed slapper.

Let’s take a quick look at Kotalik’s advanced stats for the past two seasons:

2008-09: QC-12th, QT-11th, Corsi-2nd, PTS/60-1.16, PPPTS/60-4.19
2007-08: QC-10th, QT-9th, Corsi-8th, PTS/60-1.24, PPPTS/60-3.92

Kotalik’s been a remarkably ineffective scorer at even-strength over the last two years. For a little perspective, his PTS/60 number slides in right between Liam Reddox and Steve MacIntyre while playing soft opposition; in other words, I’d be very surprised if Kotalik ends up with Horcoff and Hemsky long-term, unless Lindy Ruff was grossly misusing him.

This is a power-play rental, and at the cost Tambellini paid (2nd round pick) it was probably a bad trade for the Oilers (now watch him score a hat-trick in his first game to prove me wrong). A good job by Darcy Regier to get maximum value for a rental player.

Both of these players will help the Oilers make the playoffs this season, and on the whole I agree with Lowetide’s take that Steve Tambellini had a good day. It just could have been a little better.

  • Hippy

    TonyT wrote:

    Just read Joanne Ireland, on the edmonton journal website that O’Sullivan just got off the plane and is expected to play. Before hitting the ice, they quickly went over systems.
    1) The Oilers have systems? From what I’ve been lead to believe, MacTavish is pretty laisez faire with his offensive players, and according to the Nashville tape they have no defensive systems. Play with jam is not a system.
    2) According to Joanne, Kotalik is skating on the top line with Horcoff and Hemsky, while O’Sullivan is skating with Pouliot and Cogliano. Scratches are Reddox, Nilsson, and MacIntyre. That leaves the fourth line as Jacques, Brodziak, and Stortini, and the “second line” as Penner, Gagner, Pisani! Couple questions a) Why is Pisani on the second line? and b) Why do we have the smallest “least amount of jam” checking line in hockey?
    Just venting – FMNF – Go Oilers!

    Why are you posting that, when Gregor had on his QTNA post with the real lines. I don't understand posting about some other media outlet, when you can just come here and get the facts correctly.

    Gagner is with O'Sullivan and Pouliot. Every one knows that. So either you read it wrong or she is out too lunch. Either way, why even mention it when it was mentioned on here by a NATION writer hours earlier…

  • Hippy

    Matt N wrote:

    First off I disagree that the Oil have been poor at the draft table. The first round track record isn’t great (Poo, JFJ, Schremp) in the Lowe regime but not horrible either (Gagner, Hemsky). However, the value they have been getting from lower round picks is unbeleivable (Stortini, Brodziak, Reddox, Cogliano).

    Cogliano was a 1st rounder man, not a low pick. Lower picks you mentioned are 4th liner contributors which is fine. Top end drafting needs to improve.

    Matt N wrote:

    I also disagree with trading future assets (2nd rounder) this year for a short term return (UFA). The Oil will be scratching to make the playoffs, there is no one out there who will bet on them getting past 2 of the top 4 western teams if they do make it.

    You are assuming he is only a rental. If he plays okay and scores five goals in this stretch and they can re-sign him for 2.5 million for a few years, what is the problem. A 2nd rounder only is an asset if it works out, and would help this team in three years at the earliest probably.

    Jonathan Willis wrote:

    View them as separate deals. Evaluated separately, I think that a 2nd round pick has more value than Ales Kotalik.

    To say they aren't connected is not true. The minute they start talking with Carolina they are talking with Buffalo simultaneously because they were up against the deadline clock. They convinced Carolina to give a 2nd so they could swap directly to Buffalo.

    And how does a what if (2nd rounder) have more value than Kotalik? He is a proven 20 goal scorer, you have no evidence that the 2nd rounder would become that. Proven value is always higher than "potential" unless it is a top-ten pick. Sure sometimes the 2nd pans out, but you would need eight years to see if this second roudn pick can become a three-time 20 goal scorer. And since it wasn't one of their own second-rounders it lessens the blow.

    Regardless of who Carolina picks, because the Oilers have shown they won't pick what other teams like, you will never be able to prove if the pick panned out. With Kotalik we will know. And the other intangible is that Hemksy went to bat for him. Make your best player happy and his play could improve. That is a big bonus.

  • Hippy

    but you would need eight years to see if this second roudn pick can become a three-time 20 goal scorer. And since it wasn’t one of their own second-rounders it lessens the blow.

    Except he didnt score 20 goals for us, he did that for Buffalo. If we get 20 games out of him, there is a good chance a 2nd rounder does more.

    But I agree with you on the package deal part. Sure they are separate transactions but the fact that they both came in at the same time at the last minute leads me to believe Carolina caved in to the Oilers demands for the pick to get Kotalik.

  • Hippy

    Jason Gregor wrote:

    And how does a what if (2nd rounder) have more value than Kotalik? He is a proven 20 goal scorer, you have no evidence that the 2nd rounder would become that. Proven value is always higher than “potential” unless it is a top-ten pick.

    Borrowing from Scott Cullen of TSN, the odds of a pick between 51 and 60 playing in at least 100 NHL games is 27%. Jamie Fitzpatrick of About.com puts the success rate (better than 200 games) for a 2nd round pick at 1 in 4.

    Speaking for myself, I'll take a one in four chance of a career NHL'er over a power-play specialist who is about to become an unrestricted free agent.

  • Hippy

    Mike wrote:

    TonyT wrote:
    Just read Joanne Ireland, on the edmonton journal website that O’Sullivan just got off the plane and is expected to play. Before hitting the ice, they quickly went over systems.
    1) The Oilers have systems? From what I’ve been lead to believe, MacTavish is pretty laisez faire with his offensive players, and according to the Nashville tape they have no defensive systems. Play with jam is not a system.
    2) According to Joanne, Kotalik is skating on the top line with Horcoff and Hemsky, while O’Sullivan is skating with Pouliot and Cogliano. Scratches are Reddox, Nilsson, and MacIntyre. That leaves the fourth line as Jacques, Brodziak, and Stortini, and the “second line” as Penner, Gagner, Pisani! Couple questions a) Why is Pisani on the second line? and b) Why do we have the smallest “least amount of jam” checking line in hockey?
    Just venting – FMNF – Go Oilers!
    Why are you posting that, when Gregor had on his QTNA post with the real lines. I don’t understand posting about some other media outlet, when you can just come here and get the facts correctly.
    Gagner is with O’Sullivan and Pouliot. Every one knows that. So either you read it wrong or she is out too lunch. Either way, why even mention it when it was mentioned on here by a NATION writer hours earlier…

    Sorry, I don't believe I saw Gregor post the lines in that particular article. Also, I don't consider the Edmonton Journal ficticious. Lastly, the lines I mentiouned were the lines practiced during this morning's practice, it's MacT, is it so hard to believe? All I'm saying is MacT wanted more offense when not only does he find a way to make the top two scoring lines un-offensive but he's found a way to make the checking line un-checking. I'm cheering for the Oilers, but unless MacT leads them to the finals I wanna written guarantee from mgmt that MacT's done.

  • Hippy

    @ Mike:
    Also, Oiler fans come on here to talk shop. If we all got our info from Oilersnation there wouldn't much to discuss. So unless your source is Ecklund or the Ottawa Sun, I believe it's reasonable to post such a source for the discussion, of all.

  • Hippy

    @ Jonathan Willis:

    It should be noted that Buffalo got the 2nd round pick that we got from Carolina/LA/Calgary. Buffalo gave that exact pick to Toronto in the Dominic Moore trade. So essentially Toronto ended up with the pick that came through us.

  • Hippy

    Jonathan Willis wrote:

    Peter Pan wrote:
    Look at the players we missed! Pouliot over Parise/Getzlaf! If Pierre F’N Maguire can see this, why couldn’t the Oilers?
    Pierre also figured that the Canadiens screwed up Big Time! by not taking MONSTER Gilbert Brule with their 5th overall pick.
    Seeing as they drafted Carey Price, I wouldn’t blindly trust Pierre’s take on the Entry Draft.

    HAHA! True…

  • Hippy

    @ Jason Gregor:
    In your opinion do the Oilers put to much stock in leadership and personal background on draft day? Or in other words has their priority on these areas affected their drafting over talent (with the exception of Schremp who was a late, best available pick)?

  • Hippy

    I really like the Cole/O'Sullivan move but I would've rather had a D than move that 2nd for yet another forward. 24 is playing in the top four and he can't handle it and 44's showing up lagging as well. What we needed was a Havelid type instead of having 26 forwards and 24 in your top four D and Peckham and Roy as your 7th and 8th Dmen.

    Regarding signing Kotalik for 2.5 mill, the Oilers have to be really careful with giving real money to guys who won't make a difference. Right now we've got guys like 18 and 34 with contracts that they can't out-perform and I wouldn't want Kotalik to grab the same kind of deal.

    I imagine 27 will be dealt at the draft or at the very least waived early next year so I guess that will change how we pay guys expected to score. But as JW showed, Kotalik hasn't really been a guy that you can count on. One 60 point season clouds what looks to be a ~40 points-a-season career.

    That's OK if he'll come back on a bargain but that's it.

  • Hippy

    Jonathan Willis wrote:

    Speaking for myself, I’ll take a one in four chance of a career NHL’er over a power-play specialist who is about to become an unrestricted free agent.

    agree to disagree. and as mentioned previously, one important thing we have to keep in mind is that this isn't the Oiler's 2nd rounder. Supply and demand. The more 2nd round picks we have, the less value we can afford to put on each individual one. I might not agree with forgoeing the second round altogether in 2009 for a rental, but if we have an extra and our scouts aren't over the moon about picks 31-60, I say go for it.

    That being said, I certainly see where you're coming from. Also, Gregor brought up a great point about keeping hemsky happy, which I hadn't thought of until now. There's a lot more X factors in this than meets the eye.

  • Hippy

    Sean wrote:

    JW when did you start posting at coppernblue again? Are you posting there regularly again in addition to the ON posts?

    Just this last week. I'm in trade school right now, and I have a bunch of extra time.

    Besides, I never really wanted to shut it down, but I couldn't keep up both there and at ON. I'm going to try and keep it alive from here on out.