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.
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:
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.
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.