Do You See What I See V1

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Today Jason Gregor begins a new series where he takes a look around the league and discusses the goods. Personally we like it. – WG

Without further ado Nation here is a series of random points that might not make an article each, but should be brought to your attention. Let’s get right to what I call “DYSWIS.” Ok I don’t call it that, but if I was particularly pressed for time I suppose I could.

  • Is Gustavsson the next second coming of Jacques Plante or he is just another decent goalie who isn’t in the NHL? He is good, but saying he is Hiller and Backstrom is reaching a bit for a potentially higher level, rather than more of a realistic possibility.
  • I should clarify something. It has been reported that the Oilers can’t offer him a contract because they are at 50. While the latter is true, there is a short window that allows teams to sign players for next year, even if they are at 50 contracts. Rick Olczyk confirmed this was true, but wouldn’t divulge the exact date that the window closes, “It closes very shortly,” he said. I’ve been trying to find the date, but haven’t found the exact day, but it seems to be sometime in May. It is true the Oilers are interested and they can offer him a contract, but remember with Gustavsson, due to his age he only has to sign a ONE-YEAR entry level deal, not the usual three. So there won’t be an excessive bidding war, just some differing on bonuses.
  • What was Aaron Ward thinking? Protect yourself, rather than keep your hands down at your side after you’ve been jostling with Scott Walker. You don’t play the role until the last second and then just stand there. It looked like he tried to goad Walker into a fight and then changed his mind at the last moment. It will be interesting to see if the NHL overturns the automatic one-game suspension that comes with getting an instigator in the last ten minutes. Right up until Walker punched Ward both guys looked like they knew what would happen next. Walker has always been a hard-nosed, but honorable player. In a situation like that, Ward at least needs to protect himself.

Deep breath – are you taking all of this in? Good….

  • Johan Franzen is a thoroughbred amongst Mules. He has great hands in tight, and a deceptive shot from outside. While many are screaming saying he took the home town discount, a little closer look at his contract and you realize he didn’t take that much of a hit. He’s already 29 and he’ll be 40 when his new 11-year deal ends. He will make 38 million over the next seven years, averaging just over five million a season. Would he have gotten that much more on the free agent market this summer?
  • I wonder if the NHL will look at limiting the length of contracts if a player is 28 or older. The Wings have locked up many of their players with contracts until they’re 40. Most of the money gets paid upfront, but the cap hit is lower, and if the player retires after 35 the remaining years won’t count against the cap. It’s a smart move by the Wings, and a few other teams, but it will be curious to see if the NHL tries to close that window during the next CBA.
  • Yes, Dan Clearly’s leg was in the crease behind Hiller but it didn’t limit Hiller’s movement. Watch the replay again; he didn’t even try to move his leg to make the save.
  • Unless you are a Pens fan how can you not cheer for the Caps tonight? Who doesn’t want to see a game seven between these two teams? This series has been great.
  • I wonder if those who thought Mike Green was a guaranteed top-five D-man in the league because of one good offensive season, still think that after watching him during the playoffs? I like Green, but if you think he is better than Bouwmeester you aren’t watching closely enough.
  • CBC clearly lost the TV trade at the start of this round. CBC got game one of the Ducks/Wings from TSN, while TSN received game six between the Pens/Caps. I wonder if Grapes, or one of their analysts, will critique how bad of a deal that was.
  • Eric Staal is a special player. The more I watch him the more I find it hard to believe he won’t be on the Olympic team. Outside of Ryan Getzlaf he has been the best Canadian player in the playoffs. He could be the reason Joe Thornton doesn’t make the team, moreso than Thornton’s inability to lead his team to the Cup.
  • Do Oiler fans still think Craig MacTavish stunted Erik Cole’s offensive ability?

And here are some great tidbits courtesy of Elias Sports Bureau:

  • Over the last two seasons, Franzen leads the NHL with 20 playoff goals and Zetterberg ranks second with 19. Zetterberg has three empty-net goals in the 2009 playoffs, the most in one postseason since Pete Stemkowski of the Rangers netted three ENGs in 1974.
  • Marc-Andre Fleury and the Penguins beat the Capitals for the second straight night to take a three-games-to two lead in their series. It’s only the second time in Fleury’s NHL career regular-season and playoffs that he’s started and won games on consecutive days. He did that in March 2006 against the Devils and Flyers (both in Pittsburgh).
  • Dustin Byfuglien recorded his first two-goal game in the playoffs to help the Blackhawks beat the Canucks, 4-2, and take a three-games-to-two lead in their series. Byfuglien is the sixth different Chicago player with a multiple-goal game in this year’s playoffs; the others are Martin Havlat, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp and Dave Bolland. The Red Wings, with four, are the only other team with more than three such players in the 2009 NHL postseason.
  • Jason Gregor wrote:

    Yes, but he also factored in on 45% of his teams goals during their first Stanley Cup win. He had 44 points they scored 96 goals. Are you saying that isn’t a pretty big influence? More than all of his teammates. So now you are saying that the great players don’t have more of an impact in the game?

    Wow. I was actually making exactly the opposite point – that even one of the greatest players in the history of the game (with one of the greatest impacts on his team in the history of the game) played for a group that missed the playoffs six out of seven years; in other words, even a player with the highest amount of individual impact cannot singlehandedly counter the effects of playing on a poor team. Team outcomes are determined by team strength – not the strength of an individual, even one as amazing as Lemieux.

    And since you love stats…You said it was IMPOSSIBLE for Staal to keep his shooting % up.
    Eric Cole was a 10.6% shooter his first three years, then the next two he was a 17.9% shooter. For 131 games he improved his by 7.3%. Then he went back to being a 10.5 guy. That would seem like a pretty long hot streak. So you can’t say it is impossible for Staal to maintain it, unlikely, yes, but not impossible.

    I'll tell you what. Impossible is a bad word since there's a huge amount of scenarios here, but practically impossible is pretty close to the truth.

  • Jason Gregor wrote:

    I know he doesn’t shoot very often, but I also don’t think that if he shot more he’d automatically become a 40 goal scorer.

    Again, wow. How did you think that was my point? My point is that much of a player's success can stem from something unsustainable (like shooting percentage). Torres took 164 shots in 2005-06 and 154 in 2006-07. In the first year he scored 27 goals (16.5 SH%). In the second he scored 15 goals (9.7 SH%). Is it likely that his actual offensive ability dropped by a factor of two, or that his actual talent level was somewhere in the middle and in 05-06 everything went in while in 06-07 nothing went in? The latter case, I assure you. In the first year, his SH% made him look better than he was, in the second year, it made him look worse than he actually was.

    Much like Eric Staal's current shooting percentage is making him seem like a better sniper than he actually is (moving him from "very good" to "unstoppable offensive dynamo").

  • Jason Gregor wrote:

    Stortini led the Oilers with a shooting percentage of 26, does that mean he is their best shooter. I don’t think so.

    No kidding. In this case, it would mean that Stortini's shooting percentage is making him look like a better player than he is.

    Which is the entire point.

  • Jonathan Willis wrote:

    No kidding. In this case, it would mean that Stortini’s shooting percentage is making him look like a better player than he is.
    Which is the entire point.

    So you are saying that the Staal's shooting % is making him look better than he is?

    Wow, you are putting way too much stock in that stat. Staal has been just as dominant this playoffs as he was in 2006 when he scored 28 points in 25 games. Who cares what his shooting % is?

    Crosby is at 19.2, Zetterberg 19.4, Franzen 24.1 Kane 28.6, Savard 31.3. Are their shooting percentages making them look better than they are, or are they just dominant players.

    At times you get too caught up in the value of a stat. Staal has been great, regardless of his shooting %.

  • TonyT

    @ Jason Gregor:
    Hey Jason,
    Lyle Richardson from the hockey news (thn.ca) in his rumour roundup states that Columbus may make Modin available. Would that be someone the Oilers might be interested in?

  • TonyT wrote:

    @ Jason Gregor:
    Hey Jason,
    Lyle Richardson from the hockey news (thn.ca) in his rumour roundup states that Columbus may make Modin available. Would that be someone the Oilers might be interested in?

    God, I hope not. While he has size, he rarely uses it. The Oilers don't need another soft player, regardless of his size. Plus he will be 35 in October, the Oilers have no interest in getting a guy that old, unless his name is Jagr.

    He also has a no trade clause and the Oilers wouldn't be interested in adding his $3.25 million salary.

  • TonyT

    Jason Gregor wrote:

    TonyT wrote:
    @ Jason Gregor:
    Hey Jason,
    Lyle Richardson from the hockey news (thn.ca) in his rumour roundup states that Columbus may make Modin available. Would that be someone the Oilers might be interested in?
    God, I hope not. While he has size, he rarely uses it. The Oilers don’t need another soft player, regardless of his size. Plus he will be 35 in October, the Oilers have no interest in getting a guy that old, unless his name is Jagr.
    He also has a no trade clause and the Oilers wouldn’t be interested in adding his $3.25 million salary.

    Thanks for the reply, didn't really research his salary just remembered he was quite a handful for the Oilers in a couple games this past season.

  • @ Jason Gregor:

    If you look at that link, you'll see that the top fifty shooters in the NHL last season (who collectively fired at a 3% better clip than the average) regressed by 2% on average last year. Since some of those guys are actually above-average shooters (the Kovalchuks and Brunettes of the world fit in here) it's obvious that other guys regressed below the mean (call it the Raffi Torres phenomenon).

    Obviously, this isn't happening by chance – if these guys were actually capable of making their shots at that rate, we'd get a different distribution, with some of them above and some below but the end result being the same average. Since there was a two-thirds regression, it is beyond doubt that most of these guys totals were inflated by events external to their own ability.

  • Jason Gregor wrote:

    God, I hope not. While he has size, he rarely uses it. The Oilers don’t need another soft player, regardless of his size. Plus he will be 35 in October, the Oilers have no interest in getting a guy that old, unless his name is Jagr.
    He also has a no trade clause and the Oilers wouldn’t be interested in adding his $3.25 million salary.

    I wouldn't want him either, but your assessment of Modin as a soft player I would not agree with. I remember Modin being extremely hard to move away from the front of the Oilers crease. That automatically leads one to ponder whether that is the result of Modin being a good crease-crasher (which he is) or whether the Oilers are too soft (which they are). IMO both Penner and Moreau are more valuable than Modin anyway.

  • Jonathan Willis wrote:

    Here’s the short answer. If it isn’t repeatable, it matters.

    THe fact is Staal with a 19% this year or a 10% in 2006 is still the most dominant player for Carolina. So nothing has changed. Which backs my point exactly, his shooting percentage can go up or down but his contributions and his success hasn't changed.

  • Tyler

    Jason Gregor wrote:

    THe fact is Staal with a 19% this year or a 10% in 2006 is still the most dominant player for Carolina. So nothing has changed. Which backs my point exactly, his shooting percentage can go up or down but his contributions and his success hasn’t changed.

    This is inane. Carolina has scored 28 goals so far in the playoffs. Staal has scored 9 goals, or 32% of the total. In 2005-06, Carolina scored 73 goals and Staal scored 12.3% of them. Leaving aside the question of who the most dominant player for Carolina is or was, his contribution in terms of goals scored is obviously larger this year.

    Eric Cole was a 10.6% shooter his first three years, then the next two he was a 17.9% shooter. For 131 games he improved his by 7.3%. Then he went back to being a 10.5 guy. That would seem like a pretty long hot streak. So you can’t say it is impossible for Staal to maintain it, unlikely, yes, but not impossible.

    You need to factor in things like his split of ES/PP shots. He probably had a split that was more tilted towards ES, which are lower percentage shots, earlier in his career. In addition, over 131 games, we're talking about what, 260 or 300 shots? That's hardly such a sample that a fluctuation like that is worth noting.

    Willis' point that betting on the unlikely – like Staal doubling his shooting percentage in the long run – is stupid seems unimpeachable to me. Hopefully Carolina can afford to keep him under the multiple cap scenario.

  • Lofty

    @ Archaeologuy:
    And I repeat, you are responsible for your knees just the same as you are responsible for your stick, elbow, and mouth. Gonchar is out, it is a double standard and the NHL front office is a joke.

  • Tyler wrote:

    Carolina has scored 28 goals so far in the playoffs. Staal has scored 9 goals, or 32% of the total. In 2005-06, Carolina scored 73 goals and Staal scored 12.3% of them.

    Exactly. This isn't even nuance; we're talking black and white.

  • Archaeologuy

    @ Lofty:
    Why should Ovechkin get penalized for someone else's actions? It was Gonchar who moved his body so that his knee hit Ovechkin's, not the other way around. Ovechkin never changed the trajectory of his hit.
    And it isnt like theyre responsible for them at all times, players arent responsible for their sticks on follow throughs, so why should players be responsible for attempting to make a legal hit?. The NHL shouldnt be suspending players because someone got hurt doing something they shouldnt. It's like people who turn their back at the last second then cry about boarding. Those players should have to live with their broken necks and concussions and the hitter should NOT be penalized.

  • Jonathan Willis wrote:

    Exactly. This isn’t even nuance; we’re talking black and white.

    My original point was he was dominant. You tried saying he is overrated because of his shooting % and that it is overvalueing his contribution.

    Have you watched the games? Did you watch in 2006? Staal is scoring more GOALS now, but his average point total is basically the same. He was a main contributor then and he is now, just with goals instead of assists. You've spun yourself in so many circles I don't even know what point you are trying to make.

    HERE WAS YOUR ORIGINAL POST

    On the other hand, his incredible playoff eprformance has a lot to do with something unsustainable – his shooting percentage (19.1%). If Staal had been able to maintain that shooting percentage over this past season, he wouldn’t have scored 40 goals, he would have scored 71. If he’d managed to maintain that pace over the past four seasons, he would have scored 50 goals each year – 238 goals over the four years, rather than 153 goals he did score.

    Again, nothing against Staal who is a good player, but luck and a hot streak are a big part of the reason why he’s looked so dominant.

    He was just as dominant in 2006 with points, just more assists than goals. Because he has more goals than assists now, shows he can dominate in which ever fashion, which is the sign of a great player, and the big difference between him and 90% of the other players in the league.

    I guess all the best players have more luck and are on a hot streak…KANE, CROSBY, FRANZEN, etc…All of their shooting % are higher right now…

    It's called having more SKILL than the other players…that is what separates them. I guess all the guys who score more goals are just LUCKIER than the rest of the league.

    So if Staal scores a goal on five shots next game instead of four, is he any less valuable? I wouldn't think so.

    Read more: "Do You See What I See V1 – OilersNation.com#comments" – http://www.oilersnation.com/2009/05/do-you-see-what-i-see-v1/comment-page-1/#comments#ixzz0FJeJRrT4&A

  • heavyd

    @ Archaeologuy:

    So what your saying is if stortini hit gonchar, the same way the ovechekin did, then stortini would't have been fined or suspenseded. I'm pretty sure he would of been.

  • Archaeologuy

    @ heavyd:
    but he shouldnt be. I'm not saying there isnt a double standard when we all know there is one. But in this case there shouldnt be a suspension no matter who did the hitting because Gonchar's knee only got hurt because he jumped out of the way of the hit. Ovechkin didnt target the knee or stick his own leg out. If Storts did the same thing and got suspended there would be outrage from ON because there was no intent to make a knee on knee hit.

  • topshelf

    @ Archaeologuy:
    Yeah it was more collateral damage than anything. In reality, it was just an unfortunate play that happens every so often. Gotta have your head up when Ovy is out there.

  • The Casino

    I'm convinced. I am no longer going to use stats when assessing my games either.

    Truth is, I always had faith in the intangibles of the Double Diamond Slot machine.