The Numbers Game

numbergame

Growing up 17 was my favourite number. I really don’t know why. Jari Kurri wasn’t my favourite Oiler; Glenn Anderson was, but I never liked the look of single digits on a jersey. And very few scorers wore single digits so I didn’t.

I tried to get 17 on every team I played for, thinking that I would play better if I had that number. Since I never went on to the NHL or anywhere close, clearly that wasn’t the case.

Some guys are really superstitious about their number, while others happily take whatever they get when they get to the next level. Some players like Visnosky just reverse the number when they go to a new team. He couldn’t wear #17 with the Oilers, so he just switched to #71.

A recent trend has offensive guys wearing their birth year like Hemsky and Gagner, but that trend will clearly stop in 2018, because I doubt offensive guys will be wearing 00, or 01. You might see it in 2022, if a forward wants to emulate Jean Beliveau or Vinny Lecavlier and wear #4. And again in 2025 when #7 is an acceptable number for an offensive guy considering Hall of Famer and three-time Hart Trophy winner Howie Morenz wore it.

My oldest nephew, Liam, is entering bantam and his favourite player is Patrick Kane, so he tries to get 88 whenever possible. It isn’t just kids who wear their favourite player’s number. Marty Reasoner wore 19 because of Joe Sakic…Okay that isn’t true, but I bet he liked the comparison.

Numbers are an intriguing part of sport. How many of you remember that Paul Coffey wore 74 when he played for the Bruins because both 7 and 77 were already retired? Or that Glenn Anderson wore 36 because it was a multiple of nine and when added together they equaled nine?

Or that Dustin Penner broke in to the NHL wearing #76. When you get a random high number like that at camp you normally aren’t expected to be a mainstay.

Number 15 has been worn by 28 different Oilers, the most in their history, and it is easy to see why since none of them lasted very long in Edmonton. Kent Nilsson was the best out of the group, but Kurt Brackenbury was the most memorable in my mind. I got the numbers from the Oilers media guide and I did find this link online.

** I should point out that the online link has a few that the Oilers media guide doesn’t so I’ll go with the Oiler media guide. They have Buchberger wearing #15, but he only wore #16. When he got called up Steve Graves was wearing #15. Kyle Brodziak also never wore #22, but the online list is still fairly accurate.***

There are 17 days left until the draft, and in that time we will probably hear 1700 different scenarios in how the first ten picks will pan out.

It doesn’t sound like the Oilers will get into the top three, which shouldn’t surprise anyone, but the possibility exists to move up from the ten slot. Most think the top three will be Tavares, Hedman and Duchene and they are probably right, but I spoke with a scout from Colorado and he was raving about hulking D-man Jared Cowan. I got the impression that they will at least entertain him, but considering the Avs took two D-men and a goalie with their first three picks in 2007 and a D-man and goalie with their first two picks in 2008 the good money is that they’ll take the forward Duchene.

All the speculation about which team will move up or down won’t happen until the morning of the draft. Very rarely do trades happen a week in advance of the draft. Why would you try to move up now when no one knows how the draft will play out? The deals will come the morning and afternoon of the 26th.

Currently none of the top five teams are willing to part with their picks, but that could change on the 26th. Brian Burke is telling every one in The Leafs Nation that he wants to move up, and when it doesn’t happen he can say, “I tried.” The cost to move into the top three, if you aren’t NYI, TB or COL will be a lot, and the risk doesn’t match the reward. If Burke wants in the top two it will cost him Luke Schenn and the #7, why would he even consider that?

A keeping with 17 it is nice to see that two of the best sharp shooters, Kovalchuk and Carter are wearing it. Outside of Brind’Amour, Kesler, Dubinsky, Lucic, and Mike Rupp I can’t think of any others. Nope, just remembered Laraque wore it in Montreal this year. I’m sure there are others, but without looking I can’t recall them. When Kovalchuk is done playing he’ll be close to Kurri’s 601 goals, but I don’t think he’ll be in the same category as overall player. But it’s nice to see a sniper pulling on #17.

Oil droppings

  • Expect an announcement on who the Springfield coach will be next week, and I’ll be shocked if it isn’t Rob Daum. He deserves it, and many of the players liked what he brought for the final two months last year.
  • I can’t see the Oilers offering Matt Roy, Glenn Fisher, Stephane Goulet, Carl Corazzini, David Rohlfs or Sebastion Bisaillon contracts this summer. They really want Ryan Stone and Ryan Potulny back. Look for them to go after guys with size and skill this summer.
  • Expect Rob Schremp to sign a one-year deal. After that he would have to clear waivers, and he can force them to keep him. I would expect a one-year deal for Brule as well.
  • Jason Krog’s name keeps coming up as a guy they should go after because he is a scoring stud in the AHL, but look for him to sign a contract in Russia similar to what Omark received; $1.2 million a year.
  • All of the speculation about an Oilers/Kings deal is just that right now. A source within the Oilers said there hasn’t been any discussion to this point, and in fact he be surprised if the Kings moved their 5th pick.
  • I still have no clue on who the second assistant coach will be for the Oilers, if they sign one, but Perry Pearn won’t be the guy. Look for a younger guy, who is good at breaking down film to get the nod.
  • The Panthers are looking to move the rights to Jay Bouwmeester, similar to what Nashville did with Hartnell and Timonen a few years back, and they’ll settle for a 2nd rounder even though they would love a 1st. They might have to take some salary in return to make it happen, but Bill Torrey has the green light to make something happen if he can.
  • Chris

    Let's say Tambellini aquires Heatley through a massive overpay: For example, Visnovsky, Gagner, and our Tenth overall pick.

    Tambellin could then maybe trade O'Sullivan for Harding (Again an overpay). Cogliano would become the second line center. Smid and Peckham would both move up the depth chart. There would be over 10 million dollars left to sign a UFA third line center; and to resign Brodziak, Smid, and Grebs.

    H-H-H
    Pens-Cogs-Nilsson/Brule
    Moreau-UFA-Pisani
    JFJ-Brodziak/Pouliot-Stortini

    Grebs Souray
    Smid Gilbert
    Staios-Peckham/Struds

    Harding
    JDD

    Conclusion: even with this massive series of overpays… the Oilers improve.

  • one off

    @ RossCreek:

    Agreed. The big catch is where does he want to go. I think it is reasonable to think that if Edmonton is an attractive destination for Heatly, then the Oilers will put an awful lot on the table to try and land him.

  • Playing with a legitimate scoring forward like Heatley would be a lot different than playing with Reddox, Penner, Cole, Smyth or anyone else the Oil has paired with Hemmer post-lockout. He hasn't been with anyone close to being a consistant 40-50 goal guy.

  • Steele

    A comment to the earlier portion of your scribe:

    DUSTIN PENNER WEARING #27 FOR THE OILERS IS A DISGRACE.

    The OilerCognoscenti should have known he is/was a bust when he had the audacity to don that number.

  • Pigeon

    Apparently people believe that Vis or Souray will waive there NMC to go Ottawa… No

    If the oilers even want to be in talks for one of a handful of 50 goal scorers in today's Nhl they will need

    gilbert, cogs, eberle, nash , 2 draft picks

    Stop dreaming if you think we arent going to have to give up a lot to get a guy like heatly

    coo, coo simple pigeons

  • RossCreek

    Here is a scenario I could playing out. The Sharks land Heatley (i dunno say for a package including any of Clowe, Cheechoo, Michalek, Ehroff, Vlasic, Couture) and then decide to move Marleau to replace SOME of what they lost in terms of depth. The Oilers should then get in on Marleau.

  • Chris

    Could you imagine the sheer magnitude of the pressure that would be placed on Horcoff if he were to center the triple H line? Neither Hemsky or Heatley backcheck… Horc would have to skate 1000km's a night; while being expected to produce like a 7million dollar man. Playing with those two might not be as fun as you would imagine.

  • one off

    @ Ogden Brother:

    I'll agree with you on most of that. However, regarding Phoenix, they could go out and get Heatly to try and increase the cost of/interest in, purchasing the team. The team will loose more money due to increased player costs, but the interest in buying the team to either stay in Phx or to move, will be increased. Moyes isn't paying the bills anymore, so what does he care?

    Not likely, but interesting.

  • Ogden Brother

    Chris wrote:

    Let’s say Tambellini aquires Heatley through a massive overpay: For example, Visnovsky, Gagner, and our Tenth overall pick.
    Tambellin could then maybe trade O’Sullivan for Harding (Again an overpay). Cogliano would become the second line center. Smid and Peckham would both move up the depth chart. There would be over 10 million dollars left to sign a UFA third line center; and to resign Brodziak, Smid, and Grebs.
    H-H-H
    Pens-Cogs-Nilsson/Brule
    Moreau-UFA-Pisani
    JFJ-Brodziak/Pouliot-Stortini
    Grebs Souray
    Smid Gilbert
    Staios-Peckham/Struds
    Harding
    JDD
    Conclusion: even with this massive series of overpays… the Oilers improve.

    That's because we have alot of quality assets… something people like to forget because the team underperformed by 3-4 wins 😉

  • Ogden Brother

    The Menace wrote:

    Playing with a legitimate scoring forward like Heatley would be a lot different than playing with Reddox, Penner, Cole, Smyth or anyone else the Oil has paired with Hemmer post-lockout. He hasn’t been with anyone close to being a consistant 40-50 goal guy.

    It's not like the first line now scores 45 more goals, they add 45 but subtract Smyth's/Penner's/Sykora's 25. So the first line scores 20 more goals. 5 Unassisted, 5 assisted by players other then Hemsky and 2-5 when they aren't on the ice together. leaving him with 5 – 8 more points then he would otherwise get.

  • Chris

    Ogden Brother wrote:

    That’s because we have alot of quality assets… something people like to forget because the team underperformed by 3-4 wins

    Lot's of sugar but no Tea!

    BTW. Willis has just posted re this subject. Let's all move the discussion to the appropriate blog-roll lest we have to re-type all our entrenched positions.

  • Ogden Brother

    Chris wrote:

    Could you imagine the sheer magnitude of the pressure that would be placed on Horcoff if he were to center the triple H line? Neither Hemsky or Heatley backcheck… Horc would have to skate 1000km’s a night; while being expected to produce like a 7million dollar man. Playing with those two might not be as fun as you would imagine.

    But but but but 😉

  • @ Ogden Brother:
    Isn't that a significant increase? That puts him at or above PPG status. I would also say that you are underestimating his impact – Penner hasn't scored 25 since he was an Oiler.

    I think we can put this debate aside, and just agree that having him here would be an improvement to the team.

  • speeds wrote:

    Gregor:
    Schremp will have to clear waiver to go to the AHL this fall as well.

    He needs to play 160 games in the NHL or have four years of pro hockey to clear waivers, next year he enters his fourth year as a pro so he doesn't have to clear waivers next year.

  • NBOilerFan

    #11 has been my favorite number since 1984 and yes, because of the player.

    … my 4 yr old boy started soccer last night and the jersey he was given… none other then #11. You can imagine my delight.

  • speeds

    Jason Gregor wrote:

    He needs to play 160 games in the NHL or have four years of pro hockey to clear waivers, next year he enters his fourth year as a pro so he doesn’t have to clear waivers next year.

    I believe you are mistaken, but I'm not positive – could be me who is incorrect. He signed at age 19 and the CBA says he has to clear waivers once he has either played 160 NHL games (he hasn't) or once 4 years have passed since signing. It doesn't specifically say he has to have played 4 pro years.

    If you sign at 18 you have 5 years, and if you sign at 20 you have 3. My guess would be the chart was set up that way so that there was no disadvantage to signing a player at 18 or 19, and then returning him to junior at 18 or 19; so that, either way, the player is waiver eligible once his ELC is over if he's played 3 years in the minors.

    There is a clause inserted that says once a player has played 11 NHL games, even at 18 or 19, they only have 3 years of waiver in-eligibility, the 3 years on their ELC. Interestingly, that means that Brule is also waiver eligible this fall.

  • speeds

    I should add that the 2nd paragraph only applies to CHL players. Europeans and college players can play in the AHL at age 18 and 19 with no waiver or ELC consequences, provide they play 9 (or 10, can't remember which)games or less.

  • Hemmertime

    17 does make you play better. Let no one tell you different. I wouldn't play Lacrosse or Baseball in any other # (except for that 1 year, when I was the youngest – and crappiest – even though I had a decent one, 19, I still blame it).

  • And very few scorers wore single digits so I didn’t.

    Gregor: You're betraying your age, or should I say, your youth. In my own distant youth, snipers wore #9: Gordie Howe, Bobby Hull, Andy Bathgate, Johnny Bucyk. Howe changed from #17 (!) to #9 as a young player, supposedly to gain access to a coveted lower berth on the train.

    As for "Oil Droppings", that's the name of my blog!