Track Record

The Edmonton Oilers have been out of balance since TC 2006-07. In fact, the one time in the last ten years that the team boasted a veteran goalie, quality top 6 blue with a range of skills and a strong group at forward the team made the SCF’s. If they know the template, why can’t they repeat it? Is the pursuit of a lottery pick dependent on the thin blue line and lack of penalty kill? 
 

After the Stanley run, the organization has experienced long stretches without entire player-types. Important items like two-way veteran wingers, actual NHL goaltenders, faceoff men and penalty-killers. If an organization is devoid of one thing, they usually make an effort to address it the following summer.

This past summer, I suggested the club had very specific needs:

  • At least two of the small forwards will be gone (I’d guess Nilsson and O’Sullivan).
  • Moreau is flushed.
  • Sheldon Souray will be traded for a lesser defenseman.
  • A veteran RH center comes to town and settles the middle up front.
  • They bring in a big winger with some skill (possibly the new Isbister).
  • They sign one of those monsters Stauffer is always talking about on his show.
  • Oilers will deal one of the young goalies (I hope they keep DD).

It should be mentioned these items didn’t require any special skill to identify, many smarter than me were pointing out the the same thing. Let’s tackle these one at a time:

  • At least two of the small forwards will be gone (I’d guess Nilsson and O’Sullivan). On June 30th, the Oilers bought out Nilsson and dealt O’Sullivan to Phoenix). The club also decided to pass on the idea of signing Mike Comrie for another season.
  • Moreau is flushed. On June 30th, the Oilers lost Moreau to the Blue Jackets on waivers. It saved them over a million of buyout money.
  • Sheldon Souray will be traded for a lesser defenseman. That didn’t happen, but the organization did erase him from the roster by asking him away from training camp. The deal is still out there in the ether. The club did add Kurtis Foster and Jim Vandermeer to the blue, and re-signed Jason Strudwick.
  • A veteran RH center comes to town and settles the middle up front. On June 23, the Oilers acquired Colin Fraser from Chicago for a 6th round draft pick. Although not a right-handed C, Fraser did PK in Chicago (17.8% of his overall time on ice was PK). He’s being used heavily in that role with Edmonton (33.8% of his overall playing time).
  • They bring in a big winger with some skill (possibly the new Isbister). I think the Oilers might be thinking Ryan Jones is a candidate to fill this role, or possibly they decided to clear the decks for the kids. Either way, no Coke Machines were acquired for the big league roster over the summer.
  • They sign one of those monsters Stauffer is always talking about on his show. The team did in fact sign Steve MacIntyre and he is the enforcer for this Edmonton Oilers team.
  • Oilers will deal one of the young goalies (I hope they keep DD). The Oilers finally made a decision this past week, sending JDD to the farm where he is likely to stay (barring injury) until he reaches free agency next summer.

So, what can we gather from the season’s first 10 games? Two things, both aided by the recent Oil Change 2.0 episode on tsn.

  1. The Oilers did in fact attempt to address need this past summer (Malhotra, Souray trade attempt, additions of Foster and Fraser).
  2. Those changes have not turned out as planned thus far and the responsibility falls on Steve Tambellini.

So, when we’re talking about the horrible PK, we need to be very specific about the problem. The penalty kill is awful, but we can’t accuse Steve Tambellini of inertia. He did in fact attempt to address the issue, but the results have been poor. Sooner or later, he’s going to have to address the PK (and the blue) again or leave it for the next man in line.

Tomorrow is promised to Taylor Hall and the other kids, but not to Steve Tambellini. It’s a harsh business.

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    @ Crash

    Yes!

    This is what I’ve been getting at:

    “many of the coaches in the league do get their top end skill guys on the PK for good stretches of time”

    You say “many of the top coaches…etc” as support to your claim that the Oilers should be using skill guys on the PK.

    When in reality top coaches AND bottom coaches are using skill on the PK… top coaches and bottom coaches are also NOT using skill on the PK.

    In other words, that statement doesn’t support your opinion.

    • Crash

      Oh wow man, seriously?….semantics.

      The whole jist of it is that the Oilers with such middle of the road talent have never bothered to use their best for the PK which has been done zillions of times over in other cities by multiple coaches…

      Of the top 15 teams on the PK so far this year, 12 or 13 of them consistently use high end skill guys to kill penalties. Of the ones that don’t, only Vancouver and Florida refrain from it although Vancouver does use Kesler and Burrows (when healthy).

      This is what I’ve been getting at…you’ve known all along that I’ve been suggesting that the Oilers use Hemsky to kill penalties. You’ve been attacking that position ever since I brought it up the first time, although it seems your stance has lightened, likely due to the Oilers having actually now tried this with success (this has made you a bit less belligerent about it)

      I’m happy to see Renney has done what all the previous coaches (one in particular) failed to even experiment with. It’s long overdue whether you want to admit this or not.

      Good on Renney he has done what MOST coaches in the league do and uses his best to take some PK time. Given the success so far you just might see more of it…at least until it fails miserably, if it does.

      I see a one has to be careful with wording with you as you like to pick out the smallest flaw and turn it into a big point. Ok, so MOST NHL coaches tend to use their best skill players to kill some penalties, some don’t, but most do…why do they do this? Because it works….good to see the Oilers starting to figure this out.

      • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

        I “attacted” because you kept insisting that “The best coaches in the league” were doing in, when in fact that’s not the case (or at least a big stretch)

        And theirs VERY few players like Hemsky that PK regularly. Like I pointed out the ones that do are well known for their 2 way ability.

        Guy like Kovalchuk/Kane/AO/Sellane/Kessel spend little to no time on the PK. And I’d say Hemsky’s game resembles skill guys like that far more then it does skill guys like Richards/Koivu/Toews.

        • Crash

          Or Datsyuk, Kopitar, St. Louis, Backstrom, Semin, Giroux, Plekanec, Gionta, Pavelski, Marleau, Thornton, Heatley, Hossa, Michalek, Tanguay, Roy, Eric Staal, Benn, Ribeiro, Elias, Zajac, Parise…

          I’d say Hemsky’s name fits right in with some of those guys that are on the PK…

          And like I said, it’s now being done with success so far.

          And it’s not a big stretch to insist that good coaches are doing this as that list above covers quite an array of different teams.

          AO probably doesn’t see PK time because he stays out on the ice for both PP units plus he takes long EV strength shifts. Kane probably doesn’t see PK time because Chicago has other high end guys that are better (Toews, Sharp, Hossa). There are others, there always are, but a majority of teams use some high end guys. Crosby doesn’t, and I don’t understand that one either. There are always a few exceptions.

          Maybe some coaches refrain from it because they’re afraid of injury…I don’t know…we can agree to disagree…I think Hemsky should kill penalties…you obviously don’t. I’d actually like to see them use Hemsky for both PP units somehow…then PK would likely be out of the equation but for now I’m loving that he is out there on the PK.

          • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

            I’ve actually liked Hemsky out there on the PK, and other then the injury risk I’d like to see it continue.

            My point is and always has been about “the best coaches” statement used as support.

  • Cervantes

    Hemsky (70-80 point guy, consistently) for Staal (40-50 point guy)?
    I like Staal, I think he has great potential, and he’s certainly been held down by having Crosby and Malkin mostly taking up the 1/2C spots. And now they’ve added Comrie, who can slot in there too.

    However, even if we assume they’re happy with the guy they have replacing him while he’s out, that’s still a big offensive differential to give up, regardless of PK or FO%. Hemmer would look great feeding either of those Pens butter passes all night, and we’d get back a guy who is conceivably Stoll V2 (2nd C and 1st PK/FO guy).
    Frankly, Hemmer is more valuable than just Staal. He fills out a real nice spot on the Pens, and we get back a guy we’re hoping has been held back.

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    “He has also been on the ice for more PP goals against than any other forward.”

    So far, but we have a very small sample size for this year, if by the end of the year the team has given up more goals/minute with him on the ice then without, then you will have a case.

    “Horcoff is the major player on our PK for forwards”

    That’s right, and he has been for years. Thus far 3 head coaches have all agreed that he is one of the teams best PK forwards. That holds some merit.

    “Is it not reasonable to say that either Horcoff hase been very unlucky or he might be a large chunk of the problem (atleast 25% since there are only 4 players on the ice at a time)?”

    Yes, it is reasonable, and in fact that is what I’ve been saying. ie you can’t draw a firm conclusion.

    “You need to understand, some of us are having a very hard time understanding your reasoning?”

    That’s unfortunate, it’s a simple concept.

    • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

      So then are we ever able to draw any firm conclusions? If each player is part of small group, how do we know if they are individually any good? With that logic, they should get paid them same, get the same icetime, etc.

      We have had the worst (or very close to the worst) PK in the league with these 3 coaches that you speak of. If Horcoff was the major player on the PK why can’t we conclude that he might not be that good at it? Or might not be the best option?

      The fact is, he is responsible for a large chunk of the PK time for this team and the PK is horrible.

      Trying to use the 5% number just seems like a naive way to try and spin something that can’t be spun…

      The PK is (and has been) broke – time to fix it!

      • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

        “So then are we ever able to draw any firm conclusions? If each player is part of small group, how do we know if they are individually any good? With that logic, they should get paid them same, get the same icetime, etc.”

        Because once apon a time the PK was good and he was a solid member of it.

        “We have had the worst (or very close to the worst) PK in the league with these 3 coaches that you speak of. If Horcoff was the major player on the PK why can’t we conclude that he might not be that good at it? Or might not be the best option?”

        I’ve already concluded that he MAY not be good…I’ve posted that exact thought multiple times in this blog.

        “Trying to use the 5% number just seems like a naive way to try and spin something that can’t be spun…”

        Not really, at that point the discussion wasn’t broken down to which playes were on for the most goals. The discussion was: the PK has been bad, Horcoff is bad.

        The fact is that He’s a small part of the teams overall PK.

        • GSC

          “Because once apon a time the PK was good and he was a solid member of it.”

          “The fact is that He’s a small part of the teams overall PK.”

          So he is a “solid member” of a good PK, but a “small part” of a bad one?

          This is where we will have to agree to disagree.

          • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

            Okay, just so it’s clear…

            You don’t feel that player X (let’s use Horcoff) has any more or any less to do with a certain element (let’s say PK) than player Y (let’s use Paajarvi) does?

            They have both seen some time on the PK and therefore are equally responsible for its success or it’s failure?

          • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

            I’m assuming you haven’t been following the conversation since it’s inception.

            Once we finally got to GCS’s main point, which was:

            “That Horcoff is supposedly one of the answers to the problem, but the PK remains awful despite his presence.”

            Now, he may in fact not be a good PK’er, the fact that the PK has been weak for a few years now certainly supports this line of thinking.

            However, he was also a member of a very good PK a few years ago so that leads support that he may in fact be a good (or at least adaquate). The fact that three NHL coaches have played him a large amount of time on the PK also supports the theory that he may in fact be good at it (or at least one of, if not our best option).

          • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

            I have followed the conversation, I just don’t know what would inspire to you pull the 5% stat out?

            Whether we think he is a good PK’er or not is irrelevant.

            The point I am trying to make is that to say that he is only a small part of it – when in fact he is a integral part – seems way out of line.

            It seems (I am not trying to put words in your mouth) that you might just be arguing for the sake of arguing?

            I may just be being stubborn, but to hear a comment like that from you (which I respect); doesn’t seem right to me…

          • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

            5% is his total of the total minutes the team spends on the PK.

            GSC stated:

            That Horcoff is supposedly one of the answers to the problem, but *the PK* remains awful despite his presence.

            In other words we were discussing the Oilers PK as a whole (ie not just when one guy is on). Obviously we can’t blame/credit a guy for when he isn’t involved.

            So, Horc (or whomever) is one guy out of five (or four) and he’s only on for roughly 30% ish of the time.

          • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

            Now you are starting to make more sense.

            If people (you) insist on putting a percentage to the responsibility a single player has on the PK, 30% is a far more useful number.

            Considering the Oilers have been taken 51 minor penalties, the maximum amount of time they could have been shorthanded was 102 minutes.

            We both know that the 102 number is high because some of those minors were coincidental and not all of the minor penalties lasted the entire 2 minutes (most likely because Horcoff was out and they got scored on…lol -j/k).

            We also know that Horcoff has played roughly 28 minutes shorthanded this year.

            So the 28 minutes out of a probable 90-102 total PK minutes works out to roughly 30% of the time/responsibility.

            Now, I know that you are not arguing for or against Horcoff, but when guy plays 30% of the time and is on the ice for 60% of the PP goals against, something doesn’t add up?

            Which I think is kinda what GSC was referring to…

          • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

            Not what I meant.

            He’s on the ice for 30% of the PK’s

            Now why on earth would you want to say he gets 100% credit or blame for every play he’s on the ice for?

            Theirs certainly no way he’s 100% responsible for EVERY thing that happens when he is on there… after all he is only 20% of the team that’s out there.

            If Horc gets 30% of the blame for the 69% PK, then what % does the other 15 or so guys that are likely to play 50+ minutes on the PK this year get? (not to mention the tender)

            Also, this year is obviously a miniscule sample size for a guy that’s played almost 650 NHL games. If the 30/60 pace is still in play at the end of the year then you probably have a case.