Roy & Jones

Olivier Roy’s ugly performance against Sweden has left Team Canada’s coaching staff with a difficult decision for their first elimination game, against Switzerland on Sunday. After three games, Roy’s save percentage has fallen to 0.875, and given that he narrowly won the starting job over Mark Visentin it seems probable that the coaching staff will take this moment to reconsider that decision.

If Roy is demoted to second-string status, it will be a black mark against him, and will probably alter the expectations of many for him. It probably shouldn’t.

The fact is, three games aren’t nearly enough time to evaluate a goaltender, no matter how high a profile those games have. Nikolai Khabibulin serves as a fine case in point; depending which three-game segment we take from this year we can make him look like a Vezina Trophy candidate or the worst goaltender in the league.

I’m not saying that I’m a huge believer in Roy. His numbers this season pale in comparison to those of his backup in Acadie-Bathhurst, he’s in his fourth season as a QMJHL starter and can’t seem to gain ground, and he slipped in last summer’s draft despite emerging as a draft prospect at a very young age. He’s typical of a fifth-round pick in that regard: there are things to like but he’s very much a question mark.

But those three World Junior games are a very small piece of the picture.

Ryan Jones, Place Holder

Ryan Jones has had a lot of positive comments directed his way for his play this season. He hustles, and more importantly he scores goals despite extremely limited minutes.

There’s an interesting thing to note about Jones, though. Leaving aside two players – AHL call-up Ryan O’Marra and enforcer Steve MacIntyre – Jones leads the team in one very relevant area. When Jones is on the ice, the Oilers get outshot worse than they do with any other player.

The numbers are bleak. According to behindthenet.ca, for every 60 minutes of even-strength ice-time Jones plays, the Oilers manage just 16 shots to every 31 the opposition fires. When Jones is off the ice, things are very different: the Oilers manage 24 shots while allowing 29 against for every 60 minutes of even-strength ice-time. Putting it another way, the Oilers are outshot by three times as much when Jones is on the ice compared to when he’s off of it.

There’s no doubt in my mind: if the Oilers can get a middling draft pick or marginal prospect for Jones at the deadline, they should make the move.

Other Stuff

  • I’ve been delighted to see the strong performance this season of another Roy with Oilers connections – Mathieu Roy.  Roy had an incredibly bad time with injuries during his time with the Oilers organization, but the last two seasons things have turned around a bit.  Last season he got a lengthy NHL stint with Columbus, and this season he got a cup of coffee in Tampa Bay but has been spectacular for their farm team, putting up 14 points in 15 games, along with a plus-nine rating.
  • I specifically left out Ryan O’Marra when talking about Ryan Jones above.  O’Marra’s on-ice shot totals for and against are almost as bad, and when we factor in other shot attempts nobody on the team is on the ice for a worse ratio of pucks on net for to pucks on net against.  He’s an easy demotion to the farm somewhere along the line, whenever the Oilers add another NHL centre.
  • Jeff Deslauriers, suffering through an ugly season in the AHL, was loaned to Team Canada for the Spengler Cup.  While Canada finished with silver, Deslauriers ended the tournament with a bit of a silver lining: he was named top goaltender.
  • Stone Hands McOsta

    For all the good that Tambilini has done, anyone of the arm chair gm’s could have done. Get rid of Osulivan, Moruea, Staois etc,and the draft of Hall. Now with Gagner, and the rest of the young Oilers playing well with no real support for a penaltykiller/FO player.So what is he waiting for? to get younger, then in 5 years have cap issues with the so called stars? WHy not use Colorado as a model? Quinn said last year it was boring hockey. I don’t see it. If this team isn’t better and in a playoff spot at Christmas, Tambi should be fired.

    Happy New Year
    Beaver Lake Detox Center

    STAY SOBER!

    • Stone Hands McOsta

      “STAY SOBER!”

      Are you kidding me? This holiday has been strictly put in place for mankind to get obliterated. I hope every Nation member is supremely hungover today. Advil and Water, the breakfast of champions.

  • Yikes, people. Yikes. How quickly we are souring on Ryan Jones, all because of a statistic that no jury would ever convict on.

    Shots-on-goal-while-Jones-is-on-the-ice versus Shots-on-goal-while-Jones-isn’t-on-the-ice?

    They actually track that? Really? Jeez Louise.

    Do the stats say whether or not the shots come from Jones’ side of the ice? Is there anything that actually ties him to those shots-against increases other than his physical presence on the ice?

    Don’t get me wrong, Jonathan. Good on you for digging it out. That’s an impressive stat to pull out of the hat, but I’m suggesting that it’s circumstantial evidence, at best.

    Put it this way: It’s not the same as a players’ shooting percentage, which is a simple dividend of the player’s shots on goal and the number that go in.

    Anyway, I think Jones is a keeper if only because this team will need to develop third and fourth line grinders just as badly as top-six forwards and top-four defencemen. If they trade Jones, they basically go back to Square 1 needlessly.

    Plus, my impressions of Jones are that of a character guy who’s good in the room. When Strudwick retires/gets shown the door, they’ll need someone like that and if Jones can play better than Strudwick (read: yes he can), then why fritter him away for a middling draft pick?

    • Wanyes bastard child

      Agreed, there are a lot of holes and problems this team faces, Jones is not one of them and trading him away at the deadline would be an act of pure stupidity.

  • kdunbar

    Must admit, part of me was cheering for Lander when he scored.

    But I do recall a few Canadian world jr. goaltenders who won gold and we have not really heard from them again. Jeff Glass is now in the KHL. Who would have guessed that?

  • The WJHC is a brutal tournament for goalies, but I’m not sure how much you can use it to project careers. The position requires mental skills and toughness that most players don’t get until their mid-twenties, most of the goalies we see are different human beings by the time they are ready for the pro game.

  • It’s not just Jones though. He plays on a very weak 4th line with Colin Fraser and Zack Stortini on most nights. It’s kind of the same case as when Horcoff spent last season playing with POS and JFJ. I’d be curious to see how Jones performs with better linemates.

  • forestscooter

    Trade Jones ? that’s ridiculous. The shots against while he is on the ice is poor, but he’s played on every line this year and seems to be playing with different linemates every couple games, that’s hard to adjust to defensively. He’s effective almost every time he’s on the ice, with either a hit, some energy, or a goal. Why do we want to trade players the second they show some 3rd/4th line NHL potential ?

    • With all due respect, Jonathan, is that really the case, though?

      I’m assuming you’re implying that the shots-against totals are better for the other third and fourth liners who share the lineup blender with Jones.

      OK, but again my point is this: Can we absolutely say that’s because of Jones’ lack of defensive ability? Like I said earlier, we don’t know where the shots are coming from, just that they’re coming onto the goal from somewhere on the rink.

      To me, the safest conclusion you can draw from the shots-against-a-player-on-the-ice stat is that there are obviously line combinations that mesh better defensively than others (and, I think that’s what you’re implying in your response to forestscooter above).

      But to determine whether that means Jones is a consistent riverboat gambler no matter whom he plays with is not necessarily borne out by the numbers. Maybe is linemates aren’t very good at making the reads with him on the ice (which, yeah, could be his fault). Or maybe it’s matchups. Heck, it could even be something more harmless than that. Maybe some of those shots are missed icing attempts that end up as shots on goal (they happen).

      I’ve never been a big fan of tying individual player abilities to shots on goal but I’ve always believed that shots on goal are a team effort at both ends of the ice. It’s the same thing with plus-minus – arguably the most imperfect stat the NHL ever came up with.

      But, again, I credit you for providing the numbers as grist for the mill, because it’s fun to grind away at it. That’s what these blogs are for! Friendly debate!

    • Wanyes bastard child

      With all due respect, Jonathan, is that really the case, though?

      I’m assuming you’re implying that the shots-against totals are better for the other third and fourth liners who share the lineup blender with Jones.

      OK, but again my point is this: Can we absolutely say that’s because of Jones’ lack of defensive ability? Like I said earlier, we don’t know where the shots are coming from, just that they’re coming onto the goal from somewhere on the rink.

      To me, the safest conclusion you can draw from the shots-against-a-player-on-the-ice stat is that there are obviously line combinations that mesh better defensively than others (and, I think that’s what you’re implying in your response to forestscooter above).

      But to determine whether that means Jones is a consistent riverboat gambler no matter whom he plays with is not necessarily borne out by the numbers. Maybe is linemates aren’t very good at making the reads with him on the ice (which, yeah, could be his fault). Or maybe it’s matchups. Heck, it could even be something more harmless than that. Maybe some of those shots are missed icing attempts that end up as shots on goal (they happen).

      I’ve never been a big fan of tying individual player abilities to shots on goal but I’ve always believed that shots on goal are a team effort at both ends of the ice. It’s the same thing with plus-minus – arguably the most imperfect stat the NHL ever came up with.

      But, again, I credit you for providing the numbers as grist for the mill, because it’s fun to grind away at it. That’s what these blogs are for! Friendly debate!

  • Steve Smith

    Look, Willis, I appreciate that statistics are used in literally every field as the primary, if not the only, means of describing and understanding reality.

    But this isn’t REALITY, this is SPORTS: WATCH THE DAMNED GAMES!!!!!

  • forestscooter

    I respect the stat, and I think Jonathan you have a point, that Jone’s defensive game isn’t that great. I won’t argue that and it’s good you brought it up. I just think that looking at his potential (filling a much needed hole on the oilers), defensive responsibility is something that can be worked on in practice and experience. To trade that away for an ‘unknown’ prospect or late pick I wouldn’t really prefer right now. Unless of course the Oilers scouting has a surprise or two for us 😀

  • S.Tambellini

    We should totally judge players on shots for vs shots against per 60 min when setting up a team. Goals and assists are totally overrated. Give me a good shot for/shot against ratio player over a 20 goal scorer anyday.

    We should also look at driving speed averages to and from the rink and get rid of the slowpokes on the team. I don’t want any player averaging under 50 heading to the rink on my team even if he is a 20 goal man on the fourth line.

  • GSC

    For someone who talks about the need for quality role players, this talk of trading Jones sounds pretty damned contradictory.

    He’s done everything asked of him and then some, and because the advanced stats don’t like one aspect of his game he’s supposedly expendable? Bull.

  • FastOil

    While Jones is a charismatic guy, I haven’t liked his game. To his credit, he has been potting goals when the slightest chance arises.

    What I don’t like is that he seems more interested in looking like he’s an energy guy – flying into the Oilers net and knocking it off for no reason, flying into the boards looking like he’s throwing a hit but not contacting the other player. Skating around dramatically, hair flying, often doing nothing – the stats seem to support this impression of him.

    What concerns me is his on ice habits might affect the rookies, and on some nights it has looked like they are emulating him to me – looking flash, flying around out of control, not necessarily getting things done. You often don’t notice really effective role players who are doing the heavy lifting.