Oilers Mid-Season Report Card

This is Ryan Whitney. Despite injury, he is in fact the Oilers first-half MVP. The Oilers have copious hope hidden under a cloud of win-loss misery. The mid-season report card offers us wonderful clues about the future. Some are staying, others not so much.
 

In doing a report card, the traditional A+-F route always seemed a little too school for me. Instead, I’d like to place dollar values on each player. If we started a hockey Rotoleague today and placed the cap for a single player at $100, that would represent an A+. An F would be less than $10. The dollar value given to each player is based on their season only and not their long term value. Anyway, without further explanation (that’s how I roll) here are the grades for the 10-11 Oilers.

TOP DRAWER

  • D Ryan Whitney $84. 35gp, 2-25-27 +13. Whitney is having an impact season on a last place team. It happens. According to Hockey-reference the Oilers are a -23 hockey team at this time. If the Oilers ran three pairings at equal minutes, that would mean the average Oiler blue has a -8 (or so) number. You know those Pierre Mcguire whammo monsters? Whitney’s a 3-wood better than them. Exceptional season.
  • L Dustin Penner $75. 41gp, 12-15-27 -6. The big man continues to deliver offense no matter the linemates. Dustin Penner has a value contract at this time and some of us thought that was impossible the day Kevin Lowe signed him. The MacT rips are a distant bell, and most of us feel a sense of calm when we see #27 jump over the boards. A fine NHL  player.
  • R Ales Hemsky $75. 28gp, 9-15-24 +2. Hemsky would be in contention for the team MVP honors save for yet another injury. We are reaching a point now where there should be some concern about 83’s ability to stay healthy for an entire season. Missing 13 games in a lost season is one thing, but if the Oilers can’t rely on him then signing that long term (and expensive) contract has to give the management group some pause. I’d still attempt to sign him to a long term deal. He’s a very valuable hockey player.
  • R Jordan Eberle $71. 37gp, 9-14-23 -4. Top Calder candidate from the Oilers, he was in a slump before the injury but remained a useful player. That’s an impressive sign of maturity at such a young age. Coach Renney must love the guy, he learns quickly and makes excellent decisions on the ice (and not just for a rookie, he makes the right play a lot. A LOT). If he gets anywhere near 50 points I think he’ll be a strong contender to win the Calder. Wide, wide range of skills.

SOLID AS A ROCK 

  • C Sam Gagner $67. 41gp, 10-16-26 -6. Sam Gagner is a perfect example of that clock in every fan’s head. When a player reaches the NHL (for our team or another) the clock starts ticking in terms of expectation. We "expect" a player to turn a corner after two or three years and when they don’t we get impatient. Completely human thing to do. Sam Gagner is 4 months younger than Logan Couture, but our brains are set up to be impressed by Couture and bewildered by Gagner. Sam Gagner is progressing and he is going to be a very good NHL player (barring injury) for a long time. He is smaller (5.11, 191) than you’d like from your #1 center and he does get knocked off the puck too much. However, Sam Gagner can make things happen and is having a solid year. He’s 21, folks. 21.
  • D Tom Gilbert $66. 41gp, 5-8-13 -12. If we use the median plus minus discussed in the Whitney paragraph then we can assume Gilbert is a little below average (-4 from the median). He’s faced tough assignments (proof Qual comp via Desjardins here) and this blue is horribly overmatched every night. For those reasons and for his offense I rate him as the second best Oiler defenseman this season.
  • L Taylor Hall $65. 41gp, 12-11-23 -8. Watching him adjust to the giant leap that is the NHL has been a pleasure. Last night, another NHL goalie was exposed to the rocket that is his wrist shot and all over the league there’s a growing scouting report on covering #4. He’s getting muscled out of plays along the wall and taking more than his share of crosschecks. That’s a tell, folks. He’s on the radar, game 40.
  • C Shawn Horcoff $62. 24gp, 7-8-15 +4. Horcoff would be a team MVP candidate if he’d remained healthy. As it happened he missed almost half of the opening schedule (17 games) in what has to be something of a surprise. Horcoff has been extremely healthy since the lockout ended, playing in 90% of his team’s game since the lockout (heading into this season). His value is proven every night #10 is out of the lineup, as the enormous hole at center is the talk of the town at this time.
  • G Devan Dubnyk $57. 13gp, 2.78 .918. Dubnyk has been so impressive the entire OilersNation is wondering why he doesn’t play more. Dubnyk’s SP would rank him well inside the league’s top 20 if he’d played enough to qualify. As it is, his .918SP ranks 3rd among rookies who have played 10 or more games. He might be that elusive first round goalie selection who ends up being a quality starter.
  • L Ryan Jones $55 41gp, 10-3-13 -5. Jones was basically the replacement for Curtis Glencross on the Oiler roster. His is a terrific value contract. Those 10 goals are all at even-strength (he leads the team, one in front of Hall) and the guy looks dangerous no matter who he is playing with every night. We have to come to grips with something here: hockey players–when they’re 26 years old–have no extra gear and their development time is done. So, in order for Jones to be a true 20-goal man, we have to establish this was his level of ability and that the problem had more to do with opportunity. There is evidence that he could score goals (60 in his final 84 NCAA games) and he ripped through the AHL (13 goals in 25 games) before making an NHL appearance. Ryan Jones might be an actual NHL player. I think he’s worth another contract.
  • D Theo Peckham $51. 38gp, 2-5-7 -4. A large number of Oiler employees should take credit for Theo Peckham’s development into a most useful player, and a legion of hockey people who helped before his draft day. Peckham himself has worked long and hard to become the player he is today. Along with those three gifted forwards–and with Omark and others on the way–this season is also about a rugged blueliner who takes no prisoners and makes the simple play. The Oilers could use another, and another after that.

ALL’S FINE STILL

 

  • W Magnus Pääjärvi  $45. 39gp, 4-10-14 E. The fact that Hall and Eberle are having top drawer rookie seasons somewhat hinders our view of Pääjärvi. Seen through the eyes of the trio, the young Swede may appear to be behind the curve. I’d argue it’s more like caught in the middle. I think we get a better view about the three prospects when looking at their 5×5/points-per-60 minutes (Eberle 1.77; Hall 1.56; MP 1.34). He’s shown flashes of brilliance and an idea about how to play without the puck and should be considered a major part of the future. His dollar value is low because 14 points isn’t a lot of offense for 10 hours of NHL play. It should not be construed as a comment on his potential.
  • D Jim Vandermeer $40. 26gp, 1-4-5 +1. Started very poorly but picked up his game and had a strong run before getting injured. A player like Jim Vandermeer has value to NHL teams because they can help break in the kids and offer some insurance for the coach every shift. I very much doubt Vandermeer will be an Oiler after the deadline and despite the injury and poor start I suspect Edmonton fans will be happy with the return.
  • C Andrew Cogliano $35. 41gp, 4-9-13 -12. Andrew Cogliano turned pro in fall 2007; Tom Renney is his third NHL coach. It might be a blessing for the young speedster as the new coach seems to have found something in Cogliano that the others (certainly Quinn) missed. Cogliano is averaging 2 minutes a night on the PK for the first time in his career. His offense (or lack of, 1.23 5×5/60) is going to get him traded but Cogliano is a guy who is going to get chances with other teams.

NOT HAPPY NOW

  • D Ladislav Smid $20 35gp, 0-5-5 -10. Facing mid-level competition and the same calibre teammates, Smid’s relCorsi/Competition numbers ranks 4/6 among the regulars (the original 7 minus Strudwick). He does not impact the game offensively and is becoming an increasing concern in terms of injury. I don’t know where the Oilers go from here with regard to Smid. He’s certainly young enough to have an NHL career.
  • R Gilbert Brule $10. 34gp, 6-2-8 -7. The first goal of this Oiler season belonged to Gilbert Brule. Since then, it’s been a difficult time for the young man (he’s still only 24). Brule has a terrific one-timer and a heavy shot, plus he plays a physical game (74 hits on the season). The difficulty comes with all of the other aspects of the game. Brule is on his second organization and unless he can rip off a hot streak (Brule is injured currently) he might be on team number three next fall.
  • R Zack Stortini $10. 27gp, 0-3-3 -3. One thing I’ll remember from this season: the look on Zack’s face opening night as he was introduced with the other healthy scratches. Stortini is in fact better than some of the other forwards, but you can’t impact the game from the pressbox. I don’t think he’ll be back a year from now.

FAIL

  • D Kurtis Foster $9. 39gp, 3-8-11 -8. So far, the Kurtis Foster bet is a bad one. He is not alone, but he has been a severe disappointment at a position of great need for the Oilers. Foster signed a two-year deal and the hope for both sides was for him to emerge as a solid top 4 option. The most damning thing I can say about Kurtis Foster is that his coach considers him the least trustworthy EV defender on the roster (save Taylor Chorney was has played in one game).
  • C Colin Fraser $9. 41gp, 2-1-3 -2. speeds has mentioned a few times that he thought the Fraser signing was a good bet and I agree with that point. Fraser did play 4line minutes with Chicago a year ago and is young enough to move up the depth chart. It should have been a good match but it wasn’t, owing to all kinds of issues (including performance, teammates, etc). Fraser has an entire half season to improve and his most important areas of focus should be PK and the FO circle. He gets a failing mark at this time.
  • L JF Jacques $5. 19gp, 2-0-2 -1. There was a time when I thought the big Coke Machine would have a career but he doesn’t have enough skill at this point in time to be a factor. All those back problems have made Jacques a one dimensional (stick optional) player and unless he’s still recovering from the back then he’s unlikely to have a career in the NHL.
  • R Steve MacIntyre $4. 11gp, 0-1-1 E. It’s tough to pick on a guy who plays 4 minutes a game but MacIntyre is not an NHL player. He is more than qualified for the role he’s been given and I’ll leave it there.
  • D Jason Strudwick $4. 20gp, 0-0-0 -8. It’s been a helluva run for Strudwick. Many players with greater natural talent have been left behind over the years and he’s carved out a niche for himself in the big leagues. Another lost step suggests he’s near the end, and a plethora of HS’s with so many rookies is an overwhelming tell.
  • G Nikolai Khabibulin $1. 28gp, 3.47 .894. A poor first half combined with injury makes NK a shaky bet moving forward. Among NHL regulars, he ranks 40th of 46 NHL goalies in SP. I know the contract rolls on, but he looks done based on performance.

JURY IS STILL OUT, BUT WE’RE HOPEFUL

  • L Linus Omark Incomplete. 12gp, 1-5-6 -3. Showed outstanding skill and worked hard. I hope he gets all 41 games in the second half to show what he can do at the NHL level..
  • C Ryan O’Marra Incomplete. 9gp, 1-2-3 E. Had a solid 9 games in the NHL in this season’s first half. I remain doubtful that he can put up enough offense to play in the top 9F of a successful team, but he showed some things while with the big club.
  • L Liam Reddox Incomplete. 4gp, 0-2-2 -1. The biggest tell so far is that the coach is already using him for 2.5 minutes a night on the PK. He’s averaging a couple of shifts a game and doing what he always does: forecheck like a demon and play balls out.
  • D Jeff Petry Incomplete 6gp, 0-1-1 -1. Big defender with size and wheels? Yes, please. Petry has impressed in his first look-see and I don’t know that the organization can afford to send him back to the AHL. Defensemen ALWAYS get sent back, so that’s an early tell if he remains with the big club.
  • D Shawn Belle Incomplete. 5gp, 0-0-0 -2. Belle played well during his time with the Oilers but struggled in his final game before being sent down. That may mean we don’t see him again this season.
  • G Martin Gerber Incomplete 2gp, 1.50 .950. Lordy he played well (winning twice) while with the Oilers. He’s earned another shot although it may not come.
  • D Taylor Chorney Incomplete. 1gp, 0-0-0 -1. Credit to him, he played well enough in the AHL to earn a callup to the show. Seemed to have more jam along the boards and in front of the net and can move the puck well.

 

  • I am glad ST is the GM, and not this Lowetide.

    Sam Gagner is your first solid rock? Really? GTFOOH! Gagner is a good side-kick at best. He does nothing on his own. He has no special attributes. His points much like Horcoffs are due to his line-mates success and abilities. Only thing I expect from Gagner is a good return in a trade. I’ll give you that he is 21, because he is 21. I would like your “expert” opinion as to in what areas Gagner is and has been progressing because I dont see progression when I look at Gagner.

    Horcoff would have been the MVP? MVP? Extremely healthy since the lock-out? I though he had such shi!tty numbers last year due to his injured shoulder, no? What is this enourmous hole you speak of? “leadership for the kids”?

    I dont think you thought this through much before you put it together, so I dont care to go much more into it. This has nothing to do with rating, and more to do on how much you like certain players. For $67 I can get a 0.63 PPG player or I can spend a extra $8 dollars and get a 0.85 PPG.

    How do Paajarvi and Gagner compare if you are looking at their 5×5/points-per-60 minutes?

    $35 for Cogliano and $10 for Brule? C’Mon Man.!..

    • Dyckster

      Troll alert.

      Somebody actually propped this comment?

      “I dont think you thought this through much before you put it together, so I dont care to go much more into it”

      Ditto to your factual based, intellegent commentary….

      • Twiggs

        Dyckster Wrote:

        “Troll alert.

        Somebody actually propped this comment?

        “I dont think you thought this through much before you put it together, so I dont care to go much more into it”

        Ditto to your factual based, intellegent commentary….”

        The flaw with the props system is that you can give props to your own comments. Thus leading to MVPR comments getting the little +1

        • Dyckster

          Hah, you know, when I was posting that I had some smart a _ _ comment prepared basically saying to quit propping yourself. But then I though I’d look foolish cuz that likely wasn’t possible. Who knew!

    • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

      Also, Gagner is a top flight passer. Considering we have one for sure, and maybe even 3 good to great goal scorers making headway, a top end passer is probably something we’re going to want in the top 6.

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    All we need to know about Horcs impact on the team is a quick look at the record (and GF/GA – SF/SA) with and without him so far this year.

    Team played at roughly an 80 point pace with him and roughly a 45 point pace without him.

  • Aaron

    First time poster, longtime reader.

    It’s clear that by seasons end the Oil will be a bottom five team and most likely will be drawing a top two lottery pick.

    Can we really break down the team into six categories of grading with only two of the six being below standards when we are a bottom five team?

    Over half this team has been an epic fail on many levels.

  • Hi Wanye, Jonathan, Lowetide, Robin, or Jason:

    Please consider banning HBMW and any others who show blatant disrespect of the purpose of the Oiler’s Nation blog.

    I recognize that I can simply ignore the posts, but I wish I didn’t have to. I used to read nearly every post on most articles, because I was either educated or entertained, but that is not the case today. Last week was bad, too.

    It’s one thing to say “The ref f##$@ked us over.” or “We played like sh(*^)tholes”. It’s quite another to infer that me or any other reader is a PR because we like how No. 10 is playing this year.

    What are your thoughts? Please note that I said “consider”. There are many great things about this blog. You will not lose me as a customer.

  • Ryan

    That is not factually accurate. Belle had a great start to the year in the AHL. There was no suggestion by anyone in MSM, radio, tv, net that Petry was carrying Belle. Since being sent down after 4 games here Belle did not score much. With Petry. They have very similar numbers both at AHL and in NHL and one is the apple of the organization’s eye for D men. The other appears done and that seems shortsighted

    That is illogical unless the difference in age accounts for it.

    And Foster, Strudwick and JVDM have also made numerous STUPID plays and are still here

    It is the after the fact rationalization by management that drives me nuts. A la Khabby was our MVP till he was injured last year. Not true either but repeated often enough by the organization often enuf that it takes on a life of it’s own

  • Lowetide:

    $5 for JFJ and $10 for Zach seems about right, considering the impact of the coach’s decisions.

    What I would like to know is, what could possibly be the reason Renney seems to favour JFJ over ZS lately? Is there some statistical difference between the two players (perhaps going back to prior years)?

    When I’ve been to games, by my “eye” Stortini is clearly more involved and has more of an impact than JFJ.

  • Aaron

    5 on 5 goals for/goals against ratio: 0.78
    that’s good for 27th overall bottom 4

    Power Play Percentage: 13.9
    That’s good for 28th overall bottom 3

    Penalty Killing Percentage: 74.7
    That’s good for 30th overall and dead last

    That’s not Khabby’s fault, it’s not Horcoff’s fault, it’s not Hall’s fault, it’s not Eberle’s fault and it’s not Whitney’s fault. Those are about the only players who are not to blame.

  • Crackenbury

    Agree with most of the ratings. Can’t understand the $1 Khabibulin rating. There was a pretty good stretch when he was the best player on the ice most nights. Rating guys like JFJ and Mac ahead of him seems more like a personal vendetta than a realistic view of team contribution.

    • Chris.

      Starters need to be consistant. Khabibulin has lost seven straight; letting in 3.5 goals per game; with a save percentage well south of .900. How can you view a starter who performs well for short stretches of time followed by long periods of futility as a positive contributer? With his brief stints of terrific play: would you consider Deslaurier a positive contributer last season?

      Let’s hope there is another organization with pro scouts as poor as ours so we can move Khabbi at the deadline.

      • Crackenbury

        Not really arguing with much you have to say, but prior to Christmas one of the best things about this team had been it’s goaltending. My issue is the $1 rating. Seems a little out of whack to me.

  • Chris.

    I want to see Alex Plante. I know he has had a tough year in OKC… but some players inexplicably seem to perform better at the NHL level. (ie Peckham) Last season Plante was a minus machine in Springfield but was called up anyway and showed well in Edmonton. We are all so busy geeking out about Maricin we sometimes forget that there is a 15th overall pick with size and aggression available with just one phone call.

  • smiliegirl15

    This team has definitely given us something to look forward to! I think a lot of the spare parts are here because there were no other options open at the time.
    With the changing of the old guard should come the changing of management (we can only hope). Based on your system LT, what is management worth? 50¢?

    • Lowetide

      I think you have to do any management grading in segments. For instance, Tom Renney has done a splendid job bringing along the rookies (although his handling of Dubnyk is perplexing).

      However, his in game decisions are often poor and his pre-game decisions on which players to sit are baffling. SMac and JFJ cannot take or make a pass and that’s a fact. And yet they roll along, and Renney has the balls to say “maybe SMac will be like Colton Orr one day. Colton sometimes checked Crosby, you know” and we’re supposed to be so fricking stupid we buy that?

      So $85 for finding a way to get the kids pointing in the right directions and about fitty cent for his handling of the 4line and goaltending.

      Tambellini is somewhat the same. He’s left Stu (Magnificent Bastard) MacGregor and the scouting staff alone plus he’s been able to add more draft bullets. On the other hand, his free agent signings play like they’re on an opium high many nights so there’s that too.

      I kind of feel bad for him too, because Kevin Lowe and the EIG left him with things like the Souray explosion. But then again Tambellini inflicted NK on himself so it’s a big mess.

      I’ll give Tambellini $75 for the procurement and fitty cent for the UFA signings. And I’ll even top him up to $50 overall for the lottery pick that he’s gifting you, me and Stu.

      So that’s Renney $43 overall and Tambellini $50.

  • smiliegirl15

    Sometimes Renney reminds me way too much of MacT – that Colton Orr / SMac comment is just like the Marty “Sakic” comparison. I think the coaching staff needs to find a place for Strudwick in their ranks.

    Thanks for the mgt grading LT!

  • Jamie B.

    “Sam Gagner is 4 months younger than Logan Couture, but our brains are set up to be impressed by Couture and bewildered by Gagner.”

    I feel like every Oilers fan should print that out and tape it to their TVs and computer screens.

    • Quicksilver ballet

      And Logan Couture will score more goals in his rookie season than Sam has scored in his first 3 yrs combined. They both play center but that’s where the comparisons end.

      ….just sayin.

      • Horcsky

        Gagner scored 44 goals in his first 3 seasons.
        Couture is on pace for 35 goals this season.

        Gagner put up 49 points in his rookie year. Couture is on pace for 51.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    “Sometimes Renney reminds me way too much of MacT – that Colton Orr / SMac comment is just like the Marty “Sakic” comparison.”


    The Sakic comparison was a joke.
    I suspect it started with Reasoner himself.
    Though, Matt Greene is a suspect too.

    Renney wasn’t joking.

  • O.C.

    Plz don’t feed the trolls – don’t respond to this post either because then we are still talking or feeding the troll.

    Choose to Ignore – their heads will explode.

  • TheGoodTheBad&TheEberle

    Gotta give Habby a bit of props with a tenner, ahead of the useless plug JFJ. Im calling 2-1 Oilers in SanJose tonight! Go OIL! goals from Hall and Hemsky.

  • O.C.

    Lt

    You give Tambellini way too much credit for procurement and your $7.oo for UFA signings is way too high. I would, however, give him credit for development on the farm.

    With that said I get a number like 35 not 50

    • Lowetide

      Yeah I can be convinced in that regard. The thing about management is that this is the period of time where we wait for Katz to get tired of throwing his money away on the dream of he and Lowe bringing glory back to the Oildrop.

      When the owner flushes that idea and hires an experienced man trained for the management role the rubber will hit the road.

  • Lowetide

    LT,

    I’m honestly confused what I would put on Renney’s value.

    If the goal laid out for him was to bring along the kids with the understanding that the calvary was only going to be consisting of long-shot bets and competitive, not winning, was the objective. He’s way higher value than that.

    A coach with a pretty proven history of strategic analysis and a hell of a lot more line matching. I find it very odd that aside from shifting not a whole lot of adjustments in-game are being made. A bench boss as techincal as he is, how is it that we end up with the 4th line out there near the end of the game in tight matches? I also find it hard to believe that pk adjustments would not have been made (simplified given results). I honestly think he is strategic enough to coach to lose while keeping a positive atmospere and a keen eye on development.

    rekhab, heatley attempt….etc (I’ll not bother with the rant) Tamblowe is working on credit imo.

  • Lowetide

    I also think we will see a better split for Rekhab/DD in the second half. Khabi isn’t showin well enough to be tradeable. At the very least we’ll be riding DD after the deadline. I’m pretty sure they were hail mary style on Rekhab looking good enough to con someone into taking that albatross off us.

  • Ender

    I don’t know what’s more sad, Kip; the fact that you seem incapable of having a thought without the word ‘penis’ attached to it, or that’s it’s such an obvious problem that we know who you are even when you change your name and avatar.

  • Dyckster

    Healthy FACT BASED debate is the cornerstone of this site. You are certainly allowed an opinion, you’ll likely gain more traction by leaving the MVPR stuff out of your comments.

    As far as Horcoff is concerned, Hall’s production has dipped somewhat since 10 got injured, that in itself makes him valuable. Add that to the fact he was +4 on a team that’s collectively in the
    -20 range makes him a strong, albeit early MVP candidate. IMO

  • Every time I do make a post that disagrees with the author or goes against the grain, I am attacked for being me or for making a spelling mistake. Most of the time it is the same few people. I am simply stating my opinion and asking questions. I never disrepect anyone personally, but often the people that come at me do so without me even saying anything to them or about them.

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    I’d say it has more to do with the name/avatar of Nazi war criminals and telling other posters to kill themselves.

    The penis riding is just a little bonus from you.

  • Ender

    Kip, the spelling, the attachment to disturbing or offensive imagery, the deliberate choice of provocative names and avatars, the attacks on other commentators . . .

    Never mind who you’re offending, Kip; the biggest person losing out here is you. When you say and do these things, it destroys any credibility your insight and comments might actually have. You can have five really good thoughts in a comment but people will ignore every one of them if you come across as a classless buffoon in your opening statement. If you want people to listen to you, try getting them to respect you first. It’s fine to have people on here who disagree with us all the time, but it does no good at all to give any of them the impression that one is a time-wasting and offensive troll.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    It’s mob rules here HBMW, the regulars here will swarm you like a pack of wild dogs and beat you down if they don’t agree with what you say. Choosing to take the path with the most resistance is admirable. This place needs more lone wolves and less sheep.

  • If Bavarian last names offend you, I am sorry. I think on the Nazi tip you are being just a little unnecessary sensitive. I told one guy to put his head into a toilet and flush it, months ago, so I cant agree with “themselves”.