Simply The Best

This is Shawn Horcoff before the turn of the century. Although many Oiler fans have been calling for his head since 2007, Horcoff remains the best center in town. Will that change any time soon? 

Shawn Horcoff is the most complete center on the Oilers roster. He faced the toughest opponents, had the best faceoff percentage, was entrusted with the elite calibre rookies. In every demonstrable way, Shawn Horcoff was the leader of the Edmonton Oilers. Again.

Center: 5×5 scoring (points-per-60 minutes)

  1. Sam Gagner 1.91
  2. Shawn Horcoff 1.47
  3. Andrew Cogliano 1.33
  4. Colin Fraser 0.48

Center: Quality of Competition

  1. Shawn Horcoff .057
  2. Andrew Cogliano .022
  3. Sam Gagner -.013
  4. Colin Fraser -.086

Center CorsiRel

  1. Sam Gagner 7.0
  2. Shawn Horcoff 7.0
  3. Andrew Cogliano 2.3
  4. Colin Fraser -9.6

Center: Scoring Chances

  1. Shawn Horcoff 199-186 .517
  2. Andrew Cogliano 290-329 .468
  3. Sam Gagner 271-317 .461
  4. Colin Fraser 90-135 .400

The first three sets of numbers are courtesy Gabriel Desjardins behind the net, the final numbers (scoring chances) are from the brilliant work at C&B.

What does it all mean?

The Oilers have two very young centermen trying to grow up quickly in Gagner and Cogliano. Gags numbers show the offensive ability and a fine CorsiRel, but he faced easy competition and the scoring chance numbers should have been better. Was this a result of his struggles with the two Swedish kids? Don’t know. We are reaching a point where even the most stubborn Gagner supporters (me, Zona, a few others) should begin to wonder if he’s going to be the player forecast those years ago. I’m still betting on him.

Cogliano is making progress, and I think coach Renney has been helpful in the process. Cogs isn’t scoring a lot and his scoring chance totals are about the same as Gagner’s but he did it in tougher waters. It’s small progress but there’s a heartbeat.

Colin Fraser’s numbers are disappointing but we also have to remember that the man was playing with some subpar linemates for much of the season. Edmonton’s depth forwards were among the worst in the NHL.

This is Gilbert Perreault as a Montreal Junior Canadien, shortly before Buffalo drafted him in 1970. There is no 20-year old Gilbert Perreault in this draft, so the Oilers options for improving center involve the following:

  1. Signing a free agent like Brooks Laich.
  2. Trading for a qualitied veteran center.
  3. Trusting that Gagner-Cogliano can improve this coming season.
  4. Inserting Anton Lander in the mix and hoping for the best.
  5. Allowing the number one overall pick to stick with the big club if he impresses.
  6. Moving Taylor Hall to center full time.
  7. Go crazy and offer the moon for Mike Richards.

I think option six looms large.

  • Bucknuck

    I think a lot of people are under estimating Lander. I think he could jump on to the team right away and I think he would be a good 3rd center. I don’t think our center position is as bad as people think. I agree we still need a #1 but if we do take RNH then we have

    That all have the potential to play in the NHl next year. Personally I think Gagner and Cogs are better suited for the wings. And I don’t think you can count of Brule for more than 10 games. So that leaves you with

    I think that could be a pretty good group of centers and with time they may end up being really good.

      • Wax Man Riley

        Bahh! Not really true. I got a bit excited there too.

        But on an unrelated, yet funny note, my research turned up an interesting little tidbit:

        On, Dany Heatly is the player most looked at for a buyout.

    • Quicksilver ballet

      This is just propoganda, he’s not going to move the first selection, he’s just looking to start as much dialogue as possible leading up to the draft. No way that first pick changes hands, Steve is using this to gauge the interest in other assets that may be available in other possible dealings.

  • paul wodehouse

    Kaiser…nice find

    …here’s what i’m not in favor of …that bunch of stoopids at Canadian Press putting out this story that has nothing in it that suggests our GM is peddling the first overall pick…they spin it up and gets old balls like me pissed at the nature of their fraudulent misrepresentation of a nothing quote…”kicking tires”…do tell…big scoop!

    CP has always sucked!

  • I’m gonna take a ferry over to Vancouver and start burning things. Let the mayhem begin! AAAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    All it takes is one bad apple.

    EDIT: Muhahahahhahaaaaaaa haaaaaaaaaa….. haaaa *cough* My mother taught me not to take pleasure in other people’s misfortune but I can’t help it.

  • D-Man

    Just some musings

    Pick RNH Period and keep him in Junior for at least 6 Months. This is an asset we can wait for.

    Hemsky is your “Ace In The hole” Keep him in play by signing him for 2 more years at $4.5 – 5M. He is still one of the few players we have that brings me out of my seat. All the kids will benefit and improve by by watching his skill and effort.

    Horcoff is the perfect 3rd line shut down / penalty kill / transitional center, and will be The Captain for the next two years. PERIOD

    Look at the two remaining teams in the Playoffs / DEFENCE and GRIT / Enough said

    Aquire Konopka (would be an impressive transitional player for the next 2 years) / otherwise keep MAC.

    On defense DO NOT expect anyone from the farm to be ready this year

    For the 2011-12 season the defense should be Whitney, Gilbert, Petry (top 3) with Peckam and possibly Smid (as your 5 / 6).

    That leaves a spot for a TOP 4 and another 5/6/7.

    Hall, Eberle, Magnus, and Omark will all have better years. Play them in every conceiveable situation / position.

    Keep Lander in the AHL for one year. He may well be a better “Horcoff” in 2 years and that would be great.

    Have a great Thursday and GO OIL!!

  • striker777

    Taylor Hall should be given opportunities at both Wing and Center for extended periods of time. Then, see where he is more effective.

    Signed: Team Couturier