DO THINGS GO BETTER WITH COLA?

One full week into free agency and there are plenty of good free players still on the market. Among defenders, Carlo Colaiacovo offers a nice combination of skill and defensive ability.

It appears Ian Cole (above) will take his spot on the blueline and send Colaiacovo packing. Is Colaiacovo a fit for the Oilers?

QUAL COMP-THE TOUGHS

This is Corsi Qual Quality Comp. CorsiQC gives us the results from every Corsi event, not just the goals. So it is a stronger indicator of performance throughout a season. Colaiacovo ranks at the top of an impressive list of defenders and that’s a major tell in terms of who he was playing against during this past season. The toughs. Since Colaiacovo played his minutes with Pietrangelo (for the most part) this season it may well be a case of who’s zooming who (another example: Carle/Pronger) but that’s a solid number for Cola.

CORSI REL-EVENTS

We know that the Cola-Pietrangelo pairing played the toughs, and here we see the performances compared to the rest of the group. A solid number from Colaiacovo and it reflects performance against tougher competition. Again, the only real question is how much Pietrangelo is pushing the results.

ZONE STARTS

Interesting to see how the Blues deployed their defenders last season. Jackman got the toughest zone starts, played with a weaker partner (mostly Shattenkirk but a nice helping of Polak) and middling toughness of competition. The Cola/Piet pairing is middle of the road in this discipline.

WHO’S ZOOMING WHO?

The numbers are real and they’re pretty spectacular! Well, maybe that’s a stretch to justify the photo and we don’t know who’s zooming who. Actually, we can find that out courtesy this website and a hat tip to our friend Woodguy for passing it along. The page I’ve linked to is the 11-12 season during close games and adjusted for faceoffs. The key numbers are "with or without" and in the case of Pietrangelo/Colaiacovo it is severe:

  • The pairing together: .581 (level is .500, that’s an excellent number)
  • Pietrangelo without Cola: .556
  • Colaiacovo without Pietrangelo: .444

It appears the young Pietrangelo is indeed a difference maker and that Colaiacovo benefited a great deal from the pairing.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

The Blues are moving Ian Cole to the NHL and have allowed Colaiacovo to reach free agency. Their conclusion is that Pietrangelo carried the load for the pairing and that Cole (or another defender) can perform ably beside the gifted player in 12-13.

Colaiacovo’s numbers show an effective puck mover, who can also play defense and for the last few seasons has been able to stay healthy for 60+ games each year. Should the Oilers sign Colaiacovo to a contract it is unlikely they would get the same results.

Why? Alex Pietrangelo is in St. Louis. 

  • Lowetide

    At this point the top 4 (for me, anyway) is Smid-Petry and N Schultz- J Schultz with Whitney the clear #1D if he’s healthy.

    Would I take Colaiacovo over Nick Schultz? I wouldn’t but that’s partly because imo Nick Schultz will make an excellent partner for Justin Schultz.

    Could Cola come in and play in the Oilers top 6? Sure, I believe that to be true.

    As for salary, he had a $2.125M cap hit on his last contract and defensemen seem to be getting $500k out of the gate. So I’ll say $3M based on his recent season.

    • Romulus' Apotheosis

      “Could Cola come in and play in the Oilers top 6? Sure, I believe that to be true. ”

      That’s a pretty low bar, no? “top 6”

      That’s basically, can he crack the lineup ahead of Potter, Peckham, Teubert, Plante and Fedun, right?

      I’d sure hope he could do that for 2.5-3M. he seems to me to be in the range of Methot. Except where Methot is an average/good defensive D, Carlo is an average/good D with a bit more offense.

      because we lack for depth but have kids coming up, a one year for a guy like this or Methot might make sense… but I’d still rather they just got serious and went after Tyutin or Streit.

  • Lowetide

    Oilcrush: imo Gilbert is the better player due to a wide range of skills. The only way that deal makes sense is if the Oilers were able to grab someone RH who projected as a puck mover.

    Like Justin Schultz.

    • Given the vague reasons the Oilers gave for trading Gilbert, I wonder if there was any tampering there?

      Gilbert was a horse for the Oilers and every coach used him that way.

      Right handed puck moving Dman are not easy to get, and the Oilers traded their best one away for a good Dman, but a type (LH, stay at home) which is much, much easier to acquire.

      Hmmmmm.

      NOTE: I AM NOT SAYING THE OILERS TAMPERED WITH J.SHULTZ – THE SPECULATION STANDS TO REASON – PLEASE DON’T SUE ME.

      Also,

      Agreed that Colaiacovo’s WOWY’s show he wasn’t driving the bus. Add to that his injury history and I don’t think its an optimal fit.

      The Oilers have a lot of forwards and contracts, they need a trade.

      • PerryK

        That is some tool that you have discovered WG!

        I was playing around with it, and I came across a name of interest (to me, any way).

        Never heard of David Savard before. His vitals are:

        Age: 21
        Ht: 6-2 Wt: 214
        Shoots: R
        Salary: $740,000

        4th round pick of CBJ in ’09.

        Base stats: 31GP 2G 8A 10P 0+/-

        HART+ of 1.067 in a small sample size.

        Anyhow, thanks for that toy!

        • I haven’t given myself time to fully understand what David Johnson’s metrics like HART and HARO are comprised of. His site has lots of excellent features though.

          I do trust BTN’s CorsiQC as it takes its data from every shot that happens while the player is on the ice and it correlates well with what we all consider “good players”. (i.e. playing against Kopitar is tougher than King)

          Savard certainly has interesting numbers, but he only played 31 games last year and had extremely easy CorsiQC.

          Out of the 9 Dmen who played at least 30 games for CBJ last year, he had the easiest CorsiQC

          http://www.behindthenet.ca/2011/new_5_on_5.php?sort=11&section=corsi&mingp=30&mintoi=&team=CBJ&pos=D

          Beware of small sample sizes.

          Might be a player, but not who you try to trade for to shore up the top/2nd pairing.

    • Romulus' Apotheosis

      I don’t think it is as clear cut as that.

      Gilbert, by the time he left, had blossomed into a good all-round D: offense, hitting, shut-down, etc.

      N. Schultz is, however, a master at defensive D. He’s a Smid prototype.

      I’d rate them about even and give the slight nod to Gilbert because offense wins you games and he seems to be developing his defensive game nicely, whereas Schultz seems to have gone as far as he can skill wise.

      IMO it really comes down to whether you want a good allrounder or a great in one capacity… and how you build your team around your assets.

      The real problem with the Gilbert deal wasn’t that Schultz was no good… it was that we lost something we desperately needed, a puck moving, offensive D, without any real plan to re-acquire one…

      the J. SChlutz deal may make us look like geniuses… but only if you apply that counterfactually.

  • Lowetide

    Rom: You bet. A clear upgrade is required. The problem then becomes what area do you sacrifice? Oilers don’t have tremendous depth anywhere except for D prospects.

    • If they trade for a Dman in the last year of his contract, they don’t have to give up much.

      One year of Lubo just got traded for a 2nd rounder.

      Unless Bob Murray has more Dmen to trade I doubt you get one that cheap, but you shouldn’t have to pay too much.

    • Romulus' Apotheosis

      Well, I think you laid the possibilities out elsewhere… (can’t remember the exact post)…

      but you noted we have three areas from which to cobble together something like a 2-1, 3-1, etc:

      1) future draft picks

      2) prospects (d and f: including MPV, Harti)

      3) also-rans (eager, jones, etc)

      some combination in there will look attractive enough to get something of value coming back.

      I’d protect Klefbom for sure but strongly consider anyone else as movable from those groups depending on the return.

  • Lowetide

    To say we traded Gilbert for Schultz because we were going after J Schultz is like saying we traded Penner because we knew we were going to get Smyth back.

    As fans we can assume Tambellini knows what he’s doing day-to-day. There is no way either move was a lead up to what happened months later. He isn’t nearly that good.

    Both were cases of sun shining on a dead dogs ass.

  • paul wodehouse

    woodguy you’re the second one who’s mentioned the T word …June 30 was the day we all went wwwoooww we got him and that was the day before July first no?

    is that t——–question mark

  • Lowetide

    I believe one of Tuebert or Plante makes the team this season. I see Potter on the move. Sutton plays 40-50 games and so does either Plante or Teubert. Plante before the concussion showed real progress. Why look outside the organization for 6-7 defender when we have 2 or 3 already on hand. I thought that we were moving away from that kind of thinking where we bring in players rather than grow them from within. I would rather have palnte or Tuebert as my 6-7 than Cola or some other overpaid FA(Jason Garrison). Out prospects in OKC need to feel that if they produce,develop and grow that the organization will value them.FA hasn’t been kind to Edmonton. There are many reasons for that but history hasn’t been kind.

    • striker777

      Excellent point.

      I love Burke’s trade, when he put together a few mediocre players to Calgary for Phaneuf. Lets face it players in OKC are starting to knock on the door and a skilled GM needs to recognize that and start packaging veterans for a very good player.
      #ArtOfTrading

  • Lowetide

    At $3M i’d say yes – worth the gamble . He would be good insurance and fill in, or slight upgrade , for Whitney and J.Schultz if he struggles . Might not need Klefbom as well . He has NHL offence and defence . Do we really have anyone right now even better than him on our ice product ? Reasonable cost and reasonable player , whom might even find better numbers with our emerging youth elites .

  • Lowetide

    The basic assumption here is that free agents would consider this organization as a place to play. History has proven that they come either as a last resort or a considerable overpay. In spite of the Yak and Schultz signings I don’t see that changing this year.

  • John Chambers

    LT, who do you like best among the FA’s still on the board? If we had to marry Roszival, Cola, Hannan, Kubina, or other, what would be your preferred move?

    Frankly I’m glad we didn’t lose our minds and overpay for Matt Carle or Wideman. That was left to more desperate men. Instead I think there’s good value to a Roszival or Colaiaccovo on a short-term deal, if only to serve as Whitney insurance. Klefbom to SEL for another year, please.

  • @Micheal

    There’s a big difference in quality is why you get an NHL veteran for the 3rd pairing. As much as i think both Plante and Teubert will eventually be NHLers why rush them to the NHL?

    Plante’s waiver eligibility could see him on the team but i think he’d be much better off with another year of top pairing minutes in the AHL, and i doubt any team feels he’s ready to be in the NHL for a full year so even if he does get claimed Edmonton should get him back.

    Teubert has another year of eligibility in a league he has yet to master so why bring him to the NHL to play in a 7-8 role? Teubert was not very good in the NHL last year, let him develop in the AHL and get in 10-20 games in the NHL as a callup and assess from there.

    Don’t paint yourself into a corner with a young kid that might no be ready. In the NHL an organiztion needs at least 10 defenseman who can play some NHL minutes, if Plante and Teubert are 9 and 10 on that list, thats just passable depth, if they’re 7-8 or 8-9 on that list the depth after them is going to be enough to sink the team if injuries hit en masse like they seem to every year. It’s not like these guys won’t develop in the AHL.

  • nuge2drai

    OILER DOMINATION TO FOLLOW

    PETRY, SMID, SCHULTZ, SCHULTZ, WHITNEY, SUTTON

    Id prefer another puckmover, it was really frustrating watching the games last year and seeing the D struggle to get the puck up to the forwards…

  • nuge2drai

    Colaiacovo benefited immensely from playing with a solid partner in a Hitchcock system where the forwards make a sincere effort to backcheck. He would not experience that on the current Oilers team.

    On the Oilers, I think we would get something closer to the Colaiacovo from his Toronto years… a decent puckmover but too soft and a liability in his own end. This type of player, by the way, describes Tom Gilbert for most of his career except for the first 25 games of last year.

    I think we are in Bizarro World, up is down, down is up, Carlo can play defense, Gilbert is considered a well-rounded defenceman. Very bizarre.