Ten Points: Horcoff, Petrell, Landeskog, and around the league

1. Buying out Horcoff. If there’s an amnesty clause to kick off the next CBA, and particularly if the 2012-13 season is shortened or lost, I have almost no doubt that Shawn Horcoff will be bought out by the Oilers. In actual dollars, he’ll make $6 million in 2012-13, but he’s only going to make a total of $7 million over the last two years of his deal – the Oilers could buy that out for less than $5 million at the current rate of two/thirds.

The one thing that might stop them is if a low-budget team is willing to take on the $11 million in cap hit and $7 million in actual salary over the last two years of the deal. At $3.5 million/year in real dollars, Horcoff wouldn’t really be vastly overpaid, and for a team at the floor he adds $2 million/year in cap hit that the club wouldn’t have to pay for. The dynamics could shift dramatically under a new agreement, but for a team like Phoenix or Long Island, those last two years of Horcoff’s contract could have some value.

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2. Why Petrell? One of the things I keep bumping my head against this off-season is the Oilers’ decision to re-sign Lennart Petrell. With Petrell’s presence possibly knocking one of Magnus Paajarvi or Teemu Hartikainen to the minors – both in my books superior players now – and at the same time not adding anything vital (he was the team’s number five penalty-killing forward last year) it’s not a move that makes much sense to me. Particularly since the fourth line played the role of chew-toy to the NHL last year and it’s been completely reunited and revived for 2012-13.

Gabriel Landeskog (Sarah/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 2.0)

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3. Captain Landeskog. Yesterday, the Colorado Avalanche named 19-year old Gabriel Landeskog as the team’s captain, replacing Milan Hejduk. Hejduk, nearly tice Landeskog’s age, relinquished the ‘C’ and will now serve as an alternate. It’s a move that always raises eyebrows, and also one that some fans would like to see the Oilers imitate.

Personally, I’m reluctant to have an opinion because I don’t know Landeskog and I think whether or not a 19-year old can handle that kind of pressure is highly dependent on the individual involved. With that said, my mind instantly flashed back to what happened in major junior: in Kitchener, Landeskog was the 17-year old captain (rare) and the import captain (rarer still) of his junior team. Based on his past, if there’s a teenage NHL’er ready for that responsibility than Landeskog is it.

4. Last isn’t what it used to be. The chart below shows how bad the worst team in the NHL by points (in blue) and goal differential (red) has been over the last 20 years. The advent of the shootout and three point games has inflated point totals, but the big difference is the lack of recent expansion – of teams with triple-digit negative goal differential, almost all were expansion clubs (Ottawa, San Jose, Tampa Bay and Atlanta being the worst of the group). Pittsburgh shows up here, too: their minus-113 rating in 2003-04 is the worst in recent memory.

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5. Free agency on July 10? Pierre LeBrun of ESPN (and virtually everywhere else) reports that the league has proposed bumping free agency from July 1 to July 10. LeBrun suggests that the NHLPA might not like the summer window for jobs growing even nine days shorter, but that doesn’t mena this isn’t a great idea. I’ve always thought it idiotic that the NHL has the draft, the league awards and the start of free agency all within a two-week window (toss in the awarding of the Stanley Cup, and it’s a three-week window). For a league that’s turning more and more into a year-long endeavor, putting a little bit of space only makes sense to maximize media coverage. This way, they also get to duck the July 1/July 4 holidays.

6. Attribution is a two-way street. Writers for mainstream publications (often correctly) have complained in the past that new media in general and blogs in particular fail to properly credit them for their material. Some blogs will just grab quotes without including a link (which is discourteous) or without listing the source (which is significantly worse). That brings me to the fantastic Russian Machine Never Breaks, which translated a story in a European newspaper about Michal Neuvirth, where the Capitals goaltender made some overly candid remarks.

RMNB’s story made big waves, and Neuvirth and the Capitals organization went into damage control. Interestingly, while referring specifically to the RMNB translation, articles on Sportsnet, NHL.com, the Capitals’ homepage, as well as elsewhere managed to comment at length on the comments without once mentioning the website that did the work.

The point: failing to attribute isn’t just a problem of blogs, amateurs, and people without editors. Some of the biggest names in hockey media have made the same choice to take material without crediting where they got their information. In the end, it comes down to individuals: regardless of where their material is appearing, are they willing to credit the people they got their information from.

Incidentally, the list of articles above that failed to credit RMNB comes from a recent article on that site – an article which includes a professional re-translation of Neuvirth’s original comments and shows that despite being a “fan blog” RMNB behaved professionally and properly throughout the whole incident.

7. Made by Crosby. Wandering the internet the other day, I came across a reference to Dany Roussin. Roussin, once upon a time, was a pretty decent forward for Rimouski of the QMJHL; he played there with Marc Pouliot and was drafted the year before Sidney Crosby joined the team – by Florida, in the seventh round. Once Crosby arrived, Roussin found himself as his regular winger – his goal totals jumped from 12 to 59 in that first season and he had 117- and 116-point seasons. Florida couldn’t get him under contract, so he re-entered the draft and got picked by Los Angeles – this time in the second round.

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Ultimately, Roussin spent most of his entry-level contract playing in the ECHL, then left for France and now he’s just finished his third year with St. Georges of the of the Ligue Nord-Americaine de Hockey (LNAH). In 2011-12, he was the 5th-leading scorer for the St. Georges Cool 103.5 FM. He scored just over half as many goals as 42-year old ex-NHL’er Jesse Belanger, who played 246 games for five major-league teams (including half a dozen in Edmonton).

Zach Parise (rubyswoon/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 2.0)

8. The NHL is a business – but it also really isn’t. Why are NHL economics so bizarre? It’s actually quite simple, in my view: NHL teams are both businesses and vanity projects, and which of the two is dominant depends to no small extent on who the owner(s) of each team is/are. In Minnesota, there’s virtually no chance that Craig Leipold is going to get a $24 million return in 2012-13 on his $24 million investment in Zach Parise and Ryan Suter; it also seems doubtful that the return on that duo will average out to $15 million and change over the next 13 years. Those players were brought in to help the team win first, second and third; they were not brought in as part of a calculated investment decision.

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That’s why the league is always pushing for more restrictions. Prior to the salary cap, players (according to the league) ate up 75 percent of league revenue – because most owners weren’t running their teams as businesses. If the NHLPA went away tomorrow and the free market reigned, there’s no doubt that the rich teams in the league would start the arms race once again and the poor teams would be unable to compete.

The league can’t stop owners from running their teams like fans rather than businessmen. All it can do is make the system so rigid that even without rational financial decisions the teams still make money.

9. The shattering of the NHLPA. It’s worth remembering that last time around, the NHLPA shattering into a million pieces wasn’t just a function of a season being cancelled – it also had to do with the acceptance of a cap. Some players – Jay McKee was one – asked on the record why the union agreed to a salary cap at the 11th hour when they steadfastly refused for months and months to even consider the idea. That reversal blew the union apart from the inside as much as anything else did.

This time around, there is no such single issue. The NHLPA is adamant that there will not be a rollback, but the NHL isn’t insisting on that mechanism. I doubt that the union will stand together through a cancelled season – and despite the bitter news of the last week, I doubt we’ll see a cancelled season – but it seems less likely to crash and burn the way it did last time.

10. Bobby Clark on becoming a general manager. Behind the Moves is a great book, and this quote from former Flyers general manager Bobby Clarke caught my eye:

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[As a player] I had a great life. All of a sudden, I am sitting in the office and I would hear tge old teletype going, with the yellow paper; I had a secretary. I remember going home from work at 5 o’clock some days and just sitting on the couch, just feeling whipped, exhausted… It wasn’t like I had been physically training. Even when I physically trained, I was never tired. Now I was tired. I had to try and figure out how to negotiate a contract. There were no rules on that… for me, [becoming a GM] was the first time in fucking 20 years that I had a pen in my hand, really, other than signing my autograph.

What has always struck me about ex-players turning into general managers is how different the job descriptions are. I think the experience of being an NHL player is a great asset for any general manager – but I don’t think the most important qualification for a G.M. is a playing career, either.

Recently by Jonathan Willis

  • DSF


    You’re missing the boat on the Parise/Suter situation.

    With those two players, the Wild are likely a perennial playoff team….something they haven’t been in the past.

    It’s been estimated that each home playoff date is worth $2M in revenue (some teams higher, some teams lower) to team ownership.

    While it’s doubtful Leopold will get any ROI in the first year of the deal because of the way the contracts are structured, 60 home playoff dates over a 10 year period (not unreasonable and could be many more) would result in at least $120M in revenue. And remember, the players don’t get paid for the playoffs.

    Also, bear in mind that renewed fan interest also allows the owner to get the max for ticket revenue and a potential big jump in the sales of jerseys and other merchandise.

    Of course, there is always a risk they don’t get playoff revenue but, as we’ve seen recently with the LA Kings, adding the right pieces at the right time can pay off big time.

    Not a bad bet IMO.

    • The Soup Fascist

      I will take the “UNDER” on 60 home playoff games for the Wild over 10 years. Especially when you consider your “model” franchise in the NHL, the Vancouver Canucks played less than 50 home games over the last 10 years, by my count.

      Also, I could be wrong, DSF, but I thought stuff like jersey / merchandise sales were split among the league, not individual teams. So, for example the licensing “take” on one of the thousands of snazzy Taylor Hall jerseys sold would be split among the 30 teams throughout the NHL, just as the “take” on one of the seven God-awful Alex Burrows costumes that were sold, would also be split among the 30 teams.

      Another example of the hard working folks in Alberta subsidizing the slugs on the coast, but I digress.

    • I disagree on a number of points.

      1) The Wild as a perennial playoff team. Parise/Suter bring them to the bubble, no further. They were the worst team in the league – worse than Columbus, worse than Edmonton – down the stretch and while those guys will have a big impact, they’re starting from a lousy base.

      2) 60 home playoff dates is an average of six per season – meaning that you’re picking the Wild to win an average of one series and go the distance in the other for ten consecutive seasons. Detroit, the most successful team in all of hockey over the last decade (incl. three Stanley Cup wins in that span) has had 67 home playoff games over the last 10 years. 60 is ridiculous.

      3) “Renewed fan interest?” Wild fans are like Oilers fans – they sell out for crap, for Jacques Lemaire, and for good hockey. I don’t doubt a good team could charge a little more but this is a decidedly auxiliary point and it’s not clear the wild have a good team.

    • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

      backed off from the western conference champion minnesota wild theory already?

      edit: hang on here just a tick.

      60 home playoff dates over a 10 year period (not unreasonable and could be many more)

      no unreasonable? you are essentially saying a reasonable expectation for the wild is to average making 3rd round every year for the next 10 years (2 6-game series 3 home games each)?

      question: how many teams over the last 10 years have had 60 home playoff games in the NHL. one would assume a reasonable expectation would be there will be more than a few… a handful even. i eagerly await your list

      without actually doing any research, i would expect the list to consist of the red wings…. they have had a couple cup runs over the last 10 years. any others?

      • DSF


        Minnesota will be that good.

        Some folks just can’t figure out how a winner is built.




        In that order.

        Minnesota has 2 above average goaltenders.

        Their defense, while young after the first pairing, is very good with tremendous upside.

        Their centre depth now consists of:

        Mikko Koivu, suberb playmaker and 2 way centre

        Mikael Granlund – best player in the Finnish league

        Charlie Coyle – first round pick 1.5 PPG in the Q

        Zack Phillips – first round pick 80P in 60GP in the Q

        Kyle Brodziak,

        Matt Cullen

        Darrel Powe

        The team is also huge and has a bunch of players who are very hard to play against.

        You can thank me later for your education.

        • RE: The Defence

          I think your definition of “very good” and everybody else’s definition of “very good” must be different.

          The Suter/Gilbert pairing is a good one, I admit, but after that duo things get bad in a hurry.

          Jared Spurgeon, the number three defenceman, has promise but he’s also a) all of 5’9″ b) 22 years old and c) has just two professional seasons (including AHL) under his belt. He’s one year removed from AHL action.

          Marco Scandella, the number four defenceman, also has promise. Of course, he’s also a) 22 b) has just two pro seasons under his belt c) went minus-22 in limited games last season and d) spent time in the AHL last year.

          Justin Falk? Steve Kampfer? Clayton Stoner? Nate Prosser?

          C’mon now. There’s no depth. There’s barely a second pairing.

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

          It’s hilarious that you think that is quality NHL center depth… That’s probably one of the worst group of centers in the league.

        • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

          if the wild somehow manage to become the most successful franchise in the nhl over the next 10 years i will thank you for the education.

          if they are a borderline playoff team and come nowhere close to 60 home playoff games, you can admit you really dont have a clue about hockey.


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

          The bit about the centres is what sets off my B.S. alarm.

          Mikko Koivu – agreed. Great 2-way centre, and I think most NHL teams would take him on in a prominent role in a heartbeat.

          The rest… wtf? Promising players, nothing more. I think you’re making the same mistake that many Pollyanna Oilers fans are making re. J. Schultz and Yakupov. To count on any of these players to do anything in the NHL is foolishness. They may, or may not. They’ve yet to prove anything. I don’t care if Granlund is the best player in the Martian Super Elite Butt Stomper League, he’s yet to show anything in the NHL. Similarly, I don’t care if J. Schultz’s NHL projection is 40 points. I count on him for zero improvement next year (he may actually be a net negative when exposed to NHL level competition – let’s wait and see).

          To say that this is a promising centre group, fine. To imply that this is an elite centre group…? Foolishness.

  • justDOit

    Buying out Horc before this season starts would be a grave mistake, unless there’s some other center to take all those tough minutes.

    If the team has to get down to a new cap number, like $60M, then buying him out might be the only way that happens, but it’s not going to be pretty.

    • Quicksilver ballet

      Agreed, give him one more yr (if there is one) and moving him next summer would be a much easier task (11 mill cap hit for only 7 mill in salary over 2 yrs). To buy him out before the start of the coming season would cost Katz almost 3 million on top of this coming yrs 6 mill salary, if he doesn’t let this contract play out.

      With Shawn gone next summer, that’ll leave No.10 vacant for Nail Yakupov, as well as the captains C for Taylor Hall. Maybe Hall needs to be wearing an A this season.

      • justDOit

        About the only way it would make sense is if they have to adhere to a lower cap this season, without a rollback like the last CBA contained. In that case, there are going to be a lot of FA centers on the market (can you imagine…?).

        But yeah, I can’t see a solution to fill Horc’s skates this season, or next, and I also can’t see his buddy Katz buying him out.

        I like N64 the way he is, and I hope he doesn’t switch to #10.

        • Quicksilver ballet

          Anton Lander would do just fine. No shopping required. I’m sure even Anton could be in on 35 goals this season (Horcs offensive totals).

          Just wanted to get this out of the way before someone comes in here screaming….Who the heck’s gonna replace his offense!

          • Quicksilver ballet

            Hopkins and Gagner will get an increase in tougher minutes this season. Horcoff is a third line center getting top 3 minutes because of the lack of depth. Lander can play 3rd line w/ 3rd line minutes if the top 2 lines are taking a larger share of those more difficult minutes played.

            Belanger/Lander, Lander/Belanger, whoever’s going better gets that 3rd slot….not alot of difference.

          • GVBlackhawk

            So your plan is to replace Horcoff with Lander? You did watch him get killed last year against opposition 4th lines right? And you think he will be able to handle the Qcomp that Horcoff faced (9th most difficult in the league last season)? Neither Gagner nor RNH is ready for that assignment yet. Opposition top lines would lick their chops at the prospect of facing Anton Lander centering the checking line.

            He will likely be OKC’s 3C next year. The guy is clearly not ready for the show yet. If the Oilers buy out Horcoff in an amnesty deal, they had better have a better plan than the two boat anchors that are Lander and Belanger.

          • Quicksilver ballet

            I’d still take Lander over Horcoff. Shawn Horcoff on draws is what, 46%? Anton may be hardpressed to hold that 46% but how much worse can it get?

            You think the opposition only licks their chops over Lander?….have to believe they’re doing the exact same thing when they look across and see either Gagne or Horcoff.

            The fab 4 will start dictating the pace of even more game than they did last season, the Oilers won’t be in retreat mode every night. Horcoff, on the ice for more than 100 goals against during the season while contributing 35 ‘ish points on the opposition goal is the perfect center for a team where tanking is of the utmost importance. No.1 center minutes while surrenduring far more goals against than he contributes. The Oilers are better off without the likes of Horcoff and Hemsky.

          • Lander over Horcoff is flat-out crazy.

            Shawn Horcoff struggled playing the toughest minutes available to an NHL center – defensive zone assignments against the best opposition.

            Anton Lander was slaughtered while playing the easiest minutes available to an NHL center – primarily offensive zone assignments against the worst possible opposition.

            Horcoff was an NHL player used in a role he’s no longer capable of handling last year. Lander was an AHL player used to play NHL minutes.

          • GVBlackhawk

            I see that you make comments without doing research, which does not do much for validating an argument. Here are some facts:

            Horcoff FO% = 49.4
            Lander FO% = 43.3

            A faceoff percentage above 50% is considered good in the NHL — Horcoff’s 49.4 still put him in the 70th percentile in the league. Additionally, Horcoff’s faceoffs were against opposition 1C and 2C while Lander’s were predominantly against opposition 4C. This is a bigger discrepancy than the actual number indicates.

            Horcoff finished the year at -23 (which is a reflection of the poor defensive team he played on along with the role he played — top Qcomp and a lot of PK). The way you wrote your sentence is a not-so-subtle attempt to make it sound like he was -65.

            Did Horcoff decide how often he played last season? I think Tom Renney had more influence on Horcoff’s ice time than Shawn Horcoff. He was obviously overplayed and overwhelmed at times, but he did his job without complaining.

            So your answer to the Oilers problems is to get rid of the veterans like Horcoff and Hemsky, rush an overwhelmed Lander to the show, and rely heavily on teenagers to drive play. No mention of the real problems: porous/slow defense (that was riddled with AHL’ers last year), a backup goalie who is below replacement level, a non-functional 4th line. Just more kids!

          • Quicksilver ballet

            Either way you look at it, both fail to qualify for the mentioned adequate category, correct? 6% apart for someone who’ll make 5 million less is enough to prompt this change. Even with these so called all important leaders/veterans, the Oilers are on the heels of 3 first overalls in a row. How much worse would it get if they rid themselves of that 11 million in salary (Horcs and Hemsky), is 30th place really that far of a drop from 29th? Hall,Eberle and Hopkins will all be better this season, fit them with that working horse harness on a few more nights this coming season, they’ll be more than fine.

            Straight up Horcoff was close enough to that combined -65 we speak of. He’s obviously not great in the faceoff circle, not at all physical,leaves alot to be desired offensively, nowhere near the perennial Selke candidate…..and he’s suppose to lead these kids? If the Oilers goal is to win nothing, Horcoff certainly qualifies as the role model.

          • GVBlackhawk

            “How much worse would it get if they rid themselves of that 11 million in salary?” For starters, the Oilers have a lot of cap space so they do not need to dump salary at this time. This does not help them. Secondly, I only want to see moves that improve the team — dropping Horcoff and Hemsky in and of itself does not improve the team. If you have a reasonable suggestion for replacing these players, please present it.

            “Straight up Horcoff was close enough to that combined -65 we speak of”. Except for the fact that he was -23. Why stop at defaming him at -65? Why not just say he was -265?

            Horcoff does provide good leadership, whether you choose to believe it or not. You don’t have to be a better player than the kids in order to be a good leader. He leads with his work ethic, character in the dressing room, professional attitude in dealing with media, fans, and teammates. His teammates speak very highly of him as a captain — that means more to me than the diatribe that some fans spew on a blog.

            Remember the last time the Oilers went to the Cup finals? Yes, Horcoff was on that team. He is not the lynch pin that will determine future success, but he is definitely going to be a key contributer to the team’s improvement going forward.

          • Quicksilver ballet

            Players are brought in for their abilities on the ice, not because they’re great guys. If what you’re saying is so important, Jason Strudwick would still be playing for the Oilers.

            Abilities first and foremost, everything else is secondary…..sorry, don’t buy all the other BS you presented.

            How close is a team on the tail end of 3 first overalls in a row suppose to be to the cap anyways?……Down with your ideals Blackhawk.

          • GVBlackhawk

            Show me where I said that players are/should be ‘brought in’ because they are great guys, while disregarding their playing ability.

            Horcoff is a decent 3C on most NHL teams. He was made captain because of his leadership qualities.

            Strudwick is not an adequate 7D on most NHL teams. He could have been a captain because of his leadership qualities.

            See the difference?

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    Have to agree, I’ve been thinking about the whole Petrell thing for a while now. The best I could come up with is that hes just a backup plan. If nobody surprises at camp he gets the spot, if someone takes the spot then its not really a big deal having him in the press box or even putting him on waivers. I highly doubt anyone would claim him and if they did it not much of a loss for the Oil. If thats not the reason we should all be thinking WTF.

  • Never underestimate what a player like Petrell can bring to the table off the ice. Character has to be part of the package if you’re a 4th liner.

    Granted, I’ve only seen Petrell on episodes of Oil Change, but he seems like a good guy to have around. He works hard and is good for a laugh.

    Plus, is Petrell keeping PRV and Harski off the team? Or are Yakupov, Jones, and Smyth keeping them off the team?

  • justDOit

    If the new CBA includes an amnesty clause, would it be possible for the Oilers to envoke the amnesty clause, pay Shawn out and then re-sign him to a League minimum deal. Nobody wants Shawn to go. He is the captain and defines hardwork. It is not his fault he was offered the big contract. Nobody woud be saying anything if he was making 3.5 Mil. The oilers are better with Shawn, the player. Shawn, the big cap hit, would be gone and all would be well again in oilerville.

    • justDOit

      Currently, buy-outs include a no-sign clause. If you buy out a player, they can only sign with the remaining 29 teams.

      Maybe if Kreuger gets Belanger back into form, and if Lander can hold his own on the 4th line, maybe this team could withstand letting Horcoff go. Maybe. I like the idea of Horcoff and Belanger on this club though.

  • justDOit

    -Buying out Horcoff makes sense if there is an amnesty clause, I just hope that the Oilers’ stubborn loyalty doesn’t cloud their judgement as it has in the past.

    -I would much rather see a fourth line with Teemu and Magnus on the wings than Petrell and Eager but that’s just me.

    -Landeskog is captain material but I don’t think it’s solid logic to make him captain right now. Hejduk is a solid vet. Let him ride out what could be a few more tough seasons and then let Landeskog transition to captain when the team is ready to compete. At least that’s the way I hope the Oilers handle their eventual ‘changing of the guard’.

    -I hope that free agency gets pushed back. Spread the off-season out and let everybody enjoy Canada’s birthday.

  • Spydyr

    Instead of a one time amnesty clause it would be nice to see a yearly one.A few days before free agency kicks in.One per team.

    The player gets paid 2/3 becomes a free agent and the team gets to cut all ties.

  • G Money

    Your point #8 is a fantastically important and grossly under-discussed point.

    Whether some teams give ludicrous contracts, or try to circumvent the cap is beside the point. Of course they’re going to do that. The point of the cap is to prevent them from doing that, or at least doing that to such an extent that it doesn’t allow the smaller franchises to compete.

  • BurkeTheTurd

    @ JW.

    Lots of great points. But I don’t agree with “I have almost no doubt that Shawn Horcoff will be bought out by the Oilers”. I would expect him to play out the rest of his contract. People have such a hate on for him, but he is a VERY good 3rd line centre in the NHL. He has put in his time and full filled every duty he has been asked and deserves some loyalty, trade sure, buy out I hope not.

    Is he over paid? YES

    But for the few years left he can be a good 3rd liner, good leader, good penalty killer and take some heat away form the younger guys on the team if they struggle.

    • I can’t tell you enough how increadably wrong this is!

      Horcoff does play tough minutes, but he is getting destroyed playing them! Playing a lot of minutes doesn’t make you a great player.

      Most night’s he can’t win face off’s against most third line centers in the WC, but that’s not what he faces, he faces teams best two centers and is getting killed by them regularly.

      His +/- is terrible to the point of agony. The play is always in his zone when he’s on the ice, and he’s slow.

      Without PP time last year Horcoffs point totals would be even more of an issue as is his 5/5 play.

      All this can be found on Behind the net but im clearly to lazy to put all the stats out there.

      He’s a decent PKer, he does play toughs and he is defensively smart, puts his body in tough spots, but he’s clearly lost a lot over the years that his true value is more like a 4th line center.

      • BurkeTheTurd

        Horcoff over played, YES. Will he be better matched this year as a 3rd liner, I hope so. I think he can be a great 3rd liner, less time on ice and easier matchups should result in better production.

        At the the end of the day 3 NHL coaches disagree with your comments and have used him over and over and over again, because they have some faith in him. To say he is a 4th liner is wrong.

        • Really? What happened to the Oilers and those coach’s?

          30 – 30 – 29 doesn’t lie, Horcoff is certainly not to blame for all of it, but he’s not the same Horcoff As much as everyone wants him to be.

          Read comment 33.

          He’s over matched most nights, he can’t keep up and is being totally dominated by younger faster better centers in the WC.

          The fact three others kept him around is easy to explain.

          He was Mac-T’s best player for a few years, Renney leaned on him as he was the only Oiler who could play tough minutes, and he has become almost untradeable.

          As much as I hate bringing this up, his contract does matter and will come into play and is another knock on him.

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

            The point you seem to be missing is that Horc is getting overmatched because he’s playing against guys like Iginla, Datsyuk and the Sedin. It’s fair to say it would be a different story if instead he was playing against Hudler, Glenncross and Higgins.

          • But he’s not playing against Glescross or Higgins!! He plays against the other teams BEST players, and will be counted on to do the same again!

            It’s a different story if Hall, RNH, Eberle played against 4th lines they would each have a 100 points but that not reality.

            That’s exactly what I’m talking about there OB1, he can no longer play that way, so who on the Oilers is going head to head with Thornton , Datsyuk, Sedin, Kane, Kopatar???

            He can clearly not play against these players, at least not half as much as he was, he can’t check them, he does not have the speed or skill to match what’s being sent at him over 60 minutes of hockey!

            My whole point is that he can’t play against teams best players anymore, this is why the Oilers(Kruger) has mentioned playing him with Smyth and Belanger to take some of he load away, but he’s still going to match up against the other teams best players and continue to be overwhelmed.

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

            So we want to $hit on him because he’s still the teams best option to play against the other teams best?

            With any luck RNH and Eberle have progressed enough that they can take on the other teams top forwards, and then Horc can go against 2nd and 3rd liners…. we’ll see if thats the case.

          • BurkeTheTurd

            What I’m trying to say is I would take Horcoff as a third line centre (not as first or second) over some other teams 3rd line centres in the league and probably all most all 4th line centres.

            I agree he isn’t what he use to be and he shouldn’t be getting the ice time he once was. However, he still can be an effective player, with a reduced role, less ice time and playing against other teams 2nd to 4th line.

          • Yes!!!

            That was and is my whole point I was making to you. Your last paragraph. Which I said to you right at the start on page 1 except he’s a borderline 3rd and would be a very good 4th. A true checking center he no longer is.

            PS- I’m not trying to diminish what he does for the Oilers, but if the Oilers are going to move forward then he’ can’t be doing what he has been doing.

            It’s no different then Khabibulin, he’s done being a #1, but as a back up playing a different role he maybe he might be useful in a different role.

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

            The Turd said basicaly the exact same thing in his orignal post as he just said above, to which you replied:

            “I can’t tell you enough how increadably wrong this is!”

          • Turd said he was a very good third liner. then I said what I said cause its true.

            He’s not, he’s was barley adequate last year! With the exception of his PK work, he was not good 5/5 and most nights overwhelmed.

            Now, depending on how you want to label Horcoffs line, ( I label him a checking center 3rd line player who played far to many minutes) he will still face the opositions best players, best face of players in which he will again be dominated 5/5, less minutes doesn’t mean less responsibilities!

            He may see less of the 2nd line players and less PP time but by no meanso is he not going head to head with the other teams best.

            Unless Krugar throws RNH out there to get creamed by the others best players, can’t see that happening then Horcoff is still unfortunately the Oilers best option.

            PS OB1 I am not crapping on Horcoff! I liked Horcoff for what he has done for the Oilers. It’s just time to accept a smaller role, a true 4th line role with PK work some time mixed in with the third would be best for the Oilers. iMO

            I also accept that this is more of an indictment of Tambellinni not being able to recognize what the Oilers truely require for depth. Again IMO

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

            See he is a very good third line center, arguably One of the best in the league. The vast majority of teams play power vs power now… Or in other words there 3rd line centers aren’t playing against the leagues best players.

            He’s a huge asset to this team as a 3C, if they could build a proper team that would become abundantly clear.

          • GVBlackhawk

            Trying to explain this in a logical manner to some of the people on here is like banging your head against the wall…it does not accomplish anything and leaves you with a headache.

            All of the Horcoff haters want to get rid of him but none have a legitimate backup plan for replacing him. They would rather see the kids get thrown to the wolves against top line competition. Then they can complain about the young guns getting paid too much…we should coin this ‘Horcoff syndrome’.

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

            I also find it kind of strange that you feel he is the oilers best option to play against the leagues best players, yet at the same time state that he is a 4th liner.

          • You mean between Horcoff, Belanger or Lander I would say the options are pretty limiting, I’m saying he’s really the only option the Oilers have , that’s not a Good thing there OB1! not saying much at all for the Oilers management, So ya, still a really good 4th on almost every playoff team.

            As for playing power vs power, thats inaccurate to suggest all/most teams play that way. if the Oilers are in there own zone who are they going to throw out?…..right, and he’s getting destroyed time and time again. Most teams will try to avoid even to uneven match up’s as much as possible so although teams may start a game this way, it hardly ever works out the whole game.

            Again, not a Horcoff hater just a realist. I want him on the team. I’m also not a Khabibulin hater ether but I must be off my head and a hater to suggest he’s lost his postion as a starter.

            Look, if Horcoff comes back gets 30 to 35 points brings his 5/5 and his 4/5 play up, lowers his +/- to even -10, PK his ass off, blocks another 40 to 50 shots and can do that at 16 to 17 min a game, I will owe you a huge apology. I will buy you a case of beer.

            However, if Horcoff has another season like he did, then I get to tell you I told you so.

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

            Sorry Wes, but you are mistaken, most teams play there top lines against other teams top lines, check out the player usage charts.

            The options aren’t Horc/Belanger/Lander, they are Horc/RNH/Belanger/Gagner.

          • Quicksilver ballet

            Things that don’t matter Obbie.

            3rd line centers you can pick up at Walmart during free agency in the summers…… for well under half of what Horcoff is due. Not a core position on your team.

            @ Blackhawk, the Oilers have been the laughing stock of the NHL so long you don’t know which way is up anymore. You’ve lost sight on what’s important on a competitive club. Agree to disagree with your interpretation.

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

            Also, I believe most hockey people place alot of value in the 3C position… and if I remember correctly you yourself have said it’s the top 7 forwards that matter.

          • Quicksilver ballet

            I think that may be changing somewhat in recent yrs. Your top six forwards, top 2 blueliners and possibly a goaltender come at a dear price nowadays. To me the old top 7, top 3 D are getting squeezed out of the picture. That 7th forward and 3rd D’man are becoming positions few teams can spend freely on.

          • GVBlackhawk

            If you said the sky was blue, these guys would argue that it is red. Of course, they would not back up their claims but would still argue until they were blue in the face. You know you have killed their argument when you ask a legitimate question and keep getting a politician’s answer in return.

  • RexLibris

    A nice compilation of items.

    1. I’d be reluctant to buy out Horcoff because of the solidifying presence he has as a depth center. It is a tough decision to weigh as an amnesty would likely be a limited-time offer and the optics of buying out one’s captain and a stalwart personality in the dressing room can’t be entirely beneficial to the morale and feeling of a young dressing room.

    The cap space is going to be needed, and a trade is always a possibility, and one has to wonder if the Oilers could buy out #10, might they then throw a low-ball offer to a likely-to-be-bough-out Scott Gomez? Would Gomez at $2 million be an improvement as a 3rd line center over Horcoff?

    2. I like Petrell. I also like sandwiches and late summers. This might be why I don’t have a future career in NHL management.

    6. In my background this is essentially plagiarism, or something very close to it. It is a very dirty word, but it is also surprising, and frankly disgusting, how often it appears in the work of otherwise respectable academics.

    Personally I have tried to post links to the sites and articles I’ve been using lately, without inundating the reader with useless tangents. Gradually a code of ethics might develop amongst online forums, just as it has here.

    8. I have always wondered how business men who are savvy enough to create a fortune (or at least retain one they may have inherited) can be so mind-numbingly stupid when it comes to their pet projects (sports franchises). The perspective of ego adds a whole new light. Just as the government has created a system of laws and penalties to try and discourage self-annihilating behaviour in the citizenry, the NHL is somewhat tasked with a similar mission.

    If Ed Snider thought that he could win a Stanley Cup, but that it might destroy half of the teams in the NHL to do it, would he hesitate?

    10. I think this is why some management groups are adding voices to create a sort of hybridized approach. Some intelligent hockey people as well as some non-hockey (players, that is) voices who are familiar with the game and the business it has become. Regardless of what they were like as players, I’m not convinced that guys like Messier or Anderson would be the best choices to run a team.

    Jari Kurri is the GM of the Finnish National team and could be an interesting person to follow in this regard.

    Thanks for the article. All great things to keep in mind.

  • Horcoff better be here to raise the Cup. I cannot overstate how infinitely valuable a guy like that is in a playoff run. When you’re three rounds in and noone even talks in the dressing room anymore because everyone is hurting too much. Do you think Eric Belanger will drop down and block a shot with his face? Shawn Horcoff would play with 2 broken ankles if they’d let him.

    Here is a video of Horcoff going sliding with the Nuge. What a leader:


  • Quicksilver ballet

    Yes JW the owners aren’t asking for rollbacks. They are trying to get them through the back door through increased escrow payments which won’t ever be paid, creating de facto rollbacks. Why not just demand rollbacks? To avoid the legitimate charge that they are offering contracts in bad faith.

  • 1.) Buying out Horcoff wouldn’t make much sense. If they want to move him any where, it should be to the minors-via waivers. If anyone picks him up, it would still be cheaper than buying him out. No?

    2.) Petrell is there to challenge Paajarvi and Hartikainen in the training camp. If they aren’t ready, oh well. But if both are and show promise, it is not a big loss waiving Petrell, or maybe packaging in a trade. Petrell is still a good 4th line utility player on a few teams.

    3.) Landeskog captaincy is no suprise. Colorado is rebuilding, and Landeskog was going to be their captain one day anyway. It would have been to weird to make him a captain at the up coming trade deadline when they traded Hejduk to a cup contender. I don’t see Colorado as a play-off team this upcoming season, so it seems like a good time to change the tide. Hall or Eberle will be the captain of this team one day, no need to write about it once a week until it happens. Let Horcoff be and lets let Oilers nature take its course.

    4.) HuH?

    5.) Sure.

    6.) No comment.

    7.) Why doesn’t Crosby have a Gretzky like statue yet?

    8.) I believe that NHL is one of, if not the, worst run league in the world.

    9.) The nerve of the NHLPA is beyond me.

    10.) Kevin Lowe is the man.!..

  • I hope they do buy out Horcoff. I expect the team to improve significantly next year and the year after, and as early as next summer Edmonton could become an attractive destination for free agents looking for a team on the rise. The cap space Horcoff consumes should be able to be better spent elsewhere. In the interim, Belanger should be a viable replacement on the third line for another season until Lander is ready. You could also go sign a guy like Dominic Moore for depth.

    When Horcoff was making $3.5M I thought he was the best value in the NHL. Now he is one of the worst. Not because he isn’t a good player (he is) but because the step down from him to a Belanger isn’t that big and if, and its a big IF, the Oilers redeploy those cap dollars to an area of need the team will be better off.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    If it was up to you sheep, you’d probably be working on an extension for Horcoff, complete with a raise, correct?

    5.5 mill per (extensive research involve here as to not offend Blackhawk) for a thrid line center, yeah, you guys have a grasp alright.

    • GVBlackhawk

      When you don’t use facts in your argument you are not only offending me, you are offending humanity.

      If I was writing the script, I would assign a fair market value to Shawn Horcoff’s services at about 2.25 million per year (using Ryan Smyth as a comparable on the Oilers). I would sign him to a two year term. That way, Anton Lander would have two years to develop in the AHL. It would also buy time in order to find a better option via trade or UFA.

      It is not Horcoff’s fault that Oilers management wanted to give him 33 million dollars for 6 seasons. Send your love to Kevin Lowe.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    All your manipulated number based arguements are rubbish Blackhawk. Numbers manipulated to conform to your agenda, then presented as such. Can you give me 1 element of his game that he performs at an above average grade, besides getting paid…. offense skills,phyicallity,F/O%,footspeed….or his -65 +- overall(5v5,PP,SH combined) in general?

    The way you come across here is that Horcoff, and his 5.5 for three more yrs is an ideal fit for that 3rd line center spot. How can you support someone on your team who’s taking 3 times what you felt he deserves? As far as i’m concerned, he can’t be gone soon enough.