Corporate Integration

Are the Oilers and Oil Kings on the same page?

Several years ago I started wondering if the Oilers and Oil Kings were sharing scouting information. It seemed like the logical thing to do; the Oil Kings would benefit from an NHL-quality scouting regime while the Oilers could then synchronize their draft selections such that some prospects might then play within a subsidiary branch of the parent club.

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The more I thought about this the more it reminded me of a business marketing strategy called Integrated Marketing Communications. IMC is a strategy whose goal is to streamline and "synergize" every aspect of a company’s marketing network so that a customer receives a consistent and seamless experience throughout their entire interaction. One example of IMC in use is the way that Disney brands itself at every single level so that the customer knows they are working with the same corporation, the idea being that the experience will be positive and create a spinoff benefit for their other business interests, even if only in terms of perception. At the same time, every single employee of Disney knows the goals and perspectives of the organization as a whole so that the employee becomes, in effect, an extension of the brand identification and corporate ideology. Sounds a little borg-like, I know, but the actual execution of the strategy is akin to Google’s in how employees are perceived as valuable facets of the larger corporate gem.

The Oilers are, to my view, creating something like this in the way they have integrated their scouting, acquisition, and development of prospects between the CHL and NHL drafts.

The Oilers currently own the WHL’s Oil Kings and cooperate extensively with Bob Funk Jr., owner of the Oklahoma City Barons, through their AHL affiliation agreement. This provides an exceptional level of involvement and oversight when it comes to prospect development and scouting and one that stands in stark contrast to earlier draft and development models used by this organization. In addition to this, there have been several instances where the Oilers and Oil Kings scouting staff have worked together in determining player selections.

D & D (Drafting and Development)

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The Oil Kings drafted Martin Gernat and Kristians Pelss on the advice of Stu MacGregor and his scouting staff who told Bob Green that the players may not be high on as many CHL team’s lists because of the obscurity of their home leagues. Green credited his communication with MacGregor and the Oilers’ scouting staff with helping them draft so well in that import draft.

Both prospects had been selected by the Oilers only a few days earlier, so to some extent the word was out that they were potential NHL players. However, Gernat was a 5th round pick in 2011 and Pelss a 7th rounder the year prior. As draft pedigrees go, to an outsider they would appear to be draft-day long shots to make the NHL.

The Oilers, however, would appear to have been paying very close attention to the CHL and the import draft of late. That or Stu MacGregor is so attuned to prospect identification that he is ahead of the curve. Take a look at this site, and you’ll notice that the Oilers, partially by dint of pure lottery luck, have three of the top five CHL import draft players from 2010 in their system with another drafted 19th (Pelss). The following year Gernat was listed as the 8th ranked European by the same blog author.

The available integration of the NHL and WHL management has allowed the Oilers to secure an environment of more in-house development for at least two European prospects in Gernat and Pelss. At the same time, the arrangement has allowed the Oilers to invest scarce scouting resources in assessing local talent like Travis Ewanyk and Mitchell Moroz.

Where the integration truly begins to take place is following the draft, where these prospects can be developed and coached with an organizational framework in mind, from their time in junior through to their early professional career with the goal of eventually becoming an NHL player.

Two-way relationship

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Now, the relationship has to go the other way as well, otherwise you are subsidizing a WHL team with NHL money, and that is simply not sustainable. So, the advantage for the Oilers is that Gernat and Pelss, 5th and 7th round picks, respectively, were put into an environment where they had every opportunity to succeed on and off the ice. This maximizes the NHL team’s return on a minimal investment simply by coordinating efforts and information. The Oilers may in the end get a useful second-pairing defender and a depth winger as a result of this integrated approach to prospect identification, acquisition, and development. Perhaps the players only ever become AHL-level/replacement-NHL talent. In either case, given their draft ranking and the resources devoted to their development, the system provides efficiency to the overall organization by maximizing internal assets.

It also has benefits for players drafted off of the junior roster. In this case, Travis Ewanyk and Mitchell Moroz. Ewanyk missed nearly all of last season with an injury, but Moroz, often considered a 3rd line energy-type player in the WHL, is rumoured to be moving up the proverbial food chain this season. He has started this season playing alongside Michael St. Croix, putting him into a more offensive role with more highly-skilled teammates. While the season is only just underway and there are many changes ahead, it is at least likely that the relationship between the scouting and assessment services for the two teams is at least partially responsible for this move up the depth chart. If Moroz has any success in this position it could do wonders for his development and provide a significant boost to the prospect depth of the organization.

This isn’t to suggest that the junior franchise is made to carry out the demands of the parent company unilaterally. There is a healthy separation between each level, WHL and AHL, which allows for the necessary levels of corporate autonomy to enable each franchise to pursue its own success. The integration comes in the form of information exchange, resource pooling, and organizational philosophy. As when the Oil Kings lobbied heavily for the Oilers to draft Laurent Brossoit in 2010, the Oilers had their sights set on Martin Gernat in the 5th round and did not have a 6th round pick to use on the goaltender and therefore passed. He is currently Calgary’s leading junior-level goaltending prospect and is expected to be a member of Canada’s World Junior team this December.

CHL Affiliations

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Photo: James Teterenko/Wikimedia/CC BY-SA 3.0

I decided to look around the league for other teams that might have similar NHL/CHL arrangements. I found five teams that have a CHL connection through ownership. The Oilers, the Flames, the Hurricanes, The Dallas Stars and, up until 2012, the Ottawa Senators. Murray Edwards of the Flames owns the Hitmen, The Hurricanes owner, Peter Karmanos, owns the Plymouth Whalers of the OHL. Tom Gagliardi owns the Dallas Stars and the Kamloops Blazers from the WHL, and Eugene Melnyk, of the Ottawa Senators, owned the St. Michael’s Majors until selling them in 2012. I also took a look at the Boston Bruins, Detroit Red Wings, Phoenix Coyotes and San Jose Sharks to serve as a sort of randomly selected control group.

The Oilers have obviously drafted Pelss, Gernat, Mitchell Moroz, Cameron Abney and Travis Ewanyk from the Oil Kings, in addition to having scouted and allegedly shown interest in Henrik Samuelsson, Keegan Lowe and Griffin Reinhart. There would appear to be a relatively high-level of cooperation and interest paid by the parent club to the prospects on the junior team. This is also partially due to the fact that the Oilers have been rebuilding for much of the time that the Oil Kings have been in existence and as such prospects and development have been a franchise priority. To that end, the Oilers have been organizationally aligned to optimize this relationship.

The Flames have owned the Hitmen since 1997 and in that time only twice have they drafted players from that WHL team. In 2000 they took Brent Krahn 9th overall and Wade Davis 141st overall. There appears to be virtually no hockey operations connection between the two organizations, aside from shared business management under Ken King. For an organization that is as involved in the sports landscape of the city as the Flames are (they own the Stampeders and Roughnecks as well), it is surprising that a business plan focused on integrated marketing does not extend to integrating some aspects of sporting operations.

The Hurricanes have been connected to the Plymouth Whalers since the old WHA squad moved from Hartford. There has been a significant number of draft picks spent on Whaler assets since 1997 with the Hurricanes taking eleven players from the OHL team. I think it is fair to say that the Hurricanes attempted to gain some advantage through their NHL/CHL ownership alignment.

The highest Whaler selected was Tomas Kurka in 2000, taken 32nd overall. To date, he is the most accomplished of any of their Whaler prospects with 17 gp, 3-2-5 and 2 pims. I think it is fair to say that while the Plymouth Whalers have developed some respectable NHL talent in players like James Wisniewski and Tyler Seguin, the Hurricanes have either been either unable to exploit the connection or to identify possible draft prospects from their OHL brethren.

In fact, of late, there appears to have been a detente of sorts with drafting from the Whalers as fewer selections in the last few years have been spent and those that have are generally in the later-rounds. There has been a dearth of talent crossing over in the import draft as well, as only one of the Hurricanes prospects would come over to play with the Whalers, Ondrej Otcenas. He would spend a season with Plymouth before returning to Slovakia.

The NHL/CHL partnership of the Hurricanes and Whalers has not yet returned any significant benefits to the parent club.

Tom Gagliardi owned the Kamloops Blazers prior to his taking ownership of the Dallas Stars and with so recent a connection between the two organizations there is obviously no long-standing relationship in terms of drafting. That being said, in the two draft years since Gagliardi took ownership, not a single player has been selected from the Blazers, nor has one found himself traded or otherwise acquired by that WHL team to the best of my knowledge. There appears to be little to no crossover between the two organizations despite the shared ownership, for whatever reason. This despite the Stars’ traditional drafting interest in the CHL. This may yet change but as it sits today, there appears to be no interest in coordinating the management staff of the two organizations.

The Senators have only ever drafted one player with a playing connection to the St. Michael’s Majors, Kaspars Daugavins in 2006, 91st overall. He was originally drafted out of Latvia and would come over to play in the OHL following his draft year. For whatever reason the Senators appear never to have chosen to integrate their scouting divisions between the OHL and NHL organizations, despite the shared ownership. Eugene Melnyk sold the Majors in 2012.

Doing Things Differently

To contrast the above examples I’ll begin by looking at two teams, chosen at random, with no junior team affiliation through ownership, the Boston Bruins and Detroit Red Wings. I found that there were specific areas from which prospects were routinely drawn over the last few years, the OHL and QMJHL, respectively, but that there was no specific team from which either of those franchises had taken the opportunity to routinely draw.

Most organizations’ scouting services will focus on a geographic area or particular developmental league for their prospects. Under Jay Feaster and John Weisbrod the Flames have begun to focus on the US Developmental system and the high school/collegiate route on the East coast. The Oilers have, under Stu MacGregor, lately made a habit of running through Eastern Europe via the CHL import draft (Latvia, Slovakia, Germany) and the WHL for their prospects. That Boston and Detroit would have similar tendencies does not come as a surprise. Detroit’s history of drafting prospects from Sweden and Russia is near legendary.

Not content with that group I decided to look a little further and checked into the draft history of Phoenix and San Jose over the same few years. What stood out with Phoenix was that there was no discernible pattern of preference. In fact the Coyotes have drafted players from nearly every possible development model available, Sweden, Russia, Czech Republic, Finland, the US Development Team, WHL, BCHL, OHL, QMJHL, SEL, CCHA, even the Alberta Junior Hockey League.

San Jose is also quite widely distributed in their draft selections, though they would appear to be slightly more focused. They seem to spend at least one pick per year on two of the three CHL leagues, one on a collegiate player or U.S. high school prospect, something they do quite willingly, and have largely excluded European prospects with a few exceptions (Tomas Hertl this June, for example).

These two teams would seem to contradict the earlier statement that teams have usual haunting grounds. It could be that the scouting services, under advisement from management, were asked to search multiple leagues, never spending too long on one particular target, with the idea being that familiarity may cloud objectivity. I cannot say for certain, but in Phoenix’s case, they have not saved on expenditures as a result of their efforts and I struggle to imagine another possible explanation. If you have any I’d welcome them.

What I would argue is that most scouting services have areas of interest or investment and that there are a few teams who routinely scatter their scouts to try to draw from all the available sources. Both strategies have pros and cons, but that is another discussion for another day.

In the Pipeline

Photo: Audriusa/Wikimedia/CC BY-SA 3.0

This lead to my next thought about this new Oilers management structure. Drafting a strong group is all well and good, and developing them properly is terrific, but we’ve all seen what happens when good drafting goes bad; when high picks and enviable prospects fail to return on investment. So what steps can this management group take to try and ensure that they actually achieve their stated goals: to be like the Detroit Red Wings as a perennial contender? The trick would seem to be to draft well, develop that group, then draft well again and develop that group, then draft well again…you get the picture.

Remember when Steve Yzerman retired? Who was going to take over? Were the Red Wings going to struggle now that their captain and one of their best players had left the game? Apparently not, because Niklas Lidstrom, Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg were pretty much already there ready to take over. Now that Lidstrom is leaving the same questions are being asked. The Red Wings’ answer? We’ll just have to draft and develop some guys who can take over. They may not be as good, in fact it is almost a certainty that we’ll wait a long time to see anybody like Lidstrom again, but that is what a draft-and-development system is for.

So how have the Oilers moved towards emulating their model franchise? Interesting parallels can be found in the oil and gas sector.

Manoj Parmesh’s article on new recruitment and retention strategies in the oil and gas sector to combat increasingly difficult recruiting markets and a high attrition rate is a good read from the perspective of an Oilers fan. In fact, the cut-throat zero-sum game played by many NHL managers in talent acquisition has some similarities to the high-stakes world of international oil and gas development and extraction. Billions of dollars are at stake, with market shares, commodity prices, timelines, operating and capital costs, and the inevitable turnover of manpower all having a significant impact on an industry. There are NHL comparables here that I thought were worth mentioning.

I also believe that the point by point statement of necessary elements could be translated quite readily to the overall drafting and development strategy that appears to have been put in place under Steve Tambellini. On the left are Parmesh’s bulleted points, the right are the Oilers’ comparable actions corresponding to the philosophy.

✔ Specialized recruitment managers – Mike Sillinger, Billy Moores, and now Rick Carriere as well as adding Stu MacGregor, Duane Sutter, and others in the scouting and development ranks.

✔ Consolidating recruitment efforts on a global scale – This database allows the Oilers’ scouts to share information, even video, and notes on virtually any prospect from anywhere in the world with the entire scouting and management staff. The Oilers have also expanded their scouting presence to include the more obscure European hockey markets like Slovakia and Latvia.

✔ Raising company profile and aggressively brand building – The organization has made a concerted effort to improve their reputation as a place to play partially through drafting and developing a highly-talented core of youth. This area of the franchise was in such disarray following the departure of Pronger, the refusal by Nylander and Heatley, and the highly-publicized divorce with Sheldon Souray that nearly any movement in any direction would have counted as progress.

✔ Identifying new talent pools and countries where you can recruit massively – This goes back to the alluded-to interest in countries such as Latvia and Slovakia as well as looking into lesser-scouted Canadian leagues as they did with Jujhar Khaira and the BCHL this past June.

✔ Building long-term relationships with universities and technical schools – Yeah, I don’t really have anything to say to that one. If you can think of anything, please feel free to mention it in the comments section.

✔ Identifying and developing good headhunters – the improvement and continual addition of experienced voices to their scouting, development, and now management, staff has meant that a greater amount of thought and debate is going into the hockey decisions. These perspectives add to the larger whole.

✔ Developing strategic workforce planning – When Tambellini traded Andrew Cogliano he said that they needed to space out their draft picks, thus asking for a 2013 pick rather than 2012. He would appear to already be looking at the long term succession plans for the roster based on that comment. This is only one example of strategic workforce planning, but it shows an awareness and predilection for advanced planning that ought not to be overlooked.

✔ Looking for new recruitment technologies – the database that was designed for the Oilers and mentioned above as an example. As well, based on the reports from other media members, the Oilers have assembled a collection of advanced analytics specialists to help collect information.

✔ Improving candidate-selection methods – MacGregor’s drafting criteria appears to have improved over that used by the previous scouting regime. Hockey IQ (as unquantifiable as that is) and skill would seem to be considered paramount, with character (another unquantifiable asset) and work ethic also highly valued. The Oilers improved the voices in the room and then made better decisions on their "hirings". They still occasionally select a Cameron Abney once in a while, but at least we think we’re past the days of the Marc-Antoine Pouliot He-Made-Crosby-Look-Good thinking.

The article goes on to illustrate the enormous cost of attrition replacement in the conventional job industry. The cost for the loss of trained workers is obviously going to be different in an NHL roster situation, and for many teams there is an intentional replacement strategy whereby more expensive veteran players may be replaced by younger, and cheaper, options. So basically just like the real business world.

The rate of attrition for this young Oilers group is likely to increase as players benefit from working alongside an exceptional core and their salary demands become reflective of individual efforts regardless of them being a result of the collective accomplishment. As such, convincing many of those players to remain at a reduced salary in order to retain the structure of the team will become an important task. Failing that, replacement of those players will be crucial.

After their 2010 Stanley Cup win, the Blackhawks lost several key components to free agency. Their challenge since then has been to find the players to replace those positions and roles. To date they have been unable to promote that talent internally and seem to be struggling to find it through either free agency or trade.

The economics of the NHL under the previous CBA, and likely to carry over somewhat into whatever the next CBA will dictate, is that a contending team must take full advantage of cheaper entry-level contracts. In my opinion this need not necessarily be in the case of their higher-end stars but perhaps in the supporting complementary positions.

An NHL playoff drive is such a grind (or at least I think I remember they are) and injuries so common that by that time of the year roster depth often determines the winner as much as talent. The most significant indicator of depth is the availability and affordability of replacement level players. To this end, the Oilers would appear to have several prospects whose skills overlap to such a level that, should they all continue to develop on their current pace; they could provide enough secondary scoring and defensive depth that loss through attrition will not handicap the entire roster.

For example, behind Tyler Pitlick at right wing are Tobias Reider, and Kristians Pelss. Behind Devan Dubnyk there is Yann Danis, Olivier Roy and Tyler Bunz, not to mention Frans Tuohimaa and Samu Perhonen. Behind Teemu Hartikainen and Magnus Paajarvi on the Left-Wing there is Curtis Hamilton, Mitch Moroz, and Juhjar Khaira.

The 50-man reserve list places some constraints on a team’s prospect depth. However, it is far more affordable and effective to promote a younger player from within the organization to a depth role than to have to purchase one on the free agent auction block. Had Anton Lander been ready to step into the role last October, he might have played the minutes that Eric Belanger did this past season, allowing the Oilers to avoid a lengthy, albeit affordable, contract for a 4th line center.

Not all of the Oilers’ prospects will become NHL regulars so quantity must accompany quality at some level. The Oilers are headed in the right direction and management is trying to steer them into the same position as the Bruins, Red Wings, Penguins, Kings and Canucks to be Stanley Cup contenders. The final hurdle to overcome is often the most difficult and teams can be tempted to make drastic changes in the belief that they are only a system or a player away from a championship. This is where depth and a degree of interchangeability of assets can come into play.

The Oilers have assembled a hockey operations team that has synchronized their NHL and junior-level drafting to the effect that information is gathered and prospects assembled under a single organizational philosophy. That more teams haven’t either exploited this resource or positioned themselves to adopt a similar corporate structure is interesting. As in the case of the Hurricanes, an NHL-CHL partnership between teams of a shared owner does not assume a successful partnership, however, it does open up opportunities in the crucial field of prospect identification and development.

Since the 2004-2005 lockout, the NHL draft has grown increasingly valuable as a source of talent acquisition. Any efficiencies and advantages that can be gained through a partnership are certainly worth exploring.

This isn’t to suggest that the Oilers necessarily have a tactical advantage in their junior hockey partnership, but rather that, having that relationship, the organization would appear to be trying to capitalize on it, and the early indications are positive for the benefits of such a partnership.

Taking a more integrated and thorough approach to their drafting and development process is evidence that the Oilers today are a more focused and collected group than they were even a few years ago. This could be due to new ownership, new management, or simply the maturation process of a franchise.

While incorporating their WHL connections does not indicate that they are necessarily drafting any better than other NHL teams or have struck upon a novel and ingenious idea new to the ranks of hockey minds, it is a promising and exciting development for an organization that has spent much of its history just getting by. It is still too early to determine the success of the partnership as it impacts the NHL team. However, we fans always want our teams to be the most innovative, the most cutting-edge, most intelligent in their approach to the game. I can’t say that the Oilers are exactly all of that, but they are doing something special with what they have and that deserves to be noted.

  • Oilertown

    As per the Edmonton Sun Yakupov has been suspended from play in the KHL Hockey Canada will not allow the transfer card to go through. Maybe Sarnia is behind it though. Looks like N64 is on his way back to Canada.

  • The Soup Fascist

    Thanks, Rex.

    Having a CHL team gives the Oilers a great chance to “test drive” Euros. They can identify guys who are a little off the map, bring them in and then 1) Evaluate them in terms of skill (and more importantly attitude, character, work ethic, etc) and 2) Develop them as they see fit – in terms of situational play, acclimatizing them to N.A., etc. – especially if the Oilers are able to draft them.

    Gernat and Pelss were kids that worked out. The Oilers got a view of intangibles for these kids that other teams simply did not. They keep around the Euros that work out. Other Euros that may not have the anticipated skill set or may have attitude issues, (see Marek Hrbas) get moved on quickly. “Too bad” Samuelsson had such a good Mem Cup or we could add his name to the list, though technically not an import in terms of the CHL.

    Depending on how the Vancouver Giants season works out, don’t be shocked to see David Musil here by trade deadline. Another technically “non-Euro” / Euro. This would solidify the OKings defence and give the Oilers a chance to have him play in different situations and develop him.

    • RexLibris

      I think the Oilers have already identified these players before the CHL import draft. As I understand it the Oil Kings only have room for two North American Import players on their roster. Asking Bob Green to draft one of their prospects based on a vague hunch and a test drive might be a bit of an imposition.

      I think MacGregor and his staff would have already determined that a player like Pelss could do well in the WHL before recommending him. The Oilers have also been comfortable, encouraging even, of other more highly prized draft picks continuing to develop overseas (Lander, Paajarvi, Klefbom).

      Yeah, I REALLY wanted Samuelsson. I would have traded a pick and a roster player to get him (no, not Horcoff). Adding him as a potential 3rd line center would have been a dynamite addition to this group. He’s a player this team will likely have to pay a premium to acquire when they are close to challenging for a Cup.

      With regards to Pelss, I’m a fan of his style of play and would love to see what a bottom six of he, Reider, Hamilton, Pitlick, Moroz and Lander could do.

      My guess on Musil being on the Oilers junior recall list is that they want to gauge him against NHLers and in some different situations than that he was getting in Vancouver. Maybe they even want to do something crazy like give him 11 NHL games and move him to the AHL this season to speed up their development agenda for him. Maybe he’s a potential trade asset they needed to get some NHL/AHL time? Who knows, but they like him and if guys with defensive pedigree like Lowe and MacTavish, not to mention MacGregor, think he’s a player then it would be best for us to pay attention.

  • yawto

    “Building long-term relationships with universities and technical schools – Yeah, I don’t really have anything to say to that one. If you can think of anything, please feel free to mention it in the comments section.”

    Doesn’t that support the main point of the first half of the article – the relationship between the pro club and the CHL/AHL? Seems like the easiest bullet of the bunch to me. Just as universities/tech schools support the development of potential oil&gas recruits, the CHL/AHL support the development of NHL players.

    • RexLibris

      I was taking a more literal approach to that specific bullet as I felt maybe I was beating the CHL/AHL association angle to death.

      There isn’t that strong a relationship between the Oilers and many colleges, so far as I can tell. They seem to be generally patient with college educated players (Horcoff, Pisani, Petry, Schultz, Simpson, Khaira), but there doesn’t seem to be any specific level of interest in college or post-secondary players.

      The Flames are pursuing that avenue to a degree and perhaps that would be a good idea for another article. I’ll have to take a look.

      But yes, you have brought up a good comparison. The relationship with CHL, or any junior-level development leagues is vitally important. You need bird-dogs in every corner of the hockey world and they need to have decent relations with the organizations they visit.

      That, to my mind, is why the Oilers assigned Yakupov to Sarnia rather than leave him on the NHL roster prior to the waiver deadline. Everybody and his dog knew Yakupov was going back to Russia but the Oilers had to do right by Sarnia and the CHL. It appears that it is Hockey Canada putting the brakes on the whole thing. But that is another story altogether.

    • RexLibris

      I’m not a blind Oilers apologist. I’m not going to simply defend everything they do because of who they are or the organization with which they are associated.

      That being said, I am a big fan of what Tambellini has instilled as far as a development scheme with this organization.

      Too often the Oilers looked at prospects with a sort of “do-or-die” antagonism. That they failed to become NHLers while being shuttled around to various AHL billets or an underfunded affiliate was usually spun off as being a failure of the player rather than the system.

      Tambellini came from an organization that took an undrafted nobody and put him through a development system that spat out Alex Burrows. Perhaps we should want to burn that system to the ground as thanks for his being unleashed, but the evidence remains that a good farm system, when properly supported, can maximize the draft investment on a player.

      It isn’t all Tambellini, in my view, but he does deserve some credit for taking an AHL squad from being a bottom feeder to Calder Cup contenders – without any significant infusion of the drafted talent from the rebuild as well. Much of the drafted prospects from the 2010 year have only just begun to impact the roster. What that team makes of them will be another test of the overall D&D system.

  • “This lead to my next thought about this new Oilers management structure. Drafting a strong group is all well and good, and developing them properly is terrific, but we’ve all seen what happens when good drafting goes bad; when high picks and enviable prospects fail to return on investment. So what steps can this management group take to try and ensure that they actually achieve their stated goals: to be like the Detroit Red Wings as a perennial contender? The trick would seem to be to draft well, develop that group, then draft well again and develop that group, then draft well again…you get the picture.|

    Quote from OP.

    -The Oilers have a consistant drafting history as do all teams{get it} ,there is no baseline{except stats which are SYSTEM induced} to use to determine the overall effectiveness of pure scouting—Teflon Don territory.No one knows how to quantify sucess and failure for a Pro Scout.Detroit has had and maintained system integrity ,and that has supported their player development program.

    “The final hurdle to overcome is often the most difficult and teams can be tempted to make drastic changes in the belief that they are only a system or a player away from a championship. This is where depth and a degree of interchangeability of assets can come into play.”

    -Only a “system”or a “player”away??A system and a player cannot ever be compared,sure it happens excuses are a dime a dozen.A system change as a solution facing the final hurdle?Surely you are lost if at the final hump you change your entire system.Depth and a degree of interchangability of assets?—-are the factors that got you to the final hurdle—we have to keep individual player impact via stats in a seperate category from system induced results.Depth and interchangability are intangibles–not measurable without statistical support which is SYSTEM generated via group action not individual player generated.
    You dont add depth without statistical results and interchangability can only be defined with positive statistical results.The marriage of individual player stats and assesment of their value to a system in any measurable way based on math or stats is destined to end in divorce.Overall system generated sucess via stats can be used to assess management and system suitability not individual value because that value is a factor which is itself system dictated and defined or micro-managed.
    I am afraid the buck cannot be passed to individual players no matter how many people beat the statistical drum.

    “The rate of attrition for this young Oilers group is likely to increase as players benefit from working alongside an exceptional core and their salary demands become reflective of individual efforts regardless of them being a result of the collective accomplishment. As such, convincing many of those players to remain at a reduced salary in order to retain the structure of the team will become an important task. Failing that, replacement of those players will be crucial.”

    Now you got it straight man,except you need to take your statistical rose colored glasses off to see the entire picture.”Failing that ,replacement of those players will be crucial.” WHY????

    You just perfectly illustrated how tieing salarys to individual players statistical numbers undermines the defined value of the entire group or as MANY SEEM TO REFUSE TO SAY the freaking SYSTEM!!!!!!!!!!!!!


    This dynamic blindness is the root cause of the NHL work stoppage.This is a conspiracy plain and simple.

    How anyone can beat around the bush this much and not hit the main point is impossible to understand unless there is a defined effort to protect statistical worth or value as related to individual players as opposed to the SYSTEM from which the ststs are generated—–not much to write about if you cant create this dynamic now is there??Not much to negotiate with either is there??As a fan I am sick of being manipulated by the NHL,the Owners and the Players who are all complicit in this ploy,fans and writers are also contributing because of greed the same catalyst that drives the entire machine,remember the fans are standing at the end of the assembly line with their wallets in their hands,right??

    We cannot translate intangibles into numbers no matter how much we BS or how many people jump on the stats bandwagon,everyone has their own reasons for supporting a dysfunctional NHL and it is destroying the sport—if not today–then tomorrow.

    There is always one right way to do something and a million wrong ways,simple.The records show the NHL,Owners and Players getting the results they want –MORE CASH FROM THE FANS–and the record shows fans are getting jobbed by a complicit group action to fleece them for more and more money,and there is a designed effort afoot to keep this dynamic intact.

    Every single time I read about this dynamic I am dumbfounded that more people dont just get to the point.But when you dig deeper you begin to understand how each hand washes the next right down to the people who write these posts and the thousands of blogs and media conduits—-everyone gets a wee bit of the action now dont they??

    Without the Charade no one makes money right??

    If we cant discuss individual players stats and their related values and the dynamics surrounding this issue we dont have a lot to write about do we??

    WRONG!!!There is a lot to write about ,people just need to be more honest in general and face the facts with no little corner to hide in ,you see there is enough support people-wise at every stage of this charade to keep it maintained and active and producing results for its stakeholders–the NHL,Owners and Players.While the fans remain locked out in the cold with their wallets in their hands and the strangest part is that it is MORE FANS who write and promote the game who are stabbing us all in the back with their self-preservation tactic of supporting individual player statistical evaluation being related to dollar valuation form a non-system perspective.

    Want an example,this is one right here,I am just a regular fan and tons of writers and “hockey pros”come here and to other sites like this—–why dont I get support for this explanation??Because I am coming from a very unique and minority perspective so it is easier to say I am cracked than it is to trust me.This dynamic doesnt make me wrong,it makes me cutting edge,to be understood and accepted later or rejected,but when suppression is introduced into the equation through the natural osmotic defensive effect of a group dynamic ,cutting edge change is denied a chance to happen,things stay the same,no one needs to step outside their comfort zone by majority vote,dont come to the site if you dont like it type of dynamic–intended or not it is common and natural for a group to supress dynamic change this way.

    It is very easy to discount me here with just one or two timely and supported comments,I can be MADE wrong through this informal two poster vote???You dam well bet it happens and for reasons,related to money and credibility and future earnings.

    Now magnify what happens here to a real world NHL size concept and you will begin to see the truth here.

    Put the NHL,Owners and Players on a public forum with a lie detector test professional to prove their words,ha ha ha ha ha—get it??Things for the NHL are never going to change unless there is a ground-roots effort started and maintained by passionate hockey fans who have no fiscal connection to the entire dynamic from an earning standpoint.Jesus here we are talking with writers who are making money off this{a dime is a dime right?} and representing themselves as fans BECAUSE THEY ARE BOTH{I gave you a crack to work on writers}—we are buying into the dynamic at the grass-roots level where we need to reject this dynamic and build a platform to support a healthy long term NHL.

    Just read this article again ,it is really a very good one,but pay attention to how many times the word system is used{??} and then note how many times the SYSTEM DYNAMIC is misleadingly identified as being catalysed by individuals or their statistical numbers.Through the entire article,then go read other sites and you will see the same misrepresentative dynamic.

    Then try to post about it,ha ha ha,all it takes is one tacticlly initiated counterpoint comment supported by the Olde Boys Club on the site by the OP to turn the tide on the thread and discredit you,a few sympathetic posts supporting the OP and you are history,officially discredited on the thread,to the point anyone reading the entire post would believe you had been oficially discredited,people cant grasp that dynamic immediatly—-they TRUST others to keep it clean.

    This manipulation of the group dynamic is IDENTICAL to what is being done to NHL fans,an individual is suppressed and silenced this way on a site in the EXACT SAME MANNER MILLIONS OF PAYING HOCKEY FANS ARE MUZZLED AND SUPPRESSED all around us.

    Dont hide behind ignorance and pick apart a new perspective using misrepresented traditional numbers and mantra to do it,that is just plain WRONG.

    Current events update!!My news is on ,perfect.Heres a better example of the dynamic I am explaining.

    Three armed professional cops ,one unarmed cuffed and controlled man laying on the ground on his stomach,two of the Officers are torturing the man,pressing about 400lbs of weight onto his supine body,knees-elbows and fists driving down into nerve center pressure point the public is generally unaware exist–A MAN CUFFED ON THE GROUND BEING TORTURED USING NERVE CENTER HAS TO MOVE ITS LIKE YOUR KNEEBONE FOR CHRISTS SAKES–this was done to me once and the dynamic is like the preface to premeditated murder if someone dies due to further dynamic situational escalation.
    It is a crime if excessive force is applied to catalyse a nerve induced body reaction into a tacticly misrepresented intentional aggressive action-and then in a reciprocal action lethal force is applied based on that earlier tactical artificially manufactured dynamic.In the old days we had the guts to call these guys BUSTED.But not today .

    They could have Tazed him and completed the crime using falsly justified application of ha ha Non-lethal force
    “accidentally overapplied if they get caught”but normally murder by Tazer is attributed to drug use or preexisting heart or body parts both dynamics of which put 100% of the responsibility on the victim and by proxy clear the criminal murderers.Does the fact they didnt Taze him justify the dynamics they created??Does the fact they didnt Taze him indirectly justify in our minds the assaults committed through the kicks to the face??Do we need to wait for a lawsuit to be sucessfully won to form a dynamic opinion??

    Think Sean Averys “devils advocate”mindset when he faced the goalie and kicked all of hockey in the gnads,how many times do you hear these words—I SAID STOP MOVEING!!STOP MOVING!!DO NOT RESIST!!!STOP MOVING!!!–ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZAPPPPP!!!!
    Dead person,we have seen murders like this live on TV,we have seen 13yr old kids electrocuted to death with a finger pressing the death into them the whole time WHILE SOMEONE YELLS –STOP RESISTING???This action is not like a trigger pull of a gun,this is sickening.80 yr old women electrocuted.Our children ??and our Grandmothers??Is there one other man on this site??I cant be alone here.

    Once you read these words and you know the artificial dynamic that is created to justify torture and murders every year ,you become complicit if you dont speak up. I just clearly taught you exactly how this dynamic is created step by step,an involuntary reaction is knowingly and intentionally but furtively induced and that falsely catalysed dynamic{already an inditable offense} is used to escalate the justifiable use of force up to and including lethal force–thereby making the individual in control JUDGE JURY AND EXECUTIONER.This absolutely frees the individual who controls the entire dynamic situation from any responsibility for excercising that power.These dynamics can only be contrived upon an unknowing uneducated and vulnerable public,which in itself is sickening–however we cant take back the sunshine so once we are taught something we cannot deny its existance in god conscience.Without inditing ourselves as being complicit to the crime itself.

    The reason I am writing all this here on a hockey site is singular and doesnt involve the incident as much as you might think—this is the exact dynamic being induced to create this Hockey situation we are all faceing—-please take the story we all witnessed today and my explanation of some hypothetical dynamics to heart and just put the stakeholders the NHL,the Team Owners,and the Players into the stoy of the incident from today and then remember that the FANS ARE CUFFED AND ON THE GROUND.And someone who spells better than me and has better grammer than me and is more to the point and shorterwinded than me –can maybe put this into a more user friendly format–just dont remove anything dynamic.You will see why I write so much—I take away BS angles constantly and on the fly,I corner your perspective,everything is in the details or the words,you need to block all the unimportant corridors in the maze to expedite understanding disclose tactical dynamics and save time.

    Last week an double amputee was shot to death in his wheelchair for weilding a pen that LOOKED LIKE A KNIFE??–he directed this potentially lethal force at an armed and full functioning Cop. Standing a few feet away.

    These cops were following industry accepted and supported protocals and in the process were quasi-legally inflicing arbitrary pain and suffering to a human being,they were overdoing it absolutely,it was torture I just watched it.This man was kicked in the FACE by size 11 bonecrusher cop shoes–REPEATEDLY–as yet a third cop stood by and provided evidenciary support as a witness,that 3rd cop should have drawn a weapon and ordered the other two to cease and desist as they are and were armed and dangerous criminals breaking the law in that video.There should have been THREE ARRESTS.

    Lets save time.
    -he was on drugs and could have killed ALL those poor policemen

    -he was crazy and we all know how strong they can get

    _he had a history of criminal offense and we cant take chances

    –the police protect us from the bad men ,so what if an egg or two gets broken we are making a societal omlette here

    –If you drink of do drugs you just might get slapped down

    –the police protect us and are exposed to this every day{good thing doctors dont Taze us for exposing them to our potentially fatal diseases in the OR eh??}and have a right to protect themselves.Thank god bar bouncers dont break necks every night,eh?

    –he should have stopped moveing–we all heard the police tell him not to resist{you eyes are open now sunshine forget it!!—remember the nerve centers and your knee-bone reaction or you become a complicit stakeholder}
    There is only one right way to do things and a million wrong ways,we dont have time or space for a million more BS lines.

    So we must come to a current realtime consensus or vote on the issue,this is where the voices of the many are silenced,just a few public statements by the Police dept,and a few supporting statements by other collusional spokespersons,with a few tacticlly chosen internet posts—and WHA-LA the spin doctors get paid again.EVEN WITH THE FREAKING VIDEO IN FRONT OF ALL OF US!!!!!

    You see its this way,when discussing hockey dynamics I recognise myself as a minority now but I am asking for the same protection all majoritys get.But it aint happening,ha ha ha.Even with video back-up,tactical suppression is very easy to accomplish.

    Point is the Cop was wrong,moreso than the criminal because the Cop has the benefit of societal support,this is a serious responsibility to carry—societal trust and support as we dont just pay these men and women on the Force we TRUST THEM.

    Just like Avery misused the entire NHL with his dynamic manipulation .

    You see you liberal protectionist liars out there who refuse to accept this dynamic explanation,the kicks to the face were not “stuns”they were torture and yes it was an ALLEGED criminal on the ground being tortured and we all know it and no one has the guts to stand up and fight the current popular opinion in the name of humanitarian justice.I do,and look what happens??Nobody wants to be a Martyer right?Cowards.

    Everything but the kicks were ok,right?So we let it go right??Is that like being raped just a LITTLE BIT??Is it like being a LITTLE BIT pregnant?

    All it takes for evil to win is for one good man to do nothing.Arrest the Cop today and let the same system he was manipulating as per SOP find him innocent.We have all SEEN THE VIDEO and we all NOW know there are methods of tactical dynamic situational manipulation we all arent aware of because we arent taught them an academy—so if we do nothing after we learn this we are all complicit through our dynamic inaction.

    As NHL fans we are doing this same thing to our own sport,we are suffocating it,we are destroying it by allowing a very few dynamiclly educated techn-crats{using the rules made for us against us dynamicly} the ability through our inaction to manipulate the rules morals fiscal stability and future and the very foundations of the game itself ,and just as we can ALL see that the policing and legal systems need to revisit a lot of its existing industry and legally accepted SOP or “rules”to stop a recurrance of the dynamics we all are now aware the SOP or “rules”in hockey need to be revisited at the core level.

    I am pointing out dynamic actions that could “potentially”exist{those police were doing their jobs as per SOP–I am speaking hypotheticlly–and any critique I form is directed at the system they work for not the individuals–thank god they are brave enough to stand up for us} we all need to form our own opinions keeping societal truths and values as a priority–we cant skip the rules,we can ask for change but we must endure more punishment as we force change,and we need to remember that it is our moral discomfort of what is dynamiclly happening to us today that is motivating this evolutionary need for change to support a healthy tomorrow.

    We can fix our game–but it is the dynamic changes at the core level of the game that we are brave enough to challenge in the face of a historiclly fortified SYSTEM that will decide the timeline.
    We need to face–be accountable for –challenge–and then change our valuations of our PAST ,the catalyts of sucess will come from a dynamicly orchestrated evolution of our games foundations which eliminates micro-autocracys
    and the environment they have been fostered within.We arent talking corrective surgery here,we are saying something is coming out and thats it,we arent replacing the organ-we arent repairing it—-we are REMOVING it and we are going forward with a proactive vison and intent of a healthier future–like removing a tumor–and moving on.Having faith that the body{NHL} will heal thyself with the negative catalyst not engaged and debated–BUT ABSOLUTELY REMOVED.

    It is difficult but not impossible to remove something from our bodies that we “believe”we need in order to have an evolving healthy future—just because we were born with or inherited something doesnt mean it is critical to our survival or healthy future,the body puts up a heck of a defense to keep the “unneeded-non-critical”organ exactly where it is,but this doesnt mean we stop the operation at your skin it means we shut down the parts of the body that prevent corrective therapy–we knock you out or you volunteer to be knocked out– and we git er done.
    We need to expect that some of the most powerful and very real defenses the NHL can manifest are being brought to bear on the changes facing the league right now,there are forces trying to keep things the same here that are winning each time there is a labor dispute.We need to consider getting knocked out by surprise or force as opposed to volunteering for it–because we all know we need to get through all these powerful defenses to remove the tumor,right?
    We need to identify and priorise these dynamic situational influences that define the dynamic structural integrity of the entire game itself—we need data to get clarity before we operate but that data keeps changing in defensive postures and stopping the procedure.
    Just like we look at a patient pre-OP and evaluate our approach into the body,we need to prepare to delve into the dynamic structure of our game.We need to first see then quantify all the layers we will need to go through safely without causeing terminal collateral damage,we need to tacticlly analyse each layer and know it literally inside and out BEFORE we can strategise with it,so each dynamic needs a name as each level of the body we go through has a name.But because dynamics dont have names we need to CREATE them,we need to manifest identitys for these dynamics and name them and form an order of some sort which priorises their importance to the overall health of the body{NHLs dynamic structure},we need to chart the dynamics according to overall individual value.Then we can after sufficient analysis gently tweak one low value dynamic by removing or paralysing it–then we need to look at how the body reacts and asses.Then its off to the races with the operation as a whole.Same way the NHS works–not a plug there.Dynamic visualisation and execution first and all further action is results based and catalysed..

    So overall we as fans have a lot of reading and learning to do so we can fully understand our own power and influenses we can have on the game itself at the highest levels,we just need to dynamicly educate ourselves so we are better prepared to make and form opinions and decisions.We need to learn our REAL STRENGTH as parts of a huge and symbiotic system,and we need to understand the dynamic responsibility we carry as fans–we have an obligation to speak up when we see a need for change—but we need to see first it to do that,hence the dynamic revelations or illustrations.

    I know very well how hard it is to make sense out of a post like this,but we arent exactly explaining a game of HOP-SCOTCH here now are we??This is very complicated territory,this is new ground in terms of dynamic visualsation for some people,it is very hard to accept without a lot of faith from the first sentence on.
    And that kind of unsubstanciated faith is reserved for god it aint natural to have faith in dynamics you dont see realtime tangible results coming from.This is what the Powers that Be whom we are trying to name and quantify know very well we will encounter {a natural and normal lack of dynamic understanding–its people like me and a minority that think dynamiclly all the time}and they literally bank on the fact we will never make it through the maze as a group with and functional continuity or structure.These people or entitys count on the majority experiencing a predictable natural reaction when confronted with dynamic structure and action they dont recognise or understand.

    Just sayin.{way to much ,sorry,its hard having a minority perspective and trying to relate it to a very different majority perspective–mybad}