“Some Semblance of Risk”

On Wednesday, the Edmonton Oilers sent Magnus Paajarvi and a second round draft pick to the St. Louis Blues in exchange for David Perron. Robin Brownlee had the initial write-up here, and Lowetide opined here. But I really wanted a chance to dig into the trade a bit myself; and in doing so found myself thinking back to Craig MacTavish’s first day on the job.

Magnus Paajarvi is a quality NHL player in the here and now; he brings a lot and probably ends up being a useful NHL player for the next decade or more. It’s easy to understand the Blues’ reasoning on the swap – they added a younger, cheaper, bigger player who can play top-nine minutes now and doesn’t have the concussion history that David Perron does. St. Louis still has to ink Chris Stewart and Alex Pietrangelo; between their cap constraints and the extra second round pick this is a trade that makes a great deal of sense for them.

With that said: the Oilers took home the best player in the deal. They made their team better. Perron is 25 years old, contributes at both ends of the rink, and is signed at a reasonable price point for three more seasons. The injury history adds some risk, but as Craig MacTavish said in his introductory press conference, “We have to expose ourselves to some semblance of risk to try and move the team forward in a rapid fashion.”

Cost and risk are both part of this deal, but the amount of both is reasonable.

Finishing Ability

One of the blind spots people who spend a lot of time looking at possession numbers (I’m in that group, by the way) can have is a tendency to entirely discredit finishing ability because so much of it is unrepeatable. To a certain degree, that’s valid – as a “for instance,” the pessimistic predictions of Jordan Eberle’s goal totals after his 18.9 shooting percentage season were pretty much bang on, despite the amount of anger they generated last summer – but sometimes it isn’t. Different players have a genuinely different level of finishing ability, and by the look of it there’s quite a gap between Perron and Paajarvi.

  • Perron career NHL shooting percentage: 13.5 percent on 622 shots
  • Paajarvi career NHL shooting percentage: 7.8 percent on 334 shots
  • Paajarvi career AHL shooting percentage: 5.9 percent on 186 shots
  • Paajarvi career SHL shooting percentage: 6.9 percent on 288 shots
  • Paajarvi career professional shooting percentage: 7.1 percent on 808 shots

Shooting percentage doesn’t typically improve with age either; it’s steady through the mid-twenties and then falls off. We’re still in relatively small samples for both Perron and Paajarvi, but as professionals Perron’s shooting percentage is nearly double that of the player he was traded for, and that’s before taking into account that Perron’s shooting percentage is entirely from NHL hockey while we’re looking at other levels too with Paajarvi. Could the gap be smaller than it appears to be? Sure. But it seems extremely likely to me that there is a real difference between these two players in finishing ability.

Other Numbers


Season QC Rk. ZS RelCorsi PTS/60 5v4 P/60
2007-08 9th 50.6 9.7 1.95 2.39
2008-09 10th 61.0 6.4 2.32 2.65
2009-10 10th 54.6 4.7 1.82 3.09
2011-12 3rd 47.3 -3.7 2.07 3.38
2012-13 4th 50.8 2.5 1.58 3.09


Season QC Rk. ZS RelCorsi PTS/60 5v4 P/60
2010-11 7th 51.6 3.2 1.36 3.45
2011-12 9th 47.7 6.6 0.75 2.84
2012-13 6th 51.0 -1.6 1.54 2.05

I know, it’s a wall of charts. Here’s a quick rundown on what the numbers mean.

QC Rk. Where each player ranked among eligible forwards (20 game cutoff) on their own team in Behindthenet.ca’s “Quality of Competition” metric. What it shows is Paajarvi mostly playing third-line opposition, and Perron jumping from depth opponents to real quality the last two seasons.

ZS. Short for “zone starts”, another BtN statistic. A number over 50 percent indicates more time in the offensive zone; a number under 50 percent more time in the defensive zone. Not a lot to choose between these players, really.

RelCorsi. The possession number of choice; this is a plus/minus of shots, missed shots and blocked shots adjusted for team strength. Neither player has world-beating numbers, but both Paajarvi and Perron have over their careers demonstrated an ability to outperform their team averages. Put another way: with either guy on the ice, his team generally outshoots the opposition.

PTS/60 and 5v4 P/60. Two scoring measures – the first 5-on-5 points per hour played, the second the same except for 5-on-4 situations. Paajarvi and Perron have both been underwhelming power play scorers over their careers, but while Paajarvi has also struggled to score at evens the offence has come much easier for Perron – a career average in the 2.00 range is quite good for an NHL forward, and represents the primary area of upgrade for the Oilers.

Linemates It isn’t shown above, but the players Perron and Paajarvi have played with are available. There isn’t a whole lot to choose from – Paajarvi has mostly been Sam Gagner’s wingman, while Perron has played a lot with Patrik Berglund which is, if not a saw-off, at least in the range. Paajarvi has had things a little rougher because St. Louis has been a better team than Edmonton over this stretch, but it’s difficult to make a case that linemates are responsible for the differences between the two.

My View

The risk is two-fold: that Paajarvi suddenly discovers a scoring touch or that David Perron gets hurt again. Given Paajarvi’s long-term record, going back to his days in Sweden, that’s a risk a team can reasonably take for a superior scorer like Perron. The concussion worry is another reasonable risk: Perron suffered one big concussion that basically cost him the 2010-11 season and a bunch of 2011-12, but he’s also played 120 consecutive games since that point. The risk needs to be acknowledged, because it’s happened once before; on the other hand, it would be a mistake to label Perron as “injury prone” because it’s very difficult to know to what degree that concussion has elevated the chances of him suffering others relative to other NHL players. He could be significantly more at risk, but still unlikely to suffer another serious concussion; everyone seems to agree that one concussion increases the chances of having another but nobody can seem to put a firm number on exactly how much that risk has increased.

Those are fair risks to take, given that Perron makes the Oilers a better team than Paajarvi did.

Recently around the Nation Network

At NHL Numbers, Rex Libris reviews the NHL Entry Draft from 1990 to 1999:

All in all, the 90s were a lost decade for anyone cheering for a team in a new or smaller market as well as those fans of the NHL Entry Draft. I don’t have a definitive answer as to why it happened, but suffice to say that it may well happen again and fans would do well to temper their enthusiasm amid the seasonal hype that surrounds the NHL Entry Draft.

Click the link to read more, or alternately, feel free check out some of my other pieces here:

  • LinkfromHyrule

    risk is just the cost of doing business when it comes to trades. Nobody has a crystal ball saying how things will turn out.

    I think there are 1-2 significant trades left to be made…

    Who will be traded? You have to think it’s gonna include some of our prospects, Schultz sr, hemsky, maybe gagner if contract negotiations go sour? We are loaded with depth d somebody needs to go. I have a feeling there will be some package deals..

    I hope macT has one or two more bold (but not stupid) moves in the chamber!

  • DSF

    Life is a risk; who knows what is coming at us around the next corner. It’s just a matter of measuring the risk and deciding on what one is comfortable with.

    Everyone in the league knows MacT’s agenda for this summer and none of the other GM’s are just going to be charitable and help the poor Oilers a bit.

    Given that, I think MacT is doing a great job so far. He is showing to be a great communicator and he seems like he is comfortable delegating work to people like the numbers guys and using the info he gets from them to help with his decisions.

    Like Brownlee stated yesterday, I don’t think he is done for the summer. Gagner needs to be signed or dealt; our L defence group is swollen right now; #83 needs to be traded for help.

  • oliveoilers

    Yep, speculate to accumulate! My wise old pappy once said that procrastination is the worst thing you can do. Right or wrong, make a decision. Learn from mistakes and move on. Maybe we get hosed. Maybe it’s win-win for both teams. Maybe they both suck. Hindsight is ALWAYS 20/20, for those ‘Told Ya So’ people out there. You know who you are!

  • DSF

    Great article JW. I was wondering if you could comment on this statement by MacT: “It’ll be a good test for our analytics guys. They have him with some of the game’s elite. He’s right up there with controlling the play and shots for and against differential.”

    If you were one of his ‘analytics guys’, would you agree with that statement?

    • No, I wouldn’t. I think he’s a very good player – particularly for a second-line winger – but I don’t see anything in the statistics that makes me want to put him in the same category as the game’s elite.

      I’d love to know exactly what it is they’re looking at.

      • oilerjed

        Perron’s corsi numbers don’t look particularily great when playing away from Backes who has been his most consistent linemates these past two years.

        In 2012/13 Perron had a worse Corsi/60 and fenwick/60 then his 5 most common linemates.

        Apparently Perron is very good at stickhandling and likes to overhandle the puck often. Maybe Mact’s analytical guys are using stopwatches to track the amount of time Perron is physically touching the puck.

        Either way, a turnover prone player will fit in famously with the Edmonton group. 🙂

  • DSF

    JW what is current age of the roster. I see the signings of Jonnesu, Boyd, Fenrence, Acton, Hamilton and now Perron as definite trend in what MacT is thinking, All are 25+. His thinking seems to be that he wants Mature, proven professional’s to compliment his younger core. I like that trend. Hall will lead with his enthusiasm and the older players will add the experience. Adding Perron is a smart move. The risk reward is solid. If he plays up in the lineup as advertised he numbers will only increase.

    Will Ryan Smyth start the season as 3rd line LW? He should only play 50 games imo. He needs to be rested more this season at the beginning. He was out of gas by seasons end.I think if he plays 20-25 games per half that he’ll be able to contribute more effectively.

    In terms of bottom 6 forwards do you see the Oilers going out trading and or signing another guy?

    Would you buy out Hemsky if you could not trade him?
    Does Ben Eager get another shot at making this club come fall?

    • I expect we’ll see a third line made up of Gordon, Jones, and the Hemsky return, with Smyth starting on the fourth line.

      I wouldn’t buy out Hemsky. First, I think he’s tradeable, and if he isn’t what’s the point of a buyout – he has one year on his deal, he can help the team, and the Oilers aren’t in dire need of cap space.

      We’ll see about Eager. IIRC, Mactavish has said that he’ll get a shot but won’t be handed a job, which IMO is the right approach.

  • The Soup Fascist

    Sorry Jonathan, I know this was not the focus of your article, but I am not sure the “told ya so” on Eberle is warranted just yet.

    How much of Eberle’s drop off in shooting % was related to:

    a) The hand / finger injury that Eberle sustained partly through last year

    b) The fact his centreman was playing with a wonky shoulder all season and clearly far below the level he played at in his rookie season

    I am not sure the 18.9% is repeatable but I would also guess the 12% would be the more anomalous number based on the circumstances noted above.

    • I think the ‘told ya so’ is justified. I don’t know that he’ll be a 12% guy (my guess, based on historic players with a similar first two seasons, was 13.5%, but I haven’t gone back now that we have a third year in the books) but 18.9% territory basically belongs to Stamkos and Tanguay (and Tanguay doesn’t shoot often).

      Also, on that injury: Eberle suggered his hand injury on March 5. Prior to the injury, he had six goals on 70 shots (8.6 SH%) while after the injury he had 10 goals on 63 shots (15.9 SH%) so it’s not an excuse that should remotely be factored in.

      Now, we can say Eberle was a worse shooter because Nugent-Hopkins was banged up, but a) it’s a stretch and b) it also goes against the late season spike in shooting percentage. Additionally, given that the Hall/RNH/Eberle line controlled the shots battle, I’d argue against any characterization that RNH had an off year – his shot was gone, but he was a more effective player in 2013 than he had been in 2012 in a lot of ways.

      • The Soup Fascist

        So it’s your contention that (based on statistics above), breaking a bone in your hand actually IMPROVES your ability to shoot the puck accurately and quickly, almost two-fold in fact, and that centremen tend to make better passes with an injured shoulder?

        Somebody give me a hammer and hold down my hand, in case I flinch.

        As valuable as statistics can be and are utilized more and more by teams, this is the stuff that drives me crazy.

        To me a more logical interpretation would be that Eberle got off to a terrible start (was it bad luck / something in his mechanics / bad passes, who knows??) in terms of finishing but he was coming around as the year progressed, managing a 15.9% SP, in spite of breaking his hand.

        • Your contention was that the hand injury was responsible, at least in part, for his sub-par shooting percentage year.

          I demonstrated that his shooting percentage went up post-injury.

          Now you can say, ‘Don’t be an idiot man, if your hand is in rough shape, of course your shot is worse!’ but that doesn’t change the fact that Eberle’s problems pre-date the hand injury, and that using the hand injury as an excuse is therefore flawed.

          It’s like if I lose my job in April, break my leg in May and then say ‘I got fired because of my broken leg.’

          Also, on a personal note: your ‘so you’re saying shooting percentage improves with a broken hand!?!?!?’ approach makes me want to bash my head repeatedly into a brick wall in frustration.

          • The Soup Fascist

            No my point is that if he manages to shoot 15.9% the last half of the year WITH a broken hand, does it not make sense that his shooting % should have been even better had he been healthy, the end result being a seasonal shooting % somewhere north of 12%.

            I apologize for bringing common sense into the discussion but I have broken my hand and – amazingly – it is more difficult to do many things with a broken bone in your hand. I would include shooting a hockey puck at an NHL goaltender in this group.

            I think we agree that Eberle got off to a horrific start last year in terms of goal scoring. The woes at the beginning of the year are a mystery to me. My question is do you think Eberle could have achieved a 18.9% shooting percentage post March 5th if he was healthy?

  • LinkfromHyrule

    Speaking of risks and rewards, what are the risks/rewards of the Oil signing Grabovski, who would fill a much needed deficiency at centre? Perhaps second line. Gordon at third.

    And the Oil will soon know the risks of allowing Gagner going to arbitration. It would appear neither Gagner nor Hemsky have much trade value.

    As others have noted, MacT has some unfinished business to attend to.

    • The Soup Fascist

      Chris Stewart is going to arbitration, do you think he has any trade value to the Blues?

      To be clear I am not comparing Gagner’s game to Chris Stewart – very different players. Just that they are young and talented RFAs. My point is arbitration is only a tool, it does little to limit trade value of a player, IMO.

      • Tikkanese

        I’m just spitballing here, but if Gagner gets a one-year deal from the arbitrator, then isn’t it logical (from a business POV) to test free agency? And if you know he’s going to test the UFA waters, then he’s just a rental player, which has a lower value than if he was signed for three or four years.

        But what do I know? Maybe we hear today or tomorrow Gagner’s signed a 5/6 year deal.

        • The Soup Fascist

          You could be right and Tambo not locking Gagner up last year puts Gagner’s camp in the drivers seat. However, typically if the team retaining the rights for a player in his last pre-UFA year does not think they can sign them, they will work on a trade and allow permission for the team on the other end of the trade to talk to the player’s agent. I could be wrong but I believe that is permissable.

          So say Gagner goes to arbitration and at some point the Oilers don’t think they can sign him for the 2014-2015 season, they work out a deal with say, Nashville and pending an agreement between Nashville and Gagner’s agent and voila a deal is done. In my mind, Gagner’s value is only lessened if there are no teams prepared to pay the $ he is looking for. And teams have proved, to a fault, they will pay for a guy like Gagner who appears to have turned the corner and can put up points.

          I think it is a moot point though and Gagner will sign before his hearing for 4 years @ $19M or so. But I am just guessing.

    • Ducey

      MacT talked early on about getting rid of the “circus” in the dressing room.

      Grabovski is a lead clown.

      Here is his record from Wikipedia:

      In March, 2008, after being a healthy scratch for a game against the Phoenix Coyotes, Grabovski left the Montreal Canadiens and flew to Los Angeles to consult with his agent. The incident prompted his trade to the Toronto Maple Leafs that summer.

      In January 2009, Grabovski was involved a scuffle with fellow Belarusian Sergei Kostitsyn during a game between the Maple Leafs and Canadiens. The two had been in a feud since Grabovski’s days with the Canadiens. Prior to the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, the head of the Belarusian national hockey program had to intervene in order for the two players to be able to coexist on the same team.

      On February 19, 2010, Grabovski was arrested in Vancouver after getting involved in a street scuffle. He was out of the Maple Leafs lineup with a broken wrist at the time of the arrest and was in Vancouver attending the 2010 Winter Olympics. Court documents alleged that Dylan Richardson was punched in the face and knocked unconscious by Grabovski, who then assaulted Richardson’s wife by also punching her in the face.

      On February 9, 2013, Grabovski was accused of biting Max Pacioretty of the Montreal Canadiens during a scrum along the boards. The NHL conducted a telephone hearing with the players involved, but couldn’t determine conclusively if Grabovski had bitten Pacioretty. However, on May 20, 2013, more than three months later, Grabovski admitted that he did in fact bite Pacioretty, stating in an interview “He was choking me and I bit him. Don’t stick your hands where you shouldn’t.”

      On leaving the Leaves, he then says:
      “I play in the [expletive] Russian KHL, I make lots of [expletive] points and what’s going to happen? He make me [expletive] play on the fourth line and he put me in the playoffs on the fourth line and third line again,” Grabovski spewed. “Yeah, I don’t score goals. I need to work more about that. I know that. But if you feel support from your coach [you’ll find success]. I don’t feel any support from this [expletive] idiot.”

      He likely can coexist on a veteran team with lots of guys to keep him in his place. EDM isn’t that team.

  • DSF

    There are just so many less “ifs” this year for the team to have success.
    Things like, will Ryan Whitney return to form, or can Hemsky stay healthy all year, just don’t matter this year.

    Not to mention questions like can Yak and J Schultz play at the NHL and make an impact? Or other questions like will Hall keep improving and can Dubnyk give us competent goal tending as the number one have all been answered.

    Really the only ifs now are positive ones like can Eagre play his way back onto a tough fourth energy line?

    I guess there’s still the question of Belov and Klefbomb, but our team doesn’t seem so dependant on those working out. It’s juts kind of gravy if they do work out.

  • Aitch

    @DonDon… why would you conclude that Gagner doesn’t have much trade value when MacT has repeatedly said that he wants to sign Gags? For all we know, he hasn’t listened to or made any offers for Gagner.

    Aa for Hemsky, all we can say is that nothing has come up that would blow his socks off and pull the trigger on a deal. He still has time a couple of months at least to deal Hemmer before training camp opens. Hemsky has value, but it might require more teams finalizing their rosters before some GMs are willing to make a deal significant enough to bring in a Top six winger with only one year left before free agency. Maybe, a team wants to talk to Hemsky about an extension before making the deal. All of those things can take time (unless it’s the first hour of free agency and then those things take little to no time at all.)

    • 2004Z06

      As for Gagne, MacT has stated publicly that he likes the player, but sees him at wing. With the addition of Perron, the wingers on the first two lines seem to be set, without Gagne. At best, that would place Gagne on the third line (making him a bottom six forward). It has been implied that Gagne’s value is at $4m and not much more. Even this $ amount for a bottom six forward becomes another overpay.

      Hemsky only complicates this picture. Hemsky’s $5m salary hit, also for a third line winger if he can’t be traded, is another overpay. Quite frankly, I don’t believe Hemsky, like that of Horcoff, fits any longer into this new roster.

      Yes, I appreciate it takes time to resolve some of these issues, but the Oilers are looking up the gun barrel on Gagne’s arbitration; what to do if the result requires a big overpay? Will the Oilers be forced to walk away and lose the asset without any return? As for a Hemsky trade, the NHL world goes into hibernation at this time of year and both the club and Hemsky are in limbo.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Another progressive/moving forward “very good” trade/deal by MacT…with Perron coming in for Paajarvi plus a 2nd rounder. I support this deal and say thanks for the excellent reward potential MacT!!!

    Perron may not be huge but he isn’t small either and he plays two ways and hard/aggressively and that is what counts in my hockey sense thinking.

    I have been rooting for Paajarvi from the start since he was drafted…but this deal is worth it and any risks. Perron, with Ference, Gordon, Labarbera, and even Belov, …. altogether bring grit, skills on defence and offence, and their levels of compete and playoff experience to the Oilers. Because they have each been in the playoffs on their past respective teams, it fully proves they know how to/what it takes to get into the playoffs.

    Coach eakins seems a determined man to improve this team by systems/tactics and by compete levels too and this is a top type blessing for the Oilers. These above named players fit what both eakins and acton would want…top defence/two way play and run and gun type scoring!!! Love it so far!!!

    It’s also fresh hungry blood coming in and old stale type blood going out. With the exception of Ference, all of these players are starting their prime yrs or are in the midst of them… which is also excellent for the Oilers.

    I now believe that Gagner will be a player going out of town this yr due to that the arbritrator is gonna give him too much and the Oilers will be saying thanks but no thanks…

    Personally, I’m fully expecting MacT to make up to 4/5 more type deals primarily with Hemsky, Gagner, Eager,N. Schultz (or maybe Smid unfortunately)..plus draft picks and prospects.. to get up to two more big 3rd line enforcer/checking wingers, another top 2/3 defender, and one to two more centres (2nd liner/4th liner). To me also, Ben Eager has the one more chance big-time to make that top aggressive 3rd line winger job which can be great with Gordon and Jones…

  • oilerjed

    @ Soup facist

    Im glad I read through the posts before I commented (my fingers were twitching when I read the article). Totally was thinking the same thing about Ebs, I am expecting a really good year from him. If he doesnt get 80+ pts this year I will be surprised.

    Smytty(sp)should be on the 4L unless he somehow has a miracle off season and comes back in the body of a 25 year old. He is exactly what is needed on the 4th and can slide up to 3l if needed and plant his ass in front on the PP to show some how it is done.

    Is Hemsky really suited for a 3L role or are we trying the square peg round hole trick only because we cant get rid of him. I cant help but wonder how he feels about coming back next year after being told that he has no place on thge team anymor.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Jonathan, is there an opportunity to do something with Lomabardi in Los Angeles? 5 players to sign and only 5.5’ish to accomplish this. On top of that, they have 4 guys going to arbitration, including Jake Muzzin.

    Maybe Craig could pick up a couple bargains from Dean now that they’re on speaking terms again, rather than ruffle his feathers with an offer sheet.

    Have to think those 4 arby guys alone will be awarded close to 10 million (total for the 4 players) for the coming season. Would Dean be open to moving a Muzzin and a Kyle Clifford type within the division?

    Dustin Brown is a UFA next summer, think they’ll be able to keep him?

    • I’ve been wondering the same thing.

      I’m betting L.A. values Brown and hangs on to him long-term because they prioritize him. A guy like Muzzin or Clifford, though? That just might be possible.

      Certainly MacTavish has been talking to teams – Philadelphia, St. Louis – with cap problems and I suspect it’s his best shot at improving the roster.

      • LinkfromHyrule

        LA is fubared. They are primed for a raid by MacT. Id offer sheet Clifford at 2.8 million. Put the screws to DL. Make him choose his poison.

        Philly. They’ll be begging someone for a trade come August.

        Hemsky in Florida is the most logical location.

        • Quicksilver ballet

          Edmonton doesn’t have that 2nd rounder compensatory selection the offer sheet like that would demand.

          Florida hmmm, would you consider Hemsky, or Gagner and N.Schultz for Gudbranson? Erik might have dropped down a few spots as far as that untouchable list goes. That list is a rather envious stockpile of premium selections of late. Gudbranson would be my target if Tallon came calling.

          • Tikkanese

            I would do N.Shultz to Florida for GUND in a heartbeat. That is a no brainer. I would put GUND in OKC and sign Fistric as my 5 dman. Brings me more grit and N.Shultz is a powder puff.Name 1 guy in the NHL who is afraid to go into a corner with N.Shultz. Now name me all the guys who would go into a corner with Chris Pronger or Zdeno Chara? Fistric atleast will give you a whallop and make you pay for the ice.N. Shultz for me is a 5-6 dman on the Oilers. his only selling point is his experience.Other than that give me a Klefbom or Marincin.

          • Rocket

            I agree with you about maybe keeping Hemsky till the trade deadline if nothing of value can be acquired before then.

            I just hope MacT doesn’t pull a Tambellini and not do anything at the deadline because maybe the Oilers will make the playoffs (not likely), and risk losing Hemsky for nothing later.

            Hemsky can produce. No need to trade him yet if the return sucks.

  • Obiwan Eberle - Team 5-14-6-1

    I know its best to move on, but I wonder if Perron, Colburn and Clarkson were all slated to happen independently of each other. Mac T did state he was going after Perron at the draft.
    Those three plus the other adds would have been “christmas miracle” level of changes….thus they did not happen

    I do wonder why everyone is so worried about Gag’s arbitration…didn’t some 18 players file last offseason, and NONE make it to the date?

    In MacT I trust..GO OIL!

    • 2004Z06

      I am worried about arbitration because it guarantees Gagner becomes an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. He could walk for nothing if the Oilers don’t resign or trade him before then.

  • The Soup Fascist

    @Quicksilver ballet…

    I am very much liking your question to JW for of possibly deal;ing with Lombardi and for of mainly suggesting Clifford.

    If Hemsky could be let go here soon in a deal, even if just for picks next draft…I woiuld love to see Clifford come over here for 3rd line duty with Gordon and likely Jones. This would be a definite aggressive quick line with quite a bit of grit (if Jones gets it going more). Dustin brown would be excellent too but maybe he is a bit high on the payscale for the Oilers right now..IMO..

    I can see trade spec talks between the Oilers and the NYI, Carolina, Buf, Columbus, and even Nashville coming up a lot as well..

    • Quicksilver ballet

      I think Craig should let that Hemsky situation sit and simmer for a few more months. Unless someone’s willing to give Craig value for him, let him sit till the trade deadline. MacTavish has plenty of cap space to do this. The Oilers can afford to gamble and hold out for an overpay on Hemsky. A lot has changed already with this team, with more changes possibly to come.

      I’m sure Craig has his eyes on a few teams, but unless he’s getting some incentive for taking on a salary dump player, no deal. That list has to include about six teams i’m thinking. Hopefully one of those scenarios shakes loose and falls Edmontons way.

      This shooting fish in a barrel summer has turned out to be more of a challenge than we all first thought.

  • The Soup Fascist

    @ Jonathan

    “Also, on a personal note: your ‘so you’re saying shooting percentage improves with a broken hand!?!?!?’ approach makes me want to bash my head repeatedly into a brick wall in frustration.”

    Please don’t do that Jonathan, I wish you no ill will, although statistically speaking you may be better at crossword puzzles afterwards. ;^)

  • Word to the Bird

    Can’t stress enough how happy I am to have Perron on the team! However, even with the defense somewhat shored up and the top 6 virtually entrenched, now there’s one more area to improve before we can really get excited for next year: the bottom 6. Now that Clutterbuck is gone, we should really look for alternatives. Zack Smith still seems like a possibility, but maybe we should look for players such as Anthony Stewart to fill up the bottom 6. Hemsky shouldn’t have much trouble getting that return.

  • John Chambers

    This is basically the first hockey trade the team has made since the Visnovski for Whitney swap.

    And yet myself and so many others spend countless hours dreaming up trades …

  • @ The Soup Fascist:

    No my point is that if he manages to shoot 15.9% the last half of the year WITH a broken hand, does it not make sense that his shooting % should have been even better had he been healthy, the end result being a seasonal shooting % somewhere north of 12%.

    What you’re missing is that shooting percentage is highly variable. Everybody has ups and downs that aren’t necessarily related to their real talent level, and that real talent level is only discoverable through time.

    Saying ‘well, if he shot 15.9% with an injured hand, surely he’s even better than that!’ is like me saying ‘well, he was a sub-10% shooter when perfectly healthy – as he gets banged up (as every NHL does), surely he’ll be even worse!’ It’s picking a small window of a larger sample for no good reason when there’s a larger sample to consider.

    I apologize for bringing common sense into the discussion but I have broken my hand and – amazingly – it is more difficult to do many things with a broken bone in your hand. I would include shooting a hockey puck at an NHL goaltender in this group.

    That’s not what was frustrating. What was frustrating was showing clear evidence that the problem pre-dated the injury, and you responding with ‘so you’re saying the injury made him better?!?’ when I had said nothing of the sort. As per above: shooting percentage is highly variable, and will go up and down even over the course of the year even absent external factors.

    It was especially frustrating because your contention had been ‘Eberle’s struggles are related to his injured hand’ and I offered clear evidence refuting that specific point.

    I think we agree that Eberle got off to a horrific start last year in terms of goal scoring. The woes at the beginning of the year are a mystery to me. My question is do you think Eberle could have achieved a 18.9% shooting percentage post March 5th if he was healthy?

    Anything is possible over a small stretch of shots.

    Compare it to rolling dice. Imagine a perfectly weighted dice that will come up ‘6’ once every six rolls, on average – a dice, in other words, with a true ‘rolling 6 talent’ of 16.7%. You don’t get a 1-2-3-4-5-6 pattern. You might get 1-1-1 for a spell or 6-6-6 for a spell or whatever; all you know is that over a long enough time period, you’ll end up rolling a 6 16.7% of the time.

    Patrick Roy, after allowing five goals one night, said something to the effect of ‘no, sometimes the shooters just make their shots’ after being asked if he had a bad game. It’s a healthy way of looking at things – sometimes, the pucks go in, sometimes they don’t.

    A player can work hard to increase his chances, working on accuracy, working on release, working on disguising the shot, etc. But he’s always going to, in the long-term, show up in a relatively narrow band of potential results . Since 2005-06, the best shooter has been Steven Stamkos, with a magnificent 17.2% conversion rate that’s almost two points higher than the second place guy. Just five players have been 15.0%+ shooters in that span.

    Given what we know about the league, it was always a safe bet that Jordan Eberle’s 18.9% shooting percentage season was a year where the pucks went in, rather than a reflection of his true talent level. The other viewpoint – that he was an 18.9% shooter – would have required a) his rookie season to be just a terrible year where nothing went in and b) Eberle to be a significantly better shooter than the guy who has led the league by a healthy margin the last few years. The probability of that was extremely low compared to the other possibility – that he was a good shooter having a year where the pucks went in. It happens relatively frequently – this year (min. 100 shots) it happened for Tlusty and Kunitz and Carter.

    So, to answer your question: it’s entirely possible that Eberle can fire at 18.9% for a short time. It’s extremely unlikely that he can keep up that rate for any lengthy period of time.

    • The Soup Fascist

      Is the over / under on Eberle 13.5%? If it is I will pick over / you can have under. Let’s revisit at the end of next year and see where we are at.


      • Romanus

        The shooting percentage debate is always fun. I always like to look at Ovechkin. The year he scored 56 goals he had a “dreadful” 10.6 S%. He scored 65 with a 14.6 S%, and 52 with a 12.2 S%.

        Ultimately the stat that matters is goals. Some players get the puck to the net more often to score, others only shoot when they have the ideal shot. This past season I saw Eberle just get the puck to the net more often and in the back of the mind I was thinking – you are ruining S% and now I am going to have to hear the debate about sustaining shooting percentage again.

        Is it better to have a guy that gets 30 goals on 200 shots (15%), or 10 goals on 40 shots (25%)?

        Or even 30/200 vs. 30/100? this being equal, the 30/200 likely led to someone else scoring on a rebound more often.

  • LinkfromHyrule

    MacT, making some progress here..outside of Brown , still no “Shotgun Riders” on the roster.

    Please dont include Eager on that list.

    Oilers playing in a division with heavy teams
    to play aginst… Shark Tank… has Torres and
    Burish swimming around…who take’s care of guys like that?

  • The Soup Fascist

    @Quicksilver ballet

    Oh yeah I agree that Hemsky for nothing now is better to have him stay here… as a new 3rd lone winger up to 2nd line .. if the Oilers need him there for a bit more.

    But… I would just think that if he could command a 2nd and a 3rd rounder in draft picks at the least then the Oilers can make offer sheets to those such as like Clifford..now this summer.

    The trade deadline this coming year would be good to put Hemsky into then but….his history of injury comes up too much as that time period these last past few years…

    • Spydyr

      One problem with offer sheets is that I believe you have to use your own picks as compensation. The Oilers have already traded away their 2nd round pick next year

  • Spydyr

    Will the Oilers be a better team next year?Sure.Will they be a better team in three years when they are more ready to contend?Not so sure.As always time will tell.

  • 2004Z06

    Off topic but does anyone else think Matheson has lost most credibility, he has said some very odd things lately about players (just way off on player types) and now he is saying Perron is top 9 he is the first person I have seen not say top 6. Maybe it’s just that with twitter he now speaks his opinion more then he does in his articles but is opinions seem terrible in my opinion. Just wondering if anyone else has noticed this?

  • Spydyr

    Kovy RETIRES: Here is how you turn nothing into something. We trade Hemmer and swap 2014 1st rounders with NJ for Larrson. Here’s the logic. 2014 1st for NJD is a dead pick (forfeited from Kovy signing). The Devils get Hemmer, and go from -1 first round picks, to +1 1st round picks. THAT’s the equivalent of two firsts swing. WOULD the Devils trade Larrson for 2 1sts, and Hemmer? DO we need to sweeten with a D prospect? Gernat? Maricin? Better question, does the NHL allow this to happen? Thoughts?

  • Ducey

    not sure if anyone has mentioned this yet but MacT was one of the representatives of only three or four teams at the big sports analytics conference they had a while ago whose name escapes me.

    Pretty sure he’s into it.

  • Ducey

    “Different players have a genuinely different level of finishing ability, and by the look of it there’s quite a gap between Perron and Paajarvi.”

    “And by the look of it, there’s quite a gap”?

    One does not have to look at shooting % to know that Perron is a better finisher than Paajarvi.

      • Ducey

        Fair enough. I caught this article when I was in a particulartily bad mood. And sometimes the math stuff gets to me a little bit.

        The last thing I want is to give the impression that I don’t appreciate all the work you guys do though. Now if you could only produce actual hockey games…