Monday Musings: Goalie fitting chart, Lucic and more

FourthOverall

Only 19 days until the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. Seeing the Oilers pick in the top four is nothing new, but the expectation of them to make a significant trade is heightened compared to previous years. The Oilers simply didn’t have the depth at forward to consider trading one of their scorers, but the arrival of Connor McDavid, and emergence of Leon Draisaitl, allows GM Peter Chiarelli to move a skilled forward in the hopes of landing a right-shot defenceman.

I’ll admit the anticipation of a move has me more intrigued by the Oilers than I have been in a decade.

The draft will provide some fireworks, but so could free agency.

Pierre Lebrun fired up Oilersnation with his comments about Milan Lucic being open to sign in Edmonton if he goes to free agency on July 1st. 

Would the Oilers sign him? It depends. I’d hope they’d only consider it after they’ve solidified their blueline, and even then it has to be at the right price.

Will Lucic command a six-year, $6 million/year contract? Most of us assume so, but after 2015’s “Summer of Sanity” among NHL GMs, I’m not convinced it is a certainty he gets the deal he wants. He will be coveted, as he should. He is a very unique player, and I would pay him $6 million for three of four years for sure. The final two would ideally be a bit less, but you will never make any moves if you are always worrying about the future. You can make more “educated guesses,” but ultimately none of us know for certain when Lucic’s production will fall off a cliff.

The Lucic statement got a lot of traction.

Does one stat tell real story?

The reality is any of us can use one stat to back up our argument. Willis is a huge believer in Pouliot, which is fine, but I believe using P/60 is very misleading in this case.

Since the start of 2012, Milan Lucic has played 288 games and produced 185 points. In the same time span, Benoit Pouliot dressed in 227 games and produced 126 points.

Lucic would dramatically improve the offence of the Oilers, because he plays more games and he produces more points. Offence is actual goals scored, not points/60. 

Pouliot has played fewer games, fewer minutes against easier competition before arriving in Edmonton when he was a third line player in Tampa Bay and New York. And regardless of competition or TOI/game, Lucic has outscored Pouliot 185-126 in the past four seasons. Suggesting he isn’t a better offensive player is simply untrue.

Even those within the fancy stats community don’t all agree. Darcy McLeod crunches numbers as often as anyone.

Lucic has also had better possession numbers (RelCor in the past five years, if you believe in those things), and while some of that is due to playing on better teams the past two seasons, the reality is Lucic’s size allows him to extend time in the offensive zone for him and his linemates. 

Take it a step further. Pouliot has been a $4 million cap hit for the past two seasons, while Lucic was a $6 million cap hit. Pouliot has played in only 69.7% (113 of 162) of the Oilers games. Lucic has dressed in 98.7% (160 of 162).

I see the concern in signing Lucic to a long-term deal. There is a good chance he could slow down, but he is two years younger than Pouliot, and if you are going to discuss the concerns of Lucic’s production drop off, how come no one mentions Pouliot is two years older and has missed significant time in three of the past four seasons (in 2013 Pouliot only played in 70.8% of Tampa’s games)?

For me, there is no debate Lucic is the more productive player, both in points and games played. I believe P/60 can be used when discussing players who play around the same amount of games and minutes, but when you compare one player who has played significantly fewer games it is easy to misread what the actual production value of the player is.

There is no guarantee that if Pouliot plays more games he would produce at the same P/60 rate. Fatigue, playing banged up, slumps and other factors must be accounted for.

Just look at Patrick Kane’s season. He had 46 points in his first 31 games. He was on pace to score 121 points. He was averaging 1.48 points/game. In his final 51 games he tallied 60 points (1.17 ppg). Many things can happen in a full season and fatigue or wear and tear can impact a player’s production.

If you are concerned about signing Lucic long-term, that is valid, but I’d be willing to bet a substantial amount that in the next three seasons Lucic will produce more points than Benoit Pouliot. Yes, he would cost more money, but his production, not to mention his ability to cycle the puck and add a physical element this team hasn’t had in the top-six for years, would be a major upgrade over Pouliot.

It isn’t a knock on Pouliot, just the simple facts about Lucic’s production and on-ice presence. 

The concern about Lucic’s production would likely occur in the final three years of a potential six-year contract. I would agree with those worries, but I don’t agree with any suggestion that Lucic would not add more offence to the Oilers. Their career numbers suggest otherwise.

In the past eight seasons Lucic has played 570 games and has 370 points. Pouliot has played in 470 games and has 227 points.

Lucic is worth $6 million a year for three years, but the length of the contract will cause some concern. I agree with that, but suggesting there isn’t much of a difference between Pouliot and Lucic offensively is incorrect.

For me, actual points trump P/60 all day any day, and Lucic dominates Pouliot in actual NHL production.

QUICK HITS

Ali

  • In Goal Magazine and NHL.com’s Kevin Woodley has discussed the reverse VH before, and he said it was a tendency that Matt Murray uses, and it cost him on the OT winner. “It is an exploitable tendency, but it isn’t an easy one to exploit. It was a tough bounce (deflected), but that position (reverse VH) leaves him exposed up high. It isn’t a bad goal, but I expect he will not use the reverse VH as often next year,” said Woodley. I love how Woodley breaks down the goaltending position.
  • “The goalies have been told they will have new equipment (new goalie fitting chart) to use in late June. It will impact goalies differently, and for sure the shorter goalies could be hit hard,” said Woodley. This is something to watch for. A free agent goalie like Jonas Enroth might not get signed until later in the summer after teams have seen him in the new equipment. The new goalie fitting chart will be one of the most talked about off-season moves.
  • I am rather surprised people believe Lucic will automatically slow down. There are many examples of players who had very good years in their late 20s and early 30s. Shane Doan is a good example. He had his most goals, 30, when he was 29 years old and his most productive NHL seasons occurred when he was 31 and 32 years young, scoring 78 and 73 points. 
  • If Lucic and Kyle Okposo both make it to free agency, I’m curious who gets a longer contract. Okposo has been more productive, and while he isn’t as big, he can play a heavy game. I think Okposo will be able to command more.

EDMONTON FIRST RESPONDERS DAY

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On June 9th, the City of Edmonton will be announcing the first annual First Responders Day in an effort to honour those that risk their lives to keep our city safe.

First Responders Day will be an official day where we to honour, celebrate, and support the first responders and their families, in addition to raising mental health awareness within the occupation. The event will showcase dozens of large fire vehicles, bomb squad display, canine dogs, jaws of life demonstration, raffles, live music, chili-cook off and much more.

If you would like to donate money to the cause there is a GoFundMe public campaign page for fundraising at www.gofundme.com/yegfirstresponders. Monies raised will be going to Legacy Place Society – as they wish to purchase a new house in Edmonton so they can better support all first responders and their families during times of crisis.

More information is available at www.facebook.com/yegfirstresponders

      • Am I right?

        You may be correct, looked at some recent contacts, seems to vary more than 1 million per year, but not over/under 50%.

        While looking at those contracts, noticed teams giving $1 million salary and the rest as bonus money. It would seem to be a good move, if you buyout the player, the player receives all bonus money, but the team only buys out the 1 million salary.

        Can you say loophole, so if we want to sign Lucic or any other Player , let’s pay them that way, if they tail off after a few years, your buyout/cap hit is sweet.

  • The Last Of Barrett's Privateers

    I’m sure PC will be all over signing Lucic.

    First the Kings can’t afford him, not at 6 million per year.

    Trade Pouliot & Yakupov

    Off Load Korp’s salary LTIR Ference & boom…there’s money for Lucic.

  • Prudham's

    Lucic has Scheuermann’s disease. That doesn’t tell us anything for sure because it affects everyone differently – for some it makes no difference, but if you are wondering about his longevity, it could definitely be a factor. I know about it.

  • slats-west

    One question does PhiIi ( or anyone else) take out McDavid with Lucic on the ice or Pouliot?

    Pay the man …..its worth a lot to stop the cheap shots against Oiler forwards – how many games lost has there been going back to Hemsky getting steam rolled every night?

  • madjam

    RED FLAG DEALING HOPKINS : Colorado thought they had sufficient centerman in young MacKinnon and M.Duchenes to deal away another young very good centerman in R.O’Reilly .

    The trade was O’Reilly and McGinn from Colorado for Zadorov , Compher , Grigorenko and J.Roy ( the 2nd round pick) from Buffalo . Colorado fell out of playoff contention as a result .

    If Oilers do the same with Hopkins , that only leaves us with two one year rookies at center , and is a recipe for further disaster . At least Colorado got another young center but he was not near as good or near the value of O”Reilly . Now is not the time to be dealing Hopkins .

    • Bondo11

      We can move Nuge, but it would have to be a larger deal, so we get back a replacement 2nd line centre.

      Something like Nuge, Davidson, & the 4th pick for J.Staal & J. Faulk??

      • madjam

        Why would the Hurricanes even make that trade when our 4th pick is a player that likely will not even be in their lineup next year , and another player in trade that we won’t have . J.Stall’s contract to rich for us to begin with considering the player is not top line , nor I doubt he will bring us the points Hopkins should on the ice . Hopkins likely to improve with/during rebuild , while Stall is unlikely to get any better .

        It’s far simpler/smarter to maintain Hopkins and add to the weaker base that we have .

        If you do a straight Hopkins for Faulk the hole you fill will be in all likelihood not be any better than the new hole you created . Faulks acquisition is 4.5M , plus the 6M plus perhaps you need to adequately fill the hole left by Hopkins leaving . So in reality Faulk is costing us closer to 10.M or more cap space . You’d be better off going for Karlsson , at least you’d stand a better chance at winning that trade . The cost to obtain Faulk and an adequate replacement , if one could even be gotten for 6M , would leave us little room to upgrade rest of holes on club . Other options leave us far more options and wiggle room to make club better by holding onto our top 3 forwards for at least another two years . Not like any of them are looking to get worse over that time , and we should know how well McDavid , Draisaitl , Nurse and perhaps Davidson and Reinhart are trending .

        • Bondo11

          I gave an example of a trade which would involve getting a 2nd line centre back, in the event that Nuge were part of a package. That would be the only way I’d move Nuge.

          Staal will be 35 yrs old at the end of his current contract (7 yrs left @ $6mm AAV). He also has a no-trade clause.

          I don’t see PC making this deal due to Staal’s term, plus he has the NTC.

          That being said, I’d love to have Staal as our 2nd line centre, if he only had 4-5 yrs left on his contract. He has the experience and is a leader. He’d be a good mentor for all our centre’s.

    • Jason Gregor

      O’Reilly was a salary dump/impasse.

      The Avs traded proven players for youth.

      No one has mentioned trading RNH for younger players, heck, he is only 22. If he is traded it will be for a proven NHL player, not prospects who might pan out.

        • Zarny

          Jones may be young but he’s a proven NHL player. He hasn’t proven how good he’ll actually be but there is no question as to whether he is an NHL player.

          Nobody Col got back for O’Reilly was a proven NHL player. It’s not apples to apples and Mr. Gregor is 100% correct in that isn’t the type of trade the Oilers are pursuing.

  • TKB2677

    Good Old Willis and his spread sheet hockey. Don’t get me wrong, I like Pouliot and think he was a good signing as he’s been a good Oiler WHEN HE PLAYS. He missed 27 games this year, 24 games last year.

    For Willis to say Pouliot is more productive is a lie. Go look at their stats. Pouliot at 30 has played 484 games and has 230 pts. Lucic at 28 has 647 games played and 397. So at year years younger, Lucic has played 2 more full seasons and have 160+ more pts. So not only has Lucic been healthier over his entire career, he scores way, way more. That doesn’t even factor in how much more tougher, more physical and more intimidating Lucic is than Pouliot.

    So the stats don’t lie. Lucic is 0.613 pts/game, Pouliot is 0.475 pts/game. Even if you only want to count the last 2 seasons where Pouliot has been his most productive. Lucic has played 162 games and scored 99 pts. Pouliot has 113 games and 70 pts. So points per games, Lucic is right on the money for his career average. Pouliot is way above his career average BUT is tied with Lucic. So even with Pouliot shooting out the lights, he’s still not out scoring Lucic. So I don’t know how Willis can be telling the truth, the stats don’t agree. PLUS, being healthy and actually in the line up means something. I don’t do advanced stats but how can anyone say Pouliot is more productive, the numbers don’t lie. Did Willis forget a couple of columns?

  • madjam

    DEALING EBERLE NOT A GOOD PLAN : St.Louis traded T.J.O’Shie (RW) for T.Brouwer (RW) and lost a 51 point player for a 39 point player . Now I like both players , but would take O’Shie everyday over Brouwer . Once again replacing a 50-60 point Eberle with a Brouwer or facsimile does not put us ahead seeing as Eberle is currently our only viable RW . We need to add another top RW . Dealing him makes little sense as well . Dealing Hall once again would leave us weaker as well , but necessity dictates we keep him and maintain left side upper strength . Pouliot at least is easier and less costly to replace , as is a player of Yak’s ilk .

    • Bondo11

      If we dealt Ebs, he’d need to be replaced by either Okposo, Eriksson, or an RFA such as Palmeiri. Keep Drai as 2nd line RW and sign a 3rd line replacement for Yak, such as Stemniak.

  • GK1980

    “It isn’t a knock on Pouliot, just the simple facts about Lucic’s production and on-ice presence”

    Don’t be so nice Jason, it’s obvious pouliot has some offensive talent but he is also made of glass. Lucic is the superior player and can withstand the rigours of the NHL.

  • Zarny

    I agree the anticipation of the moves Chiarelli will make is palpable. There are many options Chiarellli can pursue that will improve the Oilers. Which path he follows will be very interesting.

    I tend to agree that actual points trumps P/60; but with Lucic I think you also have to consider the intimidation factor and attitude. He’s territorial and likes it when scrums break out. I believe that has value.

    Term is my only concern. I don’t think it’s automatic Lucic slows down but I think it’s probable and the more pertinent question is how much. I’ll see your Shane Doan and raise you Dany Heatley & Vincent Lecavlier. I think physiology plays a factor & Lucic is 6’4″. So is Joe Thornton and he’s still productive but his game has always relied on slowing down. Lucic’s game is not built on speed either but he can’t afford to lose a step and still play with McDavid IMO. That’s a risk and I would want years 4-6 at a lower rate than the first 3.

    Whatever happens it should be a fun summer.

  • madjam

    The path of least resistance lies in not using our top 3 -4 players in a trade scenario . It is important because of last years finish , that those players are not near as valuable in a trade as they will be next year as we go up in standings . The rest I can see being exposed , and all are much cheaper and most are easier to replace or even to upgrade at same time . I do not for see a necessity to deal Draisaitl,Klefbom , Talbot or Nurse at this time either . We simply need to add better players to team outside the 8 of them . We certainly have enough other assets and avenues to do that . That should be our first avenue of attack .

    If you re-read his comment you would realize his mistake .

    • Zarny

      That’s not true; unless GMs like Armstrong and Murray take your calls and update you on their preferences.

      The path of least resistance is trading away what the rival GM values most. With cap limitations that could be the 4th overall for some GMs; others trying to win now may prefer proven players like Ebs & Nuge. I won’t claim to know the answer.

      There is no guarantee the value of players will go up simply because the Oilers move up the standings. Especially with the cap potentially dropping this year. The most pertinent factor may be cap limitations for rival GMs not how they perceive Oiler players coming off a poor season.

      If there is a trade this year involving a player like Ebs or Nuge that makes sense you do it. If there is a better deal for the 4th overall or other assets you do that.

      Because it is far more important for the Oilers to improve now than squeeze an extra draft pick out of a trade 2 years from now.

      • madjam

        Interesting . How many of Pitts. supporting staff this year you figure their worth guaranteed went down ? One perhaps because of Schultz’s salary and if they resign him at that price , which I highly doubt they will . They got him as a cheap rental at end of season . Your the first I’ve heard even mention a draft pick 2 years down the road . I would expect Chia to be calling other GM’s , not just waiting for them all to call him .

        • Zarny

          Pit is 60 min away from the Stanley Cup. I don’t think that’s realistic for the Oilers next year; but sure, if the Oilers win the Cup next year I agree Hall/Nuge/Ebs etc will all go up in value lol.

          How much did Tyler Ennis or Justin Faulk’s value go up this year because Buf and Car moved up the standings? I suspect very little and that their performance carried far more weight. And that is unpredictable.

          Waiting to trade a player because their value might go up is rarely wise. They could also break their clavicle.

          And exactly how much do you think their value can go up? That is what I was referring to with the draft pick. Maybe the Oilers improve next year and Nuge or Eberle’s value goes up. So Edm could trade Nuge for Faulk straight up without having to include a 2nd rnd draft pick? Barring a miracle run for the Cup, any extra value from waiting for better days would be measured in draft picks and not likely the 1st round variety.

          I don’t think that’s worth waiting for if you can do a trade you like this year considering the player you get back probably moves you further up the standings sooner.

          • madjam

            Business : You do poorly and so does company your value is not high . The company does well and so do you , your worth goes up incrementally . It is usually just that simple . The value of our 3 is down from what it would have been if we climbed further out of the basement , that’s simple logic – why would you try to refute it ?

          • Zarny

            I don’t refute that. You should re-read my comment.

            I think you are fooling yourself as to how much value our 3 have lost and how much it would improve if the Oilers move up to 18-20th next year.

            You aren’t going to get a lot more value out of our 3 next year if the Oilers modestly improve I’m afraid. You might get an extra 2nd round pick or perhaps not have to include one in a package.

            Nuge and Ebs aren’t going to fetch Pietrangelo instead of Vatanen. LA isn’t going to suddenly divest itself of Doughty for Hall.

            Not to mention you seem to miss the fact that there is no guarantee the Oilers improve. The Oilers have done exactly what you suggest with Yakupov ovder the last few years. Just wait until the team gets better and we’ll get more from him.

            His value has done nothing but go down because waiting and trying to predict the future is a fool’s game every single time.

    • McRaj

      I’m sorry but you refuse to trade any of Hall, Eberle, or Nuge and yet mention that the Oilers should trade McDavid? LOL. McDavid will have a bigger impact on this team then all 3 of them combined.

      I see that other people disagree with you as well. Oh madjam, once PC trades one of the core 3, the first person I will be looking for in these comments section is you. Are you secretly Mac T? Cause he too never wanted to trade any of those 3.

      • madjam

        For a knock your sock deal for any of them i’d be more than willing to listen and maybe trade one , but none have come forth with anything close to that is doable as far as i’m concerned . I look at all the other options available to upgrade club and find that is more than sufficient to add to club without starting and gutting the core . You do not agree , so big deal . The eight I mentioned , people like you are dead set it can only be done using those as trade bait . There in lies our major difference , and of course people are going to disagree one way or the other with both of us . Do you have a problem with people who do not accept your views – you shouldn’t ?

        • McRaj

          Nope I have no problem, rather I enjoy our back and forth but I see that there are more people who tend to disagree with you then agree with you.

          I think that is because you grossly over value our players (like trying to trade nuge for karlson). And you believe that these players impact the oilers way more then they actually do.

          I am actually intrigued to what your response will be once a trade happens like nuge for faulk or eberle for barrie or something along those lines.

          • madjam

            If they already have same caliber of player filling Eberle and Hopkins position , then I have no problem making your trade . But I think we both know , that will not be the case . As of yet there is no strategy as far as I can see . Filling from within is certainly a huge downgrade from them . I’d be disappointed if they do trade either and leave us with less than an adequate player taking their position , or one that is a downgrade . There are still many less disruptive ways to accomplish filling those holes and getting better .I do not buy into the only way to do that is to deal the 3 we now have in place , and whom might all get better . I believe same scenario for the 8 I listed previously .

            Next year we might revisit this again after we see how the likes of Draisaitl , Nurse , McDavid ,Reinhart , etc . start to fill out with the club , and new players added without trading our 3 . The next year I might turn depending on how things turn out this season , but I believe it to hasty to do this season for what little good it might or might not do .

          • madjam

            Dealing top 3 will not do us any better than if we do not . Your way will be same as it is for the way you figure mine will be – next to no difference with a good chance we would even be worse off .

          • McRaj

            And that’s where you are wrong. Every analyst disagrees with you on that. And since PC will likely be shaking things up, we will likely be seeing how my way turns out. Maybe it’s a battle of old school vs new school between us?