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?
2012-16, Pouliot | Lucic:
5v5 P/60: 1.98 | 1.95
5v4 P/60: 3.45 | 3.05
If EDM goes after Lucic, its not because he upgrades the offence.
— Jonathan Willis (@JonathanWillis) June 3, 2016
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.
The fancy stat community’s disdain for Lucic is not logical. If he were a 6’0 Russian everyone would love him to bits.
— Woodguy (@Woodguy55) June 6, 2016
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.
- 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
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
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