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

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 10.33.38 AM

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

  • madjam

    Jason – have you ever thought of trading our most valuable asset to fill all our holes and make the club very competitive next season ? McDavid could do that for us and his value has not fallen . Just think of the offers we might get .

      • The Whispererer

        Let’s suppose the Leafs offered us this year’s first pick (Matthews) plus Morgan Reilly plus pick #29 or 30
        (Pittsburg’s pick which the Leafs own) plus the Leafs’ 1st rounder in 2017 for McDavid. Is that a deal ?

        Trashes for no. Cheers for yes.

  • ubermiguel

    If you rely too much on “actual points” in player decisions you’d take Domi or Eichel over McDavid. Pouliot is exactly what Money Puck is about: under-valued players who actually perform on par or better than players judged better “by eye”. Now if we talk about Lucic’s heavy game that’s a different story. I like Lucic, but just don’t want to break the bank on a player who will decline during the span of his next contract, especially with a big ELC coming up in a couple of years.

    • Jason Gregor

      I think you missed the point my man. No one in their right mind takes Domi or Eichel over McDavid. It was one year, McDavid was hurt and he still only had four fewer points than Domi despite playing 36 fewer games.

      Pouliot hasn’t outscored Lucic ever, in any season.

      I used four years of Lucic vs. Pouliot to illustrate a pattern, not to mention over their entire careers the point totals aren’t close.

      And points are only one aspect. Of course you include everything the player does. Every evaluation should.

      Lucic’s ability might decline, but he might stay around 50-55 points, and he might only command $5.5 mill/year. If in the final two years he isn’t worth it, then they can worry about it then. Teams who are competitive and win always take a few risks along the way. If Chiarelli addresses his D first, it will be interesting to see if he’d take a chance on Lucic. I think the first three years of deal won’t be an issue based on his career to date.

  • The Whispererer

    How about a front-loaded deal without a no-trade clause so he would still be marketable with some value after 3 or 4 years ? …say 2 years @ $7.5 followed by 2 @ $6.0 followed by 2 @ $4.5

    That being said, i think i would prefer Okposo for a lesser price, since he would fill a vacancy we already have in top 6 RW. What puzzles me though is if Okposo was willing to sign for say $5/5.5 why wouldn’t the Islanders re-sign him ?

    • RJ

      Re: Okposo; Islanders blogs are figuring someone will break the bank for him, given his style of play and ppg. They were starting at $6.5m $AAV and guessing up from that. Two years ago, when the cap was going up, I would have agreed. Now? Doubtful

      • The Whispererer

        Thanks for clearing up that mystery for me. Now it makes a bit more sense why they might still be willing to take on Eberle for Hamonic.

        I have absolutely no idea of its reliability but I read a column yesterday by one Michel Anderson on Eyes on Isles. It was titled The Islanders should trade for Jordan Eberle. He suggested a straight up trade for Hamonic, even suggesting that Edmonton might also want a draft pick.
        It’s likely nothing more than idle gossip, much like we engage in on ON, but lights some spark that a deal for Hamonic can still be resurrected.

  • #1 overall waivers pick

    If the Oilers sign Lucic, they might have a hard time finding a trading partner for Pouliot. Ben takes stupid penalties, he’s overpaid, injury prone, and inconsistant.

    “You only get so many kicks at the can here, and you only get so many teams…I’ve been very, very direct: ‘Ben, you need to figure this out here.’… It’s not from game to game sometimes, it’s from shift to shift. And he needs to – in his preparation, in his sitting on the bench and getting ready for the next shift – he needs to figure it out here. If he figures it out, he’s gonna be able to have a good career. If he doesn’t, I don’t know how many kicks you get at it.” – Alain Vigneault

    • Gravis82

      how many stupid penalties does he take a year? 10? Some seasons that would translate into 0 goals and others perhaps 3.

      I would say that is not enough to really go out of your way to move a player where there is a serious risk of decreased production.

      Additionaly, Pouliot is good at a lot of things in the offensive zone, stickwork particularly. His penalties are likely a result of this strength, and one could not exist without the other. At this moment in his career, I would say that the benefit of his skills outweigh the negatives. If he did not take bad penalties he would perhaps be a sure fire 1st liner, or even a star, and would no doubt be collecting a much bigger paycheque.

  • 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?

  • Gravis82

    Gregor.

    Points per game is defined by skill. Games played has a larger component of randomness to it.

    I would argue that prior points per game is more predictive of future points per game, than prior games lost/season is predictive of future games lost/season.

    I also think its much more likely that Pouliot plays more games next season than his prior average than it is for Lucic to score at a higher pace or outscore Pouliot if they, in a perfect world, were given the exact same opportunity and ice time. This is impossible of course, but given that assumption I would play Pouliot higher in the lineup most definitely.

    I am all for signing Lucic, and he will get more than Pouliot because he is a big name. I think he is likely worth about the same as Pouliot, but definitely not millions more. I also will preface that by saying that I think Pouliot is a fair value contract based on his production.

    • Jason Gregor

      You realize P/60 isn’t points-per-game.

      Pouliot Points-per-game in career is 0.475.
      Lucic career points-per-game is 0.614

      As for your statement PPG is defined by skill, it isn’t that simple.. Excluding the very special elite players, most won’t score as many points in first few years. Then they will have a rise, and often points start to drop a bit in their 30s.

      So Pouliot is now 30 years old. His PPG is lower than Lucic, while Lucic is two years younger.

      You are saying Pouliot will play more games and score more points than ever before at 30, while Lucic has no chance of matching his previous points average. You have nothing of substance to base that on, and in fact based on your own theory that PPG suggests skill, you contradict yourself.

      Yes, it is possible Pouliot plays more games, but that is a prediction only.

      • Gravis82

        points/60 is even a better indicator than points per game obviously, and actually strengthens my argument if you took a moment to think about what I was saying instead of getting defensive and trying to pick holes in my argument in an attempt to discredit my statement.

        I was merely stating that its safer to bet on someone not getting injured than to bet on an older player scoring more points. That duality seems to be the difference between Pouliot and Lucic. Lucic success rests on him doing better than pouliot at his age, while Pouliot can get slightly worse due to age still be better than Lucic an all we have to bet on is that he wont get injured. And he’s cheaper. We need that money for a better backup goalie.

        Also…P/60 is completely defined by skill. Players wont score points in the first few years because they don’t have the skills to produce points in the NHL yet. Eventually their skills improve and allow them to score more points. I am not sure what point you were trying to make there. There are no skills in the NHL that improve without the final indicator of points also eventually increasing. For smaller sample sizes, this is why we have advanced stats.

        • Zarny

          Nope.

          Injuries are more predictable. It’s a safer bet that Pouliot will get injured. He’s never played a full season. Ever.

          You clearly don’t know the meaning of duality. Lucic’ success does not rest on him doing better than Pouliot at his age and no, Pouliot can not get slightly worse due to age and still be better than Lucic.

          For smaller sample sizes, this is why we have advanced stats?

          If you had any knowledge of advanced stats whatsoever you’d know how asinine that statement is lol.

  • Calling Nurse McNuge!!!

    Can we please stop saying “the emergence of Leon Draisaitl”please. He fell off the planet in the second half. I love the guy but let’s be realistic here.

    I also agree with you on Pouliot vs Lucic. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to know which player is considerably more valuable. Shame on Mr. Willis for his skewed stats.

    • GK1980

      I was also dissapointed with drai’s second half but mark my words this kid is for real. If they trade him I’ll be disappointed but will understand. The team does need to make some moves in order to improve.

  • madjam

    Seems evident Chia and Todd sold Hopkins is staying here seeing as they named him to N.America’s under 23 squad , perhaps even as captain of the club . Eberle is our only top six R . Winger and our second, if you can call him that , is a left handed Yakupov playing the off wing . Obviously he has to stay as well . That leaves Hall and he is not being shopped . Does not look currently like any of those 3 will be leaving except by a big over payment by another club , and I doubt that will happen this year . Those that want one or more used in trade this year will be sadly disappointed .

  • passelin

    Problem with Lucic is he will likely be more than $6M, and so that means moving Hall not Pouliot. If you wanna retool the mix that way, fine, but I think we’re ok on the left wing. Save the money for the fast kids up front and get the size on the back end – man I miss Jason Smith.

  • 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.

  • oilbaron

    If the oil need to move out money to acquire a player like Lucic and his AAV will be 6+, I say we make a bigger trade. pouliot is at 4aav and I’m personally happy with what he brings for that. I wouldn’t trade him.
    I still think one of the 6M players + Yak + 4th overall is in play. That frees up 8.5 million, than next season a few more player contracts expire.
    Bridge Draisitle, and sign McD long term is the priority after next season.
    Who says we can’t swing a much bigger deal for both an impact d-man *cough SUBBAN cough* and trade for the rights to the most sought after free agent in over a decade *cough cough*….