Tuesday, July 15, 2008

 

Oilers Stuff

...Right next to the bed there's usually a dresser or a bureau of some kind, and there's NO ROOM for your stuff on it. Somebody else's shit is on the dresser.

Have you noticed that their stuff is shit and your shit is stuff? God! And you say, "Get that shit offa there and let me put my stuff down!" - George Carlin

Considering they were inactive (and/or struck out) in the UFA market, it looks like the Oilers did pretty well for themselves the past few weeks. From my perch at the south end of the province, my biggest take is that they improved themselves by subtraction.

On Lubo for Stoll/Greene: leaving aside the question of exactly how good, the Oil picked up a good defenseman who the coach can play in all situations comfortably with the knowledge that he'll probably perform well. Those guys aren't rare exactly, but they don't fall out of trees either. A useful acquisition. The real key here, though, was cutting their losses on Stoll and Greene.

Stoll might be missed SH, though MacT & Co. have proven success at coaching guys up to be sound PKers. On the PP, he's good but replaceable. And at EV, I have little doubt that the Oilers will be better for Stoll's departure. I'm not sure exactly how to express this, so perhaps it suffices to say that now that Stoll is gone, Mactavish will find that in all those situations where he leaned on Stoll, there are indeed alternatives, and he will be better off on balance with the alternatives than with Stoll. [Sidebar: can we all agree that MacT's cowbell is faceoffs?]

Matt Greene simply will not be missed. They don't need him. The only reason to keep him around was the sunk cost fallacy, and Lowe smartly avoided that trap. For this contract and at least the next one, Greene looks to be the kind of player who is paid based on who the team hopes he will be, or wishes he was, rather than what he is.

On Cole for Pitkanen: great trade for the Oilers. Erik Cole is a nice solid forward who outscores the opposition; who doesn't need those. And divesting themselves of Pitkanen was almost definitely the right move for the Oilers, particularly given that he wasn't signed yet.

Question: what does Joni Pitkanen do very well that helps your team win? He's an OK defender, but he's not Robyn Regehr. He's OK on the PP -- or at least he looks like he should be -- but he's not good enough to pay as a Big O, PP QB-type defenseman. He skates well with the puck, but isn't always sure what to do with it; he hits but doesn't intimidate. Further to yesterday's post, I think if you're going to hitch your wagon to a defenseman and pay him big dough, he ought to be a really positive difference-maker in at least one area, and I just don't see it. Add in the post-trade rumblings about his attitude (or whatever you want to call it), and trading him seems like the absolute right decision.

On Brule for Torres: the first time I saw Brule play was for the BJs as an 18-year-old, in the 2nd game of the post-lockout season. Partway through the game, brand-new Flame Roman Hamrlik lined him up and broke his breastbone with a shoulder to the chest. Now that is a horrible way to start your pro career. He has shown pretty much squat as a pro, but I think in his case it really is too early to know what he'll be. Apart from Crosby, even the success stories of the '05 draft aren't that far ahead of Brule.

This is a good trade for the Jackets I think, but I'll stop short of saying it's a bad trade for the Oilers. Perhaps they could have gotten a better raffle ticket in exchange, but trading Torres (regardless of cap considerations) has been in the cards for a while now.

Is all this -- in conjunction with the (presumptive) continued improvement of Gagner, Cogliano, Nilsson, and (possibly) Hemsky -- enough to give the Oil a shot at the NW title, especially given that none of the other 4 teams seem to have made strides? Maybe.

**Dept. of Whoa, whoa, whoa, settle down there: Craig Conroy is a bit overexcited, I think:
"We're not in the offensive mode like we were with Juice (Kristian Huselius) and Tangs (Alex Tanguay), but we're kind of like getting back to the team of '04 with grit," said the veteran Flames centre.

"We'll make it really uncomfortable to play against. Do you really want those guys like (Todd) Bertuzzi and Iggy coming at you and those young guys flying at you, too? I'm starting to see a lot more similarities."

If I can use Bertuzzi and 'grit' in the same sentence next year, I'll be thrilled. And speaking of excitement, I did enjoy this typically frank Craig Mactavish quote, italics mine:
"I can't remember a period of time over the last 15 years where we've been so excited heading into training camp," he said. "We say that every year, mind you, but this year we actually mean it."

Heh. Last season they were despondent heading into training camp, and ecstatic by the end of the pre-season. If it's the opposite this time around, that'd suit me just fine.

Comments:

Matt Greene simply will not be missed. They don't need him. The only reason to keep him around was the sunk cost fallacy, and Lowe smartly avoided that trap. For this contract and at least the next one, Greene looks to be the kind of player who is paid based on who the team hopes he will be, or wishes he was, rather than what he is.

Plus, his positive contributions are easily replaced by newly-signed Jason Strudwick at half the cost, and with fewer negatives.
 


Nice post and pretty objective considering it's written by a Flames fan. A good read, solid analysis, logical conclusions. Have you posted such an analysis on the Flames yet? I'd like to read it.
 


I like the use of lost-cause fallacy, only in zoological circles, we call it the Concorde Fallacy.
 


Have you posted such an analysis on the Flames yet? I'd like to read it.

Check two threads down, jeez.
 


There are a number of other factors too, Matt, which I think make it less likely the Oilers challenge for the NW title. In fact, I think a playoff spot is still pretty unlikely.

First, they are exceedingly unlikely to repeat last year's shootout/OT success, which, as I think you pointed out at some point last season, means they have to improve a fair bit, just to tread water when it comes to actual points. Even if you concede that they will be better in the real hockey part of the game, how much will it actually reflect in the standings?

Second, they have a goaltender who is 38, and likely to continue to decline.

Third, it seems unlikely to me that all of their youngsters would continue to improve. It's a pretty rare young player who steps into the NHL without a couple of hiccups. For the entire young core of the Oilers to step forward together in only their 2nd year seems like a pretty long shot.
 


Second, they have a goaltender who is 38, and likely to continue to decline.

You mean the backup goaltender, right? As opposed to, say, a divisional rival with a 6 million dollar man who peaked four years ago and has been on a downward slope ever since?
 


I'd say we'll have a way better first half this year than last, which is where we basically fucked ourselves out of contention. Even then, with less assets and much less experience than we have now, we almost made the big show.

Maybe not a division winner, but right there for the playoffs. After that, we'll see.
 


BTW - where's Andy? Did he retire again?
 


Does Andy have you doing the Oilers' posts too now? I hope you're getting paid double...
 


Next up, Matt writes for Hot Oil.
 


I'm glad someone is writing about the Oil around here.
 


Hey, Matt, how about you throw up an post about a new arena in Edmonton. I can't get enough of those!

/sarcasm
 


You mean the backup goaltender, right? As opposed to, say, a divisional rival with a 6 million dollar man who peaked four years ago and has been on a downward slope ever since?

Always best to bring the snarky when you don't have any real comeback. Matt's post was about the Oilers, not the Flames, and I was responding to it. Even if my point 2 is invalid, I still think the other two factors I mentioned make it unlikely the Oilers improve as much as you are hoping.
 


Brule will be hit or miss, we could have the next Comrie/Lupul situation on our hands with a kid born in Edmonton. On the other hand we could have an incredible talent who looks around training camp at the other young players and says to himself "i was taken 10 spots ahead of Cogliano in the draft" and might actually step up his game. either way, i think Cole is a big upgrade over Torres, and Lubo is an upgrade over Pitkanen. If Brule comes out of nowhere to be a starter, then the Oil are in great shape this season.
 


Are there any truth to the rumours of a trade between Ottawa? Horcoff-Roloson-Schremp for Spezza-and a player to be named?
 


Our fwd vs. fwd match-ups:

Cole vs. Iginla
Moreau vs. Bertuzzi
Penner vs. Boyd
Nilsson vs. Moss

Horcoff vs. Langkow
Brodziak vs. Lomabardi
Pouliot vs. Primeau
Cogliano vs. Conroy

Hemsky vs. Cammalleri
Storitini vs. Glencross
Pisani vs. Nystrom
Gagner vs. Bourque

Only one match-up worries me and I think Strudwick will be on the LD with Gilbert when Gagner is on the ice for the three games in Calgary.

Goaltending:

Garon 2.66 GAA .913 SV%
Kiprusoff 2.69 GAA .906 SV%

I smile.
 


There's no truth to anything out of Ottawa ever. They're not going to trade Spezza. We're not going to trade Horcoff (at least, not unless everything goes to hell at the deadline).
 


Horcoff is signed for at least five more. It's on the Oilers' official site.
 


Six years, maybe a tad long, but if the cap hit is reasonable I'm going to do a little jig.
 


It's a five year extension on the deal he had one year left on. So yeah: six more years!
 


"The Edmonton Oilers have agreed to terms with forward Shawn Horcoff on a six-year contract extension. The extension will keep Horcoff under contract through the 2014-15 season."

I am dyslexic, so it's possible I misread that, but I think it's a six year extension for a total of seven.
 


Always best to bring the snarky when you don't have any real comeback. Matt's post was about the Oilers, not the Flames, and I was responding to it. Even if my point 2 is invalid, I still think the other two factors I mentioned make it unlikely the Oilers improve as much as you are hoping.

I was simply suggesting that Roloson's performance isn't really a critical factor going forward.

As for your first and third points, I tend to agree with them, but a) I think the improvements have been enough to move into a playoff spot, and b) I think the majority of the young core will move forward, given the addition of useful veterans and the subtraction of some less-useful ones.
 


Cynical Joe, get back on your meds.
 


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