Wednesday, October 12, 2005


A steal of a deal, if he were half (or a third) the price

Since my present little hobbyhorse is attempting to show that Mike Peca is a $4M bum before he proves it himself beyond a shadow of a doubt, I checked some statistics (or as we say in Indiana, "Sa-tis-tics").

For starters, I looked at the '03/04 stats for a group of players that most fans would generally consider to be Peca's comparables:

Draw your own conclusions, I suppose: maybe Nieuwendyk and Draper (and even Rucchin & Conroy) are way underpaid, but I'm more inclined to say that Peca, along with Madden, Holik, and Brind' Amour are robbing their teams blind. Here's a few more statistical comparables to Peca:

Of course, those guys probably don't have the same dressing room presence as Peca. That's gotta be worth a couple of mil right there.

One last stats line on a comparable:
Stephane Yelle, CGY, 53-4-13-17, +1, 56.6%, $1.368M

He had some injury problems last year, and his numbers are admittedly weaker than Peca's (although not by a lot), but he is easily Peca's equal or better. I wouldn't trade them straight up, even if Yelle wasn't one-third the price. And since everyone's fond of counting rings around here, I'll note that Yelle has two (2) more than Peca.


Isn't that a Simmons joke, the "satistics" thing?

I am not going to argue that we overpaid for Peca.

No, it's Letterman. I believe Simmons is from Boston, but correct me if I'm wrong.

I don't think any Oilers fan will argue that Peca's 4-million isn't high.

But it was last year's post-rollback contract. He was acquired through a trade, not a free-agent signing. If you want to blame someone for Peca's big money, blame Mad Mike. There was no way K-Lowe could ever convince Peca to renegotiate this admittedly sweet deal. So if you wanted Peca (for any number of reasons) you were stuck with this contract for a single season, and the gamble is that if you can get him signed to a future contract that is more in line with the comparables, things will balance out over the long term.

I will note, however, that Peca's points stats may be somewhat misleading given that he was playing the dirt minutes on a defensive team, in a defensive conference. I'll wager that he gets at least 20-20-40 this year.

But the real question is, why are you so obsessed with the Oilers payroll?

I'm personally pretty happy with Peca's play so far, and I anticipate that it will get stronger as the season goes on.

Good one! It's Mike Milbury's fault that the Oil is paying a guy $4M when he's worth maybe 2.

Clearly Detroit was not going to trade Kris Draper for Mike York. But Nieuwy was a UFA. Rucchin was available to anyone who wanted him, by most accounts. You could have had either of those guys and kept York. Or traded him for another D-man who can log some minutes, or for the next guy to get a shot at the #1 goal position after the inevitable problems.

But hey, Peca won two Selkes, and he probably even deserved the first one. I'm glad you're enjoying his performance as-is, because the anticipation of improvement has a basis in wishful thinking only. I'll guess 76-11-28-39, about a -1 on the season, and lots of cries of, "Why the hell does Mactavish keep putting him out there on the power play!!"

Nieuwy is on his last legs, and wouldn't have lasted half the season in the Western Conference.

Ruccin is 3 years older, his +/- over the last 4 years: -14, -14, -3, -5, and in those last two years he only played 38 and 16 games respectively. He's also a wus with a soft 142 career penalty minutes. No thanks.

Again, why the hate-on for Peca? Don't you have enough griping to do about the fact that Hamrlik is your second highest paid player, or that your two highest paid players had a total of 2 shots last game - both in the first period - despite logging over 40 combined minutes?

Fine. I don't think much of Minus-One Peca, but I don't hate him - I think he's a non-factor. Nieuwy's last legs bear a striking resemblance to Roger Clemens' - he's still twice the player Peca is.

But speaking of pleasant surprises, how about that Roman (+3) Hamrlik! Also, he hit Gilbert Brule so hard he's out for 6 weeks with a broken sternum.

The thing is, the Oilers were looking for a longterm addition, not just a one-season wonder. Peca's contract has to be viewed in the context of a longer-term deal on the horizon.

I can understand why this sort of forward thinking would elude you, however, given the quick set crazy glue being applied down there.

Exactly how many dollars are going to be sitting next to Peter Maher when Regeher gets back?

I'm not so much a Peca doubter, as a Peca-worth-4-million doubter. Trading Mike York still stings, especially since I think we could have used his offence.

I briefly flirted with the Win Shares thing here:

But I think the hard numbers show Peca on the decline of his career with York still having an upside (3rd line excuses aside). Plus York's CHEAP, re-signing with the Islanders for about 2 mill.

Anyone wondering why I'm skeptical when they talk about a guy's "leadership" may want to read this story called "Cleaning Rangers Mess":

But hey, I know Peca is a pretty good player. Maybe overpriced, but still valued on the Oilers roster and I hope he does well.

I don't suppose I have any standing in this argument just now, since Amonte is leading the Flames in scoring and I trashed that signing. Indeed, full marks to Sutter, because satistical-wise the red menace's top six right now are basically five new guys and Iggy.

I'd sure I might feel a lot better about the whole thing if the Oilers were leading the division and the Flames were sucking like the world's biggest Electrolux.

(And while Peca's probably overpriced by a million or so... Jeff Halpern as a comp?? Todd White??)

I suspect York's numbers will drop like a stone this year, as have the dozens of folks before him who have left the prime Oiler icetime for greener pastures (e.g., Comrie, Guerin, Weight, etc.)

Did you say you were using Win Shares for hockey? Right on.

Brass tacks, of course, is that if the Oilers do well this season, and Peca plays decently (i.e. is not visibly detrimental to the team), then no one will care that he was paid $4M, nor should they (we).

But I just wanted to get out front of the copper & blue mob. If the Oilers do well, the idea of signing Peca to an extension at the expense of their other players will seem ludicrous. If they do poorly, then he'll be #1 on the shit list, and again, it'll be so long and good riddance.

P.S. Peca's defensive former team was 5th in goals for last season.

Defensive former team? I honestly don't know what that means.

ref. comment #3, which was explaining why Peca's old stats didn't tell the story, seeing as how his old team was so defensive, etc.

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