Monday, January 08, 2007


WC thru 40

Any number of things might jump out here to You The Reader, so I'm not going to discuss them at much length. The sum of the WC teams' GD in Games 21-40 is +52, which gives you a bit of an idea about the strength of the two conferences (BOS hasn't played their G40 yet, but the EC is going to sum at about -40).

Dennis-IOF had a comment on Lowetide's Selloff post that nails down what I was dancing around yesterday:
But the situation with 94 and the situation with Roli's age BEHOOVES Lowe to move now because I don't honestly know if the potential Cup winning iron's ever gonna be hotter than it is right now.

Indeed. So much of this goes back to what Lowe was thinking once Pronger's agent officially gave word that the Orbs wanted out. In his shoes, my thought would have been something like this:
(A) "Nonetheless, this year's squad has a measurably better chance to win the Stanley Cup than we do in some random future season. If I get a strong present-value return for Pronger, we will again be serious contenders."

Lowe, however, appears to have been thinking one of two other things:
(B) "A lot of things went right for us in last year's playoffs; the fact is, we probably weren't good enough to do that again even with Pronger. If I concede that now, I'll improve our future chances considerably."

(C) "We're a good enough team that I can, in a sense, have my cake and eat it too. Our forward corps will carry this team to the top; I'll trade Pronger for mostly future-value, fill in some holes when/if need be, and in ten years people will look back on the Oilers through that period as the NHL's first dynasty of the salary-cap era."

I dunno. If it was (B), at least you have to give Lowe credit for having a plan and sticking with it, even though it's remarkably pessimistic. If it was (C), then Lowe appears to have seriously misstepped.

It's this very situation that makes me think that Jim Rutherford is probably owed some credit for his guts. The standard take is that what takes courage on a GMs part is not to panic and "mortgage the future", but the opposite is true. Rutherford traded an awesome prospect away, knowing with 99% certainty that in 2011, everyone associated with the Hurricanes (including the fans, obviously) will be thinking, "Man, it would be nice to have Jack Johnson on the blueline right now". He made the trade knowing that if in 2011, Jack Johnson is winning the Norris Trophy, wearing a 'C', and receiving the Stanley Cup in Staples Center from NHL Commissioner Brian Burke, he's going to be downright infamous. That takes guts, but he did it because he knew his team was pretty good but needed some help now, and that the future is a bit of a crapshoot.

Holding on to your prospect because he might become a pretty nice player some day on your team that may or may not be a contender? That's not guts -- it might not even be smart -- but you'll never be infamous.


Rutherford just picked up another d-man, too.

The other things is that the Oilers have some decent prospects, better than what they ever had during the 90's. And the pool has some depth to it too.

Thing is, they do NOT have a Jack Johnson in the system. So Lowe shouldn't be scared. He's not going to be giving away the next Ales Hemsky by trading Robbie Schremp.

__Lowe, however, appears to have been thinking one of two other things:

(B) "A lot of things went right for us in last year's playoffs; the fact is, we probably weren't good enough to do that again even with Pronger. If I concede that now, I'll improve our future chances considerably."__

This sounds an awful lot like something Flames fans would WANT to believe. The fact of the matter is that in the the last three series the Oilers earned every one of their 11 wins by consistently outchancing the other team.

There would be some changes to this team if we were still carrying Pronger's 6 mill, ie the first thing is neither 15 or 71 would be here and eating up a combined 5.1 million, but it would also mean he'd be on the PP over Bergeron for instance and that he'd be taking ES min away from "talents" such as Greene and Smid.

We'd lose GF but it's all about GD at the end of the day and Lupul's a staggering minus when it comes to that regard.

I think Lowe had a case of magic bean syndrome when it came to Smid and once he started playing for the Oilers then Lowe started worrying about the optics of farming out a guy that was acquired for Pronger.

Plus he overestimated the ability of the forwards to drive the results with this D crops, ie magic beans once again with Lupul, and even a guy like Shaggy hasn't panned out like they thought he would.

And now Lowe's playing this dangerous game where he knows he has to deal but he's trying to drag it out for as long as possible. I'm thinking he has this magic number in mind about how many points out we have to be before he jumps and he's gonna try and toe that line.

Brian Burke as commissioner. I like that.
Lets make this happen.

cynical joe said...

This I completley agree with, but not only did Lowe overestimate the ability, even more dangerously he overpaid IMHO the wrong parts of the offensive equation, and now has left himself too close to the cap/budget to continue incrementally improving the team. Now, he has to make the either/or choices involving probably Smyth, Stoll, Cogliano, Schremp.

This is all wrong on many levels.

First of all, forwards aren't just about offense - they contribute to results at both ends of the ice.

Secondly, you haven't even identified the problem. Matt came the closest - the Oilers have been treating this year like a player development experiment, largely because of the Pronger trade they made. That is the true problem. It's sort of like Sutter playing Phaneuf a lot last year in the playoffs. You know how that goes...

Thirdly, Lowe did not overpay for his forward talent this offseason. Reasons why:
Fact #1: Pisani generates positive goal differential at ES. He's doing this the same as always.

Fact#2: Hemsky is the single most important PP producer on the squad and he is returning to form despite a slow start and an injury. His ES numbers are respectable as well.

Fact#3: Horcoff had a slow start and is now having an incredibly unlucky year offensively. Despite that he still takes the tough minutes, wins a lot of draws and keeps his ESGA down enough that he hasn't been a total write-off at even strength. He also plays a lot on the PK. Furthermore, he's also been a pretty decent contributor to the Oilers' PP with the 2nd highest PPP/hr on the club all the while spending most of his PP time with the second unit.

I have no idea why you listed those players at the bottom. The only one in doubt there is Smyth and they still have room to bite the bullet there if they so desire.

__If this is true why was it so difficult for the Oilers to sneak into the playoffs?__

The first obvious awnser to that question is that Roli spent his regular season tenure as an Oiler shaking off the rust. Then poof it was gone come G1 in Det and we were off to the races.

Not to mention that MacT put together that Torres-Peca-Pisani line and those guys found some chem and became absolutely miserable to play against.

And of course the '06 Oilers, if you were paying attention, had consistently outchanced the opp virtually all season and all they needed was a tender to stop all the stoppable ones and then pull out of a few dandies.

Once Roli did that then we rolled.

I'm not so confident that the '07 club is so well suited for a long run, in fact I'd go on the record and say they're absolutely not ready for a long run unless Hejda plays a big role, one of Greene or Smid grow up at a rate akin to Tom Hanks in Big and Lowe goes out and finds a Pitkanen or a Brew. And that's not to mention that we're soft on the wings. of course Moreau's return will cure a bit of that.

But that's this year and last year anyone could see all the team needed was netminding.


Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?