Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Islander's First Round Pick.

The Islanders could pick anywhere from 11th-17th in the upcoming draft (if they miss the playoffs or go out in the first round). Let's take a look at the quality of players that have been drafted in these positions from 2001-2004 (2005 and 2006 are moot, it's too soon to tell whether or not these players will have an impact).

Legend: Impact Player - NHL Regular - BUST - Too Soon To Tell


11 Phoenix Fredrik Sjostrom
12 Nashville Dan Hamhuis
13 Edmonton Ales Hemsky
14 Calgary Chuck Kobasew
15 Carolina IGOR KNYAZEV
16 Vancouver R.J. Umberger
17 Toronto Carlo Colaiacovo


11 Buffalo Keith Ballard
12 Washington Steve Eminger
13 Washington Alexander Semin
14 Mtl. Canadiens Chris Higgins
17 Washington Boyd Gordon


11 Philadelphia Jeff Carter
13 Los Angeles Dustin Brown
14 Chicago Brent Seabrook
15 NY Islanders Robert Nilsson
16 San Jose Steve Bernier
17 New Jersey Zach Parise


11 Los Angeles Lauri Tukonen
12 Minnesota A.J. Thelen
13 Buffalo Drew Stafford
14 Edmonton Devan Dubnyk
15 Nashville Alexander Radulov
17 St. Louis Marek Schwarz G

2001 to 2004 mid range first round draft results:

Impact players: 9/23* = 39%
NHL Regular: 9/23* = 39%
BUSTS: 5/23* = 22%

* For obvious reasons, I subtracted the 5 too soon to tell players from the total.

I'm a pretty big poker player, and I love turning over AA all in preflop versus an under pair (KK, QQ, JJ). In this situation, I'm approximately a 5-1 favourite to win the pot. These are the same odds Kevin Lowe will have on draft day to turn the Islander's pick into an NHL regular or better.

Here's to Kev's rockets holding up.

Monday, March 19, 2007

MacT is the 2nd best coach in the NHL

Inspired by this article from the 4th period:

Here is my generic and useless list of the 'three things' NHL coaches have in common:

1. Obvious observation about how they work hard.

2. Obvious observation about how their interaction with the public is important.

3. Something stupid about how all coaches get fired.

Here is where I backtrack and say that retiring, stepping down and getting fired are the same thing. I don't bother to prove this, I just put it out there.

Here is where I assert that coaches have an impact on the game. I'm a really big deal you know.

Here i use the word "obstreperous" so that people will take me seriously.

Here I arbitrarily rank 30 NHL head coaches. I don't really have a formula; although I did ask some 'assorted hockey folk' I know to share their uninformed opinions. Here I make sure to attach the obligatory "one man's opinion line", just to make sure no one in their right mind takes me seriously.

30. Coach on a very bad team.
29. Michel Therrien. <--- I smoke rocks.
28. Coach on a very bad team.
27. Coach on a very bad team.
26. Coach on a very bad team.
25. Coach on a bad team.
24. Coach on a bad team.
23. Coach on a bad team.
22. Coach on a bad team.
21. Jim Playfair.
20. Brian Murray. <--- I smoke rocks.
19. Ron Wilson.
18. Coach on a mediocre team.
17. Coach on a mediocre team.
16. Coach on a mediocre team.
15. Coach on a good team.
14. Coach on a good team.
13. Coach on a good team.
12. Coach on a good team.
11. Coach on a good team.
10. Coach on a good team.
9. Coach on a very good team.
8. Coach on a very good team.
7. Coach on a very good team.
6. Paul Maurice. <--- I smoke rocks.
5. Coach on a great team.
4. Coach on a great team.
3. Coach on a great team.
2. MacT.
1. Jesus.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Sykora Wants To Stay, But Is He Welcome?

Even with the Oilers out of the playoff picture a year after reaching Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final and mired in the throes an eight-game losing streak, Sykora isn't counting the days until July 1 when he becomes an unrestricted free agent and can sign with any team in the league. He says he wants to stay.

"I like it here," Sykora said Wednesday. "The first 40 games, when we had a healthy lineup, that was the best time I've had in hockey in a long time. I'm playing with players who suit me and playing the kind of hockey that suits me."


I wouldn't want to be in Kevin Lowe's shoes when this summer rolls around. On the surface, it seems to be an easy choice to resign Sykora. He has produced at a pretty good clip this year, and if he wants to return for around 3M, resigning him seems like a no brainer. However, as outlined in the post below, Lowe has approximately 8M to spend on 2F, 2D and 1G. If indeed Lowe does want to bring in a big name FA, it is unlikely that there will be 3M dollars to spare in the budget. The only other option would be to move a roster forward to free up budget space. Of the possible forwards (Lupul, Pisani, Moreau, Stoll, Torres), only Lupul seems to make sense. Unfortunately, his value is so low that a trade would pretty much be a salary dump, and I just don't think dealing him under those circumstances constitutes good asset management.

Personally, I'd let Sykora walk and use the money to patch up the blue line.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Money money money money, MONEY.

Let's check out the financial situation of the 2007-2008 Edmonton Oilers.
* Estimated salary.

Lock to make the team:
Horcoff: 3.6
Hemsky: 3.6
Moreau: 2.75
Lupul: 2.535
Pisani: 2.5
Stoll: 2.2
Reasoner: .9
*Torres: 1.9
8/9F @ 20M
Likely to make the team out of camp:
Pouliot: .9
Thoresen: 0.5
Jacques: 0.6
Nilsson: .9
4/5F @ 3M

Lock to make the team:
Staios: 2.9
Smith: 1.9
Smid: 0.7
*Grebeshkov: 0.9 (Lowe stated that he is signed to a 1 year deal)
*Greene: 0.9
4/7D @ 7.4M

Roloson: 3.6
1/2G @ 3.6M

Total committed Salary: 34M

Positions to fill:

Forwards: 1 top 9, 1 press box.
Defensemen: 2 top 6, 1 press box.
Goaltenders: 1 backup.
Budget: 34/42=8M (42M is a generous estimate)

How would you spend the cash?

Sunday, March 11, 2007

The Springfield Isotopes.

AHL sources say the Oilers will have their farm team in Springfield, Mass. where the league headquarters are, next season with, Tampa Bay moving to Norfolk, Va. The Blackhawks are pulling up stakes in Norfolk to move to Rockford, Ill., just outside Chicago.
- Jim Matheson

Good news from Today's journal, it looks like the Oilers will have a full AHL affiliate next year in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Let's take a look at the minor league depth chart:

Signed through next season:

C: Schremp (AHL), O'Marra (OHL), Pouliot (AHL->NHL), Almtorp (EU), Johansson (EU), Spurgeon (ECHL->AHL), Sestito (AHL->ECHL).
RW: Goulet (ECHL), Stortini (AHL->NHL), Bodie (ECHL->AHL), Thoresen (NHL)
LW: Reddox (ECHL), Jacques (AHL->NHL), Trukhno (QMJHL), Nilsson (AHL)
D: Gilbert (AHL->NHL), Svret (AHL-NHL), Young (ECHL->AHL->NHL), Bisallion (QMJHL)
G: Dubnyk (ECHL)


C: Brodziak (AHL->NHL)
LW: Radunske (AHL->ECHL), Mikhnov (NHL-AHL-EU)
RW: None
D: Roy (AHL->NHL), Grebeshkov (EU)
G: Deslauriers (AHL)

It's safe to say that the Oilers will resign all of the RFAs except Mikhnov. Whether or not he wants to come back to North America on a two-way contract still remains to be seen. Further, Grebeshkov left for the RSL last year after holding out for a one way contract, it's safe to say that he and the Oilers have agreed to a one way deal, so it's unlikely he will be in Springfield.

Unsigned that could go pro:

C: Cogliano (College)
LW: Pettersson (EU)
RW: McDonald (College), Umicevic (EU)
D: Chorney (College), Hrabel (EU)
G: Fisher (College)

Cogliano has publicly stated that he wants to play another year in college. There is a good chance the Oilers will sign Pettersson, Chorney, Umicevic, Hrabel, McDonald and Fisher.

Hypothetical minor league roster:

Jacques* - Pouliot* - Thoresen*
Nilsson* - Schremp* - Stortini*
Trukhno - Brodziak* - Pettersson
Spurgeon- O'Marra - Bodie
Reddox - Goulet - Umicevic
Almtorp - Johansson - Sestito

Gilbert* - Roy*
Svret* - Chorney
Bisallion - Young


*Players marked with asterixes will likely compete for NHL spots.

NHL Roster:

F: Hemsky, Horcoff, Torres, Moreau, Stoll, Pisani, Lupul, Reasoner, UFA 9/14 = 5 spots (2 PB)
D: Smith, Staios, Grebeshkov, Greene, Smid, UFA - 6/7 = 1 spot (1 PB)
G: Roloson - 1/2 = 1 spots

What I would like to see is Brodziak and Jacques in the PB while Pouliot, Nilsson and Thoresen make the line up. I'd also like to see us sign 2 UFA d men, leaving Roy, Svret et al in the minors. Deslaurier as a 25 game backup to Roloson would also be nice.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Patrick Thoresen: Norwegian Extraordinaire!

I thought Thoresen was one of the best Oiler skaters in last nights game against the Ducks. I really like this kid, he's struggled to score for 2+ months yet still has respectable numbers. That's quite an accomplishment for an undrafted player playing his first NHL season.

Desjardins has him 133 league wide in terms of adjust +/- (D and F)

Oilers when he is on the ice:

Oilers when he is not on the ice:

Adjusted ratio:

He's also middle of the pack in terms of quality of competition (281/619).

Very respectable indeed.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

UFAs To Target: Kimo Timonen.

I think Kimo Timonen would be an excellent free agent for Kevin Lowe to go after this offseason. In his post defending Smyth's value, Rivers commented that he has "a sneaking suspicion that if the Oilers do get a UFA, they'll make a major mistake on someone obviously not elite like Timonen." This got me thinking, is Timonen an elite player? From what I can tell, if Smyth is considered elite then so should Timonen. Frankly, I think that 5.5/5 would be spent wisely if we went after Timonen this offseason. He's 31, and I think it's widely agreed that defensemen begin to peak somewhere around 30 years old.

Let's shoot high here, and compare Timonen's and Lidstrom's 2006-2007 campaigns:

Numbers are courtesy of Gabe Desjardins via his site behindthenet

On ice GF/GA

Lidstrom: GF: 3.76 GA: 1.59 Ratio: +2.18
Timonen: GF: 3.90 GA: 2.50 Ratio: +1.40

Both players' numbers are very impressive. However, it's clear that Lidstrom holds a significant advantage.

Quality of Competition:

Lidstrom: 0.0818
Timonen: 0.0793

This is pretty much a wash, both players are playing tough minutes and outscoring their opposition.

Powerplay +/- over 60 minutes:

Lidstrom: +6.05 | Teammates: +5.04 | Ratio: +1.01
Timonen: +7.20 | Teammates: +5.40 | Ratio: +1.80

A clear advantage for Timonen. Moreover, his superiority is still evident when you take into account the superior teammates Timonen is on the PP with.

Shorthanded +/- over 60 minutes:

Lidstrom: -4.50
Timonen: -3.86

Another clear advantage for Timonen.

All and all it appears that Kimo Timonen is an elite player. He significantly outscores his competition while playing the tough minutes and excels on both the PP and the PK. Moreover, when compared to a future HHOF like Lidstrom, Timonen not only holds his own at ES, but looks like the better player on special teams.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Ryan Smyth Tribute Video

Courtesy of Youtube's Hemsky

Ryan Smyth's Worth: A comprehensive analysis.

Lowe made the right choice.

I base my opinion on existing contracts, Kevin Lowe's budget, Smyth's production, his durability, his age, his status as an unrestricted free agent, his ability to play tough minutes while outscoring, his leadership and his loyalty to the team he clearly loves to play for.

1. Knowledge of Existing Contracts.

Best Examples:

Jason Arnott: Agreed to a five-year, $22.5 (4.5m/year) million dollar deal in this past off season. He was 31 years old when he signed the deal.

Arnott* - Smyth
Games: 824 - 770
Goals: 276 (0.33) - 265 (0.34)
Assists: 368 (0.45) - 284 (0.37)
Points: 644 (0.78) - 549 (0.71)

* Stats are based on the time before he signed his latest deal.

Season of negotiations:
Arnott - Smyth*
Games: 81 - 72
Goals: 32 - 42
Assists: 44 - 30
Points: 76 - 72

* Stats are prorated over remaining games.

Steve Sullivan: Agreed to a four-year, $12.8 (3.2m/year) million dollar deal in the summer of 2005. He was 31 years old when he signed the deal.

Sullivan* - Smyth
Games: 597 - 770
Goals: 175 (0.29) - 265 (0.34)
Assists: 274 (0.46) - 284 (0.37)
Points: 449 (0.75) - 549 (0.71)

* Stats are based on the time before he signed his latest deal.

Season of negotiations:
Sullivan - Smyth*
Games: 81 - 72
Goals: 23 - 42
Assists: 49 - 30
Points: 72 - 72

* Stats are prorated over remaining games.

Rod Brind'Amour: Agreed to a five-year, $18 (3.6m/year) million dollar contract in this past offseason. He was 35 years old when he signed the deal.

Brind'Amour* - Smyth
Games: 1187 - 770
Goals: 382 (0.32) - 265 (0.34)
Assists: 599 (0.50) - 284 (0.37)
Points: 981 (0.83) - 549 (0.71)

* Stats are based on the time before he signed his latest deal.

Season of negotiations:
Brind'Amour - Smyth*
Games: 78 - 72
Goals: 31 - 42
Assists: 39 - 30
Points: 80 - 72

* Stats are prorated over remaining games.

Saku Koivu: Agreed to a three-year, $14.25 (4.75m/year) million dollar contract during last season. He was 31 years old when he signed the deal.

Koivu* - Smyth
Games: 569 - 770
Goals: 137 (0.24) - 265 (0.34)
Assists: 323 (0.58) - 284 (0.37)
Points: 460 (0.80) - 549 (0.71)

* Stats are based on the time before he signed his latest deal.

Season of negotiations:
Koivu - Smyth*
Games: 72 - 72
Goals: 17 - 42
Assists: 45 - 30
Points: 62 - 72

* Stats are prorated over remaining games.

Daniel Alfredsson:
Agreed to a five-year, $24.7* (4.339m/year) million dollar contract the summer before the lockout. He was 31 years old when he signed the deal.

*Prorated to reflect lockout rollback

Alfredsson* - Smyth
Games: 629 - 770
Goals: 219 (0.35) - 265 (0.34)
Assists: 350 (0.56) - 284 (0.37)
Points: 569 (0.90) - 549 (0.71)

* Stats are based on the time before he signed his latest deal.

Season of negotiations:
Alfredsson - Smyth*
Games: 72 - 72
Goals: 32 - 42
Assists: 48 - 30
Points: 80 - 72

* Stats are prorated over remaining games.

Martin St. Louis:
Agreed to a six-year, $31.5 (5.25m/year) million dollar contract in this past offseason. He was 30 years old when he signed the deal.

St. Louis* - Smyth
Games: 444 - 770
Goals: 140 (0.32) - 265 (0.34)
Assists: 180 (0.41) - 284 (0.37)
Points: 320 (0.72) - 549 (0.71)

* Stats are based on the time before he signed his latest deal.

Season of negotiations:
St. Louis - Smyth*
Games: 80 - 72
Goals: 31 - 42
Assists: 30 - 30
Points: 61 - 72

* Stats are prorated over remaining games.

You can draw your own conclusions from this, I think things are pretty clear.

2. Kevin Lowe's Budget.

Although the salary cap was supposed to introduce parity for the Oilers organization, after two years under the new CBA it's clear that this team will not spend to the cap. Thus all monies must be spent responsibly, so that the team can remain competitive with other organizations that do spend to the cap.

3. Smyth's Production.

Over his career, Smyth has averaged 0.71 Points Per Game. Before this years campaign, his best year in terms of PPG was 2002-2003 where he scored 66 points in 61 games (0.92). This year, Smyth is exceeding this total, and is averaging a point per game. However, it's safe to say that in light of both his career PPG (0.71) and his output this season (1), that it's unrealistic to expect a continuation of the current PPG average throughout the length of a 5 year contract. It is prudent to expect Smyth to put up around 0.80 PPG during that term. Thus the contract should be structured around the expectation of 0.80 PPG. As you can see above, 5.75m/y will buy you a lot more than 0.80 PPG.

4. Smyth's durability

Not including his rookie season, Smyth potentially could have played 868 games at this point in his career. I am aware that this is an unrealistic expectation; however, my intention is only to use it as a basis to determine the percentage of games he has played in.

Potential: 868
Actual*: 786
Percentage: 91%

* Gives the benefit of the doubt that he will play the remaining 19 games this season.

This is a fairly good result. Smyth is neither particularly durable nor is he injury prone.

5. Unrestricted Free Agency.

All the comparable contracts I included were signed by unrestricted free agents. Refer to them for comparison.

6. Tough Minutes and Outscoring Ability.

Here is where you make up the ground between a Jason Arnott and a Ryan Smyth. Their numbers may be similar, but Smyth has taken a much harder road (especially in the last couple years). Still, is this ability really worth in excess of 1m dollars per season on top of the fact that Arnott outscores Smyth? I just can't bring myself to believe that it is.

7. Character and Loyalty.

The above is why I wouldn't have been upset if Smyth had signed for 5.4m/5. By all measurements, even that would have been any overpay. However, one that is understandable due to the intangibles that Ryan Smyth brings to a team. Can you put a dollar value on this sort of thing? Frankly, I think Kevin Lowe did, and that's why he went as high as 27m/5. It's just too bad that they couldn't work things out.

Thursday, March 01, 2007