Monday, March 24, 2008

Oilers v. Wild - Leviticus 5:2

If a person loses to any ceremonially unclean team—whether it be the Wild or the Ducks or the Predators who creep along the ice—even when he is overmatched, he has become unclean and is guilty.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Oilers v. Avalanche - Matthew 26:20-25

When evening came, Kevin, the prophet, was reclining at the table with the Ten. While they were eating, he said, "I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me." The Ten were greatly distressed and began to say to him one after the other, "Surely not I." Kevin replied, "The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. The great prophet of the EIG will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the EIG! It would be better for him if he had not been born." Then Ryan, the one who would betray him, said, "Surely not I, O prophet?" Kevin answered, "Yes, it is you."

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Oilers v. Canucks - 1 Samuel 1:19-20

Early on the 8th day of the 8th month of the 1st year of the reign of Brind’Amour (8,8+1=9, 89), the second prophet awoke to worship Yahweh and after finishing his sacrifice, he returned home. The prophet consulted with Craig his coach and Yahweh remembered them. So in the course of time the prophet looked and chose a son. His name was Samuel son of David son of Armand the Chathammite. This was because they had asked Yahweh for him.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Sam Gagner in Historical Context

In November, Tyler Dellow posted about how well Sam Gagner was doing as an 18-year-old rookie. Since 1997-1998 only 17 other players have played at least 120 minutes in the NHL at age 18:

Sam Gagner is one of two players that qualify for that distinction this season (if anyone knows how to make it into a nice little chart as Tyler has done, while still being able to import it to Blogger, please let me know):

Player Name TOI G/60 A/60 P/60
Sam Gagner 868.33 0.41 1.52 1.93
Patrick Kane 972.00 0.62 1.60 2.22
David Perron 529.36 1.02 0.91 1.93
Milan Lucic 712.64 0.51 1.18 1.68

Gagner compares very favourably with the best 18-year old NHL seasons, sitting between Marleau and Kovalchuk. This is encouraging. It's obvioius that most players in the NHL at age 18 are very good and that most of them only get better. I included Perron and Lucic even though this is their 19-year-old season since they came from the same draft. I think that their results probably speak to just how much of a difference there is between an 18-year-old NHL player and a 19-year-old NHL player and what might be expected of them. Perron's numbers are tied with Gaborik and Milan Lucic is outdoing Scott Hartnell and, of course, they're both outperforming Joe Thornton. If Perron and Lucic turn out to be as good at age 25 as Gaborik and Hartnell, I think that will say a ton about the potential of the NHL as a good place to develop young players. Having said that, I don't think either player can cover the bet. Given that Kane is also seven and a half months older than Gagner (is it really an 18-year-old season if your birthday is in November?), I think Gagner's season is even more impressive. He is a special player and is starting to make a difference at the NHL level today. I think the Oilers should feel compelled to build towards competing for the Cup in the last year of his (and Cogliano's) entry level contract. That ought to be the target.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Oilers v. Coyotes - Psalm 22:16-20

Coyotes have surrounded me.
A band of evil men has encircled me,
they have broken my shoulders and my feet.
I count all my man games lost.

People stare and gloat over me.
They divide my draft picks,
and cast lots for their draft position.

But you, O Yahweh, are not far off.
O my Strength, come quickly to help me.
Deliver my life from mathematical elimination,
my playoff life from the power of the Coyotes.

Monday, March 17, 2008

RFA Offer Sheet

Earlier this year Speeds at IOF suggested that the cap should rise to somewhere in the neighbourhood of 53.3 million dollars. Given that a completely accurate number isn’t really necessary for my purposes, we’ll just assume that figure is correct for now. Given that, an offer sheet of $819,571.74 or less this offseason will garner no compensation. This gives teams a great new opportunity to steal young depth from opponents. Is this appropriate for the Oilers? It would seem so. The beauty of being owned by the Batmillionaire is that we can bury guys on one-way contracts in the minors if they don’t win a spot in camp. If they're claimed on waivers, so much the better. Camp is more competitive and we obtain potential NHL players for no assets other than money.

There are really two groups of players one could target: semi-failed prospects and young low level NHL players. Examples of the first sort on the Oilers might include J.F. Jacques and Marc Pouliot. If the Bruins are interested in J.F. Jacques why not try to acquire him for free. If they sign him to a one-way deal at $800,000 for a year, I think that the Oilers would be tempted to let him go. If they sign him but then decide to send him down on waivers, the Bruins would have the opportunity of acquiring him for free there too. A guy like Pouliot could get a similar offer from a divisional opponent with weak bottom six depth, like the Vancouver Luongos. They can acquire a player they can use and in the process hurt Edmonton’s organizational depth, or force the Oilers to spend more money than they'd like on Pouliot. Why the heck not! With low-level guys I'm thinking of a guy like Stortini. Would you pay Stortini $800,000 per over two years, or would you let him walk for nothing? If nothing else, a team could limit how much Edmonton can spend on other players by offering this kind of deal.

In the next few weeks, I'd like to look at some guys the Oilers might consider. First up is Jeff Tambellini, who has elicited
some discussion in the past, currently owned by the New York Islanders and due a QO of 1.04M. If they offer him a two-way QO and he declines, we might be able to get away with a one-way deal larger than the Islanders are willing to pay. Here is Tambellini's career so far:

Age 18 NCAA – Michigan (43gp) .605 G/gm .442 A/gm 1.047 P/gm
Age 19 NCAA – Michigan (39gp) .385 G/gm .308 A/gm 0.693 P/gm
Age 20 NCAA – Michigan (42gp) .571 G/gm .786 A/gm 1.357 P/gm
Age 21 AHL – Manchester (56gp).446 G/gm .554 A/gm 1.000 P/gm
Age 22 AHL – Bridgeport (50gp) .600 G/gm .580 A/gm 1.180 P/gm
Age 23 AHL – Bridgeport (46gp) .630 G/gm .630 A/gm 1.260 P/gm

He put up a point per game at 21 and has imporved bit by bit at age 22 and age 23. He’s up with the Isles right now, who are probably trying to see if they want to sign him. Jeff comes to us from the magic 2003 draft where everything turns to gold unless you were drafted by an Oiler or ex-Oiler. Let’s compare him to a couple of collegians who have made something of themselves: Zach Parise, and Drew Stafford:

Age 18 NCAA – N. Dakota (39gp) .667 G/gm .897 A/gm 1.564 P/gm
Age 19 NCAA – N. Dakota (37gp) .623 G/gm .864 A/gm 1.487 P/gm
Age 20 AHL – Albany (73gp) .247 G/gm .548 A/gm 0.795 P/gm

Age 18 NCAA – N. Dakota (36gp) .306 G/gm .583 A/gm 0.889 P/gm
Age 19 NCAA – N. Dakota (40gp) .325 G/gm .550 A/gm 0.875 P/gm
Age 20 NCAA – N. Dakota (41gp) .585 G/gm .561 A/gm 1.146 P/gm
Age 21 AHL – Rochester (34gp) .647 G/gm .647 A/gm 1.294 P/gm

I’ve only included minor league games of which Tambellini has a lot more. Tambellini is ahead of Stafford through the college years but falls behind once they turn pro. At a guess, Stafford must have been feeling some luck in his 34 games in the A because that is some ridiculous improvement from age 20 to 21. Parise’s AHL numbers are a little less and a year younger, but his college numbers best the other two significantly. Nonetheless, Jeff’s numbers look to me like NHL quality. He is probably able to play in the NHL, which is what he’s doing right now: his Quality of Competition currently ranks 11th out of 13 forwards on the Islanders that have played at least twenty games and his Quality of Teammates is 4th of 13. He is also the one of three forwards on the team with a negative Corsi number and he is scoring at a rate of 0.71 ESP/60, which puts him 10th.
That's a lot of bad in 254.28 ES minutes.

To sum up, he's probably not worth a flyer on a one-year one-way deal at $800,000 given that hurting the Isles doesn't do a whole lot for the Oilers and if I had to choose between him and Pouliot, I'd take Marc since he's shown a bit more at the NHL level (specifically, the tail end of 06-07).

Next up: Martin St. Pierre