Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Outstanding start guys!!!

3-0-0, nice way for the Oilers to start the season. Yes there will be up and downs but always nicer to start the year 3-0 than to not.

Couple things I've noticed so far (caveat - only 3 games):

(1) Hemsky - controls a line, is making some great puck possession plays on the PP where before he might lose it. Still turning the puck over, but not in as poor locations as before.

(2) Torres - I thought he might have trouble scoring 20 again (assuming scoring at an 03/4 level) because he got some lucky goals last season, but he's looked good the last 2 games.

For tonight's game, I'm hoping for a 5-3 or 5-4 Oilers win, with 3 or 4 points out of Frolov for my hockey pool.

Here's to hoping the momentum continues.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Congratulations Andrej Meszaros!!!

Here it is, roughly 16 months after the 2004 Entry Draft, and perhaps it's time to reflect upon the Oilers selection of Devyn Dubnyk at 14 overall when Meszaros was still on board (eventually selected at 23 overall by Ottawa). Meszaros has cracked the Ottawa blueline at the age of 20, fairly impressive given that the Senators are considered, more or less unanimously, one of the top 5 teams in the NHL for the upcoming season. Not that one would expect Dubnyk to be anywhere but back in the WHL this year, regardless of his performance. stil though, I don't think it's unreasonable to say that, at this point, Meszaros is looking like the better bet. It's pretty unlikely Edm will end up getting more time out of Dubnyk than they would have from Meszaros, with the UFA age now set at 27. True, Lowe and the Oilers staff didn't know that the UFA age would be reduced to 27, but it seemed pretty likely that the UFA age would be reduced.

I'm not writing this entry to trash Dubnyk , but rather to laud Meszaros, a defenceman I really liked at the time of the 2004 draft, as my 2004 draft rankings attest (Pre-draft I had Meszaros ranked 4th, and Dubnyk 54th. As I'm sure one can guess, I was pretty happy at that point on draft day 2004). Meszaros is just a really smart, skilled player, which can only be an outstanding skillset should penalties continue to be called as they have been this preseason. In time he should be able to quarterback a PP, maybe not as early as this year, but it won't take much longer

I kind of wonder what it means that I can make up these sorts of rankings thru reading about prospects, and seemingly perform as well as actual NHL teams. Maybe I've just been lucky, and it's a fluke that I would have picked Meszaros over Dubnyk in 2004. Personally, I think it speaks to a systemic flaw in the scouting system - overvaluing the opinion of scouts who see a limited sample of games.

When you see a player 8-10 times in his draft year how can you possibly expect to have a great read on him? Perhaps team A sees player X (on average) on better days than team B sees him, thus player X is higher on team A's ranking than on team B's?

Maybe that is mainly what accounts for much of the variation among scouting rankings, and scouting staffs. (I first posted on the matter in reply 15 of this HF thread, from where I'm more or less stealing now)

If so, maybe it does make sense that I can create as good a list, or better, simply by reading a bunch of opinions to make sure I get sufficient coverage of the good and bad games each player plays? Maybe all the money spent on scouting could be redistributed elsewhere in the organization, and someone could make a team's draft list by compiling the rankings from various scouting services, perhaps supplementing it with scouts of my own, to get a more comprehensive view of each year's draft pool?

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Can the Oilers repeat their scoring from 2003/4?

In the 2003/4 season the Oilers finished 9th overall in GF.

Here is a list of the Oilers about to play the upcoming season (assuming Schremp, Syvret, and D.Smith are sent out)

Forwards that had a career high in goals (brackets are next best year) in 2003/4:

Pisani - 16 (8)
Horcoff - 15 (12)
Torres - 20 (0)
Hemsky - 12 (6)
Moreau - 20 (17)
Stoll - 10 (10) * rookie*

Forwards without a career year (brackets represents career high):

Smyth - 23 (39)
Laraque - 6 (13)
Dvorak - 15 (31)
Reasoner - 2 (11)
Rita - 0 (3)
Harvey - 4 (11)
Peca - 11 (27)
Winchester - ROOKIE

Defensemen that had a career high in goals (brackets are next best year) in 2003/4:

Bergeron - 9 (1)
Cross - 7 (4)
Smith - 7 (5)
Semenov - 2 (1)
Ulanov - 5 (3)
Pronger - 14 (14)

Defensemen without a career year (brackets represents career high):

Staios - 6 (9)

In terms of incoming vs. outgoing regulars:

the Oilers have lost the following goals:

Oates - 2
York - 16
Brewer - 7
Isbister - 10
Chimera - 4
Ferguson - 1
Sarno - 1

for a total of 41 goals lost

And have brought in:

Peca - 11
Pronger - 14
Harvey - 4

With Peca more or less taking York's time, Pronger Brewer's, and Harvey Chimera's. That leaves the Oilers 11 goals shy of last season, with some forwards having to pick up the ice time of Isbister and Oates.

Can they score as many this year?