Friday, September 25, 2009

Warming to Waging War on Wasted Wages with Waivers?

I certainly don't expect the Oilers to make much use of the waiver wire this week in terms of shedding multi-year contracts, but it would be interesting to see them try. Obviously with the three players to be mentioned one would attempt to get a positive return via trade before waiving them, but if that avenue didn't result in any offers, what would your opinion be of Edmonton waiving Moreau, Nilsson, and Staois? If not all three, which, if any, would you waive? Who would be expect to be picked up?

How much worse is the team this year if those three are all claimed, and how much better/worse do you like the cap situation next season if you move all three now? Is a better plan to hope they play their value up this year, and move them next summer? Or simply to keep them for the remaining 2 years on their contracts?

Is it worth the reduction in quality of team this season to open up 7.7 mil in cap room next season*?

* - assuming all three would be claimed, a big assumption to be sure.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Projecting the Opening Roster of the Oilers

Lineup and Roster for game 1*:


These guys still haven't played together much (if at all?) this preseason, but my hunch at this point is still that we'll see that line on the ice to start game 1. I'm guessing that Quinn has watched enough tape to know what he had in that line, and thus didn't really need to play them together in preseason until he sees if some other combination might allow for more team success.

That said, it's not hard to see why one would hope Jacques works out on the first line. It would be outstanding if Jacques could be a reasonably facsimile of the player Lowe imagined he was receiving when he signed Penner, since that would leave Penner for another line.


The chemistry between O'Sullivan and Comrie seems strong enough to keep together into the regular season. Combine that chemistry with the "instant chemistry" that has been Pisani over the past couple of seasons, and this seems like a line worth a look. Not terribly big guys, but all these players will battle for the puck and maybe that's enough.


Why not give it another go? All three players are older, see what they look like under a new coach, in a new system. If it doesn't work, mix things up.

I'm a bit surprised so many fans want to send Nilsson to the minors this year. While he may have been inconsistent last season, I still wouldn't mind seeing him with a new coach. How much is lost by seeing how he plays until December, hoping he works out with a new coaching staff? If he's not working out, maybe you waive or trade him at that time.

From a cap standpoint, it's pretty risky to waive him if you have any plans to recall him this season. Maybe he clears, maybe he doesn't, but if he does clear and you try to recall him he is very likely to be claimed, thus giving the Oilers a 1 mil cap hit for this season and next. Not a huge problem this year, but given the projected cap drop and the impending Edmonton cap problems for next season, wasting 1 mil of it on dead cap space seems like a pretty bad idea. It's not like you're going to do much better, in terms of quality of player, with the saved 1 mil in cap room replacing Nilsson than you would have done keeping Nilsson and hoping he rounds into form with a new coach, etc.

For all the complaints about Nilsson's two way game, only two Edmonton forwards have been plus players the past two seasons: Horcoff and Nilsson.

That said, given the coach's usage of Jacques in the preseason I wouldn't be very surprised to see him draw into Nilsson's spot. But Nilsson's been no statistical slouch this preseason, with 3 points in 3 games (before tonight's action).


Seems like a respectable enough 4th line, all of the players can play up the roster in a pinch. Of course I'm a huge Pouliot fan, I don't know if he's as physical a guy as Quinn might have in mind with Brule, but that's why you have the extra guys - switch them up if things aren't working.

Jacques, Brule

I wouldn't be willing to dump either of these players to hang onto MacIntyre, but it remains to be seen what the Oilers do.

Jacques seems to be playing well this camp, and is playing pretty high up the roster for a guy who won't even be on the opening night lineup, wouldn't surprise me at all to see him slot in. Same story for Brule, if they are looking for physicality vs. CAL in game 1; they may well feel Brule gives the Oilers more in that department than Pouliot.


Not much to say here, this seems to have been settled from the moment camp started.


* - the roster and line combinations, along with some of the writing, was done before tonight's game, so any performances from tonight's EDM/TB preseason game in Winnipeg haven't been considered.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Comrie signs with the Oilers

I can't say this is the most shocking event in Oilers history, but I'd have never believed you if you told me on June 29th that Comrie would be playing for the Oilers in 2009/10. Never a boring moment to be an Oilers fans since the lockout.

I will say that I think some fans are too concerned with the size of the forwards on Edmonton's roster - that the players are too small. I agree that one would prefer a forward to be 6'2" vs. 5'10", all else equal, but I think a team can win with small players up front, provided they are of a high enough quality. And quality, not size, is the issue most fans have with the Edmonton's roster; those issues are, unreasonably in my opinion, conflated by many.

So Comrie is another "small, skilled forward who doesn't throw his body around", but that doesn't make him a useless player. In terms of positives, Comrie's on a favorable, cap-friendly contract, a reported 1.125 mil. He's versatile, in that he can play C or the wing (LW at least, not sure how much RW he's played, if any). He may not be a PP star, but he's another guy in the mix, which, on a side note,doesn't help Schremp graduate to the NHL roster. If the team isn't looking good come the trade deadline, but Comrie produces, he'll carry at least some value on the trade market.

There isn't a ton of downside to this deal in terms of projected production vs. cost. You could make a reasonable argument that his money would have been better spent on some of the other available UFA's. Not that those players, necessarily, would be better value on average, but that those players fit Edmonton's perceived holes better than does Comrie. Additionally, it is possible that the addition of Comrie causes the Oilers to dump a player for less than he's worth, one that they'd have otherwise kept if they hadn't signed Comrie.

Obviously there's no crystal ball here, and I could hold a more concrete opinion if I knew this was the last move before the season starts. Without any other moves, there is potential for this signing to help the Oilers' 2nd and 3rd lines in terms of offensive production, provided Comrie can be a "50 point player", a step up on his most recent seasons but not a level he hasn't reached before. Overall, I am more for this move than I am against it, though I'm not convinced Comrie was necessarily the best option.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Oilers Powerplay for 2009/10

Assuming no more roster changes, I think some potential shuffling of the Oilers PP personnel could help make a difference in improving the Oilers PP for the upcoming season. I will use some stats (mainly from BehindTheNet - min 40GP + 1.5 PP ATOI/game, but some of my "reasoning" is probably more anecdotal in nature.

(1) Hemsky needs to play more.

He has led the team in PPP/60 for the past two seasons, and either was or was near the team lead in 06/7 (Smyth and Stoll were also close). Last season, Hemsky was t-22nd in PPP, but was 54th in total PP TOI.

(2) Souray and Visnovsky are not well clear of Gilbert and Grebeshkov as PP performers, and should not see as much extra ice, vs. Gilbert and Grebeshkov, on the PP next season as they did this past season.

Both Gilbert (3.91) and Grebeshkov (3.75) outproduced both of Souray (2.95) and Visnovsky (3.07) in terms of PPP/60. This kind of surprised me, I'd love to hear some theories explaining why this happened if Souray and Visnovsky and both vastly superior PP performers to the other two. One might initially theorize that, even if all four players were of equal PP quality in terms of ability to generate their own PPP/60, the two players who played a larger proportion of their time on the 1st PP unit would have superior numbers. This didn't prove to be the case. Is it something to do with Hemsky's style, him being the guy handling the puck for a seeming majority of the time? Just a one season fluke? Is PPP/60 not a reasonably sound way to compare between defencemen on the PP?

(3) The difference in quality between defencemen in terms of power play performance, among the top 4, is not enough to break up pairings.

If EDM is running ES pairings of Gilbert and Souray along with Grebeshkov and Visnovsky, the increase in PP performance may not be worth the "problems" that come with mixing and matching the pairs. It may well help the ES performance to keep the pairings the same on the PP, if it means you can play your top 4 an extra shift or two perr game instead of some filler variation spotting in Smid and Staois until players are back in their pairing.

That said, this may not be a big problem to begin with, and if it isn't then I don't think it's a bad idea to break up the pairings if you feel it gives you a much better power play. I'm straddling the fence here, I know, and not committing either way, but it's hard to know how the Oilers will approach things without seeing what the new coaches do for ES pairings, the PP pairings, if they are willing to go with a 4th F, etc.

(4) Robert Nilsson may have the potential to be a much better PP performer than he seems to be given credit for.

Last year was only one season, but Nilsson was 2nd in PPP/60 among Oilers who played in 5 or more games (I set this arbitrary 5 GP min to exclude Schremp, who led the Oilers in PPP/60 - 5.31 - in an extremely small sample size of 4 games and 11:18 PP TOI). I don't recall much for 1st unit PP time either. I'm not sure how well he would work with Hemsky on the PP, but I think it's at least worth a look for a couple of preseason games in training camp. His previous year wasn't nearly as strong, and it may be that the bounces were simply going Nilsson's way last year (can I check that with Vic's site? Is there some other way to check that?), but he's also probably around the age where some NHL players see their PP production start to rise. Maybe there's potential for him to be a strong PP performer at the NHL level; it would make sense given his draft day scouting report.

(5) It's not impossible the Oilers see both units increase in production if Souray is separated from Hemsky.

Actually, that's a bit of an overstatement/misrepresentation, since if Hemsky is playing as much as I'd like he will be on both units, coming off the ice after 75-90 seconds of PP time when available to start the PP, he would still be playing some with Souray. I guess what I really mean is that the PP tends to become static around the perimeter of the box when Hemsky and Souray are playing together. Or maybe that's just how I remember it, but my impression of that PP unit is that it does not look enough to the other three options.

When playing together, I think the Oilers PP unit would produce better if Souray's slapshot were coming from 5 feet closer after the Oilers look to attack a bit more frequently down low.

When playing apart, I don't think the Souray unit (potentially) loses as much, if Souray's point shot is the focal point, as the Hemsky unit gains by using, say, Grebeshkov and Visnovsky and trying to get players creating motion in the offensive zone.

(6) O'Sullivan and Cogliano may be decent candidates for cut minutes on the PP.

Neither player has a great track record in terms of PP production. This isn't to say that they are awful, can't improve, or that they wouldn't be respectable fill-ins if someone I might currently play ahead of them struggles or is injured. But in some ways cutting their PP minutes is just as much a function of these players being PK options, in my mind.

(7) I like Penner as a PP option, and I like him on the same unit as Souray, but I'd be curious just how much his production would drop if he played on the second unit with the half Hemsky, half O'Sullivan/Cogliano in place of his first PP production. My guess is he is less dependent on playing with Hemsky, if that proves correct I think it might well make sense to move him to the 2nd unit with Souray, which could theoretically improve both PP lines.

So, to sum, here are two PP units I wouldn't mind seeing get a couple of exhibition games, not set in stone, but IMO worth a look:

(1) Nilsson Hemsky Horcoff Grebeshkov Visnovsky, changing when the puck is iced after 50-60 seconds, except for Hemsky.

(2) Penner Gagner Hemsky/Cogliano/O'Sullivan Souray Gilbert, where Cogliano/O'Sullivan replace Hemsky, when the puck is iced, around the 1:20-1:30 mark.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Nikolai Khabibulin and the Shootout

I'm sure the above is not an entirely fair picture of Khabibulin's complete shootout skillset, but it happen to be my only memory involving Khabibulin and the shootout.

I decided to look a little bit deeper than one youtube clip and see what Khabibulin's shootout numbers look like.

Khabibulin has a lifetime 0.628 save % in the shootout, with 32 GA on 86 shots. For context, this is 12th out of the 14 goalies who have faces 80 or more shootout chances. Among the 23 who have faced 60 or more shots, Khabibulin ranks 17th.

For Khabibulin to move up to the middle of the pack, let's say 7th among that group of 14 goalies (that spot occupied by the previous Edmonton starter, Dwayne Roloson. Roloson has a career 0.706 shootout save %, 30 GA on 102 shots), he would have had to make between 6 and 7 more saves than he did in 86 shots.

That said, the sample size here is fairly small - in baseball I think most would agree that a chunk of 60 or 80 PA's is not enough to give you an indication of a player's "true" on-base percentage. How big does the sample size need to be with the shootout before we can have confidence that the goalie's shootout save percentage is likely to be reasonably close to his "true talent" shootout save percentage?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson's Shooting Percentage

In the comments of a recent Lowetide post, looking for a comparable for recent first round draft pick Paajarvi-Svensson, commenter PunjabiOil posted the following:

There are concerns about MPS:

1. He fell down to 10th because scouts questioned his ability to translate offence to the professionals. The rebuttal to this would be Kopitar, Anze
2. His shooting % numbers were low in comparison to SEL peers.

The shooting % comment is pretty interesting to me.

There are two trains of thought I'm having here:

(1) His shooting percentage numbers are low because he's a "true talent" finisher at about that level. He might generate more shots than some guys, but he's not going to be shooting at 20%.

(2) He had an "unlucky" year in terms of shooting percentage, and perhaps that led some to think he's a questionable finisher. In that case, perhaps EDM got a steal at 10 OV?

Naturally I'm hoping for (2), not that I have any basis to think it more likely than (1).

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Signing Strudwick

Re-signing Jason Strudwick wasn't a signing that came with a ton of coverage. It was more or less expected, I think, that Edmonton would bring him back for another season as the 7th D/extra forward in a pinch. I can't say he played much differently from my expectations, except to say that I wouldn't have guessed he would appear in 71 games.

Jason Strudwick made 650K last year on a one way deal, and signed a one year deal on July 1st worth a reported 700K. I'm kind of curious how this negotiation transpired, and wonder why the Oilers felt the need to give him a raise. Was he going to sign elsewhere if they offered a 600K, one way deal? The league minimum of 500K on a one way deal? If he were to leave, could they really not find a reasonable replacement for similar money?

Don't get me wrong, there is value in knowing your 7th D firsthand before signing him to a one deal, but it does kind of surprise me that he was able to get the same salary he made last year. Even further, he got a small raise.

I'm only talking about 100K or so here, so it's not really the end of the world in terms of the Oilers budget or salary cap, but I don't see the reason to spend it if you don't have to. I also don't like rationalizing/justify a decision by saying "Ah, it's not THAT bad, could have been worse."

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Oiler News From The Past Week

Been a while since I've posted, but not much has gone happened, Oiler related, in that time.

(1) Grebeshkov opts for arbitration.

In a way this is a strange development considering how close the Oilers and Grebeshkov were supposed to be to a 3 year contract. But it does put some pressure on getting a deal done relatively soon, and I'd be shocked if it all the way to a hearing given how few players have gone to a hearing lately and how close the sides are reported to be. Obviously there's some distance since a deal hasn't been completed, but it's hard to imagine it wouldn't be resolved before arbitration.

(2) Sestito for a conditional pick.

Pretty minor move on the face, if it turns out that Sestito becomes a Pisani type I don't think anyone will be able to say they certainly saw it coming. Opens up a contract spot, which the Oilers management must have felt they needed.

One thing I do wish the NHL would do is publish the conditions for conditional picks in these sorts of trades. What's the harm in making that information public

(3) Kotalik signs with NYR, 9 mil over 3 years

I wouldn't have been against bringing him back, but not at that price. I don't think he'll be a horrible burden at that price, but I'm not sure it would project to be a steal or anything.


I'm still not entirely sure what is going on with the waiver status of the three players I mentioned in this previous post. But I think I may have found something that indicates all 3 players have to clear waivers, though I'm not certain on it and invite others to correct me if my guess is wrong.

The NHL lists each team's "current roster", with current roster in quotes because it clearly doesn't refer to a real roster given its 31 names. I'm not sure what the criteria is for each team's listing, but my guess is that it consists of everyone on a team's year end roster from the year previous along with anyone who has to clear waivers before going to the minors this coming season.

My basis for assuming the roster includes all those on the year end roster last season has to do with the inclusion of Chorney and Peckham. They don't have to clear waivers, yet are listed; being on the roster to end last season is one possible reason for their inclusion. I'm sure there are other possibilities as well, please feel free to point them out if you've got a better explanation.

My guess is that every other player listed has to clear waivers this fall to be sent to the AHL this fall, which if that guess is right, would include Brule, Reddox, and Schremp.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

The Khabibulin Contract

Like a number of other bloggers, I have strong reservations regarding the Khabibulin contract. I don't think I'm writing anything new, but the following are some of my concerns with the deal.

I have a hard understanding why the Oilers felt it imperative to move so quickly when they appeared to be the only team in serious need of a starting goaltender.

I am generally against the idea of signing a 36 year old player to a 4 year deal to begin with, but particularly in this case with Edmonton tight to the cap and Khabibulin, in my mind, not a clearly better option than Biron who doesn't have the same 35+ contract issue. For a non cap team like NYI this risk doesn't exist, since dead cap space doesn't hurt them; if anything, a retirement by Roloson next summer is desirable if they don't want to spend to the cap floor in 2010/11 since they could charge 2.5 mil against next season's cap without having to spend a cent. In the case of a potential retirement, I'll be the first to admit the Oilers could probably trade Khabibulin to a cap floor team just before he retires, cheaply in theory, to remove the cap hit. But why take on the additional problems that come with the cap hit for a 35+ year old player when there is a roughly equivalent option available without that concern? Why take that risk? The only answer is that you think he's CLEARLY the best option available.

I don't know that I agree with the assessment that Khabibulin was the best goalie, currently, among those who were available. Even if he was, I don't know that means he's a better bet over the next 4 years vs. every other goalie available, in particular Biron.

So, with this particular deal, I'm not sure I agree with the player evaluation, the cap management, the evaluation of the free agent market for goaltending as it pertains to supply and demand, and the identification and use of one's leverage in the negotiations. That is a long list that leads me to the same conclusion as the above writers. This does not appear, to me, to be a great signing for the Oilers.

That is not to say that the signing can't work out, or that Khabibulin is guaranteed to fail, or anything like that. I think there is certainly a non-zero chance that Khabibulin can be worth more than this deal to the Oilers. However, even in that case, that will not mean the deal was a good signing at the time it was signed.

If you receive a 4 when hitting a 17 against a dealer's 6, that does not make your decision to hit correct.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Bizarre Night in Edmonton

I'm kind of glad I wasn't following it through the night even though it might have been a fun ride.

Some thoughts:

(1) The Oilers should give OTT a firm deadline, probably around 9:30 am EDM time. They can't get let themselves get sucked around into waiting only to to not get Heatley and then see many quality UFA's sign elsewhere while they are in a holding pattern. Will they do so? Who knows?

(2) The proposed trade. I wouldn't do it as is, but I don't think it's awful; it certainly seems like a better deal, to me, than the Pronger trade was for PHI.

The team is already pinched to the cap, this trade would only exacerbate the problem if they can't move some guys. We'll see how that plays out. I don't like giving up two young players that seem like good chances to outperform their cap number in exchange for a player who is:

-a goalscorer just getting to an age where he probably (but may) will lose some scoring over the course of the deal
-making 7.5 mil
-coming from the Eastern conference, playing with Spezza and Alfredsson
-may not really want to be in EDM

(3) If you have a huge desire to get a "superstar" and UFA's wont' sign here, what other option is available? I disagree with the superstar or bust mindset myself, but it doesn't seem like the Oilers do.

(4) Gomez to Montreal - I know they could use a center, but it seems like they paid way too much to acquire a player with a questionable contract the day before UFA season. Maybe they are convinced that players don't want to sign in Montreal, I'm not sure why else they make that deal. Who else was offering up a prospect like McDonaugh and a player like Higgins to pick up Gomez a day before UFA season starts?

Monday, June 29, 2009

Edmonton Oilers Free Agency Preview

I don't see Edmonton as a team particularly well positioned for a busy, big spending UFA season, but I suppose it depends which players are movable for a quality return, a decent return, or prove movable at all.

There isn't a ton of money available until players are traded, claimed through waivers, or stashed in the minors.

As currently constructed, the Oilers roster looks something like:

Penner(4.25)-Horcoff(5.5)-Hemsky(4.1) = 13.85
O'Sullivan(2.93)-Gagner(1.63)-Cogliano(1.13) = 5.69
Moreau(2.0)-Pouliot(0.83)-Pisani(2.5) = 5.33
Nilsson(2.0)-Stortini(0.7)-Jacques(0.53) = 3.77

Visnovsky(5.6)-Souray(5.4) = 11
Gilbert(4.0)-Grebeshkov(3.3*) = 7.3
Smid(1.3*)-Staios(2.7) = 4.6

Roloson^(3.0) = 3.63

For a total cap hit of ~ 55.2 mil, which leaves EDM roughly 1.6 mil in cap room.

My guess would be that EDM uses that cap space plus Jacques or MacIntyre's salary (after waiving one of them) to find a 3rd line C at ~ 2mil cap hit, taking them right to the cap. Beyond that, how can one guess?

If they are to make more moves, it will have to involve trades, waivers, or demotion of one way contracts to the minors which will be difficult/impossible for me to guess given my lack of information regarding the options available to Tambellini. Is there a market for Penner, Moreau, Nilsson, and/or Staios? What other trade options are available? How many, if any, dollars will ownership allow to be buried in the minors?

That said, there are a number of players I think might be nice additions/replacements for many teams, depending on their cost (EDM being one of them if they have room to manoeuvre via trade etc), including but probably not limited to:

Gaborik, Tanguay, Havlat, Montador, Seidenberg, Connolly, Tjarnqvist, Hossa, Kotalik, Dvorak, Leopold, Bergeron, Bonk, Sullivan, Nichol, Fiddler, Betts, Mara, Morris, Knuble, Scuderi, and Moen.

I tried not to list 3rd line C candidates since I think EDM will probably get one of them anyways, the above are players I'd be interested in the Oilers signing as value buys, if they can move the player being replaced from the current roster.

* - estimates
^ - assuming the rumors EDM has made Roloson a one year offer around 3 mil are true. I would imagine he'd take that, but perhaps he'll look at the market first.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Edmonton Oilers 2009 Draft Review

It was an interesting couple of draft days for the Oilers. I can't say I completely agree with all of Edmonton's selections, but like every draft, the picks begin to make more sense once you hear the rationale behind the decisions.

#10 - F Magnus Paajarvi Svensson:

I'm quite pleased with the choice of Paajarvi Svensson. There are some concerns, I suppose, with regards to the prospect's ability to finish, but it's hard to know what to make of that. His offensive numbers are fairly modest, but historically Swedish prospects don't generally have overwhelming totals as 18 year olds playing in the SEL, even the ones selected in the 1st round. Regularly playing in the SEL at 18 is pretty uncommon on its own. One promising sign was his production at tournaments within his age group.

I would have selected F Schroeder based on my list [and I kind of wonder about that having read Gare Joyce's comments in a thread on HF (comment #711)], but Paajarvi was 2nd on my list at that point so I'm not particularly disappointed with his selection. If one was picking using the THN draft preview top 100, the selection at 10 would also have been F Paajarvi, with Schroeder the 2nd highest prospect remaining on their list.

#40 - F Anton Lander:

At the time of the pick I was ambivalent, but I like the pick more as I hear and read more about Lander, which reminds me of the 2005 draft and Taylor Chorney. I am a fan of Lander, and in retrospect think I had him a bit low on my final list (he was #30 and #35 in two earlier versions). There were 2 players I consistently liked a little bit more, Werek and Morin. To be honest though I didn't really like anyone in this range significantly more than Lander, it was just one of those drafts where the guys in that range seemed, to me, like roughly equivalent prospects.

I'd have selected F Werek, and using the THN guide would have resulted in Edmonton drafting F Morin.

#71 - D Troy Hesketh:

I hadn't heard anything about this player before he was drafted. And to be honest, when he was drafted I mistakenly thought, for a minute or so, it was Seth Helgeson (THN #58) Edmonton had picked. My memory said, "Oh, a Matt Greene type", so I just figured they were looking for another Matt Greene-type prospect. It was only after I went to re-read his THN profile that I realized they had drafted a different player.

I actually like what I've read about Hesketh. It seems to have been a little bit early to select him, but they were worried other teams were interested and maybe they were. That said, I don't really like his projected timeline, which currently sits at one more year at Minnetonka, one year in the USHL, finally followed by starting college in 2011/12.

I'd have selected F Rajala in this spot, and the THN guide had G Roy as the BPA at this point. Interesting that both players were later selected by the Oilers anyways.

#82 - F Cameron Abney:

I really don't know what to make of this pick; the adage "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all" comes to mind. On the surface it looks like a poor, at best, third round selection, given the other players available. They must see something in him to take him in the 3rd round, as it's hard to believe they'd take him this early if they project his upside as a 4th line fighter. Having read Guy Flaming's excellent Oilers draft review, it sounds like he's grown a bunch in the last couple of years, so they must anticipate huge improvement over the next 2 WHL seasons.

I would have selected F Alex Hutchings at 82, while following the THN draft guide would have seen Edmonton select a second goalie in Edward Pasquale. It may be pushing it to have a team pick a second goalie, but I'll do so for the purposes of this post. If the BPA were to be a goalie for any of THN's remaining picks, I'll skip him and take the next best available skater.

Abney's stat line: 48GP 1G 3A 4pts -17 (the team wasn't great, but this was still the seventh worst minus on the team)
Hutchings' stats: 63GP 34G 34A 68pts +27 (team leading, next highest player was +17)

Admittedly the two players are projected to have very different roles as pros, but it looks to me like Abney's got some serious ground to make up.

#99 - D Kyle Bigos:

I don't have a lot to say about Bigos, as I don't know much about him. I don't like his age or his projected timeline (similar to Hesketh, but Bigos has already played his 18 and 19 year old seasons), but he looks like a reasonable pick at this point due to his apparent late development. One advantage to selecting Bigos is the ability to stash him in the NCAA for a while and see what happens. Doesn't cost you any money to develop for the next couple of years or take up an AHL spot. His age at 20 is worrisome in the sense that if he pans out you're probably only going to get something like 4 years out of him before he's a UFA. Hopefully he'll turn out as well as the only other Oiler to be drafted in the 99 slot.

At this point the highest player left on my list was F Anton Burdasov, but I can't say with certainty I would have picked him. It depends if there was any indication he would prove to be signable going forward. That said, I'll say Burdasov (who actually went undrafted, which would seem to indicate there are signability concerns) would have been my pick at this point, while THN would have picked F Erik Haula.

#101 - F Toni Rajala:

Very happy with this pick, I think he was CLEARLY the BPA at this point in the draft. In fact, I think he was the BPA for at least a round by this point. I understand the size issues, and the concern over his willingness to go into traffic, but the reward is so much greater than most/all players at this point that I think the pick is a no-brainer. Very similar to the feel I got about Trukhno at the 2005 draft, in that I don't think Rajala necessarily fit what they were trying to do this draft but the potential upside was simply too great to pass on him at 101.

I would have already selected Rajala, so my pick at this point would have been D Tommi Kivisto. THN's pick would have been F David Gilbert.

#133 - G Olivier Roy:

I really like this pick, but I'm not sure I understand Tambellini when he said that part of the rationale for the Brodziak trade was their desire to draft Roy. I don't think that makes a lot of sense given that they could have selected Roy with the 4th round pick they acquired from MIN (Bigos) or their own 4th (Rajala). They liked him so much they took those two guys first and then waited a round to hope he was still there? I guess that's possible, but I think it's more likely that they liked a bunch of goalies fairly similarly, and wanted to take whichever one of them was highest on their list once they got to a certain point in the draft. And that turned out to be Olivier Roy.

I think the remaining goalies were pretty reasonable value at this point, Roy would have been my pick here as well. THN's next highest on their list was G Conz, who went undrafted, but already having two goalies using their list I'll skip him and move to the next available skater, which was F Burdasov.

EDM's picks:

F Paajarvi Svensson
F Lander
D Hesketh
F Abney
D Bigos
F Rajala
G Roy

speeds' picks:

F Schroeder
F Werek
F Rajala
F Hutchings
F Burdasov
D Kivisto
G Roy

THN's picks:

F Paajarvi
F Morin
G Roy
G Pascuale
F Haula
F Gilbert
F Burdasov

Having read Gare Joyce's comment, I am tempering my enthusiasm for Schroeder just a little bit. That said, of the two I still prefer Schroeder at this time, but perhaps the margin is a bit smaller than before I saw that quote. I did see another article about Schroeder that suggests a lack of confidence won't be a problem for him, and while his "confidence" shines through it doesn't read quite the same way Joyce's comments do. I do wonder a little bit how much editorializing has gone on in each instance, not with Joyce necessarily but maybe how the information was passed along to Joyce, if he wasn't in the room for the interview.

Overall I'm quite pleased EDM was able to land Paajarvi, Lander, Rajala, and Roy. The others weren't players I would really have considered at the point they were drafted, but I am hoping they work out nonetheless. I think the two defenseman are more likely to pan out than the F, but I'll hope I'm wrong and all three become NHL contributors.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Final 2009 top 40

1. Victor Hedman
2. John Tavares
3. Matt Duchene
4. Evander Kane
5. Jordan Schroeder
6. Brayden Schenn
7. Magnus Paajarvi Svensson
8. Scott Glennie
9. Jared Cowen
10. Dmitri Kulikov
11. Ryan Ellis
12. Oliver Ekman-Larsson
13. John Moore
14. David Rundblad
15. Peter Holland
16. Jacob Josefson
17. Nazem Kadri
18. Chris Kreider
19. Calvin De Haan
20. Louis Leblanc
21. Tim Erixon
22. Ethan Werek
23. Zach Kassian
24. Jeremy Morin
25. Landon Ferraro
26. Zach Budish
27. Toni Rajala
28. Stefan Elliot
29. Carl Klingberg
30. Simon Despres
31. Kyle Palmieri
32. Nick Leddy
33. Richard Panik
34. Charles-Olivier Roussel
35. Dmitri Orlov
36. Jordan Caron
37. Alex Hutchings
38. Tomas Tatar
39. Carter Ashton
40. Ryan O’Reilly

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

General 2009 Draft Thoughts

The Oilers are in a good/bad spot in this draft. They miss out on the top two tiers of players, which IMO include Hedman and Tavares, followed by 3-8 from my top 40 list. After 8, I see a big grouping of players from 9 to 17-21, and I'm not sure just how different one player is from another. There is a not bad chance that at least one of top eight players will be available at 10 based on the various differing rankings and mock drafts that seem to be going around. Even if all of those players are gone, it still leaves EDM well positioned to take whichever of the next grouping they like best, if someone in particular stands out. The two players I'm most hoping for at #10, which are somewhat likely to be available, are:

Jordan Schroeder

-player who has everything except height. Good skater, great vision, can shoot but is known more for playmaking, has some awareness of his own zone. Very strong on his skates, tested highly at the combine.
-Great scoring numbers in his history, 2nd in both team scoring for MIN (to 22 year old 2005 34th overall pick teammate Ryan Stoa) and WCHA scoring. T-1st in team +/- at +17 (with Stoa). Next highest forward was +5. Led Team USA in WJHC scoring this past season, was 2nd the year previous when very few other 2009 draft eligible players had even cracked their team's U-20 roster.

Scott Glennie

-another player with great hockey sense, great speed and skating.
-also has very good scoring stats, he is said to not be as physical as Schenn, not nearly as strong either. That said, he supposedly played more physically last year, so it could be that playing with Schenn he simply didn't think he needed to play as physical as year's previous. Very good +/- as well, in fact he rates ahead of Schenn here but without having seen him play it's hard to exactly know why that might be. Schenn is said to be the better two way player, but Glennie did kill penalties this season so he's not completely without defensive talent.

A player I'm not hoping for at #10:

Zach Kassian:

I actually like the player OK, I just don't see quite enough upside to take him at #10 relative to the two forwards above.

This is an interesting draft in that there are a lot of players I like about the same where EDM is picking (maybe down to about 15), so there aren't actually many guys I've heard rumored to EDM that I wouldn't like to see picked at 10. Obviously the Oilers could go off the board which I might not be a big fan of (depending who it is), but I wouldn't be displeased with any of the 5 or 7 guys I've seen rumored at that spot, outside of Kassian. For that reason I wouldn't necessarily be against or surprised by the Oilers trading down if they can pick up a 2nd rounder, depending on their list and how far down they'd have to move.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Updated 2009 Top 40

First of all, tip of the cap to Guy Flaming for his show and blog, both are outstanding resources for any prospect junkie. If you have yet to do so, check it out! Additionally, YKOil has a terrific post up regarding this year's draft.

As for the updated top 40, if anyone has questions about why I have a certain player where, feel free to ask and I'll answer away.

1. Victor Hedman
2. John Tavares
3. Matt Duchene
4. Evander Kane
5. Jordan Schroeder
6. Brayden Schenn
7. Magnus Paajarvi Svensson
8. Jared Cowen
9. Scott Glennie
10. Dmitri Kulikov
11. Ryan Ellis
12. Oliver Ekman-Larsson
13. David Rundblad
14. Peter Holland
15. John Moore
16. Jacob Josefson
17. Nazem Kadri
18. Chris Kreider
19. Calvin De Haan
20. Louis Leblanc
21. Tim Erixon
22. Ethan Werek
23. Zach Kassian
24. Kyle Palmieri
25. Jeremy Morin
26. Landon Ferraro
27. Zach Budish
28. Toni Rajala
29. Stefan Elliot
30. Carl Klingberg
31. Simon Despres
32. Richard Panik
33. Dmitri Orlov
34. Jordan Caron
35. Anton Lander
36. Tomas Tatar
37. Nick Leddy
38. Drew Shore
39. Carter Ashton
40. Ryan O’Reilly

I will be writing a little bit more in depth about a couple of guys I'd like to see Edmonton draft, a couple of guys I'm not as anxious to see drafted by the Oilers at 10 OV, and where I guess the talent tiers to be, in the next couple of days. After that, it's on to free agency!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Expectations for Bouwmeester's Contract

Jay Bouwmeester is a 25 year old #1 D that has led the league in minutes for 2 years straight, and hasn't missed a game since the lockout. A player like this has never been available as a UFA, and there's probably not that great a chance another one will be any time soon. The confluence of events that see a player end up in Bouwmeester's position would seem to be exceedingly rare. Very few players have, or will, become a UFA at 25. To have established yourself as a, without question, #1D by age 25 is also uncommon. There are few players with the durability and ability/talent to lead the league in minutes two seasons in a row. For such a player to have not already locked up an extension with his team would also seem to be rare as teams generally find a way to sign such players.

Because of Bouwmeester's age, a 10 year deal would not necessarily extend late into his decline years. While Bouwmeester maybe be regressing by 35, he probably will not be completely falling off a cliff either. Lidstrom's 39. Niedermayer's 35. Pronger's 34. Bouwmeester would be 7 years into a hypothetical 10 year deal before he would even be Chara's current age. For Bouwmeester to sign a long term deal taking him to the same age Zetterberg will be after his 12 year deal, Bouwmeester would need to sign a 15 year contract.

I will not be shocked if a team signs Bouwmeester to a 10 year 80 mil deal, or a 15 year 100 mil deal to cut the cap cost a bit.

Bouwmeester could be such a long term signing that conventional roster analysis for a team like the Oilers might not make sense. They would have to move some salary to make it work, but if they are willing to stash a player or two in the minors and move one of the 3 D making big money (preferably one of the two older ones IMO) it is workable for next season.

How far should EDM be willing to go? I'll cheat and say it depends what the market is like for their players in trades. If they can't move Souray or Visnovsky then they'd probably need to move Gilbert, Moreau and Staios (or equivalently paid players) to make it work. Not that they need to get a ton in return while clearing cap space for Bouwmeester, but they probably need to be able to move a player or two even if the return is only futures, or minimal, or both. Burying a bit of money in the minors is one thing, but burying 10 is probably more than Katz would like to spend, and also, depending on the timing in signing players, perhaps impossible since they'd be carrying over 110% of the salary cap in the summer.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Ideal Roster Number for a Team Spending to the Cap

I'm sure most people have their own opinion, I'm kind of curious to hear which number of players most think to be optimal? 20, 21, 22, or the max of 23?

I think 21 is a decent number, with a mix of 12F, 7D, and 2G. It leaves you protection in case of an injury in the pregame skate, and it saves 1.0 mil in cap room (NHL minimum salary is $0.500 mil for the 09/10 season), relative to the same roster with 2 additional, league minimum salaried players. It's the cap room argument that most intrigues me, as I'm not sure how important it is to have extra players on your roster if you can simply replace them via LTIR when injuries hit. The problems come when players are injured, but not so seriously injured that they need to go on LTIR. In that case though you can just call a player up,provided you have cap room, and I wonder how that trades off with having 1 mil extra to spend elsewhere in your roste?.

Additionally, one's decision regarding the roster number depends on the team's player mix and waiver situation. Do you want to have 3 extra players to give match-up flexibility vs different teams? Are there players that you value enough to not risk waiving, even if they aren't line-up regulars?

I guess it goes to the larger question "How closely should a team willing to spend to the cap actually get before they are cutting too fine a line?" And what is too fine a line?

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Heatley's Production Over The Next Five Years

Unquestionably, Dany Heatley has been an outstanding goal scorer since the NHL's lockout. Only two players, Alex Ovechkin (219) and Ilya Kovalchuk (189) have scored more than Heatley's 180 goals. The fourth highest goal scorer, Jarome Iginla, is 21 behind Heatley over that 4 season time frame.

Having said that, an acquiring team would be wise to consider that the Dany Heatley playing for them is not the age 25-28 Heatley; it will be the age 29-34 Dany Heatley. What age do you goal scorers generally start losing their scoring? I would guess somewhere between 28 and 30, but decided to look at some past players as examples. I arbitrarily decided to go back 10 years and look at the top 10 players in goal scoring from 95/96 to 98/99, for no reason other than thinking this might, and I stress might, give examples of players somewhat similar to Heatley in terms of goal scoring over a 4 year period. I decided to look at when in their careers these 10 players had their 7 best goal scoring seasons:

(1) John Leclair - His 7 best goal scoring seasons occurred at ages 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 32.
(2) Teemu Selanne - 22, 25, 26, 27, 28, 35, 36
(3) Jaromir Jagr - 23, 24, 26, 27, 28, 30, 33
(4) Petr Bondra - 24, 26, 27, 28, 29, 32, 33
(5) Keith Tkachuk - 21, 23, 24, 25, 26, 28, 29
(6) Zigmund Palffy - 23, 24, 25, 27, 28, 29, 30
(7) Paul Kariya - 21, 22, 24, 25, 26, 27, 31
(8) Brendan Shanahan - 24, 25, 27, 28, 31, 33, 37
(9) Eric Lindros - 19, 20, 22, 23, 24, 25, 28
(10)Tony Amonte - 21, 22, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30 (had 31 goal seasons at 25 and 27, only counted the age 27 season)

Now, two of these "comparables" may not be particularly reasonable as comparables for Heatley, due to injuries (Lindros and Palffy).

That said, I do find it interesting that, of the 70 goal scoring seasons considered, only 10 occurred after a player was older than 30 years old. There is, on average, only one season in a player's top 7 seasons after age 30.

I’m sure there are more examples of players that peak later, but my point is that it doesn't seem to be particularly common, as illustrated by Dan Tolensky in this article. One of the arguments I've heard people make, in terms of the Oilers acquiring Heatley, is that you don't often get the opportunity to get a top goal scorer in the prime of his career. I contend it's unlikely that the Oilers, or any team trading for Heatley, would be getting a player in the middle of his prime; it’s not out of the realm of possibility that Heatley’s best goal scoring days are behind him. That is not to say that Heatley will certainly have his goal scoring fall off the map any time soon, but it is likely that he's not as prolific over the next 5 years as he has been over the previous four.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Oiler Prospects and their waiver situations

In the last couple of summers we have seen the Oilers offer one way contracts, at somewhat reduced rates, to some of their about-to-be waiver eligible players. Marc Pouliot, Kyle Brodziak, JF Jacques, Mathieu Roy and Jeff Deslauriers have all been given one way contracts in some form or another prior to becoming waiver eligible.

It remains to be seen whether EDM will do the same with any of their notable players/prospects this summer, but here are the notable players who will have to clear waivers to go to the AHL for the 2009/10 season (last season's NHL salaries in brackets):

Liam Reddox (515K)

Rob Schremp (650K)

Ryan Stone (550K)

Ryan Potulny (645K)

Gilbert Brule (765K)

Note: I bumped this post after re-reading the CBA section in question, having found I made a mistake. Brule clearly DOES have to clear waivers to go to the minors for the 2009/10 season. As soon as you play 11 or more NHL games as an 18 or 19 year old, your ELC starts to tick and you only have 3 seasons of waiver ineligiblity, even if you don't play in the NHL in seasons 2 and 3 of your ELC. Brule played 78 NHL games in 06/7, meaning that he has played all 3 seasons of his ELC and he now has to clear waivers to be sent to the AHL. Sorry for any confusion.

Heatley on the market?

TSN is reporting that Dany Heatley has asked for a trade. Sportsnet suggests Heatley may want to move to the Western conference.

I definitely expect the Oilers to make a push for Heatley, and I expect that push to be more aggressive than I would like to see. I like Heatley fine as a hockey player, but I'm not sure I hold as high an opinion of his play as do others. Like Lecavalier, I think it's highly possible that whoever acquires him will pay too much. Unlike Lecavalier, I do think trading for Heatley is a move worth investigating; I just think I personally wouldn't be willing to pay what I imagine it will cost to acquire him. For instance, I would rather have Gaborik and he would cost nothing but money, probably quite similar money (Heatley has a 7.5 mil cap hit) with term being unknown for Gaborik. That said, there's no guarantee you are successful in acquiring Gaborik, and Heatley seems to be less of an injury risk going forward.

To use a baseball analogy, I think it makes more sense for the Oilers to play small ball this summer, as opposed too swinging for a home run. That said, if someone's grooving fastballs down the middle of the plate I'm not opposed to swinging away.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Selection vs. Development

As much as some, myself included, love to criticize draft selections, I sometimes wonder if too little emphasis is placed on the development of the prospect after the draft. To what extent should teams factor the expected post-draft developmental environment into their draft selections? How do you weigh the importance of their league, their team, and potentially their age-19 AHL eligibility?

If I'm given a choice between four prospects, considered more or less equal in quality at the time of selection, is it wrong to choose between them based on which one appears to be in the best situation to develop over the next year or two? Here are 4 players that illustrate some of the different environments post-draft. I selected all forwards to help simplify matters, all of whom I've seen as possible selections for the Edmonton Oilers at 10 overall.

(1) Scott Glennie
(2) Jordan Schroeder
(3) Zach Kassian
(4) Jacob Josefson*

Glennie and Kassian are both Canadian CHL players, and at this point I don't think it would be unreasonable to suggest that both will be back in the CHL for the season after the draft. Ideally, you'd be looking for full seasons, making the WJHC (probably less likely for Kassian given his player type), improvements in production and +/- while rounding out the weaker parts of their games.

I'm not particularly well versed in the quality of each player's team, but my understanding is that Glennie's Brandon Wheat Kings are expected to be a much better team than Kassian's Peterborough Petes. Brandon is the Memorial Cup host next season and one generally sees the hosting team try to be competitive for their league title in the season they are hosting the event. Most importantly, it appears that both have a chance to be on their team's top line, presumably competing against the best the other team's have to offer.

The downside to playing in the CHL, post draft, is that instead of being the young player improving quickly by playing against older, bigger, stronger players, you are now the older, bigger, stronger player. It's probably true that as you get older you tend to be matched against lines with older, bigger players, but it is situational, coach dependent, and wouldn't be true for each and every shift.

With a college player like Schroeder you have the benefit of being the younger player, and getting to improve your skills against older more mature players than you would in the CHL. This is taken even a step further, perhaps too far, for a European like Josefson, who is playing in the Swedish Elite League against professional hockey players. If the prospect is good enough, and trusted enough by his coach, it might be preferable to have the player playing professionally in Europe instead of against 18-24 year olds in college. However, if the player is not good enough, something fairly common for Europeans drafted 10-20 overall, it has the potential of stunting the European player's growth since they may receive very little ice time in their elite league.

The player's progress will also depend on the team. If you're playing on a bad SEL team, maybe you get more ice time. If you're playing on a good team, maybe you learn a lot in practice but don't get as much game action as you would on a worse team. For college players, their conference is another consideration. You might be quite happy to have your player committed to Michigan or North Dakota, but not as happy with an Ivy League school since they don't play as many games in the Ivies, and when they do the competition isn't necessarily as strong as in other conferences.

For the age of 18, in my opinion, it is probably best for the prospect to play in the CHL or NCAA. They would likely have a better combination of ice time and quality of opposition than would the average European; more ice time than a European, and lesser quality opposition than the pro European would seem to allow the prospect more time to handle the puck and improve their game skills. The differences between the CHL and college seem more difficult to compare. The player would probably get more ice time in the CHL, but may not be challenged in the same way as a college player. Maybe there are no easy, sweeping generalities to be made with respect to college vs. CHL at age 18; perhaps the best we can say is that it depends on the player?

So now the post-draft season has passed, and the player is 19. We have a new potential problem with a CHL draftee which, oddly enough, occurs when things go as planned. If the prospect develops quickly, but not quickly enough to be completely ready for the NHL, a CHL player can be "stuck" in a non-ideal league. With the European or college player we have an easy answer: sign the player and play him in the AHL. To the European this is a chance to familiarize themselves with North America, the NA style and size of rinks, all while holding the calibre of hockey roughly equivalent to that which they are leaving back home. For the college player the AHL is a chance to play against professionals and experience the more intense schedule. With both college players and Europeans the year in the AHL at 19 does not count as one of the three years on their entry level contract provided they don't play more than 9 NHL games.

CHL players are stuck in the CHL at 19 if they can't crack the NHL due to an NHL/AHL/CHL agreement which doesn't allow CHL eligible players to play in the AHL unless they are 20 years old (with a few, rare exceptions). I don't know if it's fair to say this causes a player to stagnate, but I don't think it's unfair to suggest it has the potential to not challenge a player as much as the team would prefer if he were AHL eligible.

If the player isn't ready for the AHL at 19 there is no harm in staying in his respective league, but I think it's a significant developmental advantage to drafting a collegian or European in the middle stages of the first round, since those are the quality of players that would most probably benefit from playing in the AHL at 19, if they develop as hoped post-draft.

This is a long way to go to talk about this year's draft as it pertains to the Edmonton Oilers selection at #10. It's tough to say who Edmonton will pick, but there's some chance that all 4 of these players might be available to the Oilers at 10 overall. Given that choice, my guess would be that they end up choosing between Glennie and Schroeder. At this time I prefer Schroeder, Lowetide prefers Glennie, but I think both of us, and probably most draft observers, don't feel that either one would be a terrible pick at 10. One of the reasons I prefer Schroeder over Glennie is their respective developmental situations and the drafting team's control thereof. I think both will gain quality experience from their next season, Glennie in the CHL and Schroeder in the NCAA. The year after it is possible that neither,either, or both will be NHL ready, but failing that I would rather have Schroeder in the AHL (Springfield last year aside) than have Glennie playing a 4th year in the CHL. There is the additional advantage of being able to send Schroeder to the AHL until he's adjusted to the pro game. The decision must be made with Glennie before the season starts. If you send him back and he's getting his points, but not learning much, there's nothing you can do to improve the quality of his competition. With Schroeder you can start him in the AHL at age 19, play him there all year (again, without burning an ELC year as long as he plays 9 NHL games or less) or call him up whenever you want. If Schroeder plays between 10 and 39 NHL games, you burn an ELC year but it does NOT count as a year towards UFA status. Meaning that you could have him play over half the year in the AHL, check on his progress, and get him into some games down the playoff stretch drive without the cost of bringing him a year closer to unrestricted free agency.

Lacking a crystal ball, I can't definitively say that post-draft development will be better for Schroeder. That said, I do think it's reasonable to suggest there are advantages Schroeder will have in that regard over Glennie, Kassian, or Josefson. I also can't say those advantages in and of themselves are a reason to draft Schroeder, but I do think it's a factor that the Oilers should seriously consider as part of the decision at 10 overall.

* - You could accuse me, probably fairly, of cheating to include Josefson, in that I haven't specifically seen him slotted to the Oilers. I do think he could be, roughly, "in the range" at #10. Additionally, I needed him to include a prospect type.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Early 2009 Top 40

1. Victor Hedman
2. John Tavares
3. Matt Duchene
4. Evander Kane
5. Jordan Schroeder
6. Brayden Schenn
7. Magnus Paajarvi Svensson
8. Jared Cowen
9. Scott Glennie
10. Dmitri Kulikov
11. Ryan Ellis
12. Nazem Kadri
13. Oliver Ekman-Larsson
14. David Rundblad
15. Jacob Josefson
16. Peter Holland
17. John Moore
18. Chris Kreider
19. Louis Leblanc
20. Calvin De Haan
21. Landon Ferraro
22. Kyle Palmieri
23. Tim Erixon
24. Stefan Elliot
25. Ethan Werek
26. Jeremy Morin
27. Zach Kassian
28. Toni Rajala
29. Carl Klingberg
30. Anton Lander
31. Simon Despres
32. Richard Panik
33. Dmitri Orlov
34. Jordan Caron
35. Tomas Tatar
36. Zach Budish
37. Nick Leddy
38. Drew Shore
39. Carter Ashton
40. Ryan O’Reilly