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?