• Percentiles II

    by  • November 23, 2007 • Uncategorized • 30 Comments

    I wrote a post a while back with the percentiles for certain stats for the 2006-07 season.  I’ve gone and assembled some percentiles for the 1997-98 to 2005-06 seasons, inclusive.  Even strength tonight.  The charts are based on all forwards who played at least 120 minutes.  It’s a bit misleading in that the years before 2005-06 have the EN goals in – the era was actually less offensive than it appears.

    I’ve also got some breakdowns by age.  Trivia question: how many 18 year old forwards played at least 120 ES minutes in the NHL over the past nine years?

    Answer: 17.  Overall, it’s a pretty star studded list.  Thornton’s 1997-98 season was astoundingly poor, given what he’s since accomplished.  The only rookies on this list who were probably worth their pay, in terms of offensive contribution, were Crosby, Kovalchuk and Marleau.  Staal is an interesting guy.  He’s getting ripped for having a bad year but I think a lot of his offence was probably lucky last year.  He was a low shots/60 guy, with a high shooting percentage who scored a ton of shorthanded goals.

    It’s probably pretty obvious where I’m headed with this.  As of the end of last night’s game, Gagner is at 1.98 ESP/60.  Assuming last year’s percentiles are reasonably applicable, he’s dueling with Marleau for the third most offensively successful rookie year of all time, subject to Patrick Kane knocking them both down.

    That figure is all the more amazing because over the past 13 games, he’s played 142.35 ES minutes, scoring just 0.84 ESP/60.  He’s EV+3 Ev-10.  That’s awful.  I thought that they made a mistake keeping him – when there’ve been fewer than 10 useful 18 year olds in the past 9 years, it just doesn’t seem like there’s much of a chance that he’s going to be much help.


    30 Responses to Percentiles II

    1. November 23, 2007 at

      That’s awful. I thought that they made a mistake keeping him

      You are speaking in the past tense there. Do you still feel that way after seeing this numbers? Or have you changed your mind a bit? And what are Kane’s rates?

    2. lowetide
      November 23, 2007 at

      I subscribe to the Robin Yount theory on this one. When Yount was a teenager he played a full season with the Brewers at SS. Same season, the Brewers had a rookie 2b (Pedro Garcia? I’m not looking this up so don’t kill me if his name was Gonzales) who was maybe 21.

      iirc the 2b had an electric k/w (112/30 or some such) and Yount was overwhelmed but not as badly. I remember it because Yount was so bloody young and didn’t play well but it was impressive that he could even survive at the MLB level 6 weeks out of high school.

      And I think that’s the point. I know it’s not a good trade (18 v 26) for UFA’s but the Oilers will be spending good money on the kid at 26 if he’s as good as we think he might be.

      And as Robin Yount proved, when the major league game is even possible when you’re 18, the quicker the pace slows and the more impact you have.



    3. mc79hockey
      November 23, 2007 at

      Nah, Andy, I think Gagner’s numbers are going to end up in the toilet.

      LT – It was Pedro Garcia. I don’t know what counts as survival for Gagner either. He’s really making nothing near a positive contribution and his problems, as I see them, aren’t the result of being unable to handle the speed of the game – he’s just too physically weak. I wonder if the Oilers didn’t get suckered by him coming in having played high level games since August and whether that put him ahead of the pack, which has since caught and passed him.

    4. lowetide
      November 23, 2007 at

      I think it was the right move. Kid is 18 and is learning at the very highest level, and you’re right of course he hasn’t won a puck battle since camp.

      However, he has played enough minutes (even now) imo to begin to adjust to the speed of the game. I think they could send him to the WJC’s and that might be a good plan, but the numbers “as a rookie” are less important than the fact he can actually make plays with intelligence at age 18 in the highest league in the world.

    5. sketchy
      November 23, 2007 at

      Instead of looking at the the top 10 18 year olds look at the top 10 19 year olds in their second year and see what their rookie seasons looked like. It might be more illuminating, maybe?

      13 of the 17 players you singled out had decent NHL careers except Dome, Fata (wasn’t he ‘exceptional’ in the OHL?), and Malhotra, so there’s a chance – based on the numbers so far – that Gagner might be pretty alright. So I’d say that his minutes this year are an investment in the future. They left Schremp in the OHL and look what happened.

    6. mc79hockey
      November 23, 2007 at

      Look, there’s obviously going to be some dispute about cause and effect. With that said, I think it’s fair to say that the vast majority of NHL stars don’t play in the NHL at 18, those who do tend to be the creme de la creme…I don’t know that Gagner, good as he is, quite makes that group of players.

    7. lowetide
      November 23, 2007 at

      MC: Agree completely. I think where we disagree is the value (moving forward) of being able to see and adjust to a major league fastball at 18.

      Does it make you better when you’re 20? Would it be better to slaughter the OHL this season?

      Interesting question imo.

    8. November 23, 2007 at

      Agree completely. I think where we disagree is the value (moving forward) of being able to see and adjust to a major league fastball at 18.

      It probably is different for different players. My thing is this: I don’t think anyone would say that Gagner’s problem is adjusting ML fastballs. His problem is that he’s only got enough power at this point to hit shallow fly balls. Watching him play, you can see that he’s dangerous when he gets the puck into a dangerous spot – he’s just not physically strong enough or, less frequently, fast enough to make that happen enough. Accepting, for the purposes of argument, that you’re right about the value of adjusting as an 18 year old, I still don’t see that being Gagner’s issue. He’s just not physically strong enough to make things happen.

      I don’t know enough about legalized slavery to say whether or not it’s possible, but I would have thought that it would have been interesting if EIG had offered the Knights some money for Gagner’s unconditional release and then brought him in as an Oil King. That way you have him in EDM under the organization’s eye, he can practice with the Oilers when schedules permit and you don’t burn a year of service.

    9. Rand
      November 23, 2007 at

      Query: How do you read this chart? Apparently everyon else understands it so I’m probably being dense here.

      The way I’m reading it, would have the 20th percentile of players putting up 1.14 ESP/60 thus far this season.

    10. November 23, 2007 at

      More than anything, Gagner hitting the wall seems to me an argument for allowing junior players to move to the AHL. I know the CHL has to protect its assets, to some degree, but if they can grant an “exceptional player” status for guys who are too good to play bantam, surely they can grant it for players who are too good for their own league, regardless of whether they’re AHL or NHL calibre. Having seen the effects of leaving guys in the CHL (Schremp) and NHL (Gagner), I think it’s fairly obvious what the next step should be, even if the CHL is going to dig their heels in until roughly three days before the Apocalypse.

    11. November 23, 2007 at

      I thought I’d posted this Last night but I guess the main question is if Gagner’s ’08 failure will help to contribute to his ’09 success. And I should say that’s how I think the Oilers are looking at it and in that respect, I’d agree with them. If Gagner plays close to a full season in the NHL this year, he’ll learn how things work and he’ll learn how certain defensemen work and he’ll be better off for it come ’09.

      I think the bigger questions are:

      A: should we play him to the detriment of the ’08 point total, keeping in mind that Burke stands to gain from our freefall?

      B: what about the spectre of jumpstarting his servicetime clock?

      I think the young PDO awnsered the first question when he said that, basically, so what if Burke comes away with a great player in ’08, if that happened somewhat because the Oilers took some standings lumps from playing Gagner and 89 ultimately becomes better for it, then we have to think about our own developement first. This is my addendum but it’s almost like our pick to Ana is basically a sunk cost right now. There’s nothing we can do to get it back so we’ve got to look after our own house first. It makes no difference to us how well Ana does in that trade.

      B: I think this is the real question. I think that because Gagner spent year one as an 18 year old, his second and third years will be more productive that if he hadn’t started playing in the league until age 19. But, of course, that also starts his clock earlier. So, is that a tradeoff that’s really beneficial to the team?

      On ice, I think Ty makes the best points about why Gagner isn’t doing better. His age probably wouldn’t be such a concern if he was two inches taller and 20 pounds bigger. In any case, the kid is bleeding chances against and now we’ve got what, four games in a row where he’s been on for goal against? And like we’ve all be saying, that’s not a coincidence.

      During the infamous Oilers Live with Kevin Lowe, the GM was downright giddy in talking about Gagner and got excited when someone asked about if he was gonna stay for the whole season. I don’t know if Gagner would’ve had enough icetime to make the team if both 18 and 34 had been healthy in camp, but he’s here now and probably in the lineup to stay until both of those fellows get back.

      There are a couple of guys we could take out of our bottom six right now. Stortini’s hanging by a thread, Sanderson looks to be on his last legs and Gagner’s an EV disaster. And a guy like Thor would be a logical replacement if anyone in the org was logical. I suspect the Oilers are afraid to be without Stortini, as strange as that sounds, and they are afraid to lose Sanderson unless they get some other vet presence back in the lineup. For some reason, though, I don’t think they’re close to thinking about taking 89 out of the lineup.

      In any case, it’s hard enough to hide Gagner at home and it will nearly be impossible to do it on the road. The only thing I’d suggest is putting him with 10-83 and hoping they can carry him. I’m not saying they can but I am saying that I can’t think of anyone else you can play him with on the road as long as you’re honestly trying to win.

      But with Gagner playing as much as he is and a guy like Thor in the minors, you wonder just how big of a concern that is this year.

    12. Sean
      November 23, 2007 at

      Sergei Samsonov had to of been close to 120 ES minutes. IIRC he came out in 1997 and looked amazing. Him and Thornton were both drafted that year.

      Anyways, I think this season is an investment in Gagner. The WJC would be good for him from a leadership perspective but, after playing in the NHL, playin the WJC would be like dominating in practice. Hopefully the game starts slowing down for him in the next month.

    13. godot10
      November 23, 2007 at

      It is better that he stays than goes back to junior. What is he going to learn in junior, or at the WJC? Been there, done that. The main issue is adjusting the speed of the game, and junior hockey can’t help there.

      As for the servicetime clock, the Oilers will have to sign him to a Hemsky/Horton/Whitney-like contract that will span the first couple of free agency years anyway, so “losing” a year doesn’t matter. And there might be a new CBA with earlier free agency anyways by the time Gagner gets there.

      When Moreau and Pisani get back, Gagner will be a 4th liner with more controlled minutes and situations.

      Plus, we need him in the shootout.

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    14. November 23, 2007 at

      I think the question of whether Gagner is contributing this year is moot – I’m not sure about everyone else but I’ve already thrown this season out the window. The only real advantage to finishing a couple points more up the standings is that the Ducks get a worse pick.

      IMO LT (and Dennis) have hit the nail on the head – the real question is whether this move will help Gagner (and therefore the Oilers) in the long term.

      I honestly think that’s up for debate. Spezza was sent back to the A off and on for a long time and he’s since said he believes that helped his game in the long term.

      Gagner has a chance to play and succeed with the WJCs as well, and I’m of the belief that learning how to win helps a player. Maybe it’ll help him to go experience that (the Oilers love guys playing for Canada as well).

      I think another legit question is whether Gagner’s in the lineup because the Oilers think he’s playing really well, or because they’ve run out of options. One could argue someone like Ladislav Smid could’ve been in either of those categories last year, although the fact he didn’t make the bigs right out of the gate this year says something about the roster lineup choices last year – and maybe it says something about what is going on this year.

    15. November 23, 2007 at

      Godot, I know you’re right about when everyone gets back, 89 will be in a sheltered role but we’re a helluva long ways away from that so the question is what do we do with him in the interm? And in deciding what you do with him, how does that affect other players, namely his linemates, and our performance standings wise?

      Kyle, you raise the question of optics and you might be on to something. There was no reason for Smid to play last year, IMO. But he did and I wonder if it didn’t have a lot to do with Lowe worried about what the fans would think if the Pronger bounty wasn’t good enough to play in the NHL. I know everyone tries to protect their players, and especially the young guys, but some of the quotes from the Oilers regarding Smid were laughable.

      So, now we go to this year and with Pisani and Moreau out, that opens the chance that Gagner could make the squad. So, combine that with him being the best player in this Super Series that I think may have happened, ie I didn’t really pay attention, and he has some buzz and maybe it’s a good idea to keep him around. Plus the fact that he is a very talented player.

      I think we’d be more able to accomodate Gagner if he was the only rook here, or say if it was just him and Cogs trying to break in. Well, either that or we had vets with more left in the tank than Sanderson or Reasoner AND we weren’t also trying to break in Penner as well.

      For all those reasons, it’s not the best time to be able to shelter a kid like Gagner. Now why we keep playing him at this late stage in the season when he’s clearly not even shelterable at EV, that’s probably the biggest question of the season.

    16. sketchy
      November 23, 2007 at

      Dennis, the Oilers can not afford to play worrying about what Burke might or might not gain from their success or failure, the deal is done ‘no backsies’ as they say. I do agree that the plan should be to play Gags in a sheltered role, but because 18 and 34 are MIA he has to eat some minutes, being that he can’t go anywhere but Europe at this point.

      Trial by fire rarely seems to work but you never get stronger playing against inferior competition.

    17. Mike
      November 24, 2007 at

      If nothing else, at least Gagner will go into the offseason knowing just how much bigger and stronger he’s going to have to be to compete.
      I’m not questioning his heart had he spent a year in the OHL, I just don’t know if mentally he’d be able to push himself as hard not knowing just how tough the NHL is.

    18. November 24, 2007 at

      Gagner at 18 (barely) is still a boy. His strength will come, although he’ll never be mistaken for Dustin Penner or Georges Laraque.

      For now, he’s learning the game. (If he didn’t know already he needs to be bigger and stronger, he’s an idiot. That only comes with time.) I don’t think another year in the OHL will help him any, so what’s the choice?

    19. November 24, 2007 at

      Funny with the Smid remark. Cogliano and Gagner are getting the “even their mistakes are beautiful!” treatment this year. And like last year, when it is pointed out that they are most likely to be on the ice for an opposition shot on goal, and least likely to be on for an Oilers shot on goal, the “it’s their linemates” card gets played. Odd stuff.

      Lowe went out his way to pin the blame on Smid for a goal scored by Calgary a little while ago. I doubt he would have said a thing if not for the fact that Cogliano was the one who really screwed up, though there was no winger in the high slot either, so one of Sanderson or Gganer must have gotten lost out there as well.

      Last season, when Smid screwed up, the Oilers went out of their way to pin it on someone else. Have to feel for Smid a bit, he’s a much better player than he was at this time last season. Him and Greene were puck possession black holes like Gagner and Cogliano are now. And he gets far less love from fans and management.

      Back to point, IMO 89 and 13 are a real problem. When they are played together they really get the soft icetime, and personally I think the liability line tactic is the right way to go. Problem is they are not only being shuffled to get them weaker opposition, they are also getting offensive zone draws and shifts after the Oilers PK. I would think that on every other team in the league the lion’s share of that icetime is going to offensively skilled veteran players. That’s Iggy, Tanguay and Phaneuf time in CGY. Gaborik/Demitra time in MIN. Sedins/Naslund time in VAN. Some of these guys are Mr Everythings to their teams, but that opportunity still should go to that crew.

      I think that both are almost certainly going to be very good NHL players one day. I imagine that Cogliano would be starting to really rip up the AHL if he were playing there. But they are having an enormously negative effect on the team’s results IMO.

      And did playing in college and the minors hurt Gilbert and Horcoff? Did it help Smid to be playing in the NHL before he was really ready? When did Hemsky start creating as much as he gave back the other way? … sometime early/mid last season I would think.

    20. godot10
      November 24, 2007 at

      //I think that both are almost certainly going to be very good NHL players one day. I imagine that Cogliano would be starting to really rip up the AHL if he were playing there. But they are having an enormously negative effect on the team’s results IMO.//

      The team has negative results, not because of Cogliano and Gagner, but because Stoll and Torres have sucked bigtime. The blame should be put where it belongs. To send Cogliano to the AHL, or Gagner to junior, because Stoll and Torres aren’t doing their jobs is counterproductive.

    21. mc79hockey
      November 24, 2007 at

      Vic – Cogliano, I can accept. This season is a writeoff anyway and there’s no cost to having him here in a dollars and cents sense. It just seems so pointless with Gagner though – you get him for seven years, you’re going to have to suffer through him getting used to the ML fastballs no matter what – why wouldn’t you do it when he’s two years and twenty pounds older? I really struggle to see how this move could possibly make sense.

    22. Bank Shot
      November 24, 2007 at

      I don’t think it really matters that the Oilers will burn a year of service.

      In all likelihood the Oilers will be looking to sign him to an extension that will take him to 27 or 28 years old anyways. If Gagner wants out as a UFA Lowe better damn well be doing his groundwrok and sus that out when Gagner is a 23 year old so they can trade his ass.

      And really, the Oilers will likely get a better deal on an extension when Gagner is coming off a 20 year old season then what they would get if Gagner is coming off a 21 year old season as his stats will probably be lower.

    23. November 24, 2007 at

      Bank Shot, if Gagner winds up wanting out, I’d suggest that Lowe NOT trade him for a Corey Perry type and instead, be a dick about money matters and wind up trading him for Jeff Woywitka. That would be a good start.

      Vic, how are those two kids doing without each other? I’m not really ready to damn 13 because of what’s happening when he’s on a line with 89. To reverse one of our old truisms, ie who’s driving the bus, I’d suspect that Gagner’s the one sinking the ship when it comes to the results for that pairing.

    24. mc79hockey
      November 24, 2007 at

      In all likelihood the Oilers will be looking to sign him to an extension that will take him to 27 or 28 years old anyways. If Gagner wants out as a UFA Lowe better damn well be doing his groundwrok and sus that out when Gagner is a 23 year old so they can trade his ass.

      The more years of UFA time the Oilers want to buy, the more expensive that extension becomes.

    25. jadeddog
      November 24, 2007 at

      just thought id point out that horcoff has a 2.78/60 at ES…. which puts him comfortably in the 95th+ percentile…. thats outrageously good considering how bad this years oilers are

      hemsky is also having a pretty decent ES season at 2.09/60 at ES

    26. November 24, 2007 at

      Does it rankle anyone else that Staples has no problems saying, in effect, that Det offering their first round picks for Phaneuf isn’t such a boon to Cgy because those picks will be devalued? He does this all the while refusing to acknowledge that I made the very same point when I said that’s why the Pronger deal wasn’t all it was cracked up to be, ie you’re getting picks from a team that was good before Pronger and now you’re giving them a guy of his calibre without taking anything from their corps.

      These are the kinds of things that make me wonder about anything you’ll ever read from the Journal.

    27. Bank Shot
      November 24, 2007 at

      The more years of UFA time the Oilers want to buy, the more expensive that extension becomes.

      When Hemsky signed his contract 70+ point players were getting around $3.5 and Hemsky recieved a bit more a $4 million. Maybe part of that was a premium for giving up his UFA years, or based on his potential. Either way it wasn’t much to concede.

      I doubt Gagner’s case would be much different. Most guys that get resigned by their club seem to be alot better priced then what you can get for the same monies on the market.

    28. dubya
      November 26, 2007 at

      Dennis, I think if two independent people can simultaneously come up with the theory of natural selection, it’s also possible that two independent people can simultaneously make related observations related to the value of draft picks as compensation.

      Staples seems pretty good about citing others, maybe he didn’t read the post your referring to?

    29. Bruce
      November 26, 2007 at

      Due respect to both Dennis and David, it is a fairly logical if not downright obvious ocnclusion that it costs a shit team far more in the value of draft choices than it would cost a top team to sign the same RFA. The entry draft system is designed to help the weak get stronger, but the compensation system most definitely is not, in fact it’s downright punitive. Ask the Oilers (sigh).

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