• Oilers Forwards ESS/60 in 2009-10

    by  • August 2, 2010 • Uncategorized • 10 Comments

    I did a quickie post last summer on the ESS/60 of the Oilers’ forwards that I thought I’d update now.

    For those who don’t know, this is an astoundingly repeatable metric. Drops in shot production like that suffered by Penner and Nilsson are not usual. I think that the chart kind of gives you a fair sense of it – you can see that this stuff generally operates within a pretty narrow realm. The fact that it’s Penner and Nilsson made me wonder a little bit if perhaps the coach was on to something about those two and their levels of conditioning (Penner) or effort (Nilsson). It’s intriguing to me that two of the guys who clearly aggravated him the most had significant drops in a number that repeats pretty readily…

    It will be interesting to watch and see what kind of numbers these fellows put up this year. I’m not inclined to blame the coach for their failings – you get less leeway when you look out of shape and if Robert Nilsson really added 15 pounds this summer, hopefully some of that was in the form of balls – but some improvement from those guys would probably do wonders in terms of moving the team forward.


    Sure enough, both Penner and Nilsson bubbled back up towards their established norms – as I mentioned in the original post, Anaheim is known for being a bit aggressive with the shot counting. Robert Nilsson isn’t a bad NHL forward, all things considered. I’m surprised a team like Chicago wouldn’t have taken a flyer on him at $500K, given that the bottom end of their team is going to suck and that Nilsson has been a positive Corsi guy for a while; it’s not his fault that the save percentage was horrific behind him last year and he’d probably be a decent bet to be in the black.

    A few things leap out at me. That number for Horcoff is worrisome. While it’ll likely be seized on by some of the people who have no reason to get out of bed in the morning but the hope that they’ll get to complain about him, it’s a worrisome fall. In the case of Penner and Nilsson, there were some motivation problems in the year where they fell short, something that I don’t think was a problem with Horcoff. You might be able to pin some of the fall on the different people with whom Horcoff played last year; the fall-off from Hemsky as a winger to a collection of POS, Moreau and JFJ is pretty dramatic. With that said, that’s like a 30% fall-off in his established shot rate. If this is, by reason of injury, the new normal, it’s going to be a problem. It’ll be something to watch for in the early going.

    If I was a poolie, Sam Gagner would be one of the guys I’d have as a darkhorse pick this year. The improvement in his underlying numbers over the past three years has been impressive, even if he hasn’t yet been rewarded with a jump in the boxcars. It will come. But for some nagging injuries, he probably would have topped fifty points last year. If there’s a long term deal to be had there, I’d probably swallow my doubts, take a little risk and make it, albeit as a frontloaded deal.

    An interesting question to have answered would be when the typical player stops improving at this metric. Andrew Cogliano’s shot numbers are still pretty lousy for a winger. Now, he didn’t play with the Oilers’ best (such as they were) last year and the trend is still upward, but 7.3 ESS/60 isn’t really anything to write home about. I have a hard time seeing how he fits in the top six long term and I can’t really imagine him being an outshooting guy at any point in his career. Like Marc Pouliot, he strikes me as someone who might have to learn that the top six of a good NHL team is not the place for him by ending up somewhere else.

    The continued pissing away of organizational resources in JFJ is one of the most amazing things of the past few years with the Oilers, sort of on the same level as the wasting of time and money on JDD. His ESS/60 is worse than Zack Stortini’s, he’s 25 years old this year and this was who he played with last year (by Corsi events) compared to who Stortini played with:


    Stortini spends his time with established Corsi and offensive black holes like Cogliano and Moreau; JFJ is getting fed minutes with guys who at least have sort of a track record and does less with it than Stortini in less favourable circumstances. There’s an interesting question here, I suppose – the quality of competition that Stortini faced was presumably lower and I wonder how JFJ would do in Stortini’s spot but it’s hard to imagine a guy with fewer results getting the opportunities he’s had.

    There’s a great interview with Norm MacDonald on Conan O’Brien where he decided to stay for the next segment, in which Courtney Thorne-Smith was promoting her new movie with Carrot Top. Conan asked her what the movie was called and Norm interjected with “Box Office Poison.” Norm was somewhat clairvoyant – the movie made about $2MM on a $10MM budget and is memorable solely for Norm trashing it in this interview.

    I’m shocked that anyone would sink money into a movie headlined by Carrot Top but continued opportunties for JFJ are a mystery on about the same level. It doesn’t matter, because the Oilers won’t be competitive, but it’s a waste of a spot that could have been used for someone who actually has a shot at being an NHLer at some point. Strange that the stigma of being part of the Zach Parise deal attaches only to the far superior of the two players obtained in return.


    10 Responses to Oilers Forwards ESS/60 in 2009-10

    1. Quain
      August 2, 2010 at

      I think the best bet on Horcoff is that it’s some combination of being paired with the worst players on the team, in the toughest circumstances and then added in to a shoulder injury and maybe it all happened during a season that God had already decided would be on the low end of his spectrum (one can hope, right?)

      I will say that it’s not the contract I’d have offered him, but I’m still happy he got it even if he proceeds to become a corpse for the next five years. There’s no sign this team is going anywhere, so I might as well enjoy watching a guy I like, eh?

      As for the rest of it, what more can you say about JFJ? He shouldn’t be in the NHL, but there is he, drawing a paycheck. For $500K more we could have Dominic Moore. This wasn’t even one of the tough decisions a GM has to make and Tambellini blew it. It’s why I can’t join in on the prevailing wisdom (in some parts) that he’s not a complete moron.

    2. Vic Ferrari
      August 2, 2010 at

      That clip is priceless, Norm MacDonald was a funny dude.

      And have you seen carrot top recently? He had a guest bit on an episode of “last comic standing” a year or two ago. He’s been working out a lot since the 90s, he’s a big guy now, and he’s aged terribly. He looks like an especially ugly version of Mickey Rourke.

    3. August 2, 2010 at

      As for the rest of it, what more can you say about JFJ? He shouldn’t be in the NHL, but there is he, drawing a paycheck. For $500K more we could have Dominic Moore. This wasn’t even one of the tough decisions a GM has to make and Tambellini blew it. It’s why I can’t join in on the prevailing wisdom (in some parts) that he’s not a complete moron.

      I don’t understand how so many executives and coaches have such a blind spot for Jacques.

      The Oilers’ morbid fascination for Jacques is an allegory for the franchise over the last four years.

    4. August 3, 2010 at

      I’m a bit more bullish on Cogliano’s improvement in this area. There’s still work to do but his numbers in this area improved greatly year over year despite playing a huge chunk of time with Moreau and Stortini and having a less favourable zone-start ratio than he had in either 2007-08 or 2008-09. Further, although I agree he should be playing wing, he spent most of the year at center and generated a number very comparable to Horcoff’s long-term rate. I’m still hopeful that he finds a spot in the top nine forwards on this team.

    5. dawgbone
      August 3, 2010 at

      Coach, it’s that combination of size and speed.

      You keep thinking to yourself, if he could only put it together!

      Of course he never does and he shit-cans the people he plays with.

      He’ll get another shot somewhere else. Big bodies have a long life in the NHL.

    6. Benhur
      August 3, 2010 at

      JFJ will make you believersa thbis year. If he stays heALTHY. WATCH OUT
      I saw Reger take his no. after a hard hit. Something Reger does not usually have to deal with!
      He’s not a fighter like Mac but he instigates which is a quality the Oil have lacked for many, many years.
      he has speed and can get on the D and lay them out……which we need. Good on yu JF …. don’t listen to the BS on this or other sites. You are EXACTLY what the OIL need!

    7. Pete.
      August 3, 2010 at

      It’s interesting that the comments with which I disagree are generally also the ones that read like they were written by drunk ESL students. I’m not saying there’s a connection one way or the other, necessarily; it’s just interesting.

      Missed most of the heated debate last week when I left halfway through to go build some bullshit in Lloydminster. What a grim, dismal town. The bar/restaurant servers are all nice though.

      Anyway, imagine if JFJ somehow, against all odds and common sense, actually became a useful player? It would be so bizarre and hilarious and awesome. Of course it’d be awesome to find a big bag of unmarked, non-sequential bills lying on the street too, and it’s about equally likely. Still, I can dream.

    8. dawgbone
      August 4, 2010 at

      Benhur, Regehr takes numbers all the time (usually as he’s about to drill said number into the boards while reading it). Not only that, but Stortini is a far better pest than JFJ is (while also being a better fighter and better all round hockey player).

      JFJ may be able to “get on the D and lay them out”, but he has to get the puck out of his own end first, which is where the weakest part of his game is (which is astonishing if you’ve ever watched him receive a pass).

    9. August 4, 2010 at

      I’m not terribly concerned about Horcoff’s future just yet. I mean, you said yourself the number tends to rebound. Obviously, if it doesn’t, that’s a problem, but there’s no real evidence at this time to suggest it won’t. He’s not that old (31?), and he’s had a long summer to rest it then work it back into shape. If he were five years older, I’d worry, but not at this point.

    10. August 8, 2010 at

      hello friends

      can u tell me regarding this topic because i have never heard about this so much….

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