There seems to be a lot of talk about the Oilers acquiring Curtis Joseph. It’s an attractive trade symbolically-Joseph leaving for Toronto in 1998 was a big story in Edmonton and was sort of the starting point of the second exodus of Oiler talent that could no longer be afforded (I refuse to characterize Luke Richardson as talent). Additionally, as we all know, the Oilers love to bring in guys who did something in Edmonton in the past. There’s one problem with acquiring Cujo, as I see it-since an absolutely absurd start to the season, wherein he was posting a save percentage that would have been good in the dead puck era, he’s been an absolute gong show.
Inspired by this site, I’ve done a graph of Joseph’s overall, even strength and power play save percentages as they’ve changed with each shot this year. On the first 564 shots he faced, he was awesome. Cujo allowed only 38 goals on those shots, good for a .933 save percentage. His save percentage at ES through the first 564 shots was 0.945 and his save percentage against the PP through this point of the year was .902. Stories were being written about how Joseph had fixed his technique over the lockout and he was being (legitimately, IMO) touted as an MVP candidate for his play up to that point.
Since that point though, Joseph has put up a save percentage worthy of a guy already playing goal for the Oilers as opposed to a guy who’d be a good acquisition for the Oilers. In the 642 shots since, Joseph has an .869 save percentage overall, which includes an .887 at even strength and an .814 against the PP.
So which is the real Cujo? Well, he’s probably somewhere in between these two but I’d lean more towards the bad numbers than the good. It’s been a long time since Joseph has put up a season of any length with decent numbers and prior to this season I didn’t think he made any sense to the Oilers because of this. While his numbers at the moment (.899 save percentage, .914 ES save percentage and .858 against the power play) look attractive compared to the Oilers guys, he’s been as bad as Morrison, Markkanen and Conklin for quite some time now. It’s kind of funny-if he were to have started as he’s played since the 564 shot mark, he’d have been buried on the bench, if not waived. Since he has the hot start keeping his numbers up and he’s famous for being good in the 1990′s, he’s apparently a somewhat hot deadline commodity.
Should the Oilers be chasing him? He’s probably still preferable to the current dog’s breakfast but I don’t know how much more can be expected of him than what he’s done for the past half of the season. If this was someone of whom reasonable expectations were significantly higher (say Dwayne Roloson), I’d be more willing to overlook his recent struggles but I think Joseph’s ceiling at this point of his career is probably relatively close to that of Markkanen. I doubt that the difference between the two is that significant. There are other guys out there that I’d prefer and while I’m not going to shed any tears over the loss of Brad Winchester, I don’t think Joseph is really a fix for the Oilers problems.
I had this interesting post written the other day about Jimmy Carson and Barry Pederson that got eaten. The key points:
- PhantomJoe1920 knows a lot about hockey history.
- Jimmy Carson may not have gone in the toilet due to a lack of testicular fortitude as I seem to recall the Edmonton papers implying in the late 80′s and early 90′s; he suffered a knee injury his first year in Detroit after which his scoring was never the same.
- Barry Pederson had incredibly good numbers his first three years. He then had a tumour removed from his shoulder and his career was never the same. If you look at his stats, the point at which he had the tumour removed is obvious.
- I didn’t realize the extent to which the guys who are really high achievers as rookies and then fizzled were felled by injuries.