Oilers 2011/12 Quarter 1 Review

By , December 4, 2011 3:58 pm
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2011/12 - Quarter 1 Review

We’re characteristically late on this one… partly because there was a nice 3-day break at this point. Trogdor was unable to write up his thoughts, so you just get the thoughts from Steve-O and me, based on 21 games in.

And awayyyy we go…..

Legend:
A – Awesome
B – Above Average
C – Average
D – Booooooooo
F – Useless/Trade/Fire

FORWARD RANKINGS

Player Pos GP G A P +/- PIM
Ales Hemsky R 10 2 5 7 -1 0
Racki Coming back from yet another injury, taking a little while to get back to his usual self, but he is seeming to find some chemistry with the Nuge and Hall… not that this is a hard thing to do. But that line will be gold if it stays together. B+
Steve-O When healthy he’s killing it. Re-sign him immediately. You want to keep your skill players A
Anton Lander C 20 1 1 2 -2 4
Racki He’s been OK. Neither bad, nor particularly stellar either. C
Steve-O Hasn’t looked out of place on the 4th line, goal was from a killer wrist shot. B-
Ben Eager L 16 0 1 1 -2 25
Racki Better than I expected a guy of his size and caliber to be, as a player, but I wonder where the toughness is. I expected him to be racking up fights by now. B
Steve-O Meh. Skates well, can play the game better than former tough guys (Stortini, JFJ and Big Mac) but not bringing enough to the team to have better players benched. Also hasn’t fought all that much and hasn’t deterred any shots against Hall/Hemsky/Eberle/Nuge. C
Darcy Hordichuk L 4 0 0 0 -1 0
Racki Haven’t really seen him enough to fully judge. I liked what I saw so far. He skates quick, and loves to hit. But I can’t really fully judge just yet. C
Steve-O Haven’t seen him enough. Says the right things (except I can’t remember who made the joke, but if he’s on the ice when the other teams best players are we are in big shit) but got injured too early. C
Eric Belanger C 21 0 4 4 -1 10
Racki Offense with this guy is nearly negligent, but he’s been a big factor on the PK as well as helping take the load of Horcoff. Signing him was LONG overdue. Very happy that was done, and he’s been worth every penny so far. Offense would be nice, but that’s secondary. B+
Steve-O Wins faceoffs (up there in the league). Defends well. The points will be nice if they come, but he does exactly what he’s here for B
Jordan Eberle R 21 7 14 21 1 6
Racki He’s been one of our best players. I would say that “Mr. Clutch” is back. He is our best pure scorer, including Hall, Nuge, and Hemsky. A+
Steve-O Great player A
Lennart Petrell C 18 1 2 3 -3 21
Racki Does what should be expected of him. He’s physical (even had a fight!) and can PK fairly well. B
Steve-O PK’s well. We need that (why are we taking so many penalties?). Outside of that doesn’t bring much beyond replacement level 4th liner. B-
Linus Omark L 5 0 0 0 -2 2
Racki I’d ship him off to another team. I don’t approve of his comments recently. Although I will agree that there are players on our current roster that should be in the AHL instead of him.. I will actually say Paajarvi is one of them (although no slight to him.. I like Paajarvi… but he needs a confidence boost). He’s a scorer though, and the ultimate measuring stick for a scorer is points. Zero points equates to a scorer that isn’t doing his job well enough. So I don’t think you can justify that he’s being screwed over. However, I would bring him up for a bit in place of Paajarvi and see if he can fit in better with Paajarvi’s linemates. C
Steve-O Should be here over anyone on the 4th line, and I could argue over Paajarvi as well (although I wouldn’t). Too good to be playing in the AHL. If I were him I’d be heading to the bigger cheque in Europe (closer to home too). Or asking to get traded to a team that’ll play him. C+
Magnus Paajarvi L 18 0 1 1 -3 2
Racki Well, I may have sounded like I just dumped on him in Omark’s review, but I’m not. He has been playing well… yes.. Well. And I guess that’s why he is still here and Omark isn’t. The problem is that he is severely snake bitten. He’s a team player and uses his linemates, and isn’t a guy that rubs anyone the wrong way (which I can’t say with authority about Omark). The problem appears to be inside his head right now. I pray this guy gets going.. he’s a good player. I’d send him to the AHL though just for the reason of getting his confidence back (and I’d explain to him that he isn’t doing bad.. we just need him to find his scoring touch there). C
Steve-O Stats are not there, but he’s playing well. Not a train wreck in our own zone, has the speed to go wide just needs some bounces. C+
Ryan Jones L 21 5 4 9 2 8
Racki He’s doing what I’d expect him to so far. Scores goals, and adds a lot to our PK. A lot better on the PK than I thought too. Plus he adds a danger to it as well to (for the opposing team) with short-handed goal potential. C
Steve-O Solid 3rd liner. I think when this team gets going he’ll be a 4th line player which is golden. C+
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins C 21 8 14 22 3 6
Racki How can you NOT love this kid. He’s amazed me. I didn’t think he would be this good, this soon. He is great in all zones. Sometimes he’ll turn the puck over, but I’ve never seen anyone so hungry to get the puck back. He makes up for his mistakes, definitely. He makes players around him better. He generates his own offense. I didn’t expect him to be as good a goal scorer as he is too. End of Pierre McGuire man crush…. for now. I think his offense isn’t as good against top lines, but he did contribute to embarrasing Weber/Suter in the home game vs. Predators. I think his defensive game is still quite respectable against top lines.. it’s not a concern. His faceoffs are a concern, however. A+
Steve-O Hell of a rookie season. With the good coaching he’s receiving (line matching wise) he could put in quite a few. A
Ryan Smyth L 21 11 11 22 2 33
Racki Taking too many stupid penalties. That’s my one knock on him. Other than that, he gets the same glowing review as the Nuge. He’s been worth bringing back, and I sure as hell hope he retires here. A+
Steve-O Wow did we miss Smytty. Love it. A
Sam Gagner C 14 0 3 3 1 9
Racki He’s been alright… no real concerns. But he’s not getting the ice time he used to, so we can’t expect him to make something out of almost nothing. C
Steve-O Much like Paajarvi, playing well just not getting the breaks. Love that he decided to toss the mitts against Nashville C+
Shawn Horcoff C 21 6 8 14 -1 2
Racki Thank you… thank you for being a good player again. Been relatively good on the dot. Excellent on the PK. Still has hands of stone, but his play hasn’t been a concern. This guy is a great leader too… even earned props from everyone’s favorite guy to hate these days, Sheldon Souray. A-
Steve-O Fuck Horcoff A-
Taylor Hall L 20 6 10 16 0 12
Racki He’s playing quite well.. not scoring as much as I expected him too, but the goals will come. He REALLY needs to stop getting killed out there though. B+
Steve-O Playing well. Could be playing better (he was before he got injured last year). Needs to keep his head up, as he’s getting hit hard now and is missing some passing chances. B+

DEFENSEMEN RANKINGS

Player Pos GP G A P +/- PIM
Tom Gilbert D 21 3 7 10 -5 6
Racki Yup, I gave him an A+… higher than Steve-O. I hear he’s getting trashed on the Oilers website forum again though. I don’t get it. I’ve had my issues with him in the past, but everyone of them is gone now. I’m back to loving Gilbert again. He’s be one of the KEY pieces in getting this team to where it is right now (not last place!). Shot blocking extrodinaire… and he’s found his offensive touch again too. Plus, he’s also playing more physical. This is a part of his game coaching staff told him he needed to improve.. he recognized it, and he did it. A+
Steve-O Maybe other people will start seeing it now? Good in his own zone, puts up some points. A-
Corey Potter D 16 2 6 8 -3 4
Racki Holy crap, where’d this guy come from? Renney is a genius for calling the talent on him and asking the brass to bring him in. He’s been solid at both ends of the ice. It sucks he got hurt, as I think his presence will be missed all around. Hurry back to health. A
Steve-O Pleasant surprise.  Played well to start, and while he started to show his inexperience later was still playing decent. B+
Jeff Petry D 14 1 4 5 5 6
Racki He’s getting rave reviews around the oilogosphere from what I’ve seen. I think he’s been solid. He earned his place on the team unlike some other hackjob call ups that will remain nameless (until I get to them.. Hah!) B-
Steve-O Not too shabby.  Haven’t noticed him all that much out there which isn’t bad for a D man C+
Theo Peckham D 17 1 1 2 4 44
Racki Steady Teddy :( What happened??? He’s starting to look better in recent games, but this season has been ROUGH on him. Got benched a game or two for it too. Needs to find that form from last year. He’ll get there though. I still love his physical play though. C-
Steve-O Has struggled a little, but I figure it was to be expected as he over-achieved so much last year.  Seems to be the protector of the kids too which I like. C+
Cam Barker D 12 1 0 1 3 14
Racki Oi. I liked him early on when I watched him in pre-season, but now I’m starting to see that he’s a dud. Very low risk signing though, but unless he figures things out in a hurry he won’t be back. D
Steve-O Haven’t really noticed him to be honest.  Not worth 2.5, but I’d bring him back at a cheaper price point. C
Andy Sutton D 12 1 0 1 0 33
Racki He actually has surprised me, proving that I am not an expert. He gets beat with speed easily, as Steve-O noted, but I think outside of that, he’s been a very solid d-man. He’s another guy we miss on the PK and in defensive situations. B-
Steve-O Just as slow as I expected (not Plante slow though), but has played well positionally. Brings some nice toughness too. C
Colten Teubert D 5 0 1 1 0 6
Racki This is a guy who should be a lot tougher than he is. He’s trying, but looks to get pushed around too much for someone his size. Has the jittery-nervous hands still too. But it’s early yet. Rating based on not seeing him enough. C-
Steve-O Haven’t seen much, but he hasn’t looked too out of place keeping in mind he’s a rookie. C
Ladislav Smid D 21 0 1 1 -2 14
Racki Him and Tom Gilbert have been a superb pairing. He’s somehow caught whatever awesome virus Peckham had last year that made him so good. Blocks shots with aplomb. He has taken severe punishment from so many pucks this year. I see too that he still leads the league in shots blocked, and I believe that to be true. I bet he has 60 bruises to show for those 60 blocked shots. Tough son of a bitch. A+
Steve-O I love it.  Smid does so much for the team.  Now he just needs to pop a goal, and his season will be fantastic. A-
Alex Plante D 2 0 1 1 1 2
Racki I think he’s actually looked fairly solid out there. Too early to really tell though. B-
Steve-O Slooooooooooooooooooooooooooow. Also looks like Jared Leto from fight club. C-
Taylor Chorney D 4 0 0 0 -1 0
Racki Can’t rate him too much because we haven’t seen him much… but really wasn’t too ecstatic about reclaiming him. Will be good to have him in OKC though. C-
Steve-O Haven’t noticed him.  Didn’t cry when he got picked up off of waivers, didn’t celebrate when we grabbed him back.  Don’t think there is any room for him on this team though. C
Ryan Whitney D 4 0 0 0 0 0
Racki Who? (rating based on him being very slow to get into game shape… to be expected though) D
Steve-O It’d be nice if he got healthy. C

GOALTENDER RANKINGS

Player GP MIN W L OT SA GA GAA Sv% SO
Nikolai Khabibulin 14 808 8 4 2 25 1.86 388 0.936 2
Racki Oh my lord. What the hell happened? Why is he playing so well? Did we finally get this guy some more water or something? A-
Steve-O It’ll take more than this to make me a believer, but it has helped.  Starting to look like the Khabi of old now. A-
Devan Dubnyk 8 460 3 4 0 21 2.74 227 0.907 0
Racki His play has taken a bit of hit, in my opinion. Lost what I thought would be the starter job to an old, crippled drunk. He’ll get it back though. But he needs to be more consistent if he hopes to take the job from Khabibulin. B-
Steve-O Has played just as well (minus that shelling in Boston) as Khabi, maybe he’ll start to see more games. A-

OTHER RANKINGS

Team As A Whole
(GP 21, 11-8-2, GF 57, GA 51)
Review Rating
Racki You go from last place, to 2nd or 3rd place.. Improved both special teams by a ginormous margin… you get a good review. A
Steve-O I don’t think anyone predicted this, and it’s been fun to watch.  We’ll see how it holds up after the next quarter, but I’ll enjoy it while it lasts. A
Coaching
Racki I’ll defend the roster decisions that Steve-O notes below… zero points for Omark doesn’t give him enough credit to bust into the line up. Although I do think too that Paajarvi should be down in the AHL (well, Steve-O didn’t actually say that, but I think he could be there instead of Omark). The 3rd line needs an increase in minutes though if it has any hope in surviving. Players have bought into Renney’s systems now though, which has skyrocketed our special teams out of the basement. A-
Steve-O Love the line matching.  Could have used it last year, but I think the fact that he didn’t just shows that management really wanted to pooch the year.  Don’t like some of the roster decisions however (poor min for Paajarvi + Omark) B+
Management Review Rating
Racki Nice work with the offseason signings. Signing both Hordichuk and Eager was a bit questionable, but I figure it was to accommodate possible injuries and suspensions, which it turns out we needed. Sutton has been solid. Barker has been a dud, but low risk signing anyways. Smyth is a godsend and welcome home again. Belanger has been a big help. Nice work with the Finn scouting too as Petrell and Tyrvainen seem to be decent players (even if they will see AHL time). Taylor Fedun signing was also one that was out of the blue, but he showed HUGE promise before that awful injury. Hopefully he’ll be OK as he looks to be good. I’ll give Renney 100% of the credit for the Potter signing, however.

I thought we could have used more D help, but it seems to be working already. Same goes for the goaltending which really should be more of an issue than it is (this probably speaks to our coaching).

B+
Steve-O Our D could use a little help.  And we have too many forwards.  It’s not like other GM’s are not making moves.  That said, I suppose you don’t break up what has been working. C+

7 Responses to “Oilers 2011/12 Quarter 1 Review”

  1. Racki says:

    As always, feel free to tell us how shitty we did with our report card :P But remember… this is done just after game 21.. so the last 5 games are not taken into consideration here.

  2. Grass&sOIL says:

    Peckham – Even though his play has been substandard he still leads this team in +/- ( I think he did at the 1/4 mark too) So that’s a good sign. If he can put the rest of his game together then he will be alright.

    Eberle – If there was an award for Sophmore of the year(and there should be) in the NHL then he would get my vote so far!

    The Nuge – This is where I recant any pre draft comments I made about him and I will also recant my wish of him playing for Team Canada at the JR this year (I said when he first officially made the team that he should still be loaned to Canada). Team Canada had their chance last year to have him on the team and blew it. Go look elsewhere bitches :)

  3. John says:

    Sutton has been better than I expected but due to his humongous size & strength he tends to take too many shitty penalties like in the offensive zone when the Oilers are starting to buzz & build momentum.

    I can’t figure out whether to praise Hordichuk or boo him, probably because he often draws a penalty leading to an Oiler PP goal… then minutes later sitting in the box for a PPG against! Would like to see at least one game where he is a difference maker for our team only, not the opposition as well.

    As for Barker, I know he’s injured but even when he wasn’t he was a marginal player at best. So much for mister, “I can’t wait for this season so I can show all those who gave up on me why I was a 1st round draft pick…” pfffft ya right :/

  4. oilinblood says:

    whats with the fuck horcoff statement?
    @john –sutton takes alot of big man penalties which i knew would happen when we signed him. hes huge and thus people are going to fall over when engaging him and draw the officials attention to him.
    everything seems to be close to what i would have
    Hall needs to distribute the puck more and get to those lanes and gaps in coverage to use his release. He is more dangerous the less he handles the puck. Hall also needs to manipulate coverage more in those moments where he hangs on to the puck. if you are going to hang on to the puck at least move your coverage in ways that open other soft areas where you can allow your linemates to open up.
    nuge is rediculous.
    barkers crosscheck on seguin to cost us the momentum in a 4-3 game in boston… was the act of a rookie. Not worth 2.5M.
    I remember when horcoff actually had hands (06-07). nice shoot out goal on Backstrom though. Interesting to hear his explanation on some plays like the kipper save where horc pulled it around him and shot in the second period. horc explained that he thought if he did the move to his forehand he would have to release it right away (which he did) or risk being boxed out and the puck going back the other way with 4 men deep and tired. at the time i was mad he didnt take that extra second and change his angle just a tiny bit more. still seems to whiff on shots. a friend who is a hockey coach – and hates the oilers- thinks horcoff needs a few extra inches on the length of his stick. I then realized he does use a shorter stick compared to his height which is more a danglers style than a 2 way centre style.

    eberle is finding those soft areas to set up release of his shot.

    belanger and horcoff are pretty close to the same imho. not a bad thing.

    A pet peeve of mine is players coastin, gliding, to the bench to make changes. Red Wings hussle to the bench. Backlunds goal against calgary is an example of a slow change. whitney was two strides too late after his man took his sweet time getting back to the bench in a pk situation.

    I think this team needs a strong power forward, maybe in place of hemsky or magnus. getting sick of being beaten up with body checks in our own building. makes us look very physically weak, very beta.

    any interest in bringing penner back for a 3rd pick and tuebert or something? he isnt doing anything for LA but was good for us. he can play either wing and, as pointed out numerous times, was good on any line and with just about anyone. we even had him at centre on a few occassions.

    penner belanger/gags and magnus?

  5. Racki says:

    oib: didn’t read the rest of your post yet, but seeing as how Steve-O gave Horc a good score, it’s pretty obvious that he’s being facetious with the ‘fuck Horcoff’ statement, in mock of fans here.

  6. Racki says:

    Agreed on moving a Hemsky/Paajarvi type for a power forward. Say, a Dustin Penner… just kidding.

  7. Steve-O says:

    Yeah, I’m making fun of Oiler fans. I also like to say fuck horcoff when he scores.

    And no to trading Hemsky.

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