Wednesday, January 28, 2009
There's a lot of talk of Sabermetrics and Moneyball amongst the Oilers blogs. The basic premise of these is the use of advanced statistics, beyond typical boxscore numbers, to evaluate a players true value to his team. Moneyball was a book about Billy Beane's Oakland A's and their use of the principals of sabremetrics to outsmart conventional subjective wisdom amongst Beane's peers. Part of Beane's success in Oakland has been his ability to sell high. He traded pitchers Tim Hudson and Mark Mulder near the peaks of their careers and kept on rollin'. He has the ability to demand a ransom, get top prospects and serviceable players in return, and keep the A's competitive and on budget. He might be a bigger dickhead than most GMs (that's an accomplishment in and of itself), but he's proven to be a good one. If nothing else, he was ahead of the sabre-curve, being the first of what has now become many GM's that employ sabremetrics analysts.
Anyhoo, one of the Beane-James gang in the oilogosphere is Tyler of MC79hockey.com. I imagine if he ran a hockey team there would be a rate of turnover amongst players that would be alarming to the general fan population. One deal that would have been made last season was the trading of Matthieu Garon. I remember Tyler posting on several occasions that the Oilers should trade Garon at the deadline. Last season, Garon appeared to be emerging as a legit #1 goaltender who couldn't be scored against in the shootout. Now trades for starting goaltenders don't seem to happen all that often (Roberto Luongo notwithstanding), and scouring my memory banks I really can't think of many teams trading for a new #1 mid season or otherwise. Roli to the Oilers for a 1st round pick jumps to mind. Andrew Raycroft to the Leafs for a highly touted prospect. Manny Fernandez for perennial allstar Peter Kalus. Jose Theodore and David Aebisher were traded for each other. Thomas Vokoun got a 1st and two 2nd's from the Panthers. Biron went to the Flyers for a 2nd, Chris Mason was had for a 4th, and Roberto Luongo (the NHL's best goatender) for a bag of pucks - twice. Kiprusoff was an unknown commodity and a stopgap measure for the Flames so his trade value was next to nothing when he was moved as well. So - who did I miss? I definately don't see much of a pattern there other than the Panthers should be the preferred trading partner of every other team in the league and the Avs haven't had a goalie since Patrick Roy was wearing his wife beater under a Colorado sweater. Returns for starting goalies appear to be all over the board and based on team desperation and manager IQ more than anything else. But there may be something to Tylers belief that Garon should have been sent out last season at the deadline. There were a few teams that would have shilled for a goalie that was stealing wins on a regular basis. The afore named Avs perhaps, having already taken Tommy Salo off our hands, could have been fleeced again. Washington and Tampa were both looking for goalie help (oh yeah, Mike Smith - forgot about him), and Ottawa really stands out as the team that didn't have it's goalie shit together. So the market wasn't huge, but the return may have been a 1st or top prospect from the Sens and or a 2nd from some of the others? I don't know much about Ryan Stone, but he's likely not worth a 1st or 2nd draft choice, and the fact that the Oilers had to take a goalie back in the trade shows that there was a least a little negative value in the Garon return as well.
So, the Oilers held onto Garon, didn't make the playoffs, didn't extend Garon, signed JDD, created a three goalie situation, ruined Garon's confidence, took away his playing a practice time, eroded what little trade value he did have, and then moved him. Is this Anti-moneyball? Can we call it Loweball?
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Monday, January 12, 2009
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Got to my first game of the season last night, and boy I can see why those tickets were easy to come by - what a snoozer. Biggest cheer of the night was for the TSN broadcast of the Canada victory. Horcoff, to my eye, had one of his worst nights in memory - brutal giveaway in the 1st to put the Islanders up 1-0, and not much else to atone for that mistake. The only positive of the night for the Oilers was the play of the 4th line - Stortini in particular. At one point in the 2nd I leaned over to my wife (The first game we were able to attend together since Samsonov's home debut vs. Calgary back in '06 - another 3-2 victory for the good guys as I recall - seems she's a bit of a good luck charm) and said "Stortini needs to do something here to get the team fired up - a hit, a fight, someth"...........SCORES. Stortini threw the puck into the crease and it was 2-1 Islanders and the building had a little life. A few minutes later, Stortini makes a real nice play from behind the net and it's a tie game. I imagine Bruce had a big ole smile on his face.
Funny note from last night - the Oilers played a real nice little tribute for Doug Weight and thanked him for his community service during his tenure as an Oiler. A few minutes later, a stat on the scoreboard shows "Former Oilers Doug Weight and Bill Guerin currently sit 2 and 3 in Islanders scoring" - no mention the entire night of boobird favorite Mike Comrie. I guess the wound is still too fresh!