Sunday, March 26, 2006

Horcoff vs Naslund

Horcoff has never gotten much love from Oiler fans, but he's been getting a lot of respect from opposing coaches for a while.

Crawford is at home last night, so he has last change. Top of the list is Naslund, he's the player most likely to win the game for Crawford, and he handily played the most 5on5 minutes last night.

The start of periods he's going to play the guy. That's just the way it is done with star players unless you are purposely trying to piss them off. Beyond that there is a matchup you want to avoid (if it's Modano, and it always is vs DAL btw, then the way around that is to get Naslund his shifts after Modo has left the ice.)

Hers is Naslund's icetime (green bars) vs Horcoff (dark red bars). The narrow red bands on the edge are Oiler PPs. This for about the last half of the game.

Spot the pattern?

Alert readers will also remember that both coaches ran damn short benches near the end, so it gets a little muddy, still, Crawford stuck with it. And that the two Oiler PPs were drawn when the Horcoff-Naslund matchup happened.

I never noticed that bit at the middle of the game while I was watching (In fairness I was drinking beer at the time) but that's pretty clearly bushsitting by MacT at the start of this shift strip, and then getting him out every second shift in the late second to try and break the pattern ... Crawford didn't bite.

Horcoff ended up playing about the same amount of icetime against Markus as Stoll or Peca. But the way that this icetime happened is far more interesting, to me anyways.

And just for the heckuvit, D-pairing icetime vs either the Naslund or Sedin lines:

Pronger: 11 of 16 minutes
Smith: 11 of 16 minutes
Greene: 3 of 11 minutes

A pretty typical road D split for this team of MacTavish's.


Blogger speeds said...

So Vic, let's play a game called "if I were the GM".

How long, and for how much, would you be willing to sign Horcoff this summer, keeping in mind this is his last RFA season as he'll be a UFA come summer 2007? And how does that contrast with what you expect Horcoff to get/Lowe will do?

3/26/2006 2:31 pm  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...

You're better at that stuff than me, speeds. I think that salary is still driven by the counting numbers, and the spector of arbitration looms for both parties now. (Though I suspect Lowe is still gunshy about that).

Guys like Horcoff and Dvorak are the types of players that bring more to the table, in terms of helping you win, than they are going to cost you I suspect. I hope they keep both and get them signed in multi-year deals.

Having said that, I haven't put an ounce of effort into estimating what it would likely cost. Whats you best guess, speeds?

3/26/2006 3:10 pm  
Blogger speeds said...

Actually, I think I kinda put you on the spot with something of an unanswerable question (at this point).

I doubt there are enough comparables signed yet to make a reasonable estimate.

(1) AFAIK only contracts signed in the new CBA environment can be used as arbitration comparables, and there are relatively few guys comparable to Horcoff(I'd have to look, but maybe not any?) that aren't also in the same current position of being an RFA next summer, UFA afterwards.

There's really no way to guess how RFA vs. UFA compensation will go this summer. If I speculate that again there will be no RFA offer sheets I would expect there to still be a reasonable discount for RFA's.

My wild guess, with no comparables, would be that Horcoff wouldn't get less than 2 mil going to arb, but his upside probably isn't much higher because he doesn't have a huge track record, EDM can say "it's all Hemsky and Smyth", etc.

As a UFA the year after Horcoff probably thinks he can get 3 mil + per season provided he has another season like this one. I think EDM can convince him to pass on UFA (he's in a good situation, they can control his ice next year, signing now removes injury worries/bad play concerns) but not if they don't come close to 3 mil for his UFA years.

Most fans would probably jump up and down screaming at the idea of signing Horcoff to a 3 year 2.5 mil per deal, but if I were him I don't think I could take much less than that to pass on UFA. And if I were him I'd probably want more. In any case he'll probably want to see how the UFA market treats players this summer before signing away his UFA option.

3/26/2006 3:37 pm  
Blogger speeds said...

I forgot to mention that I agree with you on Horcoff and Dvorak, but want to add Pisani.

If they are serious about bringing in Mikhnov then someone is gonna have to go though, and I can see someone offering Dvorak more than EDM would like given their supposed forward depth.

I think you can convince someone to overpay you for Torres which means he's probably the odd guy out, but that all depends on Lowe's take on torres, Dvorak, and of course the plethora of rookies.

3/26/2006 3:50 pm  
Anonymous lowetide said...

Anyone think they may make a decision about Mikhnov vs. Jacques and deal the loser on draft day?

Too many good prospects coming in imo. They can't have 4 rookie forwards next fall, but Mikhnov, JFJ, MAP and Schremp make 4.

3/26/2006 6:00 pm  
Blogger speeds said...

yes and no LT.

yes that would be 4 rookie forwards, but they don't all have to be in the lineup at the same time, and at least 3 of the 4 would be AHL eligible (maybe all 4, not sure With Mikhnov - if signed).

If all 4 of them are good enough to play, then worry about that at/after camp once you've seen which ones are/aren't ready.

though of course if something good comes up at the draft, you can move one if you're sold on the other.

3/26/2006 6:11 pm  
Anonymous lowetide said...

What in the name of humanity am I going to do on draft day? HUH? Answer me that.

Trade two if they have to, I can just hear Maguire saying on tsn draft day "the Oilers don't have a pick here, they traded it for a 36 year old goalie. Not like New Jersey...." :-)

3/26/2006 8:51 pm  
Blogger Dennis said...

A lot of it will depend on how MacT chooses to match lines and if Samsonov comes back. And it also depends on if the Oilers are prepared to break in both MAP and RS in the same season and which wing RS is gonna play because I just cannot see Schremp playing centre for a Craig MacTavish coached hockey club.

Mihknov's a dream until he shows up. I want to believe he will but I'm not even considering him at this point. The three fellows that might make the squad are MAP, JFJ and RS.

If MacT keeps matching the top line against the other team's top line than maybe RS slips in alongside 14-16 on the 2nd line. And MAP centres 18-34 or 20. But it's hardly worth speculating at this point because we don't know if the Oilers will be able to retain Samsonov or RD and it's only then will we even be able to make an educated guess at where the rookies might fit in.

The only thing I'd say for sure is MAP's obviously the best bet to stick if MacT continues to use 94-10-83 as his primary matchup line because then we could break in a kid as our 3rd line centre.

JFJ seems to have fallen off in the second half of the season so I don't think the Oilers will blink at letting him go back to the A for a second season.

Personally I'd like to see Samsonov signed and we deal Torres for a goalie.

3/27/2006 11:35 am  
Blogger Dennis said...

Figured I'd pop in here with this link as I'm wondering if Matheson finally gets it:

When he wonders why no one's shadowing Sakic and the other linemates I wonder if he's reacting to the MacTactics from Sunday night? I did a shift chart thing from that game the other night and the Sakic line saw major time against Horc's line in the 1st/3rd periods. Included in this was an occasion where they finished against each other before a TV timeout and then macT allowed the matchup to continue from the first faceoff after the whistle. I know he didn't have last change but still...he has to do a better job of that.

Not surprisingly that line scored the first two against the Horc line and one against Stoll's line.

3/28/2006 11:49 am  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...

dennis said:
Included in this was an occasion where they finished against each other before a TV timeout and then macT allowed the matchup to continue from the first faceoff after the whistle. I know he didn't have last change but still...he has to do a better job of that.

That's the thing, I'm not so sure that he wanted to avoid it. Go figure.

Though Hemsky did miss a couple of shifts against Sakic, and Q seemed to avoid the Peca line.


3/28/2006 3:27 pm  
Blogger Eddie said...

Hi, I was just wandering the blogosphere and here I am at your blog. I enjoy the style of how this all works.

This is one to watch.


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