Monday, September 18, 2006

Buffalo and the Sundin Minutes

A lot of talk comparing the Oiler D corps to Buffalo's from 05/06. I'm not sure if that is an apt comparison or not, but I do know that Buffalo did NOT have a balanced d-corps. They might have been equally unheralded, but Lindy Ruff's coaching staff had some pretty clear ideas about who would play vs whom.

The Sabres played the Leafs eight times, so hopefully there is a smoothing out in the effect of home and road games, guys injured or playing injured, coach's experiments, etc.

The Leafs have a pretty obvious guy to target in Mats Sundin. At even strength these are how the Sundin minutes broke down for Ruff's defencemen:



If that's a coincidence, it's a freaking belter.

I guess we'll see something simlar to this Buffalo tactic with Smith and Staios at times this season. And at other times they'll roll these two down the right side all night at even strength, which is more along the lines of what San Jose seems to have done with Hannan and McLaren.

More importantly, we'll see what they do with the forwards against these types of guys. Oct 5th vs Calgary, if we see Smyth-Horcoff-Pisani getting a hard match against Iggy, then we know that MacTavish will be leaving his player development hat in the closet, at least until he sees what this team can do. And if that happens ... you can bet that Matt Greene won't see Iggy all night either. We'll see.

22 Comments:

Blogger RiversQ said...

Vic: Could you post Sundin's total ES minutes vs Buffalo here too? How hard were those Tallinder/Lydman matchups? Were they in the 80% range or the 60% range? I assume the former, but in any event I think that's a better reference point than the total minutes.

9/18/2006 3:08 pm  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...

That's 92 minutes according to the shift charts.

Bear in mind that every once in a while the NHL will use a different font in the shiftcharts, and every once in a while they delete one, so my script skips those. In this case the totals look about right though, so the games are probably all there.

That's over 50% of Mats' icetime against Tallinder/Lydman. In the long run that seems to be about as as high as it gets.

I picked a "Big 10" for the east and Tallinder clocks in at 50% of those minutes and Tallinder at 55%. That's about the same rate as Pronger played against the "Big 8" from the west, just to give a point of reference. All the regular guys are in this range too (Ohlund, Zubov, Hatcher, The Hockey Jesus, Norstrom when he was healthy, etc) and a few unlikely ones as well (Hedican, Michalek, Keith, Skrastins, Sarich).

Point being, these two were the clear choice to face quality. Maybe not in every single game against every single opponent ... but on the whole Ruff's staff was Lidstrom-in-the-playoffs-style matching with Tallinder/Lydman against the other team's talent.

9/18/2006 3:36 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

vic - I am not familiar with how you guys scrape this data but 92 mins works out to 11.5 per game - nhl.com says 19:58 TOI for him. Also, all 7 guys in your table only account for 668 minutes out of the 960 (69.5%) possible defenceman minutes available in 8 games. It seems that you are missing some data or I am missing something in your analysis.

9/18/2006 3:50 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

vic - sorry, I see that your analysis is just for ES.

9/18/2006 3:58 pm  
Anonymous namflashback said...

vic saidMore importantly, we'll see what they do with the forwards against these types of guys. Oct 5th vs Calgary, if we see Smyth-Horcoff-Pisani getting a hard match against Iggy, then we know that

And really, given whomever gets the 2 LD spots, and taking into account MAB, GREENE -- odds are probably about 99.995% that this is the MacT decree.

On the +side, you guys have shown us that like in the 03/04 year -- MacT knows how to do forward matching like that.

9/18/2006 4:30 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh...Greene will see the Tomato Can all right...he'll see him when he's coming out of the box after the Flames have scored a PP goal on one of Green's 100 minor penalties this season;)

So I guess now the next question is who's better...a Tallinder/Lydman combo or Smith or Staios and whomever else is flanking them? I'll take Buf's top combo and I'll also take their top 5 over our top 5. ie I didn't inclue Campbell because I don't think much of him.\

DENNIS

9/18/2006 9:53 pm  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...

Dennis:

I would imagine that Teppo is near the end, in fairness to the guy I would guess that he was Campbell's tutor for most of the year. Just because he didn't play much against Sundin doesn't mean he isn't capable of it. Still, you'd have to think that his best years are well behind him.

McKee is a guy that I thought would become a dominant defensive guy, but he's never really stepped up. I'm sure those concussions he suffered have something to do with it. And Kalinen is just a guy I never noticed, not even in the playoffs. (granted I didn't watch as many BUF games as you, and I tend to notice the forwards more than the D).

With the Oilers I'd hope that they would split up Smith and Staios, because if they run Pisani out with 10/94 against Modano ... I'd like to think that somebody on the back end with a few NHL games on their resume is seeing the icetime against Lindros.

The counterargument to that is that it's easier to match D to forwards now with almost everyone running 3 lines (or their top 2 lines 2 of every 3 shifts, near enough the same thing). And that since most coaches target the forward matchup first, you can get the D matchup that you want easier, especially on the road.

Granted this all goes for a shit if they run into injuries anyway, and every team does, usually one of your top 9 forwards out with injury and another playing hurt enough that they aren't the same player (that just as a guess). Up front they have a lot of room for bites from the injury bug though. On the back end ... not so much. This Hejda guy had better be a player.

I remember Pronger talking to Hughson in one of those interview things he used to do for sportsnet, this would be 2 or 3 years ago. Hughson asked him who he thought the best defenceman in the league was and he replied 'Lidstrom'. When Hughson asked why he said something along the lines of "Best first pass. ... He's got some good players to pass it to though :)" Sums up the important bit of the defending gig pretty well I think. And if these new Oilers D can move the puck up the the forwards reasonably well ... they have a chance to look a lot better than they really are. And it would help if the play died a bit less with some of the young Oiler forwards. They're a year older and 3 or more years into NHL careers now, it's reasonable to expect that from Torres, Stoll, Hemsky and Lupul imo. We'll see.

9/18/2006 10:28 pm  
Blogger MetroGnome said...

Interesting to see that McKee wasn't a key defender in this regard for Buffalo last year. No wonder they didn't have a problem losing him to UF agency.

9/19/2006 11:00 am  
Blogger RiversQ said...

Makes sense Vic - I should've toned down my numbers and realized that over 8 games home and away the match can't possibly be that high.

9/19/2006 11:30 am  
Anonymous PDO said...


I remember Pronger talking to Hughson in one of those interview things he used to do for sportsnet, this would be 2 or 3 years ago. Hughson asked him who he thought the best defenceman in the league was and he replied 'Lidstrom'. When Hughson asked why he said something along the lines of "Best first pass. ... He's got some good players to pass it to though :)" Sums up the important bit of the defending gig pretty well I think. And if these new Oilers D can move the puck up the the forwards reasonably well ... they have a chance to look a lot better than they really are. And it would help if the play died a bit less with some of the young Oiler forwards. They're a year older and 3 or more years into NHL careers now, it's reasonable to expect that from Torres, Stoll, Hemsky and Lupul imo. We'll see.


My setiments exactly, and pretty much the only reason that I've held sanity despite seeing the fact that 2 of Hejda, Tjarnqvist, MAB and Greene will be in our top 4 and 3 of MAB, Greene, Hejda, Gilbert and Smid will be in our top 7.

It's painful to look at.

That said, could Tjarnqvist be Lydman? And is Lymdan quite possibly the most under-rated guy in the league? Seriously, what the fuck was Sutter thinking? I even remember at the time of the trade thinking it was a stupid move... right now it honestly has to be the worst move he's made so far.

Just imagine how much better Calgary would've been if they kept Lydman, didn't blow $3,000,000 on Hamrlik and spent that money on offense?

Christ. A monkey could've done a better job in the offseason than Sutter did. I have to wonder if he'd even have a job if not for Kipper.

9/19/2006 1:09 pm  
Blogger MetroGnome said...

pdo,

Not to get too defensive, but Sutter came into Calgary and turned a perenial loser into a fairly competitive team - that's why he still has his job...

So, While the Lydman move was, in hindsite, a gaffe, not a lot of people could have predicted that Toni would have such a good year in Buffalo while Hamrlik would spend a chunk of the season on the IR. Further, considering Hammer was on pace for an 11 goal, 40 point +12 season (if you extrapolate his totals over 82 games) last year, he was hardly the bust that you are implying. In comparison, Lydman scored 1 goal and 17 points and was a +9 in 75 games (a 19 point pace). Granted, Toni's value is his ability to play top minutes against tough opponents (as highlighted in this post) however, that wasn't a need Calgary had at the time nor was it even a known aspect of Lydman's game when he was dealt. I think there were a combination of factors that lead to Lydman growing into a top 2 role in Buffalo, which clearly wouldn't have occured in a Flames uniform (thus his seeming expendable).

9/19/2006 1:39 pm  
Anonymous PDO said...

So of course I manage to check immeadiatley after you respond and anyone looking at the time stamps will think I have far too much time on my hands ;).

http://vhockey.blogspot.com/2006/05/flames-d-vs-teemu-selanne.html

Seriously, take away everything he has done with Kiprusoff, and what has he done? He's signed Iginla to a crappy contract. Traded away Lydman and Reinprecht for nothing. Chased every backup goalie he's ever had out of town. Blew money on guys like McCarty and Amonte who were clearly done AND we knew wouldn't add any offense to Calgary. Just for kicks he signed Hamrlik. You can bring up the pro-rated season all you want... but he's a guy who has been labeled with having nagging injuries all year long.

Maybe I just hate him, but when I look at what Sutter's done, I still think he's only made one good move (unless he's responsible for the Regehr contract, which is a possibility). Despite how great that one move is.. I can't help but think there are several people in the hockey world who could've done a lot more with the Flames than Sutter did after getting a guy like Kiprusoff.

I won't even get into the idea that I think Tanguay'll blow up in their faces ;)

9/19/2006 1:55 pm  
Anonymous PDO said...

All year long should read all his career, my bad.

9/19/2006 1:56 pm  
Anonymous pdo said...

Argh.. 3 in a row. Why can't I edit? Didn't mean to hit enter.

MacT's a guy who's been quoted a million times saying that a great goaltender can make a bad coach look great.

I think when the coach doubles as the GM, the effect is quadroupled ;).

9/19/2006 1:57 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

he also drafted Phaneuf, who was a somewhat surprising pick at that point in the 2003 draft (well, not realy in that it was well rumored Sutter liked him, but as I recall it was slightly higher than Phaneuf was rated by most)

9/19/2006 2:38 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Phanuef was far from a reach with that pick. Lowe tried to move up in the draft to get Dion, or if not him then Coburn. Unfortunetly, like every other year, he wasn't able to move up. My point being, Phanuef was not a surprise.

9/19/2006 3:10 pm  
Blogger MetroGnome said...

I can't help but think there are several people in the hockey world who could've done a lot more with the Flames than Sutter did after getting a guy like Kiprusoff.

Sutter's been in the organization for three years. In that time, the Flames went from bottom feeders to appearing in the cup finals to winning the NW division. Im curious as to who you think could have possibly done MORE than that in such a short time span.

as to your other points:

1.) The Iginla contract wasn't ridiculous, it was apt. There are tons of teams who would pay Jarome the league max. This is a straw man you throw up to fatten your case.

2.) The Lydman trade was discussed. He moved a frequently injured d-man with high potential but low delivery (thus the relatively low return for him) from a team that was already stacked on defense. The trade was defensible at the time and only looks bad in hindsite.

3.) The Rhino trade was garbage, I agree.

4.) He chased 1 back-up goalie out of town last season when it was clear he wasn't getting the job done. Or didn't you notice how bad Sauve was in Winnipeg the other night? Boucher was allowed to leave via FA and McLennan happily returned this summer.

5.) Neither McCarty nor Amonte's contracts were large or long-term ($2.6 million combined, both for 2 seasons). Further, McCarty wasn't brought in for offense. Also, Amonte isn't "clearly done"..at the time, he was a 34 year old guy who'd scored 20 goals in each of the two seasons previous. So, while it was gamble, it's not quite comparable to the risk of, say, banking on a 37 year old career back-up goaltender to carry you through a season.

6.) He is responsible for the Regehr contract. And the Kiprusoff contract. Adding Huselius for nothing last season was him as well. He also got Langkow by dealing spare parts like Gauthier and Saprykin. Then there's Phaneuf. And pretty much everyone aside from you thinks that the Tanguay acquisition was a very, very good one. Hmmm...honestly, I really think it's just that you hate the guy. Which is understandable.

MacT's a guy who's been quoted a million times saying that a great goaltender can make a bad coach look great.

I think when the coach doubles as the GM, the effect is quadroupled ;)


Really? Doesn't seem to have been the case in Florida.

9/19/2006 3:28 pm  
Anonymous PDO said...

Sutter's been in the organization for three years. In that time, the Flames went from bottom feeders to appearing in the cup finals to winning the NW division. Im curious as to who you think could have possibly done MORE than that in such a short time span.

I lay that all on Kiprusoff. The guy was robbed of the Hart last year. Simply said - no one was playing in the same league as this guy. Think of it this way - if you replace Kiprusoff with an average goaltender, where is Calgary? Do they even make the playoffs?

They had the 29th (!) offense at 5 on 5. Maybe he could've brought to a level.... I don't know, above Washington or Pittsburgh? The team in 28th (Minnesota) scored thirteen more goals at ES than them.

1.) The Iginla contract wasn't ridiculous, it was apt. There are tons of teams who would pay Jarome the league max. This is a straw man you throw up to fatten your case.

Iginla has had 1 season with over 75 points. He's not a top 5 RW - but he sure is paid like it. That makes it a bad contract.

Other people willing to pay a lot of money for the guy doesn't make it a good contract. Hey, I bet if we got MacLean and JFJ in the same room we could get guys like Kubina and Marchant signed to multi-year contracts at double their value.

Er..

2.) The Lydman trade was discussed. He moved a frequently injured d-man with high potential but low delivery (thus the relatively low return for him) from a team that was already stacked on defense. The trade was defensible at the time and only looks bad in hindsite.

Low delivery like playing more minutes against Forsberg than anyone else on his team? I know I thought the trade was bad at the time, and judging by the link I threw out there, I'm not the only one who did.

4.) He chased 1 back-up goalie out of town last season when it was clear he wasn't getting the job done. Or didn't you notice how bad Sauve was in Winnipeg the other night? Boucher was allowed to leave via FA and McLennan happily returned this summer.

Oh, Sauve sucks, no doubt, but there's Boucher (who he traded Rhino for, but we already agreed on that), Turek... and he let McLennan go before, did he not? It's been musical chairs anyway you put it, and the way he dealt with Sauve was poor anyway you try to spin it.

5.) Neither McCarty nor Amonte's contracts were large or long-term ($2.6 million combined, both for 2 seasons). Further, McCarty wasn't brought in for offense. Also, Amonte isn't "clearly done"..at the time, he was a 34 year old guy who'd scored 20 goals in each of the two seasons previous. So, while it was gamble, it's not quite comparable to the risk of, say, banking on a 37 year old career back-up goaltender to carry you through a season.

McCarty wasn't brought in for offense - but that was what Calgary desperately needed. As for Amonte, he was 34, yes... and he hadn't played for a season, and the two previous seasons to the lockout he'd scored only 20. He'd clearly lost a step.

That $2.6MM could've been spent on someone who could've helped you a lot more. Hell, a guy like AC could've helped you a lot more than either Amonte or McCarty did. And remember, Sutter was the man bragging "We could've had any UFA's we wanted..."

6.) He is responsible for the Regehr contract. And the Kiprusoff contract. Adding Huselius for nothing last season was him as well. He also got Langkow by dealing spare parts like Gauthier and Saprykin. Then there's Phaneuf. And pretty much everyone aside from you thinks that the Tanguay acquisition was a very, very good one. Hmmm...honestly, I really think it's just that you hate the guy. Which is understandable.

Well, he gets credit for 2 good contracts now. Huselius was a decent addition, as was Langkow (but if you're going to mention Langkow, mention that he let Conroy walk.. that money spent on McCarty and Amonte and Langkow could've been spent on Conroy and you could've traded Gauthier and Saprykin for someone else, no?). Phaneuf went right around where he was expected to go in the 2003 draft, though if LT reads this I could always use a reference from Red-line ;). Off memory, most thought Phaneuf would go right around 10.. and he did.

Really? Doesn't seem to have been the case in Florida.

I think Luongo is a great goalie.

But he's no Kiprusoff. No one is. Look at his numbers again, and look at Calgary's offense again. What he did was absolutely ridiculous.

Finally, Tanguay obviuosly makes the Flames better. Just keep in mind he spent his entire career playing with either Sakic or Forsberg, being on a loaded PP and in all liklihood isn't worth $5,000,000 + a season. That contract'll kill you when you're trying to re-sign Kiprusoff.

Pop quiz, how do you re-sign Kiprusoff for $8,000,000, Iginila for $7,000,000 and Regehr for $5,000,000 when you have a $44,000,000 cap and Tanguay signed for $5,250,000?

Answer: You either bite the bullet and let one of them walk, and turn into the Vancouver Canucks.

Nice to debate with a Flames fan who doesn't get too emotional and can actually debate in a coherant manner though ;)

9/19/2006 4:11 pm  
Anonymous YKOil said...

Grading the bigger moves:

Kipper trade = the kind of trade that legends are made of

Langkow trade = great trade of secondary parts for a solid 2nd line guy

Regehr contract = very nice

Huselius trade = I loved this trade

Conroy's departure = brutal loss of a solid, solid center

Hamrlik signing = if you want offense from your defense you sign Gonchar

McCarty, Amonte and that guy they got near the deadline = sideway moves at best

Phaneuf draft = totally predictable but good that he DID make the pick

Lydman trade = almost everyone Oiler fan knew this was bad as most of us knew Lydman played tough minutes for the Flames and was VERY under-rated (much like Ference now)

Getting Tanguay = should really, really help

2 Legit reasons NOT to be impressed with Sutter:

1. Kipper trade may have just been a fluke (since most of everything else he has done is the work of an average GM) so why is the guy given kid gloves treatment?

2. Screwed up the Kipper trade. Trade like that is 'once-in-a-lifetime' kind of stuff so for Sutter to not capitalize on it is reason enough for hate in my books.

Outlook for the Flames - team is screwed in two years and maybe even less.

-- Ference, Lombardi and Phaneuf are all due next year and if Kesler gets offered 1.9 imagine what Phaneuf will get in the mail.

-- Even if 2006/07 is survivable (lots of expiring contracts on the team is good) the 2007/08 offseason is nuts: Iginla, Kipper, Langkow, Regehr, Yelle, Huselius & Kobasew - the heart of the team looking for the bucks.

-- Absolute crap in the prospect pipeline

9/19/2006 4:56 pm  
Blogger RiversQ said...

metrognome: Lydman vs. Hamrlik was pretty much nailed all over the Oiler boards. Thanks to the stuff from Vic and mc79 and others, we all knew that Lydman carried a serious load for the Flames.

Absolutely, no doubt about that and none of us are all that smart.

Sutter completely underestimated the value of that player and he replaced him with a more expensive dog. That's about as bad as it gets.

Sutter's a good GM though. If I was totally retarded with really low self esteem and got duped into being a Flames fan, I'd be perfectly happy with the guy.

Lastly, this is IOF. Take that mouthbreathing Flames talk elsewhere.

9/19/2006 5:36 pm  
Blogger mudcrutch79 said...

I encourage the Flames talk here. If I'm going to get bludgeoned by illiterates while discussing Phaneuf over there (By the way, if Phaneuf sees tough competition and struggles this year, shotgun the title "The Big 4 Killed My Baby" for a post) it's only fair that Metrognome gets it here a bit.

9/19/2006 7:58 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unrelated question: what is the prospect of seeing Oiler 5 forward powerplays, given the 5-man pp the Oilers sent out tonight?

9/19/2006 8:25 pm  

Post a Comment

<< Home