Sunday, November 05, 2006

Player Development

Dennis hits on this season's most relavent Oiler issue in the post below. I thought I'd expand on it here.

If Sidney Crosby had played in the QMJHL last season instead of on the Penguins, would he be the same player right now?

I think all of us will agree that he wouldn't be nearly as effective. We might disagree on the extent of the damage to his development, but there is no doubt that it would exist. Players get better by playing against better opposition, that's a simple fact methinks. More dramatically by playing against NHLers instead of junior players. And also by playing against Modano instead of Meittinen. Of course the boundaries are set by common sense, playing Crosby in the NHL when he was 15 wouldn't have helped anybody, he would have been completely over his head. In the same vein, playing Hemsky regularly against Forsberg and the like when he was 19 probably wouldn't have accomplished much more than destroying his confidence.

Back to Sydney, just looking at 5on5 + and - here for now as it's the largest sample set:

First third of 05/06:
EV+ 20 EV- 24

Middle third of 05/06:
EV+ 20 EV- 18

Last third of 05/06:
EV+ 30 EV- 17

This season so far:
EV+ 11 EV- 3

Obviously a tremendous player, and he's still just 19 and still improving at speed. Yikes! An exceptionally rare talent.

This year's numbers surely aren't hurt by having Malkin around. And his first couple of months as an NHLer would have been a helluva lot worse if not for the fact that he was either playing with or behind Palffy. And he got killed in rare glimpses against quality opposition then. But not any more.

On the Oilers ...

Would Schremp be a better player now if he had played last year in the AHL instead of the OHL? Absolutely. (If Nonis would like to bitch about player development issues rationally, this would be a good place to start, and it is done for financial reasons. 9 of 10 Nike executives would have ethical issues with this arrangement for crying out loud.)

Would Ales Hemsky be as good as he is now if he hadn't played so much icetime against high quality players last season? Almost certainly not. It says something about his character as well, near the end of last season he commented to a reporter "if I want more icetime I'll need to get better at playing against good players". Kind of the polar opposite of things we've heard Selivanov, Carter and Comrie say in the past. Based on that quote alone I'm really pleased they signed him to the long term deal. He still has a ways to go of course, he'll grow to be a much better all around player yet, but he's on the right path I think.

So, what is the best place for Ladislav Smid to play right now from an "Oilers winning games right now" point of view? Unless you're a prospect junkie or willing to drown yourself in the KoolAid, then Wilkes-Barre is your answer without hesitation. Maybe easing him into the third pairing around midseason, letting him watch just as many from the press box.

Or, what is the best place for Ladislav Smid to play right now from an "Oilers winning games in 08/09" point of view? How about giving him one of your best players as his D partner to mentor him. Bring him along as quickly as you can, start giving him the odd game with increased responsibility in terms of opposition and situation (own zone draws, shift after PP, etc). Being careful not to overwhelm him or destroy his confidence all the while.

Similar thing with Lupul, Stoll and Torres (as we've seen in alternating fashion this season, somewhere there is a MacRota with one of their names on it for the "vs Koivu" gig in the next one.) Based on the numbers so far, Jason Smith has played very tough minutes and has been on the ice for a whopping 13 goals against at evens. Of the triplet of young forwards above, the "Why The Hell Does MacTavish Have Them Out There Right Now?" guys ... one of them (10 times) or two (1 time) has been on the ice for 11 of 13. If that seems like rational bench coaching to you, then there is a good chance you've been huffing ether.

If it was February and the Oilers were safely in a playoff spot, then fine. Hell I'd probably be bitching about MacTavish if he wasn't running things this way. Every team does that then. But in October and November with a team that seems like anything but a lock to make the playoffs? If you're the Kings, sure, why not. But the Oilers? Damn, takes some balls.

This is starting to look like the year of player development. And the games should be fun to watch. I wonder how many games the Oilers would have to lose in a row before MacTavish says "to hell with the kids for now!" and plays a playoff game style alignment. I'm thinking at least 5 or 6 consecutive "L"s.

I don't doubt that bumping the responsibility of the talented young players pushes them along the development curve more quickly. How much more quickly? I don't know. The young defensemen on non-playoff teams usually seem to be the guys that hit their strides the quickest at the NHL level (SEE Duncan Keith and Zbynek Michalek last season) maybe because their coaches have nothing to lose in playing these guys against Modano, or when their clinging to a lead with the net empty.

I mean the draft doesn't give you 14 years of "ownership" of a player any more. The smart GM probably picks the guys that he thinks can be difference makers and endeavours to get them up to speed a year or two ahead of the normal schedule. There is a huge cost saving to be had if you can accomplish that. If you're a GM taking this route; best if you have a long term deal and your coach is like your brother, because it won't be easy to win in the 'now'. If you're the coach; best if it's a long term deal you signed too, because a lot of fans will probably want to run your ass out of town in the regular season of the first couple of years. You're going to be looking damn smart by year three or four though.

30 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good work Vic. It seems possible to me that a relatively large number of GA clustering around a few players would be a normal occurrence on most if not all rosters. They will not be evenly distributed imo and what you are pointing out is actually "normal". What to me is really notable is that Smith is not a player that I would suspect to be in the group, but it could just be the difficult minutes.

11/05/2006 10:45 am  
Blogger Lowetide said...

Terrific stuff, Vic.

I think of Smid as a duet with Greene and have been trying to remember a time when a successful team brought in TWO unproven minor league Dmen successfully.

San Jose seems to airlift about three a year so I guess we could point to them but that was also their exposed spot in the post-season imo.

40 years ago there was a "Perfect Storm" for the laws of NHL defensemen. For some reason a man named Bill White had been left alone in the AHL and never played in the big leagues.

Expansion took care of it, and White instantly became an above average NHL D (+17) while his minor league D partner (also a veteran minor leaguer) was -10 and spent some time in the minors.

Bill White was 27. He didn't play in the highest league but in the second highest for 7 years before hitting the big time in a watered down league.

I think your argument is a strong one for both Smid and Greene, but with the new UFA rules a team is going to force feed these young Dmen (as you've stated).

I love Smid's game. He'll be a beauty by the time he leaves via free agency.

11/05/2006 10:46 am  
Blogger mudcrutch79 said...

I think all of us will agree that he wouldn't be nearly as effective. We might disagree on the extent of the damage to his development, but there is no doubt that it would exist.

I'm kind of with you on this, completely with you if you're not asserting the position that there would be permanent damage to his development.

If Nonis would like to bitch about player development issues rationally, this would be a good place to start, and it is done for financial reasons. 9 of 10 Nike executives would have ethical issues with this arrangement for crying out loud.)

I was thinking about this the other night. Why some player like Robbie Schremp hasn't sued for the right to play in the AHL, I have no idea. It's not at all small potatoes financially, if it can get to the NHL a year earlier because you get the adjustment to playing with men out of the way. If this was in the CBA, it'd be possibly protected as a product of labour negotiations but I can't imagine the legal defence that exists for it at the moment.

11/05/2006 11:06 am  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...

To add on the photo:

Just checked out of curiousity and that photo is from NHL game 66 in October of the 05/06 season. One of Crosby's first games in the league. Inexplicably Michel Terrien made no effort to keep Sidney away from Forsberg, 2/3rds of his icetime against Peter (and it didn't go so well, Crosby was EV+0 EV-3 in those minutes).

Crosby was EV+2 EV-0 against the Flyers 4th line on the night though. (Stevenson, Carter, Potulny).

Terrien really threw the kids to the wolves in terms of opposition, just going by the simple events metric. Ryan Whitney played the toughest minutes on the team and actually kept his head above water, impressive results all things considered. By the of the year only Ryan Malone had played tougher opp of the forwards by this measure (and it didn't go so well for him, he sank to the bottom at the deep end of the pool and stayed there).

11/05/2006 11:10 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

mudcrutch - When the player wins and is given the chance to move to the AHL, where does he go to get a fair shot? The league can still destroy his career for what he's done. The first guy runs a great personal risk.

mo

11/05/2006 11:13 am  
Blogger Black Dog Hates Skunks said...

Great post Vic.

I love this stuff.

What is your take on Smid though? You figure he would be best in the AHL for part of the season then ease him in?

My question is this : if you were Lowe/MacT, what would your plan for the D be this season? Send Smid down? Trade for a vet to play with Staios? Etc. etc. Trying to balance the win now/down the road ideas.

11/05/2006 11:21 am  
Blogger mudcrutch79 said...

This is a league that's signed convicted rapists. I'm sure that most of them couldn't care less about whether the HUnters are able to continue to make money off of their free labour. If the player is of Schremp's level, there isn't going to be any blackballing.

11/05/2006 11:27 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

mudcrutch - Its far less easy to be certain that there won't be any blackballing when you are the one risking what may be "it all". A convicted rapist's offences are not against the business of hockey.

mo

11/05/2006 11:49 am  
Blogger mudcrutch79 said...

Look at guys who've screwed the business of hockey currently - do you see anyone refusing to sign Mike Comrie for reasons unrelated to hockey? It's a business and no one cares.

11/05/2006 11:53 am  
Blogger Dennis-IOF said...

The biggest question right now is just how long MacT tries to develop and win? Vic says we'll need to see 5 or 6 W's in a row and right now we're lost 4 of 5. I think the time will soon come to pass to go 94-10-43, ask more of 71/83 and then just throw something together for the 3rd line. Early on MacT's MO was pretty easy to spot: the lines of 94-10-15 and 18-19/16-34 would see the tough time and the 71/83 combo would see the cherry min. 14 initially drew the last spot on that troika and then it was 28 and now it's 15 but as LT said it might be time to put a board presence in his stead...oh wait we did that with 14;)

Anyway that was the plan the same as was the plan for last year's playoffs, ie 10/94 Plus and 14/37/34 would see all the tough min and 16/Samsanov got all the cherry min and as we all remember this went well to the tune of a 15-9 record;)

So heading into this year the same plan remained: two lines to take on the tough and then the 71/83 duo to feast on the soft. That's been wrecked a little by things like 18's injury, Lupul's inability to reall thrive anywhere and someone forgetting to tell Torres and Pisani that the season's already started;) Now lately it's been 10-34 drawing the tough min, 94-16 trying to find some chem while 71/83 remaining together. Of course the other end of things is that with the D crop in it's current form you'll be asking a lot of the offense and if the offense isn't clicking then you'll start looking really hard and you'll see a guy with lots of promise in Smid but who;s a 5 or a 6 but wait we already have two of them in Greene and MAB and the newest Spacek has been HSed already, ie Shaggy.

Folks here believe that the forwards drive the results and the Oilers '07 Edition are really banking on it. The last two games have seen the Oilers come up with a few chances but no one's burying them and at the other end the inability to make a breakout pass has been painfully clear.

The Oilers forward depth isn't exactly on display right now but it might be time to offload some of it in order to pick up a young and affordable dman who can find some tape.

11/05/2006 3:16 pm  
Anonymous Bling said...

I wonder if it's possible to quantify the effect that this emphasis on player development has in terms of points in the standings.

I mean if it's costing you 15 points or more, than yeah, you might want to reconsider. But if it means 6th place instead of third or fourth, what's there to bitch about?

The younger players will be better off having played against quality opp, and better still, your cap situation is under control because you don't have young players inflating their counting numbers (hello Rick Nash).

Given that the core of this team is in their prime, IMO it makes a whole lotta sense to get guys like Torres, Stoll and Smid up to par as fast as possible.

11/05/2006 8:25 pm  
Blogger Asiaoil said...

Yes they clearly are throwing Stoll to the dogs this season - and I'm happy that they're doing it. The kid is getting real coin now and is tapped for a core role on this team - let's see if he's got what it takes. The only way to do that is play him against the big boys - but if he looks like he cant cut it - then he's primo trade bait for that dman we need given. Especially since we have MAP waiting in the wings.

Speaking of MAP - love to see the kid up in EDM and playing some soft minutes between Sykora and Lupul - he's clearly no worse than the other young guys who had that gig recently - and the kid is a seriously sweet passer which could help shooters like Lupul and Sykora. That would allow us to re-unite Smyth, Horcoff and Hemsky.

Damn shame Moreau went down - him and Pisani are two guys we needed to stay healthy and they have both been banged up early.

11/05/2006 8:52 pm  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...

Dennis:

Make a list of the guys that you would feel could go up against Thornton's and Marleau's lines in the playoffs and have a decent chance of outplaying them. Bearing in mind that Bernier won't be a raw rookie next time and neither will Michalek, and that there's a good chance that the latter will be conscious for the next series these two teams play. And Bell is now in for Ekman.

I've got three guys on that list (94/10/34) and a couple that might be able to mitigate the damage (Moreau, Reasoner). The point at which you can add three of Lupul, Hemsky, Stoll, Torres to the mix without be sarcastic, and could realistically expect the top two S.J lines to be outplayed ... that's the point that the Oilers are legitimate contenders IMO. And that's probably not this year, maybe not next year either.

Just doesn't make a lot of sense to me to think of trading away any of the young guys for immediate help when, frankly, they'd need the better goalie AND some help from the goalpost gods to win a playoff series vs a team of that calibre anyways. I mean I like this team, they're better than I thought they would be, esp Lupul and Smid. And one day soon a couple of shots that Rolo doesn't see will hit him, the shooters will all make their shots, the Oilers will trounce a good team and Oiler fans will be busting with optimism again, myself included. :)

But I think that if one of us ever bothered to look at this roster and their ages, and dug up a bunch of Lowetide-style comparables at their same age ... and looked at how the comp's careers progressed over the next few years. I think we'd see a team that's going to be damn good during a window when Hemsky is in his early prime, and a decent playoff darkhorse pick on the early edge of that window. And if Lowe was really interested in the 'now' he wouldn't have been shopping Pronger for young players, would he? I mean it wasn't exactly "Demitra for O'Sullivan and a 1st round pick", but it wasn't a mile off that either. And I doubt that Lombardi is considering firing off one of his promising young players for proven veterans. Ditto Lowe.

And I think that if MacTavish was trying to win back his $10k fine loss by placing a bet through Janet Gretzky:
- If he was betting on the Habs game we'd see something different.
- If he was throwing down a futures wager on the Oilers being a 110+ point team in 08/09 ... we'd see what we'll see.

My point, and I do have one:
This is a short-term rebuild. Or something with a shitload of similarities to one. I've been trying to convince myself otherwise since the Pronger deal, and it's not easy.

11/05/2006 8:58 pm  
Blogger Bank Shot said...

You guys kind of make it sound like MacT has a choice. I suppose he could try running the bench the same way as he did in the playoffs, but at that time his veterans were lighting the world on fire.

This season only one of his veteran forwards has been producing (Smyth), and Craig only has 3 other old reliables (Horcoff, Pisani, Reasoner) who are most likely being outscored on the season based on their collective goals scored.

Mactavish doesn't have enough veterans to cover all of the tougher minutes and besides Smyth and Staios, the veterans aren't winning their share of those minutes.

IMO the Oilers can still win with some of the younger guys playing tougher minutes as long as the veterans start to make better use of their own minutes.

11/05/2006 9:00 pm  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...

LT:

Good story. There seem to be Bill White's all over the place in every era. Hell, the Oilers have two Dmen playing prominent roles who were cut loose by Atlanta in their mid-twenties. Bret McLean is second only to Skrastins in EV icetime for Quenneville last time I checked, and he was playing in the WHL when he was Smid's age, stops in the ECHL, IHL, and several AHL teams before he established himself as an NHLer. So many of these guys just seem to come out of nowhere.

I remember you saying that Mat Schneider cleared waivers or an expansion draft list when he was in his 20s. Now he's nearly old enough to get into museums for free and there isn't a team in this league that wouldn't like him on their roster.

Hard to figure this D thing out. The star players are star players, but for most guys the distance between "solid NHL guy" and "AHL fodder" seems strangely small to me.

11/05/2006 9:13 pm  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...

MC:

If I was a player in a situation like Schremp's I'd sue. If it is possible, I'm surprised that nobody has before. So this agreement with the CHL is not in the CBA?

I also agree that it probably doesn't hurt the player long term, if he's got the talent and the work ethic he'll make it to the same place I think. But hockey careers are very brief, having your development delayed by even half of one year represents a pretty good chunk of change.

I remember Samsonov played in the IHL at the age of 17. He hit the NHL flying. Joe Thornton had a tougher time adjusting to the pace. It certainly helps to be challenged, and for most players the CHL is enough of a challenge at that age I'm sure, but there are a lot of exceptions as well.

11/05/2006 9:19 pm  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...

bank shot:

The veteran players are the ones you can trust. It just takes a second for J.F. Jacques to lose his man on a 3 on 2 like in the PHX game. It's a peewee mistake, but some of these guys have been so good at every level that their coaches have never made them play a button down game. And it shows. The fact that almost everyone in the NHL is faster and stronger than they've faced before just makes it worse. It must seem like every little mistake that they make ends up in their own net. For defensemen it's even worse, it's just crazy how fast the game moves at ice level, and how little time these guys have to make decisions, it almost has to be instinct. And people learn by making mistakes, defensemen included. I mean it's piss easy to criticize Greene for a terrible pinch like in the DAL game (and I do! :) )... but if you're in his position on the ice that's a decision he has to make in a tiny fraction of a second. And guys with 40 or so games experience at this level just seem to make the wrong choice a lot more than the older guys.

How many playoff bound teams will be playing 20 year old defensemen and 23 year old forwards against the other teams best players with any regularity this year? I dunno, but my guess is damn few.

How much icetime has Lupul played against high end NHL forwards in his career? I've not checked, but I would guess very little, but most of it as an Oiler.

Maybe I'm too hard on them, my bias maybe. But it will take some convincing to change my mind, because I just don't see it.

11/05/2006 9:44 pm  
Blogger Asiaoil said...

Vic - you are probably right about the short-term re-build nature of this team. Hemsky, Torres, Stoll, Lupul, Smid, and Greene form a darn nice young core that could do some real damage in 08-09 when Horcoff is still in his prime and Smyth is on fading but still useful legs.

I'd like a upgrade on defense now but if we can add another blue chip dman like Seabooke to the young core without losing any of the guys listed above I would be very very happy.

Schremp, Cogliano, Chorney and Trukhno and one of the 07 first round picks seem like sensible assets to deal - these guys have value but will not be able to really help us win 2 years from now.

11/05/2006 9:46 pm  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...

bling:

Hard to peg a number on it, and I agree that as long as they make the playoffs then the more the young guys played the better. But I really want this team to make the playoffs, win or lose, that's the time when being a rabid Oiler fan pays dividends. :)

11/05/2006 9:56 pm  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...

Asiaoil:

Ya, that makes sense to me. That's why I've been quietly hoping for someone like Z.Michalek, Keith or Martin. I'm not a big fan of young defensemen but to my mind it just makes sense to go for guys who are somewhat proven, cheap for a while yet, and will be entering the heart of their career at the same time that Hemsky, Stoll, Lupul etc are doing the same.

And the really young guys seem like the obvious trade bait choices to make a deal when the time comes. Probably best to wait and see if this group really is good enough to justify spending some of the next wave on them though. I suspect that Lowe will just stand pat for a long while yet.

11/05/2006 10:02 pm  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...

Anonymous:

Ya, I'm sure it's just a combination of playing against a lot of really good forwards, plus probably a bad bounce here or there. I can't remember many glaring errors.

And of course every defenseman would throw up good numbers, even playing a bunch against great players, if they had Forsberg in front of them and Roy behind them at the time ... that hasn't exactly been the case with gator.

Still their best defenceman I think.

11/05/2006 10:48 pm  
Blogger mudcrutch79 said...

How many playoff bound teams will be playing 20 year old defensemen and 23 year old forwards against the other teams best players with any regularity this year? I dunno, but my guess is damn few.

You're asking the wrong question, I think. The question should be "How many teams will be playing 20 year old defencemen and 23 year old forwards against the other teams best players with any regularity in the playoffs?"

I doubt that the Oilers will be, with the possible exception of the 23 year old forward. There's going to be a trade for a defenceman at some point. Spacek was free last year, someone will come for free this year.

I'm less worried about the 23 year old forward thing than you are just because of how thin every team in the NHL is at forward. Are the Oilers going to be tossing someone into the deep end against Marleau/Michaelek/Bernier? Sure. Two of those guys aren't exactly battle hardened vets themselves though and it's not like they were sucking up minutes against quality or anything. Assuming that MacT throws Reasoner/Moreau/someone against them and 34/10/94 against Thornton and Co...I like our remaining forwards a hell of a lot more than I like SJ's. And San Jose is one of the deeper teams up front.

It's a shallow league these days. MacT's tactics right now make a lot of sense, insofar as he's testing guys for the second season.

11/05/2006 11:30 pm  
Blogger Dennis-IOF said...

Thanks for reminding me of the rebuild Vic and it's funny I forgot that because I was railing about that from the time they made the Pronger trade. Smid looks good for two or three games and then he can't get out of his own way and we're reminded of his age. I still don't mind our forwards, I still love 'em actually, but the D looks bad when they can't make three outlet passes in a row.

On to the linematching...as much as 14's frustrating the hell out of me this year he was 33% of a line that in the 06 playoffs was playing tough min. As for who we'd have for those duties in this year's playoffs...it's 94-10-34-19-18 so who'd be the 6th guy? Would you put Hemsky back in that mix and try and get some chem working with 16/71 and hope they can make due with the cherry min or would you just leave 71/83 together and keep trying guys out until we find the 6th guy we can trust?

Thing is that I'd feel a lot better trying to find six dependable forwards knowing we have 71/83 in the hole rather tahn I would trying to come up with four D we can lean on.

Which leads us to who we're gonna have to deal to come up with another dependable D guy and yes he has to be young, somewhat polished and affordable for the new couple of years.

One last note on the forwards. Right now we have 34-10-94-19 who can handle tough min and the Oilers are shoving Stoll into that role as well to see if he'll stick. 14's slumping and despite putting up a few points 15 doesn't seme to fit in anywhere thus far. He started playing with 71/83 late in the loss in Phx so he's only played with them in three games and some right now. He has had some scoring opps though so I'd leave him there for another couple of games to see if they'll click and what's the alternative? You can't try to give him and 16 tough min at the same time

11/06/2006 12:05 am  
Anonymous The Rage said...

The big worry I have about 08/09 is Rollie's contract. If this guy retires, or is a shell of his current self, that's a big chunk of cap space wasted right there (combine that with Moreau and Pisani's contracts). Then after that year, Horcoff's a free agent and all bets are off.

11/06/2006 8:44 am  
Blogger Dennis-IOF said...

There is a big disconnect right now between how much we're paying Roli and what we have on defense.

11/06/2006 12:27 pm  
Anonymous SweatyO said...

Ugh, I was just thinking about how good Smid is going to be in a few years, and then I look and see that a certain fuckface bastard is plus 8 and leading the Anaheim Ducks in scoring with 13 points in 14 games...

Is it wrong that I am still very bitter and wishing a Theismann-esque fate on the guy?

That Lupul/Smid acquisition for HWMBB will be very good in 2-3 years. Right now, it stinks, considering the plight of this team on the blueline.

11/06/2006 8:48 pm  
Anonymous oilswell said...

"TOIs for Kids". Outstanding post Vic. The head still reels when considering the trade of a single player creates the spectre of a rebuilding phase. I agree the Oilers brass seem to reside in their balls. Comrie in the last minute defending a lead? How does Smid's ice time even surprise anymore?

It almost seems that the GM and coach are willing to trade regular season standing positions for player development; which also (apart from trade-deadline acquisitions) is a method for developing a better team for the playoffs. I'm not sure I believe this strategy. They have a pretty good team at their disposal without the kids. If they played their "playoff configuration" regularly to start the game I'm fairly certain there would be a few more games that they'd roll into the third period up two or more goals. The opposition would surely shorten their bench and this would be the perfect opportunity to increase the slope of the ice for the younger players. Get the fan philosophy going again that the Oilers can't hold a lead.

The best takeaway for me from this post is the suggestion that Lowe recognizes a business case for developing the young kids. I'm not a huge fan of some of Lowe's recent signings. If Lowe looked at Pronger leaving and decided the time was right in '08 rather than waste resources in '07, then I can at least understand it. Its disappointing now but I'd be less happy chasing after weak chances now instead of getting more and better shots later. Would take GM brass to do. If the signings are part of this rather than unreasonable "rewarding" then at least its reasonable. Might not be the right choice (and we won't know until later) but I'd rest easier if he's not emulating decapitated poultry (>cough< Phoenix >cough<).

11/06/2006 9:59 pm  
Blogger Lowetide said...

The other thing of course is that this creates trade value in young players. Not suggesting they're going to deal Smid, Greene or Thoresen but by the deadline Smid's counting numbers are probably going to include a handsome plus minus if he keeps playing with Staios.

What could a 20 year old Dman who can make a beauty outlet pass, went high in the draft and has a +7 get you from Phoenix?

Sam Pollock used to do this all the time in Montreal. Create value in a player and then ship him out for Don Awrey.

Question is who is this team's Chuck Lefley? I still think it's Raffi but wish it was someone else.

Schremp, probably. They should bring him up and give him Comrie's 01-02 minutes until the deadline.

11/07/2006 7:18 am  
Anonymous dynastydays said...

Lowetide said...

Question is who is this team's Chuck Lefley? I still think it's Raffi but wish it was someone else.


That was what was running through my head when MacT sheltered Raffi after his hit on Williams. I wondered why they would protect him after a clean hit like that, makes a whole bunch of sense if he is involved in some trade talks that is beyond the tire kicking stage.

11/09/2006 7:23 pm  
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