Monday, March 14, 2011

The Importance Of Teemu

This is exactly like the spring of 2007 except we haven't had our hearts ripped out by having Ryan Smyth traded. That club was better than this one but it too was ravaged by injuries. With Horcoff, Jacques and Brule (seriously?) all leaving Sunday's game the list of injuries has gotten just a little bit ridiculous. Colin Fraser is now the number two centre unless its Liam Reddox.

I'd say the first overall pick is in the bag especially with Ottawa winning now and then, Colorado having a slight cushion and the Islanders leaving the Oilers in their dust with one of the best records in the league since December. Indeed the Islanders look to have three players topping thirty goals. One of those was a first pick overall. One was a waiver wire pickup. Another was picked 263rd overall in 2003.

Which brings us to Teemu Hartikainen who has gotten the call to come up from OKC and make his debut in Edmonton this week. Hartikainen has been dynamite in the AHL since he found his footing. He is a big lad. He does good work along the boards and in front of the net and he scores a lot of those goals that Mike Babcock calls 'greasy'. He also seems to have those intangible qualities that hockey people love - the work ethic, the drive to succeed and all of that jazz.

He brings a lot of qualitites to the Oilers that they lack. And he is a sixth round pick.

In Gare Joyce's terrific book on scouting he does a little bit of math and determines something that is certainly not unheard of in these parts of the Internet (and elsewhere of course). He looks at the numbers and breaks down the chances of players to make the NHL based on where they are picked. What he finds surprises him. Once you get past the cream of the crop there is a pretty good dropoff (I don't have the book in front of me so cannot quote the numbers but its surprisingly steep). Also he finds that the chances of say, a second rounder making it, are pretty close to the chances of a third rounder making it. His idea is a straight forward one, if he were a GM he would play the percentages and do things like trade a low first round pick for a couple of seconds or a second for a couple of thirds.

As I said its hardly earth shattering stuff if you are aware of the numbers, which I was not when I read the book. Its certainly very interesting if its new to you.

We're going to be hearing a lot about the draft now. There's very little to talk about. The Oilers have drafted nicely over the past few years. A lot of prospects are tracking very well and hopefully we will see this come to fruition with the big club fairly soon.

And here's hoping that Teemu Hartikainen spends the next few weeks looking like he belongs because if he does then we're going to have another piece of the puzzle and most importantly, like Grabner and Moulson, it will be from the outer rim of what is usually possible.

There is never a guarantee with drafting eighteen year old kids (hello Gilbert Brule, what plague has stricken you now?) but Taylor Hall, Sam Gagner and Magnus Paajarvi were all pretty good bets to make it when their names were called. The same can be said for that lottery pick this June and, if things work out and the Oilers move up, another top ten pick.

Its picking a star like Ales Hemsky at number thirteen or Jordan Eberle in the twenties where you really make your hay. And getting Petry and Peckham and Omark after round one, if they can continue their development, are even bigger coups.

Barring injury, Taylor Hall is going to be a star in the NHL but some of these higher picks are not going to pay off for whatever reason. Getting useful players like Marcinin and Hamilton in the second round would be golden. Getting a guy who can play in the sixth round would be absolutely beautiful.



Olivier said...

Well, the Pat MacLean Era should start any day now in Edmonton, no?

I mean, they sure could use a stocky two-way center to fill in for Horcov?

Black Dog said...

At the very least I expect a callup to OKC.

Although if they need to have someone sit on the bench for the entire game like MacIntyre I could also do that.


Probably better at it too. I take up less room, can keep an eye on Jones so he doesn't slice anyone else up.

Plus I'm a cut up. The guys would love me.

Olivier said...

Keeping an eye on Jones is a bit of a rough job tough.

You'd need some kevlar based contraption. Or maybe just a stun gun?

The ket word here is: innovation. The Oilers are ina dire situation. They must'nt be afraid of innovation. Some fella with a Kevlar contraption on the bench would be a real game breaker, I think.

Tambellini, what are you waiting for?

Oh, right...

hunter1909 said...

I just had 6 bottles of 10 year old single malt scotch delivered, along with 4 boxes of real Irish Guinness.

Everything was offered to me at seriously knock down prices, so despite the fact I've been on the wagon for the past week(started my own version of pre-spring training) I couldn't resist.

I feel like Kevin Lowe, somehow.

PS: The Avs are something like 2-19-4 in their last so many games - they're going to be seriously challenging for the number 1 draft pick.

uni said...

hunter1909, that's not sporting, you need to share this source of yours here. I'm fresh out of whiskey and Guiness too.

At least you'll have something to get you through the remaining games. Maybe Lowe is secretly on the payroll of the liquor industry.

hunter1909 said...

uni: Irony of ironies(I'm nailed to the wagon until mid-May).

All the same, I felt like a millionaire when I stacked those bottles on my shelf yesterday.

Oiler_Kiwi said...

Sorry to go off topic. Can I ask what the single malt is Hunter? I'm a bit of a whisky connoiseur myself.

hunter1909 said...

Why of course.

Single malt is scotch whisky, made in the ancient manner which as far as my amateur self understands is whisky made from only one type of malted grain, and distilled at one distillery(whisky factory).

It's generally expensive.

Blended whisky on the other hand is barely even whisky at all - it's just some single malt, fortified with grain alcohol. Grain alcohol being dirt cheap to produce(single malts take at least 3 years to make usually 8 or more), its pretty rancid by comparison - like when bums mix rubbing alcohol with wine.

They did experiments with monkeys, and the monkeys who got the single malt whisky were happy - the ones who got blended whisky started fighting.

I'm sure Black Dog doesn't mind us discussing whisky on his blog, haha. Anything's better than talking about the Oilers these days.

Black Dog said...

I don't mind but I think he's asking you the specific brand of Scotch rather than the definition of single malt.

I'm more of an Irish Whiskey man myself but what would you recommend as a good starter Scotch?

hunter1909 said...

Isle of Jura.

From the Western part of Scotland.

It comes in a bottle that you would expect to see in a Robert Louis Stephenson novel.

PS: Sorry for not being able to read your post. Whisky in my apartment and not being able to touch it does strange things to me.

HBomb said...


First off, as is known, I love booze. Pretty much every different kind too.

But that is one creature that I just cannot develop a taste for, and lord knows I've tried.

I'll stick to Port, I guess. The 40-year old Taylor Fladgate I've got sitting on the shelf at home, well, if that's not a bottle of Angel Tears, I don't know what is.

Black Dog said...

Isle of Jura. Available in Canada? You're in England, right?

Guess I'll find out. I don't dislike Scotch but I feel like I'm not going about it the right way, if that makes any sense.

I have a pretty good story about port I'll try and share shortly HBomb - you'll get a kick out of it. I enjoy it quite a bit after years of avoiding it.

What I don't drink are mixed drinks - rum and coke, vodka and OJ etc. Never have. I like to taste my booze.

macaotim said...

Living abroad has some advantages:

1. Some value education very highly (see $450 bottle of scotch given on last day of school)YUM!
2. Cheap beer (5 after hockey last night cost around $2.50 CAD)
3. Discovering mixed drinks can be from heaven (Dog, got to the Philippines and order a Tanduay-Cola...a rum and coke...a pleasant person will pour a delicious dark rum with a shot of some generic cola.) The best Tanduay is from heaven...might change your mind about mixed did mine!

LittleFury said...

I was never a Scotch or any whisky man for that matter for the longest time. Then one day it was just like a switch clicked and now I love the stuff. Rye, scotch, bourbon, you name it.

There's some fantastic Canadian whiskies out there that are good gateways (I'm not talking Royal Reserve here). Forty Creek from Ontario, Highwood from Alberta, even Canadian Club.

Great. Now I want a whisky.

Black Dog said...

LF - yeah I'm the same, I'll go for a bourbon or a rye as well

And I think I had a bottle of Forty Creek last year. Good stuff. its gone now.

uni said...

I love bourbon myself, first time I had it was at a New Year's party when I was 18. Guy that had just left the army showed up with a small bottle of Kentucky something, I had one shot, then diligently devoted time to polished off the rest of the bottle. Spent the rest of the night musing to the ladies about the inebriation of our fellow revelers and waxing philosophical. I thought I was doing pretty well, till I tried to pick up a beer bottle and knocked over half the table.

For some reason I've never been a fan of rye, even though it's supposed to be essentially the same damn thing.

Any recommended good affordable Canadian ryes around?

Also, I don't know how you'd be able to resist that Hunter. I guess it'd be like having the world's hottest girl staying at your flat, she's giving out all the signals, but it's that time of the month, and she leaves the country in a week.

Facepla...I think that stands for itself.