In the fifth edition in this series, I discuss a couple more right handed defencemen–ones who would specifically fit the need of helping our powerplay. I am sure the coaching staff we airlifted in from San Jose desperately misses Brent Burns. In this post I look at a couple of defencemen who would fill his shoes in Edmonton. I hesitated to write about these defenders as they have been often discussed around talk of what the Oilers need. I hope to add quality to that conversation and provide the readers with a deeper reference on these defencemen. Now let’s get to it.
|Assets:||Has good instincts from the back end and plenty of mobility, plus excellent offensive ability and a good point shot. Is a huge asset as the quarterback on a power play.|
|Flaws:||Lacks ideal size for the blueline position at the NHL level. Needs to add some bulk to be able to better defend against bigger forwards (and cope with injuries). Isn’t a physical player.|
|Career Potential:||Excellent offensive defenseman and playmaker|
Jon recently wrote about Barrie, and he’s a frequent topic of discussion on Twitter:
Assets: Has good instincts from the back end and plenty of mobility, plus excellent offensive ability and a good point shot. Is a huge asset as the quarterback on a power play.
Flaws: Lacks ideal size for the blueline position at the NHL level. Needs to add some bulk to be able to better defend against bigger forwards (and cope with injuries). Isn’t a physical player.
Career Potential: Excellent offensive defenseman and playmaker
Digging Deeper with a Few Fancies
I decided not to write my version of a scouting report on these players but specifically their offensive contribution and what it could and should mean to the Oilers. Fellow Oilers Rig writer Alex Thomas wrote about Vatanen here.
|Player||TOI||Points/ 60||Shots/ 60|
In these metrics I added In Justin Faulk from a previous post for ease of comparison. To be clear all 3 of these defencemen excel in this area; they are among the league leaders in these categories. Faulk is actually the league leader in shots per 60 for defencemen with over 100 minutes played at 5×4.
5 by 5 Even strength
|Player||5X5 TOI||Goals For % Rel||Corsi Rel||PTs/ 60||DZ %|
In this metric I try to compare players using relative to teammates’ percentages, which isn’t always fair. But I believe it will shed some light on how the players operate, as well as how their teams use them. Faulk in this look plays a lot of minutes, but takes on a fair amount of water at even strength. But he is also able to produce a fair amount of goals and shots despite having slightly higher starts in the defensive zone. Vatanen plays on the best overall team and gets slightly softer minutes and easier starts. So he is sheltered a bit compared to the other two and also on his team. Barrie is the leader among these 3 in nearly every category here, and he does so on a poor Corsi team. He is the least sheltered but the highest producer of goals, which is a very nice combination. In this area Barrie looks like that surefire top 2 defenceman who can also run your power play.
5 by 5 team comparison
Due to looking at relative goals for percentages, I felt it was important to then look at how well the teams scored at even strength. In some ways, this actually really helps the people who argue for Faulk and Barrie. Are they good producers on weaker teams? Would they do even better with better partners and better forwards
or a better coach. Carolina is the weakest overall team in the terms of goals scored and also where they finished in the league standings. Is Vatanen producing because he is a good player on a good and deep team?
5 by 4 team comparison
Once again Anaheim has the most potent power play of the 3 teams. Is Vatanen benefiting from being a good player on a team that produces a lot? Or is it a higher producing team due to having Vatanen?
Individual Points Percentage on the Powerplay
I was asking myself those questions on Vatanen, so I dug into the Individual Points Percentage side of these things. Once again Barrie and Faulk look a little better than Vatanen. They are responsible for being in on higher percent of points while being on the ice on the power play.
None of these defencemen can be classified as big players physically, but in my opinion they are all good to great fits for the Oilers’ top 4. Barrie is the class of these 3, in my opinion. He is the safest and most likely to succeed in a top 4 role with the Oilers. Darcy “Woodguy” Mcleod shows here the importance of a top 4 defence. In digging into this information and comparing him to other players, I feel he would be a top 2 right handed defenceman for the Oilers. He could be counted on to run the power play, as well as play steady to good even strength minutes, without being a drag defensively. If we are to only acquire one defenceman this summer its need to be one of Barrie’s caliber. The cost will be high as as well as the contract ask, but I get it done for this guy.
I really see Faulk as that second best option. My email, text, and direct message box filled up after the first time I wrote about him. I have been told everything from he is an okay to outstanding player. Also i have been told he is completely unavailable to very available, depending on how you look at the situation in Carolina. I like him a lot due to his contract, his age, and his experience level. If the Oilers were to acquire him he would likely be playing with his best set of experienced forwards he has had in the league. He also has familiarity with Andrej Sekera from their time together in Carolina.
I do have some concerns over Vatanen. Would the Oilers be buying high on a good player on a good team? Or would he continue to improve and be counted on for more in a bigger role with Edmonton? Make no mistake he would immediately become the best power play option on the Oilers Defence as well as play top 4 minutes, but I wouldn’t pay the same trade cost to acquire Vatanen.
I do think Barrie would be the most expensive to acquire in terms of assets as well as the most expensive contract. I say we pay the cost and get it done. How do you Feel?
Scouting reports from The Hockey news
Advanced stats from Stats.HockeyAnalysis.com