Thursday, August 4, 2005

Mike vs Mike: a closer look

Beware of big names. Amid the jittering and convulsive jubilation on Oilers web boards, one wonders if they're rejoicing for the Mike Peca of 2001, and not the Mike Peca who hasn't fully recovered from a devastating knee injury.

For me, York was the Oilers best player in the last two seasons. Brewer was functionally more important, but I valued York's consistency and all-round game. For pro-trade people, the party line is that while York had better offensive numbers, Peca is a better defensive player, which is why he was relegated to a third line checking role.

Of course defence is harder to really gauge on the ol' plus/minus, which is why I thought of SI's ill-named and now defunct Statitudes website, which had a interesting article on a using pythagorean formulas to determine an individual's contribution in a team's win shares. Basically it's using the same principles behind Bill James' Sabrmetrics in baseball, number crunching towards a better, more accurate way of measuring a player's performance. To do this you start with goals for and goals against, which are the foundation of a team's winning percentage, and from that you can determine the marginal goals (created and prevented) which contributed to that differential (including how many of those goals it took on average to win game), and from that you can determine an individual's contribution. Luckily I found a bunch of research for the 2003 season and the results have a few bits to chew on:

Mike Peca's Player Contribution for overall defence is 18.
Mike York's Player Contribution for overall defence is 23.

The general range for players was 1-50, which basically means both were pretty much the same defensively. However, Mike York's overall player contribution, including offence, is 54 compared to Peca's 41. The goals and assists don't lie, and I don't think a closer look bears out the idea that Peca offers more defensive upside.

Side Note: Aside from goalies, Chris Pronger had one of the highest Player Contribution share (range 1-120) in the league: 105. Eric Brewer had a score of 64. It also might be worth noting that Tommy Salo had a overall PC of -26, which means he didn't belong in the league and was actually hurting his team (we all knew this anyway, didn't we?).

Of course you can't measure leadership and other such intangibles, but I find that to be overrated anyway. Messier supposedly is a "great leader" but that hasn't helped his teams make the playoffs in a decade. Just like in life, being a great leader is a combination of being likable and respected, which is mostly from showing up and do your job well. Peca has a much higher profile than York, but I don't think that is going to make the team better next year. Peca's knee injury and pricetag only make the deal worse.


Peca
- Salary = 3.99 --- Games = 222 --- PPG = 0.64 --- 5'11" / 190 lbs --- Age = 31

2003-04 ... 76 gms ... 11g 29a = 40 pts ... +17 ... 71 pms ... 19 mins/game ... 0 PP .. 1 SH
2002-03 ... 66 gms ... 13g 29a = 42 pts ... -04 ... 43 pms ... 19 mins/game ... 4 PP .. 2 SH
2001-02 ... 80 gms ... 25g 35a = 60 pts ... +19 ... 62 pms ... 20 mins/game ... 3 PP .. 6 SH

York - Salary ~ 2.00 --- Games = 213 --- PPG = 0.72 --- 5'10" / 185 lbs --- Age = 27

2003-04 ... 61 gms ... 16g 26a = 42 pts ... +18 ... 15 pms ... 19 mins/game ... 1 PP .. 2 SH
2002-03 ... 71 gms ... 22g 29a = 51 pts ... -08 ... 10 pms ... 19 mins/game ... 7 PP .. 2 SH
2001-02 ... 81 gms ... 20g 41a = 61 pts ... +07 ... 16 pms ... 20 mins/ game ... 3 PP .. 0 SH

12 comments:

CG said...

Let's get down to brass tacks, how WILL Injecto Mining Corp. do in the fourth quarter? Third-quarter?
Hmmm, Mike vs. Mike...
Like leadership, success is a tough monkey to put a dial on.
Peca, who I remember best as a Sabre, is now the only member of the Emdmonton Oilers who has played in a Stanley Cup final — not counting a rookie Florida Panther named Radek Dvorac, who was a scatch six games that post-season.

The only other Oiler to have played in the third round is Pronger (one Conference final on a stacked Blues team), and only Smyth remembers round two from eight years ago.
Peca might be a more valuable piece of the puzzle than the stats show.
The other round-two vets include Cross and Ulanov, each many years ago with different teams -- meaning this is a young team that's never done nothing.

Everyone talks about the sheer amount of character in the Oilers room, but this has basically been a euphemism for talentless. And for all tutelage under the diamond-encrusted sure-fire hall-of-famers within the management structure, none of these "character players" have really succeeded.

I think Peca might be a guy, who, intagibly, can spur these ham and eggers to play above their potential, or at least prove to them the Oilers are an NHL team again.
Buffalo's squad of ridiculous nobodies took Dallas to overtime of Game 7 and Peca has 69 playoff games in eight appearances over nine seasons between them and the Islanders (the Islanders!!).
Not to say that York is a horrible player. He's not, he's also a gutsy player, and he probably has much more time left in his career.
The Oilers had to give something up to get Peca, but if they're on the same team, who do you give the "A" to?
And while I can see your point about how he's been injured/is old (a la Oates), but if he puts together a good season, I think it'll pay off for years in many ways.

Right now, the Oilers, as a team, need a clutch/name guy to prove that they're an mid- to high-range NHL team more than they need another mid-range to potentially high-range. Peca, even injured, is both.
Plus, Peca is a walking billboard for "Oilers hockey" in which guts trumps offence more than people let on.

-CG

CG said...

Before you mention it, yes, Ted Nolan and Hasek, but still, name a guts-guy with big league talent that's played for the Oilers in the last five years.

-cg

Pleasure Motors said...

Rumours!

http://www.edmontonsun.com/Sports/Friday/2005/08/05/1160447-sun.html

http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/news_story.asp?id=132491

I think the Sun story is just pure speculation--at least, I hope the Oilers aren't seriously considering wasting one thin fucking dime on either Lindros, Messier or Gratton (least of all the last two--God, I can't believe Edmotonians actually want to see Messier back here. Stuck in the '80s with you, I guess).

As for the Kariya one, if TSN picked it up, it's at least semi-serious. Didn't we take a run at him a few years ago, before he signed with Colorado? You know, back when we didn't have any money at all, kind of like now? Seriously, I think the Oilers have gone a little overboard with this whole "new NHL" thing. I mean, I want to see us win, but we still have to, you know, not go bankrupt. Maybe that revenue-sharing deal is worth a lot more than I think.

Pleasure Motors said...

Oh, also, the 'Hawks have picked up Khabibulin.

http://www.chicagoblackhawks.com/news/news.asp?story_id=2880

I don't really think what they've done is enough to pull them out of the cellar--or, not far enough, anyway--but hey, at least he's not on Vancouver or Colorado. Or Minnesota.

Also, does the Western Conference look to be far more improved than the Eastern Conference (sans maybe Philly) to any of you? Or has it been mostly deck chair shuffling?

Pleasure Motors said...

Ahem...also also, proof that either a) Edmonton fans stuff ballot boxes for crap like this, or b) undue optimism and general retardation are rather widespread across hockey fans, some interesting results from an ESPN poll:

5) Which team helped itself the most in acquiring a defenseman?

31.8% Edmonton -- Chris Pronger
22.9% Pittsburgh -- Sergei Gonchar
19.2% Columbus -- Adam Foote
16.8% Philadelphia -- Derian Hatcher
4.7% Chicago -- Adrian Aucoin
4.5% Boston -- Brian Leetch


6) Other than Forsberg, which forward will make the biggest impact on his new team?

32.0% Pavol Demitra, Los Angeles
18.9% Bobby Holik, Atlanta
18.8% Michael Peca, Edmonton
15.1% Tony Amonte, Calgary
5.1% Darren McCarty, Calgary
5.1% Martin Straka, Rangers
4.9% Pierre Turgeon, Colorado

9) Who is your early pick to win the Western Conference?

20.9% Calgary Flames
15.4% Detroit Red Wings
12.1% Edmonton Oilers
10.1% Vancouver Canucks
8.8% Anaheim Mighty Ducks

I agree with the first question, given that Pronger's the best defenceman on the list, and Pittsburgh is helped more by Crosby and its forwards than Gonchar, but I can't believe almost 19% of respondents think Peca is the best forward pick-up. And, of course, that 12% think Edmonton will finish first. People are pretty wowed by smoke, mirrors and past performances these days.

CG said...

Wow, Pleasure Motors woke up early.
Kariya - J. Matheson mentions money problems in his brief today.
I stand by my calculations, and Matheson's, that someone (Smyth) would have to go to free up the money.
Right now, theorectically, the Oilers have 17 million to spend.
The Oilers would need more than all of it to sign Kariya in the $5-6 million range, plus, a half dozen RFA's and a few more to fill the roster.
And I doubt they'll spend the Max., I think they'd break even spending $34 M (or $12 milllion left).
They could add someone else, but no one one the scale of Kariya.

Is anyone else really impressed by the idea of Kariya in San Jose? Selanne. Conference Finals. Supposedly they took a big run at Neidermeyer.

-cg

CG said...

Overview

Blackhawks -- They are probably going to have the youngest, most talented, yet unproven bluelines in the league next year, featuring their last three first round draft picks -- world junior d-man Brent Seabrook, No. 3 overall pick Cam Barker (an inconsistant but spectacularly talented Medicine Hat Tiger) and Anton Babchuk (20-ish goals in the AHL last year).
They needed a king-hell goaltender.

East vs. West, which came out better.
In the East, Boston, Pittsburgh, and arguably Florida, are also well ahead of the game.
Does that balance out with Columbus, Flames, Anaheim, Edmonton, plus San Jose with a lot of money left?

The question might be answered when we figure out how far the tradiditonal powers fall (Detroit, St. Louis, Dallas, Toronto, New Jersey), they all seem to be in controlled descents.

-CG

CG said...

Overview

Blackhawks -- They are probably going to have the youngest, most talented, yet unproven bluelines in the league next year, featuring their last three first round draft picks -- world junior d-man Brent Seabrook, No. 3 overall pick Cam Barker (an inconsistant but spectacularly talented Medicine Hat Tiger) and Anton Babchuk (20-ish goals in the AHL last year).
They needed a king-hell goaltender.

East vs. West, which came out better.
In the East, Boston, Pittsburgh, and arguably Florida, are also well ahead of the game.
Does that balance out with Columbus, Flames, Anaheim, Edmonton, plus San Jose with a lot of money left?

The question might be answered when we figure out how far the tradiditonal powers fall (Detroit, St. Louis, Dallas, Toronto, New Jersey), they all seem to be in controlled descents.

-CG

CG said...

Overview

Blackhawks -- They are probably going to have the youngest, most talented, yet unproven bluelines in the league next year, featuring their last three first round draft picks -- world junior d-man Brent Seabrook, No. 3 overall pick Cam Barker (an inconsistant but spectacularly talented Medicine Hat Tiger) and Anton Babchuk (20-ish goals in the AHL last year).
They needed a king-hell goaltender.

East vs. West, which came out better.
In the East, Boston, Pittsburgh, and arguably Florida, are also well ahead of the game.
Does that balance out with Columbus, Flames, Anaheim, Edmonton, plus San Jose with a lot of money left?

The question might be answered when we figure out how far the tradiditonal powers fall (Detroit, St. Louis, Dallas, Toronto, New Jersey), they all seem to be in controlled descents.

-CG

Anonymous said...

Kariya to Nashville. Ewww.

Pleasure Motors said...

I don't see any logic at all in dumping Smyth (because, really, no one else makes enough money to be significant) to get Kariya. Yes, Smyth might be unrestricted next year, but that would amount to, essentially, trading our top three players for three other, more expensive, players who may (or may not) be better (to my mind, Pronger is cleary an improvement, Peca is a wash if not worse, and Kariya would be a wash or maybe a bit better). We have roughly the same cards, we've just paid a lot more for them.

If we were to essentially swap Smyth for Kariya, we'd still be left with almost no support, unless Hemsky (and, uh, Torres, Horcoff, Dvorak and Reasoner) has actually improved that significantly. I don't know--if we could get both Kariya and Smyth, well, obviously, that would be quite ideal. Don't have the money, though, and to dump a gutsy fan favourite for an older, smaller-playing type seems like something an oilfan poster would do. I say think cheaper--we need depth, too.

Also, I think San Jose might be a sleeper in all this. They finished third last season, haven't really lost anything that won't be replace by their farm, if not a FA, and the other top teams can only go down (Detroit, Vancouver). The teams that have made the most noise in the west (Chicago, us, Calgary, Columbus) were all either barely in the playoffs or not in at all. Plus, I really think the Flames cup run was a fluke--they could just as easily pull the Anaheim this year. Or, at least, they won't improve significantly. I hope.

Post boner!!

-Dave

CG said...

I don't know you'll win the actual hockey, I was talking about who's won the player shuffle.

For example, Boston and Phila were already top teams that positioned themselves correctly, on the other hand Toronto and Detroit are sucking on a tailpipe right now in the cap flurry, but all four will be good teams.


Calgary finished a pretty strong 6th, five points behind Vancouver for the div lead -- I doubt they'll miss the playoffs for a while.
Columbus was poised to do better anyway with Nash and a bunch of youngsters, so they got their veteran presence (like the Oilers plan but with more upswing).
Chigago got what they wanted, but will still not be a playoff team. Likewise, Pittsburgh will do much, much better in 05-06, but aren't runaway shoo-in President Trophy winner.

-- CG