Thursday, March 06, 2008

Robert Nilsson By The Numbers - Getting It Done

I don't understand why the myths on Robert Nilsson continue to exist.

"He's not a good 5 on 5 player"

"He's too soft"

"He's a poor defensive player"

"He's one dimensional"

I don't pay too much stock into fans' scouting reports - they tend to overexaggerate and make a movie based on a few snapshots - in the end, it's about the numbers and counting results.

How about these numbers:

-26th in the league in EV PTS/60.
-2nd on the Oilers in EV PTS/60 - only behind Shawn Horcoff
-5th on the Oilers with regards to EV GA/60 - only behind Stortini, Glencross, Torres, and surprisingly Matt Greene.
-Team leading +8 EV+/EV- (+/- after filtering out PP GA, and empty net goals against).

In Summary: Robert Nilsson is murdering his opponents 5 on 5, soft minutes or not. His EV +/- is very respectable on a poor 5 on 5 team, and the guy simply creates offense when given a chance.

He's a guy you look at locking up 4-5 years at a respectable figure - setting yourself up with an employee who will overperform the contract terms.


dstaples said...

Robert Nilsson, by the numbers, not necessarily getting it done.

I know what Nilsson's plus/minus numbers are. But I don't trust plus/minus in this case.

Many players are on the ice when a goal is scored who have little or nothing to do with the play but still get a minus or a plus.

In this case, I'm guessing this has greatly helped Nilsson, whose mediocre defensive play isn't reflected in plus/minus stats. Perhaps when he is on the ice, he is one of the guys who really does screw up and cause a goal, moreso than other players. That is what I think and there is statistical backing for this notion.

If you look at the number of defensive errors Nilsson makes, you will see that only Reasoner and Brodziak do worse. Here are the numbers after 64 games.


1. Geoff Sanderson 1/175

2. Shawn Horcoff 1/162

3. Fernando Pisani 1/115

4. Raffi Torres 1/113

5. Andrew Cogliano 1/110

6. Dustin Penner 1/109

7. Ethan Moreau 1/103

8. Sam Gagner 1/92

9. Zack Stortini 1/92

10. Ales Hemsky 1/82

11. Jarret Stoll 1/72

12. Robert Nilsson 1/72

13. Kyle Brodziak 1/68

14. Marty Reasoner 1/58

15. J.F. Jacques 1/55

16. Marc Pouliot 1/44

All this said, I really, really like Robert Nilsson as a player. I think he should get more ice time and I've been saying that all season. His skill level is tremendous. He is one of the best Oilers forwards at even strength, mainly because of his offensive production. He just needs to work harder and concentrate more on defence, that's all.

YKOil said...

Nilsson is one of those guys who risks having counting numbers high enough that his pay outstrips his contribution.

To be fair, the danger isn't to Nilsson - it is to the team that employs him. Best thing that can happen to the Oilers and Nilsson is a 3 year deal that averages 1.50 or so. I fear, however, that he will get to the 2.0+ range and at that level he will have MUCH less value to the roster.

Let me put it this way. If Nilsson signs for 1.5 / 1.75 / 2.25 and does not improve by a good 20% or so (i.e. ~ 50 pts) offensively and a bit defensively (i.e. he retains good results against slightly tough opposition OR totally dominates poorer opposition) we can afford to let him develop for another year.

Otherwise it is time to trade him. imo.

Last thing you want to do is overpay a guy who generates substandard results. We call him Penner.

10 / 28 = 38 12 /

PunjabiOil said...

On the flip side, say you lock him up at 2M for the next 4 years.

The possibility of over performance of the contract is there. Nilsson is just getting his feet in the water at the NHL level.

There was a guy by the name of Henrik Sedin. He didn't have a breakout year until 25.

Nilssons EV/60 F and A is doing the talking - enough so that I would gamble on him. Nilsson also just turned 23 in January.

The difference with Penner is, there are questions whether he will improve at 25.