Monday, September 08, 2008

Erik Cole

"Bank Shot" did some research, and raised a good point over at Lowetide's (link to the right). How much was the "Southeast" division a factor in Erik Cole's overall performance?


Erik Cole posted 24 points in 28 games against Southeast division foes; 27 point in 45 games against all other NHL teams.

It's been well documented goaltending and defense was a considerable issue in the SE division last season.

Erik Cole did some other things quite well; he was physical, drew penalties (tied for 2nd most in the league), and shot the puck 216 times, which would have lead the Oilers last season (Leader: Dustin Penner, 201 SOG).

On the contrary, Cole’s numbers have fallen since 2005-2006 season; since the lockout, he has missed 20, 11, and 9 games respectively since the lockout. He turns 30 in November.

I don't think there is doubt that Erik Cole will help this team win hockey games. At the same time, Erik Cole may not provide full value in his next contract. I acknowledge it's prudent for General Manager, sorry, President of Hockey Operations, Kevin Lowe, to play out the season before deciding whether or not to bring Katz suitcases to the negotiation table.

However, this begs answers to the following questions: Why did Kevin Lowe pursue a player who he has doubts about, and is one year away from unrestricted free agency? Especially given the fact Joni Pitkanen kept his head above water with a EV +/- rating of zero playing difficult opposition. Was Erik Cole the best value in the trade market? Was it the good trade?

David Caruso is investigating.


Ned Braden said...

Very interesting numbers.

I'm betting Cole is here for a year then returns down East via his UFA...

Addicted-to-oil said...

There was 0% chance Joni was staying here. He was an RFA and had essentially no serious contract talks with the Oilers. He didn't want to play here, and he didn't perform well while he was here.
Lowe had to trade him. I think if there was something better out there Lowe would have taken it. I never heard any rumblings of any GM offering anything for Pitkanen, which leads me to think there wasn't much competition for his services.
Maybe if Lowe had waited until after some of the big UFA defencemen had been snapped up, he would have been able to squeeze a little more out of a team.

Scott said...

You should take a look and see if he's been beating up on the SE in each of the past three seasons, or if it was just luck this past season.

I do it, but I don't know where to look for that kind of matchup information.

oilerdiehard said...

I am going purely off of memory here. I recall looking it up just after the trade. A different side of the coin here. I think Cole had something like 7 points in 8 games against NW division teams over the last 2 seasons.

I reserve the right to remember incorrectly. So somebody go check me on that please. :)

PunjabiOil said...

Addicted To Oil: Welcome. I added your blog to the sidebar.

True, Joni didn't want to play here. I guess the trade speaks of immediate gratification - Lowe wants to win now, and he got Jagr or Hossa, this team would have been set. He's probably thinking the cap space may be more valuable than Cole - should he go after Hossa or anyone else in the free agent market.

I don't really see Cole being a long time Oiler unless he signs a hometown discount.

Scott: I will follow up with your request sometime soon.

Oilerdiehard: I didn't check out two seasons ago, but last year Cole had 4 points in 4 games against the NW (he was injured against Vancouver). Small sample size, but lets conveniently extrapolate ;)

Addicted-to-oil said...

Thanks Punjabi. I shall add yours on the 'morrow.
I could very well see Cole signing here. I've seen and read a few interviews and he seems to be one of those players who likes playing in a hockey town and getting attention. We'll see how he likes it if he underperforms though...

NotLeeFogolin said...

The only way I can rationalize the Pitkanen/Cole trade is that Lowe assessed the net change in his team--who was coming, who was going--and decided that a top-flight forward, even on a one-year deal, was better than draft picks (assuming picks, via an offer sheet, were the only other option).

It's a curious move.