Combined Special Teams Ratings: Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver

Jonathan Willis
September 22 2009 11:15AM

The three Canadian teams in the Northwest Division shared a common bond last season: their special teams weren’t all that special. There are some issues with the way the NHL calculates its special team percentages. The Philadelphia Flyers, for example, get credit for an efficient power-play and penalty-kill but the NHL doesn’t account for shorthanded goals in its calculations. When you consider that the Flyers led the league in short-handed goals for (16) and against (1), it’s easy to see that they aren’t just good on special teams, they’re one of the best outfits in the NHL.

To compensate for that, today I’ve re-calculated both the penalty-killing and power play percentages by including shorthanded goals for and against. The results weren’t pretty.

On the powerplay side of things, Vancouver’s ranking increased by a fair bit, Edmonton went up marginally, and Calgary’s unit plummeted thanks to 15 shorthanded goals against. On the penalty-kill, Vancouver got slightly worse, Calgary fell off by quite a bit, and Edmonton’s abysmal unit slunk closer to the bottom of the NHL pack.

Combined Rankings

  • Vancouver: 17.4 + 83.3 = 100.7%
  • Calgary: 12.8 + 85.1 = 97.8%
  • Edmonton: 14.7 + 78.4 = 93.1%

What I’ve done here is pretty simple; I’ve taken the adjusted percentages for both units and added them together. A league-average score is 100, and it’s easy to see that none of these teams are especially good on special teams. Vancouver is just slightly better than the league average, Calgary is a fair bit worse than that and Edmonton, drug down by a truly abysmal penalty-kill is 7 percentage points back of average.

If any of these teams entertain hopes of being legitimate contenders in the near future – and Vancouver and Calgary certainly view themselves that way – these numbers need to improve. For Edmonton, massive improvements are needed simply to make it back to the post-season dance.

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Jonathan Willis is Managing Editor of the Nation Network. He also currently writes for the Edmonton Journal's Cult of Hockey, Grantland, and Hockey Prospectus. His work has appeared at theScore, ESPN and Puck Daddy. He was previously founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue. Contact him at jonathan (dot) willis (at) live (dot) ca.
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#1 Harlie
September 22 2009, 11:38AM
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MTL looked pretty good last night. The big-small size line firing on all cylinders. Colonel Craig was lookin as dapper as usual. Hope our special teams can gel as nicely as CC's perfectly coiffed silver dome.

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#2 Jonathan Willis
September 22 2009, 11:39AM
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@ Woogie:

Which puts you roughly 28 spots on the Oilers' PK unit...

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#3 socaldave
September 22 2009, 11:42AM
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so it has to be better this year, right? I mean, nowhere to go but up, right? Can't get worse, right?

~panic attack sets in~

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#4 Chris.
September 22 2009, 11:44AM
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When optimism abounded heading into last season, I had said the Oilers would live and die by their special teams. With the aquisition of Lubo, having Souray back healthy, and the kids poised to contribute: I had expected an effective powerplay. I also mistakenly expected that a MacT coached Oiler team would have an above average PK...

This year it's the same story heading in: This team will not make the playoffs unless both sets of special teams rise above league average.

Great breakdown Willis.

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#5 jeff84
September 22 2009, 11:46AM
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When I went to the game Friday the Oil used every tom dick and harry on the PK and PP. Not sure if other teams are going that far or not. Even the game I was at who'd we have on defense Staios, Arsene, Plante, Gilbert, Strudwick and Chorney. And Chorney led with 5minutes.

I think Quinn is just trying to find who can fit where and probably doesn't care about those numbers at the moment.

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#6 HBomb
September 22 2009, 11:47AM
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One of my favorite Ken Hitchcock quotes from way back is his "105 percent" rule - if you want to be a true Cup contender, your special teams percentages (PP% + PK%) need to add up to 105% or higher.

JW, if you could, do you think you could provide us with the league wide numbers to see the adjusted spread from 1-30 and if Mr. Hitchcock's assertion is fair, or if there's another benchmark we should be looking with in this regard?

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#7 Harlie
September 22 2009, 11:49AM
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picture Harlie rockin the front row for tomorrow nights game at the Rex versus the Flamers. Oh, H E double toothpick YEAH!! Hopin for many many fights! hahaha yes!!

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#8 shabazz
September 22 2009, 12:00PM
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drug down! drug down!

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#9 Jonathan Willis
September 22 2009, 12:06PM
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HBomb: I'll put something together, but the obvious exception would be Pittsburgh. Then again, IIRC the Penguins improved drastically in the playoffs with a new coach/return of Gonchar.

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#10 RossCreek
September 22 2009, 12:12PM
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@ Woogie: Ahahahahahaha! Take that Woogie. All hail Sir bingofuel

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#11 Harlie
September 22 2009, 12:20PM
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RossCreek wrote:

@ Woogie: Ahahahahahaha! Take that Woogie. All hail Sir bingofuel

Those "First" posts are the worst posts. Grow up Weenie....uhh, I mean Woogie, whatever.

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#12 KPM
September 22 2009, 12:24PM
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Where did Glenn Fisher ever end up, I know he was not signed by Oilers, thought he was ok on the farm (ECHL) was a good back up

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#13 bingofuel
September 22 2009, 12:29PM
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@ RossCreek:

sir bingofuel? You know I'm not technically a knight, right? But please, everyone, put in a good word with the Queen of England.

I will also accept nominations for the Order of Canada.

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#14 Mitchy-boy
September 22 2009, 12:30PM
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It is really hard to believe with the depth and firepower we have on the blueline, that our PP isn't one of the best in the league. However losing Ales II this off season didnt help that either. He had a gun from the point

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#15 BingBong
September 22 2009, 12:43PM
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Brian Murray stated today that the Sens are looking to make a few trades - Garrioch suggest Schubert and Kelly are on the block. We have no use for another d-man (Schubert), but Kelly is basically that defensive 3rd line center everybody here wants. He had a rough year last year, although most of the Sens did... He's a good skater, reasonably gritty, wins around 50% of his faceoffs and is a good defensive player/penalty killer; plus he'll typically score goals in the double digits. He's signed for $2 million a year for 3 more years... Anybody else think he's a good option for the Oil? Murray obviously has interest in some of our players...maybe for Smid?

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#16 Petr's Jofa
September 22 2009, 12:44PM
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@ Mitchy-boy:

Kotalik and his "gun from the point" scored once for the Oilers on the PP. Heck, I'm not even sure it was from the point.

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#17 jeff84
September 22 2009, 12:52PM
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@ BingBong: If Garrioch said it I will stay clear.

I just don't see the point in trading for Kelly when we could've had Betts, Malhotra, Goc and other for cheaper. Heck Moore is still available too.

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#18 cableguy
September 22 2009, 12:53PM
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@ RossCreek:

did you hear there is a game on TSN tonight?

you can stop picking bottles trying to gather the $$$ for TSN2!!!!!!!!!

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#19 BingBong
September 22 2009, 12:55PM
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jeff84 wrote:

@ BingBong: If Garrioch said it I will stay clear. I just don’t see the point in trading for Kelly when we could’ve had Betts, Malhotra, Goc and other for cheaper. Heck Moore is still available too.

Agreed, Garrioch isn't the most reliable. The problem now is that we've maxed the cap, so the only way we're picking up anybody new is by dumping salary along with it.

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#20 RossCreek
September 22 2009, 12:55PM
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BingBong wrote:

Chris Kelly is basically that defensive 3rd line center everybody here wants. He had a rough year last year, although most of the Sens did… He’s a good skater, reasonably gritty, wins around 50% of his faceoffs and is a good defensive player/penalty killer; plus he’ll typically score goals in the double digits. He’s signed for $2 million a year for 3 more years… Anybody else think he’s a good option for the Oil? Murray obviously has interest in some of our players…maybe for Smid?

Wouldn't be a bad option, but he's another smaller guy. Aside from the size difference, I'd take him over Pisani. Why would you consider moving Smid for him though?

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#21 Ogden Brother
September 22 2009, 12:56PM
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jeff84 wrote:

@ BingBong: If Garrioch said it I will stay clear. I just don’t see the point in trading for Kelly when we could’ve had Betts, Malhotra, Goc and other for cheaper. Heck Moore is still available too.

Maybe a Kelly for Nilsson? That way we wouldn't be adding an extra body/$$ like simply signing one of those guys would have done.

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#22 RossCreek
September 22 2009, 12:57PM
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@ cableguy: LOL. *mumbles under breath "Friggin cable guy keeps makin fun of me"*

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#23 Jimmy
September 22 2009, 12:59PM
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BingBong wrote:

Anybody else think he’s a good option for the Oil? Murray obviously has interest in some of our players…maybe for Smid?

The Heatley trade was a huge disappointment. Let's find a mediocre player from the same team that we can pay 4.5 mil a year.

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#24 cableguy
September 22 2009, 01:01PM
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RossCreek wrote:

@ cableguy: LOL. *mumbles under breath “Friggin cable guy keeps makin fun of me”*

mwahahahaha

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#25 BingBong
September 22 2009, 01:02PM
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RossCreek wrote:

Wouldn’t be a bad option, but he’s another smaller guy. Aside from the size difference, I’d take him over Pisani. Why would you consider moving Smid for him though?

No reason...just throwing it out there knowing that Murray likes him. Giving up Nilsson would obviously be better but something tells me Nilsson has zero value at this point, although I still want to see what he can do to start the year.

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#26 RossCreek
September 22 2009, 01:06PM
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Is Dominic Moore attending camp anywhere?

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#27 jeff84
September 22 2009, 01:08PM
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@ Ogden Brother: I like all the extra bodies. It is making people go crazy trying to think of lineups. Nilsson and Cheechoo together might work though. But I still don't know about Kelly. 23 points in 82 games, 47.4% faceoff. I guess he plays the PK, is he that good on the PK though?

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#28 Jimmy
September 22 2009, 01:11PM
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47.4 on the dot would get a 'no' vote from me. I thought our whole 3C problem was not having anyone to take faceoffs?

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#29 BingBong
September 22 2009, 01:12PM
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jeff84 wrote:

@ Ogden Brother: I like all the extra bodies. It is making people go crazy trying to think of lineups. Nilsson and Cheechoo together might work though. But I still don’t know about Kelly. 23 points in 82 games, 47.4% faceoff. I guess he plays the PK, is he that good on the PK though?

Kelly definately had a bad year last year - typically he's a good penatly killer and faceoff guy but stuggled last year. But most of the Sens did, and then they had to change their game mid-year when Clouston came in. I'd like to think he'd rebound, but who knows. He'd still be a better option on the penalty kill than most of our guys though.

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#30 Ogden Brother
September 22 2009, 01:15PM
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jeff84 wrote:

@ Ogden Brother: I like all the extra bodies. It is making people go crazy trying to think of lineups. Nilsson and Cheechoo together might work though. But I still don’t know about Kelly. 23 points in 82 games, 47.4% faceoff. I guess he plays the PK, is he that good on the PK though?

Ya, I don't really know a tonne about him. I don't think I'd be chasing the guy, but in a trade for someone that might not be in future plans (ie Nilsson) it may be interesting.

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#31 RossCreek
September 22 2009, 01:15PM
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@ Jonathan Willis: Just wondering if you know if this scenario could play out. Can you assign a player on a 2 week conditioning stint to start the season?

www.nhlscap.com/waivers.htm Players designated for a conditioning assignment are not subject to waivers, regardless of their waiver status; such assignments may not be longer than fourteen (14) days.

So, is it possible that the Oil may buy themselves 2 weeks, especially if they do in fact consider keeping Eberle around for 9 games. WHY NOT? Could the phrase “Bobby Nilsson has been assigned to Springfield on a 2 week conditioning stint” be considered as a way of not only buying time before a waiver decision is made, it could also buy time to work out a trade, or buy time to give Eberle his shot at the regular season without actually risking losing yet another player on waivers. If Eberle makes the most of things and proves he belongs, then you can waive Nilsson at that time. If it becomes clear that he needs another year of junior, then you’ve got Nilsson, who has been playing in the minors for 2 weeks coming back with one FINAL chance to prove something.

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#32 jeff84
September 22 2009, 01:18PM
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@ RossCreek: LOL.

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#33 jeff84
September 22 2009, 01:19PM
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@ Ogden Brother: Do we know who are in our future plans? I'm still shocked we have to big goons in Brennan and Macintyre left. Considering Brennan doesn't even have an NHL contract one has to think something is up.

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#34 RossCreek
September 22 2009, 01:26PM
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@ jeff84: I think you're wrong but it could be me.

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#35 Tapdog
September 22 2009, 01:31PM
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@ RossCreek:

So far Moore shows up as a UFA under Buffalo's team list on nhlnumbers.com Moore shows 51% on the dot last year in 18 games with Buffalo and 54.8% in 63 games with TO. He is interesting to check out but do you think bringing him in would close some doors for Brule making this team? Or does Brule slid over to the wing and possibly move Pisani? As it sits Cogs will have to move to the wing.

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#36 jeff84
September 22 2009, 01:37PM
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@ RossCreek: From what I gathered last year when we sent DD down it was because he hadn't played in awhile. JFJ was because he was coming off an injury. I just can't see why we could send him down right off the bat, we kinda need a reason other then roster space(I would think).

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#37 Ogden Brother Jr.
September 22 2009, 02:11PM
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no longer jeff or jeff84

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#38 Ogden Brother
September 22 2009, 02:20PM
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Ogden Brother Jr. wrote:

no longer jeff or jeff84

Hey, hey!

That's what I like to see.

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#39 RossCreek
September 22 2009, 02:48PM
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@ jeff, jeff84, Ogden Brother Jr. Which one of you didn't take your meds? ;-)

You related to Ogden Brother? Friends?

*OGDENsquared? Noooooooooooooo!*

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#40 jdrevenge
September 22 2009, 03:06PM
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The sens might have a use for Nilsson. That could work.

Does anybody else crack up everytime they sound out bingbong?

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#41 Chris.
September 22 2009, 03:15PM
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Tomorrow's Lineup:

JFJ - Horc - Hemmer O'Sully - Comrie - Stone Moreau - Cogs - Brennan Penner - Pouliot - Nilsson.

Quinn has often talked about forming two man units with rotating wingers. Could our top two lines be: Horc - Hemmer - And whoever O'Sully - Comrie - And whoever?

Also. It sure looks like JFJ is going to make this team. Many people rip on him, but JFJ has sure been effective in the AHL, (More so than Schremp and Brule when healthy), has good wheels for a big man, and is getting a real good look in an offensive role this camp. He did have a monster game against the Panthers where he made some hits, created some space for his linemates, and even chipped in with a goal. I'm not sure why so many Oiler fans are in a hurry to dismiss a player with JFJ's potential... He's exactly the kind of player the Oilers need to make an impact.

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#42 Ogden Brother Jr.
September 22 2009, 03:19PM
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@ RossCreek: LOL. I don't think we are related.

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#43 mike
September 22 2009, 03:35PM
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rosscreek:

Players on conditioning stints count against the 23 man roster.

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#44 Milli
September 22 2009, 03:41PM
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Is RossCreek an Oilers fan now?

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#45 Ogden Brother
September 22 2009, 03:53PM
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Ogden Brother Jr. wrote:

@ RossCreek: LOL. I don’t think we are related.

*Digs back in Ogden family tree for any jr's*

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#46 Ogden Brother Jr.
September 22 2009, 03:55PM
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@ KPM: I just read on slam canoe that he was released from Buffalo's camp.

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#47 Jonathan Willis
September 22 2009, 03:59PM
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@ RossCreek:

I'm not sure, but I do know the player must agree to it and I don't know why Nilsson would.

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#48 thenosebleedsection
September 22 2009, 03:59PM
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KPM wrote:

Where did Glenn Fisher ever end up, I know he was not signed by Oilers, thought he was ok on the farm (ECHL) was a good back up

Last I talked to Glenn he was still on the market (this was at his wedding this past summer). He got married to my cousin. Next week I should be seeing his father in law and I am going to ask. If he doesnt know then I will just wait for NHL10 to do a roster update and see if he made an AHL team hahaha. I thought his numbers in Vegas were awesome, especially in the post season. Poor kid didnt get a fair shake in Springfield last year.

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#49 thenosebleedsection
September 22 2009, 04:10PM
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Dam this no edit button. Looks like Ogden was right, he was released from Buffalo. Oh well. Good kid he will find a spot. By the way, JW this was a good post man. Normally I would blow over some of your posts but this one really shows what these teams need to work on to get better.

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#50 smytty777
September 22 2009, 04:20PM
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Chris. wrote:

He’s exactly the kind of player the Oilers need to make an impact

I whole-heartedly agree with that statement, JFJ making the step forward to being a break even NHL player does wonders for this team. It's an internal solution for size and grit. I'm not sure he is up to the task, but I'm definitely hopeful.

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