Analytics and The Waiting Game for Bob Hartley

Ryan Pike
December 10 2014 10:52AM

We're roughly a third of the way through the 2014-15 schedule, which means that we're inching closer and closer to the end of Bob Hartley's original deal with the Calgary Flames.

Given his success this season, he's bound to get an extension. Right? I'm still of the mindset that he will get another deal, but I'm wondering what the hold-up is. But I think I've figured it out.

The Flames are in the playoff picture, so this seems like the first time in years that the hockey world is really paying attention. And with that attention, comes two common prongs in coverage - Can They Keep It Up, and No They Can't Cuz Advanced Stats.

We've covered both topics here; the unlikelihood of this recent run given Calgary's advanced stats and the related unlikelihood that it'll last forever.

Now, Brad Treliving is not a dumb guy. He works extremely hard and has at least a passing working knowledge of advanced stats from his time in Phoenix, where they needed to use every tool at their disposal to survive. He's very likely aware of the bubble Calgary's living in. He's heard and read all the "it can't last!" stories and the stories about it all being bounces and luck.

And, like us, he's probably extremely curious about how much of this team's success has been bounces and how much has been Bob Hartley. He'd probably like to have a good idea before he signs anybody to a contract extension.

Nobody really wants to see the bounces stop and the real Calgary Flames begin to emerge, but I'm figuring that Treliving wants to wait and see what happens in the next third of the season before putting pen to paper with the current coaching staff.

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Ryan Pike has covered the Calgary Flames since 2010. He's Senior Contributing Editor at FlamesNation and a Senior Writer covering the Flames for The Hockey Writers. He's just trying to capture the spirit of the thing.
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#51 Jake the Snail
December 10 2014, 07:28PM
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BJ wrote:

I agree. But the one thing no one mentions is that this is a young team still improving. It is not impossible that we improve our possession.

I as well as several other commenters have made that observation, something which the analizers dont want to hear because they just rely on historical data. And you really don't know if Granlund or Ferland will get better until you have some hard data that says so.

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#52 Jake the Snail
December 10 2014, 07:34PM
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@piscera.infada

It would be hard to imagine that GlenX would not waive his NTC if he were to be traded to Pittsbugh or another Cup contender like the Kings who are in deep doodoo with the cap. He would still be a UFA on July 1 and free to go for the big bucks, which is what he really wants to do.

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#53 Burnward
December 10 2014, 07:56PM
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So the race in the West is down to what, 10 teams now?

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#54 theartfuldodger
December 10 2014, 09:26PM
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Lordmork wrote:

Why do people who can't/won't understand advanced stats come to FN?

More on topic, I like the culture this team is currently displaying, but I don't think Hartley should be a lock for an extension. He's made some bewildering decisions about player deployment in the past. I don't see any value in extending him until the season is much closer to being over.

Because like you....we like to follow the Calgary Flames. I enjoy reading the articles and the writers interpretations of the stats but I completely skip over the graph and probably could not explain most of it to anyone with any sense of confidence. That being said I think the stats are important but not the end all be all of the game.......I agree with your sentiments on Hartley. Its too early. Lets not blow our load here...

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#55 BurningSensation
December 10 2014, 09:26PM
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@the-wolf

"I'm loving the Flames' success, but let's be honest, most of the pushback against advanced stats is because 'our' team is defying them."

On. The. Money.

The 'we just sports harder' commentary is a direct result of having to confront our winning streak's obvious low mortality.

The fact that the_wolf and I are in so much agreement on things lately has me very worried.

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#56 savardianspinorama
December 10 2014, 09:31PM
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Of all the teams currently ahead of the Flames in possession stats (which is everyone except Buffalo) would anyone here be willing to trade the Flames even up for any of the teams currently above them?

Colorado? Nope

Toronto? Nope

Carolina? As if!

Boston? I don't think so.

Detroit? Maybe

Nashville? Maybe, but probably not

Winnipeg? I think not

Tampa Bay? Interesting

Los Angeles? Sounds good now, what about two years down the road?

Minnesota? Thanks, but no thanks. They are good, but . . .

Pittsburgh? It would be cool to see Sid and Malkin in a Flames' jersey, but I like the upside of Monny, Johhny and Sam.

St Louis? If I want to watch paint dry, sure. Except, we've already gone through four seasons of watching Bouwmeester avoid hits, thanks very much.

Montreal? Nah, they can keep PK Subban, I'd rather have Gio and Brodie.

Edmonton? Yeah right.

Let's STOP complaining about this team and their possession stats, and creating mythical stories about Hartley, Treliving and Burke.

I love this team, and I realize they may not make the playoffs. But I wouldn't trade this team for any other team out there.

That's because it's great to watch a team evolve from the crap we were force-fed when JayBo and Iggy were here to a bunch of misfits no one gave a snowball's chance in hell to actually succeed for a change.

What the heck is wrong with all you possession-infatuated people? The Flames were SUPPOSED to suck! And that they haven't leaves many of you scrambling to explain it all away with the easiest comeback out there: luck.

Whatever. It's a lame excuse.

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#57 theartfuldodger
December 10 2014, 09:35PM
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Flames15 wrote:

Fair enough. I just don't think GLENX would be willing to waive his NTC. Although, I see an ideal situation for him if a contending team is looking for a depth player. Maybe Pit?

Just not sure how great the return would be. I don't think, however, CGY should let him walk for nothing. I.e: Cammy

I wonder if Pittsburgh is done with dealing depth vets previously with Calgary?

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#58 BurningSensation
December 10 2014, 09:44PM
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@savardianspinorama

"Pittsburgh? It would be cool to see Sid and Malkin in a Flames' jersey, but I like the upside of Monny, Johhny and Sam."

You realize that you are talking about Mono-JG-Sam in the same breath as the two best players in the world, right? The three guys you mention aren't even the two best players on our team!

At some point the Kool-Aid becomes toxic, and wherever that point is these comments are well beyond it.

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#59 Chambers
December 10 2014, 09:50PM
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BurningSensation wrote:

"Pittsburgh? It would be cool to see Sid and Malkin in a Flames' jersey, but I like the upside of Monny, Johhny and Sam."

You realize that you are talking about Mono-JG-Sam in the same breath as the two best players in the world, right? The three guys you mention aren't even the two best players on our team!

At some point the Kool-Aid becomes toxic, and wherever that point is these comments are well beyond it.

I would never trade Monny-JG-Sam for your 2 best players in the world. They are on the downslide...The Flames stars have huge upside and about 10 more years of enjoyment. No thanks!

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#60 savardianspinorama
December 10 2014, 09:53PM
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BurningSensation wrote:

"Pittsburgh? It would be cool to see Sid and Malkin in a Flames' jersey, but I like the upside of Monny, Johhny and Sam."

You realize that you are talking about Mono-JG-Sam in the same breath as the two best players in the world, right? The three guys you mention aren't even the two best players on our team!

At some point the Kool-Aid becomes toxic, and wherever that point is these comments are well beyond it.

Who is talking Kool-Aid?

I am simply making a point we get to watch a team evolve from the ground floor.

The Flames didn't win a lottery pick.

That's a big part of the appeal, as far as I'm concerned.

And, go ahead, shoot me, but I'd rather Johnny Gaudreau than Sid. My reasons are simple: Johnny Gaudreau, just like the Flames, wasn't expected to do anything.

Too small, etc.

I've watched Sid the Kid fail more times than he's succeeded. Sure, that's on the team, as well.

Well, the best player in hockey has one Cup to his name, and he won't be bringing another one back to Pittsburgh any time soon.

So, for that reason, I'd rather cheer for this edition of the Calgary Flames.

It has nothing to do with Kool-Aid.

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#61 Burnward
December 10 2014, 09:54PM
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Interesting the three owners Sportsnet has in their focus is Boston, Toronto and Calgary.

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#62 kokanee
December 10 2014, 10:39PM
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Just watched Adirondack highlights, we could do alot worse than have Wotherspoon and Potter as our 5/6 defense pairing.

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#63 savardianspinorama
December 10 2014, 10:50PM
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Quite frankly, I think it's good that Ryan, Ryan and Kent do their utmost best to keep our heads on straight.

That said, I don't quite understand when the three of them have told us that the Flames suck, that there has been no humble acceptance (or apologies) that their spreadsheets were maybe, possibly, quite conceivably out-to-lunch.

It's too late for "I told you so's." Even if the three of them are right, they blew the call heading into the season. According to the three masterminds, the Flames wouldn't, shouldn't and couldn't have possibly been where they are in the standings.

So, Kent, Lambert, and Pike, please, you guys are not gods. You are above average analysts whose spreadsheets prove you wrong every once in a while and it would do you all good to add a little humility in your work.

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#64 Konniek
December 10 2014, 11:15PM
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savardianspinorama wrote:

Of all the teams currently ahead of the Flames in possession stats (which is everyone except Buffalo) would anyone here be willing to trade the Flames even up for any of the teams currently above them?

Colorado? Nope

Toronto? Nope

Carolina? As if!

Boston? I don't think so.

Detroit? Maybe

Nashville? Maybe, but probably not

Winnipeg? I think not

Tampa Bay? Interesting

Los Angeles? Sounds good now, what about two years down the road?

Minnesota? Thanks, but no thanks. They are good, but . . .

Pittsburgh? It would be cool to see Sid and Malkin in a Flames' jersey, but I like the upside of Monny, Johhny and Sam.

St Louis? If I want to watch paint dry, sure. Except, we've already gone through four seasons of watching Bouwmeester avoid hits, thanks very much.

Montreal? Nah, they can keep PK Subban, I'd rather have Gio and Brodie.

Edmonton? Yeah right.

Let's STOP complaining about this team and their possession stats, and creating mythical stories about Hartley, Treliving and Burke.

I love this team, and I realize they may not make the playoffs. But I wouldn't trade this team for any other team out there.

That's because it's great to watch a team evolve from the crap we were force-fed when JayBo and Iggy were here to a bunch of misfits no one gave a snowball's chance in hell to actually succeed for a change.

What the heck is wrong with all you possession-infatuated people? The Flames were SUPPOSED to suck! And that they haven't leaves many of you scrambling to explain it all away with the easiest comeback out there: luck.

Whatever. It's a lame excuse.

I don't know about you, but Tampa Bay would be too good to pass up.

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#65 savardianspinorama
December 10 2014, 11:25PM
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Konniek wrote:

I don't know about you, but Tampa Bay would be too good to pass up.

At this stage (Stamkos aside), I would rather cheer for underdogs.

I am sick of people telling me what a lousy hockey team we have.

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#66 Flash
December 11 2014, 12:24AM
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Is it possible that Bob Hartley is the one who doesn't want to re-sign until the end of the season, so he can see if he gets Coach of the year?

Surely that would add a few bucks to his next contract?

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#67 Konniek
December 11 2014, 01:31AM
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savardianspinorama wrote:

At this stage (Stamkos aside), I would rather cheer for underdogs.

I am sick of people telling me what a lousy hockey team we have.

Well, its not that we have a bad team, it's just that Tampa has everything either have or want to have.

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#68 Alt
December 11 2014, 08:07AM
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Cool Story, Brodie!!! wrote:

Yeah me too, but I'm just happy I get to enjoy some hockey games this year instead of living for draft day. They definitely don't deserve anyone in the top 3 but at least the nhl made it harder for these bums to milk the system.

The Oilers have to be an embarrasment to the league in this situation.Being rewarded for incompetence makes the league look amatuer.

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#69 Cfan in Vic
December 11 2014, 08:18AM
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kokanee wrote:

Just watched Adirondack highlights, we could do alot worse than have Wotherspoon and Potter as our 5/6 defense pairing.

Wow.

Addy had 50(!!) shots on the one and only Joey MacDonald. He stopped 47 of them.

Sven with one, Reinhart with 2. Not bad.

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#70 Girouxalem
December 11 2014, 08:57AM
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For the record I am not in any way opposed to advanced stats and believe they have merit. But I don't know that they really always tell us a whole lot. I don't need to see the Corsi from last night's Red Wings Leafs game to know that Pavel Datsyuk and the red wings absolutely dominated the game. Yet the leafs won. The eye test was enough for me to know that that style of play is not sustainable for the leafs. I don't always feel the same way about the flames, as I often feel as though they are having more chances and have the balance of play, yet the next day someone complains that we only had 45% Corsi for.

I also agree that we have way too many articles about analytics. Where are the articles about the insanely awesome system Bob Hartley has our D-men playing where they jump into almost every rush and some games has Gio and Brodie looking like modern day Bobby Orr. Or how this systme has gotten so much out of our rookies?? Where are the GIFs (do we not have the technology??) showing examples of these plays and explaining why Brodie and Gio are considered the best pairing in the league this season??? We have the highest scoring d corps in the league by a COUNTRY MILE, yet correct me if I'm wrong I have not seen a single mention of this all season in any FN articles. Where are the articles talking about what has made this a possibility, because let me tell you its not only down to PDO and Corsi. If there are any Flames Fan websites that have intelligent conversations about some of these topics and discuss positional play, systems, team speed etc. please point me in the right direction.

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#71 iggyfan
December 11 2014, 09:22AM
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Tdot Fan wrote:

This has to be satire.......

Do you believe hard work, momentum and character have nothing to do with hockey and winning games? Are you saying that the way the puck bounced is the reason we are where we are at right now?

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#72 the-wolf
December 11 2014, 09:25AM
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BurningSensation wrote:

"I'm loving the Flames' success, but let's be honest, most of the pushback against advanced stats is because 'our' team is defying them."

On. The. Money.

The 'we just sports harder' commentary is a direct result of having to confront our winning streak's obvious low mortality.

The fact that the_wolf and I are in so much agreement on things lately has me very worried.

I wouldn't worry too much, I'm sure we'll find something new to disagree about eventually.

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#73 iggyfan
December 11 2014, 09:41AM
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Travis wrote:

I don't care what anyone says or thinks, and this might be a really nice time for us as fans of the flames...

But Edmonton is going to get Connor McDavid and we are screwed for the next 20 years. Then they have nugent Hopkins, draisaitl, and mcdavid down the middle.

We are dead.

If the Oilers get McDavid it will be bad for Canada. They will ruin Canada's 1 prospect just like they did to the Russians. I hope McDavid will be drafted somewhere that can develop McDavid into into the player we all hope he will be.

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#74 iggyfan
December 11 2014, 09:46AM
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Dougie & The Fro wrote:

Not discuss stats and analysis? What does that leave us with? Grit? Character? Momentum? Moving of feet?

"Wow, that Bill Arnold kid really momentums well."

"Any update on Wotherspoons grit?"

Sure, there are lots of things to talk about. Stats and analysis included.

you could rephrase that:

Wow, Bill Arnold works hard and gets a couple shots on net and a big hit shifting momentum over.

Big hit by Wotherspoon that will make the F think about going into that corner and may create momentum as well.

Go Play hockey and you will learn

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#75 Cccsberg
December 11 2014, 10:27AM
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BurningSensation wrote:

"Pittsburgh? It would be cool to see Sid and Malkin in a Flames' jersey, but I like the upside of Monny, Johhny and Sam."

You realize that you are talking about Mono-JG-Sam in the same breath as the two best players in the world, right? The three guys you mention aren't even the two best players on our team!

At some point the Kool-Aid becomes toxic, and wherever that point is these comments are well beyond it.

Can't agree with you here. Sure Crosby and Malkin are superstars at or very near the best of the best, but so what? Mono-JG-Sam are all still young but are likely all going to be stars, if not elite in the league and following them is going to be exciting. That's not Kool-Aid, them's the facts.

Some people like to bow down at the alter of superstars, others are thrilled by the "lessor" lights that have to work that much harder to succeed. Seeing as how hockey is a team game and no 1-2 players is going to guarantee success I'd much rather we had a great team than a great superstar surrounded by a lessor group that can't succeed together. And as an average Joe it's much easier to relate to and cheer for the underdog succeeding against all odds .

Now, if Calgary just misses the playoffs this year Nd we 'miraculously' win the lotto and draft MacDavid, will I be pumped? Absolutely, but unlike our friends up North I'm not willing to decimate our team to better my chances of doing so.

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#76 Jake the Snail
December 11 2014, 11:26AM
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The reason why advanced stats take a beating on this website is because the analytics show the Oilers are better than the Flames and the Oilers keep sucking like a durable vaccum cleaner each and every season, while the Flames have outperformed them in wins and Loses. And the analysts cannot explain that with their data and likely never will.

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#77 SSB1963
December 11 2014, 04:08PM
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Alt wrote:

The Oilers have to be an embarrasment to the league in this situation.Being rewarded for incompetence makes the league look amatuer.

Why is everyone so worried that the oilers might end up with another decent player? Nothing you can do about it so why worry about it.

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#78 SSB1963
December 11 2014, 04:09PM
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iggyfan wrote:

If the Oilers get McDavid it will be bad for Canada. They will ruin Canada's 1 prospect just like they did to the Russians. I hope McDavid will be drafted somewhere that can develop McDavid into into the player we all hope he will be.

Just like they ruined RNH, Eberle, and Hall? Flames fans make me laugh! Sometimes I think they are more worried about what happens up north more than they are in what happens in their own back yard.

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#79 SSB1963
December 11 2014, 04:11PM
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@Cccsberg

Yes the oil must be tanking? As of the last 12 or so games lost they lost by one goal or in overtime.

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#80 RKD
December 11 2014, 08:09PM
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After Dreger reported that Trevling and Hartley were starting talks on an extension and that a new deal could be finished in the coming weeks, I'm starting to get suspicious. I think he could have a new deal before Christmas but if not then it could be possible they may wait and see where this team is by the all-star break. Maybe we don't see a deal for Hartley until after the new year.

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#81 RealMcHockeyReturns
December 11 2014, 08:10PM
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SSB1963 wrote:

Yes the oil must be tanking? As of the last 12 or so games lost they lost by one goal or in overtime.

Lost...lost....still lost.

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#82 Alt
December 11 2014, 08:55PM
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Flash wrote:

Is it possible that Bob Hartley is the one who doesn't want to re-sign until the end of the season, so he can see if he gets Coach of the year?

Surely that would add a few bucks to his next contract?

If he wins coach of the year,Gio and Brodie would be the reason.They have given Bob the option of playing a speed game.

Any coach would love to have these two as there top defensive pair.

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#83 Alt
December 11 2014, 09:29PM
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SSB1963 wrote:

Why is everyone so worried that the oilers might end up with another decent player? Nothing you can do about it so why worry about it.

Nobody is worried that the Oilers might end up with a another FIRST OVERALL PICK !

Everyone would like to know when the Oilers will have the management in place to provide a atmosphere who have a clue how to development talent.

HOW MANY TOP PICKS SHOULD YOU GET?

You should be asking how many young talents want to go to Edmonton.

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#84 SSB1963
December 12 2014, 09:17AM
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@RealMcHockeyReturns

That would be like the last four games for the Shames/Flames?

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#85 SSB1963
December 12 2014, 09:22AM
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Alt wrote:

Nobody is worried that the Oilers might end up with a another FIRST OVERALL PICK !

Everyone would like to know when the Oilers will have the management in place to provide a atmosphere who have a clue how to development talent.

HOW MANY TOP PICKS SHOULD YOU GET?

You should be asking how many young talents want to go to Edmonton.

Sadly it seems that most fans don't realize that most drafts could care less where they end up just that they get drafted and get their shot.

As for developing talent? Hall, Eberle, RNH haven't been hurt by it. Would it have been nice to bring them along slower? By all means but at the time the oilers had no choice.

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