The Best of the Nation – 9.30.12

Photo: davidgsteadman/Wikimedia/CC BY-SA 2.0

Looking at a Roberto Luongo trade, the advantages for an NHL team that operates it’s own junior club, the craziness that awaits any NHL’er heading to Sweden for the lockout, Dan Cloutier’s return to the NHL, and more after the jump.

Hypothetically, if Roberto Luongo were to be traded… Weird fact – apparently Roberto Luongo grew up a big fan of Grant Fuhr. CanucksArmy speculates on four possible destinations for the goaltender – including Edmonton. All I’ll say is that the Jeff Petry thing ain’t happening. [Canucks Army]

Is running a junior team something every NHL owner should do? The Edmonton Oilers have a unique and cozy relationship with the Edmonton Oil Kings, with a significant degree of communication between organizations and a number of Oilers prospects on the team. Has it paid off, and is it something other NHL teams have done or should think about doing? [Oilers Nation]

Paul Gaustad is the greatest hero in American history. Nations’ overlord Kent Wilson, desperately scrambling for something to write about, looks at Barry Trotz’s contention that Paul Gaustad is worth 10 points to the Nashville Predators. Spoiler alert: he’s not. [Flames Nation]

The hornet’s nest that awaits locked out NHL’ers in Sweden. In some leagues, locked out NHL’ers are welcomed as they bring extra attention and skill to the game. In Sweden, something as simple as signing Alex Steen has turned into a major mess, featuring lawsuits, media scrutiny and bad blood. [Canucks Army]

Nazem Kadri’s got this. The hearts of Leafs Nation are a-flutter with the news that Nazem Kadri showed up to AHL training camp in, uh, less than optimum shape. One fan made a point of taking Kadri to task, only to meet with a reply of “settle down little girl I got this” from the unperturbed player. [Leafs Nation]

The Canucks have brought Dan Cloutier in to work with their goalies. I haven’t seen it yet, but I’m sure it’s only a matter of time until someone photo-shops a beachball into a picture of Cloutier pointing out something to Cory Schneider. “See, this is how you do it!” Jokes aside, was it a good hire? [Canucks Army]

The Toronto Maple Leafs’ pitch to Brad Richards. The Toronto Maple Leafs didn’t land Brad Richards in 2011 – that honour instead went to the New York Rangers, a club that paid through the nose for the privilege – but that’s not to say they didn’t try. Bonus feature: iPad version of Brian Burke, since actual Brian Burke was visiting the troops in Afghanistan on July 1 that year. [Leafs Nation]

Jason Garrison’s rise from obscurity. It may be a Canucks-specific article, as the team signed the free agent defenceman this summer, but Garrison’s odd career path and late-blooming tendencies are still quite interesting, even for those disinterested in the team. [Canucks Army]

Yakupov: “Just give a guy a chance to play and enjoy hockey. Pleeeease.” Nail Yakupov’s transfer situation is bizarre, and Andrey Osadchenko gives us the Russian perspective. [Oilers Nation]

Matt Stajan’s (fictional) trip to Kathmandu. Like the rest of us, Matt Stajan was wondering what to do with his time given the NHL lockout. Unlike the rest of us, he took a trip to Nepal. [Flames Nation]

Paul Ranger returns with a bang. Not long ago, Paul Ranger was one of the NHL’s up-and-coming young defenders before he rather mysteriously left the game (backstory here). Now, he’s attempting a comeback with the Leafs – and he’s started off by ranking first overall among Toronto Marlies players on their season-opening fitness tests. [Leafs Nation]

  • Locksmithluke

    First and foremost, let me start by saying… If the oil acquire Lu, were truly screwed! Even if we go to the final… Well, you know! Have a day folks!

  • RexLibris

    I saw TGAH image and had to skip the rest of the article to go straight to the comments.

    Love that reference. Sort of a litmus test for people of a certain age range. Airwolf, Hardcastle and McCormick, Simon and Simon, the list goes on.

    Now, back to the article at hand.

  • John Chambers

    The Paul Ranger story will be an interesting one to follow when the puck drops again. That’s the type of reclamation project worth investing in, instead of say, Cameron Barker.

  • Locksmithluke

    Louongo is a perfect fit here in Edmonton.This is a team where he will not feel any pressure to be an immediate leader in the room,we are loaded with leadership types and already have an excellent evolutionary sequence happening in the leadership department-one that will not be changing via trade.
    Louongo is in the prime of his career and in an unusual twist of fate for a goaltender of his quality he is in need of a change of address.Players like him dont usually become available until they are five years older at the end of their evolution.I see an opportunity for growth for Loungo with a team like Edmonton,he makes us an immediate Playoff team when he is considered along with Dubby.

    Petry is a very good young d-man who I would let go to get Louongo,but I think a player like Whitney is a better fit for them, HE makes them a much better team overnight,Vancouver lost last year because they were lacking the ability to control their game from the back end transition wise from a hybrid set play perspective and Ryan Whitney is top three in the NHL in that department,he is elite.Imagine Whitney hitting one or another Sedin with a perfect long bomb nine times out of ten??Vancouver is designed for that ,we are evolving away from that.
    Petry has more system value to us and Whitney has more system value to Vancouver,Luongo is already recognised league wide as being out by choice in a clean break,so this is an overall proactive fit,Whitney and Khabby for for Luongo and Bieksa a fair Hockey trade.Khabby is perfect as a backup in Vancouver,its all about the Playoffs and Khabby still has enough left to be a perfect fit.

  • Locksmithluke

    I guess I may be a slight bit jaded as far as Luongo is concerned. After becoming quite interested in the ‘Nucks run last year, and watching Luongo veritably break down in front of a nations eyes… Unarguably, the man is a seasoned veteran, but I truly think he lacks the “finishing stroke” so to speak…

    • Dimitri Filipovic

      I’m not even sure where I should begin with this particular comment, but it’s the settling for believing in lazy narratives such as this one that makes it difficult to take some fans of the game seriously.

      • Locksmithluke

        I, my friend, own and operate a 24 hour locksmith company here in the city, hence my brief statement. I don’t have the time at this moment to spend the next 2 hours browsing stats to back up a very much true statement. Now spend the next hour whipping up a savy remark to that one pal… Lotsa love!

        • Dimitri Filipovic

          I’m not exactly sure how your ownership of a 24-hour locksmith company justifies you making completely irrational statements that have no basis to them, but to each his own.

          • GVBlackhawk

            Dimitri, you will have to get used to that on here. Some people just throw random statements onto cyberspace without the ability to back it up their argument with one piece of factual evidence. Just a lot of ‘saw him bad one night’ or ‘sucked in the playoffs’. You can’t take people like that seriously. Try humoring them instead.

    • GVBlackhawk

      Maybe its a coincidence but I also was and remain quite interested in the Nucks run last year.Luongo was vistimised by LAs tactical shooting program,as was EVERY goalie they faced,the Detroit series was the most classic because the goalies got better as the series went deeper but the tactical shot program still dissected them all the exact same ways.

      There was a specific{they started using it with about 25 gms to go last yr} tactical shooting program being used by LA,and it is superior.And if we still say he veritably broke down then so did every other tender LA dismantled,just for spits and giggles,go back and look at exactly how the Kings goals were scored against Vancouver–then fast forward to Detroit,same stuff man,dynamiclly speaking.Same simple hockey plays against every high end tender in the playoffs,ehhhh???Must have been the crispness of execution by LA huh??Freeze frame the goaltenders just before the puck crosses the line on EVERY LA goal in the playoffs last year,then look at where the goalies were and the positions they were frozen in,then go back to the first 58 gms of the season and pick ten games and do the same thing,freeze the tender and look at how and what he was doing ,then get back to me with your analysis—.You should see that the Kings CHANGED something with 25 gms to go last year,and they kept those changes right through the playoff and championship run.There arent that many games to review and goals to freeze frame on,and dont do what everyone else does,who cares where the shot came from??Look at the tender when you freeze frame the tapes.Fact is that the tenders are always stuck in the same bad spots but the SHOTS arent coming out of traditional set plays—ha ha ha.Easy peasy,thats why the Kings walked right to the Cup.They used an NHS inspired system–part of which is a tactical shooting program based on goaltender mechanics.

    • DSF

      Dubnyk can’t hold Schneider’s jock.


      Age 26

      07/08 .916 AHL

      08/09 .930 AHL

      09/10 .919 AHL

      10/11 .929 NHL

      11/12 .937 NHL


      Age 26

      07/08 .904 AHL

      08/09 .910 AHL

      09/10 .915 AHL

      10/11 .916 NHL

      11/12 .914 NHL

      Schneider has been a better goaltender at every level every year. It isn’t even close.

      Schneider also has 8 games of NHL playoff experience where he recorded a SV% of .940.

      There is NOTHING to suggest Dubnyk will be “better than Schneider”.


      • DSF

        The team in front of Dubby were the perenial powerhouse Falcons and the Oilers. Schneider only had the Moose and Nucks. Your comparing goalies from two vastly different organizations where there is a stark contrast in talent and compentence.

        If you want to make the arguement Schneider procurement was better therefore making him a substantially better goalie, I`ll give you that. Dubby`s spent alot of time in both Springfield and Edmonton, and we have all seen the growth in the midst of mediocrity. (thats putting it nicely) The guy has had swiss cheese for defence and put up an average or above average save percentages the last 2 years. Schneider played behind the once great Luongo with little pressure. Dubby for the last two years could not let in soft goal, or the team would loose, and he was yanked the next game.

        Its hard to compare them, I would contend that if you switched either goalie with the opposing organization that the results would be similar.

      • GVBlackhawk

        I love how you compare a guy who plays for a President’s trophy winning team (Canucks) to a team who finishes 30th and 29th in those two NHL seasons (Oilers). Even the 08/09 Moose team (when Schneider won AHL goalie-of-the-year) went to the Calder Cup finals. In comparison, Dubnyk’s Falcons had a -70 goal differential that same year and finished dead last. The Moose were +51. A 0.020 difference in SV% does not account for the massive difference in team goal differential. The following year Dubnyk had a SV% of .915 on a last place team whose goal differential was -89. Schneider’s was .919 on a team whose goal differential was -28.

        You say ‘it isn’t even close’ but the math clearly indicates that you are wrong.

        There is nothing to suggest Dubnyk will be better than Schneider, but the reverse also holds true. Your sample size of 8 playoff games is laughable when bragging about a .940 SV%. That number will surely regress to the mean, much to Canucks fans’ dismay. Additionally, Dubnyk has not had the chance to prove himself in the playoffs yet, therefore you cannot make a fair comparison.

        You have an invalid argument.

      • Quicksilver ballet

        It’s the end of the road for that Dubnyk/Schnieder arguement. Well played DSF.

        If the pucks were a different size in Vancouver i could see a reason not to deny this.

        We’re in trouble with Dubnyk in the 1 spot here.

        • DSF


          There is no evidence that he is an NHL average goaltender unless you make the sample size small enough to fit into half of last season.

          For those suggesting save percentage is a function of the team playing in front of you, produce the empirical evidence that supports this notion.

          When I say it isn’t even close, it isn’t.

          Results matter.

          Divorcing Dubnyk’s stats from the bad teams he played on doesn’t wash.

          They were bad teams for several reasons and one of them was goaltending.

          • GVBlackhawk

            “There is no evidence that he is an NHL average goaltender unless you make the sample size small enough to fit into half of last season”.

            Yet you are willing to use Schneider’s 8 game playoff sample to espouse his ability. Hypocrite.

            When you say ‘it isn’t even close, you are absolutely wrong’.

            Indeed, the ability of the team playing in front of a goalie affects his stats. You want empirical evidence? Okay, an offensive player will have poorer shot quality playing against Zdeno Chara than if the same player was on the ice against Cam Barker.

            Using your logic, Henrik Lundqvist would have won the Vezina while playing for the Oilers last year.

            And when Quicksilver Ballet is backing your argument, you know you are in trouble.

          • DSF


            I used 5 seasons worth of data to prove my point.

            Both players, at an identical age, made the leap to playing more than a handful of games last season.

            Schneider played in 33 games and had a save percentage of .937

            Dubnyk played in 47 games and had a save percentage of .914.

            Not only did Schneider blow away Dubnyk in the NHL last season, but he outperformed him at every level the previous 4 seasons.

            It isn’t even close.

            While I agree you can make an argument that GAA is a function of the team playing in front of a good/bad defensive team, there is no evidence that it has a direct correlation with save percentage.

            If such a connection exists, show it.

            Anecdotal evidence just doesn’t cut it.

            While I doubt Lundqvist would have won the Vezina playing on the Oilers, I would wager a huge amount of money that his save percentage would have been much higher than Dubnyk’s.

            And, by the way, Cam Barker had a plus/minus last season of zero.

            It appears he wasn’t the reason Dubnyk can’t stop a higher percentage of the shots he faces.

            Also worth noting that Vancouver gave up 30.8 shots/game last season.

            The Oilers gave up 30.7 shots/game.

            Unless you can prove that the Oilers give up higher quality shots than the Canucks, your logic falls flat on its face.

          • DSF

            The problem you and the other Louisiana Leg Hounds have is the Schneider’s mean is much higher than Dubnyk’s.

            Schneider’s “mean” in the AHL was .922

            His “mean” in the NHL is .933

            Dubnyk’s “mean” in the AHL was .909

            His “mean” in the NHL is .915.

            Dubnyk played on last place teams because the players, including him, were sub par.

            There is NO evidence that says otherwise.

          • GVBlackhawk

            No evidence…except for the evidence on the link that you did not read or chose to ignore.

            ‘Regression to the Mean’ does not mean what you think it does. Allow me to explain this very basic concept: Mean is based on ALL the goalies in the league, not on individual performance. The mean SV% in the NHL is about .910. Individuals are then compared to the ‘average’.

            Schneider’s SV% is unsustainable. That is a fact. Get your Canucks crying towel ready when your boy starts to crack.

          • GVBlackhawk

            Not all goalies have the same skill level. Unfortunately, there is more than skill involved in SV%. Luck, defending, player fatigue, injuries, etc all affect any goalie’s performance over the course of a season. Regression is a natural order for outlying statistics; in this case, Schneider’s SV%. For a goalie to sustain a .930+ SV% would be accomplishing something that no other goalie has done.

            What makes you think Schneider is that good?

          • DSF

            Do you actually believe that Schneider would be putting up much better numbers then Dubby if he were in an Oilers uniform…I mean if thats what you believe then so be it.

            I think this is an arguement that will be one in time.

            Disconnecting a goaltenders success from a team success seems unrational to me. Detroit has had success with goalies like Chris Osgood, Ty Conklin, Jimmy Howard. Holland knows you don`t need a top 15 goalie to be successful if the team is solid defensively in front of them. However goaltending can be the great equalizer. Dubby was nearly 500 with a slightly above average gaa. So for arguments sake in your estimation Dubby would of had to had a save percentage of 925 or higher and a 550 winning percentage the last two years to be comparable to Schneider. I think the only goalie who could probably do that would be Hasek.

          • DSF

            Let’s start from “unrational” and go from there.

            Then let’s take a look at the use of the word “of” in place of the correct “have”.

            You are correct in stating you can’t disconnect a team’s success from a goalie’s success.

            All else being equal, the team with the best goalie will win more often.

            The team with the poorer goalie will lose more often.

            You are misrepresenting what Holland believes which is he doesn’t think spending the extra dollars for an elite goaltender is worth it if his team is solid in all other areas and that is something I can agree with.

            Thing is Dubnyk’s new contract pays him almost as much as Schneider although one goaltender has been successful at all levels and the other hasn’t.

          • GVBlackhawk

            Both are overpaid, I think we can agree on that. 3 million is alot to pay for two guys who have barely 80 games between the both of them. One has barely seen the playoff and the other has never been there.

            If the Oilers were solid in every area as say the Detroit or Vancouver what do you think Dubby’s stats would look like? I think there would be an approvement upon the decent numbers he has had. Its not like Dubby sucked, his numbers have been ok. What would Schneider’s number be with a make shift defense in front of him, and a team that has the puck in its zone for more then it should. Would he be posting a .930 save percentage. Or would it be more like a .916 save percentage.

            Also if you made Schneider him play the lion share of the elite teams every night like Dubby played the last half of last season what would his numbers be. Schneider was only atarting to see the elite teams of the league. All Schneiders number show is the last two years is he is great back-up. He’ll be good in Vancouver like Howard is in Detroit, good but not elite. Devan is not elite either, the point of the article was to show that Lou may be available and I admit I got caught up with this argument. Frankly for the right price I’d love to have Lou’. I think if he saw some more rubber like in the FLorida days we would see the old Lou’ again. I’d give up Pitlik or Hamilton to get him, but not Petry.

          • Quicksilver ballet

            Let it go mathlete. The game is about what’s in the windshield, not the rear view mirror.

            We don’t think Dubnyk will get any better as this team progresses. He didn’t thrive/succeed when the shots didn’t matter over the last few yrs, how can you believe he will when they do start to matter?

            Good thing he’s only got two yrs after this season gets wiped out. How do you know he’s the real deal after whats happened here the last 3 yrs, the darkest of eras of Oilers hockey? He’s nowhere near part of the fab 5, or a sword worth falling on.

          • GVBlackhawk

            Cam Barker is a very good hockey player,and I believe we could still use him,he is huge,strong,skilled and I feel he wasnt utilised proprely when we had him here earlier.

            I dont think he was coached well for some reason,there was a communication breakdown somwhere.Him,the coaches,both,one or the other combined with circumstances?I would take Barker back in a heartbeat.And make him a winger.My sugar must be getting low again.

      • GVBlackhawk

        You would love NOTHING more than to fondle Schneider’s jock huh?
        Oh and he did NOTHING in the playoffs last season when the Kings sent him golfing!! Woooooooooo!!

        • DSF

          Yeah, all Schneider did was lead all playoff goalies with a .960 save percentage and a GAA of 1.31.

          It appears he was not the reason Vancouver lost the series.

          How did Dubnyk make out in the playoffs last season?

          Oh, wait, he was booking tee times in January.

  • KleptoKlown

    Lu to the Blackhawks sounded crazy enough, but Lu to the Oilers? Not unless the Oilers massively overpay. If Lu could make the Leafs a playoff team, he could make the Oilers a playoff threat. If the Oil wanted to cough up a prime young guy (they won’t) then there is something to talk about.

    If the Oilers were actually interested in Lu, I could see Mike Gillis using that interest to increase his asking price from other teams.

  • The Oil win this trade: Lu to Florida for SFA. Nice goalie, absolutely horrifying contract.

    Also it seems DSF is making no progress in his Cherry-Pickers Anonymous self help group. Stick with it bud, old habits are hard to break. 50% of the time it works 100% of the time.

  • While I agree that Schneider’s a better goaltender than Dubnyk, the argument that Cam Barker is even moderately competent because he managed an even plus/minus is very poor.

    (Which, coincidentally, makes it the Cam Barker of arguments.)

    • GVBlackhawk

      Schneider has achieved more success to this point, but I think some people are looking at him through rose-colored glasses (due to his unsustainable SV% and brief playoff success). It remains to be seen how he will handle the rigours of a full NHL schedule and deal with subsequent injuries and fatigue. Not to mention the shattering his psyche will endure from fan criticism when the Canucks bomb in playoffs again.

  • Spydyr

    If one thinks Dubbie is a guaranteed bonafied starter after watching his career to date.

    You must be getting a great deal on kool-aid.

    There is nothing,nothing showing he will ever be a top flight goalie.He had a few good games late in the year.When nothing was on the line.Never played an NHL playoff game.

    At the least the team should get another goalie in his age range to push him.

  • GVBlackhawk

    What do the Jets need to do to draft Fioretti, or sign him? They needs goals. Do they have to wait until the next Entry Draft or can they UFA him? The problem with longterm goalie contracts is you need a goalie who will accept his role. For players too, the Finger contract would’ve been awkward if long-term for TO. I thought Fla liked Markstrom? Luongo for Bolland seems pretty even. Happy someone broadcasting AHL games. Be nice to see the EU strength matchups.

  • GVBlackhawk

    1st overall picks have it tough. Grigorenko is on pace for 200 pts. Good on Buffalo. I figure the 2002 Olympic Team is the best cdn team ever. Thornton would be a better passer than Lindros. Lindor had good positioning but couldn’t get his stick on the puck. In retrospect, Gelinas and Whitney would’ve been way superior to Verbek and Dineen and Fleury all those yrs. Those D each got a goal. More importantly the team had disipline. Iginla could’ve crashed the crease his gold medal game but didn’t. Americans were a little old; only 10th greatest game or so. Their 2002 D looked like our 1996 injury-depleted FWs, over passing. I’d’ve pulled Holland after 1st wild throw, and I’d’ve stolen 3rd again after the RBI double. Maybe a 12 inning wild card with a injury-saving intermision? Need a 1st abnd hmoe plate and strike zone video replay. Doesn’t have to be binding but the umpire records would enure best umps. Cdns don’t get how good the CFL rules are. Need 3 downs at all levels.

  • GVBlackhawk

    I’ve noticed that USA sports are better than EU but cdn are better than American, rules-wise. I think this is because USA sports are optimized to be dummer to watch. Hockey is multi-faceted. It isn’t clear to a newcomer why Bochenski 2010 Game 7 OT giveaway was bad. For starters he had the Gravity of his teammates up at the point. Maybe his best move was a Lindros sky-flip up the ice or a hard snapshot to his teammates. I’m happy athletes are accessible for autographs and stuff.

  • GVBlackhawk

    (2011)…if you are broke you can sacrifice time for money getting an autograph. When I played MLB 2005 for Game Cube, no rocket pitchers….but also I stacked my minior teams and it didn’t hurt. The nice thing about Jr is you can make your players winners. Especially for goalies I don’t think it helps to be shelled. You don’t want to build stamina, you want to be able to deflect the puck to where your D are. I guess International Tourneys are all about injuries and picking the present best players…this is tricky as you are thinking about not pissing off players…

  • GVBlackhawk

    It doesn’t help for tickets but ideally, if you have your venues and bulk of your ticket price maxed (keep a bum and Chocolate Factory boy zone), you want to reconfigure your season as you go, matching strength on strength. Giving more pts or weighting for the later Champion’s wins. NO and SD suck but where is the Atl Houston matchup?? They are healthy now…Never got more 2010-11 Det Vancouver…Det even without Datsyuk had good set pieces on Vancouver’s fortress. Det should’ve traded with the leafs.