a·cu·men [ak-yuh-muhn] noun: keen insight; shrewdness

Welcome to Oil Acumen. All Oilers, all the time... Occasionally other stuff.

Thursday, 31 May 2012

05/31/12 Ladislav Smid: A Development Tale

Before the 2011-12 season, Ladislav Smid was a second-pairing defenseman at best, and at 331 games played it looked like that was all he'd ever be. There was talk of him being traded at the 2011 deadline. Then, suddenly, the lightbulb came on and now he's a major part of the future. This is a look at how Smid got here.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

05/29/12 Dear Free Agents: Edmonton Is Awesome

It's nearly time for the silly season of free agency again, when NHL general managers will open their owners' wallets and spread money around like confetti. Inevitably, free agents will receive and reject offers from the Oilers. This message is to them, and to people who feel down on the City of Edmonton because some players don't sign here.

Monday, 28 May 2012

05/28/12 Swapping Picks

Back in 2002, the Florida Panthers traded down from number one to number three and got the defenseman they wanted in Jay Bouwmeester. In exchange, they received the option to swap first round picks with Columbus in 2003. Could the Oilers do something similar?

Sunday, 27 May 2012

05/27/12 Can Jordan Eberle Repeat His Performance?

Jordan Eberle had the best season of any Oilers player in a long time. He's certainly got the skill, but can he continue to be as good as he was in 2011-12?

Saturday, 26 May 2012

05/25/12 Top UFAs By Category

Jason Garrison here is leading all UFA defensemen in one very important category: goals. With 16, he's well ahead of the rest of the pack. After the jump, a list of some other UFAs who are leading in other categories.

Friday, 25 May 2012

05/25/12 Hemsky's Age and Drafting Yakupov

With Eberle and Hemsky in the fold, everything looks peachy-keen at right wing for the Oilers. Hemsky has been around so long it's easy to take him for granted and hard to remember that he was drafted eleven long years and several surguries ago.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

05/23/12 Khabibulin Is Above Average For His Age

The problem? Above average for a 36 to 39 year old still isn't good enough to compete in today's NHL.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

05/22/12 The Case for Dennis Wideman

After playing for three teams in as many years since 2009-10, Dennis Wideman is probably looking to settle down somewhere. If he decides to leave Washington, might he be interested in Edmonton? Would the Oilers be interested in him?

Monday, 21 May 2012

05/21/12 Developing Defense and the Oilers

It's pretty clear that the biggest weakness with the Oilers is the defense, and the prevailing belief is that their prospects are too far away to impact the rebuild in the near future. But that stance could be overlooking some obvious home-grown talents on the back end.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

05/17/12 What Sutter Could Mean for the Oilers

With Tom Renney officially out as the head coach of the Oilers, speculation has picked up surrounding Brent Sutter. Would he be an upgrade?

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

05/14/12 Why Both Special Teams Improved and the Overall Record Didn't

The Oilers' powerplay finished ahead of 13 playoff teams, and their penalty kill was better than that of 7 teams in the playoffs. How the heck did the Oilers finish 29th?

Monday, 14 May 2012

05/13/12 Ryan Murray vs. Jay Bouwmeester

What if the Oilers draft Ryan Murray and he turns into Jay Bouwmeester? Would fans be happy with that choice? Picking Bouwmeester in 2002 meant the Florida Panthers had to pass on Rick Nash, and something similar would happen with Edmonton and Yakupov. Good move?

Saturday, 12 May 2012

05/12/12 Ryan Murray vs. Cam Barker

With all the hubbub around Kevin Lowe's comments about Ryan Murray being a (the?) top player, Oilers fans are left wondering if their team will be taking the young defenseman first overall. If so, what are the odds that he'll be a flop like Cam Barker? Let's take a look at both of their Junior careers in the WHL and try to determine the better player, at least before the NHL.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

05/10/12 Why The Penalty Kill Improved

 The Oilers' penalty kill was 29th in the NHL in 2010-11 with just 77% effectiveness. Only Colorado was worse. Then, suddenly, the PK jumped to 14th in 2011-12 and spent a significant part of the season in the top ten. How did this happen?

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

05/09/12 Returning to the 2003 Draft

The 2003 NHL Draft was not kind to the Oilers. Players from the class are now helping their teams to advance through the playoffs, while the Oilers are still mired in a rebuild. More than any other draft, this one hurt.

Monday, 7 May 2012

05/08/12 Odds & Ends: Ovi and The Pick, 8th Seeds, Rising Save Percentage

Back in 2007-08 when Alexander Ovechkin scored 65 goals for the Caps there would have been absolutely no question about what the Oilers should do with the first overall pick.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

05/05/12 Cam Barker Then and Now

A lot can change after draft day. Normally when you're picking in the top three it's a safe bet that you're getting one of the best players available in a given year, but that's not always the case. As Jonathan Willis said at the Cult of Hockey, once we have more data on a player than his Junior performance, it's important to listen to that data. But there were warning signs with Cam Barker even in his draft year.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

05/03/12 Why The Powerplay Improved

One year after finishing 27th on the powerplay with just 14.5% efficiency, the Oilers jumped all the way to 3rd in the NHL with the extra man. So how did this happen? What players were added to the powerplay who weren't there before, and how were they used?

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

05/02/12 Rookie Report Card: Corey Potter

Being 27 years old at the start of the 2011-12 season meant that Corey Potter could not be considered a rookie, as the age cutoff is 26. However, he brought only nine games of NHL experience with him to the Oilers, which made this his first full year in the league. His season had a little bit of everything: a surprise spot in the lineup, an unexpectedly strong start, an injury and a tailing off. Based on the whole picture, he earned himself a C+.