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

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Monday, 4 March 2013

03/04/13 Oilers Make Season-Saving Trade For Mike Brown

Not wanting to be outdone by the bold actions of Jay Feaster to the south, Steve Tambellini pulled off a trade for the perfect asset. Mike Brown is gritty as anything.

What's the solution for a team that has given up 113 more shots than it has taken? It's Mike Brown.

Some will try to tell you that Mike Brown is terrible in so-called "possession metrics," meaning that he won't help the Oilers where they need it most: in their abysmal shots for/against ratio. What those people don't understand is that the reason the Oilers are getting outshot is because the young players are afraid of the other team. With a cop on the beat, the shots will pour on.

Fortunately, the Oilers are now faced with a roster decision once Mark Fistric is taken off of injured reserve. Now the team can be rid of that rotten Magnus Paajarvi and send him back to the AHL where he belongs. When you want to win hockey games and you have a choice between two players with moderate offensive finish, you always pick the fighter because fighting wins games more than zone time.

Brown is a massive upgrade over Paajarvi at even strength, as the young Swede is starting his shifts in the offensive zone 51.6% of the time and finishing there 58.7% of the time; while Brown has started in the offensive zone 61.9% of the time and finished there 40.8% of the time. The best way to get into a fight is to find your way to the defensive zone, where you'll be frustrated enough to punch something. That's an element that Paajarvi just doesn't bring.

Perhaps the most brilliant part of Monday's trade is that the fourth round pick the Oilers traded to Toronto becomes a third rounder if the Oilers make the playoffs. Steve Tambellini correctly identified Brown as the missing piece that will push Edmonton into the post season. If the Oilers make the dance, it won't be because of some increased puck luck or consistency from the top six forwards, it will be because of the Mike Brown trade. That's why it makes perfect sense for the playoffs to be a condition in this trade. Moreover, Mike Brown will have at least as much of an impact as Mark Fistric, so a third round pick is a bargain.

Brown is also a penalty killer, racking up a whopping 37 seconds per game on the PK last year and an additional second per game this season. That's much better than Darcy Hordichuk, who didn't spend any time killing penalties last year. But even beyond that, it doesn't matter what Brown does with his ice time, only that he gets twice as much of it as Hordichuk.

Finally, Steve Tambellini can relax and watch all the pieces fall into place.

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