Three Defencemen

My personal belief is that Joni Pitkanen will not play another game in an Oilers uniform. I think Lowe looked at his core, young defencemen (Gilbert, Grebeshkov, Pitkanen), and decided that Gilbert & Grebeshkov would be on the team moving forwar, whereas Pitkanen would not. I fully expect a trade at the draft, unless they really feel like waiting to see if an RFA offer sheet comes in.

Now, I've been wrong before, but if this scenario works out as I've outlined it, I think it behooves us to take a detailed statistical look at these three 1983-born defencemen.

Even strength TOI: Pitkanen: 16.92, Gilbert: 16.44, Grebeshkov: 13.10
Even strength PTS/60: Gilbert: .98, Pitkanen: .84, Grebeshkov: .84
EV GFON/60: Pitkanen: 3.10, Grebeshkov: 2.90, Gilbert: 2.89
EV GAON/60: Grebeshkov: 2.64, Gilbert: 2.98, Pitkanen: 3.10
+/- ON/60: Grebeshkov: +.26, Pitkanen: 0, Gilbert: -.09
Quality Comp - Quality Team (Matchup): Pitkanen: .06, Gilbert: .03, Grebeshkov: -.04

To summarize, at even strength Pitkanen played the most difficult matchup, and the most ice time, and finished pretty even. Gilbert played the second most difficult matchup, with the second most minutes, and finished a bit behind, while Grebeshkov played the easiest matchup, and the fewest minutes, and had good results. Nothing to really get excited about, difference-wise between the players, but I think if I could only keep two, Gilbert would be out of town.

PP TOI/60: Pitkanen: 4.07, Gilbert: 2.19, Grebeshkov: 2.02
PP PTS/60: Gilbert: 3.01, Pitkanen: 2.11, Grebeshkov: 1.26
GF ON/60: Grebeshkov: 6.71, Gilbert: 5.36, Pitkanen: 5.15
GA ON/60: Grebeshkov: .42, Gilbert: 1.67, Pitkanen: 1.87
+/- ON/60: Grebeshkov: +6.29, Gilbert: +3.68, Pitkanen: +3.28

In summary, despite being the PP defenceman of choice, Pitkanen's offensive numbers are not good, while his +/- ratio is the worst of the three. The oddest statistic here is the differential between Grebeshkov's points production and the powerplay's performance when he's on the ice. Based on this data, Joni is not a powerplay guy, while Grebeshkov is shockingly effective and perhaps underutilized, despite poor personal point production. Advantage: Grebeshkov, Gilbert.

SH TOI/60: Gilbert: 2.40, Pitkanen: 1.93, Grebeshkov: 1.13
GF ON/60: Pitkanen: 1.48, Gilbert: 0.92, Grebeshkov: 0.75
GA ON/60: Pitkanen: 3.94, Gilbert: 4.88, Grebeshkov: 8.96
+/- ON/60: Pitkanen: -2.46, Gilbert: -3.97, Grebeshkov: -8.21

Now, if the powerplay numbers left you think Joni isn't suited to special teams play, just look at these. Despite being under-utilized, he's far and away been the most effective skater on the PK all season, adding offence without sacrificing defence. Gilbert's numbers are okay, and of Grebeshkov perhaps the less said, the better.

I think that these statistics show us that Pitkanen is the best of the three defenders in all situations, with Grebeshkov being effective on the PP and in a somewhat sheltered EV role, while Gilbert looks okay pretty much everywhere, but is the weakest of the three at even strength. Does that seem right? It does to me. Given that this is the weakest season for Pitkanen since his rookie year, I don't think placing him under Gilbert is a good decision, even in light of the fact he's likely to recieve a significantly higher return on the trade market.

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