I have attracted heat in some quarters for my perceived cynicism and negativity regarding the Edmonton Oilers. This perception is probably because I actually am extremely cynical and pessimistic, and even when Steve Tambellini pulls off a smart move I am left with the lingering suspicion that he is taking belated action that will just make it easier for him to screw us up next time. Bluntly, I'm not sure he understands that the team which scores the most goals, not the team which is tallest, wins the hockey game.
At 6'4", Jean-Francois Jacques is very tall. He is also an extremely bad hockey player - probably one of the worst regular NHL forwards of all time. Through his first sixty-three NHL games in parts of four injury-prone seasons, he recorded one solitary point and was -17. Last year he had eleven points, was -15, and at age twenty-four had by far his best ever NHL campaign. His career NHL points-per-game of 0.11 is worse than the Oiler totals of such offensive dynamos as Dan LaCouture, Brad Winchester, Mike Bishai, Louie Debrusk, and yes, even Jason Bonsignore. His career best of 0.22 is still worse than the Oiler totals of renowned superstars Georges Laraque, Toby Petersen, Jiri Dopita, and Kelly Buchberger. The only Edmonton forward to play more than a full NHL season and have fewer points per game than Jacques has in his career was renowned enforcer/cinder block Dave Brown, who is 0.003 points per game in arrears of the Crazy Train. Over a full eighty-two game season, that averages out to almost a quarter of a point. Jean-Francois Jacques is terrible.
Jean-Francois Jacques is -32 in his career. This is the tenth-worst total of all time among Edmonton forwards to have played more than eighty-two games with the Oilers. Every player ahead of him on the list, except Patrick O'Sullivan, played more games than Jacques. Every single player ahead of him had both more points and more points-per-game than Jacques. Jacques and O'Sullivan are the only two not to play multiple seasons for the Oilers in the mid-1990s, which was a pretty much automatic path to a sure big minus. Only O'Sullivan, David Oliver, and Shayne Corson played less than twice as many games as Jacques. And not one of those players - not one! - got as little ice time as Jacques did to commit this atrocity against ice hockey. Jean-Francois Jacques is terrible.
Per OilersNation's Jason Gregor, Jean-Francois Jacques is also $615,000 richer, having signed a one-year extension with the Oilers today and capgeek reports that it's a one-way deal. There's no plausible excuse to bring back a plug like Jacques who is twenty-five, injury-prone, and such a disaster as a hockey player that the historic levels of his awfulness genuinely beggar belief. Jean-Francois Jacques is terrible. He is worse than terrible. He is not a good player, he is not a good goon. $615,000 is cheap for an NHL player but Jean-Francois Jacques is not an NHL player. $615 would be bad value for Jean-Francois Jacques. If he were to develop into even a mediocre player - if he were to round into a poor man's Zack Stortini who could play against the worst opposition and not humiliate himself - it would constitute an unprecedented career turn-around for an oft-injured forward with 255 professional games under his belt.
This post will necessarily be short, for there is very little to say. Last year's version of the Edmonton Oilers was the worst of all time, and Steve Tambellini has willingly chosen to retain some of the worst parts of it. Anything short of pessimism and cynicism would be naivete. Jean-Francois Jacques is terrible. And he is an Oiler. How can his team not be terrible as well?