Jason Strudwick's On-Ice Impact On His Teammates

Illustration by Gustave Doré. via upload.wikimedia.org

 

Day after day, day after day,
We stuck, nor breath nor motion;
As idle as a painted ship
Upon a painted ocean.

--Samuel Taylor Coleridge:  "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner", Part The Second

The Copper & Blue has done some writing about Jason Strudwick in the very recent past.  You might remember Jason Strudwick from such titles as "Strudwick Struggles To Shoot The Puck" and "Jason Strudwick, The Least-Shootinest Gun In the West. And NHL. Since 1998." He won the inaugural Golden Rooster award, sharing a piece of the title with Jeff Deslauriers, and only because Deslauriers made a late backside-shoving run at the title who, despite his best effort, couldn't wrest it from Strudwick's death grip.

He also starred in the epic saga, "The Shift", which shouldn't need further description, but here's a hint: it was the longest shift in modern NHL history, a shift in which Strudwick posted a -11 Corsi rating.  That's right, a -11 Corsi in a single shift.  The only Canadians that have seen action during worse shelling took Juno Beach in 1944.  

WOWY Analysis (With Or Without You, an obvious homage to U2, because it should be "With And Without You", but I digress) is not new.  The concept is simple:  compare player performance with and without certain teammates while on the ice.  Some excellent work in this vein includes Tyler's Ovechkin WOWYLighthouse Hockey's WOWY on the new Jere Lehtinen, future Selke winner Frans Nielsen, and Scott's Hemsky WOWY.

The Strudwick WOWY is simple, using Vic Ferrari's excellent scripts I ran the 2009-2010 shots data for each Oilers forward with and without Strudwick.  The results are in the table below:

Player Goals Saved Shots Shots% Missed Shots Fenwick% EDM Shots that were Blocked Corsi% EVsv% EVsh%
w/ Horcoff 6 10 76 119 0.389 30 50 0.385 45 70 0.387 0.922 7.30%
Horcoff Apart 24 43 364 381 0.478 162 230 0.457 190 190 0.467 0.899 6.20%
                           
w/ Nilsson 6 9 73 100 0.42 26 50 0.398 31 46 0.399 0.917 7.60%
Nilsson Apart 18 29 256 238 0.506 114 121 0.5 111 129 0.491 0.891 6.60%














w/ Cogliano 12 12 131 181 0.426 43 66 0.418 56 93 0.407 0.938 8.40%
Coligano Apart 31 33 317 355 0.473 137 163 0.468 176 164 0.48 0.915 8.90%














w/ Potulny 5 14 98 122 0.431 26 65 0.391 26 64 0.369 0.897 4.90%
Potulny Apart 18 29 243 248 0.485 103 100 0.491 123 153 0.479 0.895 6.90%














W/ Moreau 8 8 97 148 0.402 29 56 0.387 38 76 0.374 0.949 7.60%
Moreau Apart 15 30 266 363 0.417 106 159 0.412 148 179 0.423 0.924 5.30%














w/ O'Sullivan 7 10 89 112 0.44 43 62 0.43 34 61 0.414 0.918 7.30%
O'Sullivan 21 46 326 385 0.446 143 156 0.455 139 196 0.445 0.893 6.10%














W/ Jacques 2 8 32 48 0.378 19 25 0.396 19 39 0.375 0.857 5.90%
Jacques Apart 16 21 138 205 0.405 73 96 0.413 78 111 0.413 0.907 10.40%














w/ Penner 12 17 100 124 0.443 47 66 0.434 44 68 0.425 0.879 10.70%
Penner Apart 44 31 411 355 0.541 182 176 0.531 193 197 0.522 0.92 9.70%














w/ Stone 3 3 13 15 0.471 7 5 0.5 13 9 0.529 0.833 18.80%
Stone Apart 13 11 105 93 0.532 57 49 0.534 54 51 0.529 0.894 11.00%














w/ Pisani 7 7 39 86 0.331 13 33 0.319 19 42 0.317 0.925 15.20%
Pisani Apart 6 19 144 160 0.456 60 100 0.429 82 89 0.442 0.894 4.00%














w/ Stortini 6 7 71 117 0.383 31 55 0.376 32 62 0.367 0.944 7.80%
Stortini Apart 21 16 182 238 0.444 80 91 0.451 89 127 0.441 0.937 10.30%














w/ Brule 8 15 87 101 0.45 35 50 0.439 33 51 0.429 0.871 8.40%
Brule Apart 30 28 263 265 0.5 106 137 0.481 120 132 0.48 0.904 10.20%














w/ Pouliot 7 4 57 81 0.43 20 39 0.404 16 39 0.38 0.953 10.90%
Pouliot Apart 8 11 114 124 0.475 47 57 0.468 48 60 0.463 0.919 6.60%














w/ Hemsky 1 3 15 29 0.333 10 14 0.361 17 19 0.398 0.906 6.30%
Hemsky Apart 15 5 112 105 0.536 42 35 0.538 56 53 0.532 0.955 11.80%














w/ Gagner 12 11 88 90 0.498 39 59 0.465 36 53 0.451 0.891 12.00%
Gagner Apart 24 29 341 313 0.516 139 145 0.509 151 179 0.496 0.915 6.60%














w/ Comrie 7 5 59 64 0.489 21 38 0.448 20 36 0.428 0.928 10.60%
Comrie Apart 10 15 153 153 0.492 57 69 0.481 64 99 0.458 0.911 6.10%

 

Every regular forward employed by the Edmonton Oilers was worse with Strudwick.  Significantly worse.  Every. Single. Forward.  Strudwick's on-ice presence even made J.F. Jacques worse, a remarkable feat considering Jacques' effect on the rest of the roster.  Strudwick's presence was especially difficult on Andrew Cogliano, Robert Nilsson, Ryan Potulny, and Shawn Horcoff as their shots numbers plummeted with Strudwick.  He even managed to drag Dustin Penner and Ales Hemsky down with him.

Ah! well a-day! what evil looks
Had I from old and young!
Instead of the cross, the Albatross
About my neck was hung.

--Samuel Taylor Coleridge:  "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner", Part The Second

And despite all of this, Steve Tambellini locked up Strudwick for yet another year, not only handing him a one-way contract, but a $25,000 raise to boot.  Tambellini, Renney, Strudwick and Oiler fans should begin trotting out the lucky charms now, because if Strudwick plays another seventy games this season, it's going to be a tough year.  It means that Tambellini didn't find a better option for the seventh defenseman, it means that Renney was stuck with a rookie and Strudwick in the top seven, it means that Strudwick has a very good chance to retire as the worst regular defenseman since expansion and it means that Oiler fans will have to endure another long season of basement-level play.

The people in his corner point to his presence not on the ice, but in the room, as the reason that he was a necessary signing.  He's a great locker room guy, a great practice guy, he sticks up for his teammates and will do whatever his coach asks of him, including play forward.  Any cohesive team certainly needs those guys around, but not at this price.  Lowetide thinks (hopes?) that Strudwick is going to retire at the end of training camp.  I do hope that this is the case, as it would be a merciful end for all parties involved.  Allow him to retire rather than suffer the indignity of another season, offer him an assistant or associate job and allow him to have an impact on the team from the office, rather than on the ice.

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