Taylor Chorney: Bad Player or Bad Teams?

Taylor Chorney is returning to the Oilers because injuries to more than half of the NHL Regulars, so it seemed a perfect time to take a look at a defenseman who can be read one of two ways:

  • he's a poor player who doesn't have the size and grit to play at the AHL level, as shown by his at atrocious +/- over his AHL career,


  • he's a reasonable player who isn't going to win you any games but can play a balanced game and potentially help to put up some points

I decided to crunch some of Taylor Chorney's numbers.  Here's what I've found, and the conclusions I've drawn from some of the numbers:

Springfield Falcons 68 PG -29 (TEAM 80GP -285)
Edmonton Oilers 2 GP -4 (TEAM 82 GP +/- 0)
Conclusion - Marginal AHLer, not NHLer

Springfield Falcons 32 GP -20 (TEAM 80GP -337)
Edmonton Oilers 42 GP -21 (TEAM 82 GP -291)
Conclusion - Better AHLer, bad NHLer - fits right in on this Oilers squad

Oklahoma City Barons 46 GP -1 (TEAM 80GP +23)
Edmonton Oilers 12 GP -5 (TEAM 82GP -212)
Conclusion: Decent AHLer, Still not a good NHLer

St. Louis Blues 2 GP 0 (TEAM +6 OVER 2 GAMES)
Oklahoma City Barons 4 GP -1 (TEAM WAS EVEN IN 2W 2L - 4 GAMES CHORNEY WAS IN)
Conclusion: Respectable AHL and NHL numbers - may be option at either level - small sample sizes may affect numbers

It's easy to see the black hole of teams he's played on - a big part of his numbers are the team as a whole, and shouldn't be blamed on him alone.  There's also a trend that as his team improves, so does his  +/- over the last 4 seasons.  Hard to say whether that's because he's better, or his team is, but it is worth noting that there is progress on both sides, and there is likely some kind of relationship there.

It's clear he's not going to save an NHL team, but he's a reasonable option for 6/7 D-man.  The Oilers as a team are a collective -29 through 18 games this year.  Calling Chorney up to play for the big club shouldn't hurt the team any more than they already hurt themselves.  He's been getting better, and might be able to hold his own in the NHL very soon.

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