Steve MacIntyre isn't even a passable hockey player at the NHL level. Derek showed it yesterday when he looked at MacIntyre's scoring chance record, and Bruce showed it today when he looked at... well... everything that hockey players are supposed to do. But none of that shows that MacIntyre shouldn't be on the roster since Steve MacIntyre's job is not playing hockey. Steve MacIntyre's job is to hurt people and to discourage others from playing a physical game with the Oilers' young stars. The problem is, he sucks at that too.
Bruce did more than touch on this in his own article, but to me, it's the big takeaway from two seasons of Steve MacIntyre. Jordan Eberle was injured when he was taken hard into the boards; Taylor Hall was hurt because he felt the need to stand up for himself in a fight; Shawn Horcoff ended up on injured reserve after getting hit knee-on-knee; Ladislav Smid was put on the shelf because of a sucker-punch.
Steve MacIntyre, meanwhile, ended up playing thirty-six games, registering seven fights and exactly one instigator penalty when he put a beating on Brad Staubitz. It's a truly deplorable showing. Bruce will be quick to point out (he actually already did!) that Cal Clutterbuck took a boarding penalty later that period, but as far as I'm concerned, that was the one night that Steve MacIntyre did his job.
The Oilers were (and are) interested in development and keeping their young stars from getting beat up - not so much interested in winning. Employing an enforcer in this situation is perhaps defensible, but only if he's in the lineup every night (that he's not suspended) and actually enforces. Steve MacIntyre needs an instigator penalty every third game at least. He needs to lay beatings on people. If Drew Doughty lays out Taylor Hall, it's not Dustin Penner's job to get involved; it's Steve MacIntyre's job to jump the guy - star status be damned - the next time he's on the ice. If Taylor Hall is worried about Derek Dorsett, it's not his job to fight him; it's Steve MacIntyre's job to beat the piss out of him at his next opportunity. If Shawn Horcoff takes a knee from Corey Perry, it's not Horcoff's job to talk about it being accidental; it's Steve MacIntyre's job to claim a scalp.
Look, I agree with Bruce that the game would be better without the goons, but we all know that Steve MacIntyre is going to be back next season, and if the Oilers are going to employ a goon, they'd best make sure that he's going to goon it up! If you want to talk about intimidating people so that they stop taking liberties, then do it! Because of the suspension rules (three instigators earns an automatic two-game suspension, a fourth a four-game suspension, a fifth a six-game suspension and so on) they'll need to go out and get three or four MacIntyres and make sure each one has an instigator to games played ratio of 1:3. Leave the teams that play nice alone, and hit the ones that don't hard. If you're going to do it, then do it.
Projection: The Oilers only half-do-it. Steve MacIntyre is re-signed, dresses for about half the games, sucks at hockey, and ends the year with two or fewer instigator penalties.