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Luke Gazdic - 240 lb Anchor

If the Oilers ever want to ice a winning team, Luke Gazdic needs to go.

At least he can punch, I guess.
At least he can punch, I guess.
Derek Leung

When we last checked in on our intrepid heroes, the forwards were being held captive in their own end for days at a time, Mounties were being summoned to negotiate their release, and Rexall Place was cordoned off for public safety reasons. I noted that the worst of the worst came from the bottom of the lineup:

Everything left of Arcobello has been a giant disaster, meaning anyone Eakins has tried on the bottom two lines has been in the league-worst realm.

At the time, Luke Gazdic was the 3rd-worst forward in the league in zonestart-adjusted Corsi, in front of only Frazer McLaren and Brian McGrattan. Since then, Gazdic has fallen into second-to-last, and is drawing closer to McGrattan.

The Luke Gazdic experiment has been an unmitigated disaster.

Below is a table that shows the 2013-14 Luke Gazdic on-ice shot attempts with and without Gazdic. The list includes all skaters who have been on the ice with Gazdic for more than 15 minutes at even strength. All numbers via Hockey Analysis.

Player Combined TOI W/ Gazdic Corsi/60 W/O Gazdic Corsi/60 Diff
Andrew Ference 100.77 -25.62 -12.78 12.84
Will Acton 95.72 -18.81 -24.99 -6.18
Nick Schultz 88.38 -27.84 -17.28 10.56
Justin Schultz 83.53 -26.58 -13.71 12.87
Jesse Joensuu 78.73 -22.11 -11.04 11.07
Jeff Petry 77.83 -10.05 -4.83 5.22
Anton Belov 73.82 -25.2 -5.76 19.44
Ryan Jones 72.93 -27.96 -13.89 14.07
Anton Lander 54.72 -19.74 -16.77 2.97
Ryan Smyth 50.83 -11.82 -4.02 7.8
Mark Arcobello 37.95 -49.02 0 49.02
Ben Eager 35.68 -3.36 -28.74 -25.38
Mike Brown 35.10 -29.04 -7.44 21.6
Martin Marincin 31.83 -5.67 0.45 6.12
Corey Potter 28.92 -49.8 -16.53 33.27
Ladislav Smid 26.07 -23.01 -17.73 5.28
Nail Yakupov 24.17 -17.37 -10.38 6.99
Philip Larsen 21.82 -19.26 -11.52 7.74
Sam Gagner 16.88 -42.66 -12.69 29.97

All but two Oilers are better, and significantly so, without Gazdic. He's a huge possession sink. Will Acton has an excuse - almost all of his non-Gazdic minutes were played with Mike Brown, the worst forward in the league by zonestart-adjusted Corsi (worse than Brian McGrattan) during his time in Edmonton, before the possession machine in San Jose lifted him from the dregs.

The Oilers are -510 on the even strength shot attempts clock in 2013-14. With Luke Gazdic on the ice, they're -107. Gazdic has played just 10% of the Oilers total even strength minutes thus far, but that time accounts for 21% of the Oilers' shot attempts deficit.

Management, writers and fans like to talk about deterrence, toughness, and grit but can't seem to answer the question: how effective are these things when it never leaves the defensive zone?