While taking a management class in University I actually came across a useful piece of information (if you've ever taken one you'll understand how amazing this is). I had a prof once say to me "people are often promoted to their highest level of incompetence" and that statement has stuck with me. Its shockingly true, organizations see someone doing good work at their position so they promote them into the next opening. There is little to no thought put in to whether they would be good at this new job, just that they were good at their last one. This continues to happen until they stop performing well, and then they are stuck in this position. So now you have someone doing a job they are not very good at and their stuck there.

So I plead discretion to not only Oiler fans, but the team itself. There looks to be a high risk of this happening to this team next year, and there is evidence that it happened this year as well. Look at a guy like Dustin Penner who had a great rookie year in Anaheim. He scored 28 goals playing with Getzlaf and Perry so the Oilers paid him big bucks to do more. Except he was no longer playing soft 2nd line minutes, he was playing on the top line against the other teams top checkers. Not only that but he is now playing with Hemsky and Horcoff who rely on speed, which exposed Penner's footspeed.

I will admit that Penner has surpassed most expectations placed upon him and has had a nice second half to the season but I could only imagine what he could have done if the Oilers played him in the role he had previously succeeded in. His struggle is no more obvious than his horrible EV production (EV/60 1.33)

So now I look to next years team and can foresee some problems there. There are young players on this team who are going to have increased expectations on them, whether desereved or not.

Nilsson/Gagner/Cogliano - three players who had outstanding breakout seasons. I can see MacTavish leaning on them more heavily, especially if the top line struggles. These kids did well but did it primarily against soft comp. Playing them against top defensive players could shatter their confidence.

Glencross/Brodziak - two guys who did insanely better than anyone could have imagined. Glencross for a UFA Tarnstrom and Brodziak with their 7th rounder in '03, these guys have overachieved already. Both showed offensive skill this season but lets not kid ourselves, they did it against the other teams worst players.

Gilbert/Grebeshkov - probably the most amazing surprises of the season, specifically Grebeshkov. These players will be relied upon to play top 4 minutes and maybe even top 2 minutes next season. Though they have been successful in this role at times both had terrible stretches. Gilbert showed signs of wearing out for a large stretch towards the end of the season and Grebeskov had a tumultuous first 2/3 of a season. These guys are probably a safer bet to cover their increased roles than the others.

I"m not saying players need to be babied along, I just want people to use some discretion before assuming great things and an immediate payoff from these players. It will be interesting to see who is given the opportunity and who succeeds in this opportunity. Any thoughts?


Jonathan said...

Kyle Brodziak wasn't just a 7th round pick, he was an overage 7th round pick, being passed over once in the entry draft. With any luck he'll have a Bob Bassen-type career, but I think another full season on the 4th line is in order before we start projecting him up the lineup.

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