Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Visnovsky is What Souray Was Supposed to Be

And that is not a compliment. #71 sure seems to be at home on the PP, and he has done a great job of reading Hemsky for onetimers. However his even strength play has been less than stellar and his lack of size scares the hell out of me on the penalty kill and down low at even strength.

I believe that he is a superb PP addition, however I feel that he needs to do a better job of getting Souray more shots (instead of always looking for his own first) by drawing attention off of Souray by skating the puck around and then setting him up for his blast. Visnovsky has a very good shot of his own, but he misses the net too often and unlike Souray, he probably needs a screen to get his shot into the back of the net.

Unlike Souray, Visnovsky hasn't added much offense at even strength. Souray has been solid at even strength with 3 ES points in 10 games while Visnovsky has just 1 in 11 games.

Visnovsky would greatly benefit from having Dustin Penner screening the goaltender on the PP. Visnovsky would ideally be a 2nd pairing defenseman with lots of PP time and minimal PK time. However the Oilers seem to feel that he is a top pairing d-man and his icetime shows it. Prior to the game against Philadelphia Visnovsky led the Oilers in ES and PP TOI/G as well as overall ice time/game. He has also been sheltered from the PK and only Ladislav Smid has less SH TOI/G.

Let's look at the ES, PP, and Total TOI leaders on the Oilers defense

Total Time On Ice/Game
Visnovsky 25:09
Souray 24:08
Gilbert 21:06
Grebeshkov 19:40
Staios 18:46
Smid 14:19
Strudwick 13:35

Even Strength Time On Ice/Game
Visnovsky 19:23
Souray 16:44
Gilbert 16:09
Grebeshkov 15:10
Staios 14:33
Smid 13:34
Strudwick 11:18

Power Play Time On Ice
Visnovsky 4:30
Souray 3:56
Gilbert 2:13
Grebeshkov 2:11
The rest are minuscule at best

Short Handed Time On Ice/Game
Staios 4:04
Souray 3:27
Gilbert 2:42
Grebeshkov 2:18
Strudwick 2:16
Visnovsky 1:15
Smid 0:50

It is my opinion that the Oilers should cut down Visnovsky's even strength time on ice and pair Souray with Staios or Gilbert on some key defensive zone draws as well as giving players like Smid and Strudwick more time on the penalty kill to keep Visnovsky from getting victimized there despite the fact that they play on the opposite d position.

For a smallish player his speed doesn't seem good enough to pull away from forecheckers and he often times gets himself into a pickle by not moving the puck fast enough and multiple players converge on him forcing him into a bad pass or taking the puck away from him. Perhaps a more specialized role would allow him to be better utilized and keep his flaws under wraps.

Don't get me wrong, I like Visnovsky, however I see a lot of warts in his play. Perhaps a change in defensive pairings could do some good for the team. My suggestions would be...



PunjabiOil said...

Hey just wanted to say nice blog and great thoughts

Much easier to read as opposed to your ''ranting'' style posts on HF ;)

Bryanbryoil said...

Thanks man, I'm trying to leave that for the board, and for the most part put that part behind me (to a point).

However if I feel that something needs to be said, people that know me know that it will be said ;)

doritogrande said...

I don't really have the necesary confidance to elevate either of Gilbert or Grebeshkov's ice time yet, nor does it seem that MacT has seen much that he likes either. If he had, then Visnovsky's minutes would likely have been scaled back. The thing is though, he hasn't been victimized at even strength. He's not outperforming either mind you, but he's holding evens playing seemingly the toughest opposition most times. I don't think we can expect much better from him, but why should we? He's come in and solidified out defense.

The real problem with this year's edition of the blueline is that the guys who were supposed to be taking a step forward (G&G) haven't done so yet, at least to my eye.

Bryanbryoil said...

doritogrande: Perhaps splitting up the G and G combo would be what's best for the team. IMO Lubo's lack of size and the fact that he almost always gets caught when he tries to rush the puck will catch up to us sooner or later regardless of what the stats sheet might say.