Recently, there’s been speculation that the Oilers management might be considering signing Mike Comrie to a value contract somewhere between $1.3-$1.5 million cap hit. At this point, the potential signing rumor of Mike Comrie definitely seems to have some legs at least. What could this potential signing mean to the fate of Robert Nilsson? Given the current logjam of small, skilled, 2nd line(ish) players on the Oilers roster, signing one more could spell bad news for Nilsson. Last night, Dan Tencer on his 630 CHED radio show, asked who would you rather have on the roster, Nilsson or Comrie? To answer this question, I’ve staged a mock 4 round bout between the two ‘contenders.’
Tale of the tape:
Robert Nilsson: Age 24 yrs, 185 lbs, 5’11”
Mike Comrie: Age 29 (in a few days), 185lbs, 5’10”
Round 1 — ‘Best Career boxcar stats’
Nilsson — 71gp 10g/31a/41 pts /plus- +8 in 2007 [0.58 points/game]
Comrie — 80gp 30g/30a/60 pts /plus- +2 in 2005 [0.75 points/game]
- Comrie wins round 1 based on best season of point production–though it was back in 2005 and he’s had the benefit of a longer NHL career.
Round 2 Last Season Analysis
What do the number tell us? Well, the boxcar numbers for Comrie and Nilsson were all incredibly similar last season save for the glaring difference in plus/minus numbers which favored Nilsson. Nilsson was slightly less effective at even strength when comparing the 5v5/60 numbers, but he was also much more effective on the powerplay than Comrie (5v4/60). Comrie’s Corsi number was far lower than Nilsson’s, but he played with lower quality of linemates vs his opposition–unlike Nilsson who benefited from having weaker opposition than his linemates.
- Nilsson wins round 2 by a slim margin with his powerplay effectiveness and edge on plus/minus as well as Corsi giving him the edge.
Round 3 Future Potential
Nilsson is 5 years younger than Mike Comrie which is quite significant. Nilsson is still young and is likely still developing and improving his game while Comrie seems to be on the downward slope of his career.
- Nilsson wins round 3!
Round 4 Value/Versatility
If Mike Comrie actually does sign for around a $1.5 million cap hit, then this is where he hits Nilsson with a low blow while the ref was looking the other way. On this basis, Comrie could be priced in at a cap savings of $0.5-$0.7 million dollars relative to Nilsson. On top of that, Comrie is more versatile in that he can play either wing or center which gives the Oilers the potential of using him in a 3rd line checking center role–a hole that’s the size of the grand canyon on our roster. I could continue, but it’s already clear that Comrie wins round 4 assuming that the speculated contract amount is correct.
- Comrie wins round 4
Well, so far this leaves us with a split decision which means that we’re going into an extra round to make a decision. For the extra round, we’re going to compare the career shoot-out records of these two players.
Shootout Career record
Mike Comrie: 6 goals / 17 shots = 35.29% shooting pct
Robert Nilsson: 7 goals / 14 shots = 50% shooting pct
Robert Nilsson wins this bout and here he is celebrating the victory:
Obviously, I’ve only done this as more of a fun comparison with the mock 5 round fight between these two players. To be a successful team in the NHL, it’s clearly competitive and you have to make sound roster decisions that make sense. Does signing Comrie make sense? Well, that really depends… On the one hand, any time there’s any opportunity to get a value contract, you have to take notice. Comrie at $1.5 ish would be considered by many including myself to be a value contract for a legit NHLer. Yet on the other hand, Comrie being a small, skilled player doesn’t really fit any of our particular roster needs. If we were to sign Comrie, we can only hope that some other roster change would ensue to relieve our log jam of small skilled players. In truth, I would prefer that Tambellini address our need for a gritty checking 3rd line center who can win faceoffs.