Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Underperforming - Jarret Stoll


Before the 2006 playoffs began, and before everyone had counted out the Edmonton Oilers in their series vs the Detroit Red Wings, I entered a playoff pool. Against all conventional logic I picked 3 Edmonton Oilers, starting with Chris Pronger, but ending in Jarret Stoll. He was coming off a 22 goal 68 point season, but most of all I felt that Jarrett Stoll was a true hard nose player who would thrive in tough situations. I believed the playoffs would be Jarret Stoll's time to shine. He scored a couple of game winning goals including a beauty double OT winner versus Detroit. I feel he proved me right.

His strong play continued into last season. In 51 games he had 13 goals, 26 assists and by all accounts he was really starting to play well. Desjardin's on ice/off ice +/- (click here for the explanation of on ice off ice +/- ratings) had Stoll +/- rating of +.94 which was good enough for 100th in the NHL and 3rd on the Oilers (behind Tjarnqvist and Smyth) until he was concussed a couple times in a couple games and Stoll's season was prematurely ended. His quality of opponent (QOO) was +0.07.

I thought Stoll looked good in his pre-season matchup against the Flames at the Saddledome, but he just hasn't been the same player this season.

He is currently a -9 (excluding tonight's matchup) and he had 1 goal until his 2 goal effort in Minnesota the other night. Including the goals against Minnesota, Stoll is not even on pace to ice his shortened goal output of last year. But it's not just about the goals Jarret Stoll is not scoring. His defensive presence, originally the strongest part of his game, has disappeared.

Desjardins has his current on ice/off ice +/- rating at -2.09 (QOO -0.04) which is good enough for 22nd on the team. 22nd! Not only is his on ice/off ice much worse than last season, he's playing against lesser opponents.

There's little doubt that Stoll's concussion has at least some part in his severe drop off in play. Whether he is still experiencing minor symptoms (doubtful) or has lost his confidence (maybe) or just lost his timing (likely).

If it's post concussion symptoms then the Oilers and Stoll are flat out screwed.

If it's a confidence issue, then I can't imagine there is better medicine than his inspired (if not flukey) effort versus Minnesota.

If it's timing, then patience is the key. I have no reason to think that given time Stoll won't get it back. Right now that appears that it is coming along. His play is starting to normalize, and as of this instant, his checking line (including Torres and Stortini???) has kept the Sedins off the scoreboard.

I think the fact MacTavish has blatantly simplified Stoll's game could be helpful. I like David Staples assertion that "He needs to walk before he can run, hit again before he can truly dangle. He needs to get his confidence back by doing a simple task that he is capable of doing -- checking. Otherwise, he hurts his team."

I personally believe Stoll will find his game, but the Oilers, and especially fans, need to be patient with him. After all, I don't think they've got much to lose, he certainly can't play much worse.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

My sentiments too. It will take some more time and he's coming along. Of course I wished he picked up where he left off because he was looking amazing, but I'm not disappointed in him. He's working and trying hard, contributing.
I was about to go on a rant about headshots and reckless plays but I'll leave it at that.

Anonymous said...

My sentiments too. It will take some more time and he's coming along. Of course I wished he picked up where he left off because he was looking amazing, but I'm not disappointed in him. He's working and trying hard, contributing.
I was about to go on a rant about headshots and reckless plays but I'll leave it at that.

therealdeal said...

I was about to go on a rant about headshots and reckless plays but I'll leave it at that.

You could also go on a rant about the Oilers bringing him back too soon the first time last spring.