Patrik Berglund vs. T.J. Oshie

steve laidlaw

2011-12-14

OSHIE

 

The St. Louis Blues annoy me. Nay, they downright piss me of. This franchise has received more hype than Avatar. The next big thing? Hardly. Avatar was alien Pocahontas and the Blues are hockey's Kansas City Royals.

 

The Blues are the most glaring example of the cheerleader effect in fantasy hockey. They are loaded with good young talent. The problem is that there is not a superstar in the bunch. Looking at all their former first round picks will have you drooling but start picking each individual apart and it's much less impressive.

 

The Blues need a superstar to take over as the proverbial cheer captain – a legitimate looker who empowers the rest of the gang. The good news is the Blues have finally found a superstar. The bad news is he's their coach: Ken Hitchcock.

 

Hitchcock is the most infamous fantasy hockey vampire out there. He literally sucks the life right out of perfectly good hockey players and breathes it into his goalies, no matter how mediocre or just plain dreadful they are. I don't think that this label is perfectly accurate because Hitchcock did have some high scoring teams in Dallas and Philadelphia AND this was back during the "Dead Puck Era" but Hitchcock has proven that when you throw him a team devoid of star talent he will make it into a winner, it just won't be pretty.

 

The Blues, despite their drastically improved record, are actually scoring less – by the slightest of margins – with Hitchcock as coach, than they were under Davis Payne. The Blues power play is improved under Hitchcock – 13.1% with Hitch vs. 7.1% with Payne – but that can be rationalized by the "it couldn't possibly be any worse" argument.

 

So what do you do if you are a fantasy owner of any Blues players? The immediate advice is to abandon ship. As Dobberhockey's Ryan Ma has been preaching for months now; the St. Louis Blues are an offense by committee team. They just don't have the roster to roll otherwise.

 

In this week's Cage Match I will get down to the root of all this Blues hype and resolve a battle that has been raging for several years now. It's TJ Oshie vs. Patrick Berglund. Let's resolve this once and for all.

 

When Oshie and Berglund made their NHL debuts in 2008-09 they arrived with a bang, helping the Blues to their first – and only – playoff berth since the lockout.  Berglund finished fourth in rookie scoring, while Oshie finished ninth despite playing only 57 games. It was absolute bedlam. Unfortunately, it has been mostly downhill from there.

 

Oshie has been remarkably consistent. His scoring pace since landing in the NHL has hardly deviated. In the table below you will see Oshie's per game point production over his career.

 

jlkj

 

That 0.664 points per game pace equates to 54 points over an 82-game season. The problem is Oshie has yet to play an 82-game season. So he is a 55(ish)-point player with injury problems. Considering that Oshie was a relatively mature