In Tambellini's Boots

Jonathan Willis
December 01 2009 07:27AM

Yesterday, Robin Brownlee mentioned briefly the moves he’d be working on in the G.M.’s boots (pictured above). The following is my list.  If I've had one rule in making up my list, it's this one: don't sell low.

Forwards

There are four forwards on the team who can be relied upon to keep their heads above water against almost anybody. They are Ales Hemsky, Shawn Horcoff, Dustin Penner, and Sam Gagner. Those four will constitute the core of next season’s forward corps, and will be retained.

There are too many small, one-dimensional forwards in this group. Pick two of Cogliano, O'Sullivan, Nilsson, Comrie and Eberle who will be on the team next year. Given the relative trade values, at this point I'd lean towards keeping Comrie and O'Sullivan and sticking Eberle in the AHL, but there’s still plenty of time to make a decision, and the rest of the season should focus on which of these players to keep and which to move. For now though, I’d move out Nilsson and Cogliano.

This team has too many players who bring a physical edge but not much else; in reality there aren’t that many spots for these sort of players on a winning team (as none of the Oilers listed here can really handle a regular role checking top players). My list includes Ethan Moreau, J-F Jacques, Zack Stortini and Ryan Stone. Colin McDonald and Ryan O’Marra would also fit into this category, although I imagine both would clear waivers; I’d plan to store them as minor-league depth unless someone expresses interest in either of them or they impress as the season continues. Otherwise, I’d keep Stone and Stortini and move out Moreau and Jacques.

As for Gilbert Brule and Ryan Potulny, I think both can be useful NHL players. Again, part of the season would focus on evaluating Potulny, but I see him as a very good 13th forward for a playoff team. As for Brule, I’d test the market. He’s played very well, and frankly I like him a lot, but I don’t think he’s as good as we’ve seen to date. Right now he has a 20.0% shooting percentage mark; his career average is 8.9%. His on-ice shooting percentage is 11.6%, and his linemates aren’t that good. I see him as a good third-liner who can score some when called upon, but if he can put up 40+ points (he’s on pace for 58) I think he’ll get a contract as a scorer. There’s nothing wrong with the player; I’m just a fan of selling high and I think he’s as hot as he’ll be for the foreseeable future. Meanwhile, I continue to believe Marc Pouliot can get the job done on the fourth line, perhaps between Stone and Stortini. He’ll have to use the stretch run to prove he deserves a spot in the lineup over Potulny; if not he’s a cheap reserve forward. Lastly, if Fernando Pisani shows signs he can come back from his latest bout of colitis, I’d pencil him in as a reserve forward.

Despite the high volume of moves I’m suggesting (five), that would leave only three spots available up front, assuming that all of the prospects/AHL’ers (O’Marra, McDonald, Eberle, Paajarvi-Svensson, Omark, etc.) fail to make the jump to the big leagues. As G.M., I’d be having my professional scouts look at defensive specialists from this summer’s free agent class. I’d also suggest that bubble players on other teams who might be cheaply available be brought over for a test run towards the latter half of this season. If at all possible, I’d also try to swing a trade to bring in a genuine third liner or two. 

Defencemen and Goaltenders

On the defensive side of things, I’d entertain bids for Lubomir Visnovsky and Sheldon Souray, but only move them if the return was particularly compelling. Lubomir Visnovsky is the team’s best defenceman and a vital part of the team; his injury last year hurt the Oilers a lot. Meanwhile, Sheldon Souray brings a unique presence to the team and when healthy has been invaluable. While I can’t help but think that age and injuries could catch up to either of these players, winning in the near future will depend greatly on them, and they can only be moved if the return justifies it. It’s also important to remember that either of these defencemen can block a trade.

Assuming that both of those players are kept, the Oilers still have too much money invested in their defence, so one of Tom Gilbert or Denis Grebeshkov should be moved if the first two are kept. Gilbert is signed to a long-term contract, and his value has never been lower than it is right now. Grebeshkov is a pending free agent. I don’t believe teams should move players for pennies on the dollar, so that rules out trading Gilbert, meaning that Grebeshkov should be moved. If Grebeshkov is willing to sign a three-year (or thereabouts) deal for reasonable money ($3.25 million per year or thereabouts) I’d consider keeping him, but otherwise I’d try and move him at the deadline.

Steve Staios costs too much money for a third-pairing defenceman, and should be moved. Ladislav Smid is still signed to reasonable dollars and should be kept. Jason Strudwick doesn’t bring anything irreplaceable; if someone were interested I’d move him, otherwise he could be allowed to leave as a free agent.

That leaves three spots on the back end to be filled, and all should go to cheap and dependable types. I one of Taylor Chorney or Theo Peckham steps up in a big way down the stretch, one of them could take an NHL job next year (not both, because if both do that leaves the team without enough depth), which would leave only two spots to fill. Physical and defensively reliable are what we’re looking for here.

In net, I’d move Khabibulin if a trade presented itself. I know Tambellini won’t because he just signed him, but he’s locked up for too long given his age and injury track record. Some would argue I’m creating an unnecessary hole, but the fact is that Khabibulin has missed almost 20 games per season every season for the past four years, and I’m not comfortable with a part-time starter. I’d also make a decision on JDD and Dubnyk. I'd be leaning towards keeping Dubnyk, but use Khabibulin's absence to add to the data. I know that's too short a span, but the Oilers must make a decision this summer and they might as well decide now. Trade the lesser of the two. 

Transactions

  • Move two of Cogliano, Comrie, Nilsson and O’Sullivan – probably Cogliano and Nilsson.
  • Move one of Jacques, Stone and Stortini – probably Jacques.
  • Move Moreau.
  • Move Brule, depending on return.
  • Move one of Visnovsky, Souray, Gilbert and Grebeshkov – probably Grebeshkov.
  • Move Staios.
  • Move Khabibulin, depending on return.
  • Move one of Deslauriers or Dubnyk – probably Deslauriers.
  • Aim to acquire two or three two-way forwards.
  • Aim to acquire a pair of solid defenceman, at least one of whom can play a shutdown role.
  • If necessary, take a goaltender back in exchange for Khabibulin, but preferably not. Acquire as many draft picks as possible.
  • Sign whatever of the above haven’t been added via trade when free agency starts.
  • Sign a starting goaltender to replace Khabibulin; by my count there are 11 possible starters hitting the market, not one of whom is older than 34.  As with last year, there are more goaltenders than there are teams.

I know this looks like a lot, but I’ve got the rest of this season and all next summer to make these moves, and that’s the list I’d be working from.  The important thing now is to use the time left to get firm reads on which players in each of the above groups to keep.

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#251 TigerUnderGlass
December 01 2009, 07:14PM
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@Dan the Man

Is it a ridiculous overpayment for this year? Absolutley not

Nobody is worried about this year. We are concerned about what happens two years from now. If it was a 2 year deal nobody would likely complain, so what is your point?

You are in a pitched battle with straw men here.

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#252 easymoney
December 01 2009, 07:23PM
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Well known fact - 98 per cent of hockey wives prefer living in Montreal over Edmonton, the other 2 per cent of those hockey wives make up Edmontons Number 1 line.

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#253 TigerUnderGlass
December 01 2009, 07:26PM
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easymoney wrote:

Well known fact - 98 per cent of hockey wives prefer living in Montreal over Edmonton, the other 2 per cent of those hockey wives make up Edmontons Number 1 line.

That's great. Thanks for coming.

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#254 Dan the Man
December 01 2009, 07:28PM
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TigerUnderGlass wrote:
Is it a ridiculous overpayment for this year? Absolutley not

Nobody is worried about this year. We are concerned about what happens two years from now. If it was a 2 year deal nobody would likely complain, so what is your point?

You are in a pitched battle with straw men here.

You left out the "not" in my quote. OK it magically appeared later....damn edit button.

Someone a few hours ago said Khabibulin's contract was "ridiculously bad". I disagreed, not for now it isn't. Yes in 2 or 3 years it MAY be but how would you or anyone else know that?

His play could remain about the same as it is now, the cap could go up substantially, he could also have a career ending injury or retire.

My point is it's not ridiculously bad right now and I don't think it can be fairly judged until more than 20 games in to it

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#255 TigerUnderGlass
December 01 2009, 07:40PM
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@Dan the Man

Trying to evaluate the quality of his contract without context doesn't make sense.

If we want to decide if it was a good decision we need to look at the likely results. It is far more likely that the contract will handcuff the team in the future than almost any other result. The mere possibility that he will exceed expectations does not change anything.

Did you think the DiPietro deal was a good idea too?

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#256 Dan the Man
December 01 2009, 07:49PM
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@TigerUnderGlass

DiPietro's deal isn't a fair comparison, it's 15 years long and I believe that makes it the longest NHL contract ever signed. That to me is the definition of ridiculous. But who knows, he could come back when he's healthy and have a solid NHL career.

A better comparison would be the one Roloson signed post cup run. I thought it was too much and too long for someone his age, it turned out to be a decent contract and the Oilers probably got the best value in that deal in the final year.

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#257 TigerUnderGlass
December 01 2009, 07:53PM
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Dan the Man wrote:

DiPietro's deal isn't a fair comparison, it's 15 years long and I believe that makes it the longest NHL contract ever signed. That to me is the definition of ridiculous. But who knows, he could come back when he's healthy and have a solid NHL career.

A better comparison would be the one Roloson signed post cup run. I thought it was too much and too long for someone his age, it turned out to be a decent contract and the Oilers probably got the best value in that deal in the final year.

Not fair? It fits with your argument. We don't know what will happen in the future. Maybe he comes back as the best goalie of all time.

Isn't that your point? The amount of money was acceptable for the first year of the deal wasn't it?

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#258 Biowolf
December 01 2009, 08:02PM
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It would change nothing. The Oilers need one (better two) players they can build around.(like Kane and Toews-even a Sharp would do) Right now they have nobody and that is a fact.

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#259 Dan the Man
December 01 2009, 08:06PM
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@TigerUnderGlass

It's not fair because I think anyone would agree that a 15 year deal as a general rule is kind of dumb. A 4 year deal on the other hand isn't uncommon.

Do you have a response to the Roloson comparison?

Khabibulin is not the problem with this team and I would say that him and his contract are probably tradeable.

I do agree it was too long of a deal, 2 or 3 years certainly would have been better but I think there is a very good chance that he wouldn't have signed a 2 or 3 year deal here.

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#260 David S
December 01 2009, 08:21PM
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Guys. Timeout.

Victoria's Secret fashion show on Global.

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#261 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
December 01 2009, 08:24PM
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Dan the Man wrote:

It's not fair because I think anyone would agree that a 15 year deal as a general rule is kind of dumb. A 4 year deal on the other hand isn't uncommon.

Do you have a response to the Roloson comparison?

Khabibulin is not the problem with this team and I would say that him and his contract are probably tradeable.

I do agree it was too long of a deal, 2 or 3 years certainly would have been better but I think there is a very good chance that he wouldn't have signed a 2 or 3 year deal here.

a 4 year deal signed by a 36 year old is uncommon under this CBA.

no sane GM would take on that contract. there are cheaper options that, while maybe not as good, carry a far lower risk in terms of long terms cap management.

'bulin could, for example, decide that he doesnt really want to play anymore after this season. he retires, and the oilers are SCREWED.

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#263 Eddie Shore
December 01 2009, 09:35PM
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How good would Anderson look in our net right about now? Too many coulda, woulda, shoulda's. Time to make changes for the future Tambo. Lead us to the promised land.

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#264 common sense
December 01 2009, 10:19PM
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It's become quite apparent that Tambo is not quite up to having been promoted to GM. He's a great assistant GM.

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#265 Dan the Man
December 01 2009, 10:23PM
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@Jonathan Willis

Yes, had the Oilers not thrown money and term at Khabibulin right away it would have been a gamble since that would have meant another team could have signed him.

Top free agents always get more money than they should, it happens every single year and the Oilers felt that Khabibulin was the best goalie available. I think he was too.

You can say Biron's numbers since the lockout are comparable but his own team, the Flyers, obviously didn't have the same confidence in him as you do since they signed a guy that no other NHL team wanted a year ago instead of Biron.

Biron hasn't even managed to hold on to the number one job with the Islanders. Roloson has 15 starts vs 13 for Biron. Roloson is 8-2-5 and Biron is 2-8-2.

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#266 Dan the Man
December 01 2009, 10:30PM
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cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan wrote:

a 4 year deal signed by a 36 year old is uncommon under this CBA.

no sane GM would take on that contract. there are cheaper options that, while maybe not as good, carry a far lower risk in terms of long terms cap management.

'bulin could, for example, decide that he doesnt really want to play anymore after this season. he retires, and the oilers are SCREWED.

First of all sane and GM don't really go hand in hand. The Rangers unloaded Gomez and his 7.4 million cap hit and got a decent player in return so team in need of a starting goalie that has a Stanley Cup to his credit would not be impossible to move.

Sure Bulin could decide to retire after this season and leave over 10 million dollars on the table because ....well ...10 million dollars just isn't what it used to be.

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#267 Soup
December 01 2009, 10:31PM
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I moved to a country this summer without the ability to get Oiler's games on the tube. This site is my main connection to the hockey world. I love it. It really is kinda like listening to Rockin' Rod Phillips call the game. Absolutely not balanced nor a true reflection to what is happening on the ice, but damn is it entertaining!!!

One thing in defense of Tambo. This team for several years have not had a development system. It seems like the last year his focus has been to develop the farms so that the future may be a bit brighter for the young talent that is coming in. Granted, that means less has been done to support the big club, but I think some credit needs to be given for the work done down below.

Teams like Detroit have benefited greatly from having a system to develop their players in. Oil have not, and in many cases have had to develop their youth in the bigs. Not ideal for either the team nor the player.

I think that the pain that this team is going through was inevitable considering there was not farm system to backstop the big team. Now with a place to develop players, maybe people like Coronet, MPS, Nash and others will have a better chance to step up in years to come.

By the way, last night it went down to 21c in Abu Dhabi. Felt kinda cold. Only 30 today. Winter is setting in.

Enjoy!

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#270 GSC
December 01 2009, 10:39PM
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Did anyone stop and think that maybe the Oilers had to overpay a goaltender like Khabibulin to play in Edmonton?

Maybe Anderson and the like weren't interested? Just some food for thought...

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#274 Dan the Man
December 01 2009, 10:50PM
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@Jonathan Willis

It's the summer of 2009 and you want the best goalie available for your team, who do you choose. Khabibulin, Roloson or Biron?

To be fair I haven't seen Biron a ton so I'm going to defer to how the Flyers felt about him.

I've always liked Roloson's competitiveness but the Oilers decided 2 years at his age was too long or maybe they just think he's a jerk and wanted someone better to work with their young goalies.

Yes I saw the stat about the Islanders not scoring as much when Biron is in net. What do you attribute that to? Could it be that the Islanders have more confidence in Rollie therefore they are willing to take more offensive chances?

Nevertheless Roloson's save percentage and GAA are far superior to Biron's as well.

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#275 Dan the Man
December 01 2009, 10:58PM
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@Jonathan Willis

That absolutely is in the realm of possibility and it would absolutely screw the Oilers.

The thing is it's not always been back issues with him, he's had a groin injury, broken finger, a knee injury and a lower body. It's not like he's had chronic back problems through the years.

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#276 RossCreekNation
December 01 2009, 11:02PM
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Antero Nittymaki

Age - 29

GAA - 2.18

SP - .930

GP - 13

Salary - $600 000, 1 year

Perhaps he would've been a good fit. I was one of few to toss is name in; any thoughts on him Willis?

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#277 Racki
December 01 2009, 11:32PM
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I've been saying Biron since before we picked up Roli (I do think he's worth the risk). And if he would have come at 2M, all the more reason. I do like Khabibulin though, don't get me wrong. But, he should have been a short term fix while we hunted for a long term solution. 4 years isn't so short though. *shrug*

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#278 David S
December 01 2009, 11:38PM
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I bet none of those goalies you guys keep throwing out as alternatives had the one thing the Oilers organization wanted the most - PR value. They wanted to say they acquired a Stanley Cup winning goaltender. That's the only thing that makes any sense because otherwise they're idiots. Now I may not have any great love for this management group, but I have to believe they have a modicum of hockey intelligence. C'mon. Nobody is that stupid.

Maybe they knew the chances of getting a real legitimate star like Heatley were small, so they went for the next sure thing. Many have said on here that this team's achilles heel is big game hunting. Is that Katz or managerial philosophy? I dunno. But I'm starting to believe that may be the truth of the matter.

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#279 TigerUnderGlass
December 01 2009, 11:44PM
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Been in my car the past 3 hours and missed the fun.

Dan the Man said:

A 4 year deal on the other hand isn't uncommon

Really? Please, tell me how many 36 year old players have been signed to 4 year 15 million dollar contracts since the most recent CBA.

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#280 mowgli
December 01 2009, 11:48PM
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Tambellini maybe trying to put on Burks boots.Predictions come draft day tambo will be running around the floor makeing alot of noise and get nothing done. Sign a free agent and get stuck in some long term deals that put us to the cap and lost draft spots. Khubby was the top goalie at free agent time an looked good but was a bad deal. I think he was up aganst the wall with tradeing Rolli and had to make him self look good. He won a cup do you think he has the same passion for another one at age 36.

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#281 David S
December 01 2009, 11:58PM
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Is there some kind of "random post generator" like Eklund's trade rumour generator floating around the internet that I don't know about?

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#282 Heavyd
December 02 2009, 06:17AM
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Just heard that sam gagner has a lump on his neck. Hope everthing works out. Whats in the water at rexall this year?

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#283 GSC
December 02 2009, 07:10AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

And well we're at it, let's pretend that Alex Auld just went for a 6th round pick (he was dealt July 8) and that there are rumours floating around that Harding, Halak, Pavelec and one of the Ducks goalies are all possibly on the market (those rumours were floating around). Let's also pretend that established goaltenders (let's call them Gerber, Legace, Fernandez and Tellqvist) have already gone to Europe or are mulling over retirement because the market is non-existent.

Antero Niittymaki, who has averaged 37GP the last three seasons, was rumoured to be going to Europe, but he eventually signed a 1 yr, 600K contract to tryout for the backup jopb in Tampa (he signed July 10).

This summer was not a fun time to be a goalie without a home. Not fun at all.

Valid points all around. It's not like I'm happy at all with Tambellini's past off-season, and I do have my doubts about the Khabibulin signing, but I think we'll see a lot more action this coming offseason with so many contracts set to come off the books.

At least I hope we'll see a lot more from Tambo, I'm not holding my breath...

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#285 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
December 02 2009, 07:30AM
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Dan the Man wrote:

First of all sane and GM don't really go hand in hand. The Rangers unloaded Gomez and his 7.4 million cap hit and got a decent player in return so team in need of a starting goalie that has a Stanley Cup to his credit would not be impossible to move.

Sure Bulin could decide to retire after this season and leave over 10 million dollars on the table because ....well ...10 million dollars just isn't what it used to be.

cant compare gomez. while overpaid, his deal does not carry the same risk.

tell you what, find out:

a) how many over 35 players have signed 4 or more year deals in this CBA

and

b) find how many of them were dealt

as for 'bulin retiring, we have seen players, on more than one occassion, walk away with money still available to them. Injuries take their toll, and 'bulin has probably made 40-50ish mil already. when it comes down to it, is it really that hard to see him walking away from another 10ish mil if his body doesnt hold up?

obviously, there is always a chance it could be moved. there is also a chance i get kidnapped by a mob of Hooters girls and am forced to rub lotion on their cans as punishment.

is it likely? hells no. But, apparently, ANYTHING is possible

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#286 Lofty
December 02 2009, 07:36AM
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The problem is that the Oilers went for the best goalie available rather than what they could afford under the cap. I dont understand why Tambo gave up the extra years to get the Bullin wall. If you were in his shoes knowing you are in terrible cap shape for the next 3 years why compound the problem by adding another problem... save the money, save the years and go with a capable cheaper and shorter term goaltender.

For the last few years Detroit has cheaped out on Goaltenders and done pretty well.

All I want to see from Tambo now are buyouts. Katz needs to give Tambo 5 million to run some guys out of town. Nillson and Moreau should be handed walking papers and filled with cheap help from within the Oilers system.

Nashville, St. Louis and Phoenix have rushed their draft picks into the league and have finished in similar or better standing than the Oilers over the last couple years.

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#287 Lofty
December 02 2009, 07:40AM
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GSC wrote:

Valid points all around. It's not like I'm happy at all with Tambellini's past off-season, and I do have my doubts about the Khabibulin signing, but I think we'll see a lot more action this coming offseason with so many contracts set to come off the books.

At least I hope we'll see a lot more from Tambo, I'm not holding my breath...

Isn't Pisani the only contract of any size that is coming off the books? They are going to need that money to pay Gagner and still have to sign a swack of RFA's

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#288 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
December 02 2009, 08:10AM
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@TigerUnderGlass

Dipetro's contract is different then Bulin's and shouldn't be used as a comparable.

The scary part about Bulin's isn't the money it's the fact that if he were to ever get injuried or retire early that his cap hit counts agains the cap no matter what.

Dipetro's on the other hand isn't a cap hit no matter what. And if he starts to suck the Isles if they want can bury him in the minors.

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#289 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
December 02 2009, 08:14AM
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@Lofty

Right now of their RFA's who is going to get a big raise Gagner, Cogliano and Brule. And I don't see them getting big time money, Gagner probably the most at 3mil unless of course he ends up with 60+ points.

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#290 TonyT
December 02 2009, 08:55AM
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According to TSN.ca To MTL: 4th round pick To ANA: Chipchura

Would the Oilers be able to dump salary (e.g. Nilson) in exchange for picks and some salary in return? What about Moreau and/or Staios for salary but shorter term? I do believe Hemsky and Pisani's injury status now allow us some cap relief (at least for the remainder of this season).

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#291 TigerUnderGlass
December 02 2009, 09:19AM
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Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach wrote:

Dipetro's contract is different then Bulin's and shouldn't be used as a comparable.

The scary part about Bulin's isn't the money it's the fact that if he were to ever get injuried or retire early that his cap hit counts agains the cap no matter what.

Dipetro's on the other hand isn't a cap hit no matter what. And if he starts to suck the Isles if they want can bury him in the minors.

Why don't you try looking at what I said in context before commenting please.

The DiPietro comment was to make a point about his belief that the length of the contract isn't an issue because we cannot predict the future.

That had nothing to do with comparing the two contracts, it had to do with demonstrating the absurdity of his belief that if an outcome is remotely possible then we should act as though it is certain.

Interestingly though, based on your post you seem to believe the DiPietro signing was a good one.

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#292 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
December 02 2009, 09:26AM
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@TigerUnderGlass

Yes but the length of Dipetro's contract has loopholes that the Isles can get around, ours we can't.

And no Dipietro wasn't a good signing, but because he was less then 35 when he signed it the Isles won't have to worry about it being a cap hit if he retires.

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#293 Skadden
December 02 2009, 09:50AM
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Ok, a bit off topic but since it was pointed out a couple threads ago by some people wondering why it was changed, I just noticed that they gave Gagner back that goal in Vancouver, which had been credited to Brule. LOL! Interesting.

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#294 Dan the Man
December 02 2009, 10:29AM
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TigerUnderGlass wrote:

Why don't you try looking at what I said in context before commenting please.

The DiPietro comment was to make a point about his belief that the length of the contract isn't an issue because we cannot predict the future.

That had nothing to do with comparing the two contracts, it had to do with demonstrating the absurdity of his belief that if an outcome is remotely possible then we should act as though it is certain.

Interestingly though, based on your post you seem to believe the DiPietro signing was a good one.

DiPietro wasn't a UFA and depending on his health it could end up being a very good contract at some point. A 4.75 cap hit for a very good goaltender wouldn't be bad at all BUT I still wouldn't have committed to someone for so long.

You are suggesting that it's virtually impossible that Khabibulin will be a decent goalie at age 40. Roloson is still a pretty decent goalie at the age of 40 so why can't Khabibulin be? Khabibulin in his prime was better than Roloson. Khabibulin just stopped smoking last year and began working out for the first time in his life as well that's why he was better. You can't say for certian that he can't be a good goalie for the next 4 years just like I can't for cerrtain that he will.

He doesn't have to be elite to get value out of this contract, elite goalies make 6-7 million.

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#295 Jason Gregor
December 02 2009, 10:36AM
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@Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

Some things none of you have considered in Khabibulin signing.

You are all worried he will retire early, but unlike many of the long-term contracts he makes the same money in every year.

Hossa, Human Rake, Zetterberg, Savard and the others are geared so the player retires. Why would he just retire and walk away from 3.75 million?

Sure, he might not be as good in year four, but arguing about it now is somewhat moot since no one knows. Up until he wrenched his back, he was the Oilers second best player so this year the contract isn't bad.

As for Biron, he won't win you anything. When he was the starter in Buffalo they never made the playoffs. He had one year with Philly where he won a playoff round. Signing a guy just because he is cheaper, when he clearly isn't as good as Khabibulin doesn't make sense. The Oilers needed a goalie they could rely on, since they knew their defensive coverage wasn't good, and Biron is not that goalie.

JW, you are correct that the Islanders have scored more goals in games that Roloson has played, but if you look at the competition, Roloson has played 10 playoff teams, while Biron has faced seven. I would argue the Islanders play more defensive in games where Biron is playing. Nine of his twelve games the teams have combined to score 5 goals or less.

Biron has had a SV% of less than .900 seven times, while Roloson has only been under that threshold twice when they play full games.

I can see why people might have wanted Roloson back, but Biron wasn't going to be the answer here. He has never proven he can back stop your team, and all of us who have watched the Oilers for the past four years realize their goalie has to be one of their best players every night if they expect to win. Khabibulin, has proven he is that guy, Biron can't.

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#296 RossCreekNation
December 02 2009, 10:44AM
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N.I.T.T.Y.M.A.K.I.

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#297 Dan the Man
December 02 2009, 10:47AM
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@Jason Gregor

Thank you Jason, that's what I was trying to say all along.

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#298 Dan the Man
December 02 2009, 10:49AM
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@RossCreekNation

Nittymaki is a good back up.

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#299 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
December 02 2009, 10:49AM
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@Jason Gregor

I'd say I'm quite aware of that. The problem with the guys you list is that none were 35 when the contract was signed, with the exception of the human rake who was a mess of a deal. You can't tell me that all those guys don't have handshakes that they will retire earlier thus helping out their team with the cap hit.

It's not that I don't think Bulin will be a good fit for the next few years it's more that he is an injury prone goalie that could be forced into early retirement which would then force us with a 3.75 cap hit.

Biron and Rollie weren't options in my books and Clemmenson/Anderson were huge question marks. So I'd say we picked the right guy, maybe just not contract length.

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#300 TigerUnderGlass
December 02 2009, 11:02AM
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You are suggesting that it's virtually impossible that Khabibulin will be a decent goalie at age 40.

No I'm not. Not even close. Pay attention, and don't leap to conclusions that don't follow from what was said.

I'm suggesting that it is absurd to claim that the length of the contract is irrelevant when deciding if it is a good deal unless you care nothing for the future of the club, and I am claiming that it is a terrible idea to give a 36 year old a 4 year contract. Nothing more.

I think it is very possible that he could still be somewhat effective at 40 but it is, at the very least, just as possible he is not. So why give those terms to a player with his history? Terrible contract.

can't say for certian that he can't be a good goalie for the next 4 years just like I can't for cerrtain that he will

Think about this statement for a second and tell me how it supports your argument.

Say the odds are 50/50 either way. Giving him a 4 year term is very very risky because if you lose him you are stuck with his cap hit.

Are you seriously claiming that a 50% chance of him still being effective is good enough to to take the risk?

Giving him 2 years does not put the club at such risk and if he performs he can be re-signed. He is certainly not going to ask for more money at 38 than he did at 36 and the possibility of better options may be available.

It is a bad decision to hamper you flexibility at the best of times, it is a terrible decision when you are taking a major gamble in the process.

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