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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#1 Tayranchula
December 01 2009, 07:53AM
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I have to agree and disagree wth this post. Oilers are not moving Khaby becuz one hes playing fine minus the back injury, hes virtually unmovable, and even if he is traded the oilers arent getting a quality starting goaltender that is better or just as good as khaby therefore this would do nothing much but set the Oil backwards. Moving Lubo or Souray is stupid cuz any team in the league would want a powerplay duo like that. Colin Mcdonald is not a prospect in the Oilers depth im terribly surprised he even got a call up considering at the beginning of the year everyone thought he wasnt coming back with the Oil organization. Trading Jacque is stupid. He brings more to this team night in night out compaired to some oilers and getting rid of that right now isnt smart. He plays that physical game that the Oilers have been desperatley neediing for a few seasons now. Trading Moureu would be good along with Staios Grebs and Cogs Nilson. If the Oilers cant get Brule resigned then trading him is stupid otherwise.

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#2 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
December 01 2009, 07:57AM
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So we move two goalies and maybe acquire one back?

I don't move Jacques as he will be signed cheap and brings what we need on that 3rd/4th line.

I also don't think Brule brings you enough that you move him. For some reason I don't see GM's throwing much at a guy who is still an unknown long term.

Your first list I'd move all 4.

What I add. At least one bigger top 6 forward. Those 2-3 guys you talk about that can play 2-way hockey. And that shutdown d-man is needed ASAP. As for who to get, I have no idea who is avaialable outside of some Chicago players and some UFA players. I was always looking at the Barker for Grebeshkov trade, but that trade might not happen because of salaries now.

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#3 Hemmercules
December 01 2009, 07:58AM
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Seems like alot for a GM that doesn't do much. How do you expect Tambo to fill all those holes (2-3 forwards, 2 dmen, + add couple more guys)??? The oil needed a goalie, a shut-down 3rd liner and a top line left winger last summer. Tambo signed an over the hill goalie for too much coin, a small offensive second liner and no top line left winger. With Tamblowe driving this ship the oilers are cursed to mediocrity forever.

IMO were stuck with Bulin and Chopper, It would take a miracle for a team to take either one of those guys. I would say get rid of one JDD or DD and sign one of those 11 goalies on the market (only at a low price of course). Keep Gagner and Cogs, lose Sully and Nilsson, then try to sign some players to fill holes. Another problem is trying to entice free agent to sign with a struggling/rebuilding team. I have said this many times, Tamblowe has the hardest GM job in the NHL right now.

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#4 DBO
December 01 2009, 08:03AM
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Great article jonathan. I've been stumping for those moves the last few years. I doubt it happens, especially with Tambellini's comments about not planning for next year. maybe that is our problem, as we never have a plan beyond 12 months. I think most fans are afraid of losing too much youth, but a lot of teams will deal younger players who have duplicated skills on their roster (like us with skilled small guys). A few moves i would try to make:

- Do what you can to pry Sharp out of Chicago. And in the process if you can't get Sharp, you turn your attention to Barker and get him for less, thus allowing you to move Grebeshkov for a physical winger. - Do what you can to get Dubinsky (big fan of his). Torts loves Moreau, and Cogs is the kind of player they lack. Offer them both of those guys and get Dubinsky and maybe Higgins for the rest of the year (good two way players with some skill). - Move Grebeshkov to a team lacking an offensive defenseman. Buffalo and Columbus have been mentioned, and they are teams with physical forwards. Stafford would be nice from Buffalo and Voracek from Columbus (although I doubt they move him). - Sign a solid two way dman to replace Staios, who you move for anything. If there was any way to sign Hamhuis (which is doubtful), all is well.

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#5 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
December 01 2009, 08:04AM
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Also CBJ is looking for a d-man. Think they have any interest in Gilbert? Apparently they are looking at moving a winger.

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#6 Hemmercules
December 01 2009, 08:18AM
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I predict Tambo making some kind of push for Kovalchuk, waiting until the bitter end on deadline day, and get left with nothing.

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#8 Bill Rizer
December 01 2009, 08:32AM
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I agree for the most part (deal Gagner and Horcoff too). Tambo needs to completely blow this roster up. Why they didn't do that after that dreadful finish a few years ago is beyond me. Well it isn't I guess. We like to make 8th place every so often and that's good enough for us.

@Tayranchula "this would do nothing much but set the Oil backwards" - Do you really feel like we're moving forwards? Khabby feels more like a band-aid and a name that the Oil hope might attract other "semi"-names to Edmonton.

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#9 Hemmercules
December 01 2009, 08:33AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Just for the record, these moves aren't remotely what I think Tambellini will do. They are what I'd try to do if I were in the G.M.'s chair.

Oh, sorry. I like most of your moves but I would probably keep Brule. Tambo wouldn't have a shot in hell at completing half that list IMO.

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#11 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
December 01 2009, 08:47AM
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On the Souray/Lubo front. How long until we are actual contenders? Not even sure we are playoff contenders for a year or two let alone a team to beat in the playoffs. Both Lubo and Souray are 32 years old, both have injury problems, do we really think that both are going to be the players they are today when we are ready to contend?

I rather keep are younger d-men and see if they keep on progressing. If there is a package out there for either Souray or Lubo that will make us a better team in the long-term then I think Tambo needs to make the deal.

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#12 Hemmercules
December 01 2009, 08:50AM
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Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach wrote:

On the Souray/Lubo front. How long until we are actual contenders? Not even sure we are playoff contenders for a year or two let alone a team to beat in the playoffs. Both Lubo and Souray are 32 years old, both have injury problems, do we really think that both are going to be the players they are today when we are ready to contend?

I rather keep are younger d-men and see if they keep on progressing. If there is a package out there for either Souray or Lubo that will make us a better team in the long-term then I think Tambo needs to make the deal.

x2

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#14 Jason Gregor
December 01 2009, 09:02AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

@ Tayranchula:

Oilers are not moving Khaby becuz one hes playing fine minus the back injury, hes virtually unmovable, and even if he is traded the oilers arent getting a quality starting goaltender that is better or just as good as khaby therefore this would do nothing much but set the Oil backwards.

This is the list of free agent goaltenders. Some will undoubtedly be signed. None of them have averaged 17 games per season lost to injury.

Khabibulin's a pretty good goalie (probably 10-20 range in the NHL) but if he misses 25% of the season that hurts his value. And that assumes these injuries don't affect his play outside of the missed games.

Moving Lubo or Souray is stupid cuz any team in the league would want a powerplay duo like that.

Both of those players are very good, but I don't think the Oilers can afford to pay four defencemen for offence.

Trading Jacque is stupid. He brings more to this team night in night out compaired to some oilers and getting rid of that right now isnt smart. He plays that physical game that the Oilers have been desperatley neediing for a few seasons now.

What does Jacques bring that isn't brought by Stortini and Stone? How many spots are there for fourth line bangers?

If the Oilers cant get Brule resigned then trading him is stupid otherwise.

Brule's goal-scoring (all seasons over 82GP):

06-07: 9G, 9.2 SH%

07-08: 1G, 1.4 SH%

09-10: 24G, 17.9 SH%

His results this season are essentially the reverse of what happened in 07-08; his true value's probably somewhere in the middle (10-15G). But because of draft pedigree, I think there are people who would buy into his current run.

I think you are grossly underrating Brule's potential. He was the 6th pick overall and his time in Columbus ruined his development. He is much more than a 10-15 goal scorer.

He goes to the tough areas, skates well and is physical. Right now I'd take him over Sam Gagner, but they WILL and NEED to keep both.

Brule's first two seasons will be the worst of his career by far when he is done playing. He has great offensive instincts, and finally is getting comfortable.

I'd agree with most of your other ideas, since I've said similar things on my show, but Brule is the one player who is just starting to come into his own. Trading him now is a no go for me.

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#15 Ender
December 01 2009, 09:07AM
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Good summary, JW. Like many, I don't see Tambo completing even a fraction of these moves (won't or just plain can't) but if the moves were completed we'd probably be in much better shape than we are today for the 10-11 run.

How bad is it that it's December 1 and I'm more excited about Draft Day than about the playoffs?

~Keith Ballard: there's a winner. We should pick him up.~

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#16 Ogden Brother
December 01 2009, 09:18AM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

I think you are grossly underrating Brule's potential. He was the 6th pick overall and his time in Columbus ruined his development. He is much more than a 10-15 goal scorer.

He goes to the tough areas, skates well and is physical. Right now I'd take him over Sam Gagner, but they WILL and NEED to keep both.

Brule's first two seasons will be the worst of his career by far when he is done playing. He has great offensive instincts, and finally is getting comfortable.

I'd agree with most of your other ideas, since I've said similar things on my show, but Brule is the one player who is just starting to come into his own. Trading him now is a no go for me.

I've been most impressed with Brule's shot. He's one of the few with a legit NHL lazer beam.

His value is likely increasing, but I don't know if he's done enough to get back much more then we gave for him. ie I don't see much point in moving him.

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#17 dragon
December 01 2009, 09:21AM
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keeping Hemsky, Horcoff, Pisani and what's-that-guy's-name-? Marc Pouliot??? How are you rebuilding if you are keeping guys that had chances upon chances in the last few years? oh, are you considering a coaching change again?

are you just thinking: 'oh, these guys are hurt, they're gonna get better and rock the NHL?

no, I bet you were using your media talent to try and get the juices flowing in the heads of an ON that is pretty down these days. Not bad, Thanks!

rebuilding requires eliminating your question marks, as many as possible.

:-) it's fun playing armchair GM:

My take:

on the bubble Hemsky Horcoff - these guys had a ton of chances and they have come up short, by any standard (and, no, the fact that Hemmer is the most skilled on the team doesn't count, as long as he doesn't deliver!) - when they get healthy next training camp they have to fight for a spot!

on the chopping block Nilsson Moreau (you accept leadership, better deliver or move on) Staios Strudwick Pouliot Pisani Grebs

New kids Cogs Potulny Stone Eberle MPS JFJ O'Marra Omark - evaluate as many as possible this year and package a couple for a solid shut-down defensmen during the summer

Goalies either JDD or DD are leaving at the end of the season I asume The Wall has added value to the club (playoff, help forming the young goalie, steal a few wins down the stretch) then what meets the eye. Keep him.

Our problem right now is defense (and it's really hard to tell hoe much the new system is the culprit here) and leadership.

I'd try to bring in a shut-down defensman with proven leadership skills and 1 two-way center.

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#19 rindog
December 01 2009, 09:23AM
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@Jonathan Willis

I am very surprised at you desire to move Jacques and Brule?

To me, Jacques has came in and performed his role perfectly. He is the only player that makes a conscious effort to finish ALL of his checks. Plus, he is quite cheap.

I used to think that Stortini had some value in this role, but his lack of foot speed limits his effectiveness on the forecheck. Jacques is far more valuable in this role and with Quinn not wanting his players to be fighting all the time - Stortini's role is less important. Besides, do we even know if Stortini could beat Jacques in a scrap?

As far as Brule goes, I don't think we should consider getting rid of him at this stage. He too has done just about everything the coaching staf has asked and has shown the ability to capitilize on his chances.

I don't have much issue with the other moves you suggest, but I don't like the idea of getting rid of either of these guys just yet.

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#20 Mr DeBakey
December 01 2009, 09:24AM
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Man, those media guys do love that Crème Brule. Unsustainable shooting percentage? WTF is that?

I’m glad he’s doing well, but would move him in an instant in the right deal.

“I’d keep Stone and Stortini and move out Moreau and Jacques.”

Keep the slow? Move the slow, Stone is very replaceable. Agree on Moreau.

I can’t see Khabibulin being moved. I can’t believe how badly they’ve screwed up the goalkeeper situation.

"I'd lean towards keeping Comrie"

Minor point, Comrie is UFA. A slightly different situation than the rest.

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#22 -30-
December 01 2009, 09:31AM
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The culture on this team is not a winning one.

Have you ever noticed how the team can sometimes seemingly turn it on during the last few minutes of a game?

How often do they play with desperation or close to their potential? Hardly it seems.

Whatever else might be wrong with this team I think chemistry is one of the biggest things.

This team had potential and maybe it still does. The game is more mental than physical at this level and I just don't see a winners mentality on the Oilers.

-30-

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#25 rindog
December 01 2009, 09:37AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

@ Rindog

I'm not dogmatic on keeping Stortini over Jacques; that's one of the questions to evaluate over the rest of the season. I just think it's probably overreaching to say that any of Stone/Stortini/Jacques belong above the fourth line this point (on a contending team) so I only see two spots for those three.

Right now, I'd keep the first two names. A poor performance from Stone, or some better decision making from Jacques could easily change which two I'd keep.

I just think we have seen the absolute most we are going to get out of Stortini.

I am not sure if we have seen the best of Jacques yet? Even with the jury still out on Jacques, he still seems more effective than Stortini's best.

If we are keeping two players out of that group of three (I would actually lump Moreau in with this group and make it four). I keep Jacques and Stone and get rid of Sortini amd Moreau.

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#26 Ogden Brother
December 01 2009, 09:39AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

@ Jason Gregor:

I know that right now my take on Brule is out of step with the consensus opinion, but I find stuff like this compelling.

Right now though I see a guy in a contract year getting all the bounces, and I see a guy that some teams will probably pay a premium for. I'm sure Brule's an NHL'er, but I see him as a 15G/40PT guy, not a consistent top-six scorer.

I don't say this to convince you because I think we're probably going to disagree here; I only say it to make my thoughts on the player clear.

Interesting.

However, if the worry is that you'd be signing a guy that wont be able to maintain his production, now is likely the best year to take that risk. The amount of league wide available cap $$$ will be at an all-time low this summer, I really can't see secondary guys (like Brule) being in high demand (especially when they have the added hinderance of being an RFA). With the added bonus that the cap should be bottoming out this year before and moving up again shortly.

In other words, he's not going to be paid that highly anyways, so I don't think his future salary should be of major concern.

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#27 rindog
December 01 2009, 09:40AM
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Dragon,

How has Hemsky come up short? How many other offensive players would put up his numbers playing with the linemates he has since the lockout?

Producing at a .92ppga (since the lockout) seems to be getting the job done if you ask me?

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#30 MattL
December 01 2009, 09:46AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

@ Mr. DeBakey

In fairness to Brule, he was an elite (and I mean elite, not just pretty good) goal scorer at the junior level, so I can understand the thought that he might be a 17.0% shooter in the NHL. Personally, I think his time in Columbus, as well as his Springfield stint last year make that unlikely (that's three years of track record), but I do understand why not everyone agrees with me.

As for Comrie, it will depend on what he shows when he gets back into the lineup, but I think his contract is good value and we'll see that when he gets healthy. I also don't see a bunch of teams rushing out to sign him.

Re: Brule and shooting%, it's interesting to watch Brule and O'Sullivan in the same game these days. While I doubt Brule can sustain 17%, he tends to take good shots at the right time, compared to POS who takes tons of shots all the time. Brule's confidence has grown over the season, Sully's has shrunk.

It's been fun to watch Brule grow slowly back into the man everyone thought he was when he was drafted. He could be a stone-cold-lead-pipe-lock for the top 6 next year at this rate.

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#31 Ogden Brother
December 01 2009, 09:46AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

@ rindog:

The other thing that entered my thinking was injury. Jacques has had more than his fair share of injury problems, and I'm a little worried his back issues are going to be a constant concern for the rest of his NHL career.

Still, I can see what you're saying about potential; Stortini's junior and AHL career suggest that he'll never contribute above the fourth line, while Jacques performance at those levels hints there might be more below the surface. I can get behind that kind of reasoning.

Good point on the injury history. We are seeing this year the risk in hitching our wagon to the injury prone.

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#33 Ogden Brother
December 01 2009, 09:53AM
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MattL wrote:

Re: Brule and shooting%, it's interesting to watch Brule and O'Sullivan in the same game these days. While I doubt Brule can sustain 17%, he tends to take good shots at the right time, compared to POS who takes tons of shots all the time. Brule's confidence has grown over the season, Sully's has shrunk.

It's been fun to watch Brule grow slowly back into the man everyone thought he was when he was drafted. He could be a stone-cold-lead-pipe-lock for the top 6 next year at this rate.

Without any evidence other then watching the games, I'd also say Brule has a far superior shot to O'sully.

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#34 GSC
December 01 2009, 09:58AM
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How many times do we have to make the mistake of losing a valuable, 3rd line forward who plays physical, can skate, and contributes offensively? They've done it with Stoll and with Glencross, two players the Oilers could desperately use right now. Not to mention, like Brule, both players were in their contract years before shipping out. That didn't stop them from continuing to contribute with their new teams. Trading Brule would be making the same mistake.

Not to mention, the "math" didn't favour Glencross during his stint with the Oil. Look at him in Calgary now, even the advanced math favours him something ridiculous (one of Calgary's best). Same can be said for Stoll, he's one of LA's most reliable forwards.

Sure, the numbers don't favour Brule just yet, but he's still young and developing. Of course he's playing weaker competition, that's how you break-in youngsters. You let them be successful (hell, let them dominate) their competition gradually, from juniors/college on up. Columbus failed to do this with Gilbert before, and Quinn-Renney are getting it right this time around.

Really, I don't understand the logic of trading away an up and coming player just because his value is high. Not to mention, trading away a player who brings everything that this team sorely lacks. The Brule for Torres deal was one of Lowe's better moves, it reeks of Ken Holland insight (finding a player who lost his way, reshape his development and watch him flourish). I bet Brule could be re-signed for 2-3 years at a reasonable rate, and have a helluva opportunity to outperform that contract.

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#35 Ogden Brother
December 01 2009, 10:00AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

@ Ogden Brother:

That's a good point too; this could be the year of the bargain (though the Oilers have rarely shown an aptitude for finding them).

I did have the caveat above that it was dependant on return, but if you got a serious offer for Brule (say straight across for the 15th-ish overall pick) would you take it? I'd have trouble turning it down.

I don't know what sort of offer the Oilers could get for Brule, but I'd at least test the market.

I don't know, I don't put a whole bunch of faith in mid range DP. We've got a young guy, who I wouldn't say is NHL proven yet, is getting close. And from what I've seen, even if he loses his top 6 scoring pace (but can still be a 10-15/30-40 guy) would maintain value because of his grit. Who I think we can sign up to his UFA days for something in the 1.7 to 2 million range (so not much more then a mid range 1st rounder would make on entry level)

Here's the 14th-16th picks from 00 to 05

Nedorost/Kryukov/Hossa...not the good one/Kobasew/Khyazev/Umberger/Higgins/Niinimaki/Keepis/Seabrook/Nillson/Bernier/Dubnyk/Radulov/Nokelainen/Pokulok/O'marra/Bourret

I count 6 proven NHL'ers out of 18 (33%) and 1 guy that's clearly head and shoulders above Brule's ceiling (5%) and then a couple of guys that may be something someday.

Personally, I like our odds better with Brule.

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#36 jake
December 01 2009, 10:01AM
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JW:

Would you keep O'Sullivan over Cogliano? I think they both shoot left.

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#37 Ogden Brother
December 01 2009, 10:04AM
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For some reason my 00 - 05 list was cut off. Add: Nokelainen/Pokulok/O'marra/Bourret.

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#38 BingBong
December 01 2009, 10:08AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

@ Ogden Brother:

That's a good point too; this could be the year of the bargain (though the Oilers have rarely shown an aptitude for finding them).

I did have the caveat above that it was dependant on return, but if you got a serious offer for Brule (say straight across for the 15th-ish overall pick) would you take it? I'd have trouble turning it down.

I don't know what sort of offer the Oilers could get for Brule, but I'd at least test the market.

I think we're in dreamland if you think anybody would offer up a 1st round pick for Brule. I know you're just throwing it out there, but who in their right mind wouldn't take a 1st rounder for him? He's been good of late, but come on... it's been 20-something games, really not much to go on. Plus his defensive play is horrible.

I think the reality is we're stuck with a bunch of guys (Horcoff, Moreau, Nilsson, etc.) who are untradable, and right now aren't really bringing much of anything on the ice. I think it'll be a LONG year.

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#39 Ogden Brother
December 01 2009, 10:12AM
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@BingBong

"but who in their right mind wouldn't take a 1st rounder for him?"

A GM that wanted to play the odds?

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#40 BingBong
December 01 2009, 10:15AM
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Ogden Brother wrote:

"but who in their right mind wouldn't take a 1st rounder for him?"

A GM that wanted to play the odds?

I know the season is young, but if someone offered you the 15th overall pick for Brule, an RFA at seasons end, would you say no??

I guess that's not a fair question condsidering our drafting history...

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#41 Bob Cobb
December 01 2009, 10:20AM
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I thought you were out to lunch on most things Willis but when I read that you would keep Marc Pouliot, yes the very same Marc "I played with Sidney Crosby so thats got to be worth something" Pouliot, over Brule, I almost fell of my chair. I mean, C'MON MAN. Pouliot brings nothing to the table, doesn't hit, doesn't score, doesn't defend well at least Brule creates energy if nothing else. We have been lamenting for a while over losing Glencross, well Brule is a small faster version of him in my estimation and should be a mainstay on the 3rd line for a while.

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#42 Ogden Brother
December 01 2009, 10:24AM
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BingBong wrote:

I know the season is young, but if someone offered you the 15th overall pick for Brule, an RFA at seasons end, would you say no??

I guess that's not a fair question condsidering our drafting history...

I listed out the 14-16 picks from 00 - 05 a few posts earlier. You've got roughly a 60%-70% odds of having a complete bust in that range.

Brule isn't a sure shot to have an NHL career yet. But he's close.

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#43 BingBong
December 01 2009, 10:26AM
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Four straight years missing the playoffs. How many years straight did we miss in the 90's? Four right? There's gonna be a LOT of pressure for everybody next year to make the show...

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#44 BingBong
December 01 2009, 10:29AM
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Ogden Brother wrote:

I listed out the 14-16 picks from 00 - 05 a few posts earlier. You've got roughly a 60%-70% odds of having a complete bust in that range.

Brule isn't a sure shot to have an NHL career yet. But he's close.

Good point. I just think we tend to overrate our guys once in a while. I like Brule, but to be a solid 3rd line guy he's gonna have to learn how to play D.

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#45 Ogden Brother
December 01 2009, 10:39AM
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BingBong wrote:

Good point. I just think we tend to overrate our guys once in a while. I like Brule, but to be a solid 3rd line guy he's gonna have to learn how to play D.

No question, we certainly do overate our guys (see division title predictions from the last few years). We (and everyone else) overrates DP's more.

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#46 Greg
December 01 2009, 10:39AM
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I dont know how you could just trade Brule, the only way i entertain the offer is if you can actually package him to land a very good player in return. Quite frankly Brule has been one of our best players to date and what he brings to the table is alot better then a majority of other forwards on the team. I would keep him and hope he gets fourty or more points, and he resigns for only 1-1.5 million for a one year deal since he will only have one good season behind his belt. Then see if he can bring all his intangibles consistently over next season.

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#47 Dan the Man
December 01 2009, 10:41AM
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Jonathan, I'm not sure why you dislike Jacques as much as you do. He is still practically a rookie based on the number of games he has played (80) and he's bound to improve. He's big and hits everything that moves, he skates well enough for a big guy too. He has shown flashes of offense although not necessarily at the NHL level but he's young and developing. His health is my only real concern with him but aside from that he is what this team has lacked for the past several years.

Brule was an elite Jr player as you stated so unless you got a ridiculous offer I don't see how you would even consider trading him.

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#48 BK
December 01 2009, 11:02AM
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JW - Overall I agree with you desires. I think your wish list is just as long and a touch more lofty than my 4 year olds Christmas list (and he wants to fly in a rocket ship), but your stats assessment of Brule is a CLEAR example of why numbers can't do all the talking, ESPECIALLY with prospects or young players.

Watch Brule and you can’t help but see he has some real hockey skills. He showed it when he was a stand out in the minors (thus being a top 10 draft pick), and as he grows into some experience at the professional level, and understands the speed and situations better, he will begin to stand out in the NHL too.

TRADING BRULE NOW is short sited and shows a lack of awareness for true hockey skill. He COULD turn out to be a bust, but right now his skill-set and play is way above average he just hasn't adjusted well situationally. With good coaching he will be a star. THAT'S WHY WE GOT THE COACHES WE DID isn't it? Trading him would bite you in the ass no matter WHAT the stats say!

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#50 dragon
December 01 2009, 11:10AM
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rindog wrote:

Dragon,

How has Hemsky come up short? How many other offensive players would put up his numbers playing with the linemates he has since the lockout?

Producing at a .92ppga (since the lockout) seems to be getting the job done if you ask me?

If we're talking Hemsky-second-line-RW-I-do-as-I-see-fit, then .92ppga for 4 mil is quite good. delivered.

If we are looking for the glimpses of Hemsky-I-Can-have-the-team-built-around-me then .922ppga is far from the whole package, so I'd stick to undelivered.

That's the reason I said: put him on the bubble, let him decide what kind of player he wants to be. He wants to be the start of the team, step it up, be consistent, make your teammates (whoever they are !!!) better and get your 2-3mil raise, team built around you.

As I said, in the last few years I only saw glimpses of that. Oh, yeah, and I saw him crumble under the pressure down the stretch.

the stats guys: how many end-of-the game goals does Hemmer have in the last 3-4 years?

Rebuild: find the solid, consistent go-to guy that you can truly build around (could PDP be that guy? hard to tell after only 25 games in 1 season) It's Hemmer or a new young guy...

My money's on a new young guy.

hemmer or not, defense needs fixing first (whether is players or system...)

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