If The Oilers End Up With A Lottery Pick...

Jonathan Willis
December 07 2009 10:07AM

If this edition of the Edmonton Oilers manages to finish in the bottom five of the NHL, they'll have done something few teams have done in the salary cap era. 

This morning, Tyler Dellow looked at teams spending more than 90% of the cap who have managed to contend for a lottery pick.  The Oilers currently sit at 98.6% of the cap; only one team in the salary cap era (the 2006-07 Chicago Blackhawks) has managed to spend that much and earn a spot in the draft lottery, so if the Oilers can pull it off (and despite recent victories, that's plausible) it will represent an achievement of sorts.

In any case, Dellow looked at the nine teams to manage such woeful incompetence despite a relatively high payroll, and again with the exception of the 2006-07 Blackhawks (Khabibulin) all were plagued by lousy goaltending.  He also looked at the general managers of those teams; with the exception of Dean Lombardi, were fired or retired shortly thereafter.  Dale Tallon managed to hang on for two years before getting fired for other incompetence, while Larry Pleau managed to extend his job by bringing in a replacement. 

I strongly recommend reading Dellow's piece to get an idea of the true level of mismanagement involved in such a feat.  I'm of two minds on this one; I want to see the Oilers add a franchise talent via the draft lottery this summer, but I also feel that the current management group should be completely cleared out if the Oilers find themselves in that situation - Kevin Lowe's already on the fast track to the sunset, but such a poor performance would certainly warrant a full burn it to the ground and start from scratch approach in the front office.

Wouldn't it?

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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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#101 Ogden Brother
December 07 2009, 02:11PM
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One issue with the theory: You are then assuming the $$ will be better spent elsewhere. Considering most of the cap space shopping will be done on the FA market. I see no reason to think that will happen.

(though like I said, this summer could be the shopping season of a life time)

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#102 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
December 07 2009, 02:13PM
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@Ogden Brother

Why do you say that because the cap is staying roughly the same or because teams are up at the cap?

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#103 Ogden Brother
December 07 2009, 02:13PM
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Ogden Brother wrote:

One issue with the theory: You are then assuming the $$ will be better spent elsewhere. Considering most of the cap space shopping will be done on the FA market. I see no reason to think that will happen.

(though like I said, this summer could be the shopping season of a life time)

The above was in reply to post 95 from TUG.

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#104 Ogden Brother
December 07 2009, 02:14PM
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Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach wrote:

Why do you say that because the cap is staying roughly the same or because teams are up at the cap?

Both.

Less $$ to spend means less demand.

We seen it this past summer with guys like Prospal and Lang going for a million bucks.

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#105 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
December 07 2009, 02:17PM
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@Ogden Brother

Thing is look who spent money this year. Lots of teams that spent close to the cap last season, what makes you think the same won't happen again this year?

You could be right, but at the same time I won't hold my breath. These rich teams always seem to find a way to sign high priced free agents and they seem to get the second rate free agents for next to nothing.

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#106 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
December 07 2009, 02:21PM
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And because I know what you will write back, I ask does Tambo wait out the free agency period and wait for a Tanguay to fall into his lap? If the team misses the playoffs and he starts feeling the pressure do you really see him waiting til August or September to sign someone?

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#107 Ogden Brother
December 07 2009, 02:25PM
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Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach wrote:

Thing is look who spent money this year. Lots of teams that spent close to the cap last season, what makes you think the same won't happen again this year?

You could be right, but at the same time I won't hold my breath. These rich teams always seem to find a way to sign high priced free agents and they seem to get the second rate free agents for next to nothing.

Ya the big name guys will still get their $$ (though with the Savard signing all that's really left is Marleau/Kovalchuk)

However the mid range guys aren't always going to the rich teams.

ie Lang - Pheonix Tanguay to TB

I know the odds of Edmonton landing a top end star are slim to nill through UFA (regardless of how much cap room we have) ... (besides big name FA's are usually a rip off)

I'm more interested in adding depth and role players as FA's.

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#108 Ogden Brother
December 07 2009, 02:26PM
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Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach wrote:

And because I know what you will write back, I ask does Tambo wait out the free agency period and wait for a Tanguay to fall into his lap? If the team misses the playoffs and he starts feeling the pressure do you really see him waiting til August or September to sign someone?

I want him to sign role players and draft/trade for stars.

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#109 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
December 07 2009, 02:31PM
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@Ogden Brother

Depending how things go those role players by season end could come from within, but I agree if there is 2 or 3 spots to be filled at least sign 1 or 2 guys so that you at least have most of the spots filled.

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#110 TigerUnderGlass
December 07 2009, 02:36PM
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@Ogden Brother

That isn't the assumption at all. It is about flexibility.

The money could be spent on the FA market, but the more likely use of the money is in trade. It allows us to trade prospects for established players, or any number of deal types that cannot be accomplished when pressed against the cap.

I am not a strong believer in trying to build with free agents because often they are either playing for the money or they are playing to win. The first doesn't help you and the second isn't coming until you are already winning.

Cap space gives flexibility in many more ways than free agents. The team needs to rebuild and it needs to use every avenue out there. The draft, trade, and free agency. We get the draft for free, but our odds at success in the trade market and at free agency are improved greatly by getting into position to make the deals we want to make.

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#111 RossCreekNation
December 07 2009, 02:36PM
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@Ogden Brother

Thanks pal. Some pretty good stuff from you today too!

*love-in is over*

I like making fun of the Oilers drafting as much as the next guy, but clearly their biggest problem was the late 90's Fraser/Sather era (~that Glen Sather sure is a hockey genius~). KP had a couple hits & a couple misses. I like making fun of the fact they took Pouliot over Parise/Getzlaf/Perry/Richards et al, but its obvious many other missed the boat that year too. Drafing is an in-exact science and every team has their scar's & blemishes. We can't assess Stu MacGregor's work thus far, but it looks like he may right the ship.

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#112 TigerUnderGlass
December 07 2009, 02:38PM
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@Dan the Man

Thanks for the link.

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#113 Hemmertime
December 07 2009, 02:39PM
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The Oilers have one of the highest % of players drafted that end up playing in the NHL. The problem is they all were MacT checking players and not one superstar. Only recently we started drafting Boom or Bust - which is great. Id rather take 10 players that have a 20% chance of turning into a top 6 player than 10 players that have an 85% chance of playing bottom 6.

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#114 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
December 07 2009, 02:41PM
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@Hemmertime

Another reason is we could never sign anyone to play so we were forced to dress a lot more rookies then one would've liked. Didn't we dress like 6 or 8 a couple years back?

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#115 RossCreekNation
December 07 2009, 02:41PM
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@Hemmertime

How 'bout 5 of each? Balance, my friend, balance.

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#116 Ogden Brother
December 07 2009, 02:42PM
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TigerUnderGlass wrote:

That isn't the assumption at all. It is about flexibility.

The money could be spent on the FA market, but the more likely use of the money is in trade. It allows us to trade prospects for established players, or any number of deal types that cannot be accomplished when pressed against the cap.

I am not a strong believer in trying to build with free agents because often they are either playing for the money or they are playing to win. The first doesn't help you and the second isn't coming until you are already winning.

Cap space gives flexibility in many more ways than free agents. The team needs to rebuild and it needs to use every avenue out there. The draft, trade, and free agency. We get the draft for free, but our odds at success in the trade market and at free agency are improved greatly by getting into position to make the deals we want to make.

At this point, do we want to trade prospects for estabilished players?

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#117 Ogden Brother
December 07 2009, 02:46PM
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Hemmertime wrote:

The Oilers have one of the highest % of players drafted that end up playing in the NHL. The problem is they all were MacT checking players and not one superstar. Only recently we started drafting Boom or Bust - which is great. Id rather take 10 players that have a 20% chance of turning into a top 6 player than 10 players that have an 85% chance of playing bottom 6.

Depends where we are drafting.

I remember in the summer when Gregor put up his blog about the Oilers not having a top 30 goals scorer for X amount of years (or whatever the parameters were)

everyone was crying about how we couldn't draft true stars so I went back and looked.

It was ridiculous how lop-side it was, something like 65% of the top goal scores were drafted top 3, 80% top 5 and 90% top 10 (all going off memory)... and since we rarely, if ever drafted that high....

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#118 TigerUnderGlass
December 07 2009, 02:49PM
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@Ogden Brother

No, but we might after we have established flexibility and a plan for building the team.

I mentioned that only as a possible example.

The point is all about flexibility. With it we have a lot of options, without it we have only the draft and tinker moves which are exactly why we are a bubble team every year.

The team should either be a contender or they should be flexible. If we are neither we are in trouble.

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#119 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
December 07 2009, 02:53PM
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@Ogden Brother

Maybe. If the established players are guys that are in their mid-20's to thirty, why not? On the other hand I wouldn't be making moves for guys like Whitney who are just about done.

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#120 RossCreekNation
December 07 2009, 02:57PM
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Dallas is a prime trade partner IMO. Souray or Visnovsky.

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#121 TigerUnderGlass
December 07 2009, 03:04PM
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Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach wrote:

Maybe. If the established players are guys that are in their mid-20's to thirty, why not? On the other hand I wouldn't be making moves for guys like Whitney who are just about done.

or RFAs from teams in cap trouble.

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#122 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
December 07 2009, 03:05PM
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@RossCreekNation

Yep I was thinking the samething, but they seem to have an unwillingness to trade anyone that teams would actually want.

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#123 TigerUnderGlass
December 07 2009, 03:06PM
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RossCreekNation wrote:

Dallas is a prime trade partner IMO. Souray or Visnovsky.

Who would you like to get back? They have a few options but I can't decide.

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#124 BarryS
December 07 2009, 03:08PM
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I wonder why any fan feels they are entitled to know what the long term plan team management has for running the team. Seems to me announced long term plans are more valuable to the opposition than the fans. Besides, why give yourself more pressure if things don't go according to plan. Seems running a currently losing operation on the ice, thought not on the leger sheet, is pressure enough.

As for getting a top player in a trade, would sure help if they wanted to come here. Anybody got sisters who are dating top players who might demand their boyfriends come play in Edmonton. Offering tons of money doesn't seem to be working.

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#125 RossCreekNation
December 07 2009, 03:11PM
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@TigerUnderGlass

I said earlier names like Ott, Niskanen, Grossman, Benn would be of interest. As well as a 1st rounder. As for an exact trade, not sure. If you're moving one of the big 2 D, then you need a young D back or another deal in the works. Something along player-pick-prospect would be the target. I say Dallas because I see a hole on the backend and because I could see that as a potential destination either player may accept.

James Neal is a pipedream.

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#126 Dan the Man
December 07 2009, 03:13PM
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RossCreekNation wrote:

Dallas is a prime trade partner IMO. Souray or Visnovsky.

In any deal with Dallas I'd love to get Ott back (I'd really love Neal but that's not going to happen) and probably Ivan Vishnevskiy too only for the reason that it would give us a D pairing of Visnovsky and Vishnevskiy.

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#127 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
December 07 2009, 03:14PM
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@RossCreekNation

I'd love Neal, but I doubt Dallas moves him.

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#128 Ogden Brother
December 07 2009, 03:15PM
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RossCreekNation wrote:

Dallas is a prime trade partner IMO. Souray or Visnovsky.

I'm thinking the Flyers might pull something stupid as well if they are still struggling in 30 games.

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#129 TigerUnderGlass
December 07 2009, 03:17PM
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@BarryS

Maybe it's just your age, but I wonder why you are so uncomfortable discussing anything more than 10 minutes in the future.

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#130 Ogden Brother
December 07 2009, 03:18PM
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RossCreekNation wrote:

Dallas is a prime trade partner IMO. Souray or Visnovsky.

I'm also pulling for a Cogs+pick(s) for Sharp in the summer.

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#131 RossCreekNation
December 07 2009, 03:18PM
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@Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

My hope would be that Jamie Benn & Niklas Grossman could be had. Then again, I don't know enough about them to say that with absolute certainty.

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#132 RossCreekNation
December 07 2009, 03:19PM
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@Ogden Brother

Would you settle for Byfuglien or Barker?

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#133 RossCreekNation
December 07 2009, 03:21PM
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Any love for a "Barret Jackman type"?

*awaits cableguy's response*

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#134 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
December 07 2009, 03:22PM
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@RossCreekNation

I wanted to do Grebs for Barker for a long time, but that won't happen now.

Brownlee likes Byfuglien, but I think he is overpaid and has Penner syndrome at times.

Think Ogden the original has a good one for Sharp.

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#135 Ogden Brother
December 07 2009, 03:22PM
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RossCreekNation wrote:

Would you settle for Byfuglien or Barker?

Maybe Cogs straight up for Buff (though I'm not sure if his luster would wear off quick given how the fan base reacted to Penner the last couple of years)

I would like Barker if one of our top 4 was gone in another deal.

Though I can't see Chicago trading either of those guys for Cogs as it would only save a million-ish vs 2 million on Sharp

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#136 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
December 07 2009, 03:23PM
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I still say we should think about taking Sopel to help out the Hawks right now. They need some tagging room maybe we help them now and they help us later. And if need be waive Sopel next year.

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#137 BarryS
December 07 2009, 03:26PM
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TigerUnderGlass wrote:

Maybe it's just your age, but I wonder why you are so uncomfortable discussing anything more than 10 minutes in the future.

Well, it seems to me the teams with a chance to make trading partners are those in the east who have cap or money problems. Flyers, Rangers, Sabres, maybe, or a Flordia team.

Dallas being our usual playoff opponient in round one or two, (in the distant past when we used to make the playoffs) are by the way the NHL thinks, unlikely at best to be trade partners. Teams like LA in our conference trades because we haven't played them in the playoffs since about when Gretzky played for us, might be wrong about the time, but it hasn't been often. I mean getting someone from the Hawks or the Stars, or the Flames is possible, but how likely?

So we trade with the conference team and the player we traded scores to knock us out of the playoffs, so we are not in the playoffs and don't have a top five draft pick either. Then do we shrug and say them's the breaks.

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#138 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
December 07 2009, 03:28PM
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@BarryS

Odds are we aren't playing Dallas in the first round of the playoffs for a few years at the very least.

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#139 RossCreekNation
December 07 2009, 03:29PM
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Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach wrote:

I still say we should think about taking Sopel to help out the Hawks right now. They need some tagging room maybe we help them now and they help us later. And if need be waive Sopel next year.

Not a bad thought (if such deals are in fact made).

*cough*Phoenix taking Jim Vandermeer for an 11 game rental of Brandon Prust to save a few bux last year*cough*

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#140 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
December 07 2009, 03:34PM
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@RossCreekNation

It's no different then the crap in the previous CBA that we pulled with Sather. Remember getting Leetch and Richter for younger players, then because those guys signed elsewhere we ended up with a 2nd rounder or something.

Question is what kind relation do we have with Chicago and are there any other teams that might think about doing this? Maybe one with more salary room for next year?

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#141 BarryS
December 07 2009, 03:34PM
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Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach wrote:

Odds are we aren't playing Dallas in the first round of the playoffs for a few years at the very least.

Don't do odds, but I admit the unlikelihood is slim. But are the last two games an aboration or was the month long injury streak the oboration that is the question time will answer.

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#142 TigerUnderGlass
December 07 2009, 03:36PM
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BarryS wrote:

Well, it seems to me the teams with a chance to make trading partners are those in the east who have cap or money problems. Flyers, Rangers, Sabres, maybe, or a Flordia team.

Dallas being our usual playoff opponient in round one or two, (in the distant past when we used to make the playoffs) are by the way the NHL thinks, unlikely at best to be trade partners. Teams like LA in our conference trades because we haven't played them in the playoffs since about when Gretzky played for us, might be wrong about the time, but it hasn't been often. I mean getting someone from the Hawks or the Stars, or the Flames is possible, but how likely?

So we trade with the conference team and the player we traded scores to knock us out of the playoffs, so we are not in the playoffs and don't have a top five draft pick either. Then do we shrug and say them's the breaks.

I am dying to find out on what planet you live on where this response is applicable to the conversation.

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#143 BarryS
December 07 2009, 03:39PM
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TigerUnderGlass wrote:

I am dying to find out on what planet you live on where this response is applicable to the conversation.

The planet were all the people thinking making trades within the conference are likely, live. Look back and see what percentage of players traded are traded in conference. Not very high, I expect.

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#144 TigerUnderGlass
December 07 2009, 03:44PM
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BarryS wrote:

The planet were all the people thinking making trades within the conference are likely, live. Look back and see what percentage of players traded are traded in conference. Not very high, I expect.

Repeating it does not make it more applicable.

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#145 Dan the Man
December 07 2009, 03:44PM
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BarryS wrote:

The planet were all the people thinking making trades within the conference are likely, live. Look back and see what percentage of players traded are traded in conference. Not very high, I expect.

The Oilers traded Brodziak to Minny over the summer. He's clearly not a game breaker but I'm pretty sure they are in our division.

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#146 Ogden Brother
December 07 2009, 03:46PM
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Another trade that might be possibly (though not sure if I like it)

Something centerd around Horcoff for Vclav

Edmonton is all about the cap hit

TB is all about the $$'s paid

Horc will be owed 26 million after this season

Vinny will be owed 75 million after this season

Vinny would only cost us a Robert Nilsson on the Cap

Horc would save them 3.5 million the first two years, 4 million the 3rd year 6 the 4th year and 7 million the 5th off their budget... You could like sign a decent player for that this summer.

Do they want to pay their soon to be (if not allready) to be their 2nd line center 10 million dollars?

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#147 BarryS
December 07 2009, 03:48PM
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Dan the Man wrote:

The Oilers traded Brodziak to Minny over the summer. He's clearly not a game breaker but I'm pretty sure they are in our division.

Is that the norm, or the exception that proves the rule. Any other examples out there?

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#148 RossCreekNation
December 07 2009, 03:50PM
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BarryS wrote:

The planet were all the people thinking making trades within the conference are likely, live. Look back and see what percentage of players traded are traded in conference. Not very high, I expect.

-Flames trade Fleury to Colorado for Regehr, Corbet, etc.

-Flames trade Derek Morris to Colorado for Chris Drury

-Flames trade Lombardi, et al to Phoenix for Jokinen

-Flames trade draft pick to San Jose for Kiprusoff

- Flames trade Joe Neiuwendyk to Dallas for Jarome Iginla

-Flames trade Oleg Saprykin & Denis Gauthier to Phoenix for Daymond Langkow

-Oilers trade Greene & Stoll to LA for Visnovsky

-Oilers trade Pronger to Ducks for Lupul, Smid +

-Oilers trade Torres to Columbus for Brule

-Oilers trade Tommy Salo to Colorado for Tom Gilbert

~No, teams never trade within the conference~

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#149 BarryS
December 07 2009, 03:52PM
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TigerUnderGlass wrote:

Repeating it does not make it more applicable.

You been watching hockey more than this year? Give a couple examples to show major trades made within conference even since the new CBA. Now I know my memory is failing, but I can't remember any. Even Daan the Man admits the trade with the Wild not a major one.

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#150 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
December 07 2009, 03:53PM
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@Ogden Brother

vclav= Vaclav Prospal, does it not?

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