April 23 2009 10:13AM
There's a lot going on in the sporting world, but for the first time in a long time changes are happening within the Oilers. Coaching and managerial moves are more enticing to fans than player moves right now.
If you have any questions for Jason, email him!
Do we not owe our first round pick to the Ducks, or have we paid that nasty debt last season? —Nathan
Nate, the Ducks already got all three of their picks for the Dustin Penner signing last summer. They were the 12th, 43rd and 73rd picks. The Ducks ended up trading down last summer and took Jake Gardiner with the 17th pick, then they took Justin Schultz with the 43rd pick, and then the Islanders ended up with the 73rd pick taking Kirill Petrov.
While many doubt Penner will ever live up to his contract, if any of those players pan out then the signing looks even worse.
Gregor, what are the Oilers going to do with Roloson. Is he coming back? —Alan on the southside
Right now I think it is doubtful. It sounds like Roloson wants a two-year deal, and there is NO chance the Oilers will sign him for two years. If he would agree to a one-year contract I could see them coming to an agreement, but right now Roloson and his agent are looking for a two-year pact.
The risk, along with the inevitable decline in salary cap for the 2010/11 season, won’t allow the Oilers to sign him. I was told straight out by an agent that a two-year deal for Roloson in Edmonton WON'T happen.
I said in February that financially the Oilers can’t afford him for two years, not to mention the risk involved if age does catch up to him next year.
Here are some options that they could sign for two-year deals, that would be cheaper and a less of a risk, age wise.
Scott Clemmensen -- he made $500,000 last year. You could probably sign him for $1.2-$1.5 million a year.
Ty Conklin – he made under a million this past year and with Jimmy Howard ready in Detroit you could get him for the same money as Clemmensen if not less.
Craig Anderson – he put up some good numbers at the start of the year in Florida. He made $575,000 last year and considering he wasn’t the starter he can’t be expecting more than a million.
Other options would be Gerber, Biron (probably too expensive), Niittymaki, Legace and possibly Khabibulin.
I keep hearing that the Hawks are very interested in Roloson for next year, even though they've signed Huet to big dollars. The Flyers will also be looking for a goalie, and since their window of opportunity to win is in the next two years they could take a run at the Colossal Fossil as well.
You keep saying Cogliano can’t play the wing. Why? —Peter D
Do you remember in the 2007/08 season when Pisani was diagnosed with Colitis? They tried Cogliano on the wing and he was lost out there. Learning a new position is harder for some players than other, just ask Erik "I can’t score in the playoffs" Cole.
It has become clear for Cogliano that he might not have a choice if he doesn’t improve in the face-off dot. If he can become even a 46-48% in the dot they will be happy, but if not, then he will have to move to the wing. Cogliano will improve in the dot because of experience and the natural strength he will add in the upcoming years. The problem for him is that he will have to show signs of improvement next year, because the new coach can’t afford to have him 37% in the dot next year.
I have heard many names tossed around for the next Oilers head coach. Who do you think will get it? —Allison
***Gregor side note: we are starting to get more girls on the site. Yesssss!Steve Tambellini is not one to share his thoughts a whole bunch, but I do know that he wants a coach who will be a hard-ass. The next coach will demand accountability from all of his players, not just the young ones.
It became ridiculously obvious this past year that certain players had more leeway with MacTavish than others. He isn’t the first coach to have positive or negative biases towards players, but it became too apparent this past season. Some could do no wrong: Horcoff, Gagner, Moreau, Staios and Reddox were the most glaring cases.
The next head coach naturally won’t have that much of a bias at the start, but he will find players he trusts and relies on more than others.
One of Ken Hitchcock’s philosophies is, “To get the best players on my side and have them be the messengers within the room.”
Right now I don’t know who are the clear-cut best five players on the Oilers. Souray, Hemsky and Visnvosky are the obvious three, so I would expect the coach to demand lots out of those three and go from there. He has to have a good relationship with his captain, and if Moreau returns next year, you can expect to see him play as disciplined as he did after returning from his eye injury.
Pat Quinn has a presence about him that would command respect, and while he's a players coach, if you get on his bad side he will let you have it.
Brent Sutter demands a lot out of his players, and if he becomes available he is at the top of the list, although I’m hearing the chance of that happening is pretty slim.
Tom Renney is not a hard-ass according to one of his former players. He is very good at teaching and systems. He is always prepared and makes sure his team is as well.
Marc Crawford gets mixed reviews. A player who had him in LA said he wasn’t good at communicating, while a former player in Colorado said he was fiery and really held his players accountable. It's interesting that a player from a winning team spoke highly of him, yet the LA player, who lost most of the time, didn’t give a positive report. He is in the mix, but my gut says he won’t be the guy.
I honestly can’t get a good read on who is the main front runner at this point. I could give a list of who I think will be the next coach, but at this point it would honestly be a guess. Tambellini keeps things so close to the vest that even some guys within the organization don’t know which way he is leaning. I will say don’t expect an announcement anytime soon.
What is happening with our assistant coaches? Will any of them be returning? —Gerard Leigh
Tambellini won’t force his new coach to inherit any assistant coaches. He will be able to pick his whole staff. Pete Peeters could stay because goalie coaches have a very specific role and they don’t travel with the team all of the time, so chemistry isn’t as important.
Kelly Buchberger seems the most likely to stick around in come capacity. When MacTavish gets a new job, I wouldn’t be surprised if Charlie Huddy goes with him, while Billy Moores will probably become a free agent.
Tambellini just got back from the under-18s and will be having meetings with the assistants either this week or next. Will they have a presser to announce what is happening? Possibly, but not a guarantee, and it seems less likely that MacTavish will pull a Carbonneau and have a presser of his own a few weeks after getting fired.
MacTavish was never one who liked to talk about himself, so I doubt he is eager to hold his own presser.