UFA Options: Florida Panthers

Jonathan Willis
June 08 2009 09:30AM

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UFA Options is a continuing series that gives a brief run-down of the unrestricted free agent market this summer, team-by-team. Our next team for consideration is the Florida Panthers.

These are uncertain times for the Florida Panthers. Their general manager jumped ship to become head coach of the Montreal Canadiens; meaning that the Panthers will have their seventh G.M. in the past nine years. With the exception of Bryan Murray (1994-2000) no G.M. managed to occupy the position for three whole seasons.

It’s unfortunate timing for the Panthers; while Martin may not have been the best G.M. in the business not only is the entry draft coming up but Florida needs to make decisions on eight unrestricted free agents, including franchise cornerstone Jay Bouwmeester, who Martin elected not to trade at the deadline this past spring.

Richard Zednik

A fine two-way player most famous for surviving a horrific incident where his neck was sliced open by a skate, Zednik has seen his offensive game disappear since the lockout. While he still has a decent shot (and 17 goals to show for it this past season) he’s a limited playmaker and it’s anyone’s guess how his game would fare outside of the Southeast division. He hasn’t hit the 50 point mark since before the lockout and at this point is probably not suited to a top-six role on a competitive team.

Radek Dvorak

Much like Zednik, Dvorak is a former 30-goal scorer who hasn’t hit 50 points since the lockout. He had a 37-point season in St. Louis in 2006-07 and managed 36 points this past year, but at this stage in his career offense is not his primary contribution. Dvorak is a relatively cheap utility player; he’s still a fantastic skater and he’s also a very sharp positional player, so he can be used in a defensive role.

Ville Peltonen

Peltonen returned to the NHL after the lockout and has played three rather unheralded seasons with the Panthers. He’s another winger similar to Dvorak and Zednik; sharp positionally with some offensive ability but not quite enough to be a legitimate top-six option. He’s a rather streaky offensive player, going both hot and cold for long stretches of the season, but he isn’t a liability when he’s not scoring. A good, cheap option for some team’s lower line; particularly since he can move up the depth chart from time to time.

Jay Bouwmeester

There are a lot of people out there who don’t understand how difficult it is to start in the defensive zone. Here’s a look at the Panthers’ blue-line, ranked by the difference in total defensive zone faceoffs vs. offensive zone faceoffs. A positive number indicates more time in the defensive zone:

Bouwmeester: +180 Skrastins: +134 Cullimore: +56 Ballard: +33 McCabe: +13 Eminger: +4 Boynton: -4

Obviously, the Panthers started in their own zone a lot – not an uncommon occurrence among lousy teams. By way of contrast, the only Oilers’ players with numbers even close were Shawn Horcoff (+156) and Kyle Brodziak (+149) and the Oilers top-ranked defenseman in this category was Steve Staios (+29).

Bouwmeester is a complete player and a franchise talent; he doesn’t get nearly enough recognition for his tremendous defensive game and his offensive game isn’t half-bad either. He’s a great skater and a top passer, and if the workload were distributed a little more evenly he could see a rise in his offensive totals.

Nick Boynton

Given how sheltered Boynton was, he had an OK but not great season for the Panthers, and there were off-ice issues; in February he was suspended for three games by the team for “disciplinary reasons”. Supposedly this was the result of a run-in over ice-time with Panthers’ head coach Peter DeBoer. He’s a physical player who is prone to occasional undisciplined penalties, and his skating leaves something to be desired. Working in Boynton’s favour is that he is big, tough and has some offensive ability.

Karlis Skrastins

Jay Bouwmeester’s regular defense partner, Karlis Skrastins will never wow the world with his offensive ability, but he’s one of the better stay-at-home blueliners in the NHL. He finished 9th in the league with 171 blocked shots (the Oilers’ top player in this category was Steve Staios with 157) and while he isn’t a big hitter he’s as sharp in his own end as just about any player in the game. He would be a very good fit on a team looking for a defensive presence in their top-four.

Jassen Cullimore

The 2008 Norris Trophy candidate is a serviceable depth defenseman who has never used his imposing frame (6’5”, 220lbs) as effectively as he could. He bounced around for a bit before finding a home in Florida and the 36-year old may be near the end of the line at this point. Then again, there’s no reason why he couldn’t be considered for a #5-#7 role given his performance over the last two seasons.

Craig Anderson

Anderson has been one of the best backup goaltenders in the NHL since coming to Florida in 2006-07, and this year he finally managed to get into a significant number of games (31) and posted a comparable save percentage (.924) to his partner, one of the league’s best goaltenders (Tomas Vokoun, .926). It would be a bit of a risk to just hand over a starting job to him, but he would be a fine choice at this point to be a 1A goaltender in a tandem situation, and he might take over the starting role entirely.

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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 Mowzie
June 08 2009, 09:34AM
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Title- UFA Options: Edmonton Oilers= fail.

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#2 Jonathan Willis
June 08 2009, 09:36AM
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@ Mowzie:

Clearly I was drinking when I put it up.

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#3 OvenChicken8
June 08 2009, 09:42AM
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Jassen Cullimore The 2008 Norris Trophy candidate

What?!?!?!

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#4 Ogden Brother
June 08 2009, 09:46AM
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Always thought Boyton would be a decent addition, if we were willing to put up with the attitude.

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#5 DBO
June 08 2009, 09:47AM
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So looking at how good Bowmeester has been, i wonder what would make our team better?

Bowmeester and nilsson or Hossa and Cullimore

assuming of course that we would lose at least one of our dmen in either scenario for cap reasons (assume i guess it is Gilbert).

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#6 Ogden Brother
June 08 2009, 09:51AM
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DBO wrote:

So looking at how good Bowmeester has been, i wonder what would make our team better? Bowmeester and nilsson or Hossa and Cullimore assuming of course that we would lose at least one of our dmen in either scenario for cap reasons (assume i guess it is Gilbert).

Bows age has to make him the far more desirable pick up.

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#7 DBO
June 08 2009, 10:02AM
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But looking at our team needs, which option gives us the best chance of winning. because based on Cap issues, we can upgrade with one major player and the question becomes is it better to get a top LW or a top D.

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#8 Ogden Brother
June 08 2009, 10:11AM
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DBO wrote:

But looking at our team needs, which option gives us the best chance of winning. because based on Cap issues, we can upgrade with one major player and the question becomes is it better to get a top LW or a top D.

Depends, on the contract. I wouldn't be overly excited paying 30 year old Hossa 80 million over 10 years.

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#9 MattL
June 08 2009, 10:24AM
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I thought Zednik was going to Europe next year? KHL or SEL...

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#10 DBO
June 08 2009, 10:26AM
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Ogden brother: assuming the salary is the same (probably around $6.5 to $7 mill per). Bowmeesters age is a huge plus, but i guess i wonder if we need another offensive defenseman? If you could get Bowmeester and move Vishnovski, then maybe it is a slam dunk.

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#11 speeds
June 08 2009, 10:57AM
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The perceptions of age and maturity are interesting when it comes to NHL players/prospects, because of how different their arrival times are.

I think of Bouwmeester as a far more finished product than Gilbert, and that may be true. Yet Bouwmeester is younger than Gilbert.

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#12 Heazues
June 08 2009, 11:03AM
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DBO wrote:

but i guess i wonder if we need another offensive defenseman?

didnt the article say he was a defensive guy with decent offensive numbers? thats exactly what we need. personally though i would rather move souray than visnovsy. vissy has a comparable shot, but moves the puck better. i guess it would be a bit of a loss in the toughness dept. is j-bow physical? i really dont get to watch him play much.

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#13 Ogden Brother
June 08 2009, 11:28AM
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Heazues wrote:

DBO wrote: but i guess i wonder if we need another offensive defenseman? didnt the article say he was a defensive guy with decent offensive numbers? thats exactly what we need. personally though i would rather move souray than visnovsy. vissy has a comparable shot, but moves the puck better. i guess it would be a bit of a loss in the toughness dept. is j-bow physical? i really dont get to watch him play much.

Not that physical for his size, but he'd still be our 2nd most physical presence back there.

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#14 dyckster
June 08 2009, 11:28AM
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Souray out (as opposed to Visnovsky) with Bouwmeester would make more on ice sense.....IMHO of course. As was stated by @Heazues, Visnovsky has a cannon (although not the same caliber as Souray's) PLUS we could keep Kotalik who would add some PP prowess PLUS perhaps Bouwmeester's offensive talents would increase under a Quinn/Renney system. The cap +/- would be pretty much nil for either a Visnovsky OR Souray for Jbo theoretical swap.

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#15 Heazues
June 08 2009, 11:47AM
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dyckster wrote:

Visnovsky has a cannon (although not the same caliber as Souray’s)

lol, not many are at the calibre of souray's shot. but ya, vissy is comparable, and i would like to keep him if possible.

as for j-bow not being that physical for his size, makes me want to see someone in the smid/staios category being traded for some more size&grit. although i said before it made sense to lose staios and bring up peckham for physicality ( and contracts ) im not so sure it would fly anymore. (with j-bow that is) losing souray and staios, but bringing up peckham and signing bowmeester would be a lateral move IMO in the size/grit dept.

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#16 roughneck
June 08 2009, 11:49AM
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speeds wrote:

The perceptions of age and maturity are interesting when it comes to NHL players/prospects, because of how different their arrival times are. I think of Bouwmeester as a far more finished product than Gilbert, and that may be true. Yet Bouwmeester is younger than Gilbert.

Indeed.. in oilpatch vernacular... you have 12 years of experience or one year 12 times. Most of the latter become consultants ironically and incredibly.. but I digress.

Jbou is the grand prize of the UFAs and with his placement the dominos shall begin to fall for the rest of them. Those who belly up to the Jbou offering table and come up empty could potentially become the suitors for guys like souray or gilbert.

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#17 misfit
June 08 2009, 11:53AM
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Radek Dvorak was my favorite Oiler when he was here, but the only players I'd have interest among this group would be Bouwmeester (duh) and Anderson. Nick Boynton is a guy I'd stay as far away from as possible if I were an NHL GM.

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#18 Cam
June 08 2009, 12:01PM
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misfit wrote:

Radek Dvorak was my favorite Oiler when he was here, but the only players I’d have interest among this group would be Bouwmeester (duh) and Anderson. Nick Boynton is a guy I’d stay as far away from as possible if I were an NHL GM.

I agree with that. At this point the Oilers do not need poison in the dressing room. I wonder what Anderson would go for. I think Bouwmeester will command too many dollars for it tomake sense for the Oil but if they managed to unload Souray it might work out.

Although I hate the idea of losing Big Sexy.

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#19 Heazues
June 08 2009, 12:05PM
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@brownlee or JW

do you guys think it would be worth it to flip souray and maybe nilsson or penner to florida for horton AND the rights to bowmeester?

florida knows they wont be signing j-bow so as far as they are concerned they are replacing the "stud" D-man and all they are giving up is horton.

this clears up some cap space, and then the oil get to make a decision. sign j-bow (if they can) and either flip him for a real 1st line center/LW and keep visnovsky,gilbert,grebs,staios,smid and peckham (very small D though)

OR

they can keep bowmeester and send either gilbert or grebs along with another forward to try to secure that 1st line guy.

man im glad i dont have tambellini's job.

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#20 Chris
June 08 2009, 12:18PM
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I like Craig Anderson. At 6'2" he is big in net without looking clumsy... Plays a pretty standard butterfly style really well, and with his experience would be a nice upgrade on JDD. I read somewhere (maybe on the sportsnet page) that he lacks the "consistancy" to be a true number one... I'm not so sure about that, given the fact that "Andy" is only 28 (still young for a goalie), posted a good save percentage last season over a 30+ game period, and has been well above .900 for most of his AHL and NHL career. Last season he went 15-7-5 on a Panther squad that tiers comparably to the Oilers.

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#21 Ogden Brother
June 08 2009, 12:25PM
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Chris wrote:

I like Craig Anderson. At 6′2″ he is big in net without looking clumsy… Plays a pretty standard butterfly style really well, and with his experience would be a nice upgrade on JDD. I read somewhere (maybe on the sportsnet page) that he lacks the “consistancy” to be a true number one… I’m not so sure about that, given the fact that “Andy” is only 28 (still young for a goalie), posted a good save percentage last season over a 30+ game period, and has been well above .900 for most of his AHL and NHL career. Last season he went 15-7-5 on a Panther squad that tiers comparably to the Oilers.

I'd be pumped for Anderson... but on the flip side, does Florida decide to save some $$$ and go with Anderson as their starter... Gilbert for Vokoun? (to replace Bow)

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#22 Curious
June 08 2009, 12:37PM
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You just cant sign the best free agent available this year (Boumeister) and then trade him for a forward. Boumeister is a great defenceman but he is not coming here. He doesnt fit the cap space, he doesnt fit what you need now. He will stay in the east.

Last year the defence missed the shut down, physical player. Skrastins is the guy we should be considering here. He would pair up nicely in our top 4 and probably would be quite affordable.

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#23 Cam
June 08 2009, 01:00PM
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You don't sign free agents and then flip them straight away. That's ethically poor behaviour and would ensure that no more free agents sign here.

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#24 Chris
June 08 2009, 01:20PM
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I know this doesn't relate to Florida UFA's...

If Vancouver loses the Sedin's there are two things I see happening: 1) Gillis tries to extend Luongo immediately. 2) Gillis goes hunting for some top six forwards. If these two events occuur why not pursue Cory Schneider? I think he's been the AHL goalie of the year, has posted save percentages in the high .930's, and by many accounts will be ready to start in the NHL sooner, rather than later. It may be possible to unload some salary (Nilsson or O'Sullivan) while simultaneously addressing the long-term future in net. (A lot of what if's... but it's another slow news day)

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#25 Ogden Brother
June 08 2009, 01:25PM
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Chris wrote:

I know this doesn’t relate to Florida UFA’s… If Vancouver loses the Sedin’s there are two things I see happening: 1) Gillis tries to extend Luongo immediately. 2) Gillis goes hunting for some top six forwards. If these two events occuur why not pursue Cory Schneider? I think he’s been the AHL goalie of the year, has posted save percentages in the high .930’s, and by many accounts will be ready to start in the NHL sooner, rather than later. It may be possible to unload some salary (Nilsson or O’Sullivan) while simultaneously addressing the long-term future in net. (A lot of what if’s… but it’s another slow news day)

I like the idea, not sure Van/Oil would make a trade of that magnitude though. I believe they've only traded once and it was spare parts.

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#26 Chris
June 08 2009, 01:28PM
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Curious wrote:

Last year the defence missed the shut down, physical player. Skrastins is the guy we should be considering here.

Ah, Skrastins, the younger, friendlier, more talanted Ulanov. Can't say I completely disagree, but it would be nice if he had a bit more of a mean streak. (Like Ulanov)

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#27 Chris
June 08 2009, 01:30PM
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Ogden Brother wrote:

I like the idea, not sure Van/Oil would make a trade of that magnitude though.

Tambellini may be the man to change all that.

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#28 Boris
June 08 2009, 01:43PM
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I am not sure why we would spend the required money on Bow, we have a pretty good D right now and if we move Gilbert for a top 6 forward then we bring up Peckham. Maybe if we didn't have a 5.5 million dollar cap hit second line center.....

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#29 alphah.
June 08 2009, 01:49PM
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if there is any chance of Bouwmeester, its worth moving earth to fit him in. I feel confident that Lowe would never make that move. "we are set on defence, no room for bouwmeester, no point" .

Will tambellini? i still think no. Seems like a Mike Gillis or Brian Burke move though.

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#30 Curious
June 08 2009, 01:51PM
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Nastier and meaner version would be desireable, however he is closer to the type of player we need and can afford. Boumeister is nothing more then a wet dream for us.

There are lots of options to consider in goal and fun scenarios to explore. I doubt the Vancouver scenario you propose is one though...

@ Chris:

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#31 Ogden Brother
June 08 2009, 02:06PM
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Chris wrote:

Ogden Brother wrote: I like the idea, not sure Van/Oil would make a trade of that magnitude though. Tambellini may be the man to change all that.

I don't know if it's GM dependant as much as it is rivalry dependant. Can't see us making an impact trade with Calgary either, regardless of who's making the calls.

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#32 Bar Qu
June 08 2009, 02:12PM
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Boris wrote:

I am not sure why we would spend the required money on Bow, we have a pretty good D right now and if we move Gilbert for a top 6 forward then we bring up Peckham. Maybe if we didn’t have a 5.5 million dollar cap hit second line center…..

That's pretty good for a day at Oilersnation - 28th comment before hitting the non-sequitor Horcoff slam.

Dumkopf

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#33 Chris
June 08 2009, 02:13PM
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@ Curious:

I agree with you regarding J-Bow. He's just going to be too exensive for a cap cuffed Oiler team that already has more holes than colander.

As for Schneider... Gillis would be crazy to move him. He's going to be real good.

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#34 DBO
June 08 2009, 03:18PM
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not on topic, but Marty Reasoner signed to a multi year deal with Atlanta. no details yet. Funny that e would help a few things we need.

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#35 DBO
June 08 2009, 03:20PM
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Oh yeah, and mirtle is reporting Emery will sign a one year $1.5 mill deal with Philly. Can't be anounced till July 1st

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#36 Boris
June 08 2009, 03:31PM
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@ Bar Qu: I only speak the truth...

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#37 Chris
June 08 2009, 04:45PM
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Oh man it's a slow day here so I cruised over to the Oilfans speculation site... and I'm remembering why I quit going there in the first place:

Jakey- To Dallas: Nilsson (add Schremp if need be) and the 10th pick. To Edmonton: the eighth overall pick.

*I read this rolling my eyes...chuckling a little inside...expecting to read others explain to Jakey why it takes more than a 2 million dollar 9 goal scoring bust and an marginal AHL player to move UP in the draft*

But amazingly this is a sampling of the responses:

LumberingD- Couldn't we get more for either of those players than a two spot move?

Oilermeister- I don't think it's worth wasting Nilsson and Schremp to move up two spots....I think it's really splitting hairs at eight to ten in any draft... blah blah blah.

Of course then Bigred75 says we should bundle up our tenth and Cogliano for one of Tavarres, Hedman, or Duschene.

AAAAUUGHHHH. How do you even begin to reason with that kind of stupidity. Hey Austin; Have I ever found a site for you!

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#38 Ogden Brother
June 08 2009, 04:57PM
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Chris wrote:

Oh man it’s a slow day here so I cruised over to the Oilfans speculation site… and I’m remembering why I quit going there in the first place: Jakey- To Dallas: Nilsson (add Schremp if need be) and the 10th pick. To Edmonton: the eighth overall pick. *I read this rolling my eyes…chuckling a little inside…expecting to read others explain to Jakey why it takes more than a 2 million dollar 9 goal scoring bust and an marginal AHL player to move UP in the draft* But amazingly this is a sampling of the responses: LumberingD- Couldn’t we get more for either of those players than a two spot move? Oilermeister- I don’t think it’s worth wasting Nilsson and Schremp to move up two spots….I think it’s really splitting hairs at eight to ten in any draft… blah blah blah. Of course then Bigred75 says we should bundle up our tenth and Cogliano for one of Tavarres, Hedman, or Duschene. AAAAUUGHHHH. How do you even begin to reason with that kind of stupidity. Hey Austin; Have I ever found a site for you!

I thought Chris was your alter ego?

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#39 Ogden Brother
June 08 2009, 04:57PM
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Ogden Brother wrote:

Chris wrote: Oh man it’s a slow day here so I cruised over to the Oilfans speculation site… and I’m remembering why I quit going there in the first place: Jakey- To Dallas: Nilsson (add Schremp if need be) and the 10th pick. To Edmonton: the eighth overall pick. *I read this rolling my eyes…chuckling a little inside…expecting to read others explain to Jakey why it takes more than a 2 million dollar 9 goal scoring bust and an marginal AHL player to move UP in the draft* But amazingly this is a sampling of the responses: LumberingD- Couldn’t we get more for either of those players than a two spot move? Oilermeister- I don’t think it’s worth wasting Nilsson and Schremp to move up two spots….I think it’s really splitting hairs at eight to ten in any draft… blah blah blah. Of course then Bigred75 says we should bundle up our tenth and Cogliano for one of Tavarres, Hedman, or Duschene. AAAAUUGHHHH. How do you even begin to reason with that kind of stupidity. Hey Austin; Have I ever found a site for you! I thought Chris was your alter ego?

Oops, meant Austin.

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#40 Chris
June 08 2009, 05:06PM
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@ Ogden Brother:

Looks like it's just the two of us... say something stupid so I can vehemently disagree with you.

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#41 Chris
June 08 2009, 05:10PM
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@ Ogden Brother:

Oh and... I'm pretty sure you are joking... but if anyone else reads this I'd like to be pretty clear about one thing: I'm not Austin... and have never agreed with anything he ever said.

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#42 Jolene L Fendelet
June 08 2009, 05:14PM
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ok well i dont really like the souray talk he said he didnt talk about a trade i dont think we would trade him or viny.. Person i want traded Nilson and Penner. would be a nice fit to ger devorac back He is a good player him and Hemsky play good together. Souray would be to big of a loss same for vinny. Staios i could see might be going.

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#43 Ogden Brother
June 08 2009, 05:20PM
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Chris wrote:

@ Ogden Brother: Looks like it’s just the two of us… say something stupid so I can vehemently disagree with you.

Horcoff is a 7 million 2nd line center?

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#44 Ogden Brother
June 08 2009, 05:21PM
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Chris wrote:

@ Ogden Brother: Oh and… I’m pretty sure you are joking… but if anyone else reads this I’d like to be pretty clear about one thing: I’m not Austin… and have never agreed with anything he ever said.

Haha, one day you both had identical posts under each of your handles at the same time ;)

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#45 Heazues
June 08 2009, 05:24PM
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Curious wrote:

You just cant sign the best free agent available this year (Boumeister) and then trade him for a forward. Boumeister is a great defenceman but he is not coming here. He doesnt fit the cap space, he doesnt fit what you need now. He will stay in the east. Last year the defence missed the shut down, physical player. Skrastins is the guy we should be considering here. He would pair up nicely in our top 4 and probably would be quite affordable.

lol, i spoke in error. i meant to trade for his rights, and if they can sign him ( and want to keep him ) they can do that. OR they can use his rights to help sweeten a trade for the forward.

but your point that he isnt coming here is kind of what i meant. IF they can sign him and keep him, great. if not, they can still trade those rights.

Cam wrote:

You don’t sign free agents and then flip them straight away. That’s ethically poor behaviour and would ensure that no more free agents sign here.

trading a guy then trading him again happens all the time. if they were able to sign him via free agency (no trade involved) i would agree, thats just a dick move. but again, i spoke in error. i meant trade his rights if you cant sign him.

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#46 Jonathan Willis
June 08 2009, 05:24PM
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Random question, since we seem to be at the random stage of the comments section ;)

Do you guys prefer the changes I've made to the UFA posts? Before I was including a ton of statistical stuff; now I just look at it, the scouting reports and toss everything together. Do you like it better with more numbers or the current, looser, format?

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#47 Heazues
June 08 2009, 05:28PM
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i like this current format.

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#48 Ogden Brother
June 08 2009, 05:36PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Random question, since we seem to be at the random stage of the comments section Do you guys prefer the changes I’ve made to the UFA posts? Before I was including a ton of statistical stuff; now I just look at it, the scouting reports and toss everything together. Do you like it better with more numbers or the current, looser, format?

*Pounds table with fork*

Numbers numbers numbers

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#49 smytty777
June 08 2009, 05:40PM
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@ Jonathan Willis: I prefer this format, I think the scouting report style is more familiar to people and if someone wants more detailed information they can either ask you or look it up themselves.

Great series, btw I've enjoyed the rundown so far. If J-Bo comes to Edmonton I will anoint Tambo as a managerial god, unfortunately I can't see it happening. Is Skrastins really that good or was he just riding J-Bo to advanced statistical glory (I'm assuming his box cars are not great).

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#50 Austin Ayala
June 08 2009, 06:24PM
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I would trade for Bouwmeester's rights for one of the younger guys on the team. I'd probably trade Chorney or Petry to Florida for his rights and try my best to sign him.

Then I'd have to look into trading on of Visnovsky or Souray for a top 6 forward and get rid of all the deadweight in the lineup. I wouldn't mind seeing an Oiler lineup that did not include MA Pouliot, Robert Nilsson, Dustin Penner or Ryan Potulny. That group of forwards would give a pretty decent return; say Pouliot to the Penguins and reunite the Crosby-Pouliot duo. Potulny for a 4th rounder and use that pick to draft a project goaltender (5-6 years of development). Trade Nilsson for a pick. Trade the pick you receive in that trade and a 2nd rounder for Josh Harding.

I would personally like to flip Penner for Malone or Hartnell... but that just won't happen. Don't know what to do with him.

OPTIONS FOR SOURAY & VIS

Souray and Visnovsky would probably yield a second line forward pretty easy.

Buffalo could probably use a stud on the blueline since Jaro Spacek (UFA) is their #1 scoring defenseman at the moment. Problem is they're already at $46 million with a lot of RFA's & UFA's to sign. The Oilers would have to take a bad contract right back. Here's something that may work:

To Edmonton: Drew Stafford (RFA - Probably around $4 million/ year), Paul Gaustad ($2.5 million)

To Buffalo: Lubomir Visnovsky ($5.6 million) or Sheldon Souray ($5.4 million)

Post trade:

Stafford Horcoff Hemsky O'Sullivan Gagner Cogliano Moreau Gaustad Pisani Stortini Brodziak Brule

Bouwmeester Gilbert Grebeshkov Souray/Visnovsky Smid Peckham/Strudwick

Harding Drouin-Deslaurier

That's a pretty good start. The lineup still needs some size but the addition of Gaustad adds grit to the checking line. Stafford plays a power game that a little reminiscent of Ryan Smyth so he should develop some chemistry with

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