DAZED AND CONFUSED IN OILERSNATION

Jason Gregor
October 05 2010 11:35PM

How can you not enjoy the independent state of Kate Moss? I really like her hat in this photo. (Yes she is wearing a hat). If you are confused that I would mention her hat, now you know how I feel about the state of Oilersnation right now. A lot of things have me perplexed.

Liam Reddox was put on waivers yesterday, and you would have thought Oiler fans had just seen Tom Renney kick Ryan Smyth to the curb. Reddox was a favourite whipping boy during Craig Mactavish's reign, because Reddox spent a whopping one and a half games on the top line. Two years later and Edmonton's new favourite "Ginger" is being remembered as some sort of hero for the working class.

Reddox worked his butt off on every shift. He gave you everything he had, and it seems he had become the "Rudy" of the Oilers in the eyes of many fans. He was also a buck eighty soaking wet, and while he never shied away from contact he wasn't going to wear down the opposition.

Reddox went from the whippinghouse to the penthouse without actually doing anything at the NHL level. I can understand why fans would want to cheer for him, but was he going to make the Oilers any better?

Is he any better than they guy who beat him out, Ryan Jones? I'd suggest he isn't. He might work harder, but even with a better work ethic he won't produce more. He won't wear down the defence and he hasn't put up as many points as Jones to this point. Jones has 15 goals and 29 points in 95 games, while Reddox has five goals and 14 points in 56 games. And Jones is more annoying to play against, because he gets in the face of the opposition, and the Oilers need that.

The most frustrating part for Reddox might be that at the draft in 2004 he was chosen 112th overall by the Oilers, and Jones went one pick ahead of him 111th to the Wild, and now six years later Jones edges him out again by the smallest of margins. I wish Reddox well, and since he wasn't claimed on waivers we could see him at some point this year, but longterm I don't see him as an answer to the rebuild.

With all they hype surrounding the kids, did people forget that this team still needs to get bigger. Their top nine forwards include one veteran, Dustin Penner and two kids, Taylor Hall and Magnus Paajarvi, over six feet. Renney needs some size on his fourth line, and Jones has more than Reddox. Jones hasn't shown much in his brief stint as an Oiler, but I'd go with him ahead of Reddox. Remember Reddox couldn't crack the lineup on a team that finished 30th last season, and that is why I'd be surprised if anyone claims Jeff Deslauriers on waivers if he gets sent down.

OILERS TO REDWINGS??? REALLY!!!

I'm all for comparisons, but suggesting the Oilers follow in the footsteps of Ken Holland and his Red Wings is unrealistic. Their starting points are completely different. Let's look at the Wings under Holland's reign.

  • Holland was named GM of the Wings on July 18th, 1997 after serving as assistant GM for the previous three seasons. The Wings won the Cup in 1997, so Holland became GM as the defending Stanley Cup champion.
     
  • In his first year he replaced Tim Taylor, Tomas Sandstrom, Jamie Pushor, Larry Murphy, Mike Vernon and Vladimir Konstantinov ( car accident), with Brent Gilchrist, Mike Knuble (who had played year before but didn't get name on Cup), Dmitri Mironov, Jamie Macoun, Anders Eriksson and moved Chris Osgood to starter. Not real impact moves when you consider he had Steve Yzerman, Nick Lidstrom, Brendan Shanahan, Igor Larionov, Martin Lapointe, Tomas Holmstrom, Kris Draper, Viacheslav Fetisov, Bob Rouse and other veterans.
     
  • During his tenure the Wings have spent more money than every NHL team, except the New York Rangers. 
     
  • Holland never had to rush his young prospects, because none were ready to play at 18, not to mention that the Red Wings could always sign a UFA in the summer, or trade for any big ticket they wanted up until the lockout. It is easy to develop the kids at lower levels, when you can fill out a roster with more experienced and better players.
     
  • And these players he gets applauded for developing, Zetterberg, Datsyuk, Franzen all developed in Europe against men. Unless you only draft Europeans this doesn't apply to North American players. Franzen, who came to the NHL at 26, is heralded as a great signing, despite having only one season of 40+ points thus far. If he was making $3.9 million/year in Edmonton for the next ten years and had only one 40+ point season, I doubt Oiler fans would be drooling over him. Plus he plays with Zetterberg and Datsyuk and they make him a better player.
     
  • The Wings have drafted one player in the top 20, Jacub Kindl, in the past nineteen years, so they haven't had to decide whether a player was ready to play or not at 18. Very few picks outside the top twenty make the jump to the NHL with any sort of impact.
     
  • Holland hasn't had to worry about ELCs during his tenure until post lockout. Since the 2005 draft, only two Wings' draft picks have played more than ten games for them in the NHL. Darren Helm has 25 points, and has four years until becoming a UFA. Justin Adbelkader has six points and four years until free agency. Jacob Kindl might play this year on the backend. The Wings are still winning with players from pre-lockout, and signing veterans to fill spots around their stars. When you have great players, there is no urgency or need to bring in kids.

I'm not suggesting Holland isn't a brilliant hockey mind, but he inherited a great position and has maintained his standing. I give him credit for staying at the top, but he has never had to build up an organization, so suggesting the Oilers follow his model of developing players slowly isn't a fair comparison. He was able to bring his young players along slowly pre-lockout  because he had a great team and there was no need, or room, to bring the young guys in.

He also has had the luxury of having great players throughout his tenure, and great players will always make coaches and managers look better. Very few GMs are responsible for making players great. They might give them a better chance to succeed, but ultimately the great ones are great because of their own ability and hard work.

I don't think anyone suggests that George McPhee has had something to do with Ovechkin's ability.

 HALL TO JUNIOR, WILL IT HELP?

Reader, Dawgbone, suggested it would benefit the Oilers to send Taylor Hall to junior and Magnus Paajarvi to the minors to delay the start of their ELC, and put the Oilers in a better financial position in four years when they should be a Cup contender.

"I don't have proof, I have an opinion. Hall should be better prepared to be a rookie in the NHL at 20 than he should at 18, which would give the Oilers a longer window to assemble the players necessary to make a run for the cup while Hall is on his ELC."

"And are you suggesting they (Kane and Toews) wouldn't have been dominant stars last year with an additional year before they hit the NHL? Is there any evidence that suggests this? Again, there's the whole 2003 draft class that suggests it's not a bad developmental move."

"I'm suggesting they should be looking at this like an opportunity to compete for a cup in 3 years time. They should be planning on competing for the cup at that point in time. That means doing things like not letting players burn ELC's and looking to make moves that will allow the team to add the players they need over the next couple of years. There is no reason why a team in a cap environment can't turn their franchise around in 3 years, especially with the crop of young talent the Oilers have."

Interesting points, so let's look at them a bit closer.

I don't know any team that has turned things around in three years to become a realistic Cup contender, especially one that finished in 30th place the previous year. The Hawks' turn around has to be traced back to 2002, when they drafted Duncan Keith and then Brent Seabrook the following season. Those two were major contributors, and unless you feel that Tom Gilbert and Ryan Whitney will be comparable in three seasons, I don't see how the Oilers become a Cup contender in three years.

When the ELCs of Hall, Paajarvi and Eberle expire in three years, that is when this team should look at becoming a legitimate contender. The next three years will be about becoming a playoff contender, and that is more likely to be the focus in a year or two.

I took the time to show evidence that another year of junior for elite players doesn't make them more NHL ready.

Let's look at the 2003 draft, like Dawgbone suggested, to see how much of a difference an extra year or two of development can help a player. Before we look at the results, keep in mind I have argued that the only way to adapt to the NHL game is to play it.

There are very few players, Crosby, Ovechkin, Doughty and Kane, who can make that jump seamlessly. If a player was born before Dec 1st, I listed him as a 19-year-old since he turned 19 very early in his rookie season. And remember there was no NHL during their second season so players had to play in junior, the AHL or Europe. It was the perfect scenario if you felt that players needed extra developing.

  • Eric Staal, drafted 2nd overall. He is an October birthday, so he played his rookie season at 19 and tallied 31 points. Due to the lockout he played in the AHL at 20 and then tallied 100 points at 21.
     
  • Nathan Horton, 3rd overall had 22 points as an 18-year-old, (he only played 55 games due to injury),  then 47 when he was 20 after one year in the AHL.
     
  • Nikolai Zherdev went 4th and had 34 points as 19-year-old, (Nov 5th) played in Russia during lockout and then tallied 54 when he was 21. 
     
  • Thomas Vanek went 5th overall, but was drafted at 19. He played a year in NCAA then one in the AHL before scoring 48 points as a 21-year-old rookie.
  • Milan Michalek went 6th overall but got injured in his 2nd NHL game in 2003. He came back in January and re-injured his knee in the minors. He did rehab the entire lockout year and then  tallied 35 points as a 20-year-old rookie. 
     
  • Andrei Kostitsyn went 10th to Montreal, played at 18 in Russia, then two years in the AHL (did play 22  NHL games at 20) and then scored 53 points as a 21-year-old rookie
     
  • Jeff Carter went 11th to Philly, and stayed in junior at 18, played in the AHL at 19 and tallied 42 points as a rookie 20-year-old.
  • Dustin Brown went 13th to the Kings, went straight to NHL at 19, but hurt his ankle in late November. He only scored five points in 31 games that year. He played in AHL during lockout and then scored 28 points when he was a 21-year-old rookie.

  • Zach Parise was drafted 17th and went to college at 19, then to the AHL at 20 and tallied 32 points as a 21-year-old rookie.
     
  • Ryan Getzlaf went 19th to the Ducks and spent the next two years in the WHL. He scored 39 points as an NHL rookie in 57 games. He started the year in the AHL and got recalled.
  • Ryan Kesler went 23rd to Vancouver and as a 19-year-old rookie he split his season between the Canucks (28GP) and the AHL (33 GP), at 20 he was in the AHL and debuted with 23 points as an NHL rookie at 21.
  • Mike Richards went 24th to Philly and played two years in the OHL and scored 24 points as a 20-year-old rookie.
  • Corey Perry went 28th to the Ducks and spent two years in the OHL. At 20 he debuted in the NHL and scored 25 points in 56 games. He also started the year in the AHL and got called up. 
I didn't bother using guys like Robert Nilsson, Steve Bernier, Hugh Jessiman, Marc Pouliot or Eric Fehr because if Hall or Paajarvi turn out like them then the Oilers re-build will take much longer. But none played until they were at least twenty, just to be fair. And injuries to Horton, Michalek and Brown make it tough to know exactly how it affected them, but injuries are part of the game and in most cases you can't prevent them.
 
***Please don't use Alex Ovechkin as an example, because if there wasn't a lockout he would have played as rookie, granted a 19-year-old one, but if Kane put up 72 points as a rookie, I'm confident in saying Ovechkin would have produced at least that and probably more.***
 
We will never know for sure if Eric Staal would have put up 100 points in his third season from the draft, if he hadn't played in the NHL two years earlier, but there is lots of evidence that states that first year of learning in the NHL helps guys become more productive in subsequent seasons.
 
Sending guys back to junior and/or the AHL for two years doesn't guarantee they will be more productive in their first NHL season, despite being two years older. It just delays their learning curve. The Oilers would delay the start of Hall's ELC, but they would also delay his productive year as well. Essentially they would just push it back a season or two.
 
If Hall and Paajarvi aren't here this year, I'm not sure how this team gets that much better in 2013/2014 which would be the final year of their entry level contract. I don't see the Oilers signing any big name free agents in that time, and how sure can we be that Sam Gagner, Gilbert Brule and Jordan Eberle will be bonafide stars, or really good support players by then.
 
The Oilers won't know, and neither will we. The Oilers could delay the progress of Hall, it was proven another year in junior won't make him more NHL ready, and hope they are a better team in the final year of his ELC, or they could develop the kids now and find out through their development what pieces Tambellini will need to surround them with.
 
I also don't see it being that easy to become a Cup contender in three years in a cap world. Signing big-name free-agents isn't a possibility for any bottom feeder team, so they will need to develop from within. And since the majority of high draft picks, who spend a year or two in junior/AHL, don't produce more at 20 than they would as 18-year-old rookies, I'm still uncertain how you can build a team around them, without having them actively involved.
 
I guess anything is possible, I just don't see how it can work.
 
And I don't buy the argument that Chicago is regretting playing Kane  and Toews when they were both 19 (Kane is a Nov birthday). They won the Cup with those two in their 3rd year, and while they had to shed a lot of players this summer, it is much too early to write them off as being a contender. They will remain a contender and a strong one for the next few years. The days of a dynasty are over, so if you can win a Cup, and stay competitive for many years, the management and their fans will be happy.
 
In a cap world, if you can get three or four really good to great players, then you pay them accordingly and fill in the pieces around them. Every team with the big stars will have a percieved weakness. The Hawks, Flyers, Capitals, Wings and Sharks have questions in net. The Penguins' secondary scoring is a concern, while the Bruins depth on the blueline is a marginal at best. The LA Kings are up and comers, but do they have enough scoring to compete? The Canucks seem to have no glaring weakness on paper, great top-six, solid blueline and Luongo, but do they have the mental toughness to outlast the Wings and Hawks?
 
If you want to delay the ELC for a year you can do that, but I don't see that getting you any closer to the Cup. I think it just delays, but not hinders, the development of the kids. And the other reality in sports is very few GMs on losing or developing teams have the luxury of delaying their chances of winning. If a GM doesn't win in his first few seasons, normally he is done. Don Waddell was an exception, and all he did was continually ruin the Thrashers.
 

FINAL THOUGHTS ON SOURAY

As of 11:30 p.m. Tuesday evening Sheldon Souray had yet to be traded, but Steve Tambellini is feverishly working the phones trying to make a deal. Tambellini told me and a few others that he will try to make a deal or he'll assign Souray to the minors before the the Oilers have to submit their 23-man roster on Wednesday.

I declared this the Summer of Steve once the season ended, and if he can somehow pull off a deal in the final hours, he will put an exclamation point on his summer. Tambellini has had a very good summer. He got rid of the guys he didn't want in Ethan Moreau, Patrick O'Sullivan, Marc Pouliot, Ryan Potulny, Aaron Johnson, Fernando Pisani and Robert Nilsson and all it cost him was a small buy out and Jim Vandermeer's overpriced contract, but much needed toughness and grit.

He replaced them with Hall, Paajarvi, Eberle, Kurtis Foster, Colin Fraser, Steve MacIntyre and Ryan Jones. I know Jones was technically here, but he only played eight games.

Now Tambellini is on the eve of ending a three-year relationship with Souray that didn't go as planned for either side. Souray was hurt for the majority of two seasons, and was the Oilers best player in the other year. Now he is a malcontent who wants out, but  he has realized that few teams want him at his existing salary.

I respect that Tambellini is standing his ground with Souray and refuses to have him around, but I don't think it will benefit the organization. Souray would be a top-two D-man on this team right now, but his attitude is what Tambellini can't stomach.

If he can pull off a trade by the roster deadline, and it doesn't involve taking on a horrible contract for longer than two years, then he'll deem it a successful trade regardless of which player and contract he eats in return. I won't, but I'm not privy to all that went on with Souray the past few seasons.

If Tambellini can't make a deal and assigns him to OKC, where he will most likely be loaned to a different team, then Tambellini loses in my mind. Souray becomes not just a diminishing asset, he becomes a negative asset, because either the Oilers pay him $4.5 million to play in the minors, or he gets recalled and they have to eat half of his cap hit and get nothing in return.

If Tambellini can orchestrate a trade, the Summer of Steve will look rather sunny, but if he has to assign Souray it will dampen what had been a pretty solid 178 days for Tambellini. 

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#152 chartleys
October 06 2010, 03:25PM
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The only positive I can see about the Souray debacle is that when the oilers start up the public arena funding debate, post election for obvious reasons, they may have a point:

If you run the franchise this poorly then you could, in fact, be losing money. (Above and beyond that attributable to the repayment of debt from the oiler's coffers to that of the Katz group at whatever privately negotiated rate agreed upon by Katz to Katz).

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#153 dawgbone
October 06 2010, 03:33PM
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VMR wrote:

It costs them if they havent figured out what they need to be a championship team by the time that one year you've saved by leaving them in the minors comes around.

Hemsky and Penner come up before the big 3 are Rfa's let alone Ufa's who can say they will still be here by the time these guys are looking at UFA status? No matter what you do there will be unexpected curves that come up and you are going to have to re-assess and reconfigure and bring in free agents and make trades. Having them here lets management see what they have, better assess their talent, and control their development.

Look at the flip side, what is gained by sending them away for a year? One year of contract before they become UFA. What's the chance that single year is going to be the season they have a shot at a championship and that they cant work out deals to fit them all under the cap long term?

It looks like you are playing long odds on a hypothetical. Why send them away to get one extra year 6 or 7 years down the road if they all turn out to be top line talent? I think the benefits to chemistry, development and the organizations ability to assess from having them around outweigh that slight benefit you are hoping to gain.

Hopefully by the time that year (or two) that we save now has rolled around we'll have a few more banners.

The point is not to try and win at the end of their 7 years but at the beginning and to carry through.

You are right that there will be unexpected curves and that things will have to be re-assessed. That doesn't mean you shouldn't have a plan in place. That doesn't mean the only solution is shoot first ask questions later.

Management can continue to assess their talent no matter where they play. That is why they have things like scouts and video. Controlling development is only good if you think that the NHL is the best place to develop players (if it is, send all the rookies there).

I have looked at the flipside. The benefit is that they don't have to pay Hall or Pajaarvi as soon.

Let's assume that after thier ELC's all guys live up to expectations and the sign similar deals for 7 years at $6mil per season.

By playing in the NHL now, Eberle, Hall and Pajaarvi will be making $6mil each in 2012-2013. That is $18 mil in cap space eaten up by 3 players 3 years from now. Their cap hit this year is $6.433 mil.

I'm not talking saving money one one of these guys 7 years down the road, I'm talking about opening a window of opporuntiy here. All 3 may be well worth the money they are paying, but each extra dollar you pay them takes away from the rest of your roster.

Here's a quick breakdown of what the Oilers could potentially be paying these 3 now and down the road (again this assumes they are all as advertised):

*Please let this format correctly*

No #04 3.75 3.75 3.75 6.0 6.0 6.0 #14 1.58 1.58 1.58 6.0 6.0 6.0 #91 1.52 1.52 1.52 6.0 6.0 6.0

Year 1-3 they cost 6.433 mil/season. Year 4-6 they cost $18.0 mil/season. Do we believe the Oilers will compete this year? No.

What I am targeting is year 3-5.

So what happens if we roll the contracts for #04 and #91 over a year?

No #04 0.00 3.75 3.75 3.75 6.0 6.0 6.0 #14 1.58 1.58 1.58 6.00 6.0 6.0 6.0 #91 0.00 1.52 1.52 1.52 6.0 6.0 6.0

Now we have:

Year 1 1.58, Year 2-3 6.433, Year 4 11.27 Year 5 18.00

The difference between 11.27 and 18.0 in year 4 is a hell of a hockey player.

Now, play Hall in the AHL next year:

#04 0.00 0.00 3.75 3.75 3.75 6.0 6.0 6.0 #14 1.58 1.58 1.58 6.00 6.00 6.0 #91 0.00 1.52 1.52 1.52 6.00 6.0 6.0

Year 1 1.58, Year 2 3.1, Year 3 6.433, Year 4 11.27, Year 5 15.75, Year 6 18.00

Year 4 is 6.73 mil and year 5 is 2.25 mil.

I'm not sure what you mean by I'm playing long odds on a hypothetical. The Oilers stand to lose almost nothing. Even if they don't win, these guys will still have plenty of time to develop chemistry with each other while the organization can assess them.

What the Oilers gain by this is significant cap space 4 and 5 years from now. I'm still unclear what they stand to lose by this.

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#155 dawgbone
October 06 2010, 03:49PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

I wasn't comparing Staal to Parise. I could have just used all the number one picks, which is what Hall is, and it would be easy to show that the majority adapt to the NHL.

Your original point was that Hall would be better, just because he was 20 and it is only an assumption. Nothing factual.

As for Keith and Seabrook, when you state that the Oilers wouldn't need guys that good, because their forwards might be better than Chicago's, that led me to believe you underestimated how good they were.

The Oiler forwards would have to be quite a bit better, to make up for the void of no Keith or Seabrook. Keith was just as good as Toews in Cup run. And top D are arguably more valuable because they spend so much time on the ice. Top nine minutes amongst forwards is much less than top two, and normally top four D-men. So Keith and Seabrook had more of an impact than the the bottom five forwards, and were arguably just as important as the top four Hawk forwards. That's why it seemed strange to downplay their importance.

And it doesn't make you better at 20. I agree. That was my point. Nothing shows that Hall would be better at 20 than at 18, so why wait. He was best player in the draft. No one debates that, so why wait? And what is there to say that waiting would make him or the Oilers better?

I know you weren't directly, they were just 2 names you brought up to support your case. I used them because their point totals were almost the exact same in their respective rookie seasons.

It is an assumption that has loads of historical evidence behind it.

Was Mike Richards a better player in the OHL at 19 than he was at 18?

Was Rob Schremp a better OHL player at 19 than he was at 18?

Was Corey Perry a better OHL player at 19 than he was at 18?

There are thousands of these I can list, but generally speaking players are better at 19 than they were at 18. Using that logic, wouldn't said player be better if he went into the NHL at 19 as opposed to 18?

I never underestimated the value of Keith & Seabrook. Quality defencemen mean a lot, but I tend to think they are rather over valued throughout hockey on the whole. A good forward group with an average defence can do a lot more than a good defence group can with an average forward group.

I'm not going to get into a discussion on defencemen and thier impact/value in the NHL because it's a completely different topic and I'm a firm believer that forwards drive results far more than defencemen do.

I'm not sure what your last comment is addressing. I just read my posts and don't recall saying anything of the sort.

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#156 dawgbone
October 06 2010, 03:52PM
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Chickenplucker wrote:

The history is if the player is deemed ready by the team to play in the NHL he plays, if not he doesn't.

Hall has been deemed ready to play in the NHL so he will. It is history.

Sure, doesn't mean they were right though.

Ultimately just because it was done before or always done doesn't mean it's the correct choice.

The argument that every #1 pick in the last xx years has played in the NHL at 18 assumes each and everyone of these players are at the same point in time, or that the teams who drafted them all had the same goals in mind.

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#157 Crash
October 06 2010, 04:30PM
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dawgbone wrote:

Sure, doesn't mean they were right though.

Ultimately just because it was done before or always done doesn't mean it's the correct choice.

The argument that every #1 pick in the last xx years has played in the NHL at 18 assumes each and everyone of these players are at the same point in time, or that the teams who drafted them all had the same goals in mind.

Doesn't mean they were wrong either.

Ultimately, just because you say it shouldn't be done doesn't mean you are correct either.

And I'll take the multiple different hockey minds that have made these decisions over the last 20 yrs as opposed to your opinion that these top picks should be back in junior.

The arguement that every #1 pick (forwards) in the last 20 yrs doesn't assume anything other than all of those teams that had the picks felt the player was ready to play in the NHL, so the player played in the NHL.

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#158 VMR
October 06 2010, 04:36PM
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The long odds are that you are going to find players to fit into you lineup for this extra cash you have available. You are overemphasizing the importance of the cap when we dont even know what the CBA will entail in the seasons that you are talking about. We have $13 million in cap space right now but no ability to bring in players that will make an impact. Look at teams like the Rangers, they have no problems managing the cap every year but they still cant build a cup contender.

What I'm saying is that player development, recruitment, and procurment is the priority. I believe that is best achieved by having these players here this year. I havent seen a solid reason to risk that process. You are putting the cart before the horse as the saying goes worrying about what to do about the cap when we dont know these players are going to be anywhere near $6 million per players in the future. If they are we might as a team be better off trading one of them for help in another area of the team that is a weakness. (Possibly defense or goaltending.) It'll be easier to do that if they are showcased at the NHL level.

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#159 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
October 06 2010, 05:08PM
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VMR wrote:

The long odds are that you are going to find players to fit into you lineup for this extra cash you have available. You are overemphasizing the importance of the cap when we dont even know what the CBA will entail in the seasons that you are talking about. We have $13 million in cap space right now but no ability to bring in players that will make an impact. Look at teams like the Rangers, they have no problems managing the cap every year but they still cant build a cup contender.

What I'm saying is that player development, recruitment, and procurment is the priority. I believe that is best achieved by having these players here this year. I havent seen a solid reason to risk that process. You are putting the cart before the horse as the saying goes worrying about what to do about the cap when we dont know these players are going to be anywhere near $6 million per players in the future. If they are we might as a team be better off trading one of them for help in another area of the team that is a weakness. (Possibly defense or goaltending.) It'll be easier to do that if they are showcased at the NHL level.

Good post, I was going to say the same thing. Dogbone's theory (and others) makes alot of sense... in well theory, but as you said, but probably isn't as practical.

Taking his exmaples where you have an extra 5-6-7 million in cap space for 1-2 years by staggering your contracts looks great, but will take alot of pieces to fall into place.

Take the Hawks from last year for example, they were getting 5+ million play out of Kane/Toews/Kieth for what? 6 million? and they were even able to take advantage of the situation, but signing Hossa. Problem is though, they weren't able to slid a nice tidy 1 year contract in there for Hossa... they had to go 13.

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#160 dawgbone
October 06 2010, 05:18PM
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Crash wrote:

Doesn't mean they were wrong either.

Ultimately, just because you say it shouldn't be done doesn't mean you are correct either.

And I'll take the multiple different hockey minds that have made these decisions over the last 20 yrs as opposed to your opinion that these top picks should be back in junior.

The arguement that every #1 pick (forwards) in the last 20 yrs doesn't assume anything other than all of those teams that had the picks felt the player was ready to play in the NHL, so the player played in the NHL.

How many of these hockey minds are still employed as GM's?

We've accepted this as common practice but that doesn't mean it's correct.

Everyone assumes that general managers have some grand insight that others lack. Have we not seen enough terrible decision making on this hockey club to at least question the status quo?

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#161 dawgbone
October 06 2010, 05:20PM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

Good post, I was going to say the same thing. Dogbone's theory (and others) makes alot of sense... in well theory, but as you said, but probably isn't as practical.

Taking his exmaples where you have an extra 5-6-7 million in cap space for 1-2 years by staggering your contracts looks great, but will take alot of pieces to fall into place.

Take the Hawks from last year for example, they were getting 5+ million play out of Kane/Toews/Kieth for what? 6 million? and they were even able to take advantage of the situation, but signing Hossa. Problem is though, they weren't able to slid a nice tidy 1 year contract in there for Hossa... they had to go 13.

Even if you can't, having the flexibility to do it has cost you absolutly nothing.

Not having the flexibility though can be extremely costly.

I'd rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it.

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#162 dawgbone
October 06 2010, 05:29PM
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VMR wrote:

The long odds are that you are going to find players to fit into you lineup for this extra cash you have available. You are overemphasizing the importance of the cap when we dont even know what the CBA will entail in the seasons that you are talking about. We have $13 million in cap space right now but no ability to bring in players that will make an impact. Look at teams like the Rangers, they have no problems managing the cap every year but they still cant build a cup contender.

What I'm saying is that player development, recruitment, and procurment is the priority. I believe that is best achieved by having these players here this year. I havent seen a solid reason to risk that process. You are putting the cart before the horse as the saying goes worrying about what to do about the cap when we dont know these players are going to be anywhere near $6 million per players in the future. If they are we might as a team be better off trading one of them for help in another area of the team that is a weakness. (Possibly defense or goaltending.) It'll be easier to do that if they are showcased at the NHL level.

I don't think cap space this year is relevant. We were a last place hockey club that is rebuilding. The cap space available now has no impact on what sort of cap space will be required 3-5 years down the road.

I'm not sure what New York has to do with this. I'm fully aware a team spending to the cap can struggle on the ice... we've seen it here for 2 years running.

Some players love the glamour so they'll be attracted to LA and NYC regardless of how the team is doing. Other players want to win. Detroit is an absolute crap hole of a city yet players want to play in Detroit. Create a winning environment and people want to play there.

If they aren't $6mil players it's a moot point anyways (and we still haven't lost anything).

You still have a minimum of 3 years to showcase each of these players, so I'm not sure why you think you can't do it.

Whether Hall plays in the NHL at 18 or 20, the Oilers have 3 years from the day he starts before they have to sign him.

Same with Paajarvi at 19.

During those 3 years you can still showcase those players (and trade one if need be), this suggestion doesn't stop them from doing that.

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#163 Crash
October 06 2010, 05:38PM
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dawgbone wrote:

How many of these hockey minds are still employed as GM's?

We've accepted this as common practice but that doesn't mean it's correct.

Everyone assumes that general managers have some grand insight that others lack. Have we not seen enough terrible decision making on this hockey club to at least question the status quo?

What kind of an arguement is that? Are you suggesting that keeping 1st overall picks in their lineup right out of junior is what got all of them fired?

I can't wait to hear Tyler defend you on that one.

Face it in the sports business management teams and coaches are hired to be fired. It has NOTHING to do with keeping 18 yr old players. There are multiple reasons why GM's and coaches move on.

Tell me why it is that a GM will get fired or a coach will get fired one place but resurface in another place?

Give me break man.

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#164 Eric Johnson
October 06 2010, 06:07PM
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I heard this one awhile ago and despite the fact it's not PC, not even close, I think it holds true in this scenario.

"Arguing on the internet is like competing in the Special Olympics; You may win, but you're still retarded." ~Anonymous~

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#166 Jon
October 06 2010, 06:41PM
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Our top 9 actually has 5 forwards over 6 feet, Penner, Hemsky, Horcoff, Paajarvi, Hall.

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#167 David S
October 06 2010, 07:01PM
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Gregor has this radio show on the Team 1260 every weekday afternoon from 2-6. For the life of me I can't figure out why some of you guys with bones to pick don't just call up and hash this out in real time.

The truth of the matter is that both positions have merit. I believe the missing piece is context. There seems to be an "all things being equal" assumption underwriting alot of the comments here.

Problem is, Edmonton's situation is vastly different from teams like Detroit and Chicago. Being so long out of the playoffs, the only thing we can sell here for the foreseeable future is hope. Like it or not, those three young guys are the embodiment of hope. Sure they ~might~ be better served by being held back, but at what cost to the fan base?

I think that even if it was definitively proven keeping the kids back would benefit both the cap situation AND our playoff hopes, the team wouldn't be able to justify to the fanbase doing so. You guys don't realize how wary this team is of pissing off the season ticket holders. Those fears hold a big stick in the decision-making process.

Besides, what Tyler and Dawgbone propose simply isn't going to happen after so much effort has been spent hyping our new trio of saviors. So why burn brain cells arguing over something that isn't even in the realm of possibility? That's just stupid man.

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#168 Tyler
October 06 2010, 07:45PM
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And just to be sure here, you are saying that Ryan Miller still hasn't proven he is worth his contract? Yes, he is on the 2nd year of a five year deal, and won the Vezina in the first year. In the four years prior to his contract he went 140-75-25...with sv% of .914, .911, .906, .918 and GAA of 2.60, 2.73, 2.64 and 2.53 He earned his contract, and won the Vezina in the first year. Waiting until the contract is over to suggest it was a good signing at the time seems like cherry picking to me. He had earned it, and so far as lived up to it. I could see if he had only done it for a year or two, but four solid years would suggest he earned it.

Jason? You know how I say you have a loose grip of facts and argue points without understanding them? Miller signed that contract in the summer of 2008. So you can throw out the season in which he had a .918 save percentage because it hadn't happened yet.

The only really impressive season he'd had up until signing that contract was the 2005-06 season. The two seasons afterwards were slightly better and slightly worse than league average in terms of save percentage. GAA is a dumb stat but none of those GAA are particularly impressive. Wins, of course, are a team stat, not an individual one.

If you want to judge that deal when it was signed, it was a crazy deal. If you want to judge it as a whole...well, let it become a whole.

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#169 Pajamah
October 06 2010, 08:09PM
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Eric Johnson wrote:

Heck yeah! Can we listen to Rap Trax 2 while we're at it?

I'm nostalgically doing the running man as I respond to this......the answer is yes!!

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#170 Oilcruzer
October 06 2010, 11:06PM
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@David S

'zactly.

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#172 dawgbone
October 07 2010, 10:35AM
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Jason Gregor wrote:
Was Mike Richards a better player in the OHL at 19 than he was at 18? Was Rob Schremp a better OHL player at 19 than he was at 18? Was Corey Perry a better OHL player at 19 than he was at 18? There are thousands of these I can list, but generally speaking players are better at 19 than they were at 18. Using that logic, wouldn't said player be better if he went into the NHL at 19 as opposed to 18?

I would suggest that it is easier to dominate at 19 in junior over 18 because a player is a year older and stronger, while most of the opposing players in the league are younger, or the same age.

In the NHL at 19, a guy is still most likely one of the youngest and not physically mature, just like he would be if he was 18. Yes a year older at 19, but the 23 year olds would also be 24 now too.

Playing against men at 18 or 19 would probably have less of difference than when you are 18 or 19 and playing against kids.

As for the defence. That would be a great debate. I love offence, but in today's game if you don't have D-men that can move the puck up quickly and accurately I wonder how effective an offensive group can be.

I'd be curious to see what you could come up with to show this. It would be a hell of a read to see that, but probably nearly impossible to show. Seriously that would be great to see the results.

Guys who are on the ice for 27-30 minutes would make me think they could impact a game more than a forward who only plays 18. But that might not be a guarantee.

We will see this year, how much a less than stellar D impacts the Oiler forwards.

And that's exactly why I think a player would be better in the NHL at 19 than he would at 18.

He's a year older and stronger than he was at 18.

And while the 23 year olds would be 24, they don't get much bigger/faster/stronger at 24 than they did at 23.

Guys are still growing and filling out at 18/19/20. I expect a guy to be more physically developed at 19 than he would be at 18, thereby giving him an edge at 19 than he would at 18.

I also agree 100% that there is a bigger advantage to being 19 in the OHL (as opposed to the NHL) than there is being 19 in the NHL (as opposed to the OHL). But the fact that there is an advantage (even if it's just a slight one) to being 19 rather than 18 in the NHL is enough to convince me that it should be done.

In terms of defencemen vs forwards I'm not just talking about scoring goals vs preventing them, but overall impact on the play. Vic, Tyler and Gabe all have done some great number crunching on the impact of forwards vs defencemen so I won't rehash that but rather focus just on hockey.

Comparing an 18 minute forward vs a 25 minute defenceman isn't really practical, because we are analzying them as a group.

I think the value in having a 30 miute defenceman is that you have a quality guy who can take minutes away from your lower quality defencemen. That's why you play him 30 minutes. If you had 6 very good d-men you wouldn't play their pairings 30-20-10, it would be closer to 20-20-20 (like the Olympics were).

Starting off with a very simple premise, there are 2 primary conditions for a hockey team. You have the puck or you don't. When you have the puck you want to keep it away from the opposition and to put it on net.

When you don't have the puck you want to keep it away from dangerous areas and you want to get it back. I think we all agree that this is true in it's most basic form.

Based on that, who drives the results more?

Forwards tend to drive the puck possession game. Forwards are usually the ones who transition the the puck through the neutral zone. They are also the ones who control most of the puck possession in the offensive end.

In terms of the defensive side of the coin, the forwards have the majority of the responsibility when it comes to the forecheck. In the defensive end, the forwards have more territory to cover than the defencemen do. Forwards cover high and low on a routine basis, defencemen rarely venture higher than the face-off circles.

As a forward you can make up for having a weaker defence by doing a better job at keeping the puck out of your end. As a defenceman, you are essentially limited to getting the puck back, getting it out and hoping the next forward does a better job.

If you can get stronger at forward (1-9) and shore up the bottom portion of your defence you can make up for not having that 30 minute blueliner in your lineup.

The very nature of playing as a defenceman is that you're team has given up possession and you have to defend. The better you are at keeping possession the less you have to play defence. Keeping and regaining possession has always been the primary job of the forwards.

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#173 dawgbone
October 07 2010, 10:43AM
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@David S

Personally speaking, I can't stand radio callers so I'd never be one.

Why is the fanbase going to choose this year to be pissed off? This team has missed the playoffs 4 years in a row and I somehow don't think this is straw that will break the camels back.

The Oilers have sold their tickets for this year. They have a waiting list a mile long (with people who paid to be on the list) for seasons tickets.

This fan base has swallowed every line this club has sold to them over the past half a dozen years, so if they come out and say this is what we think is best, the fans will come around.

The Oilers still have plenty to sell the fans on. Jordan Eberle is a hell of a prize and I'm sure he alone could excite this fan base.

I think the majority of hockey discussion is nothing but hot air to be honest, so discussing this is not that much different than discussing any of the other topics out there.

This one just happens to be polarizing so it lives longer than others.

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#174 dawgbone
October 07 2010, 11:10AM
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Crash wrote:

What kind of an arguement is that? Are you suggesting that keeping 1st overall picks in their lineup right out of junior is what got all of them fired?

I can't wait to hear Tyler defend you on that one.

Face it in the sports business management teams and coaches are hired to be fired. It has NOTHING to do with keeping 18 yr old players. There are multiple reasons why GM's and coaches move on.

Tell me why it is that a GM will get fired or a coach will get fired one place but resurface in another place?

Give me break man.

No, I'm suggesting that the GM's we are using as benchmarks weren't (on average) particularily good at doing their jobs.

General managers may be hired to be fired, but GMs who consistantly make good decsions aren't fired.

Who was the last GM that you can recall who was fired desite consistantly making smart moves?

The fact that GMs and coaches find work in the same league doesn't speak so much as to their competence as to the familiarity of the NHL... the old boys club as it were.

Take a look at the GM's who have made these decisions and tell me how many quality GM's are in that list.

Some of the more dubious ones are:

Brian Lawton, Dale Tallon, Don Waddell, Doug McLean, Phil Esposito and Randy Sexton

Dale Tallon is the only one working as a GM still.

FTR, the rest of the GM's who made this decision are:

Craig Patrick (no longer a GM), Garth Snow (not enough Data) and Tambellini (has his share of hits and misses)

Out of the general managers who've been in this situation only Dale Tallon, Snow and Tambo are still general managers in the NHL. Snow and Tambo are still on grace time.

This isn't a list of successful guys who ran into a bad run and rebounded. There are 2 rookie GM's and Tallon.

This list doesn't scream "top minds in the NHL".

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#175 Darren
October 07 2010, 11:28AM
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@Jason Gregor

For why SV% is the best stat (and argubly the only stat that matter for goalies) see: http://brodeurisafraud.blogspot.com/2010/03/one-stat-argument.html

For Shot location info see: http://www.behindthenethockey.com/2010/4/26/1441542/shot-location-by-shot-type

More info on shot location see:

http://www.puckprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=540

Great reads, Great info.

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#176 David S
October 07 2010, 12:03PM
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dawgbone wrote:

Personally speaking, I can't stand radio callers so I'd never be one.

Why is the fanbase going to choose this year to be pissed off? This team has missed the playoffs 4 years in a row and I somehow don't think this is straw that will break the camels back.

The Oilers have sold their tickets for this year. They have a waiting list a mile long (with people who paid to be on the list) for seasons tickets.

This fan base has swallowed every line this club has sold to them over the past half a dozen years, so if they come out and say this is what we think is best, the fans will come around.

The Oilers still have plenty to sell the fans on. Jordan Eberle is a hell of a prize and I'm sure he alone could excite this fan base.

I think the majority of hockey discussion is nothing but hot air to be honest, so discussing this is not that much different than discussing any of the other topics out there.

This one just happens to be polarizing so it lives longer than others.

Yeah. I've always thought that a panel discussion on JAG would be wildly entertaining with Gregor, Brownlee and Barnes in an "open mike" session. Oh well.

As far as the fanbase issue, it's probably not logical to many casual fans but alot of pro sports franchises are deathly afraid of upsetting season ticket holders, especially those who have pretty much tapped out their ability to generate new revenue sources. In our case it may not be a rational fear, but it's certainly an influential factor. It is what it is.

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