Once in a very Blue Moon

Lowetide
December 18 2010 09:00AM

Sometimes things appear to good to be true. However, every once in awhile you come across something so beautiful, so powerful, so impressive, you know in that instant this is special. Oilers fans were blessed with such an event 30+ years ago; what will it take for it to happen again? 
 

We learn from history that youth is wasted on all the wrong people (source: It's a Wonderful Life). If you've passed your 30th birthday, then you've left someone from your influence group behind for good reason. The current NHL CBA makes it very difficult for teams to extend their window of opportunity beyond a few short seasons (the exception is Detroit).

With the Oilers having such an enormous group of talents graduating as we speak, what else do they need to reach the promised land that is the Stanley? 

  1. Kids in the Hall group: The group that includes Hall, Eberle, Pääjärvi and extends through Gagner will form the heart of the team during the '10s. If Hall can become an impact player and the rest in the group improve to the point where they're consistent outscorers, the Oilers will have plenty of offensive firepower. Those are some big "ifs" but the group is making progress.
  2. Deep 6 the bottom 6:  The club made a fine trade when dealing for Curtis Glencross, but the organization chose not to keep him. The current group that makes up the bottom 6 (Cogliano, Brule, Colin Fraser, JF Jacques, Steve MacIntrye) have been inconsistent. The two players who have been solid (Ryan Jones, Zack Stortini) might have the makings of a solid 4th line but coach Renney doesn't like Stortini. I think the Oilers need to start by picking up a quality, veteran C who can play 3line minutes, check, impact the PK and help in the FO circle. I know Tambellini tried for Malhotra last summer but there were other men available. He chose Colin Fraser, and he chose wrong. ST has been given most of the top 6 by Stu (Magnificent Bastard) MacGregor and the scouting department, surely he can find a checking center somewhere on the planet?
  3. Improve the blue: Tambellini made a beauty trade when acquiring Ryan Whitney for Lubo. I'm also prepared to buy in to Kurtis Foster having an period of adjustment (he should be better) and that Theo Peckham's progress is for real. Those three--added to finesse defender Tom Gilbert--make for 67% of a useful defense. Ladislav Smid may or may not be top 4 worthy. What Tambellini needs to do is find out if Jeff Petry, Shawn Belle, Alex Plante and or Taylor Chorney can help the team until Marincin arrives. If they can't, job one is to find a defenseman who can play big minutes. I think ST hurt his own cause with the Souray solution.
  4. Goal: If Devan Dubnyk is the future in goal the club needs to play him more than once a week.. If he isn't, then the club needs to find that goalie and right soon.

The hard part is over. The Oilers have the scorers and the skilled men up front, and Whitney, Gilbert and Peckham are nice pieces to build around. The problem? The problem is that 3line RH C, the blue and the goalie of the future have been a problem since 2006 summer!!

Yesterday I wrote an item here at ON about Oilers fans and their increasing nonchalance in regard to this team's success. We're going from dying of thirst to indifference in 60 seconds here. I think we should enjoy the ride, but I don't think management has the same luxury.

Steve Tambellini is the current General Manager. Steve Tambellini takes his time. I understand that. However, if we can agree that Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Magnus Pääjärv and, Sam Gagner  are part of the future then there are going to be some things that require change. Shawn Horcoff, Dustin Penner and Ales Hemsky are a veteran trio with real skill. Should the Oilers keep that line together and run with Gagner-Hall-Eberle as suggested by Bob Stauffer this week? 

What then is to be done with Pääjärvi ? What about Omark? The Oilers are quickly becoming a team with lots of future jacks and kings, and very few 6's and 7's who can check and kill penalties.

A GM armed with veteran skill players should be able to address need along the blue and on the checking line. Right? The Oilers sent away Kyle Brodziak a couple of years ago and haven't replaced him yet, let alone Mike Peca. The current group of talent is quality, but the bottom line is that the club needs some role players immediately.

Tomorrow is very promising for these Oiler kids. Steve Tambellini is the current GM. The scouting department has enjoyed a ripping 36 months. Steve Tambellini has done some nice things but he has to address these glaring (and long term) issues.

Steve Tambellini is the current GM.

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Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at lowetide.ca. He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on TSN 1260.
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#1 third string plumber
December 18 2010, 09:08AM
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Fist lovely lady!

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#2 Dutch guy
December 18 2010, 09:11AM
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So if there's one thing I've learnt this morning...I think that Steve Tambelini is the GM :-)

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#3 reb98
December 18 2010, 09:17AM
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Do you see Ryan O'Marra fitting into the bottom six? I already see him as being a better fit than Fraser(bigger,faster, stronger, & better on the dot) & seems to have the right mindset. Doobie HAS to play more! I don't see how they couldn't have confidence in him unless they are hoping that Bulin will stand on his head so they can offload his remaining 2 years at the deadline.

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#4 EasyOil
December 18 2010, 09:30AM
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LT: Great Article. Seems like you think that Marincin is gonna be a big part of our future blue then? Can't say I disagree, although it is early days. How awesome would it be if he turned into the next Chara?!

On the point of acquiring a checking centre with faceoff skills, I have to say I would love to see ol' Marty Reasoner back in Oil silks, he's having a great season. I know that it wouldn't help in the long run, but short term we sure could use someone with his talents and that dressing room presence that Tambo is so fond of.

I find myself praying that at least one of the current kids could get this faceoff thing figured out, is that so much to ask?! I know Cogs said he worked on it over the summer but it doesn't seem to have made much difference, at least not consistently. And yet the Coaches barely seem to make mention of our faceoff deficiencies, why is this?! Would be good for someone like Marty to come in and teach the kids how its done, I know he's know Adam Oates but it couldn't hurt!!

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#6 VK63
December 18 2010, 10:18AM
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It seems that being a great faceoff guy does not transfer to being a great teacher of the face off skill. Sillinger is head of player development for the Oilers and he survived in this league through damn near every city possible with that one skill. Ive mentioned this disconnect before on here and it puzzles me still.

The problem that Tambo has (in any deals) currently is that every team in the league is fully aware of how full the Oiler coffers are of promising kids (either here or on the horizon). The Oilers want to keep all those kids. They are drafting to fill the holes in this lineup but as noted in this article, the window closes before that full cycle and its various pitfalls can be realized.

I think part of the issue with many Oiler fans during the Katz era started with his first proclamation. I will spend to the cap! What the delusional heard was..... I will buy you a cup. Ironically this team is way under the cap and playing the most exciting hockey of all previous Katz paid versions.... if somehow they could unload that Souray schmozzle this would be one styling ride.

Does ST actually make 1.2 million? Its conclusive.....I want to work for Darryl Katz.

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#7 Chris.
December 18 2010, 10:18AM
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Stu has done a wonderful job with the amateur scouting... But are there are still issues with the Pro scouts? Is this the same staff that targeted Lupil as a "one shot scorer" to play with Hemsky without ever bothering to watch enough tape/ games to realize that Lupil can't one time the puck? Is this the same staff that didn't know about Khabi's hydration issues? Fraisers skating?

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#8 Crackenbury
December 18 2010, 10:31AM
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Why does Dubnyk need to play more than once a week? Fans and it seems media in Edmonton are always obsessed with the backup on it's teams. With the Eskimos it's always the backup that needs to play more and is the better player. What is it exactly about Khabibulins performance this year that should see him pushed to the side to make room for the future? I don't want to hear about his stats. He's given this team more opportunity to win this year than they deserve.

I like the NFL for the way fans coaches and media treat their veteran quarterbacks. They are the teams undisputed starter until they can no longer do the job. People in Edmonton like to start picking at the carcass several years before it's done. Calls for the backup goalie to play more have gone on for as long as I can remember in Edmonton all the way back to Fuhr and Moog. Dubnyk has shown he can play, he'll get his opportunity, but calling for him to play right now with the way our starter has been performing makes no sense.

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#10 Racki
December 18 2010, 10:40AM
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I think the perfect 4th line would be something along the lines of a Glencross-Brodziak-Stortini trio.. how nice would that be? ;) OK, I still have a tough time getting over it, as I was a fan of both players.

I've been tooting the Konopka horn though for center though. He isn't flashy, by any means, but he can play hockey. He can PK a bit, he wins LOTS of draws, and he can scrap. Addresses 3 needs all in one. I wondered why we didn't take a crack at him this past July, but we have another potential crack at it this coming July.

I have been on the same page for a while here.. I think the Oilers have some great building blocks, they just need the mortar to stick them all together... the mucker and grinders and stay-at-home, shutdown D (the D we might have covered, possibly... still a question mark though).

I would too like to see "Horpensky line" together, and the "Blackjack line" (Hall-Gagner-Eberle) stay together. I am not 100% sold on Omark yet (hey he's only played 2 games), but it might be good to keep him and Paajarvi together, as we might finally be seeing what Paajarvi really can do. The only question is who do we put in the middle... is a guy like Ryan O'Marra also a key to their success? What would that do to Cogliano and Brule? I think we'd be selling low in that case.

The other option is to send that ENTIRE line down on the basis that they all play together and develop some chemistry for the future. That leaves a hole on line 3 though.

Anyways, just some random thoughts. But I was just saying today to some others that I think this team is at a point now where it doesn't have to keep losing. I'd like to see them make an honest effort for the playoffs. If they make the playoffs and lose in round 1.. no big deal.. still great experience. If they don't make the playoffs at all.. still no big deal. I'd like to see this team put in honest effort again to win.

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#12 pelhem grenville
December 18 2010, 10:58AM
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LT ... i bet a buddy Liver&Onions @ The Commodore that Omark would NOT be staying up with the big club for the whole season.

whadaya think?

Should i have bet him the Veal Cutlets instead?

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#13 jake
December 18 2010, 10:59AM
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Would Glencross and Brodziak have any use for the Oilers 3rd/4th line duty in the future? Would they fit with the rookies comming up. Note -not sure if they play any top-6 on their present teams.

Glencross: Age - 27 (28 later this month) UFA July 1/2011 Present cap hit - 1.2M

Will he want to sign in Calgary again??

http://communities.canada.com/calgaryherald/blogs/insideflames/archive/2010/12/17/curtis-glencross-clearly-unhappy-over-his-perch-in-the-press-box.aspx

Brodziak: Age - 26 (27 next May) UFA - July 1/2012 Present cap hit - 1.15M

Food for thought.

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#14 GarbageManBrian
December 18 2010, 11:00AM
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Lowetide wrote:

EasyOil: Cogliano has been a little better recently (over 50% in 2 of his last three). Small steps.

I think the Oilers do have some FO candidates on the way (Vande Velde, Lander) but they're not likely to be ready to help at the NHL level for awhile.

These are all such solvable problems. The hard part is getting a Taylor Hall!!! :-)

"The hard part is getting a Taylor Hall!!!" is obvious but understated. They really are all solvable problems with judicious work by CURRENT GM ST.

GarbageManBrian

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#15 jake
December 18 2010, 11:01AM
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I see Racki referred above to the 4th line from the stretch of 07-08, see I am not the only one :)

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#16 @NateInVegas
December 18 2010, 11:04AM
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Cal O'Reilly, Wayne Simmonds,Scott Hannan.

Blocked shots, PK, & Faceoffs are huge in the playoffs and something the Oilers are terrible at now.

The current roster has more players that would rather avoid shots/contact than initiate.

There needs to be a balance and the Oilers haven't had any on defense for awhile either.

At least they are worth watching again.

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#17 zytsef
December 18 2010, 11:09AM
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reb98 wrote:

Do you see Ryan O'Marra fitting into the bottom six? I already see him as being a better fit than Fraser(bigger,faster, stronger, & better on the dot) & seems to have the right mindset. Doobie HAS to play more! I don't see how they couldn't have confidence in him unless they are hoping that Bulin will stand on his head so they can offload his remaining 2 years at the deadline.

What makes you say that O'Marra is better on the faceoff than Fraser? Of the guys who have taken more than 100 faceoffs this season (and O'Marra) we have:

Brule: 54% Horcoff: 49.2% Gagner: 44% Fraser: 43.4% Cogliano: 43.2% Penner: 42.1% O'Marra: 36.4% (12-21 for 33)

Brule's number is surprising to me, but I think if he took more than 200 his number might fall closer to 50%. Still, he's obviously got faceoffs figured out. I think this also shows evidence of progress on Gagner's and Cog's part, especially since Gagner now leads the team in faceoffs taken (432).

I'll buy reb98's other arguments for O'Marra, but I don't think there's any evidence so far that he'll have an impact on the dot at the NHL level.

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#18 Steve Smith
December 18 2010, 11:12AM
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@Crackenbury

"What is it exactly about Khabibulins performance this year that should see him pushed to the side to make room for the future? I don't want to hear about his stats."

What is it exactly that started the Second World War? I don't want to hear about Hitler or Germany.

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#19 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
December 18 2010, 11:12AM
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Crackenbury wrote:

Why does Dubnyk need to play more than once a week? Fans and it seems media in Edmonton are always obsessed with the backup on it's teams. With the Eskimos it's always the backup that needs to play more and is the better player. What is it exactly about Khabibulins performance this year that should see him pushed to the side to make room for the future? I don't want to hear about his stats. He's given this team more opportunity to win this year than they deserve.

I like the NFL for the way fans coaches and media treat their veteran quarterbacks. They are the teams undisputed starter until they can no longer do the job. People in Edmonton like to start picking at the carcass several years before it's done. Calls for the backup goalie to play more have gone on for as long as I can remember in Edmonton all the way back to Fuhr and Moog. Dubnyk has shown he can play, he'll get his opportunity, but calling for him to play right now with the way our starter has been performing makes no sense.

you forget the ~~~~~? please?

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#20 Harlie
December 18 2010, 11:13AM
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I agree, other than the Whitney trade I give Tambellini a failing grade. And that trade worked out just as well for LA so it wasn't like he fleeced them. I look at the rest of our team (the bright spots) as Stu's work.

Has anyone (blogwise) done a grading/run down on Tambellini's time here? I like the player gradings and it would be cool to see some on the management side.

Have a good weekend every1

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#21 Harlie
December 18 2010, 11:18AM
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funny story..

We ordered a couch from Costco and had it delivered the other day. I'm not home and my wife opens the garage door for the delivery guys to put the couch in the garage. As soon as the garage door opens the one guy says " oh, you have a boat, you must be a Newfie!"

My wife goes, "no, we're not from Newfoundland, we own a lakelot."

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#22 Rogue
December 18 2010, 11:29AM
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Lowetide, good stuff.

Hey, trade the 3rd round draft pick back to Calgary for Glencross, providing you can sign him for 3 years.

LOWETIDE....I may be out to lunch, but is there a possibility the Oil are showcasing ReKhab? Would they move him? Otherwise, why is DD not playing 2 out of every 5 games?

I see Hemsky, Gags, Hall, Horc( as 3rd. line center), MP, Eberle and maybe Omark up front. We need a stud 1st. line center and a big 4th. line center who can win face-offs. Rest of the guys can be bangers and crashers, which we desperately lack. Whitney, Peckham, Gilbert are ok. We need a puck mover and a physical crasher/shut down guy. Marincin, Smid, Petry and Plante are all possibilities.

I am torn about trading to fill holes this year as I still want a top 3 pick. I guess it depends where we are at the trading deadline.

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#23 oilers2k10
December 18 2010, 11:32AM
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What this team needs is three third line checkers that know their role..remember the days of Marchant and Grier? They knew they were third liners and didn't try being anything more than that, they understood their roles and they did it well. Cogliano has scored 18 goals twice, he's still young..I think given the right situation he could rack up 55+ point seasons..I dont think he's happy being placed in a checking role..and that's not is strength anyways..give him Gagner type icetime and you'll see his stats improve. Brule wants to be a first/2nd line player...he plays with an edge but not a third/fourth liner edge..

Keep Jones on this team, he's what Glencross was minus the speed.. bring back Glencross, even if 2.5 million is a bit of an overpayment according to most..I think 2.5 is just right. Add a center in between those two..how about Brian Rolston? On re-entry he'll be around 2.5 million for each of the next two seasons, after those two years Pitlick, Vande Velde, O'Marra, or Lander should be ready for prime time..he would fit right in the middle of Glencross and Jones..O'marra may be ready next season..put him on the fourth line next year if he plays good promote him to the third the year after..

I agree, Dubnyk needs to play a bit more..maybe every third game.. at the end of the Season I would like to see Dubnyk have played more than thirty games..but at this pace that aint happening. Hey, at least he gets his own net in practice now..

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#24 Skidplate
December 18 2010, 11:36AM
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Glencross and Sutter seem to have some difficulties. Glencross is a UFA after this season, maybe we can get him back.

We did get Olivier Roy in the Brodziak trade, so maybe he is the goalie of the future. But we certainily could have got that draft pick for cheaper.

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#25 VK63
December 18 2010, 11:41AM
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GlenX is looking for a fat raise on a minimum three year term. Those of you who would want him are no longer looking at a 4th liners pay scale and as mentioned by Gregor before.... the guy gets a lot of love for not a lot of points. Given a significant raise thats a bad thing. He was good here and he has been solid down there but we notice that because he feasts on the weak and kind of disappears once the qulacomp numbers rise.

Someone on flames nation called it "feasting on the soft underbelly of the opposition". I like that line.

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#26 BarryS
December 18 2010, 11:48AM
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Get off the Glencross wagon. Guy can't play regular in Calgary. Besides, he chose Calgary over Edmonton for the same money. Another example of be careful what you wish for.

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#27 Butters
December 18 2010, 11:57AM
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At the risk of getting piled on, or "Andrewed" if you will, I will come to ST defence a little....

The Oilers AHL franchise was in dissaray last year. This year, they have improved markedly thus far.

I believe that Kevin Lowe is a bit of a control freak and this is ST's first real kick at the cat to run this club-albeit likely with KLowe close by.

They have gutted the locker room to remove all negative influences.

ST has placed the Oilers in position where they have alot of cap space for when they can compete.

They have the right head scout in place. He may have hit a few late round extra base hits ,or possibly home runs(Omark) which I believe is key to being a contender.

They picked Taylor Hall.

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#29 Butters
December 18 2010, 12:18PM
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Lowetide wrote:

Agree with much you've said here. However, when the coach is saying the team can make the playoffs (as Robin Brownlee's article above states) then it behooves the guy in charge of the roster to help the thing along.

The inertia of the front office since 2006 summer is beyond galling. It borders on desertion.

Whew, I thought I might have gotten torn apart there.

I agree with a lot of posters here. I think if the Oilers still had GlenX and Brodziak they would be alot better. Spare parts are important and to me, there fourth line is brutal.

The defense isn't great either, which is why I wouldn't mind seeing an article adressing how good a defence you need if your offense is loaded for bear-hintity hint, hint....

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#30 Coco crisp
December 18 2010, 12:20PM
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I fail to see how Storitini is considerd " consistent" and Steve macintyer inconsitent. Mac goes out there when he dresses and does what he does best. Usually coming out with the win. What does Storitini do? Occasionally dropping the mitts and hugging people or attempting to fight heavyweights. The guy cannot fight. Is he successful at grinding it up? I think jones does a better job.

Also. Please someone explain to me how foster replaces souray in any form... Personally, I cannot stand him. My grandpa on the odr is more physicall than him. Can't pass. No accuracy. I think tambo would have been better making up with Sheldon instead of trying to replace him.

My two cents.

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#31 DoubleJ
December 18 2010, 12:22PM
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I mentioned it before and now it's too late Ryan Johnson signed with the Blackhalks last week. All he does is win faceoffs, play on the pk and block shots.

He would have been cheap and he was a ufa, so basically free. Not too sure, but that sounds like the guy we needed.

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#32 Steve Smith
December 18 2010, 12:23PM
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"I fail to see how Storitini is considerd " consistent" and Steve macintyer inconsitent."

MacIntyre isn't inconsistent, he's just terrible. At hockey, anyway.

And I quite agree that Jones is probably a better grinder than Stortini. And if you only needed one grinder per team, that would be an argument in favour of getting rid of Stortini. But you need more than one, and Stortini may be the second best one we've got.

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#33 Dennis
December 18 2010, 12:29PM
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LT: Without reading this first I pretty much had the same list over on JW's post referring to SC's as a way of gauging progress.

Note: i don't think it's fair to blame Tambo and Lowe for not getting a third line centre because they DID try and land Malholtra this summer and everyone knows that if you try once and fail then that's good enough.

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#34 David S
December 18 2010, 12:32PM
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BarryS wrote:

Get off the Glencross wagon. Guy can't play regular in Calgary. Besides, he chose Calgary over Edmonton for the same money. Another example of be careful what you wish for.

Uhhh...not quite. He chose Calgary's firm offer over Edmonton's "We'll get around to you after we take care of the important stuff".

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#36 Dennis
December 18 2010, 12:46PM
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Lowetide wrote:

Dennis: lol. btw, Marty Reasoner's having another nice season. Scoring goals and 55.9 on the dot.

LT: Yeah, I had no problem with old 19 and I wish we could have somehow gotten Dvorak here as well.

The hard work for the Oilers is over but now it's time to pay attention to the Fiddlers and Nichols and Reasoners and try to get some bargains and realize that, first off, the PK is absolutely broken and everything the Oilers think they know about it is wrong.

And also, all we need from a third line is guys who can win faceoffs and kill penalties and keep things even because it looks like we've really got top six outscorers in house.

I can't stress how exciting that is.

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#38 Wax Man Riley
December 18 2010, 01:06PM
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@Butters

I would look to Washington to see how good your D has to be if you are loaded up front. They could use a bit more than Green, Poti and Carlson.

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#39 Butters
December 18 2010, 01:22PM
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Wax Man Riley wrote:

I would look to Washington to see how good your D has to be if you are loaded up front. They could use a bit more than Green, Poti and Carlson.

Good point. Although there seems to be something wrong with Ovechkin these days.

~His own "Anna Kournikova" perhaps...~

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#40 Magnificent Drafter
December 18 2010, 01:22PM
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Well played, Lowetide, you magnificent drafter you. I have to go ahead and disagree with on one point, the goalie situation. There is no rush to overplay Dubey. If there's one thing this last UFA season taught us, its that steady veteran goalies are a dimebag a dozen. Look how easily we grabbed Khabby. Rolo was available for a song, Nabokov got 0 offers, Turco was free, and the stanley cup winning goalie was dumped. No rush. Let Dubey come along slowly. One game a week is fine.

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#41 Mitch
December 18 2010, 01:26PM
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@Lowetide

My thoughts with the current group would be keep Omarra around he becomes my fourth line center. Bring up the ginger, waive Jaucques. Brule also becomes moveable as well as Stortini. Big Mac and Reddox get 4th line time. Omark plays with Hemsky and Horcoff. Fraser I also don't know if he fits.

On the back end bring up a guy for OKC Strudwick is given a position in Pro Scouting.

Into the future the oilers still need a #1 center and to be bigger at the center spot and rebuild the D with Whitney, Peckham being kept and Marincin and Petry also being big parts...the future is bright.

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#42 Racki
December 18 2010, 01:39PM
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jake wrote:

I see Racki referred above to the 4th line from the stretch of 07-08, see I am not the only one :)

LOL, I don't read the comments around here enough to know if it's taboo here, but really they were a great trio as far as fourth liners are concerned, and albeit short lived. It still irks me today, for some crazy reason, that they were broken up. They did a great job of keeping the puck in the other team's zone and occasionally putting the puck in the net while keeping it out of their own. What more could you ask for from a 4th line? Why would you break up a good thing? I don't normally dwell on the past like that, but this is one case I make an exception for.

But that said, these 4th line types should be easy to acquire in the off-season. Tambi did a great job at the end of this past season trimming away the fat. He would go a long way in my eyes now by picking up some good checkers / defensive players.

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#43 GSC
December 18 2010, 01:43PM
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Yep, blame Tambellini for Fraser not getting the job done.

Don't think to blame the player or anything, just point straight to management.

Brilliant.

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#44 Zack
December 18 2010, 02:00PM
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If Storts could re-establish his role as an agitator I think I’d like to see a line of…

Jones – Konopka – Stortini

It would open up a few roster spots for sure, send down Jacques and or... /Mac/Fraser/Strudwick/Storts.

Konopka has been in more FO than Horcoff, Gags, Cogs and is 59% in the dot. He's willing to drop the gloves and could open up numerous spots on the roster. He won't solve all our problems but it'd be one hell of a start.

Bait? Small/skilled forward maybe a prospect or JDD even? NYI needs something that will impact the team now, they should have a few building blocks by now (and working on getting some more).

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#45 Ryan2
December 18 2010, 02:21PM
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It will be interesting to see what happens with the "other three" forwards MBS picked last year: Pitlick (playing RW now and seems to like the lower defensive responsibility based on a recent Q&A) at 6'2", Martindale (C) at 6'3", and Hamilton (LW I believe) at 6'2" (I think) again. If Martindale can gain some more consistency in his game (same issue that Penner had/has) then he might have been a steal for a big C. In a couple of years, a 3rd line of Hamilton-Lander-Pitlick might not be bad. It will also be interesting to see how Teemu Hartikainen pans out. He is another decent sized player that could develop into a solid 3rd liner.

On the blue line, I liked what I saw from the Plante-Marincin pairing in the rookie tourney last summer. Both have good size and after stoppages in front of the Oiler rooks' net one or both usually hammered their opposing forward down to the ice.

In any case, the key is to develop the young talent now so that it can be ready to challenge in 2 years time. You can always fill in role player holes with veteran UFAs if it looks like you have a chance to win. The key is building a strong enough core of young talent to be seen as attractive.

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#48 jake
December 18 2010, 02:51PM
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Lowetide wrote:

If this were Tambellini's first season as GM then you might have a point. His first hiring came July 31, 2008. We are still waiting for a 3line center.

I think maybe this is a bigger issue than Colin Fraser.

Woodguy and I recently had a little discussion over at your own site Lowetide about this sort of thing. I made the comment that although it's his 3rd season as GM, it's his first one as a GM of a team going total rebuild. This is not defending him but maybe he is better suited to this style of GMing (less decision making) than acquiring established players to fit needs.

I said (and feel this way still) that if we are all still having these conversations about filling holes at this time next year, I think Katz needs to rethink who is GM is going forward.

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#50 Mitch
December 18 2010, 03:55PM
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Lowetide wrote:

Good thoughts, Mitch. I don't know if O'Marra has enough offense but there's no harm in letting him audition until the deadline.

I think O'Marra is a better skater and is more physical than Fraser, O'Marra's offensive numbers would probably be the same as Fraser's. Right now Fraser has more gamesmanship than O'Marra, I base this on experience. Give Ryan some time, he's an upgrade.

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