Imitating Ken Holland

Jonathan Willis
September 30 2010 12:28AM

NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 22:  Jim Nill (L) and Ken Holland (R) of the Detroit Red Wings share a laugh during the 2003 NHL Entry Draft at the Gaylord Entertainment Center on June 22, 2003 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images/NHLI)

Aside from the Lou Lamoriello diehards, most people would agree that the best general manager in the NHL over the last decade or so is Ken Holland of the Detroit Red Wings. And while every year broadcasters, fans, and even NHL teams talk about adopting the model of the latest Stanley Cup winner, there’s been a persistent desire to emulate the Red Wings because of their success.

Fortunately for us, Red Wings G.M. Ken Holland has explained time and again different facets of his strategy, seemingly unafraid that people are going to start taking his advice to heart. And much of what he says is relevant for this year’s edition of the Oilers.

Amid the misery of the last four seasons, fans and broadcasters alike have clamored for the Oilers to imitate the Red Wings’ success. It’s even reached the front office; when John MacKinnon compared the Oilers’ brain-trust to that in Detroit, Steve Tambellini agreed with him. Of course, his biggest signing to date ignores the Red Wings patented ‘build a team, skimp on goalies’ strategy, but that’s a digression for another day.

Instead, I wanted to focus on some comments Ken Holland made in an interview with the website Hockey’s Future, comments that are directly relevant to this season’s Oilers.

On Introducing Prospects To The NHL…

I think we like skills, we don't draft projects. Also, because we have a good team, we don't have to rush anybody, we let the players develop at their own pace. We can afford to be patient with the prospects. We believe it is better to let the players develop correctly, to complete their junior level and eventually play in the AHL or with their European team before playing with the Red Wings. For example, [Henrik] Zetterberg was a very good hockey player, he was 5'10 and only 165 lbs and then grew up a little bit. He was the Rookie of the year in the Swedish League. We left him there one more year, he won the MVP Award there and played at the Olympics.”

Tyler Dellow talked about the Red Wings’ patience in his oft-criticized post on Hall and Paajarvi-Svensson the other day, and in rebuttal Jason Gregor correctly pointed out that because Detroit hasn’t had the luxury of top-10 draft picks. It was a good point, but I think a direct comparison can be made between Zetterberg and Paajarvi-Svensson despite the difference in draft pedigree.

In the summer of 2001, Holland had a choice to make on the soon to be 21-year old Zetterberg. The Swedish prospect was coming off a season that had won him Rookie of the Year honours in the SEL, and in which he had scored 46 points in 47 games. He was far and away the best player on his SEL team – the next leading scorer had just 30 points in 50 games, and while the team was a collective minus-20, Zetterberg was a very respectable minus-2. Despite that, Holland made the decision to leave Zetterberg in the SEL for another season (Zetterberg went on to win player of the year honours and compete in the Olympics, so it’s difficult to argue he wasn’t NHL-ready at that point in time).

It’s worth noting that Zetterberg’s achievements at that point in his career in the SEL are well beyond those of Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson, impressive though they are. It’s also worth noting that Zetterberg was a year and a half older than Paajarvi-Svensson when Holland made the decision to leave him in the SEL, for developmental purposes. Given the choice Holland made with Zetterberg, does anyone here really believe that as Oilers’ G.M. he would have cleared off a roster spot for Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson on this year’s team?

I’ve seen the poll on the sidebar, and I realize the course of action I’m pointing too is deeply unpopular among readers of the Nation. But looking at the choices and statements Holland has made, I firmly believe he would have left Paajarvi-Svensson in the SEL for another season, both for development purposes and to stretch the value gained from his entry-level contract. Speaking of which…

On Stretching A Dollar

"In the new world of hockey, you have to rely on the draft and to develop your players. Everybody is now able to spend money on four, five or six players, the rest of the team you either get them out of the draft or you need to find cheap players that nobody else wants. We got some guys that way, like Daniel Cleary, for example.

Holland here points to the value of entry-level contracts in a salary cap world, but his second point – on “cheap players that nobody else wants” – is the one I really want to point to.

By virtue of their last place finish, the Oilers have waiver priority, meaning that they get first pick of any players waived during NHL training camps. Scott Reynolds pointed to this the other day, and suggested it afforded the Oilers a good opportunity to pick up some quality players that couldn’t make deeper lineups.

Again, Holland has never had the advantage of waiver priority, but it’s hard to imagine him not taking advantage of it – especially if he were at the helm of a team as relatively weak as the Oilers. Does it make more sense to keep a guy like Liam Reddox or Jason Strudwick on the roster over some of the players that may yet become available? Obviously, it depends on the list, but I’m hoping that Oilers management is keeping their minds open to the possibility of dropping one of their guys if an attractive reclamation project comes along.

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, 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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#51 Dan the Man
September 30 2010, 10:02AM
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Apples....this is Oranges....Oranges...this is Apples...

There are so many flaws with the comparisons between the Oilers and Wings it's barely worth discussing.

If the Oilers sent Hall back to Jr and Paajarvi back the SEL I'm sure Dellow would have had issues with that as well.

It's kind of his M.O.

You could argue that having Paajarvi become an UFA at 26 vs. 27 is a good thing because he may be able to be had for less money at that age .

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#52 DaveChamp
September 30 2010, 10:06AM
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I don't understand why the Red Wings automatically set the precedent. The Oilers are a very different team and therefore should not base major decisions solely upon what the more successful teams have done in similar situations. Paajarvi has proven that he's NHL ready and that he can succeed in the SEL. So where's the logic in not playing him in the NHL now?

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#53 Chris.
September 30 2010, 10:08AM
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Reading the roll... Seems a lot of people are saying it's okay for Magnus, Hall, and Eberle to ~earn~ roster spots out of camp. I agree. But are they really earning spots?

Oilers management cleared out a tonne of underperforming vets. Great. But who other than Fraiser and Foster did they bring back? The fix was always in. Management clearly and purposely left big gaping holes in the roster open; spots earmarked for these kids before camp even began... and then spent much of the summer pradeing these kids around town, having pressers, and jersey ceremonies, etc.

Holland would have signed vets to value contracts; used our excellent waiver status to make more claims; scoured the NCAA for quality mature free agents; invited unsigned UFA's to main camp, etc... and made these kids really earn a spot. Why not gather as much quality as you can. It's not like any of these three would be lost to waivers if they didn't legitimately out duell the Kyle Wellwoods of the world.

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#54 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
September 30 2010, 10:11AM
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Chris. wrote:

Reading the roll... Seems a lot of people are saying it's okay for Magnus, Hall, and Eberle to ~earn~ roster spots out of camp. I agree. But are they really earning spots?

Oilers management cleared out a tonne of underperforming vets. Great. But who other than Fraiser and Foster did they bring back? The fix was always in. Management clearly and purposely left big gaping holes in the roster open; spots earmarked for these kids before camp even began... and then spent much of the summer pradeing these kids around town, having pressers, and jersey ceremonies, etc.

Holland would have signed vets to value contracts; used our excellent waiver status to make more claims; scoured the NCAA for quality mature free agents; invited unsigned UFA's to main camp, etc... and made these kids really earn a spot. Why not gather as much quality as you can. It's not like any of these three would be lost to waivers if they didn't legitimately out duell the Kyle Wellwoods of the world.

Exactly. This was a point I tried to make all summer.

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#55 jake
September 30 2010, 10:12AM
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Perennial late first round picks, salary cap. The Red Wings will fade one day, book it. It's cyclical.

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#56 dawgbone
September 30 2010, 10:15AM
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Dan the Man wrote:

Apples....this is Oranges....Oranges...this is Apples...

There are so many flaws with the comparisons between the Oilers and Wings it's barely worth discussing.

If the Oilers sent Hall back to Jr and Paajarvi back the SEL I'm sure Dellow would have had issues with that as well.

It's kind of his M.O.

You could argue that having Paajarvi become an UFA at 26 vs. 27 is a good thing because he may be able to be had for less money at that age .

It would be except for the fact that the Oilers management brought up the comparison and the fans touted it.

As for your comment about Dellow being a hypocrite, I challenge you to find one example of him doing exactly what you are suggesting.

He's not attacking them after the fact to be contrarian, he's stating his opinion before it happens.

As for your last point, I'd be interested to hear your reasoning. I assume you are talking about him being a UFA at 26 vs 27, not an RFA.

The earlier he's a UFA the less RFA years the Oilers can use as leverage in a deal. Look at Sam Gagner for an example.

He is entering his 4th year in the league. After this current contract, he only has 2 RFA years left.

If he had entered the NHL at 20, this would be his 2nd year and after his contract he'd have 4 RFA years left.

In both situations, his contract ends just before his 23 year old season. I find it hard to believe that the Oilers are going to be able to save more money dealing wtih 2 RFA years than they would with 4 on a long term deal.

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#57 michael
September 30 2010, 10:15AM
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Great points in the post and in the thread. Zetterberg was skin and bones and Holland made the right call. Eberle is a moot case since he’s ready and doesn’t slide. Magnus and Hall get their 9 games and if they're ready and would benefit from top 9 15 minutes bring it on.

Playing Hall even if he'd develop better elsewhere is one extreme. Dellow's 'simple proposition' is at the other extreme:

“It’s a simple enough proposition: you only get three years with these guys on entry level contracts and you might as well use them when the player in question is a stronger player”

Be fair and hard nosed about development and you get contract benefits. Shelve 'em in favor of their 3 year older version and in league with player choices you’re cutting off your nose to spite yourself.

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#58 Crash
September 30 2010, 10:23AM
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dawgbone wrote:

I think it's inevitable that in a cap environment that teams will eventually rise, then fall. The question is how long you can stay on top for.

One problem with your comments.

You mention how Detroit is sliding because they finished 5th in the west, yet you bring up Pittsburgh as a possible team to emulate.

Pittsburgh finished 4th in the conference last year, with less points than Detroit had.

And in either case, none of the teams you mentioned won when those players were 18 or 19.

Again, I don't think there is any evidence that suggests that players who develop in the NHL do it quicker than they would have outside the NHL. For every player who was a star at 21 (by joining the league at 18) there are those who were still struggling at 21.

Eberle has played 2 years outside the NHL, which is why no one has brought him up in this discussion.

Only one team can win the Stanley Cup per year. My point was that having Crosby and Staal and Kane and Toews join their NHL teams when they did, didn't prevent them from developing. And it actually contributed to their respective teams in winning the Stanley Cup. It was different than the so called Detroit model.

I haven't done the research to determine how many players that actually start in the league at age 18 were still struggling at age 21. I assume that you have given your statement.

You are correct about Eberle having played 2 years outside the NHL. I only bring him up because there are those that want him to also go to the AHL whether he is NHL ready or not.

As far as Pittsburgh and Detroit go. You missed the whole point of my statement. It was to show that the so called Detroit model isn't the way today's Stanley cup winners are following. You are correct, maybe none of those teams won when the mentioned players were 18 or 19 but their respective teams began a sharp rise with the arrival of those players and soon after they became winning teams.

In today's NHL the Detroit model can no longer be followed due to the salary cap. Even Detroit themselves will not be able to follow the Detroit model which is evident in the players they are having to allow to leave because they can't fit them under their salary cap.

Before too long Detroit will also have to look at using younger, cheaper players to fill out their roster.

I agree with your first point. With the cap in place, properly managed teams will eventually rise and fall. And, it seems once a team rises that the fall will come quicker as well. All cap related.

The Detroit model of building can no longer work but the Detroit model of the type of management personnel you have can certainly be followed. Which is what I believe ST means when he talks of following the Detroit model.

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#59 Eric Johnson
September 30 2010, 10:24AM
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Too state that they cleared way for the rookies Instead of signing veteran talent in the summer is accurate. BUT. How many of those vets are still available? Answer: lots

The kids got an opportunity at camp to prove themselves. The door was open but if they came in, not ready, or got hurt, there are still a long list of players available to "fill out" the roster. To add to that they have first ribs on the waiver wire.

So in all logic why the hell would the Brass bog themselves down with uneeded contracts in the summer if they don't have to?

Where is the sense in that?

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#60 jami
September 30 2010, 10:30AM
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Even though they waited to bring Zetterberg to the NHL he was good but didn't exactly light the leage on fire when he made the show. If I remember he didn't have his "Big Year" till he was in the NHL for 3+ yrs. Also Zetterburg was playing in tier 2 swedish hockey not the Sel for two Yrs when he was drafted, he was dominant but his size and league was what made him availiable at his draft position much like Omark (I'm not saying thier the same player). If the worlds was held before these last Olympics you better believe Paajarvi would have made that team. This WWKH(what would Ken Hollund) do stuff is annoying, the Wings haven't been in the oilers current position for over 20 yrs and I believe Stevie Y played at 18 or 19.

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#61 Clangger
September 30 2010, 10:31AM
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nielson1260: Gerber and Souray on waivers

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#62 Ender
September 30 2010, 10:37AM
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Clangger wrote:

nielson1260: Gerber and Souray on waivers

If that's true, then you can expect both to be assigned to OKC by tomorrow if they clear. (Unless they go out of their way to loan Souray to a club in Europe; I can't see that happening.)

Meaning no trade for Souray this year. It will be interesting to see if he reports.

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#63 dawgbone
September 30 2010, 10:42AM
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Crash wrote:

Only one team can win the Stanley Cup per year. My point was that having Crosby and Staal and Kane and Toews join their NHL teams when they did, didn't prevent them from developing. And it actually contributed to their respective teams in winning the Stanley Cup. It was different than the so called Detroit model.

I haven't done the research to determine how many players that actually start in the league at age 18 were still struggling at age 21. I assume that you have given your statement.

You are correct about Eberle having played 2 years outside the NHL. I only bring him up because there are those that want him to also go to the AHL whether he is NHL ready or not.

As far as Pittsburgh and Detroit go. You missed the whole point of my statement. It was to show that the so called Detroit model isn't the way today's Stanley cup winners are following. You are correct, maybe none of those teams won when the mentioned players were 18 or 19 but their respective teams began a sharp rise with the arrival of those players and soon after they became winning teams.

In today's NHL the Detroit model can no longer be followed due to the salary cap. Even Detroit themselves will not be able to follow the Detroit model which is evident in the players they are having to allow to leave because they can't fit them under their salary cap.

Before too long Detroit will also have to look at using younger, cheaper players to fill out their roster.

I agree with your first point. With the cap in place, properly managed teams will eventually rise and fall. And, it seems once a team rises that the fall will come quicker as well. All cap related.

The Detroit model of building can no longer work but the Detroit model of the type of management personnel you have can certainly be followed. Which is what I believe ST means when he talks of following the Detroit model.

Let's just get this out of the way. Guys like Crosby and Ovechkin are generational talents, and there is an exception for players of that ilk.

No having Crosby, Staal, Kane and Toews did not hurt them in their quest to win the cup, nor did it prevent them from developing.

But having Staal, Kane and Toews did impact when they started to have to pay more money for these players, which has in turn forced them to lose quality depth that helped them win cups in the first place.

Not only that, but there is nothing to suggest that these players couldn't have developed playing outside the NHL for an additional year or 2.

I don't see how the Detroit Model isn't a way to win the Stanley Cup anymore. They lost in the conference finals, won the cup, lost in the finals and lost in the 2nd round over the past 4 years.

So far, that's far better than anyone else has accomplished post lockout.

Here's the thing about the Detroit model. They replace older more expensive veterans with younger, cheaper players.

Granted, without some more late round steals Detroit will eventually be in a position where they no longer have quality young talent in their organization and may have to rebuild. Well the same thing will eventually happen to Pittsburgh as well. The Detroit model is to replace good players with younger, better value players who are either as good or better that year.

This was the team everyone thought was going to be done in a couple of years when the season started in 05-06. Instead they went on to make it to do what I mentioned above.

The Detroit model is an excellent model to follow. They get maximum impact out of their contracts at nearly every position.

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#64 Crash
September 30 2010, 10:49AM
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Ender wrote:

If that's true, then you can expect both to be assigned to OKC by tomorrow if they clear. (Unless they go out of their way to loan Souray to a club in Europe; I can't see that happening.)

Meaning no trade for Souray this year. It will be interesting to see if he reports.

If Souray clears waivers I believe he can still be traded. But it would become more difficult to trade him is he is assigned to the minors because then he would have to clear recall waivers.

If he isn't sent down, he is still Oiler property to be traded at anytime.

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#65 dawgbone
September 30 2010, 10:50AM
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Eric Johnson wrote:

Too state that they cleared way for the rookies Instead of signing veteran talent in the summer is accurate. BUT. How many of those vets are still available? Answer: lots

The kids got an opportunity at camp to prove themselves. The door was open but if they came in, not ready, or got hurt, there are still a long list of players available to "fill out" the roster. To add to that they have first ribs on the waiver wire.

So in all logic why the hell would the Brass bog themselves down with uneeded contracts in the summer if they don't have to?

Where is the sense in that?

This list of decent players still available in September is a lot smaller than the one in July.

I don't think his argument is about filling the roster (which is easy), but instead giving these kids legitimate competition in camp.

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#66 Ryan14
September 30 2010, 10:51AM
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I shall attempt to compare the two organizations when they were in similar situations:

In 1983, which is considered the end of the Dead Wing era, the Red Wings drafted Steve Yzerman 4th overall. He went directly into the NHL, joining rookies Lane Lambert(18) and Kelly Kisio(23). They joined a couple relatively young Red Wings in John Ogrodnick, and Ron Duguay, 24 and 26 respectively. Together, they all helped Detroit get to the playoffs for the first time in 6 years.

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#67 mike
September 30 2010, 10:58AM
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"The Detroit model is to replace good players with younger, better value players who are either as good or better that year."

Younger. Better. Cheaper. What's not to like?

But that doesn't tell you what Holland would do with Magnus. He's not a rail like Z was. Last year's 9 left room for him. UFA age is younger. And he can't use the other part of the Detroit model here where you cherry pick the cheap vets looking for Stanley.

I just don't see Holland following Dellow's criteria. Magnus '13 > Magnus '10. Thanks for trying out.

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#68 dawgbone
September 30 2010, 11:00AM
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Ryan14 wrote:

I shall attempt to compare the two organizations when they were in similar situations:

In 1983, which is considered the end of the Dead Wing era, the Red Wings drafted Steve Yzerman 4th overall. He went directly into the NHL, joining rookies Lane Lambert(18) and Kelly Kisio(23). They joined a couple relatively young Red Wings in John Ogrodnick, and Ron Duguay, 24 and 26 respectively. Together, they all helped Detroit get to the playoffs for the first time in 6 years.

I don't think the 1983-84 Red Wings and 2010-11 Oilers are in similar situations.

In 83-84 4 out of 5 teams in the Red Wings division were guaranteed to make the playoffs. In 2010-11 only 1 out of 5 teams from the Oilers division is guaranteed to make the playoffs.

There was also no such thing as ELC's, salary caps and free agency was virtually non existant.

It also took the Wings 13 years to win the Stanley Cup and went through several roster changes.

I don't have the number for the amount of NHL players who play on the same team for 13 years but it can't be very high.

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#69 GSC
September 30 2010, 11:00AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

GSC wrote:

When it comes to deciding between a general manager who has the experience as a player and league executive, knows how scouting works, and has a ton of eyes and ears feeding him every piece of information possible on a prospect, and a blogger who has never set foot on the ice in his life and only does this kind of stuff as a hobby, I wonder who I'm going to side with?

The guy who signed Khabibulin?

That may have been a bit of a cheap shot, but Oilers management the last few years really hasn't given any indication they know what they're doing, so that particular appeal to authority doesn't work for me.

I'm not absolving Tambellini of any blame, obviously he needs to be held responsible by the fan base for his actions. That being said, everyone is capable of making a mistake (although it was a pretty awful one on his part with Khabibulin).

This isn't so much about an appeal to authority as it is an appeal to those who know how the system works and don't have the benefit of second guessing and doing so from a safe distance. It always looks a helluva lot easier to do when you're in the comfort of your armchair as opposed to the desk chair of the general manager. I'm not saying to accept everything Tambi does as gospel, far from it...I'm just tired of Dellow's constant second guessing. Anybody can do that.

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#70 Ender
September 30 2010, 11:03AM
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Crash wrote:

If Souray clears waivers I believe he can still be traded. But it would become more difficult to trade him is he is assigned to the minors because then he would have to clear recall waivers.

If he isn't sent down, he is still Oiler property to be traded at anytime.

The Oilers aren't going to expose themselves to recall waivers in his situation. Technically you're right; they have the ability to do so. They just aren't going to.

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#71 dawgbone
September 30 2010, 11:07AM
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mike wrote:

"The Detroit model is to replace good players with younger, better value players who are either as good or better that year."

Younger. Better. Cheaper. What's not to like?

But that doesn't tell you what Holland would do with Magnus. He's not a rail like Z was. Last year's 9 left room for him. UFA age is younger. And he can't use the other part of the Detroit model here where you cherry pick the cheap vets looking for Stanley.

I just don't see Holland following Dellow's criteria. Magnus '13 > Magnus '10. Thanks for trying out.

I guess the obvious thing is the Red Wings do it with good players.

The Oilers are putting these guys up against AHL players, not NHL ones who have been around and are still useful.

Zetterberg was a rail when he got drafted, he wasn't a rail the year before he made the Red Wings. Also your point about UFA age is a good one which leads me to believe Holland would be more patient.

UFA age is lower, but service time is also an important factor now. You aren't a UFA at 27. You are a UFA at 27 with 4 years experience or after 7 years experience, which ever comes first.

The 26 year old version of the player is always going to be better than the 19 year old version. Saving the year at 19 to get the year at the end is a better move in terms of cap management (which is also part of the Detroit system).

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#72 mike
September 30 2010, 11:08AM
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Ryan, No dice. As noted Ken Holland was coaching goalies.

I question Willis's assertion that Holland wouldn't play Magnus with this top 9, with the current rules and with this player's build.

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#73 Ryan14
September 30 2010, 11:08AM
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dawgbone wrote:

I don't think the 1983-84 Red Wings and 2010-11 Oilers are in similar situations.

In 83-84 4 out of 5 teams in the Red Wings division were guaranteed to make the playoffs. In 2010-11 only 1 out of 5 teams from the Oilers division is guaranteed to make the playoffs.

There was also no such thing as ELC's, salary caps and free agency was virtually non existant.

It also took the Wings 13 years to win the Stanley Cup and went through several roster changes.

I don't have the number for the amount of NHL players who play on the same team for 13 years but it can't be very high.

The way I look at it, a team that is 6 years removed from a playoff appearance, that injected 3 rookies into the lineup is a better comaparison than a team that had over a decade of consistant playoff appearances, a lineup of superstars, and is considered the closest to a dynasty the NHL has right now.

Both teams drafted and started a 18 year old potential franchise player, along with 2 other rookies after a long playoff drough. That is a better comparison than the best run organization in arguably all of sports.

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#74 BarryS
September 30 2010, 11:12AM
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@rubbertrout

The assumption being Rollie would have signed here for a million. Signing with the Islanders is a good indication he likely wouldn't.

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#75 mike
September 30 2010, 11:12AM
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"Saving the year at 19 to get the year at the end is a better move in terms of cap management (which is also part of the Detroit system)."

That's the Dellow's proposition. What evidence is there that Holland would actually sit a 19 year old who can win a spot in his top 9 and profit from the faster game?

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#76 Ryan14
September 30 2010, 11:13AM
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mike wrote:

Ryan, No dice. As noted Ken Holland was coaching goalies.

I question Willis's assertion that Holland wouldn't play Magnus with this top 9, with the current rules and with this player's build.

I never said Holland. I said Detroit.

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#77 BarryS
September 30 2010, 11:20AM
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The question is, if Detroit is so good how does Modano make their team and not one of their great minor leaguers? Another old player to add tot heir team of old players. Can it be they are thinner on young talent than those here believe?

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#78 Dino
September 30 2010, 11:21AM
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JW, nice article; I too believe the Oilers can get some decent players off of the waiver wire. With this in mind, do you have a list of potentials? Curious to k ow what your thoughts are on Luca Caputi with the Leafs? I was impressed with his play at the end of last season with the Buds, and thought he'd make a great 3rd or 4th liner with Edmonton.

Lance Hornby has an article on Luca today;

http://slam.canoe.ca/Slam/Hockey/NHL/Toronto/2010/09/29/15523706.html

Does this player need to clear waivers?

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#79 mike
September 30 2010, 11:24AM
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Ryan, Understood. But the topic was Holland. See above.

I agree with you that Y and especially Lambert show that Detroit was not into their current philosophy.

I'd also agree with you that we don't really have any evidence what Holland would do in these circumstances.

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#80 BarryS
September 30 2010, 11:26AM
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Eric Johnson wrote:

Too state that they cleared way for the rookies Instead of signing veteran talent in the summer is accurate. BUT. How many of those vets are still available? Answer: lots

The kids got an opportunity at camp to prove themselves. The door was open but if they came in, not ready, or got hurt, there are still a long list of players available to "fill out" the roster. To add to that they have first ribs on the waiver wire.

So in all logic why the hell would the Brass bog themselves down with uneeded contracts in the summer if they don't have to?

Where is the sense in that?

And why are all these veterans still available? Can it be they are essentially over the hill? But then Turko was signed by the Hawks and Osgood is still with the Wings, so much for saying all those available goalies are good.

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#81 rubbertrout
September 30 2010, 11:39AM
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@Chris.

I already knew that OB1 and I were on the same page for many things but now I guess I'm adding you to the list.

I agree wholeheartedly. If I had any sense that this was part of Tambo's "plan" I wouldn't be as skeptical. When I saw him sit Eberle last year I thought that meant he understood the value of letting some of the entry level deals slide a year. Now I think it was part of a PR move to bring in the much hyped big three at the same time so as to make the pressers and parades more impressive.

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#82 GSP
September 30 2010, 12:01PM
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With respect to the possible waiver wire pickups...If San Jose waives their goalie Griess...do the Oilers take him? Is he better than JDD and/or DD?

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#83 chartleys
September 30 2010, 12:05PM
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GSC wrote:

Of course Dellow disagrees with Oiler management, that's his M.O. and will continue to be for God knows how long...

When it comes to deciding between a general manager who has the experience as a player and league executive, knows how scouting works, and has a ton of eyes and ears feeding him every piece of information possible on a prospect, and a blogger who has never set foot on the ice in his life and only does this kind of stuff as a hobby, I wonder who I'm going to side with?

Dellow's entitled to his opinion, but it's always from the same angle: he's right, Oilers brass is wrong. There's no in between, no room for discussion.

Yawn...

On the subject of cherry-picking:

Are you serious? It's an unfortunate calamity that Dellow happens to often be right and the Oiler's brass be wrong.

But, of the two, he would be the one to actually admit if he was wrong. Yes he can get caught over-powering counter arguements lawyer style on occassion but the guy does bring up a ton of valid and well thought out opinons.

And when it comes to deciding between AN EX HOCKEY PLAYER WHO SPENT HIS FORMATIVE ADULT YEARS SKATING AROUND AND IS NOW RUNNING A 100 MILLION DOLLAR ENTERPRISE WITH A PRETTY UNPROVEN/POOR TRACK RECORD THUS FAR or a blogger who through his own passion for the team spends a lot of time thoroughly researching articles, I often wonder why one is still getting paid to do a job and the other one isn't.

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#84 Crash
September 30 2010, 12:08PM
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Ender wrote:

The Oilers aren't going to expose themselves to recall waivers in his situation. Technically you're right; they have the ability to do so. They just aren't going to.

What I'm saying is that even if Souray clears waivers the Oilers may not send him down making it reasonable that he could still be traded.

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#85 Ryan14
September 30 2010, 12:26PM
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mike wrote:

Ryan, Understood. But the topic was Holland. See above.

I agree with you that Y and especially Lambert show that Detroit was not into their current philosophy.

I'd also agree with you that we don't really have any evidence what Holland would do in these circumstances.

Agreed.

Holland is a poor comparison in my eyes. He became GM in 97 when Detroit was already a kick-ass team and had just won a Stanley Cup. Tambelinni took over 2 years ago when we were mediocre at best.

Everybody can say they want to follow the Holland model, but not all those people became GM of one of the best team in the league during a time when they bought the best players in the league (Holland is responsible for signing a player to the largest single season paycheque, so he also had that luxury)

This article seems to be interconnecting pre and post lockout scenarios. It seems to imply that instead of playing Zetterberg, they elected to sign a player like Cleary. Zetterberg's rookie season was in 02-03, and Cleary signed with Detroit in 05-06.

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#86 Dan the Man
September 30 2010, 12:26PM
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dawgbone wrote:

It would be except for the fact that the Oilers management brought up the comparison and the fans touted it.

As for your comment about Dellow being a hypocrite, I challenge you to find one example of him doing exactly what you are suggesting.

He's not attacking them after the fact to be contrarian, he's stating his opinion before it happens.

As for your last point, I'd be interested to hear your reasoning. I assume you are talking about him being a UFA at 26 vs 27, not an RFA.

The earlier he's a UFA the less RFA years the Oilers can use as leverage in a deal. Look at Sam Gagner for an example.

He is entering his 4th year in the league. After this current contract, he only has 2 RFA years left.

If he had entered the NHL at 20, this would be his 2nd year and after his contract he'd have 4 RFA years left.

In both situations, his contract ends just before his 23 year old season. I find it hard to believe that the Oilers are going to be able to save more money dealing wtih 2 RFA years than they would with 4 on a long term deal.

I wasn't saying Dellow is a hypocrite, my point was that he looks for flaws in the way the Oilers handle things. So no matter what the organization does or how they do it he would search for flaws.

Yes I did mean UFA and what I meant by that is if he becomes a UFA at 27 he may be coming off a better season than he would at 26 so therefore might be able to signed for a little less.

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#87 Ridley
September 30 2010, 12:33PM
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Ok, how come no one has mentioned that MPS went back to the SEL last year, and is widely considered the most ready to step up to the NHL out of the three because he was playing with men for the last two years? Wasn't that the whole point all along? That Eberle and MPS were ready to go no matter what? I think the question should be with Hall, but I rarely see a number 1 draft pick go back to the minors (Erik Johnson is the only one I can think of).

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#88 chartleys
September 30 2010, 12:36PM
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@ GSC:

I gotta go a bit further. WHAT evidence has this management group given you that allows you to have blind faith in them?

We have one working component thus far and it is a group led by a man named Stu. Aside from that, what they've proven to me is that they are completely ignorant when it comes to the finer details of the cap and CBA, when it's been blatantly obvious for years they had convinced themselves they were one big fish away from competitive and have went about issuing one franchise destroying offer after another, they have consistently bumbled about with player development and years later we are still trying to figure out the answers to the same questions....

1. Is cogliano a center? (No, not a good one and should have been converted over to what could be a very good winger)

2. Can JFJ play hockey? (not very well but he is big and fast).

3. Should JFJ be signed to a contract? (possibly a two way, league minimum one)

4. Should Struds be signed to a contract? (possibly but again league minimum and realistically in a year where you're developing, the roster spot and ice time is better spent on someone like Belle or snatching guys like Carle off the waivers. If he's a good guy to have around the team, make him a assistant defensive coach.)

5. How do you fix the mess you created on goalies? (Do not qualify either JDD or DD and see what 1.8 million and a good chance at a starting a lot of games will get you on the open market).

6. How do you get fired from management of a hockey operation? (Do what Tamblowe has so far done in any other hockey market. We were last in every single league we had a hand in...

7. What is the best way to achieve some value out of the Souray contract? (Have the guy playing hockey. There were deals out there prior to this last year of debacle and he wanted out but we didn't pull the trigger. You may not like each other but still. Now, with a 5+ million dollar asset, surely you can realize in the interest of both parties he should be out there putting up points and this should all be smoother over in the public eye.)

Yeah, I totally put all my faith behind these guys.

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#89 dawgbone
September 30 2010, 12:38PM
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mike wrote:

"Saving the year at 19 to get the year at the end is a better move in terms of cap management (which is also part of the Detroit system)."

That's the Dellow's proposition. What evidence is there that Holland would actually sit a 19 year old who can win a spot in his top 9 and profit from the faster game?

What evidence is there that the 19 year old can "profit from the faster game"? I think the only evidence out there to support anything is that:

1. Some highly touted players join the NHL at 18 and become stars.

2. Some highly touted players join the NHL at 18 and don't live up to expectations.

3. Some highly touted players join the NHL later on and become stars.

4. Some highly touted players join the NHL later on and don't live up to expectations.

In other words there isn't any.

There is no evidence that Holland would or would not sit a 19 year old who could win a spot in his top 9.

That being said, we do know he sent a 19 year old back who just had one of the most dominant SEL seasons someone that age has ever put up.

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#90 Scott in Grande Prairie
September 30 2010, 12:41PM
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Hey Jonathan...

If you wanted to cite further case-law to support your point, an even better example of a player who stayed in Europe a year or two longer and ended up playing in the Olympics and then ended up having a pretty good rookie season and career was: Teemu Selanne.

Winnipeg took him in the first round of the Modano/Linden/Roenick draft in 1988 but he didn't arrive in the NHL until fall of 1992. I think his situation was a little different in that he broke his leg his draft year (or the next year?) and he also had some mandatory military service to complete in Finland, but I could be wrong on both counts.

Anyway, Teemu didn't make it to the NHL until four autumns after his draft year and it definitely seemed to work out OK for him.

But ... that was then and this is now. I think Magnus (and Eberle and Hall) should make the Oilers for the simple reason that they're among the top-12 forwards in the organization. Simple as that. Like the Nordiques of the early 1990s, the Oilers aren't really good enough to go the Red Wings route.

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#91 Clyde Frog
September 30 2010, 12:42PM
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chartleys wrote:

On the subject of cherry-picking:

Are you serious? It's an unfortunate calamity that Dellow happens to often be right and the Oiler's brass be wrong.

But, of the two, he would be the one to actually admit if he was wrong. Yes he can get caught over-powering counter arguements lawyer style on occassion but the guy does bring up a ton of valid and well thought out opinons.

And when it comes to deciding between AN EX HOCKEY PLAYER WHO SPENT HIS FORMATIVE ADULT YEARS SKATING AROUND AND IS NOW RUNNING A 100 MILLION DOLLAR ENTERPRISE WITH A PRETTY UNPROVEN/POOR TRACK RECORD THUS FAR or a blogger who through his own passion for the team spends a lot of time thoroughly researching articles, I often wonder why one is still getting paid to do a job and the other one isn't.

I think I feel a page eighter coming on... Dellow is that you?

You can argue development in the NHL versus development in SEL/AHL all you want, but honestly Detroit's "model" hasn't been the most effective since the institution of a salary cap. It also involves a lot of players with low expectations of becoming impact players and having the luxury of being a city that has 0 difficulty with attracting free agents.

To say Edmonton should bury prospects simply because another team was effective when doing it with 6th rounders does nothing for addressing the needs/wants of the players or how that action will impact their mental game.

Saying "hey we really like you, but feel you need to develop more" to a 170 pound kid drafted low is a lot different from telling Taylor Hall, "I know your a #1 pick, but we feel you need to develop more. Don't worry that your the only #1 not to make it first year, we totally still like you..."

I guess I'll just trust the people who deal with these kids everyday over someone lashing out from his mom's basement who gets to make any decision he wants without ever actually dealing with the consequences of any of them.

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#92 dawgbone
September 30 2010, 12:51PM
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Dan the Man wrote:

I wasn't saying Dellow is a hypocrite, my point was that he looks for flaws in the way the Oilers handle things. So no matter what the organization does or how they do it he would search for flaws.

Yes I did mean UFA and what I meant by that is if he becomes a UFA at 27 he may be coming off a better season than he would at 26 so therefore might be able to signed for a little less.

No, you called him a hypocrite.

You said that if the Oilers management did do what he's suggesting, he'd be calling them out for doing it.

And this team has missed the playoffs 4 years in a row and finished 30th last year. There's lots of flaws to find with this club and plenty of room to question their decision making.

And the UFA part assumes he has a breakout year right at the end of his deal. What if he has it at 23? The Oilers could use 4 years of RFA as leverage instead of 3 on his next contract. I'm kind of hoping he's going to be an impact player before he's 25/26.

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#93 oilbaron
September 30 2010, 01:04PM
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@Chris.

can you honestly say that other players like cogliano, gagner and even hemsky have outplayed any of the top three this far into the pre-season? the point totals, compete level's and excitement alone that the kids are bringing in far outways the effort i am seeing from other players on this team. i think they are earning roster spots.

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#94 Death Metal Nightmare
September 30 2010, 01:09PM
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make your own path to success. copying models or scaffolding of other people and teams doesnt always work and you have to do it YOUR OWN WAY.

the Oilers are. get over it.

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#95 GSC
September 30 2010, 01:19PM
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chartleys wrote:

@ GSC:

I gotta go a bit further. WHAT evidence has this management group given you that allows you to have blind faith in them?

We have one working component thus far and it is a group led by a man named Stu. Aside from that, what they've proven to me is that they are completely ignorant when it comes to the finer details of the cap and CBA, when it's been blatantly obvious for years they had convinced themselves they were one big fish away from competitive and have went about issuing one franchise destroying offer after another, they have consistently bumbled about with player development and years later we are still trying to figure out the answers to the same questions....

1. Is cogliano a center? (No, not a good one and should have been converted over to what could be a very good winger)

2. Can JFJ play hockey? (not very well but he is big and fast).

3. Should JFJ be signed to a contract? (possibly a two way, league minimum one)

4. Should Struds be signed to a contract? (possibly but again league minimum and realistically in a year where you're developing, the roster spot and ice time is better spent on someone like Belle or snatching guys like Carle off the waivers. If he's a good guy to have around the team, make him a assistant defensive coach.)

5. How do you fix the mess you created on goalies? (Do not qualify either JDD or DD and see what 1.8 million and a good chance at a starting a lot of games will get you on the open market).

6. How do you get fired from management of a hockey operation? (Do what Tamblowe has so far done in any other hockey market. We were last in every single league we had a hand in...

7. What is the best way to achieve some value out of the Souray contract? (Have the guy playing hockey. There were deals out there prior to this last year of debacle and he wanted out but we didn't pull the trigger. You may not like each other but still. Now, with a 5+ million dollar asset, surely you can realize in the interest of both parties he should be out there putting up points and this should all be smoother over in the public eye.)

Yeah, I totally put all my faith behind these guys.

Blind faith? You must have me mistaken for somebody else...

I like what Tambellini has done this offseason, it's a step forward and it shows progress (and at this point with this organization, any positive should be considered an improvement). Is his job done? Hell no, not even close. It's just a start. I'm willing to give the man a chance.

I agree about the lack of attentiveness to CBA issues, in fact I've commented on that very problem on here several times before (don't ask me to dig it up, I have no idea where it is nor the time to look). It's inexcusable, and I've called for Rick Olczyk's head because of it. I've also called out Lowe on several occasions, he's the number one culprit for this mess. Tambi is trying his best to clean it up (and I'm still not convinced that he's totally in charge).

1. No, he's not a centre. That's a coaching decision.

2. If he stays healthy, he could be a perfect 4th liner.

3. He's making $615K, and he's better than MacIntyre (who is at the league minimum, if I'm not mistaken).

4. Agreed on Strudwick.

5. And give up on a 1st rounder who hasn't had a chance to develop (Dubnyk)?

6. Because Prendergast was god awful at procuring prospects and building an effective farm system. He was absolutely atrocious, and I'm glad he's gone.

7. And have him poison the dressing room? No way. That's where there is the disconnect between the hockey player and the contracts whiz: it looks like an easy decision on paper, but you have to understand the dynamics of a team and what potential negative impact a player like Souray could have. A player who trashes your organization (justified or not) and then comes out to the media months later with a sudden change of heart? No thanks.

I have more faith in Tambellini than I ever did in Lowe...but still fear that Tambi is the puppet in this regime. I'm not all saying that they deserve our unequivocal trust. What I am saying is that when it comes down to it, between an NHL executive and a blogger doing this from the comfort of his own home and at a distance where he doesn't know what the hell is going on inside the organization, who should we choose?

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#96 Saved by the Hall!
September 30 2010, 01:27PM
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Beating

Dead

Horse

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#97 Darren
September 30 2010, 01:40PM
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"Red Wings patented ‘build a team, skimp on goalies’ strategy"

This may have been mentioned already, but how quickly people forget that the Red Wings once employed Dominic hasek at about $8million/season while playing the $8millon Curtis Joseph in the minors. Not exactly skimping.

And would Linus Omark compare more favorably to Zetterberg than Paajarvi does? Later round choice, nearly lead the SEL in scoring, played in Russia, still not guaranteed a spot.

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#98 mike
September 30 2010, 01:41PM
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"There is no evidence that Holland would or would not sit a 19 year old who could win a spot in his top 9."

DB, Agreed. Exactly. I think JW's reading in too much when he plays WWKHD.

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#99 Chickenplucker
September 30 2010, 02:11PM
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dawgbone wrote:

No, you called him a hypocrite.

You said that if the Oilers management did do what he's suggesting, he'd be calling them out for doing it.

And this team has missed the playoffs 4 years in a row and finished 30th last year. There's lots of flaws to find with this club and plenty of room to question their decision making.

And the UFA part assumes he has a breakout year right at the end of his deal. What if he has it at 23? The Oilers could use 4 years of RFA as leverage instead of 3 on his next contract. I'm kind of hoping he's going to be an impact player before he's 25/26.

When it comes to using RFA as leverage doesn't arbitration come into account?

I'm not sure when an RFA is eligible for arbitration rights though, anyone?

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#100 9 Inches Uncut
September 30 2010, 02:14PM
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Well the Oilers since the Eberle draft have started slowing down on the rushing the prospects.

Gagner and Cogs shouldn't have made the team in their rookie years.

I'd say last year should have been their rookie seasons.

The Oilers have been patient with Eberle and have been rewarded.

Omark was a late round pick much like Zetterberg and he's been doing his time in the SEL, KHL, and likely the AHL this year.

MPS was a top 10 pick and they left him in the SEL for another year and he's been a force. He was chosen by his country for the WHC and played great. He's a guy that's forcing the issue and while it's likely he hasn't actually made the team yet.

Hall is a tough one because he's a 1st overall guy. Does having him in junior for another year have any benefit to his development. Ideally, if you could purchase his rights from Windsor and put him in the AHL that would be ideal but there is no provision for that sort of thing.

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