Setting Free the Bears

Lowetide
January 11 2011 06:41PM

With the Oilers reaching the official halfway point of their season, it's time to discuess a few home truths. The Oilers aren't going to make the playoffs, the trade deadline market suggests "UFA" is much easier to move than "RFA" and big ticket items are more likely to move in the warmer months. What does this mean to the Oilers? Read on.
 

Since New Year's Day we've seen two transactions of note:

  1. Dallas aquired forward Jamie Langenbrunner (UFA) from the New Jersey Devils in exchange for a conditional third-round pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.
  2. NY Rangers qcquired forward Wojtek Wolski from the Phoenix Coyotes in exchange for defenseman Michal Rozsival.Wolski's cap hit is $3.8M, Rozsival $5M. Both players were not playing to the level of their cap hit at the time of the transaction.

I think these two deals perfectly reflect the current market. Teams are willing to pick up veterans in the final year of their contracts (meaning free agency this summer) and are also willing to trade contracts that match somewhat or offer cap relief/cash relief (as the PHX/NYR deal reflects).

How does that impact the Oilers? I think the Oilers will have a hard time dealing off Penner or Hemsky at the deadline. Although teams certainly have nice things to offer, it makes little sense for them to give up roster players of value. In Los Angeles, we can see that Penner makes sense (Hemsky too) for the Kings, but part of the return might be someone like Wayne Simmonds. Why would LA do that when he's clearly part of the current solution? They are more likely to offer someone like Ponikarovsky and a high end prospect. Does that benefit Edmonton? I'd bet they could get a better fit in the summer.

In most years, playoff teams have enough of a cushion to risk 2 points here or there as the new hires adjust. For a team like the Kings 10-11, I don't think there's any margin for error. Unless the Oilers are willing to do a "Smyth for 5 assets" type deal I don't think a blockbuster gets done by Edmonton at the deadline. Which is good. Penner and Hemsky are signed through next season, and I'm hopeful Steve Tambellini can find a way to keep both of them as well as all those wonderful kids.

So, what will the Oilers do at the deadline? Offload unrestricted free agents and then take over the world! Sorry. Here are the Oilers 10-11 pending UFA's:

  1. Ryan Jones: Winger with some size and an outside shot at 20 goals this season. Jones is 26 years old and has shown flashes of offensive ability in the past. One hopes the Oilers attempt to sign him before the deadline, but if they don't the market should be legit for the versatile winger. Nashville traded for him once, they may do it again.
  2. Jim Vandermeer: Make no mistake, the trade deadline is a lot about adding blue. Remember the Sabres 2006 spring? When they finished just shy of playing for the Stanley because they ran out of defensemen? NHL General Managers sleep better deadline night after they add a player like Vandermeer. I know he's expensive for what he does but this is an expiring contract. Lots of people felt Steve Staios had no value a year ago, but Steve Tambellini got a solid pick for him.
  3. Steve MacIntyre: Has almost no post-season value. These guys don't play much when the second season begins.
  4. Jason Strudwick: Veteran nearing the end of the line. Little value, suspect no one will have interest.

Anyone else? I don't think so. NHL teams don't want to have any extra cap headaches than the ones they already have; having said that, here are a few players who might get moved to a team that sees them as part of the future:

  1. Ladislav Smid: I think the Oilers might have enough concern about his long term health. If someone comes calling with a legit prospect/pick Smid might be in a new town come March.
  2. Zack Stortini: The coach doesn't see him as being terribly valuable. Another NHL coach might see a need for a physical 4liner who can actually play.
  3. Kurtis Foster: He's signed for another year at 1.8M but a team looking for a PP solution that doesn't break the bank might bite. A team in the southeast that "saw him good" a year ago may feel Foster can help them.
  4. Gilbert Brule: Seems to have slipped down a notch since a strong start. Brule has a few things that other coaching staffs will have noticed (he's a hitter and he can shoot the puck) and that might be enough for them to offer a solid return.
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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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#51 Diamond
January 12 2011, 11:47AM
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They are nuts if they trade Jones, He is totally everything we need for a 3rd liner, we need a few more jones and less Cogs.

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#52 TigerUnderGlass
January 12 2011, 11:49AM
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Brownlee loves the word meow wrote:

meow well as long as he gets along with everyone lol...

Penner has the least amount of drive and heart I have ever seen! At the end of the Dallas game he literally stood against the boards as the puck was 2 feet away from him...you cant tell me he couldnt lunge his body and the more than 6 feet of lumber in his hands to try and get the puck...Hall would have been sprawling on the ice diving to get that puck...because he has heart and drive. What type of player do you think helps the Oilers in the future the most? It is time to deal Penner.

You get 245lb. 17-32 goal scorers that dont give a sh!t via Klowe being desperate. You try and trade said bum for something the team actually needs in the future.

~Clearly it would be impossible to win a cup with Penner in the lineup.~

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#53 Stevezie
January 12 2011, 11:57AM
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Jones isn't as good as he looks, but he's unquestionably an NHLer. Even with his inflated trade value you're likely to get more than a third for him, and this team needs legitimate NHLers more than we need another third. Clearly.

However, if Tambo doesn't think Jones wants to resign here, something we in the sphere have no way of knowing, then he would be crazy not to trade him.

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#54 Brownlee loves the word meow
January 12 2011, 12:03PM
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meow to the topic at hand, I agree with an earlier post. Dont subtract Jones, add to it. Crop Dust our Team with players like this. Brooks Laich and Glencross are both free agents come seasons end. If you can nab those 2 at the deadline/draft/sign them...

Jones - Laich - Glencross

Oh and just by coincidence their added salaries would probably equal that of Penners.

Thats a hard working DIRTY line right there.

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#55 Brownlee loves the word meow
January 12 2011, 12:14PM
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TigerUnderGlass wrote:

~Clearly it would be impossible to win a cup with Penner in the lineup.~

meow ~Clearly your being short sighted~

Eventually

Hall moves to first line left wing. Paajarvi moves to second line left wing.

Hemsky is first line right wing. Eberle is second line right wing.

What are you going to be paying your 3rd line left wing Penner? cause I cant see him making much less than he does now at 25-30 goals per season. Oh wait..there's holes in our defense and at Centre you say...and you have a piece that has value that doesn't really fit into the future of the Oilers?

~Clearly Chicago could make a run to the cup and win again with Pisani in the line up~

You think Pisani fits into the future of the Oilers?

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#56 Quicksilver ballet
January 12 2011, 12:19PM
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@Brownlee loves the word meow

Missed out on the Kovalenko,Klima era did you.....

Other than the fact that Dustin is getting more minutes than he's used to here in Edmonton, Penner's most effective role is in a second line/ sometimes 3rd line like he had in Anaheim. Right now the fans are wanting/expecting him to be Mr. Everything, and because there's nobody else here, we're putting more on his shoulders than he's capable of carrying. The truth is if Ales or Dustin are our best players then we're not going anywhere anyways. What they need is a 1st line playing in front of them, give them the opportunity to push the guys in front of them on the depth chart. Penner is one helluva an asset to a team that has that no.1 line in front of him and push him, but that is not the case here, we choose to call him lazy, and underachieving, when he's just not capable without that push/support.

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#57 Whitney27
January 12 2011, 12:39PM
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It will be interesting to see what the Oilers do before or on trade deadline day.

OF the list of players provided of who to go and who should stay in my opinon. Ales Hemsky-Very skilled and has been the best player on this team for years, try to lock up to another long term teal. Dustin Penner-Need to keep a big guy who can score Kurtis Foster-Is not doing great but the whole powerplay stinks and has been reliable in his own zone other then some games this year Gilbert Brule-If can get healthy is a good third line centre who isn't afraid to muck it up and has some skill Ryan Jones-Would like to see him locked up for another year to see if he can keep going, he has been the most consistent and never quits working Steve Macentyre-Yes not a very good skater and does take penalites but does hold the other team responsible and puts fear in the other team Jason Strudwick-Can we please get rid of this guy my god its painful to watch him on the ice.I know he is a great team guy and he is great person but that doesn't help on the ice. Ladislav Smid-Also please get rid of, has never lived up to any potential and nothing but injury prone Zach Stortini-This guy might have heart but just like Strudwick is painful to watch,& at the end of the day he is just a practice dummy for the real tough guys in the league when he is in the line up teams can take liberty on our stars because well they know that Stortini can't hold them accountable other then they get to beat him up as well if they choose to fight him but whats the point because everyone has beaten him so much its gets boring for them to even bother. JIm Vandermeer- Im still on the fence with this guy but I have more confidence with him on the ice then I do with Strudwick or Smid.

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#58 Captain Obvious
January 12 2011, 12:52PM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

Just to go a little further on the Jones for a pick idea.

Take Jones draft class of 2004: 3rd round: theirs all of 2 players I'd take hands down over Jones.

4th round: (where Jones was taken) theirs 1 player I'd take hands down over Jones.

So basically we'd be cashing him in for a 1/20 chance of getting someone better.

No more trading real NHL'ers for pics outside the first 2 rounds!!!! (unless it's a guy that we will be losing for nothing)

You aren't considering the opportunity cost of keeping Jones in the lineup. The Oilers don't only get a draft pick they get a lineup spot next year who can be replaced by another guy like Jones. Trading him is then a two for one trade (the draft pick + the guy you picked up for free to replace him).

The cost of these two players is Jones. But Jones isn't worth anything to a good team. Third line players on good teams are very good hockey players. If you think Jones is good enough to play on the third line of a good team then your standards for third line players are too low.

The Oilers shouldn't be measuring their players by whether they are good enough for the Oilers, they should be measuring their players by whether they are good enough to play quality minutes for a good team. Jones isn't.

A third round pick is a great return for a player like Jones. If they continue to suck it won't matter if they have Jones. If they start to get good, Jones is the guy they have to get rid of to get over the top.

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#59 Captain Obvious
January 12 2011, 12:55PM
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One more thing.

The goal of good teams should be to have a third line that would be a solid second line on mediocre teams. Think of guys like Versteeg, Ladd, and Byfuglien.

Instead of imagining that Ryan Jones is anything like those guys the Oilers should spend their time trying to get guys like that.

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#60 Truth
January 12 2011, 12:56PM
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I would trade Hemsky, Penner, Jones, or anybody as long as its for the right player(s)/pick(s). Ryan Clowe out of San Jose would be the ideal player coming back, he is what we all wish Penner is..on pace for 66 pts and 111 PIMS. Maybe a little inspiration for Penner. The Sharks need to shake something up pretty quick here as well.

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#61 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
January 12 2011, 01:02PM
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Captain Obvious wrote:

You aren't considering the opportunity cost of keeping Jones in the lineup. The Oilers don't only get a draft pick they get a lineup spot next year who can be replaced by another guy like Jones. Trading him is then a two for one trade (the draft pick + the guy you picked up for free to replace him).

The cost of these two players is Jones. But Jones isn't worth anything to a good team. Third line players on good teams are very good hockey players. If you think Jones is good enough to play on the third line of a good team then your standards for third line players are too low.

The Oilers shouldn't be measuring their players by whether they are good enough for the Oilers, they should be measuring their players by whether they are good enough to play quality minutes for a good team. Jones isn't.

A third round pick is a great return for a player like Jones. If they continue to suck it won't matter if they have Jones. If they start to get good, Jones is the guy they have to get rid of to get over the top.

Have you seen how often we sign players like Jones?

I wouldn't count on the Oilers replacing him with anyone better then Ben Ondrus.

Also, I measure Jones as a 4th liner

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#62 Captain Obvious
January 12 2011, 01:07PM
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Fourth line players are irrelevant. A third round pick for a fourth line player is a great return.

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#63 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
January 12 2011, 01:26PM
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Captain Obvious wrote:

Fourth line players are irrelevant. A third round pick for a fourth line player is a great return.

Right, at 5% success ratio.

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#64 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
January 12 2011, 01:27PM
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Also, I don't even know if we get a 3rd. A proven Langenbrunner returned a 3rd.

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#65 yegCopywriter
January 12 2011, 01:28PM
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Captain Obvious wrote:

Fourth line players are irrelevant. A third round pick for a fourth line player is a great return.

That's a ridiculous comment. If fourth line players were irrelevant, teams wouldn't have fourth lines. Having a fourth line that can add grit and chip in a few goals is valuable to a team, not irrelevant. Think of Detroit's 4th lines when they were winning cups. They wouldn't trade those guys for mid-round picks.

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#66 fatso
January 12 2011, 01:29PM
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Penner will play hard when team Canada has there eyes on him. I think thats the best time to move him. 2014

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#67 Oilers21
January 12 2011, 01:59PM
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What is all this talk about trading Ryan Jones?? Not only is he one of the few players that brings it EVERY NIGHT, there have been a few nights (last Vancouver game/debacle for example) that he was probably our best player, period. I would say someone who plays with energy and desire night in and night out and chips in 20 goals is EXACTLY what even a good team needs for their third line.

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#68 Ducey
January 12 2011, 02:01PM
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I still don't understand the love for Jones. He has 13 points in 1/2 a season, is -5, and as I stated above can't even hold his own with 4th line minutes. He is also shooting at 16%, which is unsustainable. He is not a scrapper, nor is he going to make many Dmen worried on the forecheck.

Guys that give you 27 pts a year and can't play defence are a dime a dozen in August.

He is POS, in a bigger body.

If you can get a third for him (Peckham was a 3rd, Omark was a 4th) you do it. You get a 5% (assuming poster above is right) chance of getting an NHL player and you can pick up Jones' replacement off the scrap heap (where he came from!) for $500 K in August.

If you want to actually improve the team, go out and get a guy that can chip in a few goals, bang some heads, AND actually play defence. They are still cheap.

If you want your rookies to prosper, THEY should be playing against weaker opposition and the Vets like Jones should be playing the toughs. Right now we have Hall playing the toughs and Jones goal sucking against the weak opposition.

Frankly, unless you have some weird man crush on his flowing locks, its not even an argument - trade him.

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#69 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
January 12 2011, 02:13PM
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Ducey wrote:

I still don't understand the love for Jones. He has 13 points in 1/2 a season, is -5, and as I stated above can't even hold his own with 4th line minutes. He is also shooting at 16%, which is unsustainable. He is not a scrapper, nor is he going to make many Dmen worried on the forecheck.

Guys that give you 27 pts a year and can't play defence are a dime a dozen in August.

He is POS, in a bigger body.

If you can get a third for him (Peckham was a 3rd, Omark was a 4th) you do it. You get a 5% (assuming poster above is right) chance of getting an NHL player and you can pick up Jones' replacement off the scrap heap (where he came from!) for $500 K in August.

If you want to actually improve the team, go out and get a guy that can chip in a few goals, bang some heads, AND actually play defence. They are still cheap.

If you want your rookies to prosper, THEY should be playing against weaker opposition and the Vets like Jones should be playing the toughs. Right now we have Hall playing the toughs and Jones goal sucking against the weak opposition.

Frankly, unless you have some weird man crush on his flowing locks, its not even an argument - trade him.

15 goal pace for over 120 NHL games. The guy can score.

And I repeat, have you seen how often we sign real bottom 6 NHL'ers?

This sounds exactly like "trade/let walk Stoll/Reason... they're easy to replace" ..... 3 years later we are still waiting.

Frankly, unless you have some weird man crush on next to worthless picks, its not even an argument - re-sign him.

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#70 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
January 12 2011, 02:38PM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

15 goal pace for over 120 NHL games. The guy can score.

And I repeat, have you seen how often we sign real bottom 6 NHL'ers?

This sounds exactly like "trade/let walk Stoll/Reason... they're easy to replace" ..... 3 years later we are still waiting.

Frankly, unless you have some weird man crush on next to worthless picks, its not even an argument - re-sign him.

Have to agree. Unless he doesn't want to re-sign or somehow Jacques, Fraser and Reddox start playing like sure fire NHLers there is no need to trade him.

It's not like we are going to get a 2nd or 3rd rounder for the guy anyway. Even if we did, how long are we going to wait until that pick actually does something.

Jones should be able to help us out for a few more years, so I'd think his value to stay is greater than the risk of waiting on a pick.

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#71 rindog
January 12 2011, 03:38PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Missed out on the Kovalenko,Klima era did you.....

Other than the fact that Dustin is getting more minutes than he's used to here in Edmonton, Penner's most effective role is in a second line/ sometimes 3rd line like he had in Anaheim. Right now the fans are wanting/expecting him to be Mr. Everything, and because there's nobody else here, we're putting more on his shoulders than he's capable of carrying. The truth is if Ales or Dustin are our best players then we're not going anywhere anyways. What they need is a 1st line playing in front of them, give them the opportunity to push the guys in front of them on the depth chart. Penner is one helluva an asset to a team that has that no.1 line in front of him and push him, but that is not the case here, we choose to call him lazy, and underachieving, when he's just not capable without that push/support.

Are you saying that Hemsky is not a 1st line right winger?

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#72 Wax Man Riley
January 12 2011, 03:40PM
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Brownlee loves the word meow wrote:

meow to the topic at hand, I agree with an earlier post. Dont subtract Jones, add to it. Crop Dust our Team with players like this. Brooks Laich and Glencross are both free agents come seasons end. If you can nab those 2 at the deadline/draft/sign them...

Jones - Laich - Glencross

Oh and just by coincidence their added salaries would probably equal that of Penners.

Thats a hard working DIRTY line right there.

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#73 Brownlee loves the word meow
January 12 2011, 03:41PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Missed out on the Kovalenko,Klima era did you.....

Other than the fact that Dustin is getting more minutes than he's used to here in Edmonton, Penner's most effective role is in a second line/ sometimes 3rd line like he had in Anaheim. Right now the fans are wanting/expecting him to be Mr. Everything, and because there's nobody else here, we're putting more on his shoulders than he's capable of carrying. The truth is if Ales or Dustin are our best players then we're not going anywhere anyways. What they need is a 1st line playing in front of them, give them the opportunity to push the guys in front of them on the depth chart. Penner is one helluva an asset to a team that has that no.1 line in front of him and push him, but that is not the case here, we choose to call him lazy, and underachieving, when he's just not capable without that push/support.

meow, More minutes than he is used to can be an excuse for the first season we got him, but he was signed 3.5 years ago man.

He is playing the big minutes for the 4th year in a row here bud. I am not expecting anything other than effort from him, which he has 1 shift out of 3 nights on average.

Well hmmm I think that the whole rebuild is taking care of that new first line...and like i said before paying penner the big bucks on the 3rd line makes as much sense as paying horcoff 5.5 for 3rd line centre...and hopefully we have learned from our mistakes, and can see the errors of past. Does trading penner right now for something we need in the future make sense. plain and simple...yes.

We choose to call him lazy because he is, it is a fact, you cant say otherwise with out being a retard. I showed more effort shoveling my sidewalks last weekend than he has in any game that he has played in an Oilers uniform.

We call him underachieving because he is lazy.

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#74 Brownlee loves the word meow
January 12 2011, 03:42PM
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@Wax Man Riley

Meow dont spit in that cops burger

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#75 Wax Man Riley
January 12 2011, 03:48PM
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I don't think Penner is lazy, and I am definitely of sound mind. He is a big man with soft hands. He is a finesse player in a big, big body.

He looks to put as much effort as Hemsky. Hemsky just looks effortless out there.

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#76 Brownlee loves the word meow
January 12 2011, 04:01PM
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@Wax Man Riley

meow if Penner isnt lazy, then Gilbert is the most physical defenseman in the league.

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#77 thebiggestmanintheworld
January 12 2011, 05:19PM
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~with all our depth, trading Penner seems like the smart thing to do.~

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#78 Matt Henderson
January 12 2011, 06:33PM
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Are people really under the assumption that Ryan Jones is the answer on the 3rd line? Because I have never had the impression that he was a part of the long term future of the Oilers. I saw him as a transitional player, and a pending UFA on top of that.

What kind of clown would the Oilers look like if they let perfectly moveable assets walk for nothing in the middle of a rebuild? Especially for a player that can be replaced the same way he was acquired, on the waiver wire.

If he isnt moved by the draft then team still has a month to try and re-sign him for another season.

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#79 Dennis
January 12 2011, 07:01PM
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Lowetide wrote:

On Cogliano, I think Renney sees a player there. Not just from his comments but also the way he's handling him (more responsibility, etc). Fraser and Jacques haven't (imo) played well enough for another NHL team to make an offer.

I expect Tambellini will move Vandermeer, Foster and Brule. That would be my list.

LT: you're ready to deal off young Albelin? You know I thought I'd feel better when this day came and I was proven right but I don't;)

13 has gotten a lot gritter and seems to be getting better on the PK but his FO pct isn't anything to write home about and I still don't see a great defensive conscience.

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