Trades, Now

Jonathan Willis
January 19 2011 08:03PM

The 2010-11 Edmonton Oilers were a team built to fail. From the opening faceoff, obvious roster problems were left unaddressed. The goaltending was a question mark, the defence a haunted wasteland, and the forward pool young, talented and terribly shallow.

The 2011-12 Oilers cannot enter the season in that kind of disarray.

Why talk about this now? The answer to that is simple: the Oilers moves approaching the trade deadline are going to have a direct impact on how competitive they are next season. Additionally, with the Oilers locked in an ugly ‘battle’ for 30th in the league with the underwhelming Islanders and somehow inferior Devils, there’s no incentive for the Oilers to hang on to their useful but not long-term parts, and there’s clearly a market for (even barely) useful but not long-term parts. Kyle Wellwood and Marek Svatos had interest from (multiple!) NHL teams, heck even Ben Eager somehow commanded a fifth round draft pick, despite being freshly returned from an idiotic four-game suspension and having spent a good chunk of the season in his coach’s doghouse.

I take that to mean that the Oilers might never have a better time to get some value in exchange for some of their more marginal players. Teams are desperate – 10 points separate fourth and 14th in the West, and even in the East teams like the Lightning and Rangers have already started to make moves to solidify their place in the standings.

Personally, I’d be looking to move a bunch of spare parts. I’d start with Ryan Jones: he’s got 10 goals, 15.9 shooting percentage, ugly scoring chance and underlying numbers, so I’d suggest it’s time to sell high. I believe he’s a fourth-liner, but that others will think much more of him and pay accordingly. The fact that he’s a pending unrestricted free agent doesn’t hurt the case to move him either.

Colin Fraser’s got another year on his contract, but given the attention the marginal forwards listed above have received, I tend to think somebody will pay something for him. Further, I’d argue he’s easily replaceable on the free agent market come summertime. Along with Fraser, I’d move Reddox and Jacques if anyone was willing to send a draft pick back. I’d also offer Brule & Cogliano, in the hopes of getting a reasonable offer on one of them, though I fear the trade window has passed for both of them and the Oilers may be better off hanging on to both.

On the back end, Jim Vandermeer and Kurtis Foster are expendable, as is Jason Strudwick. I don’t think that this is a particularly controversial take. 

Lowetide has argued that both Zack Stortini and Ladislav Smid might be on the outs with the organization, and while I think he’s right I wouldn’t move either of them, were I sitting in Steve Tambellini’s chair. Stortini’s a very capable 12th/13th/14th forward, he’s close to dirt cheap, and to be honest I like him. As for Smid, his player-type takes a long time to develop, he isn’t expensive, he’s a capable third-pairing option as-is, and there’s still a decent chance that he emerges as a physical second-pairing guy who makes a good first pass and handles duties in his own end with aplomb. That’s exactly what a team like the Oilers should want in a third-pairing guy.

Readers may differ on exactly what the Oilers should do; certainly, I’d be surprised if there was unanimous agreement with the scenario I’ve sketched out. I invite people to submit their own deadline plans. Either way, the time to move is now, and I think the immediate goal is clear-cut: to contend for a playoff spot next season.

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#152 FastOil
January 20 2011, 12:10PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Again: Wellwood, Svatos and Eager.

Teams will take on bit pieces, but Tambellini must move quickly. St. Louis, for one, is desperate for help.

The Oilers have a lot of spare and redundant parts, many of whom could easily lose trade value in a year or two. It would also be nice to gain something for the upcoming UFA's.

The team has a few key pieces, but it is a weak team, obviously, and far too easy to play against - it needs some grit that can play a regular shift and not be a complete liability.

There is a real chance that the stagnation of Lowe's tenure could rear it's ugly head again. I don't advocate trading all the good players away, but a core of players has to be chosen, and anyone who doesn't suit a role position available has to be traded or cashed in for picks. There is no point hoarding unsuitable first and former first round picks, players who are marginal or don't have the qualities the team desires or needs, and having a terribly unbalanced line up that loses and can't protect it's best players.

There is enough top 6 skill on the team to move somebody to address the D without causing much damage. Hemsky is at his peak value now with his contract, age and looming injury situation. He is past his development phase, the player he is now is all there is. If trading him meant a deal for a top lottery pick or player like Gudbranson or Zack Kassian, the greater team good would definitely be served. Hemsky can bring that at this time.

In the next year or two we will move out of lottery contention and have an increasing payroll. Moves will be harder to make. The team is not good enough to be a contender as it stands, the roster needs an overhaul, and opportunities are to be had now, and may not be around later. Many of the guys who haven't fixed their spot yet are on the verge of really losing any trade value.

Pick about 9 forwards, 3-4 D and change the rest - get a new dynamic happening. Next year really has to be about making the playoffs - another lost year is not necessary especially if we pick up another lottery pick. We only need 3-4 bottom six reasonably good players and the playoffs could be in reach. Any other holes can be filled through signings and the farm (can't be worse than what it is now).

It's time to move this thing forward and fix what isn't working.

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#154 D-Man
January 20 2011, 12:15PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

@ Ducey:

The team can't enter next season in this kind of disarray because it takes time to come out of the cellar.

They can't be content to flush another year, they need to start pulling out or next year we'll again be saying they're three years away.

One other minor point (more general than specific to you): if this team is three years away from playoff contention, why are Hall and Paajarvi on the roster this year? So they can get expensive right before hte team gets good?

They won't be content upon a cellar finish, but we can't expect the rebuild to be complete in a short year... There's another top draft pick (whether it be Larrson, Couturier, RNH, Landeskog) to be developed. I don't think we'd be fair to Tambo to expect him to be able to fix all of the obvious holes (weak backend and faceoffs) without overpaying FA's - which is senseless considering we won't be challenging for a playoff spot next year.

Hall and MPS are on the roster as they were the best players available to fill our roster. Whether we like it or not, we won't be 'good' until the 2012-2013 - hence the discussions on the merits of trading Penner or Hemsky for picks...

My belief is that we'll be competing for a playoff spot 2012-2013.. We all seem to forget that there will be 11 contracts up for renewal at the end of the year. Now if Tambo blindly resigns all 11 FA's, then yes, he's an incompetent idiot. I foresee him resigning 7 (Cogs, Jones, Smak or Storts, Smid, Peckham and Chorney). That leaves at least four more roster spots to be filled by a couple rookies and a couple of FA's.

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#155 VMR
January 20 2011, 12:17PM
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Any interest in trying to sign a Handzus in the offseason? I think his value has fallen greatly but he's still a big center that would fit on our 3rd line and step in when/if Horcoff goes down to injury. Might be able to sign him for not to much. His faceoff % isnt that great this year but it has been in the past.

On defence I think we could use a depth guy that is a step up from Strudwick/Vandermeer. Ideally we'd get a second pairing guy that could support our prospects but I think those guys will cost a lot. Teams are shelling out big bucks for those guys and they head towards the contenders.

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#156 sloppy joe
January 20 2011, 12:20PM
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As far as the Tambo debate goes, I'm not convinced that he's the GM who will pull it all together for this team, but I agree that I ought to reserve judgment until I see what he does from here through to the end of the summer.

I also acknowledge that Lowe left him with a mess, and that needs to be factored into any evaluation of what he has done/been able to do to date.

I also think he deserves some credit for AHL pickups he made and getting a competitive farm team going - all important for development.

Having said all that, I am definitely not sold on him - he still needs to convince me he's a decent GM, and I think it's fair to give him until the end of summer to do so. You can't give him credit for drafting good players when he admittedly just followed MacGregor's advice, and he only had the draft picks in the first place becuase the team veered into the gutter.

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#157 TigerUnderGlass
January 20 2011, 12:24PM
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Next up, is Connor McJesus. wrote:

I do know the difference. I also know we for the most part receive alot of opinion based entries here on ON. A writer/posters efforts here often contain just a few facts and the rest of that effort is opinion based.

Tambellini's hands are handcuffed. He has so few assets other teams may want. What has happened here recently certainly isn't from lack of effort on the Oilers part, it should speak volumes about how difficult things really are here player asset wise.

Is Tambellini really that bad of a GM, or is he just the GM of a team so poorly run for most of the last 15 years, which has more merit?

I think it might be fair to say that there are possibly mitigating factors we can't know, however we can only judge based on what we do know unless new information comes to light.

What we do know does not look good.

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#158 Ducey
January 20 2011, 12:33PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

@ Ducey:

The team can't enter next season in this kind of disarray because it takes time to come out of the cellar.

They can't be content to flush another year, they need to start pulling out or next year we'll again be saying they're three years away.

One other minor point (more general than specific to you): if this team is three years away from playoff contention, why are Hall and Paajarvi on the roster this year? So they can get expensive right before hte team gets good?

Sorry, I don't see this team contending for Stanley in 2 years. I see them barely making the playoffs in 2 years, with next year being another developmental year.

But lets say you are right JW, what would Tambo need to do to improve this team in a substantial way for next year? He likely needs a goalie (DD is not going to stay at .920 save% and you say Bulin is done), 3-5 quality guys for the bottom 6, 2 mid-range Dmen (assuming Petry, Peckham, Whitney and Gilbert are here).

No quality FA's are going to come here (its Edmonton, for a rebuild), and you don't want to trade picks or assets.

How are you going to fill all those spots with quality better than Tambo did? And will that team make the playoffs? I doubt it.

You may feel that the Oilers winning a few more OT games next year and finshing 23rd is going to lead somewhere. I don't. It just means worse draft picks.

Wings coach Babcock, when asked about the Oilers season, said that they were right on track, that they should be going for lottery this year. He then said: "If you try to get too good too fast, you don't get good enough".

I expect Mike Babcock would have done things this season very much like Tambo has.

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#159 Oilcruzer
January 20 2011, 12:33PM
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Whoa. You don't trade to get better now. And you don't trade when demand is low.

People aren't lining up to buy 3rd and 4th liners off a last place team. I dont see anyone gushing over Toronto or NYI or NJ 3rd and 4th liners. Or their bottom D.

Last years team was hopeless. This year it has strong hope and potential. But let's blame ST for not fixing everything at once, or when we think it is the best time?

Wrong. Make trades at Trade deadline and at FA deadline... That's when the Burkes and Sutters and other trigger happy GMs make their questionable moves.

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#160 BarryS
January 20 2011, 12:34PM
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TigerUnderGlass wrote:

No. It is based on entirely different assumptions.

The dislike for Tambellini is based on the evaluation of what he has done or has failed to do. In other words we are basing it on what we know rather than on invented possibilities from alternate universes.

Do you truly not see the difference?

And what we know only problem players get traded anymore. (Over paid being a major such problem) So Tambo should make trades for the sake of making trades? Name one of these free agents we could realy have had? Thought so. Name a trade for good players of late that were not forced by the players? Know any good players who would take Edmonton over anywhere else, since Winnipeg and Quebec are not part of the matter? Thought so.

As for Rollie. Sure helped the Islanders improve didn't he? Traded again, for not much. Any chance he was part of the problem here?

Thinking to get actual players back in trades seems is an assumption at best. Just what we need, more 4th and 5th draft choices to help us right away.

Being last in the leagues the last two years gives us last choice of free agents as well.

No free lunch or free passes in to the playoffs.

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#161 BarryS
January 20 2011, 12:44PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

@ Ducey:

The team can't enter next season in this kind of disarray because it takes time to come out of the cellar.

They can't be content to flush another year, they need to start pulling out or next year we'll again be saying they're three years away.

One other minor point (more general than specific to you): if this team is three years away from playoff contention, why are Hall and Paajarvi on the roster this year? So they can get expensive right before hte team gets good?

And your assumption they will get expensive when the team gets good is based on what? Economic forecasts on the future? Hall might get a big payday, the others likely not so much.

Hall and Paajarvi are on the team to keep butts in the seats. Same with the First next year. Hockey, like farming, runs on hope. Players on the farm do not contribute much to hope on the big team. If they are so good, why are they not on the big team now?

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#162 loilfan
January 20 2011, 12:56PM
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Fraser was brought in as the 3rd line faceoff and, to a lesser extent, PK man and has shown poorly in both of them. He is my biggest disappointment of the year.

I think I can blame Tambo for getting a poor player fresh off a cup winning team, but not for lack of trying to solve the FO situation this summer.

I still can't believe tha he got rid of Staois and got a draft pick with it.

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#163 Oilers4ever
January 20 2011, 01:06PM
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Have to disagree on this being year 1.5 of the rebuild... You can't tell me going into last season that they were going into it thinking rebuild.. Hell, at Xmas in the 2009-2010 season they were battling for first in the division.. and then they went down hill from there because of injuries, illness etc... So to think this is 1.5 of the rebuild in my mind is assinine. The rebuild started at the trade deadline last year, but more specifically the draft. I'd give you 1 year tops, but still more like half a year. One year complete will be the draft this June.

Either way, I don't expect much at the deadline from them this year. Maybe move some minor players like possibly Jacques or Storts. You're a nimrod in my mind if you trade Jones. He's one of the only guys who shows up game in and game out with energy every night, just like Reddox. Those guys should be 3rd and 4th liners for next season, and they are cheap enough. Jones may have 10 goals and could get close to 20. But he's done it for one year, that's it. Give him a 3 year deal with bonus incentives for increasing his goal total from this season.

Hemmer and Pens won't get traded because: 1) The Oil will want too much and no one will give in. 2) Hemsky has proven this year he's too risky with 3 injuries already this season alone, let alone his past. Although I wish they would trade him, as great as he is, you are useless if you are spending more than half of every season on the IR and spend 20 of the other half of the games available getting back to playing ability from being injured only to get injured again.

If anything, trade the Bulin wall (like that could ever happen) and play Dubynk and Gerber. We're a much better team goalie wise without the ole Drunk Tank in net...

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#164 Scott in Grande Prairie
January 20 2011, 01:08PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

One other quick point: this isn't the first half season of the rebuild. This will be the second year the Oilers are in the lottery, so this is year 1.5 of the rebuild.

I respectfully disagree, Jonathan.

IMHO, I think the "rebuild" started sometime around the middle of last season when brass realized things were way worse than they thought.

I don't remember any talk of "rebuild" at the start of 2009-10. "Rebuild" talk only started when it looked like they were headed to last overall - right around this time last year, I reckon. And really, I think we can all agree that the moves late last season were more of a "teardown" (like the first 15 minutes of Holmes on Homes) than a "rebuild" (like the last 15 minutes of Holmes on Homes). OK, the Whitney trade is the exception.

If you asked the Oiler brass what year the rebuild is in, they'd probably say we're halfway through Year 1. After all, the "Oil Change" mini-series didn't start in the summer of 2009 ...

(Note to Jonathan: Thanks for humouring this bit of extreme nitpicking. I don't expect you to glorify it with a response).

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#165 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
January 20 2011, 01:13PM
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Aitch wrote:

Can you please tell me what Tambo has "done" to make the team worse? Sure, you can say that by doing nothing, he hasn't helped the team. But, the history of sports has shown us many examples of GMs that didn't make many moves until the time was right. (Remember Pat Gillick was known as "Stand Pat" for many years in Blue Jay land, until he acquired Carter/Alomar from the Padres in the first of a series of big deals that brought two WS titles to TO.)

He got a decent draft pick and a warm body for Staios and his bloated contract.

Moreau and O'Sullivan were sent packing without needing buyouts like everyone and their desert dog was predicting. (Vandemeer kept a roster spot warm and may yet bring in another asset.)

Jones was plucked off waivers as a result of the Grebeshkov trade. So, a 2nd rounder (Curtis Hamilton) and Jones for Grebeshkov and $50,000. That looks like a good move in my books.

...and the whole Cole for O'Sullivan and Kotalik deal that he orchestrated a couple of seasons ago was a masterful deal. He's hardly the only GM to get fooled by No Heart O'Sullivan. The mistake may have been keeping Patty over Ales K.

Oh yeah, and getting Whitney for Visnovsky looks pretty good, eh? A younger player, with a wider skill set, (bad feet) and a cheaper contract over the same term. Not much to complain about there.

So, why the failing grade in your mind? The Brodziak trade? The Fraser deal? The Khabby signing? The Foster signing? The Souray situation? He may not have brought us to the promised land yet, but we're a helluva lot closer this morning than we were when he took over back on July 31, 2008.

Why the failing grade?

Dont get me wrong, i am 110% behind the rebuild, and have been on the tank bandwagon since cup run days.

However, Tambellini and the Oilers did not plan this rebuild at all, in my opinion. In my opinion, they fell ass backwards into it. Had he come in at the start and said "this is what we are doing, be patient, blah blah blah" then fine. Has he made good moves? Absolutely he has, i dont think anyone is debating that. Has he done enough to drive the Oilers to the basement of the league? Yes, he has

We have seen over the last couple of years the results of what Tambo has built. I do not see Tambo as the right guy who can fill the holes needed to turn this Oilers team into what I want to see, and that is a cup contender. Getting lots of great draft picks is a great start, but you also need to build a team around it as well. Will the Oilers be like Chicago and Pittsburgh or will they end up like the Islanders and Atlanta? Time will tell..

Question for you. Was the GM of, for example, Chicago and Pittsburgh when they won the cup the same as when the stunk and were rebuilding? Or, was another guy brought in to piece together the parts to build the team that turned into a winner?

I see Tambo as the perfect guy to guide the team in the rebuild. He doesnt move picks or prospects, and he has a great scouting staff behind him. I dont, however, see Tambo as the guy who will turn the team into a winner.

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#166 Fatso
January 20 2011, 01:13PM
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Smid an Visnosky were a lights-out pair, they had text book plays all the time as a pair.

Smid needs a player like Vis, it would be like getting a 2 for 1 deal.

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#168 BOTTS89
January 20 2011, 01:19PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

One other quick point: this isn't the first half season of the rebuild. This will be the second year the Oilers are in the lottery, so this is year 1.5 of the rebuild.

TOTALLY TOTALLY DISAGREE WITH THAT COMMENT. How can you compare the two, with the difference in personnel JW ?!

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#171 BOTTS89
January 20 2011, 01:24PM
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@Jonathan Willis

I agree with you except one point.... How do you know they didn't have talks with any of those free agent forwards ?? You cant say they didn' try to..Can you ??

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#172 BOTTS89
January 20 2011, 01:30PM
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@Jonathan Willis

I would agree he decided to tear it all down after those injuries occured, I would say he decided that close to 3/4 through the season..So I dont exactly see how you can justify that being 1.5 year rebuild already....

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#173 Scott in Grande Prairie
January 20 2011, 01:36PM
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@ Jonathan...

Agree on Taylor Hall. And, the truth is, I don't know if any of use need to bother arguing about when this rebuild started. It's probably more important to speculate on when it will be over.

As for what Tamby thought he had at the start of 2009-10, well, good question. Honestly - I think he thought had a team that he thought might be on that 10th-11th-12th playoff doorstep. IN other words, one that might be a deadline deal away from sneaking into the playoffs.

We can all laugh at that notion now until our sides split, but I really, truly think that's what he thought he had.

So, does that constitute a firing offence?

Dunno. Maybe.

It didn't last summer, so the ownership probably realized a "sea change" (to borrow from Melville) was required in what the organization's philosophy and outlook was going to be going forward.

And here we are...

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#174 D-Man
January 20 2011, 01:39PM
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Oilers4ever wrote:

Have to disagree on this being year 1.5 of the rebuild... You can't tell me going into last season that they were going into it thinking rebuild.. Hell, at Xmas in the 2009-2010 season they were battling for first in the division.. and then they went down hill from there because of injuries, illness etc... So to think this is 1.5 of the rebuild in my mind is assinine. The rebuild started at the trade deadline last year, but more specifically the draft. I'd give you 1 year tops, but still more like half a year. One year complete will be the draft this June.

Either way, I don't expect much at the deadline from them this year. Maybe move some minor players like possibly Jacques or Storts. You're a nimrod in my mind if you trade Jones. He's one of the only guys who shows up game in and game out with energy every night, just like Reddox. Those guys should be 3rd and 4th liners for next season, and they are cheap enough. Jones may have 10 goals and could get close to 20. But he's done it for one year, that's it. Give him a 3 year deal with bonus incentives for increasing his goal total from this season.

Hemmer and Pens won't get traded because: 1) The Oil will want too much and no one will give in. 2) Hemsky has proven this year he's too risky with 3 injuries already this season alone, let alone his past. Although I wish they would trade him, as great as he is, you are useless if you are spending more than half of every season on the IR and spend 20 of the other half of the games available getting back to playing ability from being injured only to get injured again.

If anything, trade the Bulin wall (like that could ever happen) and play Dubynk and Gerber. We're a much better team goalie wise without the ole Drunk Tank in net...

I do think Hemmer or Pens (or both - mostly likely one) will get traded as they will be the players teams might think will push them over the top for a Stanley Cup. They also both have one year remaining on their contracts which would also be favorable for managing cap space.

I think they'll most likely be traded next year though - when they're at the last year of their respective contracts. Assuming they're healthy, they both have enough offensive upside to help a team push for a Cup/playoff spot. They'll also be FA's and teams have the luxury of passing on offering them anything, should they be experiencing cap issues.

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#175 andrewmk20
January 20 2011, 01:41PM
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@Aitch

I think JW is just getting impatient about the fact that a few major needs aren't being met or he felt that it was mishandled.

1. Roloson/Khabi - obviously keeping roloson in hindsight would have been the better move. but that's hindsight people. Rolly is over 40 and it's not exactly unbelievable that the Oilers balked over his age.

2. Lack of aggressive/gritty bottom 6 - they tried to sign Malhotra and I don't think Reasoner wants another short stint here. Also there aren't exactly a lot of young gritty value minute guys out on the market.

I'm still unsure about Tambellini, but he's not the worst guy to steer the ship (Mike Milbury/Garth Snow/Doug Maclean). Hopefully the Oilers management staff are still scouting for a great candidate though as like any other position the GM position can be improved upon.

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#176 Aitch
January 20 2011, 01:52PM
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@TigerUnderGlass

No problem with my logic.

The point of any sports team is to win. (Or in the case of the Leafs, to win at the box office, but I digress.)

If you wanted to win it all, you have to take the goalie with the highest ceiling available. At that point in time, I do believe that Khabibulin was the best option out there. He had the best track record. Yes, he also came with some risks (injury being the biggest.) If Tambo's job was to keep the Oil on the playoff bubble while keeping the bucks down, then maybe Anderson would've been the better option. But I believe he was trying to win and Katz gave him the bank account to do so.

But that didn't work and they started to blow things up. By blowing it up they took a different approach to winning. Rather than trying to win now, they went with the scorched earth philosophy of re-building from the ground up. Considering he had the last place team with a first place budget, it's amazing (and lucky that the drafting the past few years has brought in a couple of high profile draft picks who look like they'll outshine their draft pedigree in Paajarvi and Eberle) that he's been able to get this ship pointed in the right direction this fast. And yes, I believe the lack of attention to the back-end has been done on purpose. Tom Renney might want some folks to believe the playoffs were possible this season, but the plan isn't to make them this year. Next year, though is a different story.

People complain about what he hasn't done, but most of the people are complaining about wishes. They believe he should've done what they would've done in their fantasy hockey leagues had they been GM.

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#177 Crash
January 20 2011, 01:57PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

@ Ducey:

Tambellini's stuck with Khabibulin unless he can deal him for somehting, so the Oilers will just have to live with the Dubnyk/Khabibulin tandem. That's on him.

On defence, half the problem is the absence of Souray, which is also on Tambellini. I'm not going to talk much about that now - there's an article coming - but they need to get value there.

On forward, quality depth free agents are available every summer. The Oilers let one guy - Pisani - go this summer who they should not have, and who got signed dirt cheap. Konopka got signed dirt cheap. Moore waited, waited, waited, and finally signed cheap. Torres signed cheap. These guys are everywhere.

Which makes it more confounding that the Oilers can't seem to find them.

The goaltending tandem is not a problem, other than Dubnyk should play more. That's on the coach.

Are you kidding me? Half the defense problem is the absence of Souray? The guy is done, he is mediocre in the AHL, he is always hurt, he is all about himself and would not be good for the Oilers room. Sheldon Souray would have ZERO impact on this defense core in a positive way. His career is virtually over. If he was that good, why did he pass through the entire league....TWICE, with no takers?

It was time for Pisani to go...he is not what this team needs. Reddox is Pisani, works hard, isn't overly talented, is soft and can be used on the PK. And Reddox is not the injury risk of Pisani. This team needs more punch in the bottom six, not Pisani or anyone like him. For the record, I'd also let Reddox go.

I'll give you Konopka as this team needs 2 or 3 Kenopka's but Moore? Is this a joke? What was Moore going to bring? You are talking about Dominic Moore I assume. Is this the Dominic Moore who is in TB? The one with 16 points on the season and who is a solid minus 16 on a pretty good Tampa team? Was there a reason he waited and waited and waited while no one jumped up to grab him in the summer?

Really JW, these are your ideas that would have made the Oilers a better hockey team? The Oilers went out and tried a Dominic Moore type by getting Fraser, didn't they? Didn't work out it seems, probably like Moore wouldn't have.

Having Pisani, Moore and Souray was going to turn this team into a playoff contender and not a lottery team? Right, sure, ok. Didn't this team have both Pisani and Souray last year when they were last? There would have been no difference to this team under your scenario whether you want to believe it or not. I will say, this team could use a Kenopka, an Eager and a Chris Neil (or something similar) to give it some push back, some bite, some in your face along with some ability to play. Were they available to the Oilers? Tough to say, maybe, I don't know how many of those guys would be willing to sign here? I hope Tambellini can add a couple of these guys.

As far as your article goes, I'm not sure you're going to get much in return for much of what you are wanting to dump....so if you do manage to dump many of these players for 5th round draft picks or whatever I'm not sure how it translates into a playoff team next year. All that may be available to the Oilers next year to sign is more of the same. The Oilers will challenge for the playoffs when and if the prospects are good enough to make it happen or at least good enough to attract other players here.

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#178 Ducey
January 20 2011, 04:02PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

@ Ducey:

Tambellini's stuck with Khabibulin unless he can deal him for somehting, so the Oilers will just have to live with the Dubnyk/Khabibulin tandem. That's on him.

On defence, half the problem is the absence of Souray, which is also on Tambellini. I'm not going to talk much about that now - there's an article coming - but they need to get value there.

On forward, quality depth free agents are available every summer. The Oilers let one guy - Pisani - go this summer who they should not have, and who got signed dirt cheap. Konopka got signed dirt cheap. Moore waited, waited, waited, and finally signed cheap. Torres signed cheap. These guys are everywhere.

Which makes it more confounding that the Oilers can't seem to find them.

What Crash said.

And I think you missed my point. Complaining about Tambo is one thing. Determining what should be done next year was the point in discussion.

They are stuck with Bulin. Rather than saying its Tambos fault, you take that into account and realize they are not going anywhere no matter how many Dominic Moores they sign.

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#179 Cervantes
January 20 2011, 05:00PM
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You know, as much as I'd like to make a lot of moves for players, I think that it makes sense to move players for picks instead.

Look at who we have coming up. Hartikainen. Lander. Vande Velde. Pitlick. That's 4 guys vying for a roster spot next year, and on a young team looking to learn together, I can see them getting it. What's better, they're all pretty much bottom 6 guys, at least to start. O'Marra got sent down mostly for waiver eligibility reasons (and thank $deity someone on the Oilers finally noticed that), but he didn't look out of place as the #4C either. Reddox has shown he can play up here.

Would I like to get Malhotra or Torres or Reasoner or a pile of other vets? Yes. But in terms of the 2013/14 Oilers, it's probably better to develop these guys and let them gel as a group. And thanks to Stu the Magnificent Bastard, these guys represent 4th line jam and crust, good PK, winning faceoffs, and leadership. Exactly the things we're needing. I'd rather groom a kid than bring in a vet for 2 years.

On D things are a bit thinner, but Petry is looking great, Chorney doesn't suck suddenly, I still like Belle and Petiot, Marincin seems like a nice mean SOB, Peckham has taken huge leaps, Gilbert is playing 30 minutes a night and Top10 in the NHL in blocked shots.... there's a lot of promise there too. Add in a Whitney, subtract Foster, Vandermeer and Strudwickc, and add in a free agent signing of a Top4 D (or trade for Bieksa), and we're not too shabby there either.

Frankly, were I Tambi, I'd be moving people for picks. Don't care if they're 5th rounders. Just get em off the books. Fraser, Foster, JFJ, and Brule would all fit needs in various teams around the league and could be had cheap. A healthy VDM at the trade deadline would be a smart insurance pickup for a playoff bound team. Our sudden unwillingness to play Zorg could see him moved to a team looking for toughness. Gagner could actually pull a real nice return from a team looking for a 2nd line C and 2nd unit PP playmaker. And then the only things Tambi has to do over the summer is (a) find a good anchor for the D, (b) Maybe pick up one vet to take some of the pressure off the sophomore slumping kids, and (c) Dump Khabbuy in the minors.

Next year we could have:

PRV - Horcs - Ebs Penner - Hall - Hemmer Cogs - Pitlick - Omark Hartikainen - Lander - Reddox VV

That's not a bad set of forwards to start a year. Faceoffs in Horcs, Penner, Hall, Pits, Lander, Reddox, VV, and somewhat in Cogs. Defensive responsibility on almost any line. A middle 6 that can move up or down based on play. Flexibility if someone gets hurt or cold. There's worse things to go into a season with, and we obtain it by doing nothing. Move a few guys for some mid-round picks, let MBS work his magic, and that's really not bad.

If a down-and-out team is looking to dump good parts, I'd for sure look at it... but frankly, things are going to be so close come the deadline that I expect almost every Western team to be a buyer, and most East teams too. If we're lucky, the Rangers are selling and we get Boyle, or the Penguins are looking for help on the wings and we wrestle Staal out of them for Penner/Hemmer, but for the most part, I see this trade deadline as being the Season Of The Pick. Played right, the Oilers could go into the draft with an easy 10-12 picks. Add in some smart summer pickups with more luck than this last summer, and things aren't that bad at all.

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#180 TigerUnderGlass
January 20 2011, 05:26PM
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BarryS wrote:

And what we know only problem players get traded anymore. (Over paid being a major such problem) So Tambo should make trades for the sake of making trades? Name one of these free agents we could realy have had? Thought so. Name a trade for good players of late that were not forced by the players? Know any good players who would take Edmonton over anywhere else, since Winnipeg and Quebec are not part of the matter? Thought so.

As for Rollie. Sure helped the Islanders improve didn't he? Traded again, for not much. Any chance he was part of the problem here?

Thinking to get actual players back in trades seems is an assumption at best. Just what we need, more 4th and 5th draft choices to help us right away.

Being last in the leagues the last two years gives us last choice of free agents as well.

No free lunch or free passes in to the playoffs.

I'm not sure how 70% of that relates in any way to my comments, and the other 30% supports my position so I guess I have no response.

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#181 TigerUnderGlass
January 20 2011, 05:34PM
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Aitch wrote:

No problem with my logic.

The point of any sports team is to win. (Or in the case of the Leafs, to win at the box office, but I digress.)

If you wanted to win it all, you have to take the goalie with the highest ceiling available. At that point in time, I do believe that Khabibulin was the best option out there. He had the best track record. Yes, he also came with some risks (injury being the biggest.) If Tambo's job was to keep the Oil on the playoff bubble while keeping the bucks down, then maybe Anderson would've been the better option. But I believe he was trying to win and Katz gave him the bank account to do so.

But that didn't work and they started to blow things up. By blowing it up they took a different approach to winning. Rather than trying to win now, they went with the scorched earth philosophy of re-building from the ground up. Considering he had the last place team with a first place budget, it's amazing (and lucky that the drafting the past few years has brought in a couple of high profile draft picks who look like they'll outshine their draft pedigree in Paajarvi and Eberle) that he's been able to get this ship pointed in the right direction this fast. And yes, I believe the lack of attention to the back-end has been done on purpose. Tom Renney might want some folks to believe the playoffs were possible this season, but the plan isn't to make them this year. Next year, though is a different story.

People complain about what he hasn't done, but most of the people are complaining about wishes. They believe he should've done what they would've done in their fantasy hockey leagues had they been GM.

You know most people don't "props" their own posts.

You didn't respond to the logical problem I pointed out, but let me reply anyways.

Here is the fundamental issue: Even IF one accepts that he was the best goalie on the market there is no excuse for giving him an over 35 contract for 4 years at double the market value.

I can accept wanting to sign him, but the term and the amount were unacceptable. How could a competent GM be so painfully unaware of the market for goalies?

Now if you would be so kind as to respond to my question concerning your logic I would appreciate it.

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#182 Aitch
January 20 2011, 07:11PM
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@cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

cableguy asked me...Question for you. Was the GM of, for example, Chicago and Pittsburgh when they won the cup the same as when the stunk and were rebuilding? Or, was another guy brought in to piece together the parts to build the team that turned into a winner?

Nope, but they were brought in to seal the deal. I do recall many thought Craig Patrick got the shaft in Pittsburgh though and the main reason that Dale Tallon was let go in Chicago was the screw-up he made on the RFAs. A clerical error, if you will. So, I don't think we're comparing apples to apples here.

As for your last point, I think he already is turning the team into a winner, but the wins this season don't mean as much to me as they will next year or the year after that.

At the end of the day, I think we'd all like to see 'em win a little more or at the very least avoid the prolonged slumps this season. I said it last year as well. I am never upset with a win, even though right now a loss is better for us in the long-term. Making trades now to enable the winning of a few more games now to get in the playoffs is akin to winning a battle, but only a battle. I hope what Tambo is doing is trying to help us win the war. And I believe we're on the right warpath... as long as he can sure up the blueline between now and the start of next season.

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#183 Aitch
January 20 2011, 07:21PM
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@TigerUnderGlass

You can see who props a post? Really? lol I never knew that, but I did wonder.

I did address your logical problem. You just never picked up on it. At the time of the Khabby signing, Tambo wasn't in win later mode. He was in win-now mode. Hence, why the goalie with the highest ceiling was a good choice. But then, the arse fell out of 'er and the re-build began. As for the market price, what was the market for former Stanley Cup winning goalies that off-season? I can't seem to find a comparable on that one.

Now, I'm gonna go enjoy the game and not get too stressed about it, if the problems on the blueline haven't been ironed out before the game is out. ;)

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#184 oilerman53
January 20 2011, 09:36PM
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@Chris.

Gagner's size as a top centerman isn't really what we need. Cogliano has a mean streak and his speed makes him more valuable as a utility penalty killing forward who can shut down other teams top trios with the right amount of seasoning. His size means he isn't going to win many battles down low, but he can beat people to the puck or get there fast enough to break up a lot of plays.

Gagner has a good skill set but I think he isn't going to top out at more then 60 points a season. I think it's time to trade and get that faceoff winning big centerman. Hell with Eberle and Hall dishing the puck all the guy has to do is stand in front of the net.

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#185 TigerUnderGlass
January 20 2011, 10:49PM
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Aitch wrote:

You can see who props a post? Really? lol I never knew that, but I did wonder.

I did address your logical problem. You just never picked up on it. At the time of the Khabby signing, Tambo wasn't in win later mode. He was in win-now mode. Hence, why the goalie with the highest ceiling was a good choice. But then, the arse fell out of 'er and the re-build began. As for the market price, what was the market for former Stanley Cup winning goalies that off-season? I can't seem to find a comparable on that one.

Now, I'm gonna go enjoy the game and not get too stressed about it, if the problems on the blueline haven't been ironed out before the game is out. ;)

That answer doesn't address anything.

You suggested that a different goalie would not have been a better choice unless they unless they created an instant contender.

As for the "cup-winning goalie" angle - if you are seriously going to pretend that has any validity to the situation further discussion is pointless.

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#186 PaperDesigner
January 20 2011, 11:47PM
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You trade Hemsky if you can get a high pick and a very good prospect (preferably a D-man) for him.

You keep Penner, because someone has to help this team start to win when they're ready to. You can probably get him inked for an extension at five million. Some people get on him for playing poorly, but Penner playing poorly is better than Hemsky not playing at all due to injury. Plus, they could use his size.

Gagner, Hall, Omark, Paajarvi and Eberle all stay for obvious reasons.

Jones you trade if you can get a good offer. Maybe a second round pick from a desperate GM, or a third round and a later round pick.

Jacques isn't going anywhere, except to Oklahoma City.

Horcoff stays. We will need to start winning in the next two seasons, and we don't have many players capable of doing what he does yet.

Reddox stays. Actual bottom six player. They need more guys like him.

MacIntyre stays because... well, because you have to pay somebody to be the 14th forward. And I don't think he fetches anything.

Cogliano goes. They've spent too long trying to babysit both Brule and Cogliano, and if we have to suffer through a young player with an identity crisis, keep the one who A) shoots and B) plays physical. Then again, I once reasoned that the Oilers should keep O'Sullivan over some of their other smurfs because he shot the puck. So what do I know?

So yeah, Brule stays. For now.

Stortini stays. Why create another hole? Young enough to play it for another five years.

Fraser goes if anybody will take him. Anyone have a problem if we see O'Marra take the spot and see if he has a future as a utility/4th line forward? I don't.

Gilbert goes if anybody will give you value. I think he's a valuable, minute-munching two-way defenceman. If there's a GM that will give full value for that, move Gilbert out. There better be a first round pick in the deal for starters, though. If nobody's paying that much, you can keep him and have him lead the next group of defencemen.

Whitney stays. Not that he can be traded, but long-term, they need him to hold down the fort on the top pairing until somebody shows as the heir apparent.

Petry and Peckham stay. Obviously.

Smid stays. He might never be better than a #5, but we might not need him to be better than that, with Petry, Peckham and Marincin in the system. Either way, we can use his physicality and size.

Foster goes, if anybody will take him. He was a reasonable signing as a hold-over until the next generation of powerplay options arrive, but with Petry and Chorney looking competent at this level, we can move him as soon as there's a taker for him.

Strudwick goes. If anybody will take a player that is a #7 defenceman on a bottom-feeder team that has already suffered injuries on the back-end.

Vandermeer goes. A depth defenceman with an expiring contract that has done reasonably well this season? Yeah, that will probably fetch you something nice from a contending team concerned about their depth at the position.

Khabibulin stays, I guess. I don't see anybody taking that contract. He's an awful goaltender with two and a half more years on his contract. Can we send him to the minors yet?

Dubnyk stays.

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#187 Oilers4ever
January 21 2011, 08:06AM
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And Jones proves yet again my point I made last night that if you trade him and don't resign him you are just a complete moron.. Best player on the ice by far last night along with Magnus...

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#188 JoeyCardine
January 21 2011, 10:50AM
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Trade Jones and keep Stortini. lol. As for the shooting percentage comment...I've seen this a bunch lately and wonder if people ever think further than just looking at a number. Watching Jones you can see he doesn't just fire the puck from anywhere on the ice like say a Hall would do. He shoots from high percentage areas and mucks for goals. This is why is % is high. And a quick look on his stats shows he had a 13.2% in Nashville last year. And in his rookie AHL season scored 13goals in 25 games and had a shot percentage of 18.8%. When you actually research things the truth comes out. Jones shoots when he has a chance to score. Saying his shooting percentage is too high and therefore he's performing better than he normally would is lazy and narrow sighted.

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#189 Whitney27
January 21 2011, 12:57PM
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I can definatly agree about getting rid of Strudwick and Vandermeer and well Foster im still up in the air about. I disagree about Smid & Stortini they both should be shipped out of town as fast as possible, i'll give them both credit they have heart and dedication but neither one helps the team. Smid can be good but cannot stay consistent and makes countless mistakes with the puck in his own zone. As for Stortni he is just not useful even as 13th forward, I mean he was brought in to be the tough guy and he can't even do that, and yes he might have grit but hard to hit someone if you can't catch them.

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#190 FastOil
January 21 2011, 09:50PM
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@Jonathan Willis

"I've been waiting for tomorrow all of my life" The The

Really, the Oilers have been in rebuild mode since Messier left.

When has this team not been young, up and coming, exciting and weak, missing key pieces that never seem to get found.

Well, Lowe built one veteran version, had a good lucky run, and blew it up.

Good GM's asses the team's strengths and change the weaknesses. Pheonix has become a much better team because of trading pieces to get a roster that works, keeping a very small core and evaluating players well.

Phoenix has only 3 players I consider too small, two are well established veterans so weren't a great risk. No superstars, just big and balanced.

My core is Hall, Eberle, Penner, Horcoff (contract), Petry, Peckham, MPS, Smid (if his head is ok) and Dubnyk.

We can live without Hemmer, Gilbert, Cogs, Brule, Gagner, Whitney, Omark. I would load up on lottery picks (get two more) and it can be done by moving 2 of Gagner, Hemsky and Gilbert without question.

I would then target Zack Kassian, Gudbranson (or any other premium young D), any premium young centre with size and speed, a tough that can earn his check.

I would overpay to get what I want because targeted top 5 picks and player acquisitions that fill a specific need will make a much better team (and clear roster spots) than hoarding a bunch guys that don't fit the bill and aren't succeeding because of it. It does not matter to liquidate excess assets for an improvement if that's what it takes to get a deal done. This team doesn't work as it is, and it's about more than just being young.

There is no point drafting the best available player regardless of need if you don't trade them for what you do need while they have good value. It is actually damaging to the team, like it might get really unbalanced and be terribly ineffective.

Phoenix turned into a playoff team pretty quick after a few smart deals. Tambellini can turn this thing into a few year process from a many year process as he is going now. The precedent in Oil Country has been set - 5 years to be as good(lucky) as Sather.

Long suffering Oiler fans deserve prompt, decisive and correct action for a change.

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