GDB 64.0: PASSING TO PAAJARVI AND TEUBERT'S COACH GIVES US HIS THOUGHTS

Jason Gregor
March 01 2011 11:44AM

With Dustin Penner shipped off to Los Angeles, the future on the left wing in the top two lines looks to be in the hands of Taylor Hall and Magnus Paajarvi. There is no doubt that Hall can handle the baton, but it will be interesting to see how Paajarvi handles it.

Hall is already on par with Penner's production, and all signs point to him out scoring Penner by next season. However the picture isn't as clear when it comes to Paajarvi. There is no rush for Paajarvi to be producing like a top-six winger, but with Penner being gone he should get top-six minutes.

When Steve Tambellini decided to move Penner he made it clear that this team feels they are at least two years away from even competing for the playoffs. You'll never hear those words uttered from anyone inside the organization, but it is clear that is the path they are taking.

Leading up to the deadline I stated I wouldn't trade Penner or Ales Hemsky unless I got an NHL-ready player in return, so I wasn't a fan of yesterday's deal. I felt that if they traded for just prospects or picks that they would be delaying the rebuild; not wrecking it,  but clearly delaying it.

Now that Tambellini has made it clear they where he stands, the next steps will be crucial to ensuring they do it properly.

Colten Teubert, the 13th overall pick in 2008 is in his first professional season, and like most stay-at-home defenders the learning curve has been steep.  It is way too early to suggest, based on only 40 AHL games, what calliber of player he will develop into. 

Barring a massive change in his style he won't bring a lot of offence, but a best-case scenario would see him become similar to a Jason Smith or Matt Greene. Suggestions that he is already a bust, or that he'll only be a borderline D-man are way too premature.

WHAT DOES HIS COACH THINK?

Ryan Rishaug and I spoke with Teubert's head coach in Manchester, Mark Morris, and got his thoughts on Teubert's game.

JG: What have you liked about his game?

MM: He has steadily improved. He had a wrist injury that put him on the backburner for quite a while, but when he got in the lineup he surprised us with his steady play and his phyical play. There were times when he was confronted, and he was able to handle himself. He is a big physical presence, and I think his hands will improve as his injury gets better.

RR: Give us the scouting report on the areas you feel are strengths, and what areas he needs to focus on to get to the NHL and stay there?

MM: Like most guys who enter the American Hockey League, the biggest challenge is making the reads. He is a strong skater, so if he makes a poor read he has the ability to eat up ground and shut people down. What I like about him is that he seems to get a piece of somebody every time he is on the ice, and he is a hard guy to play against.

At times when he handles the puck, he might not make the best choice, but he keeps the game fairly simple. He is an old school defenceman in my books; the type of guy that everybody will appreciate over the course of time.He's not going to wow you in the beginning, but I think over time he will prove that he is a force to be reckoned with and he can be a reliable, dependable defender.

JG: Is he a guy that excels on the penalty kill, and is his style just your typical stay-at-home defenceman?

MM: He is getting there. Because of the length of the injury he had, he's had to earn his icetime and steadily he's gotten it. Toward the tail end of the last few games we've had him out there in important situations over other players, because he is such a force.

He's got a good stick, he'll knock down passes and clear the front of the net. He does a lot of the bull work, and that's the type of defenceman he is. We've come to appreciate him as a very reliable, dependable player. He is a little rough around the edges, he's very raw, but he is a comer and I think that in time, with some seasoning, he will play.

RR: He is 6'4", how is speed and his footspeed?

MM: It's pretty good. His first few steps might not be the quickest, but once he is in flight he is a big, stong and powerful kid. If somebody gets a step on him, he usually catches them or gets a piece of them and usually finishes his check. He is a tough guy to play against and he doesn't let guys stand around (in front of net). He is very aggressive and he boxes out well.

I'd like to see him carry his stick a little bit lower for taking away passing lanes and so forth, but, I think, because he was wearing a support mechanism on his wrist he was probably a little bit careful with that and in time his stick positioning and hands will improve once he gets more comfortable with the strength in his hand.

RR: Can you compare where Teubert is at to Hickey and Voynov?

MM: Hickey and Voynov have a couple years of experience under their belt. Colten didn't get the same amount of playing time, he was in the ECHL for a bit last season, and then he missed most of the early part of this year, so he's a bit behind the learning curve.

They are different types of defencemen. Hickey is more of a guy who plods his way up the ice, and thinks the puck around the rink and is a good disher. Voynov is more of a rushing D-man with a booming shot. The combination of the different styles obviously depends on what an organization wants to see.

Fortunately for us we've had a variety, and I would say Colten fills that niche of the stay-at-home guy who doesn't get the credit he deserves, but he is very steady and he commands respect on the ice.

JG: Is his game similar to Matt Greene's, do you see some similarities between the two?

MM: That might be a good comparison. Obviously Greenie is a guy who has a bit more polish right now and he's not noted as a great playmaker, but he is an honest player and Colten would fit that bill. He likes to shoot the puck and he is fairly accurate with it.

He recognizes situations and he scored a nice goal recently from the blueline where he ripped one top shelf. I think it has to do with confidence with a young player too, they have to play, they have to get those minutes in because it is hard to teach experience.

Some interesting insight from a coach who has seen him play every one of his 39 pro games thus far. The Oilers didn't have any rugged stay-at-home defenders in the system, so Teubert does give them a style of player that they don't really have, outside of Theo Peckham.

WHAT IS NEXT?

This summer they will need to find some transitional players, guys who can help the Oilers try to be competitve while gaining more experience. Teubert and Martin Marincin are a few years away from helping this team, and Alex Plante doesn't seem to be that close either, so Tambellini needs to ensure he has some NHL-ready D-men so they don't have to rush any of these kids.

More importantly, he will need to find a few NHL veteran forwards with some size, to counter the lack of size that Renney is currently saddled with upfront.

NEW LINES 

The Oilers didn't run any lines at practice this morning, but Renney hinted he would try Paajarvi with Shawn Horcoff and Ales Hemsky. Renney was quick to point out he won't just hand the job to Paajarvi, "He will need to be an impact player for us, if he wants to stay there long term," said Renney.

Colin Fraser and Steve MacIntyre will be the scratches tonight, so here's my best guess at what the lines will look like.

Paajarvi/Horcoff/Hemsky
Hall/Cogliano/Eberle
Jones/Gagner/Omark
Reddox/Brule/Jacques

Smid/Gilbert
Foster/Vandermeer
Petiot/Strudwick

Martin Gerber is going to start in goal, which doesn't make much sense to me considering Dubnyk played better v. Boston than he did v. St. Louis. But Renney feels it is a chance to send a message to his young goalie. "I think Doobby needs to know that I have that latitude as a coach, that when I've got two capable goaltenders it (starting) isn't a slam dunk. I think there are some things that we still need  to have him look at in order to be prepared for his next start, so it is just a coach's decision."

 Nikolai Khabibulin has been skating and blocking some shots, but he still hasn't been cleared to lift anything heavy. They will push him again tomorrow and see how he progresses. Theo Peckham hasn't officially been diagnosed with a concussion, but he is out for tonight, and he'll likely sit for a few more games.

WISH UPON A STAR

Katherine Heigl starred in Wish Upon A Star in case you are wondering.

GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers shut out the Preds 4-0 in their last meeting, but the Preds are desperate for a win and I suspect they will put forth a much better effort. The Preds will skate away with a hard fought 4-2 win.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Richard Petiot will have a large cheering section from Daysland in the crowd tonight. The local boy with play in his 14th NHL game, but his first regular season game in Edmonton will have him amped up.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: With this asinine cold snap continuing, Octane will try to heat things up inside Rexall tonight. They will unveil two new dance sequences. The girl who always jumps out of her seat to dance along with Octane will be rattled that she doesn't know the new steps, and will be visibly upset. Most of the guys won't recognize the new moves, because, well, we are guys and you haven't been focusing on specific details of their routines. The new choreography will garner lots of attention on twitter though, and the usual Octane haters will complain that their moves suck. Not surprisingly most  of the complaints will be from women with no dancing background.

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#1 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
March 01 2011, 11:49AM
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MPS did have some promising moments with Hesmky on the FIST line earlier in the year. Hopefully they can get back to that.

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#2 Rick
March 01 2011, 11:54AM
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Tambellini's actions are saying two years from even competing for a playoff spot?

Seems that last summer on the breakfast circuit he was telling everyone with a chequebook and an interest in season tickets that the goal was to be playing meaningful games down the stretch this year.

I wonder what the message will be this summer? Or should we even bother listening anymore?

How sad is it that with the deadline passed there is nothing Oiler related to stay interested in until the draft? Even then it feels more like a 'been there, done that' type event.

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#3 John
March 01 2011, 11:54AM
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I couldnt sleep last night cause the Penner deal. I thought we were close to contending for a playoff spot but now we're looking at another top 3 pick in 2012. This is painful

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#4 Kodiak
March 01 2011, 11:56AM
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I'm really not a fan of Cogs between Hall and Eberle. The kids have not been very responsible on the back check the last while and Cogs isn't strong enough defensively to cover for them. Put Horcoff with Hall and Eberle and move Gagner with PRV and Hemsky.

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#5 ogorr
March 01 2011, 11:58AM
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Gregor, I agreed with your take on the deal yesterday. Too many "what ifs" for a proven 25 - 30 goal guy. Even though Penner didn't exert his physicality every night he was still an extremely tough guy to play against. No one in the top 6 or 9 is even close to bringing what Penner could.

Here's hoping I'm wrong and Teubert evolve's into a solid NHL caliber d-man and they are able to parlay that second 1st round pick into something substantial (either by drafting at that position or moving up) but right now it looks like a long up hill climb to come out even on this deal.

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#6 Fresh Mess
March 01 2011, 11:58AM
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I agree with Gregor. Given that the deadline was a seller's market, I am not thrilled with what Tambellini was able to leverage Penner for. It feels like a return one would expect from a 31 year old impending UFA rental, not a prime 28 year old coveted forward with another full year of cap-friendly term.

ST did not impress me yesterday.

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#7 rds
March 01 2011, 12:05PM
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Yeah, now that the trade deadline is over I'm losing interest in this team fast. All I'm really going to be interested in now is how many points Hall and Eberle end up with. At least I have a team to cheer against now - the LA Kings. Lets hope they go on a losing streak and finish as low in the standings as possible.

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#8 ekcut
March 01 2011, 12:07PM
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"Nikolai Khabibulin has been skating and blocking some shots, but he still hasn't been cleared to lift anything heavy."

a) I thought he was out with an eye injury? What exactly is he lifting with his eye? I think I may have found a fault in the Oilers training methods.

b) "Blocking some shots" That's fantastic!!! By blocking some shots he has already show great improvement over his usual style of "whiffing on most shots"!

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#9 ekcut
March 01 2011, 12:10PM
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c) Katherine Heigl....RAWR!!!!

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#10 Crash
March 01 2011, 12:15PM
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Rick wrote:

Tambellini's actions are saying two years from even competing for a playoff spot?

Seems that last summer on the breakfast circuit he was telling everyone with a chequebook and an interest in season tickets that the goal was to be playing meaningful games down the stretch this year.

I wonder what the message will be this summer? Or should we even bother listening anymore?

How sad is it that with the deadline passed there is nothing Oiler related to stay interested in until the draft? Even then it feels more like a 'been there, done that' type event.

Well, there is a calder race to keep an eye on.

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#11 Banger
March 01 2011, 12:19PM
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@John

"thought we were close to contending for a playoff spot"?

You cant be serious.

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#12 Woodguy
March 01 2011, 12:32PM
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Jason said:

"The Oilers didn't have any rugged stay-at-home defenders in the system, so Teubert does give them a style of player that they don't really have, outside of Theo Peckham.

I heard Tambellini say that as well.

So have the Oilers offically given up on 6'4 230lb, 15th overall pick in 2007, stay at home rugged defenseman Alex Plante?

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#13 Oilcruzer
March 01 2011, 12:42PM
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Eckut - eye infections be serious - can't move around.

---

In an "holy cow" moment of revelation, I woke up in a cold sweat having figured out the Oil business plan.

The money is in selling newly crested jerseys - hence the need to move out players and move in new ones that the fans can be excited about.

Not like Vancouver where everyone has a 10 year old freaky twin jersey (with a Velco "H" and "S" to make it look like they bought two).

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#14 MattL
March 01 2011, 12:44PM
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John wrote:

I couldnt sleep last night cause the Penner deal. I thought we were close to contending for a playoff spot but now we're looking at another top 3 pick in 2012. This is painful

AAAAAAhahahahahahahahahahahahaha......

*Gasp*

Ahahahahahahahahahahaha.....

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#15 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
March 01 2011, 12:45PM
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Woodguy wrote:

Jason said:

"The Oilers didn't have any rugged stay-at-home defenders in the system, so Teubert does give them a style of player that they don't really have, outside of Theo Peckham.

I heard Tambellini say that as well.

So have the Oilers offically given up on 6'4 230lb, 15th overall pick in 2007, stay at home rugged defenseman Alex Plante?

This is classic Oiler strategy though.

Short PMD's on the big club? Pick up 4 of them.

3 years from now we'll have a bunch of bangers and not one 40 point Dman.

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#16 mayorpoop
March 01 2011, 12:47PM
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firstly i disagree on the return...im more optimistic.

secondly why the HECK is gerber starting? we are starting to become the west conference version of the flyers, a team which cannot handle goalies and screw more up than help succeed.

really, i mean really!

renney needed dooby to know he is the coach? cmon renney what the @#@%^#&@$!!!!

sigh

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#17 jOHN
March 01 2011, 12:48PM
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@Banger

i meant with a couple changes we could have contended for a playoff spot next year. now we're looking at another top pick for 2012

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#18 Woodguy
March 01 2011, 12:56PM
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Interesting that both:

6'4 230lb, 15th overall pick in 2007, stay at home rugged defenseman Alex Plante

6'4 195lb, 13th overall pick in 2008, stay at home rugged defenseman Colten Teubert

have both been playing 3rd pairing in the AHL and have been healthy scratches recently.

Separated at birth?

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#19 sizedoesmatter
March 01 2011, 12:56PM
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Its rebuild the ship.Not abandon ship

patience not every pick will play

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#21 TonyT
March 01 2011, 01:01PM
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@ Gregor

I haven't read all the posts yet, so forgive me if this has already been addressed. I completely agree that they intend to improve via lottery picks over the next couple seasons, however I was disappointed that centre position has yet to be addressed. Specifically, Gagner and Cogliano. While draft day always brings alot of chatter, in the end it usually is just alot of talk. This is beginning to remind me of the "three-headed monster" in goal we had. Are we (the fans) simply assuming that the organization intends to trade one or has management decided to keep both going forward? Also, does Brule stay as the 4th line C next year or do they move him to the wing? Asides from management's rebuild plan, I'm pretty confused as to the organizational makeup going forward. Do they intend to to run three scoring lines again next season? Alot of questions, appreciate your thoughts.

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#22 TonyT
March 01 2011, 01:05PM
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"I think Doobby needs to know that I have that latitude as a coach, that when I've got two capable goaltenders it (starting) isn't a slam dunk. I think there are some things that we still need to have him look at in order to be prepared for his next start, so it is just a coach's decision."

How is Dubnyk in the locker room? I'm led to believe by this quote that the coach believes he has a sense of entitlement.

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#23 Dennis
March 01 2011, 01:59PM
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Jason: I listened to your show yesterday and I could tell you weren't pleased with the deal so it was nice to see someone realize what had just went down.

I tried calling in to maybe prod a little bit more and get you to admit how much you disliked it but then line was busy:)

BTW, I can't wait for the day when 91 is dealt for a team's 4th or 5th best dman and late first round picks.

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#24 Tim
March 01 2011, 02:01PM
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Jason great post.

Can you provide us an update on Plante, does he have a shot of becoming an NHL dman or has the organization given up on him? Alot of our other D have got called up over him which can't be a good sign.

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#25 Ender
March 01 2011, 02:20PM
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Oilcruzer wrote:

Not like Vancouver where everyone has a 10 year old freaky twin jersey (with a Velco "H" and "S" to make it look like they bought two).

That's actually a pretty ingenious idea. Of course, I'd probably have bought an "H" and a "D", but that's just me.
;-)

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#26 Senator Theo
March 01 2011, 02:34PM
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Ender wrote:

Oilcruzer wrote:

Not like Vancouver where everyone has a 10 year old freaky twin jersey (with a Velco "H" and "S" to make it look like they bought two).

That's actually a pretty ingenious idea. Of course, I'd probably have bought an "H" and a "D", but that's just me.
;-)

I thought the "S" could go at the end, when you want to wear a jersey honoring both of them - "SEDINS"

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#29 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
March 01 2011, 02:51PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

They like Brule better as a centreman...He gets more involved there. He probably stays because no one will take him at his contract.

I don't see any way that Cogliano and Gagner are here next September. One will go, especially when they draft a centre with their first pick.

They would like to add one winger who has some hands but can bang onto their 3rd line. I think a guy like Omark could be in play as well, for the right return.

"especially when they draft a centre with their first pick."

Hmmmm, is that your opinion or is that what you are hearing the team wants?

I sure hope you are right, I'm very much afraid they will draft Larson.

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#30 Oil Based
March 01 2011, 03:22PM
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When you look at what STL got for Brad Boyes, I'd say Tambellini did okay (vs "the market"). This definitely leaves us looking Smurfish up front, though.

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#31 Cool Beans
March 01 2011, 03:39PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Lifting heavy stuff can lead to broken blood vessels in your eye...That is why no heavy lifting for him.

@Woodguy

Plante is a pretty good puck mover. They don't look at him as just a stay-at-home type D-man.

60's of Shmirnov aren't that heavy

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#34 russ99
March 01 2011, 03:51PM
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If a dime-a-dozen stay at home checker like Teubert keeps the Oilers from fixing their defense for the next 5-8 years with Larsson, I'll be twice as upset about the Penner deal than I am now.

Besides, I don't see a Crosby, Malkin or even a Tavares in any of the top center picks in this year's draft.

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#35 Hallisimo
March 01 2011, 04:06PM
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My hope is that ST can see that RNH is another skilled but very small center that we do not need more of, and that Couterier is just about as slow as strudwick which again we do not need more of. The perfect draft day for me would be taking Larsson first overall and then try trading our other 1st our 2nd and possibly out third to try and move into the top 5 to take landeskog. If that were to happen Omark would be expendable and you could package him up with Gagner and trade for some size at center (hopefully with skillz and can win a few draws).

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#36 Dan the Man
March 01 2011, 04:21PM
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Is there a worse set of 6 d-men in the league than the ones starting for us tonight?

*shudders*

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#37 Oilcruzer
March 01 2011, 04:47PM
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Ender wrote:

Oilcruzer wrote:

Not like Vancouver where everyone has a 10 year old freaky twin jersey (with a Velco "H" and "S" to make it look like they bought two).

That's actually a pretty ingenious idea. Of course, I'd probably have bought an "H" and a "D", but that's just me.
;-)

Bah - I have no excuse for the typo.

*Fail!*

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#38 Clyde Frog
March 01 2011, 04:49PM
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@russ99

Lol...

Larson isn't above 4 on any of the draft charts I last saw, his numbers don't have him trending to have Doughty like production. But hey if you truly believe avoiding the best player to take a flyer on a possible top 4 dman, who am I to argue with your amazing reasoning.

How can you write off a player who is in a position that 75%+ of players don't start to perform until 23+?

I'm not saying he will become a magical offensive dynamo, but if you recall Sheldon Souray didn't exactly throw up points in junior or the AHL. Players develop and understanding their strengths/helping them build on their potential is what makes the good clubs succesfull.

Of course some players can completely regress the other way, ie Smid who came over to us with some offensive upside that he never found at the NHL level.

Teuburt seems to have a lot of intangibles that this team is sorely lacking, especially on the grit/nastiness side of things. If he gets to develope and build on what he has and hits the #3-4 slot that would be a wonderful addition.

If nasty dmen were actually a dime a dozen, why did players like Smith or Stevens end up with such long fruitfull careers?

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#39 Biowolf
March 01 2011, 04:57PM
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Tambi needs to get a few D man and a few forwards this summer? You cant be serious. Give me a brake.

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#40 borisnikov
March 01 2011, 06:02PM
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Dan the Man wrote:

Is there a worse set of 6 d-men in the league than the ones starting for us tonight?

*shudders*

Have you seen florida's d now?

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#41 russ99
March 01 2011, 06:03PM
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Clyde Frog wrote:

Lol...

Larson isn't above 4 on any of the draft charts I last saw, his numbers don't have him trending to have Doughty like production. But hey if you truly believe avoiding the best player to take a flyer on a possible top 4 dman, who am I to argue with your amazing reasoning.

How can you write off a player who is in a position that 75%+ of players don't start to perform until 23+?

I'm not saying he will become a magical offensive dynamo, but if you recall Sheldon Souray didn't exactly throw up points in junior or the AHL. Players develop and understanding their strengths/helping them build on their potential is what makes the good clubs succesfull.

Of course some players can completely regress the other way, ie Smid who came over to us with some offensive upside that he never found at the NHL level.

Teuburt seems to have a lot of intangibles that this team is sorely lacking, especially on the grit/nastiness side of things. If he gets to develope and build on what he has and hits the #3-4 slot that would be a wonderful addition.

If nasty dmen were actually a dime a dozen, why did players like Smith or Stevens end up with such long fruitfull careers?

Larsson's injury and slightly down numbers this year in Sweden don't change my opinion that he's the best available player in this draft.

The forwards in this weak draft have been projecting lower the last 2 months too, and I even wonder if Hall before the draft was a better prospect than any of them at this point.

I'm not writing off Teubert, in three years he could fill a valuable role for us. But just because we could have the next Matt Greene in a few years is no reason to pass on the best defensive prospects in 5 years.

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#42 Clyde Frog
March 01 2011, 07:40PM
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@russ99

I think we'll agree to disagree here, I hate the idea of taking a flyer on dmen in the 1st round.

Unless your scouting staff feels %100 this kid is the best, I cringe at the idea. There are just too many factors that can effect a kids perfomance as a defensemen and they can't adjust nearly as easily if they find themselves having difficulty with handling the difference between 200+ pound 29 year olds versus 170 pound 18 year olds.

I am pretty sure his production to date, skating ability and passing ability put him as a much more productive Greene. The comments seems to have been made in relation to his willingness to engage/mean streak not the offensive skill sets.

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#43 book¡e
March 01 2011, 08:17PM
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John wrote:

I couldnt sleep last night cause the Penner deal. I thought we were close to contending for a playoff spot but now we're looking at another top 3 pick in 2012. This is painful

Wow, I think you need to double check your priorities in life if that keeps you awake.

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#44 The Beaker
March 01 2011, 09:00PM
Trash it!
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trashes
Cheers
2
cheers

Good thing this GDB was at the top of the page and so convenient to find . . . . . . . ~

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