MacT Godsend?

Lowetide
June 09 2011 10:10PM

Rumors tonight have Craig MacTavish in the final group under consideration for the Ottawa Senators coaching job. Should MacT win the day, could that impact the 2011 draft board and inspire a trade or two between Ottawa and Edmonton?  

Craig MacTavish has been loyal to most of his players since leaving the Oiler organization, to the point of a painful television moment this past winter where he defended Shawn Horcoff as a capable option in many circumstances. I've long felt that Craig MacTavish was an excellent coach who stayed too long at the fair in Edmonton and lost the veterans on the club. Much of that likely came from his very public rips of Dustin Penner, which continue unabated by others on the left coast. 

MacT left some fine players in Edmonton, men he'd come to count on. Many of his foot soldiers have been sent down the line (Moreau, Staios, etc), but there are a few still living in Edmonton. 

Remember 2006?

Among the 2006 Oilers, center Shawn Horcoff (always a MacT favorite) and winger Ales Hemsky remain. Both would be helpful additions to the Ottawa Senators, but that team is also in building mode so would be unlikely to add either player.

MacT's Rookies

From fall 2000 through the day MacT stepped down as coach, a lot of kids graduated to the show under his watch. Some, like Daniel Cleary and Raffi Torres, came from other organizations. Others were Oilers draft picks and through his years on the job MacTavish displayed an admirable quality: pedigree didn't count for much.

MacT's list of rookies is a long one and they displayed a wide variety of skills. He played Sam Gagner the most among rookie forwards, Steve MacIntyre the least. The 07-08 group was probably the best (Gagner, Cogliano, Brodziak, Gilbert, etc) and 05-06 didn't have much to offer as the veteran team tracked destiny.

Here are 5 current Oilers I can see coach MacT asking his GM to acquire:

  1. Tom Gilbert: Still an effective defenseman but may have outstayed his welcome in Edmonton. The Senators could use an effective finesse defender and Gilbert could be available.
  2. Andrew Cogliano: The double whammy here, as GM Murray tried to grab Cogs in the Dany Heatley deal. Cogliano no doubt pleased coach Renney so it might be a no-go from Edmonton, but one imagines he'll ask.
  3. Ladislav Smid: As with Cogliano, Murray attempted to acquire Smid in the Heatley trade a couple of whiskey sour's ago. Ottawa is building a tight blue line, perhaps Smid would be an effective role player.
  4. Zack Stortini: Stortini played his best NHL hockey under MacT and could be a solid 13-14F for the veteran coach. Added value: with Stortini on the roster, there's one guy who'll always have your back.
  5. JF Jacques: Laugh at your peril. MacT gave him a job and then give him chance after chance to establish himself in the National Hockey League.

What's coming back? 

Ottawa has a few things that Edmonton would find attractive. Along with draft picks (Sens want to trade up btw), Edmonton might like the looks of men like Chris Neil, prospect Jared Cowen, Bobby Butler and Colin Greening.

I don't think much will come of this, maybe a Stortini trade for a depth pick. Still, should MacT get the job it makes sense that the Senators might come knocking and ask after some of his former players.

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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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#101 DSF
June 10 2011, 10:39PM
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David S wrote:

Oh I'm sorry. Would you be talking about the "Joey Moss" cup here in Edmonton?

Apparently.

Reduced expectations lead to reduced results.

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#102 Wax Man Riley
June 10 2011, 10:42PM
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DSF wrote:

This is the largest crock I've ever read.

If you reward mediocre talent with the most lucrative contract on the team, the message you're sending is that you don't need to excel.

Woody Allen said "70 percent of success is just showing up".

And that describes Horcoff to a tee.

Successful teams get their top performers to take a discount to make a run for the cup.

The Oilers pay a premium for plumbers.

I often wonder if the Oilers are operating under a trade union contract.

Seniority rules...no matter how incompetent you are.

Woody Allen also said "If you're not failing every now and again, it's a sign you're not doing anything very innovative."

When that contract was signed, Horcoff was coming off of a 73 point season and another 19 in the playoffs. He was a hard working, offensively producing, defensively responsible center. The Oilers just had a run to game 7 of the SCF. Lowe was trying to keep the team together and moving forward, and signing a player with everything named above sounded like a great idea.

Hindsight is 20/20 of course.

WTF does Woody Allen know about hockey anyway?

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#103 DSF
June 10 2011, 10:49PM
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Wax Man Riley wrote:

Woody Allen also said "If you're not failing every now and again, it's a sign you're not doing anything very innovative."

When that contract was signed, Horcoff was coming off of a 73 point season and another 19 in the playoffs. He was a hard working, offensively producing, defensively responsible center. The Oilers just had a run to game 7 of the SCF. Lowe was trying to keep the team together and moving forward, and signing a player with everything named above sounded like a great idea.

Hindsight is 20/20 of course.

WTF does Woody Allen know about hockey anyway?

When Horcoff was signed, an entire year before he needed to be, he was coming off a serious injury and surgery and only a freaking clown would have signed him to that contract.

Never mind that his history showed a player who was wildly inconsistent.

Those are the types of mistakes that define a GM.

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#104 Wax Man Riley
June 10 2011, 11:02PM
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@DSF

Actually his history showed a player that was consistently improving.

I'm not arguing that Horcoff is not a #1C or that it is a bad contract, or that I would have signed him to that contract. I am saying that Horcoff is a good NHL player that most, if not all teams would want on their club.

Does trading 2 first round picks define Burke? It was a poor move, but I wouldn't say that it defines him. Most GMs have made a bad decision (most not named Holland anyway), and most teams have that huge, unmovable contract as well.

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#105 Wax Man Riley
June 10 2011, 11:03PM
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Oops...double post. Crazy interwebs.

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#106 Quicksilver ballet
June 10 2011, 11:12PM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

@ QSB. I take no issue with that (though I think he's got another year or so as a resonable 2C). It will be a good day to be an Oiler fan when their are 2 clear cut better centers. An even better day when their are 4 superior centers.

I feel those two are within reach this summer. We have Hopkins already, we just need to sell our soul to move up to get a shot at Couturier. This is vital as far as i'm concerned. This Lander kid, the Oilers need to give him every opportunity to stick with the big club in the fall. If this is the case we may have our two rookies starting down the middle in the fall. Throw these three rookies into the deep end and see which two can swim.

No doubt Horcoff starts the season as the no.1, can't help but feel one or two of these kids will make a difference sooner rather than later. Oilers get hot for two ten game spans next year but still finish in a lottery position.

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#107 Wax Man Riley
June 10 2011, 11:18PM
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@Quicksilver ballet

I still maintain, that with your centers of RNH, Horcoff, Couturier, and Lander, the team is doomed for another 30th finish. I'd rather see Horc, Gags, Lander, and a signed FA with actual experience. Too many rookies/sophomores will be a bad thing.

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#108 DSF
June 10 2011, 11:20PM
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Wax Man Riley wrote:

Actually his history showed a player that was consistently improving.

I'm not arguing that Horcoff is not a #1C or that it is a bad contract, or that I would have signed him to that contract. I am saying that Horcoff is a good NHL player that most, if not all teams would want on their club.

Does trading 2 first round picks define Burke? It was a poor move, but I wouldn't say that it defines him. Most GMs have made a bad decision (most not named Holland anyway), and most teams have that huge, unmovable contract as well.

Horcoff

Souray

Khabibulin

Jacques

Foster

Fraser

The prosecution rests.

And, BTW, Burke is still winning that trade until Seguin out performs Kessel.

Hasn't happened yet.

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#109 Wax Man Riley
June 10 2011, 11:20PM
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I think I'd rather have Horc's contract than Ryan Smyth's. Talk about inconsistent. I like ol' Smytty, but not for $6.6M

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#110 Wax Man Riley
June 10 2011, 11:28PM
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@DSF

Those aren't all Tambos signings. Horcoff and Souray are from the Lowe era.

Foster was a good experiment coming off of 45 pts the year before.

Fraser and Jacques ... well ... Jacques for whatever reason keeps getting chances, and Fraser was a gritty #4C that is just coming off of winning a cup.

I think Burke lost that trade the day it was signed and cemented it when they came in 29th. Kessel is good, but being drafted last in the all-star game, then putting on the performance in that game that he did, I think shows his ability. He reminds me of Penner.

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#111 Wax Man Riley
June 10 2011, 11:29PM
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O ya ... Khabibulin....will never be forgiven.

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#112 Quicksilver ballet
June 10 2011, 11:33PM
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Wax Man Riley wrote:

I still maintain, that with your centers of RNH, Horcoff, Couturier, and Lander, the team is doomed for another 30th finish. I'd rather see Horc, Gags, Lander, and a signed FA with actual experience. Too many rookies/sophomores will be a bad thing.

We're splitting hairs here, next year is bad, all bad. Like last year the goal will be to hopefully get Hopkins and if we're fortunate enough, Couturier a thousand minutes of icetime like Hall and Eberle did last year.

Always trying to see the bright side in all this, this could land us that future #1,2 or 3 d'man in that draft next summer.

Ryan Smyth is a 6.25 cap hit but only a 4.5 salary.

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#113 Peterborough
June 11 2011, 12:11AM
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DSF wrote:

Horcoff

Souray

Khabibulin

Jacques

Foster

Fraser

The prosecution rests.

And, BTW, Burke is still winning that trade until Seguin out performs Kessel.

Hasn't happened yet.

So you would have not given Horc a contract after a great season and a 7th game run? Did you watch that run? It was magical and Horc's face block off Lidstrom was one of the greatest hockey memories I have.

The names mentioned didn't work out but didn't really cost us much and didn't seem terrible at the time. In the long run it probably helped not having a goalie playing this team into a 10th overall pick these past two years.

Things are looking up lets let Tambo build his team and go from there. I'm in favour of looking at this team this time next year and seeing where we are . . . you might be pleasently suprized.

(Maybe its the Kool-Aid in me but when I think about the prospects we have and the Kids already in the line up I really like where this team is going . . . )

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#114 rickithebear
June 11 2011, 12:30AM
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Horcoffs pt/gm rank for centers each year. he needs to stay healthy.

05-06 #18 .92pt/gm 06-07 #38 .62pt/gm 07-08 #13 .94pt/gm 08-09 #35 .66pt/gm 09-10 #57 .47pt/gm 10-11 #35 .58pt/gm

So his production has been #1 center two years, top #2 center 3 years, bottom #2 center 1 year while playing toughs and usually poor defensive starts. what crack heads think he is a #3. We need him to be healthy and play all season.

The year he signed was after the 08-09 season the 08-09 season there was only one center who face the other teams best in a tough zone shift setting and outscored them. MR. horcoff. Mike richards was almost there.

he should have been signed for the league average for good shutdown centers 4.75m.

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#115 Peterborough
June 11 2011, 12:42AM
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rickithebear wrote:

Horcoffs pt/gm rank for centers each year. he needs to stay healthy.

05-06 #18 .92pt/gm 06-07 #38 .62pt/gm 07-08 #13 .94pt/gm 08-09 #35 .66pt/gm 09-10 #57 .47pt/gm 10-11 #35 .58pt/gm

So his production has been #1 center two years, top #2 center 3 years, bottom #2 center 1 year while playing toughs and usually poor defensive starts. what crack heads think he is a #3. We need him to be healthy and play all season.

The year he signed was after the 08-09 season the 08-09 season there was only one center who face the other teams best in a tough zone shift setting and outscored them. MR. horcoff. Mike richards was almost there.

he should have been signed for the league average for good shutdown centers 4.75m.

Nice work sir, an excellent read.

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#116 @Oilanderp
June 11 2011, 02:38AM
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Thanks LT for a wonderful article about MacHorcofftavish. I feel quite sure that everyone has been confirmed in their presuppositions, and those of us who weren't, well we can feel safe in the fact that we either didn't read the appropriate select comments, or that we didn't presuppose, I suppose. This once again just goes to show that we are all absolutely correct all the time and I will argue this incontrovertible fact to the death at my convenience.

In conclusion gentleman, I would like to say that I told someone so, and thank you Gladis for the meat-pies. Canoe Canoe.

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#117 andrewmk20
June 11 2011, 03:39AM
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would the oilers take a shot at Wojtek Wolski. he's only 25 and has better offensive skills than Horcoff or Gagner at this point. Also at 6'3 210 he's got better size. i heard the rangers are going to buy him and drury out.

giving him a 1 year like tanguay got from calgary wouldn't be totally unreasonable and would provide better depth at center, especially since the oilers can't guarantee lander starts with the oilers next season.

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#118 jake
June 11 2011, 06:54AM
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rickithebear wrote:

Horcoffs pt/gm rank for centers each year. he needs to stay healthy.

05-06 #18 .92pt/gm 06-07 #38 .62pt/gm 07-08 #13 .94pt/gm 08-09 #35 .66pt/gm 09-10 #57 .47pt/gm 10-11 #35 .58pt/gm

So his production has been #1 center two years, top #2 center 3 years, bottom #2 center 1 year while playing toughs and usually poor defensive starts. what crack heads think he is a #3. We need him to be healthy and play all season.

The year he signed was after the 08-09 season the 08-09 season there was only one center who face the other teams best in a tough zone shift setting and outscored them. MR. horcoff. Mike richards was almost there.

he should have been signed for the league average for good shutdown centers 4.75m.

He went to the all-star game likely with a bad shoulder, made it worse there or in the game or 2 he played after, then his season ended, shoulder surgery soon after. Had some 50 points in 53 games. Who wouldn't make his all-star appearance, even with a bad shoulder when you likely have extension talks comming in the months to follow? ( I could be corrected here but I understood his shoulder was wonky before even going to all-star game).

He was signed to an extension in July of 2008 (a player can't be extended before July 1 of the last year of his active contract) while still in shoulder surgery rehab. He had the 2008-09 season to go before new deal kicked in.

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#119 Oilcruzer
June 11 2011, 07:57AM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Look at what you've written there Cruzer, as i go from left to right on each line i can't believe it's come to this for our Oilers here in Edmonton. Shawn Horcoff is a great first line center if we're in the American Hockey League Cruzer. It's a sad state, but he's our undisputed No.1 center on our NHL hockey club for half a season if we're fortunate. It's sad we're even grovelling over this? We're the weakest team at the center ice position in both the NHL and AHL. Sell whatever we can and get the two decent kids we have as much help as possible this summer. Lets not kid ourselves anymore, we suck.

It ain't happening tho. No one will pick him up unless at a cost to the Oil.

Then what? You still need a centre who shows up, leads, and wins face offs. Horcoff is an important asset, even at second line.

If he is off the PP, then I'm content to focus on finding other talent, instead of trading problems with other teams.

You might end up with a cancer in exchange.

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#120 Clyde Frog
June 11 2011, 12:41PM
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Does anybody remember when we signed Horcoff it was under rumours that San Jose was interested in a Horcoff, Patty Marleau swap? The fear that gripped us we might take a shot at that chronic underachiever for our up and coming 1st line centre?

He was a hot commodity looking at a big pay day soon, we offered him a decent contract to keep him at the time.

To sit here several years later and kick the Oilers for making a deal 20 of the other teams in the league would have is kind of sad.

Especially when leading up to the deal the entire fanbase was yelling about the prospect of losing him, like we did all our other young stars.

Hindsight is a magical thing...

Also @Rickit, well said.

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