Is There Anybody Out There?

Lowetide
July 10 2011 06:48AM

We're at a point in the free agent season where teams are either set or almost there. A few stragglers will sign, but it's on to arbitration and then we'll see you at camp for most of the league's 30 teams. Do the Edmonton Oilers have any business to finish? Are there any UFA's who could help? 

The Oilers could use a goaltender, either to push the top 3 on the depth chart (Dubnyk, Khabibulin, Danis) or to force young Olivier Roy down to the ECHL (where he could play every night and find the range as a pro). Glenn Hall (in photo) is the best available free agent goalie, but coaxing him out of retirement in the 60's was difficult--by now it would be close to impossible.

Steve Tambellini has some nice options at the position. Ray Emery posted a .926SP for the Anaheim Ducks a year ago after coming back from hip surgery. Emery should be considered a solid gamble for a building team like the Oilers, and reports suggest Emery has matured over these years. At 28 years old, he's certainly young enough to hang around awhile.

On the blue, Scott Hannan remains available and would certainly improve this club's top 4 defensive depth chart. His boxcar numbers aren't anything special but the secondary (read: Desjardins) numbers show someone who can still play. Hannan and Ryan Smyth played together in Colorado for a couple of seasons, perhaps the Oilers can recruit Hannan for the Oilers using a former teammate. There are lots of interesting players, like Jack Hillen (not qualified by the Islanders) but if the Oilers were to line up with a top 4D of Whitney-Hannan, Smid-Gilbert I think we could agree that things are getting much better.

Adding Ray Emery and Scott Hannan would be considered huge moves at this point of the season. They would also advance the cause mightily and give the Oilers an opening night lineup that could look like this:

  • Gagner-Smyth-Hemsky
  • RNH-Hall-Eberle
  • Horcoff-Paajarvi-Omark
  • Belanger-Eager-Jones
  • Whitney-Hannan
  • Smid-Gilbert
  • Peckham-Barker
  • Dubnyk (Emery)

Could that team make a playoff push? 

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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 Team 1260.
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#1 Giggsunited
July 10 2011, 06:52AM
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Fist.........!

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#2 homerer
July 10 2011, 07:12AM
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BY the By what is or has happend(ing) with Khabibulin's legal troubles?

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#3 Woogie
July 10 2011, 07:13AM
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Lowtide, You don't have khabbi in the starting roster if emery gets signed. Where does he go?

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#6 OilBaron
July 10 2011, 07:35AM
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Anyone who watched Emery last year should know he can't move well cross crease after his hip ordeal, he is pretty much done.

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#7 Colin
July 10 2011, 07:39AM
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Lowetide wrote:

OKC.

While I'd like to see it, I don't think "MVP" Khabibulin is going anywhere.

As for playoffs.......

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#8 Archaeologuy
July 10 2011, 07:40AM
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I would love to believe that the Oil are willing to send Khabbi to OKC but I fear it is just a pipedream. He certainly is a hinderance to the Oilers and was bad enough to be demoted from the starting position on the big club to backing up JDD or Gerber in Oklahoma. Still, the Oilers seem Hell bent on tying that anchor around their legs and jumping overboard.

I would be overjoyed with a DD/Emery tandem in Oilerville. If the team could even just wrap its head around the idea of playing the goalie that makes the most stops on a consistent basis I would be happy.

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#9 raceguy
July 10 2011, 07:41AM
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OilBaron wrote:

Anyone who watched Emery last year should know he can't move well cross crease after his hip ordeal, he is pretty much done.

If Emery is "done" with a .926 sv% what are the dozen or more goalies who were worse.DD was what .910 or.912?If Oilers were to sign Emery good chance he would be the starter.

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#10 striker777
July 10 2011, 07:43AM
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Respectfully disagree re: sending Olivier Roy to ECHL. I saw him in the development camp and he looked strong. His latteral movements, reaction, puck control and stick-handling, are all very impressive for somebody that young. He is ready to be Dannis' back up and should see 10 to 15 games in the AHL next season.

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#13 BArmstrong
July 10 2011, 07:47AM
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Hannan would be great. Tough as nails, and plays a hard (and within the rules) brand of hockey. He's the Ryan Smyth version of a stay-at-home d-man. Takes a puck in the mouth, and doesn't miss a shift. Great player and role model for the kids.

LT, what would it take to sign him? At 32 he made 4.5 with Col/Wsh last season. Does he come to Edmonton for less? Won't he want a long term? Does he fit this team at say a 4yr/15mil or 5yr/18mil? I suppose they could sign him to a 5 year deal if the money was right, and wind up with a trade-able asset in 2 years time.

I like the player, but don't think his terms will match the Oils.

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#15 BArmstrong
July 10 2011, 08:01AM
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How's this for a goaltender strategy? Start the season with Khabbi. As soon as one of the other 29 teams has their starter lost to injury either a)offer Khabbi for trade(if Khabbi's start has been solid), or b)send him down to OKC and (oh please, oh please, oh please) pray that the desperate team plucks him from the waiver wire. Publicly curse the opposing GM, and privately breath a sigh of relief.

While I hate to wish injury on anybody - can you imagine if Quick and Bernier went down. I'm laughing too hard to type.

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#16 K
July 10 2011, 08:03AM
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I would love to see an LD hired on to play with Gilbert against the toughs and push Smid to the bottom pairing. If Smid is your third pairing with petry your probably in good shape. Then we would need an RD to play with Whitney, and we would have way to many lefties(sutton and barker). I would rather see hannon here then barker or sutton but as it is I think tambo is gonna sit and wait.

Would love to see an offer sheet to alzner or sekera, even more then hannon. Also both lefties. The only right handed d I can think of that might be available would be Bogosian who would look awsome with Whitney. But again I think tambo believes our d is deep. Which is to bad

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#17 John K
July 10 2011, 08:10AM
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Ray Emery wouldn't be a terrible idea since he would be so cheap. He's got a decent shot to at least perform better than the Estonian wall.

One caveat with Razor Ray is that his 926 was over only 10 games last year. Not a very good sample size.

Martin Gerber was 958 last year. Of course that was over 3 games.

Hannan is on a slow decline, but he can probably still play hockey at a higher level than either Barker or Sutton. If he's had for cheap and a shorter term, it's probably a good step for the team.

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#18 book¡e
July 10 2011, 08:15AM
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LT - If you were GM, what is your strategy in net this year?

I suspect that Tambi's is to focus on development over wins (depending on strategy - the two can go hand in hand). Any goalie he gets needs to be ok with sharing the load with DD with DD getting perhaps 55 games. They also should be a good mentor for DD.

I think this is why they will stick with Khabi for the time being.

Does Emery still fit the mold if development is prioritized over wins?

Is prioritizing development over wins a dumb strategy?

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#19 DoubleJ
July 10 2011, 08:15AM
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Is there not an issue with the number of contracts we have? I would love to add another nhl d-man to the roster, but do we not need to do it through trade just so we could move out some contracts to make room for the new ones?

That's another thing I don't understand with the Oilers or Steve. Why wouldn't you sign a few one year contracts of good solid vets to help teach the young guns and then ship them out for prospects or picks at the deadline? They haven't done this yet during this rebuild. Makes no sense.

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#21 David
July 10 2011, 08:32AM
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Please anyone but Emery. I remember him in Ottawa. He's a primadonna with a bad attitude and he's a lockerroom cancer. Dogging it in practices; trash talking opposing teams; dragging teammates to the seediest night clubs in each city... he would set a really bad example for the young players on the team. His average goaltending does not make up for his off-ice negatives.

Hannan would be a nice pickup, but I'm guessing ST will stand pat after acquiring Barker and Sutton, even if they aren't at Hannan's level.

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#22 a lg dubl dubl
July 10 2011, 08:44AM
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Interesting read LT, Ive been on the buyout/sent to OKC for Khabby bandwagon since January and I hope the Oilers follow through on my pipedream. Signing a goalie like Emery who's still young enough to push DD for the starting job more so than Khabby IMO, after watching NK reek it up the last 2 yrs should be more than enough proof for the Oiler brass that they shat the bed on that signing and if they really want to push the "rebuild" towards playoff contenders they would send NK packing in some fashion.

What would the chances be if Tamby brought Emery in on a camp tryout? Is it to late to buyout the drunkin wall during camp or just before the season starts?

ST still needs to make some moves trade wise I just hope its not Gagner, or Hemsky.

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#23 speeds
July 10 2011, 09:01AM
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Lowetide wrote:

I expect the Oilers agree with you. The fact that they haven't added another goalie suggests there's a real chance Roy plays a large role in OKC.

There's certainly a chance. They also could, in theory, sign a backup AHL goalie to an AHL deal, and then if there's an injury to one of Dubnyk, Khabibulin, or Danis, just move Roy up from the ECHL starter directly to the AHL starter spot, if the idea is to get Roy into a lot of games this season.

It will be interesting to see what they do next season, with both Roy and Bunz - if they'll run with both in the AHL or place one of them, probably Bunz based on age but performance would matter, in the ECHL. It wouldn't be unprecedented to run with goalies age 20 and 21, but that isn't the way the Oilers have gone the last while.

Of course, a lot of that is circumstance. WSH went with 3 goalies in the NHL this season, ages 22, 22, and 21.

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#25 EasyOil
July 10 2011, 09:10AM
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Nice thoughts LT, as usual. And thanks for the Floyd reference :) best band ever, imo.

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#26 Dubai Guy
July 10 2011, 09:29AM
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LT:

I am not sure I agree with the Emery idea, but love the Hannan suggestion. I just feel that Khabi is the best option for us right now - but hopefully in the role of a backup. Duby needs a mentor, and although Khabi has passed his prime, he still is one of a few cup winning goalies in the game and can pass on a few tricks and tips to Duby (and any other goalie in the system). We are stuck with his awful contract, but he may still be of value to this young core. Placing Emery in his place may result in more wins, but ultimately, Khabi may (or may not) have an "Adam Oates" effect on Duby. I think its worth keeping him around. Besides, he may have something to prove himself. Here's hoping for a comeback season for Khabi!

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#27 Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"
July 10 2011, 09:36AM
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I really agree that we do not want Habbi in goal and I suspect that the Oiler management does not want him either. At the same time if you send him to OK-city and hire another goaltender you limit the growth of some one in the system. If you buy out Habbi Oh yeah you can't do that he is over 35. You are in "a fine kettle of fish" the best option may be to just ride him at the NHL level as the back up or what ever # of games needed after Dybnyk takes what he is ready for and have the chips fall were they may. This at least allows the future tenders to get more Ice-time in OK-City and may still get a decent draft pick. It may be the lesser of 35 evils.

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#28 DangerMan
July 10 2011, 09:42AM
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I like the thought of Emery coming in because it gives Khabibulin a real threat of someone who will take his gig. Khabibulin can't win the job by default this year. He has to earn it.

Scott Hannan would be better than nothing, but I am still holding out for hope via trade that a more offensive Dman is coming this way.

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#29 dman09
July 10 2011, 09:43AM
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Well I'll be honest, i don't think Tambo will sign either. I think Defense there are enough options in the AHL that are very close to being NHL ready that signing another Dman will just handcuff the team from getting the young guys NHL experience. I think people need to realize that this year still isn't about making the playoffs, it will be about developing the depth that the organization has in place. If they do make the playoffs that is a bonus.

Goalies are kind of the same situation. They won't make any changes unless they can get rid of Bulin and even if they did I would have to think that Denis would get the call up to the NHL. He is still a fairly young guy and I think the team believes there maybe be a starting goaltender there. Especially with the recent Fin goalie signings I would think that both Bunz and Roy would split the time in OKC.

I think this would result in a big step in the development of a lot of the players and I hope that this is the path Tambo will take.

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#30 toprightcorner
July 10 2011, 09:47AM
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Don't see D-man coming in unless one goes out. You don't trade for Sutton to get his size and have him as your seventh D-man. I would say they will give Barker a chance to be a top 4.

If that fails, then maybe you bring in someone else, if he does well, I could see Gilbert being shopped as he is the only D that is not overly physical and his skills can be matched or surpassed by Barker if he decides he wants to commit himself 100%.

The Oil have added the veteran leadership they need, I don't see a point in signing another player over the age of 30 to start the season.

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#31 Smokey
July 10 2011, 09:47AM
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I bet you could cox Ol Glenn Hall into a Oiler uni, sign his grandson to play with the Oil I bet he come back for reunion tour. Ive seen him over the years at the Grocery Store and McD's in Stony, and hes still got the reflexes of a cat. Get er' done Tambo, get er done...

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#32 Skidplate
July 10 2011, 09:49AM
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@dman09

I like out talent in our young defence, but I do think the AHL is the place for them to gain experience. Who do you consider "close to being NHL ready"?

Oh, and I am sure you meant Danis, not Denis. :)

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#33 werewolf
July 10 2011, 09:51AM
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hi Lowetide i have followed you for quite some time.

One thing edmonton needs to do is get bigger at center and gagner doesnt fit in that group. Hes not a ray whitney or martin st.louis. yes i know there is only 1 player who has more points from his draft year. But I dont think we can invision gagner as a top center and we have enough small players that will make a bigger impact than him

eberle, omark, cogliano, belanger and in the wings hartikanen, vanvelde, lander

we need to trade gagner, smid and cogliano gilbert and maybe a couple of prospects. This makes room for our upcoming stars and maybe we can get anumber 3 or 4 D

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#35 bleedingoil
July 10 2011, 10:14AM
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Check this out........may have to shuffle lines around soon. Maybhemsky only at development camp to show other gm's he is healthy.........

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#36 dman09
July 10 2011, 10:28AM
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Skidplate wrote:

I like out talent in our young defence, but I do think the AHL is the place for them to gain experience. Who do you consider "close to being NHL ready"?

Oh, and I am sure you meant Danis, not Denis. :)

Ya I meant Danis. I think Petry and Tuebert aren't too far, also some of the comments from the training camp sounded like Musil, Fedun,and I think it was Bigos had really good showing so you never know where those guys end up. I'm not saying give them full time NHl positions but being able to call them up for 5 games here and there and then sending them back down to work on a few things isn't bad for their development at all. And you never know Fedun or Petry could steal a spot and you also never know about Chorney or Plante one of them might finally setup and fight for a spot. Lots of options and possibilities. One thing is pretty certain, if you sign another Dman that the only possible way any of them gets any NHL time is if there are injuries.

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#37 etownman
July 10 2011, 10:45AM
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If your going out & getting a player with the skill set of a Barker, which is clearly top 4, then you need to slot him in there. With Whitney back, I would pair him with Gilbert on the top pairing. When Whitney first came to the Oilers he playerd with Gilbert & they were a natural fit & moved the puck quickly up ice. I would pair Barker up with Petry on the second pairing because I think they would compliment each other similar to Whitney & Gilbert. Lot's of size & mobility on the top two pairings. Third pairing would obviously be Peckham & Sutton with Smid fighting for one of those spots. There primary role is on the penalty kill, taking no prisoners in front of the net & ideally playing around 15 to 16 mins. per game.

Roy has proved in a small samplings of games in Springfield (horrible team in front of him)that he can handle AHL competition. I would feel comfortable starting him there with Danis (remember, he's another Quebecer)& have him mentor Roy. I would make sure Roy got to play 25 - 30 games in the AHL & he could also get stints in Stockton for more playing time. Just my thoughts.

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#38 Jonathan Willis
July 10 2011, 10:47AM
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@ bleedingoil:

Please don't link to Hockey Buzz. It isn't a reputable source, as Eklund's accuracy rate is well under 3%.

Also, I did a better job predicting trades using random guesswork than he did with his supposedly "insider" access.

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#39 steadypace
July 10 2011, 10:48AM
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Sogning Emery would improve our grit as well!!

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#40 steadypace
July 10 2011, 10:49AM
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Signing

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#42 Horcsky
July 10 2011, 11:06AM
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@etownman

Those pairings would be okay if Barker steps in and immediately plays a responsible defensive game. Otherwise, it could be the Grebeshkov and Gilbert fire drill in the defensive zone all over again.

IMO by stacking the top pairing with Whitney and Gilbert, you have an unbalance D corps. I'd rather split up my two best d-men and see:

Whitney-Barker Gilbert-Peckham Petry-Sutton

Ugh, looking at that lineup, they definitely need another Dman to play with Gilbert.

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#43 Bacon Nachos
July 10 2011, 11:06AM
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i'd really love to see the kid line. but is it wishful thinking? will RNH really make the team, and if so, will he be paired with two sophomores, or perhaps a veteran instead?

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#44 SuntanOil
July 10 2011, 11:08AM
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bleedingoil wrote:

Check this out........may have to shuffle lines around soon. Maybhemsky only at development camp to show other gm's he is healthy.........

D... ... Did you just... ... link to Eklund... as a source? I expect so much better of you BO. I'm speechless. Without speech

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#45 jethro
July 10 2011, 11:13AM
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What about Viktor Fasth for another goalie? There was talk awhile back that oilers would try to sign him.

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#46 @Oilanderp
July 10 2011, 11:21AM
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I guess I am the only person in the entire oilogosphere that believes it is still Nicholai's job to lose. Wait! Wait! Wait!

*waves a stick with a helmet on it to check for sniper fire*

This year our defense core is a little better, and I am not one of those who believes Dubnyk will necessarily reveal his superman pajamas and lead the team into the future.

Khabibulin is the most experienced, the veteran, and as such should be given the chance to prove that he can turn his game around. Respect your elders..... but only so far.

The key here is if he doesn't prove he can turn it around, then give Dubnyk a chance, or failing that, Danis. Let experience dictate who gets the first crack, and thereon let play dictate who gets the most recent crack.

Speaking of crack, we don't need Emery the lunatic, just let Khabi continue to mentor Dubnyk, and don't wear him out.

*ducks back behind cover*

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#47 Skidplate
July 10 2011, 11:23AM
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@dman09

True enough dman09. Lets hope that one or two of those guys are ready to make the push.

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#48 DBO
July 10 2011, 11:38AM
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One thing to not overlook is that MPS and Omark apparently look up to Bulin as their vet leader type in the dressing room (believe it was mentioned in the journal a few weeks ago). Not that that is all important, but it seems that the org is trying to keep the Euro kids happy and comfortable. So, like with Strudwick, the good in the room guy will be here a few years too long.

As for Lander, I expect him to be our 4th line centre to start the year. He outplayed RNH, and for that reason i expect the Nuge to be in the WHL next year and for the Org to give Gagner one more year to prove he belongs in our top 2. If not, he is out and the Nuge take his place. If he plays well, then the Oil can either deal him (he would be an RFA) or shift him to wing, and possibly move Hemsky. Gagner playing well gives us more options going forward and it will be interesting to see how he approaches the year. Cogs will be gone, and next year Gagner will take his place in the "on the block" roster spot.

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#49 Dog Train
July 10 2011, 11:41AM
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Not sure that I am on board with signing Emery but it would be nice if we could get somebody to push Khabby and keep Dubnyk from thinking that the job is his to lose. I think that Hannan would be a solid signing if the price is right.

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#50 DBO
July 10 2011, 11:45AM
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As for Hannan. It makes almost too much sense to offer him a 2 years deal, at around $4 mill (overpay, but he fills a huge gap in our D). his money comes off when we need it. If Barker pans out then great, but if not it is no big deal as Petry slides into that spot with Peckham as our 3rd pairing next year. In 2 years Hannan can stay at a discount as the vet dman. Smid will either be allowed to walk, or will be a true top 4 dman. And Petry slides into the spot opposite Whitney. Peckham and Hannan become our 3rd pairing/shutdown PKers, and Marincin, Teubert or the Bomb is our rookie 7th dman who splits time on our 3rd pairing. If Petry doesn't work out as a top 2 option, then you hope for a teubert or the Bomb being able to step in.

We still possibly lack the all around top 2 guy, but we have some depth in the Org for once, and from all indications at the rookie camp, Teubert may be better then we thought. We'll see what happens this year, but I expect he may, by the end of camp, be on par with Petry when it comes to a call up. If a banger goes down, teubert gets the call, of Gilbert or Whitney goes down it becomes Petry.

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