Golden Slumbers

Lowetide
January 14 2012 09:32AM

This is Nail Yakupov. From what I can tell his first name sounds more like 'Nile' than 'Nail' but I'm uncertain if that's artistic license or there's an actual trick to the pronounciation. Yakupov is dynamic--Taylor Hall dynamic--but for Oiler fans the thought of another appearance by Steve Tambellini at the draft lottery, another set of draft parties on a Friday night in June, another trip to the podium to announce "the Edmonton Oilers are proud to select" is almost too much to take.

The pinnacle of an NHL season is supposed to happen in spring, not summer. Right?

It doesn't take a rocket surgeon to know the Oilers are overmatched. Last night's effort was poor, to the point where even positive Tom Renney was disgruntled. However, it's also true that much of the starting 20 are either on the sidelines or hobbled by injury. Although the current Oilers looked pretty vacant last night, we need to also consider:

  • RNH is on the sidelines. The kid is a PP savant and it's no coincidence the well has run dry since his gifts have been sidelined.
  • Jordan Eberle future captain is also injured. The young man has come to represent all that is right with the Oilers: youth, skill and a sense of what is to come. Losing Eberle was huge.
  • Tom Gilbert is not appreciated in his own time but any fool can see this blue is exposed more without him.
  • Ryan Whitney hasn't been healthy in a long time. If you read Robin Brownlee's articles here at ON about Whitney dating back many months the story comes clear: this is a man who is not worried about just the last 35 games of this season but in fact has his career flashing before his eyes. Expecting anything from him now is a non-starter, but the current Oilers were put together with Whitney as a major item.
  • Shawn Horcoff is (imo) injured or tired or both. Horc has once again been used like a rented mule with zone starts, tough opponents and miles of back checking on the menu. It's a tough job and he hasn't been up to it for quite awhile now.
  • Ryan Smyth has faded a little after an enormous start. Smyth's wonderful media interviews remain the same (Ryan Smyth is a gem, we all know that, right? The Hansons are in town tonight for the Oil King game. The Hansons probably wanted to be Ryan Smyth before Ryan Smyth!)
  • Nikolai Khabibulin has come down to earth. Predictable but devastating to a team that needed historic goaltending all the same.

So as much as I understand the frustration, there are reasons for the falloff. Some of us suggested this was not a team that would push for the playoffs (my guess was 13th in the conference, 27th overall) and the club has in fact improved in some areas (goal differential although that's sinking by farenheit and by celcius). The injuries have hurried sundown, but the Oilers left the station with a lack of balance and too few actual NHL players.

WHAT SHOULD THE OILERS DO?

There seems to be a sense that the Oilers will make some moves in regard to management over the summer. Fans I talk to and follow on twitter are more upset today than they have been at any time since the rebuild began (the current re-rebuild started about Feb 2010 by my estimate).

There has been next to zero in terms of rumors or rumblings about Steve Tambellini getting fired or Tom Renney being on his way out. Mark Spector wrote a piece the other day that brought things into focus--both coach and GM are apparently without contract after this season--but the Oilers are not known as being an organization that moves quickly in these areas. An example would be the Ales Hemsky contract negotiations; the first time I've heard anything in regard to those was also this week when Darren Dreger mentioned it on tsn.

The Edmonton Oilers MAY shuffle the deck a little, they have done that many times over the years (shuffling Prendergast and elevating MacGregor, shuffling Lowe and adding Tambellini) but this is not an organization that fires people in the front office often.

If you're asking me, I do think the Oilers may shuffle things over the summer. My guess is that Tom Renney stays, Stu MacGregor becomes more independent of the GM in regard to the draft and Steve Tambellini's role is more clearly defined as a "professional development" role similar to the job Prendergast filled before leaving the organization. 

I believe it is possible that Kevin Lowe, Mike Sillinger and Todd Nelson may be in different roles come summer time and that (as Woodguy suggested to me this week) Craig MacTavish may find his way back into the organization in a prominent role.

That's my guess, which along with a dollar fifty will get you an XL double bouble at Timmy's. I have no contacts within or without the organization and with the exception of conversations with people like Woodguy, listening to the radio and reading the Al Gore no other reference point. Someone like Brownlee or Jason Gregor would be far more connected on something like this and I'd encourage you to read and listen to them for updates.

I don't think the Katz ownership will see a lot of knee jerk reaction, and anything done in the front office or coaching office today would certainly run counter to the way they've done business since taking over.

Changes may come in spring, but I don't think they will be of the variety many Oiler fans are looking for this morning.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

The Edmonton Oilers put themselves on an island once the word "rebuild" went public. Rebuilds sometimes work, often don't but that meeting they had with season ticket holders has had an enormous impact on the organization and its fans. Apparently "fix it, but do it right" can have several meanings.

The disconnect between fanbase and organization appears to be growing, but it's my guess we're miles from anyone seeing the unemployment line.

--

Nation Radio hits the air today at noon Edmonton time on Team 1260. I'd love to hear from you, seems to me Oiler fans would like to say something today and this is a chance for public exposure for your views. You can email nationratio@theteam1260.com or leave comments in this post; there are two twitter accounts available: @ItsNationRadio and @lowetide_

Guests today:

  • Scott Taylor from Jets Nation. I believe that Pavelec had been playing goal for the '90 Jets Edmonton doesn't win the Stanley. I'll ask Scott if he agrees and we'll review the homestand and look forward to the road trip.
  • Kent Simpson, commentator for the Edmonton Oil Kings on Team 1260. The Hanson's are in town tonight and we'll talk SLAP SHOT!, the Oil Kings and their chances and I'll ask Kent about what coach Tom Renney will be saying to his Oilers these days.
  • Kent Wilson from Flames Nation. We'll talk about Jay Feaster's attempt to both compete despite flaws and to hold on to the future. The Bourque-Cammalleri trade may also come up in discussion.
  • David Staples from the Cult of Hockey. David has a unique view on the Oilers and doesn't back down from a conversation day or night. We'll talk about this year's model of the Oilers and discuss the trade deadline, the future of management and owner Daryl Katz and his role in helping the fanbase figure out just what is going on.
  • Thomas Drance from Canucks Army. I'll attempt to interview Thomas without getting looted. Among the topics of discussion: are the Bruins running the Canucks show?

Hope you tune in.

C2a6955161684b5e3189319acfa5ebe4
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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#1 Stocc
January 14 2012, 09:37AM
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                  ,---,_          ,
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#2 Zack
January 14 2012, 09:41AM
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LT, I've read your articles for some time now, but what the heck does Ol' Al Gore mean/reference to?

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#3 TooSilentGhost
January 14 2012, 09:46AM
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Zack wrote:

LT, I've read your articles for some time now, but what the heck does Ol' Al Gore mean/reference to?

I assume it's because Al Gore created the internet!

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#4 Jeffrey Chapman
January 14 2012, 09:47AM
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Zack wrote:

LT, I've read your articles for some time now, but what the heck does Ol' Al Gore mean/reference to?

The Internet

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#6 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
January 14 2012, 09:50AM
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Time to accept and even embrace another lotto pick (but only 1, don't be gready MP)... hopefully it's the 1st name drawn.

Maybe they'll finally address the blue-line this summer with *multiple* solid additions... thought they'll probably grab one guy that's a solid 3 and think everything is now ok.

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#7 Stocc
January 14 2012, 09:53AM
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Man, Einstein's eyebrows almost messed up the Al Gore!

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#9 Stocc
January 14 2012, 10:11AM
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Man, Gagner had enough fists dropped on him last night. He surely doesn't need mine as well.

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#10 Zack
January 14 2012, 10:14AM
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Alright, thanks guys now I know the joke.

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#11 common sense
January 14 2012, 10:28AM
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Ho hum..nice rehash of the obvious. I think Tambo needs to be held more responsible. This guy reminds me of a JP Ricciardi or a Grunwald or a Maciocia..ie.not very good. ST was assistant-GM of the Nucks with no head honcho experience before KLO plucked him. The clocks ticking on Tambo and he knows it.

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#12 Mitch
January 14 2012, 10:28AM
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Lowetide I can stomach another lottery pick. I can't handle watching guys that don't care and thats what were watching. I really don't care about the injuries it gives someone else a chance to step up and show there value where are they?

As for changes bring them on but if Kevin Lowe can keep his job after twelve yrs of failure and a million excuses, I have alota pride as person as Kevin does, if I was Kevin I would quit. This is a results driven business its means something to win.

I would like Kevin Lowe as coach the need that fire like Torts. Mac T would make a good manager.

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#13 Sliderule
January 14 2012, 10:36AM
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I would like to see Mactavish back as the new GM.At least he would tell us the straight goods,not bs.

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#15 chet
January 14 2012, 10:44AM
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Drafting a defenseman with our first pick this year won't fix the issues on the oilers blueline cuz you won''t see the impact for three to five years. History tells us that we will have to give up a asset or assets to find that impact defenseman. Look to trade or package Ryan Smyth, Hemsky, Khabby, MSP and maybe even Gagner OR picks to hopefully find that top two or three defenseman. It is hard to find a team to give up that type of player but they re out there ie Erik Johnson. I think Tambo is scared to make a tough decision and i believe he has survived on Stu M coat tails. Whitney is done like dinner and he had these issues before he arrived in Edmonton. Tell me, why is Tambo not accountable for this poor trade? We trade a puck movng asset for damaged goods. POOR DECISION IN MY MIND. Draft another top forward especially if its one the top two picks.

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#16 freeze
January 14 2012, 10:47AM
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We don't need a rookie GM, we need someone with experience and one that can make (and win!) a damn trade. I'm thinking a Don Maloney type.

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#17 billylikestodrinksoda
January 14 2012, 10:56AM
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I understand the impatience that fans have with tambo but I look at dmen signed like erhoff and wisniewski and I mean what was he supposed to do differently. We asked for a rebuild. and we got a rebuild. You can't change your mind halfway through and say screw it let's be good now. The blackhawks were awful from 2002-2007. Pens from 2002-2006 and they even got a year off during the lockout. This is year 2. You can't include years 07-09 for the oil because they were doing exactly what calgary is doing now. Rebuilds suck.There's no sugar coating it but to say tambo isn't doing his job is ridiculous. He's traded assets like penner, staios, grebeshkov, and cogs for picks and prospects. The cupboards were bare and we are finally restocking. Its short term pain for long term gain and people forget to realize that.

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#18 FastOil
January 14 2012, 11:10AM
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I don't see Renney or ST as not fulfilling their duties, as required by the draft rebuild. It seems picking high is the plan for now.

ST and Renney of course say different, how can they not? A serious attempt to not lottery pick might involve acquiring some better than marginal bottom tier players, Belanger excepted, although he has accomodated that standard this year.

It is possible Renney is sacrificed to the fan base however. That would not be a smart move unless they can find someone better to develop the youth, which is the point of this terrible exercise, right?

Unless ST can pull off a big deal (Webber) and not gut the organiazation, slow and steady is likely the safest, although still risky, bet. If they do follow that route, the brass had better become very tight with their core group and keep them very happy if they want any hope of keeping them long enough, and at a price that will work, to actually compete. A high 2013 draft pick will not surprise me, sadly.

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#19 chet
January 14 2012, 11:27AM
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I don't have a issue with the rebuild and getting another top pick. My issue is with Tambos poor decisions in the last few years. Trading for damaged goods in Whitney, deciding to hold onto Hemsky at the trade deadline last year cuz he wasn't getting the right value back then he gets hurt. Now Hemsky has less value. Then going into the season wanting to keep Tuebert and Petry in the minors but he knew Whitney wasn't coming back for the first few months to the season. Taking a chance on Potter who is a AHL player, Cam Barker was possibly one year away from being out of the NHL plus he had some injury problems and trading for a 35 year old player who is a 6/7 defenseman in Sutton. Why didnt Tambo sign a couple more borderline NHL defensemen to keep Petry and Tuebert in the Ahl for a full year. Also the poor signings throughout the years ie Eager, Belanger etc. You can keep going.

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#20 mbell
January 14 2012, 12:08PM
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@billylikestodrinksoda

I've got to agree with Billy...the rebuild is in motion and at times it's going to be pain-full.

I think we can agree that things are improving - special teams, especially the PP has taken a major step this year. Now if we are honest did we expect to move up 30 points in a single season?

In regards to our defensive problems…Gilbert and Smid have been excellent, they have simply been overused/not supported and are exposed as a result. They are an excellent second pairing. Barker is a useful player – we were better with him then without,

Witney, was the arguably the best player on the team for two years – his injuries are troubling but if he can get sorted out – he’s first pairing material.

We would all like to immediately have a first pairing in place, Webber is the name most mentioned, however if this results in gutting what is being constructed it’s a bad move.

The future D is already in the system – Klefbom, Musil, Marcinin, Gernat, Motin, and Fedun and well as Petry, Plante and Teubert. Not saying that all of these will be home runs, but these are real prospects – we simply have to let them develop, we can’t rush the process.

The draft this year will be a lottery selection – that’s good new, if we can add Grigorenko, Yakupov, or Forsberg – we will have 2 fantastic forward lines for the future – that’s what winning teams have. If we are able to convert some other assets into a first round pick (Hemsky, Belanger, Sutton, Omark, perhaps Peckham)– then perhaps another Klefbom like quality prospect could be added – again good news, adding to future success.

Overall, although it may be difficult some days – I accept this as the way to rebuild – next year will be another step forward, perhaps not payoffs but meaningful games in feb/march – the year after playoffs and the year after that serious contention – for years to come.

Looking at this objectively – we are right on plan, the success at the beginning of the year simply made us feel we were further along then we were.

Stay the course – its all going to work out…..

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#21 billylikestodrinksoda
January 14 2012, 12:27PM
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@chet

Hemsky got injured right before the deadline last year so you couldn't trade him for fair value. And at the time belanger and eager looked like good signings. If you can honestly tell me in July that you were dissappointed with belanger, who could finally win us some draws, and eager, who plays with an edge, then your were in the minority. If you look at belangers numbers this is easily his worst season statistically by a large margin so it can't get much worse. I agree with you on the fact he put too much emphasis and whits and barker. But the options were limited this year for signable 5/6 dmen. I agree though that depth should of been addressed with tweener dmen for sure.

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#22 Rama Lama
January 14 2012, 12:36PM
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It seems that the only way to communicate our frustration, is at the ticket purchase counter.

In Toronto no matter how bad they were, they always sold out. In my opinion, this hurt the franchise and prevented management from making proper decisions to quickly remedy the situation. The best thing they did was to hire a impatient Brian Burke, someone who is not afraid to make a decision.

We have a GM that can best be described as Mr. Diggers, and he has been exposed. You can build through the draft, and acquire players at the same time........someone needs to explain this to him. I'm not talking about overpriced UFA's but guys that will be around to support our next generation of players.

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#23 Bushed
January 14 2012, 12:36PM
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Lowetide, you raise some good points in your list of considerations.

I would go further re Horcoff, though. To me, he hasn't been the same player since he got his shoulders "fixed" a few years ago.

Exhibit A: look at how he used to be able to one-time a Hemsky pass with his "sloppy" shoulders vs now. Exhibit B: look at how often he used to go into corners and mix it up vs now. I think he's lost a lot of his former game.

In a recent Oilchange episode Horc asks Eberle why he didn't pass for a one-timer, and Ebs just dodges the issue with "I was looking for Hallsy". Seems I'm not the only one who's noticed that Horc"s one-time shot has suffered?

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#24 Smokey
January 14 2012, 12:59PM
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If Florida can do a one year rebuild Talon rebuild, and have 4 good lines and solid defense, and prospects developing to boot, then why are the Oilers' the Islanders of North?

I recently stopped watching the Oilers propaganda, Oil Change because I want to see real culture change, which is dumping this management and coaching staff and getting in people with track record from an organization that knows how to win. When they show an episode where Lowe and Dithers are given their walking papers then I'll believe this organization is committed to actually winning.

The Oilers need to find a home for Hemsky. I love him dearly but it seems best to let him go somewhere he will be happy. Horcoff is a fourth line center masquerading as a top six forward. He has lost two steps now, has hands of stone. Send him to Oklahoma at seasons end and use the caproom to find some useful pieces. If Horcoff's here for the next two years, then this teams not competing. The coaching staff can't keep sending the poor guy to wolves every night.

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#25 Bushed
January 14 2012, 01:01PM
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@billy (#17)

I hear you re patience and the rebuild--fair enough.

But we seem to be rebuilding backwards: if defensemen and goalies take longer to mature into solid NHLers, why are we starting our rebuild with forwards?

And if we're really wanting to develop players, why are we burying potential players in the AHL while playing underperformers and calling up guys who will never be part of the rebuild?

And since we're rebuilding, why can't our GM do a few minor trades that improve the club, even just a little each time? Blockbuster trades are exciting, but nothing wrong with improving by many more small increments either, is there?

Then there's the coaching...

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#26 Oilers G- Nations Poet Laureate
January 14 2012, 01:12PM
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Skills Competition?

They had no skills there last night.

Saving for today??

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#27 Butters
January 14 2012, 01:46PM
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With all due respect LT, and at the risk of Wanye banning me from this site for all eternity, I think this will be Taylor Halls team not Eberles.

Also, I think the Oilers are on the Penquins trajectory of the 2000s. They finished last 4 times and appeared in the Cup Finals 2 years after their last last place finish. Some more pain is on the way, but so is the promised land.

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#28 MAC962
January 14 2012, 02:01PM
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Mac T has hockey smarts. He was just in the position of coach way too damn long without the luxury of Hall-Eberle-Hopkins. Yes, he played favorite to some, but i believe he always did this in order to give the Oilers the best chance to win on any given night.

He and Stu should be running this team. Far fetched is this, can you imagine that kind of effort with Mark Messier behind the bench ? even as an assistant ? Yes, he is not likely to ever return and is being groomed in New York, my point is you would have had your a$$ kicked for that kind of effort.

I am sure everyone one of these guys wants to win. One thing to remember Oiler players, thank your damn lucky stars you get to play a game for a living. Anyone in the "Real" world who put an effort in like that at work would be canned-fired, call it what you want. That was another example of spoiled Millionaires. You guys should all be paid based on what you do [performance], i tend to think we would have seen a different effort. God forbid any of you get a career ending injury and the money dry's up and you have to actually work. Get with it. EFFORT. Winners never quit and quiter's never win.. You choose...

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#29 Randy
January 14 2012, 02:03PM
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Oilers Should put on the table Khabibulin, Hemsky, Gagner, Smyth, and Whitney

See what is available for these players.

Khabibulin has not played well lately however Edm has no defencemen .

Go for prospects or draft picks and put together a bigger team.

Obviously we should be looking for a D-man a 2nd line 2way center and a power winger. Probably not obvious to management.

It takes time to fill these positions but Oilers have been a small fast young team for 6yrs. Potential is always the word with Oilers. They really have not much better, and this is with a few good draft picks.

Something is not working.

People worry we would be giving up too much. How much worse can we get.

Fire Kevin Lowe would be a start however he is Daryl's best friend.

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#30 Walter Sobchak
January 14 2012, 02:06PM
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Mac-T? Really... Mac-T.

~Well, maybe we can get Coffey in to run the special team's?

Why not bring back Huddy and Simpson as assistance! Maybe we can pull Messier out of NY to be K-Lowe's advisor!

Hey! Maybe Gretzky wants a new role as part time owner/coach! I heard he's just sitting around waiting for "the right situation"

We can add Fuhr as a goalie consultant/coach. It will be just like old times! ~

This organization is brutal!!!!

Fail for Nail!

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#31 Butter
January 14 2012, 02:10PM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

Mac-T? Really... Mac-T.

~Well, maybe we can get Coffey in to run the special team's?

Why not bring back Huddy and Simpson as assistance! Maybe we can pull Messier out of NY to be K-Lowe's advisor!

Hey! Maybe Gretzky wants a new role as part time owner/coach! I heard he's just sitting around waiting for "the right situation"

We can add Fuhr as a goalie consultant/coach. It will be just like old times! ~

This organization is brutal!!!!

Fail for Nail!

I have aleady moved on to next years slogan; Not Winnin for Mackinnon

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#32 justDOit
January 14 2012, 02:18PM
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@Butters

That is good to remember about the Pens, but I don't see a Fleury, Malkin or Crosby on the Oilers roster.

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#33 Next Year Country
January 14 2012, 02:20PM
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McT as GM??? It's interesting to see how some of the guys he didn't like (Lupul, Chimera) are doing in other organizations. Maybe the Oil could miscast even more valuable players into to roles they won't thrive in. G-- help us!

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#34 a lg dubl dubl
January 14 2012, 02:23PM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

Mac-T? Really... Mac-T.

~Well, maybe we can get Coffey in to run the special team's?

Why not bring back Huddy and Simpson as assistance! Maybe we can pull Messier out of NY to be K-Lowe's advisor!

Hey! Maybe Gretzky wants a new role as part time owner/coach! I heard he's just sitting around waiting for "the right situation"

We can add Fuhr as a goalie consultant/coach. It will be just like old times! ~

This organization is brutal!!!!

Fail for Nail!

I'm not sold on Gretzky as coach, but GM that's where I think he'd be best suited.

Did u happen to see Weights flip out a couple weeks ago? Can't remember what it was over but that's who this organization needs for head coach.

You hit the nail on the head, Oilers need a better goalie coach...I mean Chabot REALLY?!

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#35 Jeffery
January 14 2012, 02:23PM
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Formula for Winning in the NHL

3 centers - 1. Skilled #1 Center

2. Two way gritty-Big #2 Center

3. Two way #3 Center

2 Wingers- 1. Power winger 2. Skilled scoring winger

4 Defensemen . 1. Puck moving dominant defenseman -1 2. Defensive D-man -3

The Winners of the Stanley Cup have all these requirements.

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#36 billylikestodrinksoda
January 14 2012, 02:47PM
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@Bushed

At the time this rebuild started (feb 2010 as lowetide said) your draft options were a center or a winger and we needed to fill every hole possible, not just d and goalie. We had nothing on forward other than Sam and hemmer and our d was the same. They started drafting d in 2010 and yeah maybe last tear they could of drafted larsson but we also needed a centre and klefbom looks good so far. Guys like Keith and seabrook didn't come into their own till 07/08 and they were drafted in 03. Yeah it takes a long time but they are filling up the depth chart so in a year or 2 they can trade some high end prospects for quality nhl ready dmen. Goaltending is a whole other story but we have habby for 1 more year then we will see what the free agent pool looks like. But tambo has done what he's supposed to do. Assemble prospects for the first couple years. I think next year is where you will see trades involving prospects for players (aka defensemen)

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#37 Bushed
January 14 2012, 02:56PM
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@billy

Yes, it's true you can get d and or goalies via trade. Hope you're right that we see signs of progress soon.

But you're telling me more about the rebuild than I've heard from Tambo--frustrating.

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#38 Jimmer
January 14 2012, 04:08PM
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We have had rose coloured glasses on our defense for years. That is a Tambo screw up...100%.

Ask yourself...on a good team would Gilbert be a 1-2 type d-man? Would Smid be a 3-4 type d-man? No they would not. Whitney on his best day is a 2-3 type d-man. I won't even talk about the rest...not worth it.

Time to wake up. Our 3 superstars in the making (RNH, Hall, Eberle) will never reach their full potential with the Oilers if we continue to pretend our defensive core is adequate.

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#40 Chris81
January 14 2012, 05:36PM
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I am sick of people defending Tambellini's job at this rebuild.

You need a solid team from front to back, right? What is the first thing you get that takes the longest to develope? A defense core!!! Tell me who in our organization in 2-3 years are going to be a solid #1 - #2 defensemen? Nobody.

Our forwards are light years ahead of our defense in terms of development and it has to be the other way around or we'll be spinning our tires like the Islanders.

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#41 RexLibris
January 14 2012, 05:40PM
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Looking at the defensive core of this team, I'm thinking that Tambellini could go after (of course) Ryan Suter, but also Matt Carle, Johnny Boychuk and Willie Mitchell. Were he to sign one of the bigger names (Boychuk or Suter) or the two lesser-lights they could then move Peckham for a pick or prospect. My guess is that his time here is quickly coming to a close. I'd like to see Petry and Plante here next season with limited minutes. That would give you a defensive lineup with one of either Boychuk or Suter (I know it's a longshot to sign one, but perhaps "HOPE" sells as well with some players as it does with some fans) as well as Whitney (I'm assuming that he comes back to play about 50 games next season), Gilbert, Smid, Plante, Petry and Potter. Were the Oilers to draft a defenceman (even if it is Ryan Murray) I would like to see them keep that player in junior for one more year (barring AHL eligibility).

As I have said before, I'm patient, and the Pittsburgh model may be something more of us begin to cling to (they drafted, from '03 to '06, 1st, 2nd, 1st, 2nd) in order to avoid the stench of the Islanders' comparison. Adding not only a player like Yakupov or Murray but also perhaps someone like Samuelsson or Gaunce this year if we can get another 1st rounder through trade will only help the depth of the organization.

I'm not sold on MacTavish as a GM, but then I'm not someone with any sort of inside information. All I can say is that Katz's stated intentions of building a management group similar to the Detroit model is one that I admire and if the intentions are good, well at least that is a step in the right direction (regardless of the old saying about the road to hell).

As is so often said, sports is a "what-have-you-done-for-me-lately" business and what with these darned interwebs letting us all voice our fears and opinions it isn't making the wait any easier. I don't remember how long exactly the last rebuild took, with Weight and Marchant and Grier, but I remember feeling like we were always losing. Perhaps our expecations have accelerated to match our declining attention spans. I know it is stated many times, but all I can say is that we have to remember that we have a collection of young players that every GM in the league would love to pick apart like vultures. Okay, maybe except for Belanger right now, but we're still gathering the pieces and just like people said "fix it, and get it right" means letting those prospects grow and learn the right way.

Anyway, here endeth the rant.

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#43 OilLeak
January 14 2012, 07:03PM
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mbell wrote:

I've got to agree with Billy...the rebuild is in motion and at times it's going to be pain-full.

I think we can agree that things are improving - special teams, especially the PP has taken a major step this year. Now if we are honest did we expect to move up 30 points in a single season?

In regards to our defensive problems…Gilbert and Smid have been excellent, they have simply been overused/not supported and are exposed as a result. They are an excellent second pairing. Barker is a useful player – we were better with him then without,

Witney, was the arguably the best player on the team for two years – his injuries are troubling but if he can get sorted out – he’s first pairing material.

We would all like to immediately have a first pairing in place, Webber is the name most mentioned, however if this results in gutting what is being constructed it’s a bad move.

The future D is already in the system – Klefbom, Musil, Marcinin, Gernat, Motin, and Fedun and well as Petry, Plante and Teubert. Not saying that all of these will be home runs, but these are real prospects – we simply have to let them develop, we can’t rush the process.

The draft this year will be a lottery selection – that’s good new, if we can add Grigorenko, Yakupov, or Forsberg – we will have 2 fantastic forward lines for the future – that’s what winning teams have. If we are able to convert some other assets into a first round pick (Hemsky, Belanger, Sutton, Omark, perhaps Peckham)– then perhaps another Klefbom like quality prospect could be added – again good news, adding to future success.

Overall, although it may be difficult some days – I accept this as the way to rebuild – next year will be another step forward, perhaps not payoffs but meaningful games in feb/march – the year after playoffs and the year after that serious contention – for years to come.

Looking at this objectively – we are right on plan, the success at the beginning of the year simply made us feel we were further along then we were.

Stay the course – its all going to work out…..

You are out to lunch. For a proper rebuild to occur the proper pieces need to be in place now and then hope they grow accordingly. Hall, Eberle, and RNH will all be done their ELC's before those defenseman even play one game(exception Fedun).

I love Plante, but if you think he's part of the future, you're smoking drapes. If Plante and Barker were in a foot race, I'm pretty sure time as we know it would stand still, far too slow.

Motin is already gone and Peckham is at best a 7th defenseman. This team needs defenseman in the 22-25 year old range today not 5 years from now.

The Oilers are destined to be very bad to mediocre for many years at this rate.

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#44 Steelymac
January 14 2012, 07:08PM
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@Smokey

Props to smokey for telling it like it is.

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#45 Wanyes bastard child
January 14 2012, 07:59PM
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I know i'm going to be lambasted for this big time from the haters but i'm going to go ahead and say it anyways.

Gagner for future captain. There I said it.

My thoughts why, after last nights fight and just finished watching the skills comp on the Oilers website, this is a guy that "gets" it. Great with his teammates, has the respect and willing to stand up for his team as well. Even back to when thecaptainethanmoreau got waived I thought Gagner might have been a good choice to take over, even more so now. At that time he was the one leading the movember charge and I think the few years after that he's matured even more into what could be a competent leadership role. The youth movement for captaincy is in full force in today's NHL as well.

I know you keep saying Hall or Eberle for future captain, why not Gagner?

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#46 TLHansum
January 14 2012, 08:17PM
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Lowetide wrote:

You might be surprised to know I agree. :-)

wait, which do you agree with??

I personally dont know which kid is going to be future captain, only that one of them *should* be. There's a reason why Crosby and Toews were named young captains, and both have won cups. Plus i think both Hall and Ebs have a lot of those qualities.

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@Wanyes bastard child

You may have a point there with Gagner as captain. I personally would like to see Hall as captain. I think the more important thing is that they change the captaincy this coming off season. I'm not a Horcoff hater but the kids need to be given the reigns. Plus we can't have our captain as the 3rd or 4th line centre when we're ready to compete.

The kids are already setting an example on the ice, let's give them the locker room too.

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Jeffery wrote:

Formula for Winning in the NHL

3 centers - 1. Skilled #1 Center

2. Two way gritty-Big #2 Center

3. Two way #3 Center

2 Wingers- 1. Power winger 2. Skilled scoring winger

4 Defensemen . 1. Puck moving dominant defenseman -1 2. Defensive D-man -3

The Winners of the Stanley Cup have all these requirements.

Seriously? WTF is the point of your post?

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#49 Poolanov
January 14 2012, 10:54PM
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hostile projectiles

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#50 Saytalk
January 15 2012, 06:41AM
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So how many more years of cellar-dwelling are you going to use injuries as an excuse while the rest of ON debates line combinations, Omark's Corsi numbers or how Gagner outscores his draft classmates. As long as management, coaching, the media and the fanbase keep taking style over substance, the Oilers will continually field a team of junior superstars. This is the NHL, not the World Junior Championships, and it's pretty obvious that, after several years of ineptitude, this franchise does not know how to turn boys into men. There are systemic issues here that go beyond a few injuries, line combinations or bad bounces.

What should the Oilers do? Hire someone in the front office who has a clue.

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