Why is Oklahoma struggling?

Jonathan Willis
December 28 2012 10:31AM

With Oklahoma’s win over Texas on Thursday, the team’s record moves to 15-10-4, one game over 0.500. While it’s better than the other side of the win/loss line, it isn’t what was expected out of a team that has (for most of the year) boasted a trio of high-end NHL’ers up front, the AHL’s best player on the blue line, and the reigning AHL goalie of the year.

What’s the problem?

Honestly, it’s a difficult question and despite watching this team from day one I don’t have a solid answer. I have some ideas, but that’s it.

Depth. This is an area where the Barons have had some problems, both up front and on the blue line. There has been a lot of talk about how prospects like Anton Lander, Tyler Pitlick and Curtis Hamilton aren’t getting power play time and so there needs to be an asterisk next to their absurdly low offensive totals, but these are guys struggling to tread water in depth roles. Pitlick and Hamilton are both minus players in largely third-line minutes; Lander’s performance has surged since being assigned regularly to the top-six but he was a minus player earlier in the year.

On the blue line, Justin Schultz currently sports a plus-14 rating, meaning that the Barons are minus-8 when he is not on the ice. With rookie Martin Marincin imploding, the team’s top left-shooting defenceman these days is ECHL call-up Nathan Deck. Colten Teubert has added muscle but has been just okay defensively; Taylor Fedun has had good moments and bad moments. Schultz might be the league’s best player, but the supporting cast is anemic.

The penalty kill. Given the talent on the team, it should be unsurprising that the Barons are lethal with the man advantage. Unfortunately, the dysfunctional penalty kill has given everything back: the Barons have the best power play and the worst penalty kill in the AHL. The strange thing is that in 2011-12 the Barons had the league’s second-best penalty-killing unit, and on paper a group that includes Chris VandeVelde, Anton Lander, Dane Byers, Tanner House and Magnus Paajarvi should be strong in that department.

The limited impact of the individual. It’s pretty hard to harshly critique any of the four stars playing in Oklahoma. Justin Schultz is the presumptive AHL MVP at this point, and if he wasn’t Jordan Eberle would be. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is plus-7 and better than a point-per-game player; after a slow start coming back from surgery Taylor Hall has scored nine times and added 14 assists over his last 15 games.

But while all four play big minutes for Oklahoma, the team has used 33 different players. Even in a feature role, they aren’t on the ice all the time, and even the best stars can’t make up entirely for a weak team.

The Bottom Line

Despite the weaknesses on the roster, there’s no way the Barons should be mired near the playoff bubble. The penalty kill should not be stuck in last place. The second-tier prospects should not be collapsing the way they have. Dane Byers should not be a five point guy. A team that has boasted Eberle, Hall, Nugent-Hopkins, Hartikainen and Paajarvi as five of its top six for the majority of the year should not be struggling the way it has. The Barons have been handed a huge advantage this year, and they appear to be squandering it.

A farm team is supposed to find the balance between winning and development. The Barons aren’t winning enough and outside of the phenoms they aren’t looking especially good from a development angle either. It’s a problem.

Recently by Jonathan Willis

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#1 dougtheslug
December 28 2012, 10:55PM
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Hilarious. Whenever I return after being away for a while, visit ON, and see over 100 responses to a rather innocuous topic (Struggling Barons 4 points back of division lead with a game in hand?) I know who has been stirring the pot. When it comes to DSF, to quote Elvis Costello, I used to be disgusted, but now I'm just amused.

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#2 Johe
December 28 2012, 02:43PM
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DSF wrote:

Yep.

It's unfortunate the Oilers didn't turn Hemsky into a high draft pick + when they had the chance.

When Minny decided to move Burns, they reaped a reward that will turn the franchise around.

I wouldn't be so quick to give up on Hemsky. He's playing great this year and by all accounts he's as healthy as he has been in years. And we've seen what a healthy Hemsky can do. So if we have hockey this year, I wouldn't be surprised in the least if he provides some very nice production. I still believe in Hemsky. :)

And the Burns trade WILL turn the franchise around? A little quick to jump to that conclusion, no? Yes, I will say it was a good trade, but by no means would I declare it a great trade just yet. Setoguchi, outside of one year, has never been more productive than a Sam Gagner, whom you seem to hate, and then you have Coyle and Phillips. Coyle is having a pretty nice pro debut with 11 goals while Phillips has 1 goal. Nothing here suggests the franchise is going to be turned around with that trade.

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#3 Johe
December 28 2012, 03:42PM
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DSF wrote:

Not true...see my above post.

15 teams are already under that cap and can buy out anyone they want.

They'll be in great shape.

And the $60 million cap is not a big IF.

It's already been agreed to.

Okay majority of teams was the wrong choice of words. But the fact stands that several teams will be in trouble.

And you must be privy to some inside info, because as far as I know nothing has been agreed on. Not 60 million cap, buying out one player, or any of that.

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#4 victor
December 28 2012, 03:53PM
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@DSF

Are the two the Calgary Flames and the Minnesota Wild?

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#5 victor
December 28 2012, 04:09PM
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@DSF

Sorry, if it's not Minny, surely it must be Vancouver?

Sure, they have the Sedins for one season at 11% of the cap (each), and Garrison and Ballard for 15% of the cap, but Garrison's finally fixed his groin, and Ballard could recover (regress to the mean?)

From where I sit, it looks like they plan on paying 16% of the cap to goaltenders, but they're well managed.

Oh, yeah, what's the magical deal that will have Luongo go to another team without taking on cap space?

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#6 TigerUnderGlass
December 28 2012, 04:27PM
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@DSF

You forgot about: Buffalo, Carolina, Chicago, LA, Montreal (Already over 60M signed), Nashville, New York, Pittsburgh, Tampa....

There are only a handful of teams who do not have a similar problem.

I should also mention - I love that you consider raw rookies an automatically perfect solution for cheap players but teams signing veterans in a buyers market are screwed.

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#7 Darrell
December 28 2012, 04:51PM
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Great reading folks and this is why I get my Oiler fix here - thanks all ....

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#8 Ryan2
December 28 2012, 05:02PM
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@DSF

@ DSF - "With Granlund, Coyle, Zucker, Larsson, Palmieri, Brodin and maybe Dumba ready to step in on cheap contracts, they'll be the opposite side of the coin to the Oilers."

You are kidding, right? Looks like Oilers' fans are not the only ones with rose colored glasses......

Brodin got hurt on an NHL speed play by a player not know for hitting and has played how many games this season in the AHL? So far, it has been a waste of half of a development year. He is better off staying there for the full year, getting healthy, and learning the more physical North American game at a slower speed. That being said, if the Wild would like to ruin one of their potential blue chip prospects, as an Oilers fan I say let them go right ahead and do it.

Dumba is not close to being NHL ready - heck, he could not crack the WJHC squad and who from that team could step right in? FWIW, I did not view him as a lock for the NHL when he was drafted due to his size and style of play and I have not seen anything to change that view yet. He can get away with it in the dub, but playing against bigger men that can skate is another story.

Granlund is possibly ready, but it still might benefit him more to play in the AHL for a year to get used to the different style of play and increased number of games. Paajarvi could have used that approach as well.......

Coyle = Paajarvi or Hartikainen as far as stats go in the AHL this year, and both are on the bubble as far as playing in the NHL this season for a weak team (although I would like to see both start off the season with the Oilers to see what happens).

Larsson - see above re: Granlund, but even less ready than him. He is not ready to play in the show.

Palmieri - may (finally) be ready this season, but if not, it might be time to move him as he was an 07 draft pick and is getting long in the tooth.........

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#9 victor
December 28 2012, 05:39PM
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@DSF

You're assuming that the RFA provisions in the next CBA require a contract to exceed the cap hits. He's clearly an RFA for 2013-2014, so I assumed that he'd be willing to sign a longer term deal for a reduced cap hit.

PS: What's the Luongo deal that doesn't have the Canucks taking on cap?

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#10 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
December 28 2012, 06:04PM
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DSF wrote:

Gary blinked.

Get over it.

or you could just admit you were wrong.

maybe wait for 2013. new year = new horizons

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#11 Oilertown
December 28 2012, 07:09PM
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DSF wrote:

Klefbom, Musil, Pitlick, and a bunch of junk are also signed beyond that.

A bunch of junk holy give me a break DSF you ol wanker, and you wonder why so many ppl dislike you around here.

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#12 Ryan2
December 28 2012, 11:12PM
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@DSF

@ DSF - Are you kidding me? Your post was all nonsense - the Wild will avoid cap issues by playing all of these young prospects, not proven NHL players, and succeed? Give me a break.

If you want to drag Klefbom into the Brodin discussion, that is fine. He is set back a year now as well due to his shoulder, so I doubt he will be ready until 2014-15 at the earliest. Based on his injury history, he may never be. It happens. Luckily for the Oil there is more than just one prospect in the pipeline .

As much as I dislike Gagner, if you consider MPS to be a bad comparable for Granlund then comparing Pamlmieri to the Hobbit is a joke. The fact that he is the same age as Gagner and from the same weak draft class is actually detrimental to his case. While I still think the Oilers should trade Sam, he is at least a proven NHL player. Palmieri has yet to prove he can be a regular 4th liner in the show, let alone anything higher. If he does not pan out soon he should be moved to free up a space for a younger prospect - that is how the meat market of professional sports works.

WRT Granlund, he is a great prospect and all I was pointing out is that a full year in the AHL might be better for him. As we often see with European players, once the 40 game mark is passed in their rookie year they hit the wall and plateau for a bit. Would it hurt him to spend the full year in the AHL and work through it there first? I also think we need to wait a bit longer to see how much better he is than MPS. After Paajarvi's rookie season wasn't the sky the limit?

I did not include Zucker in my rebuttal as he looks NHL ready to me, or a test run at the least.

WRT to the other forwards that you listed, their numbers are comparable to Harski and MPS, who you like to run down, but since they are Wild prospects they will somehow be better off?

In addition, as far as the Wild's blueline depth is concerned, I never said that the Oilers' blueline was better. However, if you want to discuss it, here are my thoughts:

I am curious to see how well Suter plays when he is being keyed on instead of having Weber as the main man on the blueline. Personally, I think the Suter contract is a big risk that will be an issue if he does not meet expectations as they will be paying #1 money and term to a #2/#3 d-man. If I had to give that type of contract to one of Weber or Suter, I would go with Weber just like the Preds did (and I am pretty certain every other GM in the league would as well).

While I have always argued that the Wild got the better of the Nick Schultz - Gilbert trade (the Oilers lost big time on that one IMHO), the rest of the blueline is average. If Suter goes down then you will have big problems as there is a lack of proven depth. As someone else pointed out above, the rest of the Wild defence, including the Hobbit known as Spurgeon, are average or below average d-men at best.

You say in one breath that there is no rush to bring up Brodin or Dumba and they mention them in the depth list again? Why? I could throw out Klefbom, Marincin, Musil and Gernat as well as they have as good a shot at making the NHL as those two (although, in Musil's case, I highly doubt it due to his lack of speed). We will see if Dumba ever makes the NHL, and this year is basically a write-off for Brodin development wise due to injury just like Klefbom and Gernat.

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#13 GVBlackhawk
December 29 2012, 02:33PM
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DSF wrote:

And what happens if Smid and Petry get injured?

The same thing that would happen to the Wild...they would be hard pressed to win anything.

But nobody here is arguing that Oil lack defensive depth. On the other hand, you are making the case that the Wild have depth, which is a complete fallacy.

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#14 Rogue
December 29 2012, 03:20PM
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Once again, Defying Sanity Forever, (otherwise known as DSF), is here to regal us with his semi factual arguments how the Oilers are the worst team forever. Third and fourth line players can be traded for or picked up, ala Detroit, in their 10 year run.

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#15 SuntanOil
December 28 2012, 10:40AM
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Agreed.

How much of this do you believe falls on the shoulders (if any) of Todd Nelson, Jonathan?

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#17 DSF
December 28 2012, 12:33PM
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Speaks to your last post JW.

The depth behind the young NHL stars just isn't very good.

While you can make an argument the supporting cast is not getting opportunity, the best forwards outside that core group are Arcobello, Paajarvi and Hartikainen who have all had their numbers pumped by playing with the big four and getting significant PP time.

Remove the stars and the whole thing could collapse.

Also worth noting is how much of the Barons' scoring has been on the PP and, if you consider, once the NHL season gets going, it's likely the top PP could feature Paajarvi, Arcobello and someone like Pitlcik with Marinicin and Fedun, it's likely going to be a pop gun offence.

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#18 John Chambers
December 28 2012, 12:57PM
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@DSF

I think this could be a big problem for the Oilers over the next 1.5 seasons. Surely they'll have a dynamic pp, but I don't see the team in general outscoring the opposition 5x5, and they're not brimming over the edge with depth.

Luckily Horcoff will get bought out thus summer, Khabi won't be re-signed, and the money SHOULD be wisely allocated toward affordable veteran talent.

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#19 tyler
December 28 2012, 01:02PM
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glad to see hall scored on a breakaway something hes had a hard time doing

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#21 DSF
December 28 2012, 01:19PM
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John Chambers wrote:

I think this could be a big problem for the Oilers over the next 1.5 seasons. Surely they'll have a dynamic pp, but I don't see the team in general outscoring the opposition 5x5, and they're not brimming over the edge with depth.

Luckily Horcoff will get bought out thus summer, Khabi won't be re-signed, and the money SHOULD be wisely allocated toward affordable veteran talent.

It's going to be wild ride in the next 6 months.

The new NHL proposal pegs the cap at $60 million in 13/14 and the Oilers, including Horcoff's cap hit, are at $48.5.

If you take Horcoff out of the equation, they'll be at $43 million with only 13 players under contract.

Players needing new deals: (my estimate of new deal)

Gagner ($3.5M)

Jones ($1.75M)

Hartikainen ($1M)

Smid ($3.5M)

Backup goaltender ($1M)

That's about $56 million so there's only $4 million left to sign:

#3C

3 bottom 6 forwards

3 defensemen.

So, even with a Horcoff buyout, that dog won't hunt.

The Oilers could really use a skilled centre on an ELC to replace Gagner and they'd better hope Klefbom and Marincin are ready for the big show.

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#22 DSF
December 28 2012, 01:44PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

At evens the Barons are outscoring the opposition 66-to-59, with virtually all of the advantage coming from the top line - particularly Eberle, though of late Hall, too.

The PP should still be good at the points - Fedun and Marincin have done pretty well on the second unit - but up front there's no question it is weak. If they can't get the PK to compensate, then they'll be in trouble.

But, honestly, I don't care how Oklahoma does once the stars are gone. What I can't figure out is how virtually all of the depth prospects are imploding - and I don't buy that it's just an ice-time problem - and despite the emphasis on the NHL talent the team isn't winning, either. It seems to be failing in both of its primary mandates.

I've said all along that the Oilers drafting, other than the first overalls and Eberle, has been very weak.

The lack of success in the 2007 draft, with 3 first round picks, is really starting to hurt.

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#23 David S
December 28 2012, 02:08PM
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DSF wrote:

I've said all along that the Oilers drafting, other than the first overalls and Eberle, has been very weak.

The lack of success in the 2007 draft, with 3 first round picks, is really starting to hurt.

Which has only been magnified by tanking driving for the #1 draft pick, which was accomplished by filling out the roster with the sort of player you'd never (normally) have on a team that believes winning is a good thing to pursue.

Drafting is great, but it's only part of the solution. Given the low percentage of drafted guys who actually work out, I think we're doing OK in that aspect.

We still have to clean out the guys who basically suck (we all know who they are) and replace them with viable alternatives or "actual NHL'ers" as Lowetide is prone to say.

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#24 godot10
December 28 2012, 02:10PM
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The problem with Oklahoma is the defense just isn't deep enough. They need one more AHL veteran defenseman.

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#25 John Chambers
December 28 2012, 02:19PM
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@DSF

Yeah Hemsky is an expensive luxury, and despite the team's need for veteran defensemen, Whitney will have to take a significant pay cut to remain on the team.

The trade that could solve a number of problems is Gagner for a 3-4 defenseman, so It's a management imperative that he rack up points between Hall and Hemsky when the puck drops in mid-January.

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#26 DSF
December 28 2012, 02:23PM
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godot10 wrote:

The problem with Oklahoma is the defense just isn't deep enough. They need one more AHL veteran defenseman.

Once the kids are gone, Arcobello and Paajarvi will be their top scorers.

A veteran defenseman won't help.

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#27 DSF
December 28 2012, 02:26PM
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John Chambers wrote:

Yeah Hemsky is an expensive luxury, and despite the team's need for veteran defensemen, Whitney will have to take a significant pay cut to remain on the team.

The trade that could solve a number of problems is Gagner for a 3-4 defenseman, so It's a management imperative that he rack up points between Hall and Hemsky when the puck drops in mid-January.

Yep.

It's unfortunate the Oilers didn't turn Hemsky into a high draft pick + when they had the chance.

When Minny decided to move Burns, they reaped a reward that will turn the franchise around.

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#28 John Chambers
December 28 2012, 02:51PM
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@DSF

Do you think the Suter / Parise signings along with existing commitments to Koivu, Heatley, and Backstrom hamstring the Wild similar to how it will affect the Oil?

I think, like the summer of 2005, FA's will come cheap this summer as teams struggle to get under $60M. As a result, Im not sure Gagner and Smid cone at a $3.5M price tag.

The NY Rangers will have some tough choices to make.

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#29 Rama Lama
December 28 2012, 02:56PM
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I think that too much talent on one team can have negative and unintended consequences.

In my mind there are too many stars in OKC. All the pressure is on them to produce, which they are doing, and in turn everyone else becomes a spectator.

When the fab four leave, othere will rise to the occasion and reap the rewards of extra ice time and PP.

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#30 GVBlackhawk
December 28 2012, 02:59PM
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DSF wrote:

It's going to be wild ride in the next 6 months.

The new NHL proposal pegs the cap at $60 million in 13/14 and the Oilers, including Horcoff's cap hit, are at $48.5.

If you take Horcoff out of the equation, they'll be at $43 million with only 13 players under contract.

Players needing new deals: (my estimate of new deal)

Gagner ($3.5M)

Jones ($1.75M)

Hartikainen ($1M)

Smid ($3.5M)

Backup goaltender ($1M)

That's about $56 million so there's only $4 million left to sign:

#3C

3 bottom 6 forwards

3 defensemen.

So, even with a Horcoff buyout, that dog won't hunt.

The Oilers could really use a skilled centre on an ELC to replace Gagner and they'd better hope Klefbom and Marincin are ready for the big show.

Klefbom is a maybe but I can't see Marincin being ready in two years. He is so error-prone right now. He is likely going to need anther two or three years in the AHL.

There are many teams who are going to have issues dealing with a 60M cap. The Oilers are no exception.

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#31 DSF
December 28 2012, 03:17PM
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Johe wrote:

I wouldn't be so quick to give up on Hemsky. He's playing great this year and by all accounts he's as healthy as he has been in years. And we've seen what a healthy Hemsky can do. So if we have hockey this year, I wouldn't be surprised in the least if he provides some very nice production. I still believe in Hemsky. :)

And the Burns trade WILL turn the franchise around? A little quick to jump to that conclusion, no? Yes, I will say it was a good trade, but by no means would I declare it a great trade just yet. Setoguchi, outside of one year, has never been more productive than a Sam Gagner, whom you seem to hate, and then you have Coyle and Phillips. Coyle is having a pretty nice pro debut with 11 goals while Phillips has 1 goal. Nothing here suggests the franchise is going to be turned around with that trade.

Hemsky may still have value but, as John Chambers says, he an expensive luxury that the Oilers won't be able to afford. (more on that later).

As for the Burns trade, it signalled a change in direction for Minnesota and was the only the first of several moves.

They traded Burns, who was about to become UFA, for the equivalent of THREE first round picks. Can you imagine the jubilation if the Oilers could have received 3 first for Hemsky?

IMO Setoguchi has outperformed Gagner in every season except his rookie year with goal totals of 31, 20, 22 and 19. Gagner may pick up a bunch of second assists but goals are much more important and Gagner has never hit 20.

Coyle is looking very good as a rookie and, while Phillips is taking some time getting traction, his 10 points is better than a host of Oiler draft picks in the AHL.

To get under the cap in 13/14, the Oilers are going to have to move a big ticket even if they buy out Horcoff.

Hemsky would be the logical choice but, with so many bought out players hitting the market at the same time, it'll be an absolute buyers market.

We don't know what the cap will look like the following season but with Hopkins and Schultz up for new contracts I don't think there's a chance in hell Hemsky is still an Oiler.

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#32 victor
December 28 2012, 03:20PM
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@DSF

After all of your comments about Gagner, you would give him a raise? With a 60m cap, you'd give Jones a raise to $1.75m?

Wow. You're more generous than the guy who gave Luongo his last contract, and that's saying something.

On that note, do you think that Vancouver will be forced to buy him out? Hard to see many teams taking on that contract with a $60m cap hit.

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#33 DSF
December 28 2012, 03:29PM
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GVBlackhawk wrote:

Klefbom is a maybe but I can't see Marincin being ready in two years. He is so error-prone right now. He is likely going to need anther two or three years in the AHL.

There are many teams who are going to have issues dealing with a 60M cap. The Oilers are no exception.

While they're not an exception, they're also not a very good team.

If you take a look at Minnesota, since we are discussing them, I assume they will buy out Dany Heatley ($7.5M) and will be instantly $16 million UNDER the cap even after signing Parise and Suter.

With Granlund, Coyle, Zucker, Larsson, Palmieri, Brodin and maybe Dumba ready to step in on cheap contracts, they'll be the opposite side of the coin to the Oilers.

Boston, Vancouver, Calgary, Philly, San Jose and the Oilers look to be the teams that will struggle to get under the cap and ice a competitive team.

2 of these are not like the others.

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#34 Johe
December 28 2012, 03:30PM
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IF (and that's a big if) the cap is 60 million next year, the majority of teams will have serious cap problems, not just the Oilers. So I really doubt it'll be that low.

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#35 DSF
December 28 2012, 03:33PM
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victor wrote:

After all of your comments about Gagner, you would give him a raise? With a 60m cap, you'd give Jones a raise to $1.75m?

Wow. You're more generous than the guy who gave Luongo his last contract, and that's saying something.

On that note, do you think that Vancouver will be forced to buy him out? Hard to see many teams taking on that contract with a $60m cap hit.

I'm merely trying to read Tambellini's mind.

He gives EVERYONE a raise.

See Sutton, Andy for reference.

I'd wager a Luongo trade is already completed pending the signing of a new CBA.

The Canucks will buy out Ballard and instantly get $9.5 million off the books and I expect they will also trade Mason Raymond and get another $2.275 million in cap space.

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#36 DSF
December 28 2012, 03:35PM
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Johe wrote:

IF (and that's a big if) the cap is 60 million next year, the majority of teams will have serious cap problems, not just the Oilers. So I really doubt it'll be that low.

Not true...see my above post.

15 teams are already under that cap and can buy out anyone they want.

They'll be in great shape.

And the $60 million cap is not a big IF.

It's already been agreed to.

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#37 victor
December 28 2012, 03:40PM
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I put together a quick roster for 2013-2014, assuming no player movement, current players under contract, and the following: - raise for Gagner to 3.5m - raise for Smid to 3.5m - Jones, Hordichuck, Petrell, Whitney, Sutton, and Khabibulin become free agents (all contracts expire at the end of 2012-2013, current year. - Theo Peckham, RFA, is not re-signed. - Horcoff is bought out as the compliance buyout. - Small raises for Paajarvi, Lander, and Hartikainen.

Hall (6m) - Hopkins (3.775m) - Eberle(6m) Yakupov (3.775) - Gagner (3.5m) - Hemsky (5m) Smyth (2.25m) - Belanger (1.75m) - Paajarvi (1m) Hartikainen (1m)- Lander (1m) - Eager (1.1m) Smid (3.5) - Petry (1.75) Klefbom (1.25) - J. Schultz (3.775) Musil (0.925) - N. Schultz (3.5) Potter (0.775)

Dubnyk (3.5) Roy (0.7)

That leaves Edmonton with a 21 man roster, and 4.175m to spend, without any other adjustments. Personally, I think that it's too much money for Gagner, given what people say about him here, and could see him take a drop in salary, but that's just me ;-)

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#38 stevezie
December 28 2012, 03:43PM
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It seems obvious to me (because I haven't thought much about it) that cap hits should drop by whatever percentage the cap itself drops by.

Not that a seven percent reduction suddenly makes Hemsky cheap, but doesn't that just put us in the same boat we were in before the lockout?

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#39 DSF
December 28 2012, 03:46PM
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Johe wrote:

Okay majority of teams was the wrong choice of words. But the fact stands that several teams will be in trouble.

And you must be privy to some inside info, because as far as I know nothing has been agreed on. Not 60 million cap, buying out one player, or any of that.

The NHL has insisted on a $60 million cap all along d the PA has not objected to it.

With players share of HRR going down to 50%, there is no reason to believe a $60 million cap won't be just about right.

And, yes several teams will be in cap hell but, thing is, most of them are very good teams.

Two aren't.

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#40 Ryan2
December 28 2012, 03:48PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

At evens the Barons are outscoring the opposition 66-to-59, with virtually all of the advantage coming from the top line - particularly Eberle, though of late Hall, too.

The PP should still be good at the points - Fedun and Marincin have done pretty well on the second unit - but up front there's no question it is weak. If they can't get the PK to compensate, then they'll be in trouble.

But, honestly, I don't care how Oklahoma does once the stars are gone. What I can't figure out is how virtually all of the depth prospects are imploding - and I don't buy that it's just an ice-time problem - and despite the emphasis on the NHL talent the team isn't winning, either. It seems to be failing in both of its primary mandates.

Jonathan, you need to be more patient. Developing secondary/depth forwards is not an exact science. There will be plenty of ups and downs along the way. In addition, players with size can take more time to develop than smaller skilled players.

I am not worried about Pitlick - if he does not score he can still fill a role as a banger/shut down player due to his size and skating. However, as I have stated before, I was never sold on Hamilton for the simple reason that he does not skate well enough - at his "breakout" WJHC he looked slow against the top teams. That being said, at 21 it is still too early to toss him aside. Bigger complementary players take time to develop - look at Penner or Clowe, as examples.

The fans just need to be patient and wait a bit for the role players to develop. If they don't, it is always easy to attract NHL experienced/veteran role players if the skill positions are already in place.

As far as the team struggling, the mix of talent is a bit different this year. Has Nelson adjusted the system as a result? Last year the team was very defensive - is it more open now? As much as the youth on the blue line is an issue (I did not realize Plante was only 23 - seems like he has been in the A forever), is Danis playing at the same level that he did last year?

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#41 DSF
December 28 2012, 03:49PM
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stevezie wrote:

It seems obvious to me (because I haven't thought much about it) that cap hits should drop by whatever percentage the cap itself drops by.

Not that a seven percent reduction suddenly makes Hemsky cheap, but doesn't that just put us in the same boat we were in before the lockout?

That is not what is on the table.

Cap hits will stay the same.

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#42 commonfan14
December 28 2012, 03:56PM
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What do the latest rumours have Luongo being traded for?

Is there something on the table that doesn't involve significant salary coming back?

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#43 DSF
December 28 2012, 04:00PM
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victor wrote:

I put together a quick roster for 2013-2014, assuming no player movement, current players under contract, and the following: - raise for Gagner to 3.5m - raise for Smid to 3.5m - Jones, Hordichuck, Petrell, Whitney, Sutton, and Khabibulin become free agents (all contracts expire at the end of 2012-2013, current year. - Theo Peckham, RFA, is not re-signed. - Horcoff is bought out as the compliance buyout. - Small raises for Paajarvi, Lander, and Hartikainen.

Hall (6m) - Hopkins (3.775m) - Eberle(6m) Yakupov (3.775) - Gagner (3.5m) - Hemsky (5m) Smyth (2.25m) - Belanger (1.75m) - Paajarvi (1m) Hartikainen (1m)- Lander (1m) - Eager (1.1m) Smid (3.5) - Petry (1.75) Klefbom (1.25) - J. Schultz (3.775) Musil (0.925) - N. Schultz (3.5) Potter (0.775)

Dubnyk (3.5) Roy (0.7)

That leaves Edmonton with a 21 man roster, and 4.175m to spend, without any other adjustments. Personally, I think that it's too much money for Gagner, given what people say about him here, and could see him take a drop in salary, but that's just me ;-)

A couple of issues with your roster.

I believe the NHL minimum roster is 22 players.

Paajarvi already makes $1.525 million.

There is no #3C unless you think a 37 year old Belanger is up to the job.

Your defense has two raw rookies on it along with an AHL level defenseman.

It's highly unlikely Roy will be ready for the NHL and any decent backup is going to cost more than 700K.

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#44 DSF
December 28 2012, 04:04PM
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victor wrote:

Are the two the Calgary Flames and the Minnesota Wild?

No.

Look close to home...118th Avenue.

Minnesota will have no problem getting under the cap as detailed earlier.

If they buy out Heatley: $7.5million.

PM Bouchard UFA: $4M

Mat Cullen UFA: $3.5 million.

That's $15 million in cap savings right there.

They have an abundance of young cheap talent to draw on to fill out their roster.

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#45 commonfan14
December 28 2012, 04:11PM
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@DSF

Minny could also go to whatever team is sniffing around Luongo and offer them Backstrom instead, then go with Harding and Hackett.

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#46 TigerUnderGlass
December 28 2012, 04:30PM
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@DSF

Paajarvi already makes $1.525 million.

No he doesn't.

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#47 Robin Brownlee
December 28 2012, 04:43PM
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The premise the Barons are "struggling" is based on what? How much better were the Barons expected to be through 29 games in terms of points?

Seven teams in a 30-team league have more points. One of those teams, Texas (35 pts), has played one more game. Syracuse tops the overall standings with 40 pts in the same number of games.

As for additions to the team, RNH has played just 19 games. Hall has played 21. When you consider most teams have been bolstered with players who'd be in the NHL if there wasn't a lockout, meaning they're stronger as well, I'm not convinced the Barons have fallen markedly short of reasonable expectations.

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#48 Quintana
December 28 2012, 04:51PM
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DSF wrote:

It's going to be wild ride in the next 6 months.

The new NHL proposal pegs the cap at $60 million in 13/14 and the Oilers, including Horcoff's cap hit, are at $48.5.

If you take Horcoff out of the equation, they'll be at $43 million with only 13 players under contract.

Players needing new deals: (my estimate of new deal)

Gagner ($3.5M)

Jones ($1.75M)

Hartikainen ($1M)

Smid ($3.5M)

Backup goaltender ($1M)

That's about $56 million so there's only $4 million left to sign:

#3C

3 bottom 6 forwards

3 defensemen.

So, even with a Horcoff buyout, that dog won't hunt.

The Oilers could really use a skilled centre on an ELC to replace Gagner and they'd better hope Klefbom and Marincin are ready for the big show.

Since when 43 plus 10.5 is 56?

Jones wont get 1.75M period.

Coyle is a minus player, Paajarvi even and with more points.

Arcobello outperform all Houston Aeros rookies stars.lmao.

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#49 gazmort
December 28 2012, 05:08PM
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DSF, I'm concerned. You seem to have forgotten that you yourself, mere days ago, were calling for an implosion of the league (re: disclaimer of interest) and a free agent frenzy culminating in an exodus of Oilers talent. How did this not come to pass!? Especially after you said it would.

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#50 John Chambers
December 28 2012, 05:10PM
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@Robin Brownlee

A farm team is meant to "develop" players. If you concede that Eberle, Hall, and RNH have already ripened, I think you can make an argument that the poor development of Pitlick, Hamilton, Lander, Teubert, and others is cause for concern.

The Oilers have some tough personnel decisions to make thus summer, and won't be able to spend lavishly on free agents to fill their many gaps. Luckily Hartikainen and Paajarvi should be low-cost fixtures to the lineup in '13 through '15, but the failure to graduate other productive players will hold the Oilers back from being championship-calibre or perhaps even playoff calibre.

It is cause for concern. Magnificent Stu may not be so.

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