QUESTIONS FOR 12-13

Lowetide
April 15 2012 09:31AM

Last spring we had a lot of questions and the summer, fall and winter delivered answers. The Nuge WAS golden, Smyth's return was wonderful and the team improved but ended up in the same old neighbourhood. What are the questions this summer? More importantly, what are the answers?

We did this last year, asking questions and then following up here and here. Here are this year's questions:

  1. Who will they take #1 overall? Nail Yakupov. It is very interesting to see that Ryan Murray has been invited to join Team Canada's WHC entry and even if it only means some exhibition time there's still a nice chance for the Oilers' brass to observe the prospect. Still, passing on exceptional offensive talent--the best available in this draft season--would take big brass. Oilers make the safe and offensively charged pick and go with the Russian.
  2. Who will coach? Tom Renney. Lots of chatter about Brent Sutter today but I don't see him as a clearly better option and Renney has been onboard with the development process. It would be wise to put together a stronger team with a better defense and then see how far up the standings they can fly. Sutter as a co-coach ala Quinn/Renney might be viable, as the Oilers seemed to like the duo coach approach (Sather-Muckler) a few years ago.
  3. How will they improve the defense? I do believe Steve Tambellini and crew will be very aggressive. Since Bob McKenzie mentioned Edmonton as a possible landing spot for soon to be UFA Justin Schultz Oiler fans have been talking about him. That kind of strategy is brilliant because the club can add to the cluster without using assets. I also think the club will be very aggressive in pursuit of Jason Garrison and adding both to a top 4 of Ladislav Smid, Jeff Petry, Nick Schultz and Ryan Whitney would go a long way to shoring up a position of weakness.
  4. If they trade to upgrade D, who will they trade? Sam Gagner is the obvious choice to my way of thinking. Solid 2line C who scores 40-49 points every year, he's young enough to improve and is a consistent player. Edmonton should be able to cobble together a deal for a quality NHL defenseman to fit the cluster if they are shopping Gagner.
  5. Will they move Hall to center? Jason Gregor and Dennis King both mentioned this awhile back and with the lottery win I thnk it might happen. Oilers up the middle would be much stronger and it allows them to deal Gagner for that defenseman so badly needed.
  6. Do the Oilers continue the DD-NK tandem or look to improve it? This is an area of need but the Oilers appear content to stay the course. Underneath the NHL depth chart, Olivier Roy and Tyler Bunz are showing very well but their ETA is down the road. Edmonton should look at buying out the Russian's final season but it doesn't sound like that is being considered at this time.
  7. Will they make a big splash this summer? An offer sheet to Vancouver's backup goalie would be a plan but one doubts Edmonton makes the call. If they do anything earth shattering it'll be via trade.
  8. What will the top 2 lines look like in the fall? My guess is that RNH, Hall, Eberle, Yakupov, Hemsky and Ryan Smyth line up together. Gagner too if he's still here and of course Smyth isn't signed yet.
  9. How many of their own unrestricted free agents do the Oilers sign this summer? Two. Smyth, Petrell.
  10. Which current NHL player on another roster has the best chance of being an Oiler in the fall? Jason Garrison. I think they send a lot of money and term his way.

 

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

The last few years, summer has been the most exciting time to be an Oiler fan. It looks like another fun summer is on the way. Stay close to the news.

 

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 Team 1260.
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#1 justDOit
April 15 2012, 03:01PM
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Reg Dunlop wrote:

Anyone watching Philly-Pitt? Yikes. WWF on ice. How would young RNH fare? Would any of the young oil get Philly flu? Any of them pull a Turgeon, tying his skates for 20 minutes during the 'punch-up in Piestany'? We need gristle on our bottom 6, no more Jones/Horc/whatever.

This from the Flyers website:

Briere: 5'10" 179 lbs Giroux: 5'11" 172 lbs Read: 5'10" 185 lbs Rinaldo: 5'11" 169 lbs Schenn: 6'1" 190 lbs Talbot: 5'11" 190 lbs Wellwood: 5'11" 180 lbs Carle: 6'0" 205 lbs Timonen: 5'10" 194 lbs

I'm as surprised by this as anyone.

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#2 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
April 15 2012, 05:38PM
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@Clyde Frog

so what if he gives up 3 inches?

i just got out of the pool! the pool!

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#3 Reg Dunlop
April 15 2012, 02:11PM
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Anyone watching Philly-Pitt? Yikes. WWF on ice. How would young RNH fare? Would any of the young oil get Philly flu? Any of them pull a Turgeon, tying his skates for 20 minutes during the 'punch-up in Piestany'? We need gristle on our bottom 6, no more Jones/Horc/whatever.

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#4 Clyde Frog
April 15 2012, 03:33PM
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Not suprised at all, size is the low hanging fruit for the fearfull...

Willingness to hit and compete in that style is a mindset. Raffi Torres was barely 6'0" on skates but was willing to truck anyone, at least until MacT decided to never let him off the bench again.

Bryan Marchment, was a beast but skirted around the 200 pound mark for his career... No-one can question that guys tenacity and penchant for the bone crushing hit.

Yakupov brings scoring in spades, grit and speed... Everything that we want for our wing, so what if he gives up 3 inches?

/sigh

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#5 Lexi
April 15 2012, 08:35PM
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Brett B. wrote:

you can't buy out Khabibulin because of his age. do you think there are any takers?

Maybe Pittsburgh for Tuesday.

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#6 -30-
April 15 2012, 09:55AM
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It makes sense to keep Khabibulin if only to have him help Nail feel at home.

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#7 Lexi
April 15 2012, 10:42AM
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My answer to some of LT questions;

1. They take Yakupov, but I love that Murray is going to the Worlds. I've got to think seeing him play and practice with NHL players is a better way to evaluate a prospect than watching him lift weights and ride a bike. Murray definitely had the best last two months of the top 5 prospects.

2. At this point my guess would be Sutter with Krueger as co coaches.

3/4/5. I think they move Hall to C, trade Gagner for Gunnerson, trade Omark, second rd pick and D prospect not named Klefbom for Tyutin. I think Schultz goes to Tor as Burke is who drafted him.

8. Top lines: MP-RNH-Ebs. Yak-Hall-Hemsky

I'm sure they will not get Suter and if the bidding for Carle, Wideman, and Garrison goes above $5mill a yr they should bow out.

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#8 oilfan in yyc
April 15 2012, 10:50AM
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Re: Garrison - I thought I read a stat one time that showed point production drops off dramatically for players moving from the SE to the west

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#9 @NateInVegas
April 15 2012, 11:40AM
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Nail Yakupov aka Maxim Afinogenov isn't the solution to Edmonton's problems.

He doesn't play a lick of defense, +/- doesn't tell the full story, but he's only +13 despite putting up 170 points. Scoring goals isn't the Oilers problem, keeping them out is. They've given up 239-269-284 goals the last 3 years.

Yakupov's a late birthday, small, plays the wing, doesn't hit or play defense, and he's Russian...It's simple. When Yakupov doesn't score he doesn't impact the game one bit.

How many red flags do the Oilers need?

It scares the crap out of me to think Edmonton's had 5 top 10 picks in the last 5 years and only managed to get 1 elite player(RNH)and 3 wingers...

SMH!

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#10 Lochenzo
April 15 2012, 01:35PM
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Watching some of the nastiness in the first few days of the playoffs has me thinking the Oil need to make sure they address their toughness in the offseason. Finding a guy who can contribute to the top 6 and be a part time beat cop would be ideal.

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#12 Walter Sobchak
April 15 2012, 05:43PM
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Yakupov embarrassed Ryan Murray at the WJC at least twice. Yakupov had 4 assist that game and really should have had at least one goal. He was a + player in the WJC , was a constant threat in the Sweden game. Playing against the best 19-20 year olds in the world.

Think of Yakupov as insurance to Hall.

Somebody mentioned here that if Murray was two weeks older he would have been in last years draft somewhere around 10th to 15th.

If the Oilers ice anywhere near the same team you can forget the playoffs.

The Oilers need better players period. This has to be one of if not the softest team in the NHL.

At the same time, I would be trying to move Paarjarvi before Gagner. The upside on this kid has to be attractive to others. If the Oilers get Schultz then I say go hard at Suter, Garrison, and Jackman.

You can't go into next year with these players

-Jones-Hemsky-Paajarvi-Lander-Horcoff-Potter-Peckham-Barker-Whitney if not healthy - Smyth if he's not willing to take a 3rd line roll - Possible even Gagner.

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#13 TigerUnderGlass
April 15 2012, 11:01PM
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@Alex Steenberger

Chris Mason

Brilliant. This way we can keeping picking in the lottery indefinitely.

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#14 Clyde Frog
April 16 2012, 09:18AM
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No one said nastiness... Just the fact that the current Oiler fan belief that the only nasty players in the league are 6'3" 220+.

As justD0it pointed out so kindly, the large part of Phil's grit and scoring punch is being delivered by "smurfs".

Players like Yakupov who have a willingness to initiate contact posses the mentatility needed for fans to consider him a "gritty" player.

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#15 yawto
April 15 2012, 09:37AM
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I just hope we see a third fist overall pick to start the season on the lineup.

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#16 Skidplate
April 15 2012, 09:49AM
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I don't think the Oilers can buyout Khaby, since he signed his contract after 35 years old. I may be mistaken though.

I believe their only choice is to send him to the minors or loan him to a team overseas. His cap hit would still count though.

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#17 Smokey
April 15 2012, 09:54AM
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Can we sign Jagr this summer.

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#18 Skidplate
April 15 2012, 09:55AM
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Is Garrison worth big money and long term? It may take that to get him, but he really has had only one big season. If he stays the same as he did this year, he may be worth it, however one must consider the division he plays in. Just imagine what Smid could do in the SE, 10 - 15 goals, 20 - 30 assists ;) http://tsn.ca/nhl/teams/players/bio/?id=6570

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#20 Skidplate
April 15 2012, 10:01AM
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Ah, I see. I should know better than to question you :)

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#22 Starving Student
April 15 2012, 10:02AM
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I pray we don't throw term at Garrison! Another journey men is not the top 4 d we should be looking for! What about Barret Jackman if he becomes available? Have 3 solid stay at home D-men and allow Whitney, Petry & whoever some more leeway to take chances offensively!

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#23 rondo
April 15 2012, 10:09AM
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LT,

What if Vancouver loses the series with LA and Alain Vigneault becomes available would you consider him?

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#25 rondo
April 15 2012, 10:11AM
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LT,

Would trading the #1 pick to Columbus for their #2 pick and their #18 pick make any sense?

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#27 Shane
April 15 2012, 10:18AM
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LT,

I thought consistency was something that Gagner needed to work on?

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#28 Time Travelling Sean
April 15 2012, 10:24AM
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Whenever I think of Bouwmeester I smirk a little, I don't want Flames fans to be able to do the same.

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#30 Shane
April 15 2012, 10:38AM
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@Lowetide

I should have read your On The Beach article before posting. I like Gagner too, if he could smooth out the streaks I'd like him a lot more. If we take Yakupov(I hope we do) then we may not see him traded and he'll have those wingers you were talking about

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#31 Racki
April 15 2012, 10:40AM
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Lowetide wrote:

He's been a pretty consistent offensive player, 40-49 points. I very much like Gagner as a player as is, would hate to see him traded.

Consistent seasonal totals... not very consistent game to game though (actually iirc, the issue he's a slow starter). I've been a Gagner fan since day one though, and think he could be that player one day. But I don't think consistency and Gagner are too synonymous right now. His game improved this year though, I thought, to a more 2-way game.

I think I've become a lot more accepting of moving Gagner as of recent, but like you too, I probably still would hate to see him go.

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#32 Oiler AL
April 15 2012, 10:42AM
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If you are using current roster players to make gains via a trade, I would sooner trade Fly By Hemsky than Gagner... if its a big fish we are chasing,.. trade both of them.{ and their peewee hockey sticks]. Schnieder is not coming to Edmonton . Check out his recent remarks about Edmonton, [ for which he apologized.] Something to be noted about Tambelini's rebuild here. If you are watching todays NHL playoffs, you better come on the ice with some Beef, and everyone on the team better be ready for some " Rollerball Hockey" . Its mean , though and dirty out there. Todays o Oiler line up would get eaten alive.ANOTHER REASON RENNEY IS NOT THE MAN FOR THIS TEAM. He is a passive coach, with the idea of " turning the other cheek" as the way to respond.

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#33 5 Cups
April 15 2012, 10:43AM
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I will go on record as saying I fully support getting rid of renney and bringing in either sutter or mact.

I think the oil will be a new team next year. Another high pick and a few assets (omark, prv, gags, picks) to try and get some D with. I think the oil take yak in the draft. He is projected to be far and above the best of his class and I doubt that anyone offers anything worthy of taking (and NO flamers fan boumester for the number 1 pick straight up will NOT EVER happen...pull your head out of your @ss)

should be fun to watch next year....looking forward to it......should the CBA get done.

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#34 justDOit
April 15 2012, 10:46AM
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@ LT:

I know the reasons behind wanting to move Hall to the middle, but do you really think he has the mentality for the position? It requires some restraint, and is much more difficult to play, positionally.

I don't see these qualities in Hall. He's a thoroughbred, born to race down the wing in a hell-bent lather, pushing the defence back and making room for his line-mates.

What about Ebs to center? I know he doesn't fulfill the size down the middle that the Oilers need, but he's only two inches shorter than Hall but plays much bigger than his stature. He thinks the game on a higher level, sees the ice better and would be more responsible defensively.

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#35 michael
April 15 2012, 10:51AM
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Eager and Belanger? Are they in the Oilers longterm plans. I do not see a return of either play to edmonton next season.Square pegs in a round hole sorta thing.

Petrell. Do the Oilers make room for a player with more bang.

Horichuck? Is he a player we need?

Would you sign UFA Semin for 4-5 millon and play him with Yakupov and Hemsky? Keeping in mind that you would trade Gagne and MP for a package,player or another top 10 pick in this years draft.

Is Lander ready to assume a fulltime role on the Oilers? 4th line center?

Would you rather sign Ryan Smyth or Dustin Penner? Or trade for Chris Stewart?

Would you trade Peckham this off season?Or Potter if you sign Shultz and/or Garrison.

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#36 Racki
April 15 2012, 10:54AM
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This coaching change talk baffles me... although I'm pretty sure it baffled all the MacT supporters when there was talk of firing him (and really, we're top pick 3 years running, so how baffling can it be, I guess). But I just think for Renney he's got a good connection with our young kids and is getting a lot out of them. Our powerplay and PK have improved drastically.

I think there are definitely issues, but I'd say to just stay the course and be patient, which I definitely understand is hard for most Oilers fans to do given what we've been through.

I also think our GM has never been of the mindset of our team being a winner in the current year for the last few years, thus why he seems to leave the team hanging to dry when the injuries happen or when skids happen. The idea seems to be "if we win without me doing anything, great, but if we don't, well we're getting a good pick and rebuilding." Tambo needs to flick the switch to win-mode before any coach will do well here, if you ask me.

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#37 michael
April 15 2012, 10:55AM
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oilfan in yyc that would be an interesting stat to see if one could prove it. I would like to see what the numbers look like in the 1st year and then 3 years after. To see if its a short term or a longterm statistical truism.

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#38 justDOit
April 15 2012, 11:04AM
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michael wrote:

oilfan in yyc that would be an interesting stat to see if one could prove it. I would like to see what the numbers look like in the 1st year and then 3 years after. To see if its a short term or a longterm statistical truism.

Bouwmeester comes to mind. His last four seasons in Florida he scored just above 40 points (avg), and his 3 seasons in Calgary he's averaging around 25 points.

I think you could also chalk that up to a more defensive mindset of the Flames vs the Panthers.

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#39 Quinn the Eskimo
April 15 2012, 11:08AM
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"If you are watching todays NHL playoffs, you better come on the ice with some Beef, and everyone on the team better be ready for some " Rollerball Hockey" . Its mean , though and dirty out there. Todays Oiler line up would get eaten alive." And Oiler Al brings up my big question for next year: injuries. Watching the playoffs right now you would think there were actually no rules at all regarding the safety of players. (Not sure how the NHLPA puts up with this). If we take and then play Yakupov, the core of our team is extremely young, inexperienced and vulnerable to the despicable headhunting that goes on. I'm worried. So my big question is: do we have 3 or 4 potential Sidney Crosbie situations ahead. Will our superstars survive the murderous style of play in the bigs? shouldn't they condition themselves in junior or the AHL for a year or two longer with some trial call ups throughout the year to the show? All this time wallowing in the basement only to have our first picks concussed into uselessness. And if Hall moves to centre, will he be even more vulnerable to his own mad style of play?

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#40 PutzStew
April 15 2012, 11:10AM
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LOL.

If "Worn Out" Smyth and "No Chemistry" Hemsky are the best buyable options for a second line this team is in big trouble next year and I'd plan for another lottery pick.

I far less worried about weakness on Defence and the Goalies then I am with the Second and Third Lines.

Gagner actually has chemistry with Hall and Eberle. If there isn't a better option the use him for now.

Harti needs to be on the top six. Why? Because he actually has elements in his game that aren't found in the top six. Size and physicality. How many high talent, lighter weight guys can you have in your top six and still win? Pick 2-3 (Eberle, RNH,Yakupov) and start phasing the other ones (Gagner, Hemsky)

Also give PRV a chance already. I want to see if he can actually play in the top six with the other guys. Don't put him with Hemsky and Gagner again. That was a fail. I want to see him with Ebs, RNH or Hall. Does he fit? Does he not? Is he going to be a third liner? Seriously...what is this kids capable of.

I do like what you are thinking for the Defence but your top six is weak.

Top six, to start the year, should be Hall, Eberle, RNH, Harti, Gagners, and PVR. Lets see what happens. It sure isn't going to be any worst then having Smyth and Hemsky there.

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#41 Dutchscooter
April 15 2012, 11:12AM
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@michael

You can't be serious about Semin.....how many albatross contracts do you want this team to have? At least Hemsky historically puts up numbers.

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#42 67 penny
April 15 2012, 11:15AM
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Lexi wrote:

My answer to some of LT questions;

1. They take Yakupov, but I love that Murray is going to the Worlds. I've got to think seeing him play and practice with NHL players is a better way to evaluate a prospect than watching him lift weights and ride a bike. Murray definitely had the best last two months of the top 5 prospects.

2. At this point my guess would be Sutter with Krueger as co coaches.

3/4/5. I think they move Hall to C, trade Gagner for Gunnerson, trade Omark, second rd pick and D prospect not named Klefbom for Tyutin. I think Schultz goes to Tor as Burke is who drafted him.

8. Top lines: MP-RNH-Ebs. Yak-Hall-Hemsky

I'm sure they will not get Suter and if the bidding for Carle, Wideman, and Garrison goes above $5mill a yr they should bow out.

There couldn't be a better time to move Hall to Centre. Don't underestimate Hall's hockey IQ. By moving to centre he would be required to develop more discretion and responsibility in his game and still have ice to wind up and make room for his wingers. I think its a brilliant move that would require a year of development and not just a few games to see what happens. When they drafted Hall I was hoping this day would come. Noe package Gagner up and get us some skilled grit (ala Malone, Clowe, Boyle). Not to mention a hard run at J. Schultz. What a summer to be an Oiler Fan!

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#43 rondo
April 15 2012, 11:17AM
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How about this one?

Brent Sutter becomes the coach of the Oilers he decides to trade Sam Gagner for Brandon Sutter.

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#44 Rama Lama
April 15 2012, 11:22AM
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LT, your second line of Yakhemsmyth looks very weak on paper and I suspect would be even weaker on the ice. If Yakapov is a Bure type player, then putting him on with Hemsky and Smyth is asking for problems.

Firstly, Hemsky has never shown any chemistry with any living player that I know of. He like to carry the puck until he loses it, and this will frustrate Yakapov to no end. Smyth can move the puck to him but has no shot .......and his foot speed will mean he won't keep up to the play.

This second line will die a natural death and never be able to produce consistently.

The only option in my eyes is to trade Hemsky and Gagner and get a natural center man with size an speed.......maybe Galenuchuyk? Moving players fom their natural positions never seems to work long term so let's stop wasting time and get a natural centre.

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#45 dw
April 15 2012, 11:23AM
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I haven't heard much chatter regarding the potential of Vokoun hitting the UFA market this summer. If the Oil were to buy out Khabibulin's contract wouldn't Vokoun be a viable option?

Yakupov, Garrison, Justin Schultz and Vokoun to the roster in one summer without giving up any assets. Realistic, or am I dreaming?

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#46 Tony_Clifton
April 15 2012, 11:26AM
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LT, i think the question of adding some size, grit, and experience is just as important. any chance the oilers offer contracts to guys like tootoo, gaustad, or doan?

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#47 stevezie
April 15 2012, 11:28AM
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I don't see the appeal of trading Gagner for D, then we'd be (even) weak(er) at center. I guess it's a workable plan B (along with moving Hall to C), but surely plan A is use UFAs, and trading picks, prospects and Omark to get the D we need. That's plan A, right?

I could live with trading Gagner to get a better C, that would make sense to me. Or if not better, one that suits out needs more (our forwards are small and offensive, a little variety might be nice.)

As far as the pick goes, please don't trade our dollar for quaters, even if you can get four of them. Even if you can get five! We are short on dollars. I'm not scout but Murray looks like a fifty cent piece to me, though you can never tell with defenceman. Q.E.D

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#48 stevezie
April 15 2012, 11:29AM
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rondo wrote:

How about this one?

Brent Sutter becomes the coach of the Oilers he decides to trade Sam Gagner for Brandon Sutter.

See, that makes perfect sense. For both teams (Jeff Marek is convinced Gagner is perfect for Staal).

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#49 Sliderule
April 15 2012, 11:35AM
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It was after the mid season GM meeting that you saw the refs letting everything go.Coincidence!I think not.

Now that we are into the playoffs the players having figured it out and are trying to injure players so that they are out of series or afraid for their life.Dont kid yourself about the word life because it's close to that.

It appears that the players are targeting any player that is decent whether big or small so it doesn't matter about the size.The head of a big man is just as vulnerable as a small man.

It looks like this is the way the NHL likes it so the OIL need to load up a fourth line of goons and cheap shot artists.Eager should have been OK for that but he must have thought he was signed for top nine because he never delivered.

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