IN SEARCH OF Keyser Söze

Lowetide
April 08 2012 09:56AM

Ask an Oiler fan what the club needs to improve and the answers vary wildly. However, a "top 4D" and a "big, tough forward to play with the skilled kids" are at the top of the list. We've talked at length about the defenseman, but what of this big forward, this Frankenstein, this Keyser Söze?

The Oilers spent many picks and a lot of at-bats on Coke Machines last decade. I define a coke machine as any player with tremendous size, toughness, grit and courage but lacking in actual ability to play the game. J-F Jacques is a coke machine, Milan Lucic is not.

Do the Oilers need such a player, a Milan Lucic? How many are there?

OVER A MORNING CUP OF COFFEE

How many NHL forwards score 60 points and have 80 pims? How many of those are over 6.02 and 205 pounds? Needle in a haystack, baby.

  1. James Neal 6.02, 208 81 points and 87 pims
  2. Scott Hartnell 6.02, 210 67 points and 136 pims
  3. Milan Lucic 6,04, 220 61 points and 135 pims
  4. Corey Perry 6.03, 212 60 points 127 pims

Incredible, isn't it? We could expand the list--Iginla wasn't as grumpy as usual and Malkin missed by just a little--but the point here is that the player we envision Edmonton acquiring--big, strong, ugly mule, jackhammer hitter, skilled sniper, vicious attack dog--is more rare in actual fact than a shutdown defender or a 30 goal man.

 

ARE THERE ANY OILERS CLOSE TO THOSE NUMBERS?

Ryan Smyth is 6.02, 192 and delivered 46 points and 82 pims at 35. If he was 23, all would be right with the world. So, let's move beyond the NHL: are there any minor leaguers or junior players in the system who are 6.02, 205 and deliver those kinds of numbers in their current league?

  1.  

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

Probably best to get 23 actual NHL players. The Oilers need to find men who can run with Hall, Ebs and RNH as players and putting another JFJ up there isn't going to help anyone.

Teemu Hartikainen remains the best in house option, but he's not at a level where the Oilers can say with authority he'll become a mainstay; and he's never going to be a PF with 100 pims.

Best to find better players, then worry about their shapes and sizes.My guess is that by that time the kids will be able to take care of themselves and the size of the roster will be less of an issue.

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Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at lowetide.ca. He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on TSN 1260.
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#51 SteadyEd
April 08 2012, 01:31PM
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How many 1A contracts can an NHL team conceivably carry these days? Because we already have 3 on the horizon I think this conversation is bang on. The focus going forward has to be to plug holes with role players. In my opinion we have 4 of our top 6 with only one that brings a total game. The other 2 spots should be reserved for players with push-back. IMO PRV has everything that it takes to be a 3LW and will excel at it. Does Lander have the guts to be a 3C? If so 3RW will need a push back player too. 3 balanced lines should be the goal. The forth line is for player development and match-ups (from a pool of 5 pick 3 according to health and opposition). Right?

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#53 SteadyEd
April 08 2012, 01:59PM
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I'd overpay for Doan and Whitney for 2 years each. L1 & 2 complete. Instant credibility. Good bridge till the new rink opens and our D is ready.

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#54 Semenko and Troy
April 08 2012, 02:04PM
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I like to think of players in pairs, along the lines of Gretzky-Kurri, or Messier-Anderson, and Horcoff-Smyth, only because it is so rare to find an entire line combination that can work well together over a long period of time. Once those are in place, then the complementary pieces needed become more evident.

For the Oilers, if they wind up drafting second and take the BPA (as I’ve heard Stu MacGregor say they will) then their duo’s moving forward next year should be:

RNH-Eberle

Grigorenko-Hall

Lander-MPS

Horcoff-Smyth

Complement them with players we already have who should stay (Harski, Hemsky) and look for upgrades on the others.

Also, be suspicious of any agent of a veteran player jettisoned by another team who contacts the Oilers to say their client is targeting the Oilers as a place they would love to play. (See Ben Eager)

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#55 Oilswell
April 08 2012, 02:07PM
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@Lowetide

@LT, Brownlee Definitely both 60 points and a bruiser is a tough filter to get through. Personally, I think the Oilers could use another 60 point player more than a bruiser, but I guess that's me.

So lets expand the scope. There's no point in emulating other loser clubs, so let us consider the top 8 successful clubs (points). And since we're looking for a regular player rather than PP player (where physicality is far less critical), lets consider the top 6 even strength minute munchers for those 8 teams (30+ games).

The list (with even strength points per game) are: Canucks Sedin (.66), Sedin (.66), Burrows (.54), Raymond (.33), Higgins (.48), Booth (.35)

Rangers Richards (.51), Gaborik (.67), Callahan (.45), Stepan (.43), Hagelin (.56), Dubinsky (.38)

Blues Backes (.41), Oshie (.45), Steen (.53), Perron (.53), Berglund (.39), Stewart (.33)

Penguins Malkin (1.0), Staal (.61), Neal (.64), Kunitz (.52), Dupuis (.67), Kennedy (.50)

Predators Fisher (.50), Erat (.55), Legwand (.42), Kostitsyn (.44), Wilson (.34), Spaling (.27)

Flyers Giroux (.69), Hartnell (.54), Briere (.46), Jagr (.47), Simmonds (.40), Voracek (.49)

Bruins Bergeron (.58), Krejci (.65), Lucic (.62), Seguin (.64), Marchand (.61), Kelly (.44)

Red Wings Zetterberg (.65), Datsyuk (.63), Filppula (.67), Franzen (.56), Bertuzzi (.48), Hudler (.49)

48 players, most of them batting north of .40, and the ones less than that seem to be big hitters. So a reasonable filter is a guy that hits and is in the .40 esp/g range. There probably are quite of few of them.

A better question is whether top teams need guys who bring a lot of toughness and hitting, or whether being, you know, a good player is enough. Decide for yourself but it seems to me to be an awful lot of room at the top for teams that don't dress waves of truculence and boardwork in the top 6, but rather get their record primarily on the backs of good even strength players.

For the sake of comparison, here are Oilers numbers: Hemsky (.39), Hall (.52), Gagner (.47), Nuge (.47), Smyth (.46), Eberle (.72). Omark, the previous season, was .37. Hartikainen in limited time is .27, .29 this season.

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#56 Yonsy
April 08 2012, 02:08PM
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@Jeff

FYI

11' RNH (1st overall). 10' Hall (1st overall) 09' MPS (10th overall) 08' Eberle (22nd overall)

Eberle is a gem from the spot he was selected. The team took their time with him and didnt bring him along to fast.

Oiler amatuer scouting has been very good since Stu Macgregor or MBS took over from Prendergast. Early indications are that he and his team have found some gems in the later rounds eg. Gernat.

I agree with you about Tambo. Its time to move on to the GM that will bring us to glory.

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#57 Romulus' Apotheosis
April 08 2012, 02:12PM
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Lowetide wrote:

Agreed. I think the Oilers may end up parking some one way NHL contracts in the minors next season.

can I get a refresher on "one-way" contracts? what does that mean again?

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#58 oilersfan2k10
April 08 2012, 02:23PM
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Could this forsberg be this years version of Gabby Landeskog?

I am all for adding a tough top six pf that can score 40 plus points, too bad the oilers missed out on Zack Kassian, if Hodgson got it done Gagner couldve got him as well..while he may cap out at 40pts per season in a year or two I think he wouldve been a perfect fit, and he and Hall played together in Jr. Is there another Kassian type in this years draft or in college or free agency?

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#59 SteadyEd
April 08 2012, 02:25PM
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@Romulus' Apotheosis

I believe in this context it means the actors mentioned don't fit their roles. Thus they would be freed of their obligations here if another situation presented itself.

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#60 Reg Dunlop
April 08 2012, 02:26PM
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I like the concept of team toughness. Perhaps more of it could come from the backend. Since big,skilled, mean forwards are rare and will cost your first born to acquire, why not a couple Robyn Regher types? And I like the idea of a 3rd or 4th line with a jerk like Clutterbuck on it. A little more nastiness next year, please. We have been gracious hosts too long.

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#61 Walter Sobchak
April 08 2012, 02:32PM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

can I get a refresher on "one-way" contracts? what does that mean again?

A one way contract is a paid/contract NHL salary, meaning even if you put said player in the minors your still paying him a one way contract or the full amount.

A two way contract is once you get into the NHL your paid your contract sum of say 800K where as if you return to AHL your paid 80K (example only)

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#62 Walter Sobchak
April 08 2012, 02:34PM
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We could go out and get a player like Glencross...............never mind.

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#63 Oilers89
April 08 2012, 02:36PM
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I agree that the oilers need a player like this. I would suggest Boone Jenner, although he is in now way proven in the NHL and he isn't huge. He does play a physical, high energy game. He was maybe the second most noticeable player on the world juniors this year as he brought both physicality and a surprising amount of skill. Boone looks like the exact kind of player that anyone would want on their top two lines who can both play hockey and play physical. He is a center which is goofy, but he could probably play wing I am guessing. Just a suggestion.

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#64 Romulus' Apotheosis
April 08 2012, 02:36PM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

A one way contract is a paid/contract NHL salary, meaning even if you put said player in the minors your still paying him a one way contract or the full amount.

A two way contract is once you get into the NHL your paid your contract sum of say 800K where as if you return to AHL your paid 80K (example only)

Thanks!!

I knew it was something like that.

We'd still have to clear waivers on all these guys though... I'm not sure how easy that might be. But, I'd be happy to throw Katz's money away (that's the only real cost here) to improve the team.

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#65 turnover
April 08 2012, 02:45PM
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VK63 wrote:

Theo Peckham as winger?

I've thought about that also. But I don't think he has any hockey skills whatsoever. So he'd fit right in with some of them.

But he would try. Something i haven't seen much of in this town over the last few years.

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#66 Walter Sobchak
April 08 2012, 02:47PM
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@Romulus' Apotheosis

No problem Rom,

Ya I never put in clearing waivers and re-entry waivers and such but your right and the fact the Oilers can take pride in yet another couple great signings.

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#67 Wanyes bastard child
April 08 2012, 03:44PM
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@Peeps

I like boobs :)

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#68 stevezie
April 08 2012, 03:54PM
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@Romulus' Apotheosis

Sometimes waivers are a team's best friend. If it came to the point where we wanted to stash Eager or Belanger in the minors, I'd think we'd be happy if someone else took him. I don't think we'd have a problem trading Belanger, I don't know about Eager.

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#69 PaperDesigner
April 08 2012, 04:20PM
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I think we need to stop worrying about the forwards. The group is fine, especially if they don't dump Omark for peanuts, and have fair competition for spots up front (they won't).

I think they actually could use two defenceman. They need a player that can play in the top pairing, a guy who can fit the 4/5 role, and then bump Sutton down to the 7th or 8th guy.

And a goaltender, too, because Khabibulin isn't getting you anywhere. A younger guy who can push Dubnyk would be nice.

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#70 Oilers89
April 08 2012, 08:09PM
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PaperDesigner wrote:

I think we need to stop worrying about the forwards. The group is fine, especially if they don't dump Omark for peanuts, and have fair competition for spots up front (they won't).

I think they actually could use two defenceman. They need a player that can play in the top pairing, a guy who can fit the 4/5 role, and then bump Sutton down to the 7th or 8th guy.

And a goaltender, too, because Khabibulin isn't getting you anywhere. A younger guy who can push Dubnyk would be nice.

I wouldn't mind a speedy winger for the left side of whichever line doesn't have Hall. However, like you pointed out we could probably do that from within. Pajaarvi should be a mainstay on whichever line does not include Hall IMO. He looked more aggressive and overall better upon his last call up. I believe if he is put in that position without being thrown down to another line after one game off the score sheet, then he will put up enough points to play in the top six and be defensively responsible.

On Omark: I agree that he is gone, but I do not know why. When he was placed on a line with horcoff and smyth the line seemed to be a scoring threat. It isn't like he is being paid a lot and they can't just keep him on the third line and see what happens.

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#71 Reg Dunlop
April 08 2012, 08:49PM
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How about some operant conditioning for MPS, a la Clockwork Orange? Eyes pinned open while video of Peter Forsberg or Borje Salming played? What happened to the days when no young man would allow someone older to dictate to them without pushing back?

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#72 Tim in Kelowna
April 08 2012, 08:53PM
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Either Tambellini has no idea what he is doing, or he is about to parlay some of our assets for a legit #1 Dman. If this GM only signs a bunch of bandaid contracts this summer I will have lost all faith in this management group. Time to grow a pair!

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#73 Oilcan
April 08 2012, 09:57PM
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A couple things:

Why does everyone want to ship out MPS? Yes he struggled this year but he had a great rookie year, I see him at worst as a solid 3rd line LW why is that a bad thing?

Everyone who keeps saying dump belanger, horcoff, whitney, peckham, mark, eager, jones...who would you replace them with? And better yet what NHL team would trade anything to get them?

And whats with all this talk about switching guys positions around, Peckham to winger and MPS to defence, even Hall to centre. They made it to the NHL at their positions what makes you think they would be better at other ones, this isn't pee wee.

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#74 Oilcan
April 08 2012, 10:07PM
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Also with people saying Eberle was a no brainer draft pick, I am very impressed with your qualifications as a scout if a 22nd overall draft pick was a no brainer you are a genius and I am looking forward to seeing your work at ISS when they hire you.

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#75 Tim in Kelowna
April 08 2012, 10:09PM
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@Oilcan

I can answer one part of one of your questions. If we could somehow ink Stolly in the offseason, we could ship Belanger out for a 3rd or 4th rounder. Stolly has the same faceoff prowess (could teach nuge and gags a thing or two) and he can actually play hockey.

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