REALISTIC CHANGES

Jason Gregor
May 30 2012 09:10AM

Paging all the arm-chair GMs, let me know what you think needs to happen for the Oilers to actually get back to the playoffs.

For the past few months I've read some interesting comments, articles and tweets regarding the future of the Oilers.

The opinions range from pie-in-the-sky trade offers consisting of trading Oiler spare parts for a legit top-four D-man, to a new coach will solve the problems, to until we get a new GM it won't matter, to stay the course the kids will be fine in a few years.

The great part is other than the unrealistic trade offers, we don't know if the other moves would improve this franchise.

It's the best part about being a fan of sports. We can debate about a player, coach or GM's value and many will rank them differently; excluding the rare exception like the Oilers blew it trading down in 2003 and taking Marc Pouliot.

June is right around the corner and some decisions made next month will have a huge impact on the future of the Oilers.

They will hire a new coach and they have the opportunity to draft another potential cornerstone of their franchise.

The Nation has been rather serious lately, so today let's change it up and see if any of you can concoct the perfect elixir to ensure that a winning tradition returns to the Oilers.

  1. Who would you hire as head coach and why?
  2. What would you do with the first pick? Trade it, or pick _____ 1st overall.
  3. You can only make three roster moves. Trades, free agent signing or promoting AHL players. What are your three moves?
  4. And just for fun, who will be the alternate captains next year.

Fire away.

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#101 Saytalk
May 30 2012, 08:54PM
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The perfect elixir to ensure that a winning tradition returns to the Oilers? Changing one coach and a few roster spots does not achieve this when there is no direction, no end goal, no clue of how to build a team besides collecting the best assortment of random players that circumstances can provide.

Before 1. Hiring a coach, I would do the following:

0.a. Increase the level of professionalism and diligence throughout the front office, which means I would replace Ricky Olcyzk (the guy who blew the Paajarvi call-up) with a former GM with a championship record that can advise me on how to build a TEAM and not just collect players. I may be a GM in this fantasy, but I am still a rookie GM. 0.b. Further to 0.a., I would replace the entire pro scouting staff. It's an old boys club that hasn't added any value in the past 4 years. I understand that the good free agents don't want to sign here, but the Barker and Belanger signings do not reflect well on the pro scouts. 0.c. Hire a quality control specialist to monitor team activities and report back to me and the coach on a weekly basis. I know this isn't a factory, but this is a business of professionals and the long list of freak injuries that have occurred over the past 3 years has to stop. The players are too sloppy in how they approach all of the little things and some quality control would add value here.

1. Mike Keenan. The veterans are too LAZY and the youngsters are too SOFT (soft to the fourth power!). I want a coach that promotes a culture of hard work and grit to the team.

2. Draft Yakupov. If you have a chance at an elite talent at any position, you take the chance. You don't avoid elite players because you're stocked at that position; you build around elite players as your foundation. The team can be rebalanced afterwards.

3. Let's be realistic, the good free agents won't sign here until we place better than 29th, and Hemsky's cap hit means he has little trade value, so... 3.a. Trade Gagner (too soft), spare parts (Belanger, Peckham, Omark, take your pick), a 4th round pick and a conditional 2nd round pick for Jordan Staal (he wants a bigger role). The 2nd rounder is provided if Staal signs an extension (he's a UFA after 2012-13). Pitt needs the cap space and don't want to lose Staal for nothing so the deal is feasible. If not, I'd throw in a low-grade prospect (Teubert or Lander). 3.b. Trade Paajarvi (super soft and his value will drop fast when he becomes waiver eligible), spare parts (and the other low-grade prospect from 3.a. if needed) for Andrej Meszaros and a draft pick. Yeah, not the greatest deal but realistically, we're not getting a great defenceman without giving up a top-6 forward. 3.c. Promote Hartakainen from the AHL. The coach could turn him into another Stephane Matteau (i.e. solid grinder with size on the 3rd line that could do some spot duty in the top 6).

4. Alternate captains would be Staal and Nick Schultz. Staal because he knows more about winning than anyone else on the team and Schultz because you need at least one D to wear a C/A, he's highly knowledgeable on how to play his position and this guy sets a great example in how he plays his role.

5. To address my own pet peeve, I would get this team's jerseys on a traditional numbering system. If you're not Gretzky then the high jersey number screams of primadonna. It's time to transition the Oilers from a collection of individuals to a united team.

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#102 Chris.
May 30 2012, 08:58PM
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I'd have kept Renny, for continuity, and let's face it: there are no really sure fire upgrades available right now.

Draft Nail.

Trade a nice conditional pick to Annaheim for Shultz's negotiating rights. Today. Do it now!

Move Belanger out... And any other outsiders/ malcontents in the room. The best bet for real improvement is when the sum of the whole is greater than the individual parts.(I'm also looking at you Ryan Smyth: accept your role)

Trade for a Chris Stewart type forward.

Sign a Matt Carle type UFA defenceman in the 3-4 Million range to a 3 year deal. Look at attitude/ personality and the willingness to mentor as the deciding factor.

I wonder if RNH will eventually be the best choice for Captain...

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#103 Walter Sobchak
May 30 2012, 09:09PM
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Here’s my take at what the Oilers should do.

1. My head coach would be Ralph Krueger - Reason: biggest reason being continuity and familiarity with most of the players. Has won big games as a coach.

2. What I would do with the first pick. – Yakupov - Reason: Best player hands down.

* Unless a three way deal with CBJ –TML and the Oilers involving the Oilers fist pick could be made to secure another top 5 pick while keeping Yakupov *

The three roster move’s I would make.

1. I would trade for Ryane Clowe.

Reason: LW-Big, aggressive, mean, power forward with decent hands and point producer.

Possible candidates for trade would be: Petry- Hemsky- Gagner – Paajarvi – Whitney

2. Plan A-Make an offer to J. Schultz…..Plan B- Make an offer to B. Jackman… Plan C – Make an offer to J. Garrison…Plan D- Make an offer to D.Wideman.

* If a UFA offer cannot be procured then last resort would include trading for a defenseman. *

Reasons: UFA’s do not require taking an established player off your roster unless you have to trade for a defenseman.

3. Send an UFA offer to both Konopka & Tootoo.

Reason: both players play tough. The Oilers are a notoriously soft team, both players hit and finish there checks and both will engage instead of react.

Konopka - can both play and fight as evidence of his 200 PM’s. Konopka is an idiot savant in the face off circle and is a decent penalty killer. Tootoo - IMO is as good of player as Ryan Jones is. Yes, Jones can be used on the PK but Jones rarely hits or finish’s a check and scares absolutely no one.

Tootoo will hit you, plays on the edge and every player on the ice knows Tootoo is on the ice! I’m not saying Tootoo is a third liner but he has almost the exact same points as Jones playing far less.

Player’s replace- Belanger and Petrell….. Reason: serious upgrade in the meat and potato area.

After Horcoff's comments about him checking out after Jan. strip him of the C and make it Halls team. RNH and Eberle as A with Smyth

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#104 Pouzar99
May 30 2012, 11:51PM
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1. I would not have dropped Renney. His primary job was bringing the kids along and he was doing a superb job of that. He is, however, gone and not coming back. Sometimes a fan must admit their knowledge is limited. I like Kreuger but I do not have locker room sources and it is hard to evaluate as assistant coach without a designated portfolio, but I am very impressed by his work with the Swiss national team and his attention to detail. I am not against Brent Sutter either. He is kind of an old fashioned coach and got the most out of a very mediocre Flames team. 2. Yakupov. Any other move would be idiotic. 3. A) Go full out for Justin Schultz. He is not the Messiah but is young, talented and will fill an important hole. B)Try and sign a top 4 FA such as Garrison. Scotty Bowman wouldn't get the Oilers into the playoffs with 3 NHL defenders, plus Whitney if he is healthy. C) Add muscle at forward in the form of Tootoo, Prust or Knopka. D) If they are ready Paajarvi and Hartakainen should both stay and play.

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#105 Oiler Al
May 30 2012, 11:59PM
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1. Coach: Brian Sutter . Can work with young players at the same time would have no nonsense approach with the Vets. Sutter better than , Crawford, Maurice, Hartley, etc. For Asstn, pick= Cooper, Eakin, or Nelson.

2. PLan A. Trade 1st pick and 2nd. rd. [2012] for Torontos 5th[2012] and Jake Gardiner.I think if you bag Gardiner, you can then get Schultz. Solve a lot of Defense problems. Gagner and prospect to Pitts. for Staal. If Staal resigns with Oilers add 2013 pick. Belanger and Eager to Washington for Troy Brower.Might need to include a prospect ie: Toubert etc. Sign/find skilled tough player with size. Plan B.Draft Yakapov Trade Hemsky to Pitts. for Staal Sign: Garrison Jones and prospect to Wash. for Troy Brower. I also like the Ryan Clowe idea. Captain: Hall.

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#106 mayorpoop
May 31 2012, 05:50AM
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1. coach - Eakin's or Cooper. i wouldn't hate the addition of Sutter. i think Nelson is a very good coach whom i like but, like, i'm not sure if i really like him. yet. he'll get his due, deservedly.

2. BPA - Yakupov. i'm still not sure why this is such a hard concept to grasp.

3. Sign Matt Carle, trade Belanger (for a pick) and bring up Lander, and give MPS a staring role.

4. Horcoff captain (yuck) still and HALL and EBERLE as alternates.

i'd also like to see Tortarella experience humility, Bettman be turfed and David Staples stop writing about the greatness of Penner. please.

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#107 Beer League Hero
May 31 2012, 05:57AM
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1.Who would you hire as head coach and why?

- I'd pick a young head coach like dallas eakins or Jon Cooper and surround him with amazing assistants. Think New Jersey. I wouldn't promote krueger because he's really chum-chum with the players and that doesn't usually translate well when moving up to head coach but i'd keep him on as assistant. I'd also consider the following asst. coaches to add to the staff, Craig Ramsay, Doug Weight, or maybe Gerrard Gallant.

2.What would you do with the first pick? Trade it, or pick _____ 1st overall.

- Yakupov all the way. There's nothing like having 2 lines you can call your 1st line.

3.You can only make three roster moves. Trades, free agent signing or promoting AHL players. What are your three moves?

- I'm of the opinion that the Oilers could use a big playmaking no.2 center. I'd deal Gagner,omark,hemsky, and a 3rd rounder to San Jose for Joe Thornton and dan boyle . Excellent veteran presence. Great Mentors for the young players and two of the best passers in the NHL. A PRV-Thornton-Yakupov line could be deadly. Dan boyle would be a #1 d-man for us. lots of salary but they're experience is priceless. San Jose needs scoring on the wings and are in need of a rebuild.

my second move would be to sign paul gaustad and my 3rd move would be to promote MPS. Horcoff would go down to the 4th line and penalty kill. gaustad would be responsible for important faceoffs and making sure the kids stay safe. i'm not sure any team would like to come up on an Eager-Gaustad-Jones line.

4.And just for fun, who will be the alternate captains next year.

- Horcoff can be the captain, thornton and boyle the asst. captains.

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#108 Spin2WinLenny
May 31 2012, 07:30AM
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1. Keep Tom Renny.

2. Draft Yak.

3. I know it's technically not a roster move, but move as many of this years draft picks as it takes in order to land another first rounder. With the number of contracts the oilers already have we wouldn't miss a year with a few less and have a better chance of landing an actual NHL player. Make sure Petrell is resigned, try to sign or get RFA Jim Slater from the Jets to help our depth.

4. I'm giving Eberle A, Hall A and Nick Shultz A. Eventually Hall or Eberle will recieve full time C.

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#109 15w40
May 31 2012, 07:33AM
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1) Brent Sutter

2) Draft Yakupov

3) Trade Sam Gagner & a 3rd Round Pick (if necessary) for Martin Hanzal

Trade MPS, Ryan Whitney and Ben Eager to the Leafs for Cody Franzon and Luke Schenn

Trade Omark for the rights to negotiate with Justin Schultz

Promote Hartakainen

Sign Tootoo as a UFA

The "C" stays where it is for now "A"s for Smid and Smyth at home "A"s for Hemsky and Hall on the road

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#110 nuge2nail
May 31 2012, 10:27AM
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#107 Beer League Hero - Trading for JOE THORTON was possibly the best idea i heard on here. San Jose is going to make changes, getting younger makes logical sense for them. Sam Gagner-Linus Omark-Ales Hemsky and Anaheims Second Rounder this year should get the job done. A big #2 center to mentor and take the pressure off the Big four(Hopkins), and possibly feed Paarajvi 6/7 easy goals in a season would do wonders for all the kids careers. This move would really pay off in the short run, and long run. Hall-Hopkins-Yakupov Paarajvi-Thorton-Eberle Smyth-Horcoff-Jones Eager-Konopka-Petrell|||||||||||

First PP: Hopkins|Hall|Eberle| Second PP: Smyth|Thorton|Yakupov

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#111 tookes_ags
May 31 2012, 12:08PM
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@Saytalk

I would look at contracting local hockey hall of fame talents from Edmonton for coaching. Then all other items would fall into play.

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#112 rockinghockey
May 31 2012, 01:53PM
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Pitt is not going to take all that garbage for Staal, how terrible.

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#113 Neverforgetneversurrender
May 31 2012, 03:56PM
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1. Todd nelson and Marc Crawford are equal. Todd works well with the kids and has great respect and a good system in OKC. Marc Crawford on the other hand has stanley cup experiance and he was highly considered last time before we hired Pat. Also if you listen to his input on The Panel its usually good stuff.

2. Draft Ryan Murray. Hes ready to play against adults. Did you see him play against some of the best at the WHC? He held his own. I would trade down with montreal for the third and hope to god Columbus takes Grigorenko (I think they will). but anyways 1st overall for 3rd and if you cant squeeze Nathan Beaulieu (32nd if im not mistaken in THN's prospect rankings) get Jarred Tinordi. Towering 6-7 blueliner who also placed in THN's top 50 and won the OHL playoffs with London.

3. Trade Horcoff, Omark and either the 2013 or 2014 1st for the rights to Shea Weber and a token prospect and sign him for 6.5. 2nd move is to call up teemu hartakianen and keep him thick and thin for the year, if we have Todd Nelson hes familiar with the system and I think can play solid third and maybe later even 2nd line minutes. 3rd is to sign the flyers free agent Dman Matt Carle or somthing, great 3 or average/below average 2 defensman.

4. If my moves work and Horcs is gone toss up between hallsy or smitty and Weber an a. if not Hallsy Smitty and Hemmer.

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#114 Murf
May 31 2012, 04:00PM
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1. I'd bring in a former player, maybe Adam Oates or Dennis Savard along with some strong technical assistants. I just think players relate/respect/play harder for someone who has been in their position.

2. I would draft Yakapov, assuming he really is the best player. If he and Galchenyk are the same, take the centre.

3. A) Move Hall to centre. He has the tools to play any position on the ice, and making this one move solves a lot of problems. B) Sign Justin Schultz. Absolutely perfect fit with this team and doesn't cost any assets - no brainer if you can pull it off. C) I'm a big Gagner fan. He has good offensive instincts and I love his leadership aptitude. But, he would fit better with another organization. I would trade Gagner and #31 overall to Phoenix for Brandon Gormley. I think that's a win-win for both teams. Lineup would then be: PVR RNH Eberle Yak Hall Hemsky Smyth Horc Jones Eager Belanger Harki

Whitney Petry J Schultz Smid N Schultz Gormley Sutton

4. A's would be Hall, Eberle, Whitney and N Schultz

I'd welcome any comments.

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#115 Murf
May 31 2012, 04:29PM
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@Beer League Hero

I don't see any way SJ does this deal for Thornton, let alone Thornton AND Boyle. I agree getting Jumbo Joe would be a great move, but it would be more like Gagner, Hemsky and Petry for Thornton alone. Omark is equivalent to a 4th rounder..please keep that in mind when including him in trade proposals.

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#116 Ontarioil
May 31 2012, 06:35PM
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I'd bring in Eakins as coach, I think he did more with less than todd nelson this year and has the ability to light and fire and inspire players, something some players mentioned renny lacked. I'd also keep Kruger as assitant if possible

You trade the 1st and a D (Teubert or less) to Montreal for the 3rd and Josh Gorges and then you draft Murray or Galchenyk

Trade Omark and/or Peckham to the Ducks to help them save face for the rights to Shultz and a 3rd

Trade Sam Gagner to Washington for Brooks Laich and a 4rd

Trade Ryan Jones for Josh Harding

Alternate Captains are Hall, Ebs, Smyth and Whitney

Are those trades reasonable?

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#117 Saytalk
May 31 2012, 09:18PM
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I agree we are trying to be realistic here. Playoff teams aren't going to just blow things up and dump their core players for little in return (see Thornton/Boyle, Weber and Suter trades discussed).

That's why I think Jordan Staal is more realistic. He's the third line center on Pitt and wants to play in a top-6, so there's some desire on his part to leave to play a bigger role elsewhere. Pitt needs to ease their cap pressure so they are more willing to trade down (give up quality for quantity) than most other teams. Staal has one year left on his contract until UFA, so he'll be cheaper to acquire via trade than a player signed for 3-4 years.

As for what we would pay, Gagner has some value going the other way but if Pitt has no interest in him (which is a reasonable possibility) then the alternative would be to offer a package of draft picks and prospects among Paajarvi, Lander, Omark, Teubert, Musil, or Marancin. There's likely something in the mix that would interest Pitt and for the reasons mentioned above I don't think the price would be exhorbitant.

I think that's more realistic than having any of this year's top free agents choosing to play on a 29th place team or having San Jose or Nashville gift their core players to us.

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#118 Jason
June 01 2012, 02:21PM
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1. I have to be honest, there's not a lot of coaches that are available that seem like huge upgrades on Renney, in my opinion. I'd welcome Craig MacTavish back, but that's not going to happen. Dallas Eakins is doing good things in Toronto, so he might be at the top of my list.

2. Nail Yakupov. This is an easy choice.

3.a. Trade for Brandon Dubinsky (I'd propose a package of Magnus Paajarvi and Theo Peckham and go from there).

3.b. Acquire a defenseman either through free agency (Suter, J.Schultz, Carle, Wideman, Jackman, Colaiacovo) or trade (Nikitin, Sekera, Tyutin, Fayne, Kulikov).

3.c. Buyout Shawn Horcoff if there is an amnesty clause in the CBA. Horcoff has value to this club, but that 5 million in cap space can go much, MUCH further in addressing club needs over the next handful of years.

4. Hall and Smyth (Home). Hemsky and Smid (Road).

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