The Edmonton Oilers and the window to win

Jonathan Willis
June 19 2012 01:16PM

The last few days have seen an explosion of trade rumours (as well as some actual moves) and the expectation is that the Edmonton Oilers will be very busy over the next two weeks. Once again, they enter the NHL Entry Draft with a first overall pick, and once again the next two weeks project as critical in the long-term future of the franchise.

On thing that Steve Tambellini and the rest of the Oilers’ brain-trust should keep in mind throughout this period is the Oilers’ window to win.

Two trades stand out to me over the last few years, trades where the Oilers got really good value but still didn’t clearly win the day. We talked about the Chris Pronger trade late last month, and the collection of assets the Oilers walked away from that deal with was impressive. In terms of value, the Oilers got a lot of it from the Ducks. The Dustin Penner trade is a similar story, though to a lesser extent.

When Steve Tambellini dealt Dustin Penner at the 2011 trade deadline, he got fair value in return. He got the first round pick that turned into Oscar Klefbom, defenseive prospect Colten Teubert, as well as the third round pick in this year’s draft (note: that third-round pick would have been a second-round selection had the Kings won the Stanley Cup in 2011, but because they won in 2012 it remains a third rounder).

That’s a fair package in exchange for Penner, in terms of value. The only problem with a deal like that is what it means for a team’s window to win – the package Edmonton received had no major impact in 2010-11, no major impact in 2011-12 (Teubert played some games in the NHL but was clearly overmatched) and is unlikely to have a major impact in 2012-13. So, the value will eventually be good but the immediate impact is minimal.

That’s why rebuilding teams make those sorts of trades: pain now in exchange for benefit later.

As a team exits the teardown phase of a conventional NHL rebuild, that’s a harder trade to make, for a few reasons. The first is that the rebuilding club is now trying to take strides forward – a team that perpetually trades assets now for assets later never gets anywhere, and all rebuilds need to have a timeframe for transitioning from a terrible team to a competitive team.

The second reason is that the assets accumulated at the start of the rebuilding window start getting a) expensive and b) antsy for wins. The Oilers have one more season in which Jordan Eberle and Taylor Hall will be in their entry-level deals. The year after that, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will be on his second contract. A team doesn’t need their best players to be on entry-level deals, but it makes it easier to put a winner together – Chicago, for example, won five playoff series in the last two years of Kane and Toews' entry-level deals. They haven’t won a playoff series since those players started getting paid full value, in no small part because they have had to jettison strong supporting pieces like Dustin Byfuglien, Andrew Ladd, Brian Campbell and Antti Niemi.

The Oilers have a short period of time to make the jump from rebuilding to being competitive. At this point it seems likely that they won’t make the playoffs during the Hall and Eberle entry-level contracts; they need to improve greatly to manage a playoff appearance during the Nugent-Hopkins deal.

It is of course worth remembering that these sorts of teams can rise in a hurry if things are done right – Chicago went from missing the playoffs in 2007-08 to losing in the conference finals in 2008-09 to winning it all in 2009-10; Pittsburgh went from 58 points in 2005-06 to 105 points in 2006-07 to the Finals in 2007-08 to a Cup win in 2008-09. The talent available at the top of the draft can trigger a rapid and dramatic turnaround.

To manage such a turnaround, however, teams need to stop tearing down and start building up.

A case in point is the current Sam Gagner rumour making the rounds. According to the rumour, the Carolina Hurricanes would trade Edmonton the eighth overall pick straight across for Gagner.

That eighth overall pick is a valuable piece; a piece I would argue represents fair value for Gagner. Additionally, it would allow the Oilers to pick Nail Yakupov at the top of the draft and supplement him with either a strong centre (perhaps Mikahial Grigorenko) or to land one of the draft’s top defenders – not Ryan Murray, but a Reinhart or a Dumba or a Rielly or a Trouba. The appeal to that deal is obvious.

The problem is what it does to the Oilers’ window to win. For all the criticism he gets, right now Sam Gagner is a very useful centre of a secondary scoring line. He contributes at a high level in the NHL right now – and his two-way game has improved leaps and bounds since he entered the league after being the sixth overall selection the summer before. If Grigorenko were to fall to eighth and the Oilers made that trade, maybe the impact isn’t that bad, but if the Oilers opt to address their defense how long is it until that defender contributes?

The point is that somewhere along the line, the Oilers have to shift their primary focus from the future to the present. I’d argue the time to do that is now.

This week by Jonathan Willis

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, 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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#51 DSF
June 19 2012, 02:22PM
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Oh, how different things would be if the Oilers had drafted smarter

Voracek

Eberle

Kulikov

Seguin

Landeskog

Yakupov

Fantastic centre depth, three dynamic wingers and a young stud defenseman.

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#52 K-UGER Industrial Smoothing
June 19 2012, 02:31PM
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I think its also worth noting that both Crosby and Malkin were on their second contracts when Pittsburgh won their cup in 2009, and Jordan Staal was in the last year of his deal. If we are making comparisons, the Oilers still are fine- I know you aren't saying its time to flip the panic switch, but it was in the first year of both Malkin and Crosby's new deals (Hall and Ebs), and Staal (Nuge) who was in the last of his entry level deal. (these all represent relative years in the NHL)

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#53 Cody anderson
June 19 2012, 02:32PM
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Would not touch Subban if he were free.

If Gagner will only sign for the 2 years until he is a UFA then I would play him this season between Hall and Yak and increase his trade value.

I don't consider the 2nd line centre to be one of our holes or one of our priorities or needs in order to be competitive. Obviously if skill and scoring is the same you always prefer someone with size and grit. (hell that even goes for Nuge) Gagner's point totals are higher than we need them for a second line centre in order to be competive.

If we did this trade we would need to replace him at centre. The only Dman that looks ready to play in the NHL next season is Murray. We are not getting Murray with a #8 selection, and even if we did the hole we would have at centre would murder us.

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#54 K-UGER Industrial Smoothing
June 19 2012, 02:35PM
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DSF wrote:

Oh, how different things would be if the Oilers had drafted smarter

Voracek

Eberle

Kulikov

Seguin

Landeskog

Yakupov

Fantastic centre depth, three dynamic wingers and a young stud defenseman.

every other team wishes they grabbed better players too. Its stupid to think that they regret drafting Eberle, Hall or RNH. Kulikov is far from stud.

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#55 Dman09
June 19 2012, 02:36PM
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Alright well I think this years playoffs were a very good indication of why you need to have bigger physical players in your top 6. The Oilers would get crushed with their current setup going against a team like LA in the playoffs.

If I were the GM, yes I know pipe dreaming. If Gregor is available at #8 I trade Gagner for the pick and take Gregor. Adding Gregor and Yakupov to a top 6 adds size and grit and offensive talent. Now I still think one more piece missing from the top 6 and hemsky and yakupov play the same position. I would be looking to trade Hemsky for a physical winger option and/or a defenseman.

I still see Pety as being a #2 option on defense. If Whitney can return to form then the second pairing of him and Schultz/Smid is a good second pairing. Now Smid is a very good defender but really isn't a Top pairing guy however he showed last season he can fill in there with Petry until the team finds a #1. If the Oilers can somehow sign Schultz I would start him on the third line with Sutton/UFA signing/trade and hope he can eventually move to the #1 spot.

There is still a possibility that a similar situation like Fedun shows up at training camp, might even be him again. If that does happen the defense doesn't look too bad at all.

Now we still need to do something about the Goalie situation. Dubnyk is good and probably a future #1 but there is no good backup for him. Bulin is not an option. Need to fill that role either UFA or trade.

Just my take

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#56 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
June 19 2012, 02:37PM
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Never thought of Gagner as one of the kids who could ever do some of the heavy lifting on this club. One more center taken this week and it would seal Gagners fate here.

The Oilers have made their bed already. If Gags becomes that near point a game player we always hoped he'd be in the next two yrs, will the Oilers even be able to nestle him in there with the likes of Hall,Hopkins,Eberle and Yakupov as far as pay grade goes? Edmonton also needs a luxury blueliner to stabilize our back end. I don't see this ending well for Gagners future here as an Oiler.

He'll carve himself out a tidy 15 yr career in the NHL, but i don't think we'll ever see his name on the stanley cup as a first or second line center on any competitive hockey club.

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#57 Rama Lama
June 19 2012, 02:49PM
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As Gagner is a respectable second line centre, I would be sad to see him go before his prime.

Having said that the potential of landing Griegerenko is very appealing. Any one who can play through mono, should be moving up in the draft, not down IMHO! The fact that he put up points while having mono makes this guy as "tough as nails"!

If we have to give up a smaller centre to get a larger centre with more offensive upside, so be it! My only condition to this would be that he plays ahead of Horcoff no if, and,or buts. Horcoff will spoil any of these youngsters with his anti-offensive playing tactics.

If ther is a hockey god, please make some other desperate team take Horcoff and Belenger off our hands.......for anything, paper towels, stools, and garbage cans?

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#58 LoDog
June 19 2012, 03:00PM
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If Grigorenko is sitting there at 8 you have to make the trade IMO. I like Gagner but he can be replaced fairly easily and Grigorenko could end up being the best player in this draft.

No to any dman, they need NHL dmen not prospects.

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#59 eastcoastoil
June 19 2012, 03:01PM
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John, I have heard this mentioned before, What about Paajarvi on d? From what I understand he played the position before and has good size?

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#60 Dman09
June 19 2012, 03:01PM
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Rama Lama wrote:

As Gagner is a respectable second line centre, I would be sad to see him go before his prime.

Having said that the potential of landing Griegerenko is very appealing. Any one who can play through mono, should be moving up in the draft, not down IMHO! The fact that he put up points while having mono makes this guy as "tough as nails"!

If we have to give up a smaller centre to get a larger centre with more offensive upside, so be it! My only condition to this would be that he plays ahead of Horcoff no if, and,or buts. Horcoff will spoil any of these youngsters with his anti-offensive playing tactics.

If ther is a hockey god, please make some other desperate team take Horcoff and Belenger off our hands.......for anything, paper towels, stools, and garbage cans?

I'd keep Horcoff as a third line center if he didn't get paid so much. But even then hes not a big hitter or a very physical guy. He wins draws and kills penalties so is still useful.

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#61 Kodiak
June 19 2012, 03:03PM
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Gagner scored 49 points his rookie season and hasn't passed that mark since. Is it really a stretch to think a Grigorenko could put up comparable numbers his first season or two with even greater upside and also be there to help Yakupov?

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#62 John Chambers
June 19 2012, 03:06PM
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If Grigorenko or Dumba are still available at 8 I would strongly consider making that deal.

You could go into July 1 willing to overpay Olli Jokinen on a 2 year deal to bridge the gap until Grigorenko was ready to play big minutes. Or better, we could work out a deal with Pittsburg to acquire Jordan Staal, thereby providing some serious shelter to RNH.

Hemsky and Klefbom for Staal? I'd be salivating.

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#63 Stocc
June 19 2012, 03:08PM
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The point is that somewhere along the line, the Oilers have to shift their primary focus from the future to the present. I’d argue the time to do that is now.

Mostly I just wanted to see those words written one more time. But there's also a chance Mr. Tambellini is poking around on the internets looking for advice and reading JW can only help.

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#64 Dman09
June 19 2012, 03:12PM
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Hemsky, Omark and a pick to the Jet for Enstrom.

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#65 eastcoastoil
June 19 2012, 03:12PM
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Any word on the off season training of our young guns?

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#66 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
June 19 2012, 03:17PM
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Why not make that Gagner deal now? Why wait until you're on the clock. Get that eighth now and see what else can come from it. Somebody the Oilers love will be available weather they select 8th or improve on that 8th even further.

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#67 DSF
June 19 2012, 03:24PM
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Bucknuck wrote:

OOOH... this is fun. Let's go back and cherry pick all the picks that panned out after the Oilers picked. The team would be the BEST in the NHL.

They'd have Parise, Dasyuk, Pacioretty, Lucic, Neal, Green, Dubinsky, Perry, and Dennis Wideman!

~ No sweat. How come the scouts coudlnt' see into the future. What the heck is wrong with them. ~

Nah.

I just went with the players I would have picked in the Oilers' position.

Unfortunately, the Oilers have painted themselves into a corner and now face a very situation since their goaltending defense and centre depth is a shambles.

As for the scouts, they've been poor for a very long time.

Last ten years 1st round picks:

02 Ninimakki - whiff

03 Pouliot - whiff

04 Dubnyk - looks okay

04 Shremp - whiff

05 Cogliano - whiff

06 No pick

07 Gagner - whiff

07 Plante - whiff

07 Nash - whiff

08 Eberle - great pick

09 Paajarvi - whiff

10 Hall (I think it was close enough they should have taken Seguin)

11) Hopkins - good pick but if they had Voracek and Seguin as centres they likely would have taken Landeskog.

I see an awful lot of whiffing there, one great pick and two no brainers.

What the heck is wrong with them?

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#68 RexLibris
June 19 2012, 03:41PM
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As I see it the Oilers are stuck. They could potentially see tremendous value in that 8th overall pick. Grigorenko could be a good upgrade on Gagner, eventually.

Unfortunately, they lack the necessary depth at the center position to be able to pay the price in order to capitalize on it.

It is a tough spot and there aren't any free agent quick-fixes for a 2nd line center.

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#69 John Chambers
June 19 2012, 03:43PM
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@Cody anderson

Like I say, I think you could replace Gagner with a temporary fix like Jokinen or Daymond Langkow and still come out smelling okay. I'll agree that Horcoff is a drop-off offensively, but bumping the captain up to #2 C and replacing his grind minutes with Stoll or McClement might actually make thie Oilers a better team. They have lots of offense on the wing.

The Oil do not have a top-pair Dman, on the roster or in the system. If you can acquire one, even if he's not ready for prime time until 2016, without giving up one of the fab four and while patching up your hole, you've added a key piece.

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#70 Dman09
June 19 2012, 03:49PM
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RexLibris wrote:

As I see it the Oilers are stuck. They could potentially see tremendous value in that 8th overall pick. Grigorenko could be a good upgrade on Gagner, eventually.

Unfortunately, they lack the necessary depth at the center position to be able to pay the price in order to capitalize on it.

It is a tough spot and there aren't any free agent quick-fixes for a 2nd line center.

I disagree, they have three centers right now for the 1st 3rd and 4th center positions. If they trade Gagner and take Gregor then I would imagine the plan would be to have him play right away in the NHL. If they decide he needs time then move Hall to center and try to find a fill in through a trade. You can't improve if you don't take some chances.

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#71 I'm Batman
June 19 2012, 04:00PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Supposedly - and this is definitely supposedly - Montreal isn't interested in the first overall for Subban straight across.

It would probably take Hall or Eberle to get a deal done for Subban.

Montreal would be getting the better player and the better pick. No thanks. Do you think #1 and Gags for #3 and Subban could get done? The Oilers could probably get Galchenyuk at #3 to replace Gags. My only concern is he may need another year in junior since he missed this year of development. Thoughts?

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#72 eastcoastoil
June 19 2012, 04:10PM
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How big is Galchenyuk projected to be. If he is truly projected as a top gritty 2c than do you look at him with the first pick. He shoots left and could fill two organizational needs. Big centre down the middle or behind Hall. Could carolina's pick get you grigs? He has the same dividends as Galchenyuk. He could play left wing, a organizational need or be that 2c that the team needs. If you could get him at 8th than make the trade, but that is something that will happen on the floor on friday. But hate to see Gags go. Gags between two top scoring wingers could be a 60 point man. But who plays left wing with him?

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#73 Dave Lumley
June 19 2012, 04:16PM
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Our #1 and Gags for Subban,(#3)Galchenyuk and MacKinnon.

A big hole at centre, let our D prospects develop another year and ease Dubnyk in behind the starter Khabi and we are set. Pretty sure we would have MacKinnon in the bag and we would not miss out on next years draft debate.

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#74 Dman09
June 19 2012, 04:17PM
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eastcoastoil wrote:

How big is Galchenyuk projected to be. If he is truly projected as a top gritty 2c than do you look at him with the first pick. He shoots left and could fill two organizational needs. Big centre down the middle or behind Hall. Could carolina's pick get you grigs? He has the same dividends as Galchenyuk. He could play left wing, a organizational need or be that 2c that the team needs. If you could get him at 8th than make the trade, but that is something that will happen on the floor on friday. But hate to see Gags go. Gags between two top scoring wingers could be a 60 point man. But who plays left wing with him?

Well Gregor right now is listed at 6'3" 200lbs. Possibly end up at 6'4" 225-235lbs. And they talk about his poise and vision similar to the way RNH was talked about last year just not as high. Seems most think he has the best vision in this years draft. You can't win big if you don't put any money down on the table.

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#75 eastcoastoil
June 19 2012, 04:28PM
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@Dman09

sounds huge, just the guy everyone is looking for. Work ethic rub off from hall/yakapov. I would start planning the parade if it worked. It solves organizational needs all over the map. Size in the top 6, someone that could play behind hall, shooting left, or the that big strong second line centre behind the nuge. Gags for 8th pick, it looks like he would still be there. He even speaks Russian to help Yakupov and form some chemistry. Don't get me wrong I like Gagner but like you said you have to gamble a little bit.

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#76 Pouzar99
June 19 2012, 04:52PM
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The only way I see this trade working is if A) Hall moves to center or B) they are able to draft a center 8th like Grigerenko or Galenychuk (SP?)after taking Yak first. That still leaves them short on D of course, although we can still hope for Justin Schultz and demand a veteran free agent signing if the club cares about 'now' at all. I am not convinced converting Hall to center will work but I am open to the experiment. If they are committed to that option than their will definitely be quality defenders available at 8th overall. As for the critique of the Oilers drafting what is the point of including the pre-MacGregor years? We know it was largely a disaster. Sincehe took over they have done very, very well. Even the one question mark, Paajarvi, is still a good prospect, though not quite as promising as he seemed in his rookie year. It may ultimately be a whiff, but it is a long way from being that now. By such standards drafting Cam Neely was a whiff, when by rational standards trading him was the gaping error. Time will tell.

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#77 John Chambers
June 19 2012, 05:09PM
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@ I'm a scientist!

You're correct. But consider it a different way:

Suppose the Oilers manage to fill the gap left by Gags at Centre. Matt Dumba is our reward at #8.

The Oilers ride 70 games of Devan Dubnyk to an 8th place finish and a playoff round in '12-'13. Squee's all around. Dumba is a stud in the WHL and plays a big role in Canada's WJC 8-0 Gold Medal beatdown of Russia. The boys tease Yakupov and his six girlfriends, one of whom wittifully rebuts that it's due to his absence.

Next summer a disgruntled superstar, let's say Nicklas Backstrom, similar to Nash, Carter, and Richards before him, becomes available and George McPhee gets eager to sell for high-quality young assets. The Oilers can offer Dumba +, which would be similar value to Voracek +, or Schenn +, or at least be a key asset used to obtain a C or a top D.

I don't dislike Gagner. Like most people I've been deluded by the extreme talent we've accumulated at wing, and realize that a stronger 1-2 down the middle could one day make this a championship-calibre club. All I'm saying is that I think Gagner's value is more easily replaced through a trade or FA than other key pieces. Moreover, given how excited all the commenters are today, there is considerably over-hype that can be leveraged when trying to land a big fish, hype that Sam Gagner can no longer garner now that we can say with certainty that the 2nd line is his ceiling.

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#78 BlacqueJacque
June 19 2012, 05:19PM
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Willis, you're making too much sense. You're going to write much of the rest of the blogosphere out of a job. Also it makes my forum posts boring, since I find myself linking to your articles here to make my point.

So stop it. Start posting useless stuff, like how exciting it would be to give our first overall pick to Toronto for Luke Schenn so we can help Burke them get both the Sarnia stars, a la the Sedins, or something like that.

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#79 Wanyes bastard child
June 19 2012, 05:24PM
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Well if it isn't Mr. Self Entitlement guy who figures this blog owes everything to him. Your right on time dude!

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#80 BGH - Team SQUEEE
June 19 2012, 05:42PM
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First off, let me say that I like Gagner and feel that he has more to give.

That being said, the following holds true :

1.) The Oilers need to start working the other way, and trade for nhl players instead of stock piling picks and prospects 2.) The Oilers biggest hole is at defense. I think DD will be fine in net once we have a real defense infront of him 3.) We have too many smaller players, and of them, Gagner is most likely the easiest to replace.

As I posted on the Team 1260 thread on FB, I would love to see the oilers approach the Hawks

From Edmonton Gagner, Peckham, Our 2nd round pick this year

From Chicago Seabrook, their 2nd, their 3rd (or 4th whatever you can get)

I think Chicago would be interested in this because they have depth at D (Keith, Seabrook, Leddy, Khamarlson (however you spell it)), they need a 2C to play with Kane so he can go back to wing (plus Kane/Gagner have history at London Knights) and it would more then likely offer them some cap relief.

Thoughts anyone?

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#81 Small town dreams
June 19 2012, 05:53PM
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@Jonathan Willis

Jw Do you think Galchenyuk could be our second line center next year or would he need a year in the ahl? if so i would do the deal with Carolina on the condition that Galchenyuk is available at the 8 spot. Thoughts?

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#82 BlacqueJacque
June 19 2012, 05:56PM
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Wanyes bastard child wrote:

Well if it isn't Mr. Self Entitlement guy who figures this blog owes everything to him. Your right on time dude!

Are you referring to me?

Now I can't compliment an article without being self-entitled?

Yawn.

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#83 eastcoastoil
June 19 2012, 06:10PM
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@I'm a Scientist!

I live in halifax, thought my handle would have given it away. I like gagner but I do not like him behind nuge. After seeing grigs play, i was pointing out that I like the option. We are going to be up against the cap in a few years and Gagner is going to be taking some of that. Grigs would be on a entry level deal for three more years giving us some breathing room. It is a gamble but I like the bigger centre.

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#84 Walter Sobchak
June 19 2012, 06:24PM
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I’m not sure you can qualify Grigorenko or Galenychuk as “magic beans” unless you want to qualify both Landeskog, Seguin as “magic beans”

Grigorenko was neck and neck with Yakupov throughout the year only to be caught up in injuries that seemed to run through some of the top end prospects.

As for Galchenyuk, I actually think he might have been #1 had he not got hurt, not because he’s better then Yakupov, but because his position and size as well as obvious talent.

I like Gagner and it’s a risk to trade a proven player. I’ve always said he might be worth more to the Oilers not playing for the Oilers.

I think both Grigorenko and Galchenyuk would have been in the top 3 with Yakupov had they not got injured, all 3 will eventually and probable sooner then later be better then Gagner.

I would take the Hurricanes pick and try like hell to move up at a shot at Galchenyuk, but I would also settler for Grigorenko based on talent and size of both individuals.

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#85 BlacqueJacque
June 19 2012, 06:26PM
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@Walter Sobchak

Interesting points, Wes, but didn't questions about Grigo's work ethic come up in the mid-season rankings? Galchenyuk also lagged behind Yakupov in scoring in their 16-yo seasons by a wide margin (18 points, in 3 less games), the entirety of which was goals (they were tied with 52 assists.)

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#86 Walter Sobchak
June 19 2012, 06:32PM
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@BlacqueJacque

I questioned Grigorenko's work ethic myself!

I did so not knowing about the Mono, I did put up a fight for him at the WJC, the kid was playing on nearly a broken ankle.

I stated in my last post that Galchenyuk my not be better then Yakupov but his size, talent and position are desirable qualities.

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#87 BlacqueJacque
June 19 2012, 06:43PM
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@Walter Sobchak

I agree about the mono and think Grigo is going to slide, the way Couturier did, and if the mono thing is real, some team will prosper. Someone made me doubt the mono thing though. It's just so convenient, after Couturier...

As for Alex, it's so hard to tell with that limited sample.

I remain bullish on Yakupov because I'm convinced his pre-injury play is the real Yakupov. He's not a 1ppg player, as he was after coming back. He's not a 1.5ppg player, because that's some silly average. He's a 2ppg player in the OHL and that is special in any year, never mind your draft year (unless you're on the London Knights, whose TOI issues are well-known.)

It seems we commenters and the bloggers and especially the MSM go out of our way to give excuses for the likes of Grigo, Galchenyuk, Forsberg, Murray, Rielly. Few people argue that perhaps we saw Yakupov at his worst. I think he'll get close to 50 points next season, and that'll be something considering the logjam at RW.

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#88 dougtheslug
June 19 2012, 06:46PM
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I think the jury is still out on Sam, even though he has a 5 year "body of work" (I'm going to miss Tom R "going forward"). Remember he is only 9 months older than Jordan Eberle, put up consistent numbers last year, despite missing the early part of the season and hobbled for about 20 games with a high ankle sprain. Sure, he had 8 points in one game, but that was over a 5-8 game stretch where he entered "the zone" and showed some truly elite skills.. He was also plus 5 over the season with a very bad team. Was that a mirage? Maybe. But do you give up on a 5 year development track, for an 18 year old with potential? I'm not so sure.

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#89 BlacqueJacque
June 19 2012, 06:46PM
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@Next up, is Connor McJesus.

Oh, that guy? Yeah, my eyes seem to automatically glaze over when I see his name by posts. Such an unbelievable font of negativity.

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#90 Walter Sobchak
June 19 2012, 06:48PM
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@ Arch

I know you’re a big supporter of Gagner Arch, I appreciate that and respect that.

Grigorenko was billed as a true 1-B option until after the WJC series in which he was playing badly injured. The Mono compounded that issue even more.

Almost every scout plus as well as Mackenzie mentioned it the other night in his top 30 had Galchenyuk not been injured he might have went # 1.

What you have here is two legitimate players had not been for injury could be # 1 or a close second and that can’t be discounted.

Book it! Both Grigorenko and Galchenyuk will be better then Gagner.

Also Grigorenko and Galchenyuk are key PK’ers on there teams.

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#91 Bucknuck
June 19 2012, 06:53PM
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BGH - Team SQUEEE wrote:

First off, let me say that I like Gagner and feel that he has more to give.

That being said, the following holds true :

1.) The Oilers need to start working the other way, and trade for nhl players instead of stock piling picks and prospects 2.) The Oilers biggest hole is at defense. I think DD will be fine in net once we have a real defense infront of him 3.) We have too many smaller players, and of them, Gagner is most likely the easiest to replace.

As I posted on the Team 1260 thread on FB, I would love to see the oilers approach the Hawks

From Edmonton Gagner, Peckham, Our 2nd round pick this year

From Chicago Seabrook, their 2nd, their 3rd (or 4th whatever you can get)

I think Chicago would be interested in this because they have depth at D (Keith, Seabrook, Leddy, Khamarlson (however you spell it)), they need a 2C to play with Kane so he can go back to wing (plus Kane/Gagner have history at London Knights) and it would more then likely offer them some cap relief.

Thoughts anyone?

Chicago will always remember Sam Gagner, but even so there is no way they move Seabrook unless they are getting overpaid for him, which means gagner and the 2nd rounder and the 3rd might get them interested... That is my opinion anyway.

The man is a rock on defense.

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#92 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
June 19 2012, 06:53PM
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All we do know is that the Oilers will win nothing with Sam Gagner as Edmontons second line center. Sam is a third line center on a good hockey team, nothing more. He's not capable of doing whats needed from a decent second line center in this league.

I know when you're selecting outside of the top 5 the odds drop considerably if you think you're getting an impact player. With Gagners foot speed and strength on his feet or on the puck, easily intimidated by the opposition, we're close to seeing the best of his game. So what if we hung on for a few more yrs to see him put up a 60 pt season, i'd still take that chance on Grigorenko or Galchenyuk can put up 90 points if the Oilers do what it takes to give them this opportunity. You can't build an omelette with breaking some eggs.

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#93 Walter Sobchak
June 19 2012, 06:53PM
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@BlacqueJacque

I absolutely agree Yakupov will be at or near 50 points.

I will also concede that Galchenyuks sample size is small, but I am looking more to the scouts overall projections.

I'm just really not sold on any of the defensive prospects.

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#94 BlacqueJacque
June 19 2012, 06:56PM
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@Walter Sobchak

We seem to be in complete agreement, then.

It's times like this I wish we had Brian "I have these things, they're called balls" Burke rather than Steve "if I breathe now, I might enjoy that less than if I breathe in 3 seconds, and I'll never forgive myself" Tambellini as GM. I'm almost positive that Burke could get Galchenyuk and Yakupov without giving up a significant rebuild piece like Gagner.

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#95 Walter Sobchak
June 19 2012, 07:01PM
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@ Quicksilver

Good points, foot speed is an issue although he worked really hard on it last year.

Size is definitely an issue, but I'm hesitant by the intimidation or anyone else who say's he doesn’t have desire or heart.

I also agree on the projection, I don’t see Gagner moving north of 55, were I can see both Galchenyuk and Grigorenko both passing those totals while being able to play important minutes on the PK and PP.

I also might add that Gagners will cost north of 4 million and these kids while being equivalent or better will cost considerable less.

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#96 DSF
June 19 2012, 07:04PM
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@RexLibris

This.

Exactly.

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#97 Bucknuck
June 19 2012, 07:08PM
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Next up, is Connor McJesus. wrote:

All we do know is that the Oilers will win nothing with Sam Gagner as Edmontons second line center. Sam is a third line center on a good hockey team, nothing more. He's not capable of doing whats needed from a decent second line center in this league.

I know when you're selecting outside of the top 5 the odds drop considerably if you think you're getting an impact player. With Gagners foot speed and strength on his feet or on the puck, easily intimidated by the opposition, we're close to seeing the best of his game. So what if we hung on for a few more yrs to see him put up a 60 pt season, i'd still take that chance on Grigorenko or Galchenyuk can put up 90 points if the Oilers do what it takes to give them this opportunity. You can't build an omelette with breaking some eggs.

You do realize only three players in the NHL got to 90 points last year, and five the year before that.

When you mention Grigorenko or Galchenyuk and 90 points together in the same sentence you don't lend yourself a lot of credibility.

60 points is a 1st liner in the NHL. Only 55 players managed it. That means less than two players per team. Only 91 players managed over 50 points. That's three per team.

Three per team is a 1st line.

If Gagner can get there and be on the second line, I believe the Oil are just fine, especially with Hemsky and Yakupov on his wings.

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#98 BlacqueJacque
June 19 2012, 07:20PM
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Is a big centre a "need"? I'd say there's good arguments for it (LA has some decent sized guys), but then you look at the likes of Detroit.

As for Mr. Dark Parade, Philly thought they couldn't win with Richards and Carter - one is small, the other soft and one-dimensional. Those two now have Stanley Cup rings, while Mike Holmgren doesn't.

Teams aren't made up of exclusively the likes of Malkin, Staal, Stamkos, and Kopitar. They have smaller guys, they have bigger guys. Skill trumps size, otherwise scouts would be talking Reinhart instead of Murray and Galchenyuk instead of Yakupov.

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#99 Bucknuck
June 19 2012, 07:21PM
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If the Oil are willing to trade the #1 pick, maybe they should be looking at Bobby Ryan. Gagner and #1 for Ryan and the rights to Schultz might get it done. It would at least start the conversation.

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#100 DSF
June 19 2012, 07:26PM
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Bucknuck wrote:

You do realize only three players in the NHL got to 90 points last year, and five the year before that.

When you mention Grigorenko or Galchenyuk and 90 points together in the same sentence you don't lend yourself a lot of credibility.

60 points is a 1st liner in the NHL. Only 55 players managed it. That means less than two players per team. Only 91 players managed over 50 points. That's three per team.

Three per team is a 1st line.

If Gagner can get there and be on the second line, I believe the Oil are just fine, especially with Hemsky and Yakupov on his wings.

Gagner will get absolutely murdered in the playoffs.

Too small, too slow and too easy to knock off the puck.

There's no place to hide a player like that when you're involved in a 7 game series and your opponent has home ice advantage.

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