THN: RESIGNATION AND OILERSNATION

Robin Brownlee
August 10 2012 08:39AM

Remember the indignation at hockey websites like this one when The Hockey News projected the Edmonton Oilers to finish dead-last in the Western Conference a few seasons ago? Me, too. And today?

For all the howls of protest by a passionate fan base that, at the time, wasn't ready to accept the Oilers would have to hit bottom before drafting kids like Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Nail Yakupov and begin scripting an ascent back to playoff contention, THN has pegged the Oilers just about right for many seasons now.

That's likely why THN's latest annual prediction, released this week, picking the Oilers to finish 13th in the Western Conference, hasn't drawn the same kind of venom and protest this time around. Here's THN's take:

13. EDMONTON OILERS

"Why: There were a couple of voices in the THN office making a case for the Oilers to be a playoff team, but in the end, the majority decided it was still too soon. We do believe the Oilers will improve from recent showings and maybe even move out of the draft lottery. Nail Yakupov is dynamic, but first-year expectations should be tempered. Defense and goaltending is still a big question mark and in a loaded Western Conference those are debilitating shortfalls. Sure, Justin Schultz was added to the blue line, but he's far from a difference-maker at this point. Can Ryan Whitney stay healthy? Can Devan Dubnyk be a legit No. 1? Until these questions become solid answers, Edmonton is still on the outside looking in."

No playoffs AGAIN? No sniff? Eastern bias? Bunch of THN knuckleheads? No. That's so 2011.

LONG WAY DOWN

If the final standings in the Western Conference over the past three seasons are any indication, it's going to take about 95 points for the Oilers to take a run at a playoff spot in 2012-13 (assuming an 82-game season).

2011-12

8 Los Angeles 40 27 15 95

9 Calgary 37 29 16 90

10 Dallas 42 35 5 89

11 Colorado 41 35 6 88

12 Minnesota 35 36 11 81

13 Anaheim 34 36 12 80

14 Edmonton 32 40 10 74

15 Columbus 29 46 7 65

2010-11

8 Chicago 44 29 9 97

9 Dallas 42 29 11 95

10 Calgary 41 29 12 94

11 St Louis 38 33 11 87

12 Minnesota 39 35 8 86

13 Columbus 34 35 13 81

14 Colorado 30 44 8 68

15 Edmonton 25 45 12 62

2009-10

8 Colorado 43 30 9 95

9 St Louis 40 32 10 90

10 Calgary 40 32 10 90

11 Anaheim 39 32 11 89

12 Dallas 37 31 14 88

13 Minnesota 38 36 8 84

14 Columbus 32 35 15 79

15 Edmonton 27 47 8 62

HOW MUCH BETTER?

The Oilers improved by 12 points from 2010-11 to 2011-12, going from 62-74, but moved up just one place in the standings. While I have think that they're capable of improving by another dozen or so points this season, again, assuming a full schedule, that likely won’t make them a playoff team.

If you tack 12 points on to the 74 the Oilers are coming off, that gives them 86, which puts them 13th in 2009-10, 12th in 2010-11 and 12th last season. Improving by 24 points in two seasons is nothing to sneeze at, but when you're coming from as far back as the Oilers are, it doesn't translate to a playoff spot.

Might THN be off by a place or two? Sure. Might the Oilers improve by as much as 15 points? Yes. That still doesn't translate to putting an end to a playoff drought that's reached six straight seasons.

Link to THN item is here.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

Aceb4a1816f5fa09879a023b07d1a9b4
A sports writer since 1983, including stints at The Edmonton Journal and The Sun 1989-2007, I happily co-host the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260 twice a week and write when so inclined. Have the best damn lawn on the internet. Most important, I am Sam's dad. Follow me on Twitter at Robin_Brownlee. Or don't.
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#1 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
August 10 2012, 01:20PM
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DSF wrote

You're focusing on only one variable. But even that one variable isn't a difference maker.

kind of frustrating when someone focuses on 1 single thing rather than the big picture isnt it?

**raises eyebrows**

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#2 michael
August 10 2012, 08:49AM
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The Oilers are at best 4 players away from competing for a playoff spot on a regular basis. Unless current players step up and fill these roles I suspect the Oilers will be as the Hockey News states a 13 place team. If as you say they improve by 12 points this season I will be pleased. Rome wasn't built in a day. The Oil are on the right track. There will be still points this season by the lack of immediate success. But I can live that. I enjoy watching the development of the team. If this team was like what we had the late 90"s I would probably stop watching the team. Its not and that is why I enjoy this team.

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#3 book¡e
August 10 2012, 09:10AM
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Those knuckleheads at THN don't understand the Krueger effet. Chuck will get them into the playoffs and expose the editors of THN as the Eastern clowns that they are!

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#4 Archaeologuy
August 10 2012, 09:14AM
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The biggest problem for people on the outside looking in (and rightfully so) is that the only additions are rookies. All other changes are internal. A few guys come back healthy (maybe), a few guys are sent to the minors, a few guys build on their previous seasons, the new Coach is the old Coach.

The club is for the most part EXACTLY THE SAME as it was last year when they came in 29th in the league.

Tambellini didnt trade for a top pairing D-man. He didnt move Hemsky + for the fabled 2C with size, speed, and scoring touch that every Oiler fan thinks exists. Khabibulin isnt driving the Curiosity drunk on Mars where he belongs. Nothing.

The Oilers selected 1st overall and signed a rookie free agent. Thus concludes all Oiler roster changes.

How could anybody who isnt a fan suggest, with all certainty, that the laundry list of things that need to go right for the Oil to play games in Spring will actually happen? They cant.

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#5 DSF
August 10 2012, 05:25PM
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@VMR

"How can it be about "not having the stones to do it" when you already admit we might not have had the ability to sign free agents or the resources to trade for any of those guys that have moved. That is definitely my arguement, we were bankrupt of the pieces it would take to acquire any of those top end guys."

I didn't admit it, I said you could argue it.

Doesn't mean you won't still be wrong.

The Oilers do have assets and cap space...they're doing nothing with either one.

The biggest move Lowe has made is allowing Ryan Smyth to trade himself back to the Oilers and having Schultz pick Edmonton.

Chimp work.

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#6 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
August 10 2012, 08:45AM
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Im thinking 85 points, landing in the 11-12 spot would be resonable.

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#7 David S
August 10 2012, 09:19AM
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OilDoug wrote:

Robin,

All of us want the Oil to return to the playoffs ASAP but its still a process and if Tambi isn't going to move prospects for a top 4 defenceman than all of us fans have to continue to be patient and watch this team continue to develop.

I am enjoying the process, as much as it frustrates the heck out of me, because I know when this team figures it out and develops its going to be scary good for 5+ seasons.

If the Oil improve by 12 to 20 points next season it puts the team right on track to be a playoff team the following season and a contender not too long after.

GO OIL!

Your Taylor Hall autographed office garbage can is on the way from Oilers HQ with a personal note of thanks from Kevin Lowe. Without fan patience like yours he'd be out of a job by now.

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#8 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
August 10 2012, 08:51AM
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michael wrote:

The Oilers are at best 4 players away from competing for a playoff spot on a regular basis. Unless current players step up and fill these roles I suspect the Oilers will be as the Hockey News states a 13 place team. If as you say they improve by 12 points this season I will be pleased. Rome wasn't built in a day. The Oil are on the right track. There will be still points this season by the lack of immediate success. But I can live that. I enjoy watching the development of the team. If this team was like what we had the late 90"s I would probably stop watching the team. Its not and that is why I enjoy this team.

Sadly 3 of those 4 are relatively easy to aquire and it appears the team still wont do it.

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#9 OilDoug
August 10 2012, 09:02AM
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Robin,

All of us want the Oil to return to the playoffs ASAP but its still a process and if Tambi isn't going to move prospects for a top 4 defenceman than all of us fans have to continue to be patient and watch this team continue to develop.

I am enjoying the process, as much as it frustrates the heck out of me, because I know when this team figures it out and develops its going to be scary good for 5+ seasons.

If the Oil improve by 12 to 20 points next season it puts the team right on track to be a playoff team the following season and a contender not too long after.

GO OIL!

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#10 Oiler Al
August 10 2012, 09:04AM
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Third line is old and slow, and the fourth energy line has very limited talent. There lies your biggest problem. Still a question mark in goal as well. If lucky will finish 9 or 10 th.

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#11 David S
August 10 2012, 09:14AM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

Sadly 3 of those 4 are relatively easy to aquire and it appears the team still wont do it.

This is what I don't get. Even 2 solid additions might make us competitive, which is all you really want at this point. Maybe we're not full-on tanking but it's getting harder for me to believe we'll actually be going after wins whole-heartedly this season.

We're blowing through the ELC's of some pretty good hockey players. They'll cost a freaking fortune by the time we're regular playoff attendees. You'd think the plan would be to get them some playoff experience asap, even if we got wiped in the first round.

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#12 Popcorn94
August 10 2012, 09:25AM
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Another 12 points are a very RE for 2012-13. Yakupov, J. Schultz and Dubynk's increases workload alone can account for those 12 pts. For me we've be dealing with a few years of ELPH, when it was more tongue in cheek then reality. Now the team is exciting and as fans wwe can finally see playoffs on the horizon. Sure there are a ton of question marks, a bunch of "ifs": IF Dubynk can step in an be a solid #1 goalie; IF J.Schultz can adjust to the NHL and be an impactfull offensive d-man; IF Yakupov can step in and be as successfull as E-H-R did in their first years; IF E-H-R can grow further and start to dominate against the toughs as well as the softies; IF Whitney/Hemsky can bounce back from injury and get back to where they were before the were hurt; IF Petry can step up and prove he's a #2 d-man and not just a good #4-5; IF Smid can continue to dominate at the shutdown role.

So many ifs make it near impossible Oilers to have them all to align in 1 year and thus make the playoffs in 2012-13. But the team is improving and is one of the most exciting teams to watch in the NHL. The odds are definitely stack against them, but who would have thought the Oil would have made it to the finals in '06?

But first things first: SIGN THE DAMN CBA SO THERE'S HOCKEY!!! Don't rob the fans of a season they so desparately want to see. GAME ON!!!

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#13 Lexi
August 10 2012, 09:26AM
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At the end of the season I was thinking they would finish 10th, but the four teams I thought they would pass; Minnesota, Ananheim, Dallas and Calgary, all did enough additions to stay ahead of the Oilers. I also believe these additions are the ultimate short term gain, long term pain so these moves will keep these teams from contending with the Oilers in a couple of years, with the possible exception of Minny.

I also feel the addition of J Schultz, changed the need for a vet Dman, which kept the Oilers from going for Wideman/Carle/Rosival, who might have improved their projections for this year.

The middle of the West is a crapshoot this year with the teams most on the downside the perennial playoff teams (Det, Phx, Nash, SJ) and most of the non-playoff teams making significant additions. I would say Van, StL, LA, Chi, and Minn are for sure playoff teams, but the rest (including the Oilers) could finish anywhere from 6th to 14th (CBJ should finish 15th).

I think Detroit is getting the benefit of the doubt, because of who they are, but their D is worse than the Oilers right now and I really think they will miss the playoffs without some major move. Phoenix, even with Doan, needs Smith to play as well as last year and OEL to become Lidstrom or else I can't see them making the playoffs. San Jose is going fall off a cliff soon, but I suspect it won't be for a year or two.

The other problem for the Oilers passing Dall, Ana and Cal is how good Lehtonen, Hiller and Kipper can be. I guess it still comes down to how DD plays in relation to these guys and injuries deciding on the standings.

I am okay with 12th as long as they show that the org is going in the right direction and get Hall/Eberle signed to reasonable long-term deals.

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#14 Archaeologuy
August 10 2012, 09:26AM
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@David S

I think the only question that needs to be answered by the Management team is "What are your expectations?"

Last year they stated them and failed miserably. As a result NOBODY that had a say in player acquisition was fired. They were extended against all logic.

I think it's time to ask again, and this time when they fail miserably the fans and the media need to hold them accountable.

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#15 Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!
August 10 2012, 09:35AM
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David S wrote:

Your Taylor Hall autographed office garbage can is on the way from Oilers HQ with a personal note of thanks from Kevin Lowe. Without fan patience like yours he'd be out of a job by now.

This is hilarious!

OilDoug spoke from the hart and you're talking about a garbage can.

However; why an office garbage can? Is it because you put sh*t in it every day yet somehow it always empties "itself" over night and is ready for more sh*t in the morning?

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#16 Thinker
August 10 2012, 09:55AM
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74/62=1.19 1.19•74=88 I predict 88points. But if you project dubnyks late season numbers over 82 games you get 98 points. Goddamn khabibulin.

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#17 knight
August 10 2012, 09:58AM
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13 is pretty reasonable. Going into the year with a big question mark in goal, Dubnyk came on at the end when the oilers were already well out of it. I read pat gillick used to always go by the theory that you cant believe anything a player does in preseason or when a team is out of it.... til dubnyk performs when games matter playoffs are still a long stretch.

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#18 rickithebear
August 10 2012, 10:00AM
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Dubnyk started 29 games from Jan. on.

He went 16W - 10L - 3 OTL 35/58PTS .603%

2.39GA .924 SV%

KHB started 16 games from JAN. on.

1W - 11L - 4 OTL 5/32Pts 3.28GA .889 SV%

Dubnyk started 42 games all year.

15 games with 3 of Gilbert, Whitney, Tuebert, Barker playing.

1W - 13L - 1 OTL 3/30 .100%

3.45GA .893 SV%

27 games without 3 of the 4 and 3 of Smid petry, Schultz, Sutton

18W - 6L - 3 OTL 39/54 .722%

2.22GA .931 SV%

we will have 0 games of 3 of whitney, Gilbert, Barker, tuebert and have to be on our 4th d injury before we see whitney & tuebert.

Hockey News should have started there!

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#19 VMR
August 10 2012, 10:03AM
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So what are these easy spots to fill that the Oilers havent done yet?

To me it looks like we need a #1 d-man, a dependable starter in net, some more grit up front, and better puck movement from the d.

I dont see how any of those things are easy to acquire or if they are easy to acquire they're players like Belanger, Eager and Hordichuk that they picked up last year to fix the grit. I dont see any team willing to trade away a #1 d-man and we werent an option for the only ones available in free agency.

I think we're dependant on coaching and players developing to fill the holes for the most part.

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#20 Rick
August 10 2012, 10:38AM
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I guess it goes to show just how far this team has fallen when THN prediction appears too optimistic.

As a result of Tambellini's super secret master plan of ignoring any concerted effort for improvement, the Oilers best chance at making a jump in the standings comes from the teams in front of them getting worse.

I supect it is going to be another long winter.

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#21 Lochenzo
August 10 2012, 10:42AM
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The vast improvement last year that I noticed was how much more competitive the team was. They were in a lot more close games than in previous years. If I remember correctly, I think the big problem for the Oil was getting outscored in the 3rd period. A conference leading team like Vancouver only lost one game after leading through two periods. If the Oilers can learn that lesson this year, they will contend for a playoff spot.

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#22 David S
August 10 2012, 10:49AM
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Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy! wrote:

This is hilarious!

OilDoug spoke from the hart and you're talking about a garbage can.

However; why an office garbage can? Is it because you put sh*t in it every day yet somehow it always empties "itself" over night and is ready for more sh*t in the morning?

Well it was a light-hearted reply to alot of fans who IMO have given far too much rope to management, who can basically say and do whatever they want as a result. Tank the team and give fans garbage hockey for two years? No problem.

As far as the garbage can goes, I was thinking about a Taylor Hall autographed lunchbox (and who wouldn't want one of those beauties?), but an office garbage can could be hidden under your desk, avoiding the inevitable lunch room ribbing from Flames, Canucks and Bieber fans.

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#23 David S
August 10 2012, 10:50AM
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Lochenzo wrote:

The vast improvement last year that I noticed was how much more competitive the team was. They were in a lot more close games than in previous years. If I remember correctly, I think the big problem for the Oil was getting outscored in the 3rd period. A conference leading team like Vancouver only lost one game after leading through two periods. If the Oilers can learn that lesson this year, they will contend for a playoff spot.

A solid goalie and better D might fix that. Both of which we should have acquired this summer.

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#24 sec206
August 10 2012, 10:53AM
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i may be wrong but didn't THN predict phoenix to finish 13th or 14th last year? Hope springs eternal.

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#25 Lochenzo
August 10 2012, 10:59AM
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I agree. Adding another top 4 dman with a few years under the belt would have been great. But there weren't very many options via free agency. And the fact that Jay Bouwmeester and his ridiculous contract is garnering so much attention in the trade rumours tells you what kind of trade market is out there.

Maybe all we can hope for is a good veteran add over the next month plus. Maybe extend a training camp invite to Roszival to see how the knee is holding up.

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#26 Cody anderson
August 10 2012, 11:05AM
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VMR wrote:

So what are these easy spots to fill that the Oilers havent done yet?

To me it looks like we need a #1 d-man, a dependable starter in net, some more grit up front, and better puck movement from the d.

I dont see how any of those things are easy to acquire or if they are easy to acquire they're players like Belanger, Eager and Hordichuk that they picked up last year to fix the grit. I dont see any team willing to trade away a #1 d-man and we werent an option for the only ones available in free agency.

I think we're dependant on coaching and players developing to fill the holes for the most part.

I don't think we will be looking for a #1 dman, and i think they are and should give Dubnyk an opportunity as a starter and see what he does with it.

What I would like to see is a dependable backup in case Dubnyk falters and a depth defenceman that is better then Sutton, Potter, or Peckam.

If they were going to do anything other then that it would be to trade for some grit most likely in the bottom 6. I think that will be required when we are a legit contender, but right now I think it takes away development chances from Hartikainan and Paajarvi.

I don't think we will see any major moves and very well no moves before the season starts. I am sure that they want to find out where whitney and Hemsky are before making decisions.

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#27 DSF
August 10 2012, 11:05AM
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VMR wrote:

So what are these easy spots to fill that the Oilers havent done yet?

To me it looks like we need a #1 d-man, a dependable starter in net, some more grit up front, and better puck movement from the d.

I dont see how any of those things are easy to acquire or if they are easy to acquire they're players like Belanger, Eager and Hordichuk that they picked up last year to fix the grit. I dont see any team willing to trade away a #1 d-man and we werent an option for the only ones available in free agency.

I think we're dependant on coaching and players developing to fill the holes for the most part.

None of this is true.

Many teams have been able to acquire a top pairing D either through free agency or trade.

In the past few years, Dan Hamhuis, Brian Campbell, Matt Carle, Dustin Byufuglien, Ryan Suter, Dionne Phaneuf, Dennis Wideman, Christian Ehrhoff, Jack Johnson, Brent Burns, Jason Garrison and Erik Johnson have all switched teams.

In addition, Detroit and Calgary are apparently in talks about a Jaybo trade.

You can argue that the Oilers were not in a position to make a trade or free agent signing of that nature but you cannot argue they aren't available because they are to any general manager with the stones to do it.

There have been numerous "dependable starting goaltenders" on the market in the past few seasons but the Lowe regime has stuck steadfastly to the lamentable duo of Khabibulin and Dubnyk despite ample evidence they are a below average pairing. Once again, the issue is not availability but an horrific inability to recognize a problem and deal with it.

Bringing in players like Hordichuk and Eager to address the grit issue just indicates the Oilers pro scouting department is very deficient in assessing talent as both players were found wanting by the multitude of teams that employed them previously and, of course, we all have seen how inept they are in the past with the acquisitions of Foster, Fraser, Barker etc.

If the only solution to those issues is "coaching and players developing" then the Oilers are very, very likely to stay right where they are as the teams they are competing against are far more aggressive in filling holes and removing the individuals from management that have demonstrated they don't have the chops to build a winner.

It's likely the Oilers are going to miss the playoffs for the 7th consecutive season and yet the architects of that debacle are still in place.

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#28 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
August 10 2012, 11:12AM
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As hard as it would be to endure another difficult season, there's some possible upside involved here if this were to unfold. 26th and winning the lotto to move up 4 spots would be ideal as far as i'm concerned.

We all agreed just a couple months ago the Oilers weren't even close to being ready for the brutallity that occured during the first/second round of the playoffs. First round road kill in the coming season isn't such a bargain when the other possibilty is a top 5 pick and having Katz clean out the offices of current Oiler management.

I'll take the lotto pick and a new management team please.

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#29 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
August 10 2012, 11:18AM
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@DSF

Not having the stones to realize this organization would be much better off without Horcoff and Hemsky are also issues.

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#30 Rick
August 10 2012, 11:18AM
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@VMR

VMR says;

"I think we're dependant on coaching and players developing to fill the holes for the most part."

I find it frustrating when people trot out the argument that the Oilers will be better through simple maturation and development.

This team no doubt has a tonne of emerging talent but they also have a fair number of players on the downside of their careers still playing significant roles.

Without changing up the players, there is going to be a certain degree of trade off between the guys getting better vs the guys continuing to get worse.

It may not be an equal trade off but it will narrow the gap on how much overall improvement can actually be expected.

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#31 Dman09
August 10 2012, 11:27AM
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Next up, is Connor McJesus. wrote:

As hard as it would be to endure another difficult season, there's some possible upside involved here if this were to unfold. 26th and winning the lotto to move up 4 spots would be ideal as far as i'm concerned.

We all agreed just a couple months ago the Oilers weren't even close to being ready for the brutallity that occured during the first/second round of the playoffs. First round road kill in the coming season isn't such a bargain when the other possibilty is a top 5 pick and having Katz clean out the offices of current Oiler management.

I'll take the lotto pick and a new management team please.

I believe you can only move up two spots with winning the lottery which is why Edmonton still picked first the second time around even though NJ won the lottery. But agree this team is likely going nowhere with the current management team. In reality they have not made a single move this off season, Schultz doesn't count as he could have gone anywhere he wanted and Edmonton was just lucky he was willing to come here, and for a team that has placed in the bottom two in the league for three straight years that is completely unacceptable. Its kinda like running out of gas in your car and just saying "well I'll just wait and maybe it will full up itself".

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#32 DSF
August 10 2012, 11:36AM
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Next up, is Connor McJesus. wrote:

Not having the stones to realize this organization would be much better off without Horcoff and Hemsky are also issues.

So true.

And there are a few other players the organization should have made a decision on by now.

But the dithering continues.

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#33 Cody anderson
August 10 2012, 11:39AM
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Next up, is Connor McJesus. wrote:

Not having the stones to realize this organization would be much better off without Horcoff and Hemsky are also issues.

Horcoff is an untradeable asset, but we may be able to move him to a below the cap team next year. He is an ok 3rd line centre or good 4th line centre, but he is not overly gritty. If we were at the cap right now I believe they would buy him out, but since they aren't I think they will keep playing him until he is tradeable or his contract runs its course.

I believe Hemsky will be traded before the trade deadline and that is probably why the are pairing him with Gagner on the second line. With a winger of Hall or Yakupov it should pump up his numbers and his trade value.

If they cannot trade Horcs I would love to see them package Eager, Belanger+ for a gritty centre that can win a draw to play the 3rd and move Horcs down to the 4th.

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#34 OilClog
August 10 2012, 11:45AM
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if the Oilers only knew how to protect a lead last year.. we probably would of had closer to a 20pt increase. If they can figure it out this season, playoffs may not be impossible.

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#35 DSF
August 10 2012, 11:59AM
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OilClog wrote:

if the Oilers only knew how to protect a lead last year.. we probably would of had closer to a 20pt increase. If they can figure it out this season, playoffs may not be impossible.

You're focusing on only one variable.

But even that one variable isn't a difference maker.

Last season, the Oilers record when leading after the second period was .828 putting them 20th in the league by that metric.

The Los Angeles Kings were 21st at .824.

The real problem last season was the Oiler's abysmal shot rate...just 26.7 shots/game...29th in the NHL.

They were able to place 20th in goals/game but I wouldn't expect that to continue.

The real "saving grace" last season was the PP but, other than Vancouver, Pittsburgh and San Jose, PP scoring rates vary tremendously from season to season.

If opposing coaches figure out a strategy to defend the Oilers' PP next season, the team will be in a world of hurt.

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#36 rickithebear
August 10 2012, 12:00PM
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So last year we played .889 sV% goalie 1 win in 16 games the last half of the season to make sure we had a top 2 pick.

D. Dubnyk became our starter.

In 15 games with Gilbert, injured Whitney, Barker in our top 4 we were 1W 13L 1 OTL So far none of this will happen again.

Dubnyk played 18 games with a top 4 of Smid, Petry, Whitney, Schultz/Sutton he went 12W - 4L - 2 OTL

Based on Gregor's discussion with Whitney we will be seeing alot of this top 4. That is two sets of Dmen who have shown at least 40 games were they can take on a dominate first pair role. whitney was visibly more mobile from Feb 21 on and they went 9w - 4L - 1 OTL

So we can lose one of smid or Schultz plus one of Whitney or petry and still have a 1st comp D pair.

Our 5 - 6 dmen Sutton showed he can play 2nd comp last year with good ga results. J. Schultz is believed to have the skill set to play 2nd pair successfully.

when we were missing 2 of Smid, Petry, Schultz, Whitney and having a combo peckham, potter, or tuebert as our bottom pair we were 5W - 2L

that gives us depth we did not have last year were we saw alot of Barker, gilbert, Tuebert and had a 10% win %

Now if we have 3 of Smid, petry, Schultz, Whitney get injured we are in trouble.

If Dubnyk gets injured we are in trouble.

Otherwise next year we are rolling out D combinations that had at least a .930 Save % with Dubnyk.

Top 10 Goalies averaged 68 games, top 15 averaged 65 games.

how are we not more competitive with dubnyk playing 65-68 games in front of Smid-petry Whitney - Schultz Sutton - J. schultz Peckham - Potter

Our sucking as team was driven by NHB, Gilbert, barker, Injured whitney and tuebert asked to play 5.

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#37 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
August 10 2012, 12:04PM
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VMR wrote:

So what are these easy spots to fill that the Oilers havent done yet?

To me it looks like we need a #1 d-man, a dependable starter in net, some more grit up front, and better puck movement from the d.

I dont see how any of those things are easy to acquire or if they are easy to acquire they're players like Belanger, Eager and Hordichuk that they picked up last year to fix the grit. I dont see any team willing to trade away a #1 d-man and we werent an option for the only ones available in free agency.

I think we're dependant on coaching and players developing to fill the holes for the most part.

We need a top paring Dman, a second pairing Dman, a bottom 6 winger that can play against anyone and a platoon goalie.

outside of the top pairing Dman, the rest are fairly easy to aquire... and frankly their is no excuse that they haven't been.

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#38 russ99
August 10 2012, 12:10PM
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VMR wrote:

So what are these easy spots to fill that the Oilers havent done yet?

To me it looks like we need a #1 d-man, a dependable starter in net, some more grit up front, and better puck movement from the d.

I dont see how any of those things are easy to acquire or if they are easy to acquire they're players like Belanger, Eager and Hordichuk that they picked up last year to fix the grit. I dont see any team willing to trade away a #1 d-man and we werent an option for the only ones available in free agency.

I think we're dependant on coaching and players developing to fill the holes for the most part.

1) Top 4 veteran defenseman who can puck-move and defend adequately. No need for an All-Star, just a guy who can give us a quality 25 minutes a night on both ends of the ice.

2) #2 or #1a goalie to compete with Dubnkyk. Khabibulin scares nobody anymore.This conference is too competitive to give away points.

3) Any semblance of an NHL-caliber defensive 3rd line, not another rehash of the same players who failed miserably at this job last year. BTW: 4th line isn't as big a deal, as we're talking about 5-7 minutes of icetime a game tops.

We don't need grit as much as just a good 3rd line who can shut down the other team. All Western conference playoff teams have one, we don't, and won't be a playoff team until this is addressed.

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#39 vetinari
August 10 2012, 12:28PM
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Ah, I was tired of playoff hockey anyways... potentially giving up all that time from April to June when I could be doing chores around the house for the wife rather than having some friends over, drinking beer and watching the game. I figure that I'm at least two years away from having to relive THAT inconvenience. [slowly grabs his Oilers jersey, crumples it into a ball and dabs away the tears forming at the corner of his eyes...]

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#40 Archaeologuy
August 10 2012, 01:35PM
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cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan wrote:

DSF wrote

You're focusing on only one variable. But even that one variable isn't a difference maker.

kind of frustrating when someone focuses on 1 single thing rather than the big picture isnt it?

**raises eyebrows**

Kumate!

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#41 VMR
August 10 2012, 01:46PM
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How can it be about "not having the stones to do it" when you already admit we might not have had the ability to sign free agents or the resources to trade for any of those guys that have moved. That is definitely my arguement, we were bankrupt of the pieces it would take to acquire any of those top end guys.

As for adding a top 4 d-man by free agency, not worth it. You overpay for those guys in free agency and we already have 5 guys who will be fighting for top 4 spots. 3-4 isnt a problem in our lineup it's the top pairing where we need someone and they're not available to us. Not via free agency and not through trade.

I was against the Khabibulin signing the day it happened so I dont disagree that they need better goaltending but I dont think it's as easy to find as some suggestion. The Flyers went out and paid big bucks to get the best guy available and he couldnt stop a beach ball at times this year. Dubnyk may be that guy if not I'd pull Danis, he's probably not any worse then most of the players you can pick up now.

Coaching is the big question mark. In todays NHL coaching is what makes teams competitive, more so than the slight difference you'll see in the talent level you'll see in third line players. On paper everyone was picking the Coyotes to miss the playoffs last season based on their talent level but a good coach with a system made them competitive. The Predators with pretty limited talent up front have constantly been in the playoffs based on good coaching. St. Louis last season was looking to miss the playoffs until they swapped to Hitchcock.

I'm not arguing it's all about the coaching but I think coaching is much more important than the minor pieces all the armchair gm's tend to worry about like the 4th line or the #6 d-man. If you have the top end talent and a coach who can build a system around that talent I think you have a shot at being competitive. I'm not sure Krueger is that guy but if he is I think we can make the playoffs this year. If the team plays like they did the first month all year they have a real shot.

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#42 Dipstick
August 10 2012, 02:29PM
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If given the choice, I prefer to wait an extra bit for a nice Rib Eye rather than have a greaseburger right away. I think that Mr. Feaster likes greaseburgers. The improvement could be as high as 20 points with a bit of good luck or as low as 10. If they have the good luck and still only improve by 10, heads should roll.

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#43 Pouzar99
August 10 2012, 03:00PM
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These predictions are obviously a crapshoot but 13th in the west is certainly fair. Assuming an average season injury wise, not to mention an 82 game schedule, I think 85 points is about right, although the addition of an experienced bottom pairing D man would push me up to 88. If Dube steps up, Whitney regains much of his old form, etc. there is an outside shot at 95 and a playoff berth, and we could be back in the 70s if Dube struggles or others backslide. What I want to see more than anything else is a higher and higher level of compete among the players.

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#44 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
August 10 2012, 03:25PM
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VMR wrote:

How can it be about "not having the stones to do it" when you already admit we might not have had the ability to sign free agents or the resources to trade for any of those guys that have moved. That is definitely my arguement, we were bankrupt of the pieces it would take to acquire any of those top end guys.

As for adding a top 4 d-man by free agency, not worth it. You overpay for those guys in free agency and we already have 5 guys who will be fighting for top 4 spots. 3-4 isnt a problem in our lineup it's the top pairing where we need someone and they're not available to us. Not via free agency and not through trade.

I was against the Khabibulin signing the day it happened so I dont disagree that they need better goaltending but I dont think it's as easy to find as some suggestion. The Flyers went out and paid big bucks to get the best guy available and he couldnt stop a beach ball at times this year. Dubnyk may be that guy if not I'd pull Danis, he's probably not any worse then most of the players you can pick up now.

Coaching is the big question mark. In todays NHL coaching is what makes teams competitive, more so than the slight difference you'll see in the talent level you'll see in third line players. On paper everyone was picking the Coyotes to miss the playoffs last season based on their talent level but a good coach with a system made them competitive. The Predators with pretty limited talent up front have constantly been in the playoffs based on good coaching. St. Louis last season was looking to miss the playoffs until they swapped to Hitchcock.

I'm not arguing it's all about the coaching but I think coaching is much more important than the minor pieces all the armchair gm's tend to worry about like the 4th line or the #6 d-man. If you have the top end talent and a coach who can build a system around that talent I think you have a shot at being competitive. I'm not sure Krueger is that guy but if he is I think we can make the playoffs this year. If the team plays like they did the first month all year they have a real shot.

Lots of players were signing with undesirable teams, and we've got piles of tradable assets.

Their is no excuse to not fill a couple more holes before next year begins.

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#45 VMR
August 10 2012, 03:36PM
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So who specifically fills those holes you are talking about? Should we have thrown out a Wishniewski style contract? How about something like the Ehrhoff deal? What trades do you think we are capable of?

I just dont see what we could do that would make a big difference and not create holes somewhere else.

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#46 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
August 10 2012, 03:55PM
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VMR wrote:

So who specifically fills those holes you are talking about? Should we have thrown out a Wishniewski style contract? How about something like the Ehrhoff deal? What trades do you think we are capable of?

I just dont see what we could do that would make a big difference and not create holes somewhere else.

Go have a look at an NHL transaction list, all your questions will be answered.

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#47 DieHard
August 10 2012, 04:28PM
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I'm sorry. I'm going into the next season with high hopes and (like all of you should) Stanley Cup aspirations. This, by the way, means making the playoffs. Too many "experts" here and not enough fans. Screw reality! We have a chance.

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#48 OilClog
August 10 2012, 04:33PM
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@DSF

If opposing coaches figure out the powerplay.. Yeah, ok.

Focusing on one thing? Because of one comment?

Regardless of your opinion, if they didn't blow so many games in ridiculously different ways last season, they would of been higher then 29th in the standings. With the most serious late game collapses coming early in the season, stats dont tell the whole picture.

Maybe you did..maybe you didnt dsf.. I watched the games last season it had the potential to break 80pts if they knew how to protect a lead. If they can improve in 3rd period play.. All stats will improve shots for, shots against.. Maybe I'm a complete baboon, and flow, emotions, and good old blood pumping determination mean nothing when you're feeling good about yourself.

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#49 DSF
August 10 2012, 05:22PM
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OilClog wrote:

If opposing coaches figure out the powerplay.. Yeah, ok.

Focusing on one thing? Because of one comment?

Regardless of your opinion, if they didn't blow so many games in ridiculously different ways last season, they would of been higher then 29th in the standings. With the most serious late game collapses coming early in the season, stats dont tell the whole picture.

Maybe you did..maybe you didnt dsf.. I watched the games last season it had the potential to break 80pts if they knew how to protect a lead. If they can improve in 3rd period play.. All stats will improve shots for, shots against.. Maybe I'm a complete baboon, and flow, emotions, and good old blood pumping determination mean nothing when you're feeling good about yourself.

Let's assume for a moment that all the Oilers need to do is win 5 more of the games where they "blew a lead" (It's quite likely their opponents turned up the heat rather than the Oilers collapsing).

So, they have 10 more points in the standings.

But, all else being equal, Minnesota has improved dramatically so the Oilers might finish 13th instead of 14th in the WC.

It's not the big deal you think it is.

"Breaking 80 points" means nothing except a slightly worse draft choice.

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#50 Dog Train
August 10 2012, 05:32PM
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New coach, mostly same players plus two super rookies. I am thinking that 13th or 12th is right about where I'd have them too. Sometimes the truth hurts.

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