PLEASANTVILLE (UPDATE: HALL SIGNS!)

Lowetide
August 22 2012 11:07AM

The Edmonton Oilers have procured boatloads of elite level young talent. That requires a loyal fanbase, an owner willing to buy in (or in this case suggest) on a rebuild, an effective scouting group and time. To build a winner, there are a few other elements.

ATTENTION TO DETAIL, PATIENCE

"More recently, the Red Wings have been able to build around good players--not only good players, but great players. They did a good job drafting other guys, now they can be patient with their other players. Kenny (Holland) can argue that it's a strategy, I think it is more a product of how deep they are. I think more often than not, you succeed by leaving your guys--like a fine wine--to let them play in the minors. I remember being so envious of Kenny over, say the last three to five years. He was so matter of fact about what was going to happen to his team next year and the year after. 'We have this guy, he's going to fit in here.'  It was all going to fall into place because he knew he had Datsyuk signed. He knew he had Zetterberg signed. He had Lidstrom signed for two more years. With those guys, you can win."

-KEVIN LOWE, Behind the Moves

I believe there is a lot of the Oilers current roadmap in that quote. The signings of Hall and Eberle--perhaps imminent based on credible sources like Ryan Rishaug--would represent the first two of four 'franchise' contracts to be negotiated during the last days of the rebuild. Get those gentlemen signed to reasonable, long term deals and it sets the outer marker for Nuge, Nail and the rest.

The other item--and this may partly explain the inertia displayed by the Oilers after noontime July 1--is that the club may finally be willing to 'roll their own' role players via the AHL. Although we've been talking about a guy like Teemu Hartikainen for a long time now, he is still not a waiver worry this fall! The Oilers could send him down and have him play in OKC for another season. That's what Detroit would do, difference being it is going to be very difficult to argue that Hartikainen is outside the 12 best forwards on the team--Magnus Paajarvi too for that matter.

THE RIGHT MEN IN THE RIGHT JOB

Detroit always seems to have the right man in the right spot. Although there are some short term missteps (Dave Lewis as head coach), they are quickly fixed in a precise manner and things roll along as usual. The Oilers have been doing some fine addition in this area over the years, with (imo) Stu MacGregor and Todd Nelson clearly quality in their roles.

The jury is out on the front office trio of Tambellini, Lowe and MacTavish but in fairness the decisions made so far--since the owner suggested rebuild Feb 2010--have had more to do with the draft table than signings and trades. I'd count management victories over the last 5 years as the hiring of Stu MacGregor in his current role, retaining Ales Hemsky, bringing back Ryan Smyth, improving the farm system and winning the Justin Schultz sweepstakes.  Your mileage may vary.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

We've been in a black and white, two channel world for several years now but the foundation seems solid, the leaks are slowing being fixed and the improvements up front give massive curb appeal.

Upate: word from Bob McKenzie's twitter is that the Oilers and Taylor Hall have concluded negotiations on a 7-year, $42M contract. MUSIC! 

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Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at lowetide.ca. He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on Team 1260.
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#1 freeze
August 22 2012, 12:15PM
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Hall's contract will look even better once the new CBA gives it a bit of a shave.

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#2 pelhem grenville
August 22 2012, 11:12AM
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...please ...someone ....fire our GM

...despite what are now being called "management victories"

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#3 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
August 22 2012, 11:19AM
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Spydyr wrote:

The holes on the current squad are so big you could drive a train through them.

Goaltending Defense Center

That's half the team.

As it sits right now: Avg 1C, Avg 2C, Above Avg 3C, Above Avg 4C.

Need an average goalie a first pairing Dman and a depth Dman (4/5).

Outside of a 1D, the rest is childs play

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#5 David S
August 22 2012, 12:13PM
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Looks like Hall and Ebs are going to have solid gold big boy beds now.

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#6 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
August 22 2012, 12:56PM
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Spydyr wrote:

I realize it takes into account more than points alone.

Contributing to scoring and stoping goals is all that matters.

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#7 Pat Hughes ruled
August 22 2012, 12:20PM
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If Ebs gets the same, between the two of them you could tell all other Oilers that you will not make more than these two. Detroit used that strategy with #5 and it seemed to work out well.

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#8 Lexi
August 22 2012, 12:39PM
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I think it's a great deal for the franchise. They basically went all-in with Hall the moment they picked him 1st overall, so I am comfortable with the long term risk of the deal. It gives some long term stability to the franchise.

The cap hit would be 48th in the league this year and I've got to think he should be a top 50 player in the next couple of years unless injuries completely derail him. Let's face it if Hall isn't a top 50 player the rebuild will stall no matter how much he is paid. I look at a team like Colorado and their rebuild is pretty dependent on Duchene getting back on track to being an elite player.

The best comparison I can do is Hall's average cap hit over the next 5 years is only $300K a year more than Wideman's.

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#9 OilLeak
August 22 2012, 12:43PM
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Spydyr wrote:

My take

Above Avg 1C below Avg 2C Avg 3C Below Avg 4C

Need a starting Goalie definitely above Avg

Top pairing D and Mid 3/4 pairing D

More size and grit in the top 6

Key words: As it sits right now.

RNH is at this point of his career still at average 1st line center, due to his short comings like his road production, defensive game, and faceoff ability. He will most likely be an above average 1st line center in his career, but at this point he is not.

Gagner is at least an average 2nd line center, calling him below average at this point due to perceived lake of intangibles or size is just wrong. Look at his production viewed side-by-side with other 2nd line centers and you'll see that he compares quite favourably.

Horcoff is an above average 3rd line center as he has had to do the teams dirty work for years while not getting absolutely runned over, he will benefit with some easier assignments over the next few years.

Belanger SHOULD be an above average 4th line center as his track record indicates that he was an above average 3rd line center for a great deal of time. Even with a considerable drop in his overall play, Belanger should improve next season and fill the role of a quality 4th line center very well, poor complementary wingers not withstanding.

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#10 BurkeTheTurd
August 22 2012, 01:15PM
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@Lexi

"The best comparison I can do is Hall's average cap hit over the next 5 years is only $300K a year more than Wideman's"

HAHAH, AWESOME

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#11 Rama Lama
August 22 2012, 03:27PM
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Lowetide wrote:

Agreed.

Really man.....would not have everyone done the same thing?? His contract was due to expire next year, the CBA is ongoing, and others have to be signed?

This hardly consitutes a management victory........if Tamby want to impress us, do something totally on your own, that the fanbase is not expecting. A major trade for current unperforming talent, acquistion of draft choices, sigining a UFA that no one expects to come here, now that would be impressive.

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#12 BurkeTheTurd
August 22 2012, 11:40AM
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Hoping by end of today Hall and Ebs are locked up for 7 or 8 years.

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#13 Shredder
August 22 2012, 12:40PM
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This has me so excited for hockey...let's get this CBA figured out and start on time, because I'm pumped! Hall probably more so, and we all know what a pumped up and excited Hall is like!

"Ebs! Ebs! Ebs! Guess what?! Guess what?! I signed a new contract today! By the way, what's a millionaire? Does it mean I have to tie my own shoe laces now?" "No Taylor, I can still do that for you. It just means you get to play hockey everyday for 8 more years." "YAY! I'm going to score a goal!" "Yeah you will." "Ebs, you're not mad at me are you? Are you grumpy because I won the TSN under 26 voter challenge?" "You can win that, I'll win the contract negotiation. You got $6M, I'm going to get $6.25M" "Awwww. That's not fair!"

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#14 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
August 22 2012, 12:51PM
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Spydyr wrote:

My take

Above Avg 1C below Avg 2C Avg 3C Below Avg 4C

Need a starting Goalie definitely above Avg

Top pairing D and Mid 3/4 pairing D

More size and grit in the top 6

Then you don't realize what average is accross the NHL.

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#15 Milli
August 22 2012, 04:44PM
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OH DAMN!!!!!! THIS HAS BEEN A GREAT OILER SUMMER!!!!! WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME A PLAYER WANTED TO STAY!!!!!

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#16 pelhem grenville
August 23 2012, 06:24AM
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Lowetide wrote:

pelham: I don't know that the GM can be credited with a lot of those victories. Smyth traded himself, Hemsky negotiated with Lowe, MacGregor and his group drafted the kids.

I don't know that Tambellini is the wrong man in the GMs chair, but I don't know if he's the right guy either.

Suspect the Hall/Eberle contracts will be major tells.

...your point is well taken, I can see you are clearly sitting on the fence though and i wish you wouldn't say "i don't know" because you sir DO KNOW ...MacT has a Masters in Business and while I think he was supposed to get the coaching job in Van City after Vigneault failed to get his team a SC two years in a row MacT always had the trump card that is his position now with the Oilers...[see OldBoysClub]not sure what our GMs' credentials [educationally speaking] are but I find him to be the weakest link in the chain of [command]management...and so now that that Hall is signed and everyone is falling all over themselves with the news people are in fact crediting our GM... some say it makes sense that it was our GM who did the work but for me it was MacT who put the paper in front of #4, it was Kevin who put the pen in his hand and it was Bobby Orr who said over the speaker phone ... Do It Kid, trust me you won't regret it... oh and our GM was sent out to get the fruit trays at Safeway for the office party...

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#17 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
August 23 2012, 08:28AM
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Wäx Män Riley wrote:

I had to think about your reply for a few mins, but you're right. They kinda earned a spot, then couldn't cut it for the season. I expect to see them both where they belong this year: OKC.

And there is nothing wrong with 21 year olds playing on the farm. That is what it is for.

It's the fan mantra every fall "cut vetran A that isn't giving 100% in a meaningless pre-season game and keep rookie B, because he's just trying so hard"

I remember when Lander made the team how happy everyone here was that justice was finally served that a guy got the well deserved NHL roster spot because he looked good over a couple of weeks against sub par competition.

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#18 Clyde Frog
August 22 2012, 11:09AM
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It's pretty true when you have 4 of your top 6 and an elite #1 all locked up every year; it takes a hell of a lot of pressure off the GM to plug holes NOW.

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#19 Spydyr
August 22 2012, 11:13AM
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The holes on the current squad are so big you could drive a train through them.

Goaltending Defense Center

That's half the team.

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#20 BlacqueJacque
August 22 2012, 11:15AM
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Every time I read that the rebuild was Katz's idea, I get a little bit depressed that our management crew didn't have the collective brainpower to realize it was necessary.

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#21 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
August 22 2012, 11:17AM
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DSF will love this one.

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#23 VK63
August 22 2012, 11:29AM
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Future viagra commercial alert!

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#24 Mantastic
August 22 2012, 11:35AM
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Hall signs to a 7 year deal at $6m avv

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#25 Shredder
August 22 2012, 11:45AM
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Hallsy is here for 8 more years (7 as part of the new contract, 1 on his existing). Great news. $6M is a good number, and in 8 years, that will be a steal. Beware though: 2020 will come quicker than you think.

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#26 John Chambers
August 22 2012, 11:49AM
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Lowetide wrote:

that's a very good contract. McKenzie has it at 6M times 7 years. Very good deal!

Arguably Tambellini's best move as GM. Sets a great precedent to keep the core together very cost-effectively.

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#27 The Soup Fascist
August 22 2012, 11:50AM
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So is that 2 or 3 years of his UFA status under the expiring CBA?

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#28 PaperDesigner
August 22 2012, 11:51AM
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If Steve Tambellini gives more money to Eberle than to Hall, we officially know he is literally two decades behind.

I could almost understand giving them identical contracts, as if the cap hit is low enough, it might send the message to Yakupov and Nugent-Hopkins that they will have to take money in the same range. If the cap hit for both of them is long-term and under six million, I could live with overpaying Eberle slightly.

If they give Hall six and Eberle 6.5, though, they're just begging for Yakupov and Nugent-Hopkins to demand seven or eight coming off of superior offensive seasons.

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#29 Crash
August 22 2012, 11:52AM
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The Soup Fascist wrote:

So is that 2 or 3 years of his UFA status under the expiring CBA?

It's 3 yrs

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#31 OILERSORDEATH
August 22 2012, 11:54AM
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Wooooo! Way to go Hallsy! Congrats to ya now a millionare!

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#32 PaperDesigner
August 22 2012, 11:54AM
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Six million? I can deal with that. As long as Eberle is at or below the same number...

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#33 RexLibris
August 22 2012, 11:56AM
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BlacqueJacque wrote:

Every time I read that the rebuild was Katz's idea, I get a little bit depressed that our management crew didn't have the collective brainpower to realize it was necessary.

I've done a series over at FlamesNation about rebuilds and one major factor that keeps recurring is that it almost always has to come from the very top.

Don Maloney tried to tear the team down and rebuild when he was the Islanders GM back in the 90s. The fans revolted and he was fired. Instead they put Mike Milbury in his place.

Oops.

If Tambellini, or Lowe for that matter, went to Katz and said "let me trade this rag-tag group away, stink the joint up for a couple of years, and then we'll come on like a house on fire" Katz may have inquired about his employee's prescriptions. But because Katz had the intellectual honesty (I love throwing that word in here) to admit that things weren't working and that the painful process was the right medicine (last pharmacy joke, I promise) it can be implemented systemically.

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#34 PaperDesigner
August 22 2012, 11:56AM
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Would Ebrle be willing to take six at 5.75 per?

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#35 RexLibris
August 22 2012, 11:58AM
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I think the best thing about the Hall signing is that $6 million a year is now the line in the sand. If Eberle, Yakupov and perhaps even Nugent-Hopkins (though I'd go a little higher for a center) all come in around that number we will be set.

I'd like to hear what all the doomsayers say now. I imagine they will compare the length of this contract to the DiPietro one and troll about Hall being injured the entire duration.

Trolls = envy = we're doing something right.

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#36 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
August 22 2012, 12:03PM
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Great deal! Hopefully Eberle comes in a bit below, but even 6 million wouldn't be horrible.

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#37 John Chambers
August 22 2012, 12:03PM
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@Lowetide

It's a great deal, noquestion. I hope the backhandedness of the compliment isn't lost in the interpretation.

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#38 Spydyr
August 22 2012, 12:05PM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

As it sits right now: Avg 1C, Avg 2C, Above Avg 3C, Above Avg 4C.

Need an average goalie a first pairing Dman and a depth Dman (4/5).

Outside of a 1D, the rest is childs play

My take

Above Avg 1C below Avg 2C Avg 3C Below Avg 4C

Need a starting Goalie definitely above Avg

Top pairing D and Mid 3/4 pairing D

More size and grit in the top 6

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#39 BlacqueJacque
August 22 2012, 12:06PM
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Do we even know if it was Tambo that did the deal?

Given how involved Lowe was with Schultz and Hemsky...

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#40 book¡e
August 22 2012, 12:07PM
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BlacqueJacque wrote:

Every time I read that the rebuild was Katz's idea, I get a little bit depressed that our management crew didn't have the collective brainpower to realize it was necessary.

I remember reports of Tambellini pushing for it with resistance from Lowe and Katz at first. Katz eventually bought in, but I think Tambellini was the driver.

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#41 Truth
August 22 2012, 12:07PM
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Great signing. You can build a team around Hall, no doubt about it.

I hope Eberle gets the exact same contract.

And then I hope the new CBA is for all drafted players to get 3 contracts as an RFA including the first, no matter the length. Dreaming, I know.

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#42 Spydyr
August 22 2012, 12:07PM
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Nice for Hall now do Ebs.RNH next year would be nice too.

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#43 etownman
August 22 2012, 12:29PM
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The 'Detroit Way' was to raid small market teams early to mid 90's to supplement Yzerman & later Lidstrom! FA signings like Shanny, Hull etc. is what drove that boat & there going to showing cracks right away, in fact they already have! See anybody wanting to go there now! Down hill for the wheels!

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#44 Oilers Al
August 22 2012, 12:36PM
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Great news. and good deal for both parties. I think this deal has the imprint and fortitude, not to mention dollars, of Mr. Katz.This is the right way to do it !. Why go to the trouble of rebuilding via the draft, if your not going to step up to signing these kids to long term deals, especially when you cannot attract UFA's and developed star players. This is a no brainer. Eberle, RNH, Yak, and Schultz coming up.

Now Tambelini, do something, and fix the veteran line up on this team.. including a goalie.

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#45 Bigfan
August 22 2012, 12:43PM
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Great news!

Now sign Eberle for the same - exactly the same. And let Nuge and Nail and all the others know the ceiling has been set. Real teambuilding!

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#46 Jonathan Willis
August 22 2012, 12:44PM
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They did a good job drafting other guys, now they can be patient with their other players. Kenny (Holland) can argue that it's a strategy, I think it is more a product of how deep they are. I think more often than not, you succeed by leaving your guys--like a fine wine--to let them play in the minors.

I remember when I first read that quote, and I thought to myself, 'Kevin, why doesn't your team ever leave young players in the minors the way you suggest?'

Then I noticed the bit where he called it a byproduct of depth rather than a strategy, and I sighed resignedly.

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#47 Spydyr
August 22 2012, 12:53PM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

Then you don't realize what average is accross the NHL.

I realize it takes into account more than points alone.

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#48 Spydyr
August 22 2012, 12:59PM
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OilLeak wrote:

Key words: As it sits right now.

RNH is at this point of his career still at average 1st line center, due to his short comings like his road production, defensive game, and faceoff ability. He will most likely be an above average 1st line center in his career, but at this point he is not.

Gagner is at least an average 2nd line center, calling him below average at this point due to perceived lake of intangibles or size is just wrong. Look at his production viewed side-by-side with other 2nd line centers and you'll see that he compares quite favourably.

Horcoff is an above average 3rd line center as he has had to do the teams dirty work for years while not getting absolutely runned over, he will benefit with some easier assignments over the next few years.

Belanger SHOULD be an above average 4th line center as his track record indicates that he was an above average 3rd line center for a great deal of time. Even with a considerable drop in his overall play, Belanger should improve next season and fill the role of a quality 4th line center very well, poor complementary wingers not withstanding.

As it sits right now.I agree with most of your points.

I was thinking more moving forward.It is not like they are going to win the cup this year.

Gagner may have the points but all the intangibles are pointing downward as a number 2 center.

Horcoff was an above average 3 center two years ago.Unfortunately he was playing 1 center.

Belanger appears to be on the downside off his career but may have a bounce back year,

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#50 Lexi
August 22 2012, 01:36PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:
They did a good job drafting other guys, now they can be patient with their other players. Kenny (Holland) can argue that it's a strategy, I think it is more a product of how deep they are. I think more often than not, you succeed by leaving your guys--like a fine wine--to let them play in the minors.

I remember when I first read that quote, and I thought to myself, 'Kevin, why doesn't your team ever leave young players in the minors the way you suggest?'

Then I noticed the bit where he called it a byproduct of depth rather than a strategy, and I sighed resignedly.

JW,

Does it not seem like the Oilers have possibly learned this lesson and have been slowly addressing the depth issue, through better drafting/development and fielding a competive AHL team. It takes a long time when your cupboard is as bare as the Oilers system was 5 years ago, which has forced them to rush Gagner, PRV, Lander and others.

My belief is the plan is to build around the 3 or 4 young superstars, with the best support for the superstars in a cap world being young guys on their entry level contracts, which will hopefully come from the soon blooming, well drafted depth this team will hopefully have. Then the hope is there is enough cap room to fill in a easily identified hole with a vet looking to play for a contender, whether it is a big Centre, gritty player, top 4 D or top 20 goalie.

I like how they are accumulating D prospects and how they are treating the young goalies in the last few years.

Of course until some young guys like Teubert or Pitlick turns out as legit NHLers due to patience this is just "lip service" and is the biggest unanswered question for me about our management's competence.

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