6-6-6: NUMBER OF THE BEAST

Robin Brownlee
August 24 2012 09:22AM

Taylor Hall is a terrific young player and I don't have much doubt that, in the context of "market value" in today's NHL, he will be worth every penny of the $42 million big stack the Edmonton Oilers will pay him during the seven-year extension they just signed him to.

While I do have issues with a market that's deemed it necessary for teams to cough up the kind of dough we've seen thrown around at players two years into entry level contracts or just coming out of them -- as anybody listening to the Jason Gregor Show the last couple of days will know – that's the price point in dollars and term that's been set. Unwisely so, but here we are.

Would the Oilers, who've flushed countless bundles of lettuce down the toilet with bad contracts to lesser players since the 2006 Stanley Cup run, have been smart to ignore the market that's been set and play hardball with Hall, the next captain of the team, in the name of fiscal responsibility? Three guesses.

Framed in that context, I won't have a problem when the Oilers announce they've inked Jordan Eberle to exactly the same cap hit, give or take $100,000, in coming days, which they will. And I won't be unhappy about one year from now when the sign Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to the same dollars and term.

That's 6-6-6 for three players who, despite the length of term, will still be on the right side of 30 when the contracts expire. That's fixing your price point and buying some UFA years for three players who'll be Oilers property for the most productive years of their careers.

That, Steve Tambellini haters, is an astute move.

THE OTHER MONEY

With the big ticket items set, or about to be over the next year, what the Oilers and Tambellini have to do from here on out is get a whole lot better at taking care of the relatively small change (rookie Nail Yakupov, Ales Hemsky and Sam Gagner notwithstanding) when it comes to the rest of the roster. In other words, they'll need some value contracts.

While we've seen teams run into difficulty on that front before – the Chicago Blackhawks come to mind – paying your top end and core players what the market dictates can be done, but you've got to watch the little deals so that big ones make sense. Not rocket science, or it shouldn’t be.

Jonathan Willis, all the writers here actually, have touched on Tambellini's penchant for spending an extra $100,000 (or more) here or an extra $100,000 there for players further down the pecking order when filling spots outside the team's top six forwards, top four defensemen and starting goaltender.

Shawn Horcoff's contract, in term and dollars, is obviously a millstone the team will have to ride out. Nikolai Khabibulin's punitive pact mercifully runs out after this season. Those are the obvious overpays but what's done is done. What Tambellini has to do from here on out moving forward is be better at getting value outside those top 11 spots.

Overpays for role players on the third and fourth lines and third pairings on defense, when taken individually, might not raise red flags, but collectively they will cripple a team paying the marquee guys on the top end, as the Oilers intend to do with Hall, Eberle and Nugent-Hopkins. This is not a revelation, is it? Watch the pennies, the dollars will take of themselves.

The devil, as always, is in the details.

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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#51 Sanaa Montana
August 24 2012, 01:34PM
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I heard 666 was also the number on the Monster Energy drink, in Hebrew. Taylor Hall will be a monster with the energy and skill he will provide for years to come.

Given their play and stats, Eberle shouldn't get a penny less than Hall when he re-signs.

My question is: do the Oilers re-sign Smid to a long-fair contract extension in the near future?

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#52 DSF
August 24 2012, 01:37PM
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Reg Dunlop wrote:

Hey DSF

From my understanding, a prospect is defined as a hopeful yet to play a game. By definition, none of the defencemen on your list are prospects. So, J Schultz IS one of the best 22 year old D prospects.

All team's young players are a year more mature and a year closer to reaching their potential. True enough, but no other team has the quality and quantity of young players, not even close.

Not a lot of teams HAVE stud 22 year old defensemen who have never played an NHL game so your point is kinda moot.

Most teams with exceptional young D already have them in the lineup as the list I provided indicates.

As for your last point, I think your goggles may have fogged up.

While not all teams have had the benefit of 3 first overall picks in a row, there are teams that have both quality AND more balance in their young players.

Depending how on you define "young players" you should likely take a look at Florida's and Colorado's prospect pools before making rash statements like that.

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#53 Quicksilver ballet
August 24 2012, 01:38PM
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@OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

Not true Obbie, all of those guys were younger than Justin Schultz when they were rookies.

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#54 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
August 24 2012, 01:40PM
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@Quicksilver ballet

"and is older than"

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#55 Team Hall
August 24 2012, 01:41PM
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So let me get this straight Rubes, you say its the owners faults for throwing around big dollars at players, but then, with the other side of your mouth, praise the oilers throwing 6M per at an entry level player.

You know why? It's a competition, Owners have no choice but to throw big dollars at players if they want to keep them.

So it is the CBA's fault, and not the owners faults, after all.

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#56 Reg Dunlop
August 24 2012, 01:41PM
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Serendipity.

If Pronger had remained an Oiler, if Heatly or Vanek had been inclined to move north... we would not have Hall, RNH or comrade Yak. We would be indistinguishable from the flames, hanging on to mediocrity. Does anyone remember 1978? The oil tried desperately to lure a marquee player, first Marcel Dionne then Stan Smyl. No dice, but then a young man named Gretzky fell into our laps followed by a decade of dominance. The stars are aligned, folks.

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#57 Hammers
August 24 2012, 01:41PM
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All the more reason to sign Magnus say a 5 year $ 2 to 2.5 million per . $ 12 million perhaps . WE can all evaluate Hall , Ebs , RNH, & Yak but Tambellini & Co still twiddle there thumbs on Gags & Magnus . They need to start making the tough decisions that make you a Great not Good team .

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#58 Velo
August 24 2012, 01:44PM
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DSF wrote:

No they're about the same.

Problem is one costs twice as much as the other.

I'm a happier person at the moment after reading this!

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#59 DSF
August 24 2012, 01:46PM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

Hi liar

Gardiner, Doughty, Spurgeon and Scandella are all older then Schultz. That's 4 lies in one post.

Is that a record?

Birth dates:

Schultz - July 1990

Gardiner - July 1990

Doughty - Dec. 1989

Scandella - Feb 1990

Spurgeon - Dec 1989

All within hailing distance and all, except Shultz, with NHL games on their resumes.

Point stands.

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#60 Reg Dunlop
August 24 2012, 01:47PM
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@DSF

The point remains. Schultz is a prospect and the young players you mention are not.

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#61 Quicksilver ballet
August 24 2012, 01:52PM
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@OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

Digital hug coming your way Obbie...

Wait for it, wait for it.....ah, there you go, how's that big guy.

Happy weekend eh.

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#62 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
August 24 2012, 02:06PM
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DSF wrote:

Birth dates:

Schultz - July 1990

Gardiner - July 1990

Doughty - Dec. 1989

Scandella - Feb 1990

Spurgeon - Dec 1989

All within hailing distance and all, except Shultz, with NHL games on their resumes.

Point stands.

Point doesn't stand, as usual you are fudging the truth to try and get your point accross.

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#63 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
August 24 2012, 02:09PM
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@Quicksilver ballet

Thanks buddy.

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#64 Wax Man Riley
August 24 2012, 02:23PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Digital hug coming your way Obbie...

Wait for it, wait for it.....ah, there you go, how's that big guy.

Happy weekend eh.

I WANT ONE TOO!!!

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#65 Slats
August 24 2012, 03:04PM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

Hi liar

Gardiner, Doughty, Spurgeon and Scandella are all older then Schultz. That's 4 lies in one post.

Is that a record?

. . . .and posted Jake Gardiner's name twice to make the list look longer!!! Outlandish!

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#66 Shredder
August 24 2012, 03:19PM
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I know you guys have been chatting about this all day, but I just tuned in...

I fully expect the Oilers, with their abundance of draft picks, to be able to fill bottom 6 roles and bottom pairing defence roles, and maybe even backup goalie roles through the farm.

THat's just my vote though.

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#67 RexLibris
August 24 2012, 04:02PM
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Must post comment #67! Beware the Beast for he looks like Olli Jokinen and skates like Derian Hatcher.

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#68 Cheap Shot Charlie
August 24 2012, 04:17PM
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@DSF

It's nice to come on here and have 2 things that are always consistent.

1) You always pick apart posts without offering any creative solutions or view points

2) I will ALWAYS love you! *HUG*

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#69 Crash
August 24 2012, 05:06PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Many here would rather read DSF's take here than your ship Crash. 3 first overalls in a row is above questioning?

Nothing wrong with his criticisms, most of us are thinking along the same lines with this club, he's just thinking outloud.

Maybe if you ask DSF nicely, he could send you an auto'd 8 x 10....no?

And as I've mentioned before, you're just a waste of time...

Can't help that you don't understand what a rebuild is and I don't need to ask DSF anything....it is more full of crap than you are.....and trust me, that's a big chore.

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#71 Raine
August 24 2012, 05:43PM
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Now when do we move Hemsky and his bloated 5 million dollar contract. Horcoff and Khabibulin aren't the only over inflated contracts left on this team.

Some may argue the worth of the contract, but when it comes to this Oilers team Hemsky is the odd man out.

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#72 Sean
August 24 2012, 06:27PM
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I would of liked it to be a 10 yr deal, :c

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#73 DSF
August 24 2012, 06:31PM
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Reg Dunlop wrote:

The point remains. Schultz is a prospect and the young players you mention are not.

Exactly my point.

They are already actual NHL players.

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#74 Dog Train
August 24 2012, 08:31PM
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Superstars can make a team good. Depth can make a team great. How good/great the Oilers become and how long they stay there will be the true test of management's abilities. Stu and his crew will need to keep finding hidden gems in the mid to late rounds to help round out our roster at a decent price point.

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#75 Wax Man Riley
August 24 2012, 11:57PM
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DSF wrote:

Exactly my point.

They are already actual NHL players.

That is a ridiculous point, DSF. He was playing university hockey until now with no apparent desire to be in the NHL at 20 or 21. That's like saying Jason Strudwick is a better player than Crosby because he has played more games in the league.

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#76 Cowbell_Feva
August 25 2012, 02:19AM
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Bronte, you hit the nail on the head (as well as some Oilernation citizens). Great players make teams playoff material, but the role players will take that team to the promise land. I think of Chicago the year they won it all. Of course the Toews, Kanes, Keiths and Seabrooks were the anchors, but the Buffalins (i know its mispelled), Versteegs, Bollands and Brouwers made them the best that year.

As much wrath as Tambellini receives, I think he has done a pretty decent job thus far. Remember what kind of god-awful mess KLowe left the poor sap when taking the job.

We needed depth at defense. We rid the pilon with the hole in his stick Foster for Sutton. Won that trade. Took a chance on a 3rd overall draft pick on a one year deal with Barker. Didn't work out, but had the potential to be one heck of a steal. No harm there. Exchanged Gilbert for Schultz for defensive purposes, yet Schultz was actually adding points as well. Needed grit. Brought in Eager. Not Tambi's fault Eager thinks he's top 6. Needed help on the dot. In comes Belanger. Obviously he struggled last year, but I fault Renney for putting Horcoff out for critical faceoffs last year, when a)Belanger is 5x's better at it and b) thats why he was brought in. From a GMs point of view he filled holes with players who should have been able to fill them.

As this team develops into a playoff team over the next few years, these role players that will be added will be the real indication for me as to whether Tambi knows what hes doing.

Saying that, I still think we have below average defense and suspect goaltending. Until those areas are addressed, I fear we will be forever in lottery-land...whenever there is hockey again.

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#77 Gazmort
August 25 2012, 09:44AM
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@DSF

DSF, I've asked this many times on other threads and you always seem to disregard it. I'll ask again: do you have anything positive to say about the Oilers?

There are good things that the team does, but your inability to acknowledge these things affects your credibility with respect to criticizing the teams real or perceived missteps. You come across as unreasonably biased.

Hopefully you answer my honest inquiry with more than "don't read my posts if you don't like them". It's an honest question I've put forth, and I'm genuinely interested to hear your reply.

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#78 JohnQPublic
August 25 2012, 10:27AM
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668 - the neighbour of the beast

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#79 Czar
August 25 2012, 07:05PM
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justDOit wrote:

Woe to you, oh Earth and Sea...

Hall is that Beast!

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#80 Marshall Law
August 25 2012, 10:06PM
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@DSF

Although reports dictated that Hemsky was healthy entering last year, it would be impossible to look at the season in retrospect and say that he was ready to play when the season started.

He came back too early, played tentatively, and ultimately re-injured himself before getting a chance to re-establish his game. He was worried about his upcoming UFA status and thus rushed himself back into action when he should have allowed himself more time to strengthen his shoulder.

It's hard to label someone as healthy when they pop out their shoulder while making a soft pass across the neutral zone.

In short, to say that Hemsky put up 36 points in a "healthy" season is colouring the situation a bit, I would say.

At full strength, Hemsky is still one of the most talented players in hockey.

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