TWO BUYOUTS THIS SUMMER?

Jason Gregor
January 03 2013 11:26AM

The twitterverse was buzzing this morning after Micheal Grange tweeted the NHL has agreed to two compliance buyouts per team for the 2013/2014 season. Sadly it didn't include Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr, but it still got most fan's attention. The interesting part is that the buyouts will allegedly come from the player's share of HRR.

Within in moments many were speculating how the Edmonton Oilers would appoach this scenario. I'm not sure two buyouts is likely, but one could happen.

Whether teams take advantage of both buyouts will depend on what next year's salary cap will be. All arrows point to it being around $60 million, which would be $10 million less than this year, and that would put a lot of teams in a cap crunch.

The Oilers salary situation for next year looks like this: 

Forwards (9) Cap hit
   
Taylor Hall $6 million
Jordan Eberle $6 million
Shawn Horcoff $5.5 million
Ales Hemsky  $5 million
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins $3.75 million
Nail Yakupov $3.75 million
Ryan Smyth $2.25 million
Eric Belanger  $1.75 million
Ben Eager  $1.1 million
   
D-men (4)  
Justin Schultz $3.75 million
Nick Schultz $3.5 million
Jeff Petry $1.75 million
Corey Potter $775,000
   
Goalies (1)  
Devan Dubnyk $3.75 million
   
Total (14) $48.625 million

That means the Oilers would need to sign 9 players for $11.375 million. That would include Ladislav Smid who likely will be around $3.5-4 million, and another top-four D-man, possibly Ryan Whitney.

The obvious buyout for the Oilers is Shawn Horcoff. He has a cap hit of $5.5 million, but he will be owed $7 million. It would be a $4.69 million buyout (going off the 2/3 formula that currently exists for players like Horcoff). None of it would count against the cap.

Horcoff would have value on this team in the future because you need some veteran experience down the middle. If he was their 3rd line centre making $3 million I doubt many would complain. However, the problem is, he carries a $5.5 million cap hit and that is too much to pay your 3rd line centre.

The reality is you need strength down the middle to win, and if the Oilers buyout Horcoff they are pretty thin at centre.

The current list of free agent centres who would be available this summer, and who could fill a 3rd line role, isn't that long. Ideally the Oilers would sign a 3rd line centre with some size and a decent scoring punch, but there aren't many of those players available.

Drew Miller, Matt Cullen, Saiku Koivu, Boyd Gordon, Manny Malhotra, Matthew Lombardi, David Steckel, and Jeff Halpern would be available if they don't re-sign. I doubt Detroit lets Miller walk, so Gordon might be the most attractive but he hasn't shown much offensive flair during his career.

The Oilers could look at Nathan Horton and Andy McDonald, but they are more 2nd liners and both have a history of concussions.

Buying out Horcoff would make financial sense for the Oilers, but who they replace him with is the issue. They could promote Eric Belanger, but he'd need to rebound from a brutal 2011/2012 season for that to make sense. Anton Lander would need an incredible second half in the American League to get any serious consideration. I think Lander will be a solid 3rd liner in a few years.

The Oilers don't have a lot of depth down the middle, and while buying out Horcoff frees up a lot of cap space, it would open up another area of weakness on the team.

The other option might be trading Horcoff. A team that needs to get to the cap floor would love Horcoff's contract, because they pay him less money than his actual cap hit. The only potential snag with that idea is that he has a modified no movement clause this summer.

If they don't facilitate a trade, buying him out would make the most sense financially.

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#51 Andrew
January 03 2013, 04:03PM
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Taylor Gang wrote:

Its pretty safe to say most fans wouldn't mind that at all ;)

Agreed. I think MOST Edmonton fans could agree Horcoff is a valuable player at the right price.

So going by Gregor's numbers...

If you buy-out Horcoff and pay him 4.69 mil (instead of the 7 mil he is owed on the contract) and then sign him to a 3-year deal worth 3.45 mil

Year 1 - 1.15mil Year 2 - 1.15mil Year 3 - 1.15mil

He makes the same money in Year 1 & 2 (where he is already under contract) and then he gets a one year extension for 1.15mil.

I think everyone would love Horcoff on a 1.15mil cap hit

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#52 Andrew
January 03 2013, 04:06PM
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@JMC88

I see your point.

The way I see it is that you make that deal WITH Horcoff before the buy-out...And it is heavily relying on the assumption that Horcoff would want to an extension here and that he would want to do some good for the team.

Probably a dangerous assumption...

But the guy seems to be of the Ryan Smyth school of Edmonton, so I couldn't see why he wouldn't want to help the time if it meant he made the SAME money. It can only mean a better team, and hence a better chance of winning?

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#53 Andrew
January 03 2013, 04:07PM
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Wow I need spelling/grammer help. Haha

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#54 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
January 03 2013, 04:10PM
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The other option might be trading Horcoff. A team that needs to get to the cap floor would love Horcoff's contract, because they pay him less money than his actual cap hit. The only potential snag with that idea is that he has a modified no movement clause this summer.

Well they would love it if he were making 2 mil or something like that with a 5.5mil cap hit, but he's making 4mil and 3mil. One can argue that at 3mil not too bad, but by the time he's making 3mil he might not even be worth 2mil.

Best part about this is we have time. Not just Horcoff either. Maybe come the end of this season we realize that there is no room for Ben Eager and simply buy him out to open up a roster spot. The crazy debates will go on for months, will worry about it at a later date.

As a side question. Any reason why they wouldn't lift the whole you can't re-sign with the club that bought you out?

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#55 Taylor Gang
January 03 2013, 04:16PM
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JMC88 wrote:

@Andrew

That idea might work in principle, but I would be shocked to see it work between the Oilers and Horcoff.

Kind of like kicking the ex-girlfriend out of the apartment, then paying her to come back to clean the toilet.

Can't see it happening.

That was an awful analogy

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#56 gr8one
January 03 2013, 05:10PM
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One thing that a lot of people seem to not realize is that if teams have the ability to buyout contracts and that other teams will be doing the same.

Which means other teams will be buying out some extremely good but overpaid hockey players and a flood of talent could be had at bargain prices.

Some potential buyout candidates could be players like Vinny Lecavalier and Brian Campbell(although good arguments could be made for their teams not buying them out)...damn, could you imagine the current roster with two UFA signings like that on cap friendly contracts? Yikes!!

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#57 Archaeologuy
January 03 2013, 05:13PM
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Maybe the Islanders will Buyout Yahsin's buyout #Inception

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#58 Ryan2
January 03 2013, 05:28PM
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As much as I would appreciate the benefits of two buyouts for the Oil as a fan, from my work perspective I hate it as it basically gives a get out of jail free card to managers that fugged up. This lack of accountability is what hurts the Oilers as an organization IMHO. In the end, the bad GMs will be in a cap space quandry within two years again regardless of how much salary room the buyouts provide them.

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#59 David S
January 03 2013, 06:24PM
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if the Oilers buyout Horcoff they are pretty thin at centre.

You cannot be serious. They're thin at center in no small part BECAUSE of Horcoff.

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#60 stevezie
January 03 2013, 06:58PM
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@David S

You mean because he sucks, or because his contract prohibits fattening the rest of the team?

If the latter: sure, but just because you get rid of him doesn't mean you'll find a replacement. It will be a gamble.
If the former, well... that's also part of the risk. Horcoff was not good last year, regardless of caphit. I think he can bounce back, but that's because I like him.

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#61 DSF
January 03 2013, 07:43PM
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otter2233 wrote:

So the Oilers are destined to mediocrity because of cap issues such as you've presented but the Wild are a future Stanley Cup contender with $28.82 million dedicated to 5 players (Parise, Suter, Koivu, Gilbert, Setoguchi)? By my math that leaves $33.18 for 18 players, assuming a $62 million cap.

I didnt include Backstrom whose $6 million comes off the books after this season or Heatley's $7.5 million which will be bought out I'm guessing. I'm basing this post on many of your previous posts on different articles praising the Wild's future...

The Wild are in very good shape if they buy out Heatley, which they will.

They will have only $44 million committed to 15 players so will have at least $16 million to sign 7 players.

They will have these players all on ELC's.

Granlund $2.1M

Dumba $1.6M

Brodin $1.4M

Coyle 975K

Phillips $970K

Larsson $870K

Zucker $833K

Graovac

Giddyup.

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#62 Tyjams
January 03 2013, 07:50PM
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Shut up Gregor!

Cue the minions!

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#63 k_mart
January 03 2013, 09:35PM
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@Alan Hull

Makes much more sense now. Thanks

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#64 DEF
January 03 2013, 10:23PM
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I now understand the underlying issue with DSF and the reason why we, as oiler fans are impotent to stop his trolling of this website. Much like in ancient warfare he who has the high ground has a tactical advantage! DSF has attached himself to a team who has been an absolute bane for the oil in the nhl and to add insult to injury this year in the ahl. Well played DSF I happen to frequent many other forums not related to hockey and the trolling is juvenile at best. A man such as yourself will fade into the abstract once your mighty (boring) Wild are brought low but good on you for pissing off as many people as you can along the way.

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#65 Czar
January 03 2013, 10:34PM
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@DSF

That's alot of unproven talent but Giddyup dude! How much will Backstrom be signing for? Who replaces Heatleys goals, I know anyone can replace his heart. You seem to have this Wild tunnel vision that we usually only see from Canuck fans, are you serious or just trying to piss Oiler fans off?

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#66 RushPhan
January 03 2013, 10:44PM
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Thin down the centre? They have been thin down the center with Horcoff in the lineup for how many seasons now?

Signing him was a goofy move made by an inexperienced and panicking GM who has been in over his head since he was hired. With exception for '06 that is. Slap a COD sticker on Horcoff and call FED-EX.

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#67 Czar
January 03 2013, 10:44PM
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DEF wrote:

I now understand the underlying issue with DSF and the reason why we, as oiler fans are impotent to stop his trolling of this website. Much like in ancient warfare he who has the high ground has a tactical advantage! DSF has attached himself to a team who has been an absolute bane for the oil in the nhl and to add insult to injury this year in the ahl. Well played DSF I happen to frequent many other forums not related to hockey and the trolling is juvenile at best. A man such as yourself will fade into the abstract once your mighty (boring) Wild are brought low but good on you for pissing off as many people as you can along the way.

Ya!! What he said!!

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#68 Cheap Shot Charlie
January 03 2013, 10:51PM
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@DSF

My question is who do they buy out with the second "get out of jail free" card? Sutter or Parise? Just sayin'

Oh, and don't forget our nice warm *HUG*

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#69 DSF
January 03 2013, 10:52PM
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Czar wrote:

That's alot of unproven talent but Giddyup dude! How much will Backstrom be signing for? Who replaces Heatleys goals, I know anyone can replace his heart. You seem to have this Wild tunnel vision that we usually only see from Canuck fans, are you serious or just trying to piss Oiler fans off?

Backstrom won't be getting $6 million

Granlund, Coyle, Zucker and Phillips will easily replace Heatley's goals.

Not trying to piss off anyone....open your freaking eyes.

The Wild are loaded.

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#70 DSF
January 03 2013, 10:53PM
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Cheap Shot Charlie wrote:

My question is who do they buy out with the second "get out of jail free" card? Sutter or Parise? Just sayin'

Oh, and don't forget our nice warm *HUG*

No one.

They don't have cap issues.

Must be nice to have a smart GM.

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#71 Czar
January 03 2013, 11:08PM
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DSF wrote:

Backstrom won't be getting $6 million

Granlund, Coyle, Zucker and Phillips will easily replace Heatley's goals.

Not trying to piss off anyone....open your freaking eyes.

The Wild are loaded.

Your freaking loaded if you think Suter is a better D-man than Weber or think Matt Dumba, love the kid and see him play regularly, is ready for the NHL. Pissing everyone off is just a bonus for you then?

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#72 DSF
January 03 2013, 11:18PM
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Czar wrote:

Your freaking loaded if you think Suter is a better D-man than Weber or think Matt Dumba, love the kid and see him play regularly, is ready for the NHL. Pissing everyone off is just a bonus for you then?

Suter

Gilbert

Scandella

Falk

Stoner

Brodin

Spurgeon

Kampfer

Cuma

Dumba

Game over.

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#73 blueorangekoolaid
January 03 2013, 11:36PM
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@DSF if all those ELC's are going to replace Heatley's production won't they hit some of their bonuses thus inflating their cap hit's in year two and three? I don't doubt Minnesota has a lot of depth but they could just as easily have an injury year like Edmonton two years ago or have some sure fire prospects flop like everyone else. If you love the Wild, great. Most contributors to these comments on OILERSnation like Edmonton. Go start Wildnation

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#74 Czar
January 03 2013, 11:39PM
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@DSF

Suter gets injured and it is game over. Appreciate the love your now showing for Gilbert, another fine example of your tunnel vision.

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#75 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
January 03 2013, 11:41PM
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Put me down for buying out Horcoff and Belanger. Despite being so weak at center already, the Oilers will get/need some bargains that have been cut adrift by other clubs. Upgrading on Horc and Belanger should be easily done with the number of players that are going to be sent packing. In the fall Yakupov could very well get to wear his No. 10 for his first game in Edmonton.

Could be some surprising names included in that crop of bargain players to be had.

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#76 Time Travelling Sean
January 03 2013, 11:58PM
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Vinny!!

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#77 GVBlackhawk
January 04 2013, 12:04AM
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DSF wrote:

Suter

Gilbert

Scandella

Falk

Stoner

Brodin

Spurgeon

Kampfer

Cuma

Dumba

Game over.

All of these guys (except Suter and Gilbert) have little to no experience.

Game over? Exactly.

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#78 DSF
January 04 2013, 12:04AM
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Czar wrote:

Suter gets injured and it is game over. Appreciate the love your now showing for Gilbert, another fine example of your tunnel vision.

Minnesota was 13th in the league last season in GA/G WITHOUT Suter and Brodin.

The Oilers were 23rd.

Smid gets injured and you'd better call an ambulance.

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#79 Time Travelling Sean
January 04 2013, 12:35AM
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@DSF

They were also 28th in offense, so if they decide to score more goals that GA/G will get worse, Brodin shouldn't play for the Wild this year, Suter seems more of a king-maker than a king, we'll see how he does without Suter.

Dumba, if he ever makes the NHL, will do so in 3-4 years, Scandella is -31 in 83 games with 14 points, Falk is -19 in 72 games playing on a defensive system with a very good goalie.

They have a #1 in Suter, a #3 in Gilbert, and some 6'5 concrete feet defencemen under 25, and Brodin.

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#80 David S
January 04 2013, 12:53AM
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stevezie wrote:

You mean because he sucks, or because his contract prohibits fattening the rest of the team?

If the latter: sure, but just because you get rid of him doesn't mean you'll find a replacement. It will be a gamble.
If the former, well... that's also part of the risk. Horcoff was not good last year, regardless of caphit. I think he can bounce back, but that's because I like him.

Both. He just doesn't have it any more past the FO's and we could probably get a better player at half the price.

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#81 GVBlackhawk
January 04 2013, 12:55AM
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DSF wrote:

Backstrom won't be getting $6 million

Granlund, Coyle, Zucker and Phillips will easily replace Heatley's goals.

Not trying to piss off anyone....open your freaking eyes.

The Wild are loaded.

Granlund will make the Wild but he seams like a playmaker more than a pure scorer like Heatley.

Zucker is showing some good signs at the AHL level but he has no NHL experience and it doesn't always translate.

Coyle is not a top 6 forward in the NHL at this point. If anything, he will break into the league in a 3rd or 4th line capacity. Certainly not going to replace Heatley's production.

Phillips is nothing to write home about. He won't be playing on the big club anytime soon.

Just wishful thinking on your part DSF.

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#82 GVBlackhawk
January 04 2013, 01:00AM
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David S wrote:

Both. He just doesn't have it any more past the FO's and we could probably get a better player at half the price.

Any suggestions as to whom the Oilers target as a third line center?

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#83 GVBlackhawk
January 04 2013, 01:06AM
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Time Travelling Sean wrote:

They were also 28th in offense, so if they decide to score more goals that GA/G will get worse, Brodin shouldn't play for the Wild this year, Suter seems more of a king-maker than a king, we'll see how he does without Suter.

Dumba, if he ever makes the NHL, will do so in 3-4 years, Scandella is -31 in 83 games with 14 points, Falk is -19 in 72 games playing on a defensive system with a very good goalie.

They have a #1 in Suter, a #3 in Gilbert, and some 6'5 concrete feet defencemen under 25, and Brodin.

They finished 28th in offense and that includes the fact that they had a massive, unsustainably high shooting percentage for the first quarter of the season. If you discard the first 20 games, they actually had the worst offense in the NHL.

But Granlund, Zucker and Coyle are going to change that....

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#84 GVBlackhawk
January 04 2013, 01:09AM
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DSF wrote:

Minnesota was 13th in the league last season in GA/G WITHOUT Suter and Brodin.

The Oilers were 23rd.

Smid gets injured and you'd better call an ambulance.

And Khabibulin had nothing to do with that stat.

/face palm

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#85 andrewmk20
January 04 2013, 04:25AM
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@DSF

First you were calling Florida the greatest thing since sliced bread and now it's Minnesota. The fact is until prospects come in and actually play NHL games you cannot know what they are. Especially with injuries and possible early peaking involved. Clayton Stoner is still young and unproven along with everyone else outside of Gilbert and Suter. I mean if they were that good they wouldn't have acquired those two. The only other dman who contributes on a real level was Jared Spurgeon and while he's a decent offensive dman he is also very undersized and has a lot of trouble containing forwards and pushing players away from the goal, ideally he'd be best suited for a role like Marc Andre Bergeron, which would be a 7th dman who logs a decent amount of PP time. Tyler Cuma is still very young and unproven and has thus far struggled a great deal in the AHL. Matt Dumba is even younger and more unproven. I mean a lot of fanfare was made about the Oilers good drafting in round 2 with Lander, Hamilton, and Pitlick. Now a few years later these three are still very much unknown assets who are struggling in pro hockey.

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#86 Fresh Mess
January 04 2013, 06:22AM
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No one will trade for Horcoff.

The extra 1.5 million in cap hit is not enticing enough for a payroll basement team to pay 5.5 million in actual dollars for Shawn Horcoff.

I doubt anyone would be willing to take on Hemsky's ridiculous contract at this time either. If Hemmer shoots out the lights in a 48 game season with out getting injured, then he could be traded and get a decent return.

For me buyout candidates would be 1) Horcoff....and 2) Belanger

...yes that would leave the Oilers extremely thin at centre. That is just an organizational weakness, and why I have been frustrated that the organization hasn't seized the golden opportunity to give Hall an extended look at centre in OKC.

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#87 Time Travelling Sean
January 04 2013, 06:29AM
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How is Hemmer's contract "ridiculous?" If it was a 4 year 20M deal, or 5 year 25M deal it would be ridiculous.

The shorter the term the bigger the cap hit.

5M for 60-70 points and the ability to have 3 lines that can actually score on a consistent basis, and for it only being for 2 years, seems pretty decent to me.

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#88 j
January 04 2013, 08:43AM
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Ryan2 wrote:

As much as I would appreciate the benefits of two buyouts for the Oil as a fan, from my work perspective I hate it as it basically gives a get out of jail free card to managers that fugged up. This lack of accountability is what hurts the Oilers as an organization IMHO. In the end, the bad GMs will be in a cap space quandry within two years again regardless of how much salary room the buyouts provide them.

It benefits some of the players as well. At the moment, there are some big salaries in the minors. Players who would normally be in the NHL (Redden) aren't because of a contract. While I'm not going to cry a river for him (and others like him) it is a scenario that was artificially created by the salary cap and GMs inabilities to understand the implications of big contracts. Also, a guy like Horcoff is virtually untradeable while playing a reduced role for the Oilers. If his salary was bought out, he may get a chance to play bigger minutes with another team. Same with Gomez. In the end, there are plenty of players who will benefit from this clause - which is why the NHLPA is pushing for 2 buyouts per team.

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#89 Mike
January 04 2013, 09:02AM
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j wrote:

It benefits some of the players as well. At the moment, there are some big salaries in the minors. Players who would normally be in the NHL (Redden) aren't because of a contract. While I'm not going to cry a river for him (and others like him) it is a scenario that was artificially created by the salary cap and GMs inabilities to understand the implications of big contracts. Also, a guy like Horcoff is virtually untradeable while playing a reduced role for the Oilers. If his salary was bought out, he may get a chance to play bigger minutes with another team. Same with Gomez. In the end, there are plenty of players who will benefit from this clause - which is why the NHLPA is pushing for 2 buyouts per team.

Gomez wont play in the NHL if he gets bought out. He brings nothing to a team.

Also I don't get all the Horcoff hate. So what he gets paid too much, thats between him and Katz. It has yet to affect the oilers as a team. I think he is a great third line centre. He doesn't need to produce, he just needs to shut down the top lines, all he has to do is chip in.

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#90 nuge2nail
January 04 2013, 10:00AM
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Oiler Domination To Follow

@DSF

You really want Oiler Fans to be envious of a Defence that has Gilbert as their #2.

Been there, Done that. No Thanks.

IMO Gilbert was the problem with our defence for half a decade-soft on the body and puck.

I find your posts to be highly entertaining and humerous. Pick another defence, maybe one that has some depth like the Canucks to model.

The Wilds Offence on the other hand, they have some big boys who like to hit, skill on wings and tons of Depth at Center.

I hope Hartkainen develops and takes a big step forward this year, we could really use that.

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#91 DSF
January 04 2013, 10:05AM
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GVBlackhawk wrote:

Granlund will make the Wild but he seams like a playmaker more than a pure scorer like Heatley.

Zucker is showing some good signs at the AHL level but he has no NHL experience and it doesn't always translate.

Coyle is not a top 6 forward in the NHL at this point. If anything, he will break into the league in a 3rd or 4th line capacity. Certainly not going to replace Heatley's production.

Phillips is nothing to write home about. He won't be playing on the big club anytime soon.

Just wishful thinking on your part DSF.

You realize they added a 40 goal scorer in Parise right?

With a full season of Koivu and their new additions, they'll be fine

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#92 GVBlackhawk
January 04 2013, 10:20AM
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DSF wrote:

You realize they added a 40 goal scorer in Parise right?

With a full season of Koivu and their new additions, they'll be fine

You mean Zach Parise right? The same guy who scored 40 goals one time...four years ago?

Right. I'm sure his production will continue well into his eleven year albatross contract.

Smart GM indeed.

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#93 DSF
January 04 2013, 10:48AM
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nuge2nail wrote:

Oiler Domination To Follow

@DSF

You really want Oiler Fans to be envious of a Defence that has Gilbert as their #2.

Been there, Done that. No Thanks.

IMO Gilbert was the problem with our defence for half a decade-soft on the body and puck.

I find your posts to be highly entertaining and humerous. Pick another defence, maybe one that has some depth like the Canucks to model.

The Wilds Offence on the other hand, they have some big boys who like to hit, skill on wings and tons of Depth at Center.

I hope Hartkainen develops and takes a big step forward this year, we could really use that.

Like any defence, the Wilds is a work in progress.

Scandella, for example, looks like a very good one.

While I agree it's not the best in the league, adding a big minute eating player like Suter is huge.

The Oilers don't have a guy anywhere near what Suter brings.

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#94 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
January 04 2013, 01:10PM
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@GVBlackhawk

Yeah, the last 3 yrs have been all Khabibulins fault.......all Khabbys fault. Of the 10 holes in the bottom of the boat, Khabbys must've been the largest hole, was it?

Management takes zero responsibility for steering us into that iceberg (putting those ten holes in the bottom of the boat).

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#95 Quintana
January 04 2013, 01:38PM
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@DSF

Gilbert lol. BTW Dumba is NOT ready for the NHL period, maybe in 2 or 3 years, as for Brodin ask Taylor Hall if hes ready!!

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#96 Quintana
January 04 2013, 02:02PM
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DSF wrote:

You realize they added a 40 goal scorer in Parise right?

With a full season of Koivu and their new additions, they'll be fine

Since when Parise is a 40 goal scorer? yes he score that 4 years ago....in a much tougher Western Conf. he will never get 40 goals again.

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#97 Oilertown
January 04 2013, 02:46PM
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Quintana wrote:

Since when Parise is a 40 goal scorer? yes he score that 4 years ago....in a much tougher Western Conf. he will never get 40 goals again.

Lol. But Eberle, Hall, and Yak on the other hand well theirs 3 40 goal scorers alone count em 3.

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#98 Walter Sobchak
January 04 2013, 05:50PM
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Well, one thing we can agree to start talking about is Hall ready to be the captain?..............or is it Eberle?

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#99 DEF
January 05 2013, 02:03AM
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Give a man a backbone and he may win a game or two. Eh DSF

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