Goalie In, Young Gun Out?

Jonathan Willis
October 16 2013 08:21AM

 

If TSN's top duo of Bob McKenzie and Darren Dreger are to be believed, Craig MacTavish is taking measured action in response to the Oilers' troubles early: assessing the trade market for goalies but not on the verge of making a deal. 

In the TSN story, McKenzie says that MacTavish has been working the phones since at least the weekend, scouring the league for available goaltenders and determining the cost of them. He also indicates that a deal likely isn't imminent, because teams don't like making moves this early. Dreger adds that Buffalo probably doesn't want to move Miller before Christmas and opines that "the Oilers are getting to the point where they realize they're going to have to give up one of their young guns."

The Goalies

There really isn't much surprise on the goaltending angle. 

First, MacTavish trying to get a read on who is available and what it might take to land them is an intelligent response to what has happened in Edmonton's net so far. Both NHL goalies have struggled. The third-stringer, Richard Bachman, has been impressive in Oklahoma City but his prior career makes him an uncertain option long-term. There's a decent chance that Devan Dubnyk responds if given a little more rope, particularly since this kind of four-game stretch isn't unheard of - even for good goaltenders. But the preparatory work needs to be done so that if the struggles continue a move can be made with no time lost.

Second, it isn't shocking that NHL teams are reluctant to deal goalies right now. What applies to Dubnyk (that he's been bad, but over too short a span to write him off) applies broadly across the league. Even teams getting strong performances early need to be wary; they might find themselves making a trade and then having nowhere to go when a hot streak ends.

The Young Gun

The question with Dreger's comment is how much of it is informed by knowledge of the inner workings of the Oilers' brain-trust and how much is his own read on the situation. 

As I see it, there is no pressing salary cap need for Edmonton to dump one of its young stars, and despite the strength at right wing there is no real place where positional constraints are going to force a move. Where it might make sense is if the price of acquiring a desperately needed piece at another position (read: a top defenceman in the prime of his career) is the trade of a young forward. Depending on the specifics, that might be a trade that makes the Oilers a better team, a case of moving strength for weakness rather than hastily mortgaging the future. 

The math on that trade always works out the same way. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is out; without him the Oilers don't have a top centre. Taylor Hall is out; without him the Oilers' left wing depth chart looks terrible. Sam Gagner is out; he just signed a deal with a no-trade understanding and he's hurt anyway. Justin Schultz is likely out, because defence is the position the Oilers need the most help at and there's still reason to hope Schultz can evolve into a player effective at both ends of the rink (he's 23 years old and has yet to play his 100th professional game).

If one of the young forwards is out, the position to move is right wing; that's the only place where there are two guys currently/likely to evolve into first line players. As a secondary point, it's also the only place where the number three man on the depth chart looks like he could be a pretty nice fit in the second slot for the next few years. If the Oilers are making a top forward for top defenceman swap, it's almost certainly Jordan Eberle or Nail Yakupov leaving town.

But nothing in the TSN report indicates such a move is imminent; McKenzie doesn't talk about it at all and it's a sure thing that Edmonton isn't moving an Eberle or a Yakupov for a mediocre goaltender or a pending UFA, the two descriptors that fit all the players actually mentioned by name in the report.

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#151 Evilas
October 16 2013, 08:22PM
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Old School G wrote:

Brewer=Smid/NSchultz Woywitka=Marincin Lynch=Musil

Would Smid/NSchultz, Marincin, and Musil land us a #1D in todays market?

If you want to land a #1D, 4 dmen do not = 1, you would at least have to give up 2 young effective NHLers, a very good prospect and a high pick. For the Olers it would likely equate to Petry or JSchultz + Smid + Klefbom/Marincin + 1st Rd pick . Or substitute the prospect with a couple of amateur forward prospects. It would be too much for the Oil to afford in my opinion, as they just don't have enough organizational depth yet at forward.

Personally I think Marincin has the most potential to become a legit #1 along with Nurse, so many tools.....I am more willing to move Klefbom at this point. Simpson could be special as well....and Pitlick is starting to show signs of something.

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#152 Evilas
October 16 2013, 08:39PM
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Dave wrote:

I did not see the game - How did Ryan Jones play ?

Actually, Jones looked like the old Jones and I think the 4rth line had the best game that it has had all year. They pushed the play had some chances, and gave up very few chances. Jones is exactly on the line he should be in, and he gave that line someone who could finally move the puck and do something with it in the O-zone. I don't think Acton, Brown or Gazdic should be on this team. With Gagner back and a healthy Jonessu, I would like to see those guys pushed off the roster, they will not produce any offense vs legit NHLers.

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#153 Dog Train
October 16 2013, 08:51PM
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I've always believed that goaltenders can be acquired for cheap. Goaltending is such a gamble from place to place that there is no way I would consider moving any of young guns for a goaltender. I would just as soon sign Bryzgalov as trade for a goaltender unless there is one available for cheap. That said, Mactavish is doing the right thing by at least seeing what is out there because this 'slump' gets closer to becoming a new reality every game that it continues.

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#154 Old School G
October 16 2013, 10:36PM
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@Evilas

Today's trade market has a top end defenceman fetching two quality NHL defencemen, a top prospect, and our #1 pick next season? I refuse to believe you so I had to check in to it.

Marek Zidlicky was the closest comparable I could find before SportsCenter starts. In 2012 Zidlicky was traded from Minnesota to New Jersey for:

Kurtis Foster - he played for us once right? D Nick Palmieri - 24 Year Old Prospect RW Stephane Vielleux - depth energy forward LW 2nd Round Pick of that Draft, conditional 3rd Round Pick of the Next Year's Draft.

Add in whichever players/prospects you want but the Oilers can and should be able to afford giving up similar type players and prospects for a top pairing D man, it's been seven years, remember what Pronger did for us?

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#155 Anonymous
October 17 2013, 10:39AM
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Old School G wrote:

Today's trade market has a top end defenceman fetching two quality NHL defencemen, a top prospect, and our #1 pick next season? I refuse to believe you so I had to check in to it.

Marek Zidlicky was the closest comparable I could find before SportsCenter starts. In 2012 Zidlicky was traded from Minnesota to New Jersey for:

Kurtis Foster - he played for us once right? D Nick Palmieri - 24 Year Old Prospect RW Stephane Vielleux - depth energy forward LW 2nd Round Pick of that Draft, conditional 3rd Round Pick of the Next Year's Draft.

Add in whichever players/prospects you want but the Oilers can and should be able to afford giving up similar type players and prospects for a top pairing D man, it's been seven years, remember what Pronger did for us?

Both of these guys are FAIRIES- DAFODILS - WE HAVE ENOUGH OF THESES ALREADY_ LETS GET SOME F^&%KIN FUNCTIONAL TOUGHNESS!!!!!!

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#156 ANONYMOUS
October 17 2013, 10:48AM
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Evilas wrote:

Actually, Jones looked like the old Jones and I think the 4rth line had the best game that it has had all year. They pushed the play had some chances, and gave up very few chances. Jones is exactly on the line he should be in, and he gave that line someone who could finally move the puck and do something with it in the O-zone. I don't think Acton, Brown or Gazdic should be on this team. With Gagner back and a healthy Jonessu, I would like to see those guys pushed off the roster, they will not produce any offense vs legit NHLers.

ARE YOU RETARDED?????JONES IS A STICK CHECKING NON- FIGHTING PRETENDER FAIRY DAFODIL!!!!!!

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#157 Evilas
October 18 2013, 09:10AM
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ANONYMOUS wrote:

ARE YOU RETARDED?????JONES IS A STICK CHECKING NON- FIGHTING PRETENDER FAIRY DAFODIL!!!!!!

Obviously I am retarded, since I know how to turn off caps lock....

So......Anonymous (I assume that's your real name, because you spelled it correctly), you are obviously extremely intelligent and perceptive when it comes to the game of hockey and evaluating talent. You think then that Acton, Gazdic and Brown are valuable and effective hockey players cuz they don't stick-check?

Alrighty then.....

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#158 Evilas
October 18 2013, 09:16AM
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Old School G wrote:

Today's trade market has a top end defenceman fetching two quality NHL defencemen, a top prospect, and our #1 pick next season? I refuse to believe you so I had to check in to it.

Marek Zidlicky was the closest comparable I could find before SportsCenter starts. In 2012 Zidlicky was traded from Minnesota to New Jersey for:

Kurtis Foster - he played for us once right? D Nick Palmieri - 24 Year Old Prospect RW Stephane Vielleux - depth energy forward LW 2nd Round Pick of that Draft, conditional 3rd Round Pick of the Next Year's Draft.

Add in whichever players/prospects you want but the Oilers can and should be able to afford giving up similar type players and prospects for a top pairing D man, it's been seven years, remember what Pronger did for us?

I understand there have been examples of quality D-men that have been acquired fairly easily. However, I don't think the Oilers have enough quality prospect forwards to offer for a Dman like a Weber or Chara. If they were to go for a high end d, I would aim as high as possible for Dman that offers toughness as well as puck moving ability.

That is what I meant. I thought the Pronger deal was an absolute steal of a deal at the time, and I don't think you will ever see such a deal again. You will have to give up a lot to get that kind of quality. Also, if a team feels it can give up an elite Dman, then they likely have extremely good D depth, so they would be likely looking for forwards as much as anything.

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