Oilers welcome back Gagner, Potter and Grebeshkov

Jonathan Willis
October 18 2013 11:49AM

Reinforcements, such as they are, are on the way and that’s good news for the Edmonton Oilers.

There is, of course, a difference between practicing with the team and playing in the games. Denis Grebeshkov is game-ready; he was able to shake off the rust down on the farm and at some point shortly should draw into the lineup.

Jim Matheson wrote an update on Potter’s situation a week ago; given where he slots in on the depth chart and the severity of the injury I wonder if he is sent down on a conditioning stint before he gets a chance to get back in the lineup. Gagner, meanwhile, sounded eager to get on the ice in a Joanne Ireland piece yesterday; there seems little doubt that he’ll slot in at the NHL level as soon as he possibly can.

Lineup Changes

The Oilers have a bit of a conundrum up front when Gagner is ready to go (assuming no injuries in the meantime). Mark Arcobello has been too good to come out of the lineup entirely, but with Gagner back it’s hard to see where he fits in the top-nine. If and when everybody’s healthy, I wonder if the forward lineup doesn’t look something like this:

  • Taylor Hall – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Jordan Eberle
  • David Perron – Boyd Gordon – Ales Hemsky
  • Jesse Joensuu – Sam Gagner – Nail Yakupov
  • Ryan Smyth – Mark Arcobello – Ryan Jones
  • Spares: Will Acton, Luke Gazdic

The coach has shown a preference for a crash-and-bang fourth line, and the lineup above excludes both Steve MacIntyre and Mike Brown. I just don’t see a way to demote Arcobello given his play, and it seems a waste to stick him on a line with Will Acton and Mike Brown. With that said, this is all likely moot; Joensuu is hurt and there are bound to be more injuries before long.

Defensively, Denis Grebeshkov slotting in immediately makes a certain amount of sense. That is not so much a case of Grebeshkov being unbelievably good during preseason or his conditioning assignment, but more a situation where there are two or three guys in the current group that could use a night off.

My choice for healthy scratch would be Nick Schultz, who has been bizarrely used this season – I get the idea behind a shutdown pairing, but sticking a guy with limited puck skills with Andrew Ference (forcing him to be the primary passer) and worse Ladislav Smid makes no sense to me. I’m also open to arguments that Justin Schultz and Anton Belov could use a night in the pressbox; really the trouble is that there is no shortage of candidates for a night off.

Assuming Nick Schultz was the scratch, something like this might be the way to go:

  • Andrew Ference – Jeff Petry
  • Ladislav Smid – Justin Schultz
  • Denis Grebeshkov – Anton Belov
  • Spare: Nick Schultz

The idea there is to put the two best defencemen on the team in the early going together (Petry, to my eye, has been far and away the best blueliner on the team) and throw them to the wolves – quality opposition, lots of defensive zone work, etc. That leaves the team’s most pure defensive defenceman on a pairing with their most pure offensive defenceman; the idea there being that Smid’s near-total inability to move the puck can be compensated for by Schultz’s sublime skills in that area, while Schultz’s laissez faire approach to defence can be covered by Smid’s complete focus on that side of the game.

Regardless, once Grebeshkov and Gagner get back Edmonton will have some options they have not had the last little while. 

74b7cedc5d8bfbe88cf071309e98d2c3
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.
Avatar
#1 Dubs-nik
October 18 2013, 12:00PM
Trash it!
68
trashes
Cheers
6
cheers

Let me be the FIST to say, welcome back boys we need ya

Avatar
#2 nick
October 18 2013, 11:59AM
Trash it!
35
trashes
Cheers
38
cheers

Are you serious??? Putting Grebeshkov in would make this team more of a circus than it already is. He should have never been signed, mistake one, mistake two putting him in the lineup. He can pass the puck for sure but anyone can pass it 9 out of 10 times to the wrong team. The idea is to move the puck safely and manage it neither of those is a skill that Grebeshkov has.

Avatar
#3 A-Mc
October 18 2013, 12:12PM
Trash it!
34
trashes
Cheers
13
cheers

Petry, to my eye, has been far and away the best blueliner on the team

WHAT?! I don't get it.. I really don't. Petry has a few followers that must be watching him with rose colored glasses on. This comment makes absolutely no sense to me.

It's not even close in my opinion: Ference is #1 for sure. I'm not sure I'd even have Petry in the top 3 in order of importance or Impact made.

Avatar
#4 Oilergirlincowtown
October 18 2013, 12:22PM
Trash it!
23
trashes
Cheers
4
cheers

I've said this before and I"ll say it again. The Oilers made a big mistake sending Nurse down without the 9 game audition. Belov has been bad, Schultz(es) makes a ton of mistakes, why not give a shot to Nurse, or Fedun or Klefbom who they've been so hot on for a couple of years? We throw our 18 year old forwards in there, at some point we have to get one of these young D-men in there. I think Nurse could have done really well this year. That said, glad to see Gagner back. I would keep Arco up with Hall and Ebs and slide RNH down but we will only get better with Gagner back in the lineup and dressing room.

Avatar
#5 A-Mc
October 18 2013, 12:27PM
Trash it!
19
trashes
Cheers
5
cheers
Jonathan Willis wrote:

That's interesting. I couldn't disagree more.

Jeff Petry is absolutely the only guy on the team who combines defensive responsibility with a high-end ability to get the puck out of his own end. Ference has one but isn't nearly the puck-mover, Justin Schultz is constantly cheating for offence, Smid and Nick Schultz can't handle the puck at all, and Belov's raw.

It's not even a matter of stats - though the shot numbers back up the view that Petry is number one with a bullet. Just watching these guys play I don't know how anybody else gets slotted in front of Petry right now.

And look at it this way: how has Smid looked with Petry vs. anybody else?

I'd have Smid ranked higher than Petry based on grit and defensive play. Smid staples guys to the boards and waits for help - as he should. In contrast, Petry will do a fly by and give a guy a nudge, but he certainly doesn't take the opposition out of the play in the defensive zone. The point in sending a solid check or stapling a guy to the boards is to remove him from the play and separate him from the puck; Petry fails at this. He's a nudger and a chaser and that's of little value when his PRIMARY purpose is to defend.

If you are celebrating Petry for mediocrity in a number of columns, then i will let you have that. But he doesn't do any 1 thing especially well and that is why he's low and trade bait IMO.

Avatar
#7 NJ
October 18 2013, 01:50PM
Trash it!
16
trashes
Cheers
2
cheers

Jones for Yak, straight up. Yes please.

I'd also consider Yak for Grigorenko, + whatever. Grigirenko is being completely mismanaged right now in Buffalo and Yak isn't having a lot of fun here right now. Don't get me wrong, I love Yakupov... So much in fact that I'd be fine with interchanging his name for Eberle in this conversation. I mention Grigorenko only because he's 6'3", 200 lbs and playing low minutes between 4th line duties and scratch. Maybe there's a way to get Vanek (even though he's a lock for Minn?) for Eberle, Klefbom and Hemsky + ? 6'2" 210 lbs right winger? Yes please. Is that unrealistic? Who knows, I'm sure hockey minds greater than mine have thought of this but it solves our down the middle problems, adds some size and grit... BOLD move regardless. Though I like Seth Jones better for solving defensive problems.

For our needs, a legitimate #1 defenseman is a requirement right now. In 2 years when we're playing playoff hockey, Jones will be that, and just coming out of his entry level contract.

After all that, leaving him in Nashville so he learns to play like Weber may be a better option. :/

Last. I heard someone say something about the following. Eberle and Hall being "friends" and "close" is a crap reason for either of them not to be traded. The sooner we get away from that mentality the better. This is a job / business. The business is winning hockey games. If you being traded will help the Oilers win, there's the door.

Avatar
#8 A-Mc
October 18 2013, 12:20PM
Trash it!
12
trashes
Cheers
12
cheers
westcoastoil wrote:

The way Arco's been playing, if (ha ha) all the forwards get healthy, maybe it makes the most sense to leave him where he is having success and slide Gagner over to the wing to start.

Hall-RNH-Ebs Perron-Arco-Hemsky Gagner-Gordon-Yak Joensuu/Smyth-Acton-Brown/Gazdic

I know there has been some Yak hate lately and i don't want to add fuel to the fire, but IMO I'd rather keep Arco at center and give Yak's spot to Gagner.

I mean seriously: Arcobello is tied for top pts on the team with 8 and has a +5 (PLUS FREAKING 5! ON A TEAM THAT HAS LET IN MORE GOALS THAN ANY OTHER TEAM); compare this to Taylor halls 8pts and MINUS 6. Lets also mention Arco's FO% is through the roof. The only game he was Sub 50% was vs PIT, who just happens to have a few of the best Centermen in the league.

If this kid was a few inches taller, he'd be making big bucks in the NHL.. We can't send him down after this performance. He's making a stand.

Is Yak able to be sent to OKC? I'd entertain that...

Avatar
#9 A-Mc
October 18 2013, 12:56PM
Trash it!
11
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
Jonathan Willis wrote:

You're putting a guy who treats the puck like a grenade ahead of a guy capable of moving it out of the zone.

As Dave Tippett put it once:

We had a player that was supposed to be a great, shut-down defenseman. He was supposedly the be-all, end-all of defensemen. But when you did a 10-game analysis of him, you found out he was defending all the time because he can’t move the puck. Then we had another guy, who supposedly couldn’t defend a lick. Well, he was defending only 20 percent of the time because he’s making good plays out of our end. He may not be the strongest defender, but he’s only doing it 20 percent of the time. So the equation works out better the other way. I ended up trading the other defenseman.

I'll take the guy who gets the play out of the zone over the guy who can't move the puck.

PS: That quote is of little value as neither player mentioned are the players we're discussing.

Everyone has strengths and weaknesses to varying degrees. In 1 instance Mr. Tippett made the call to go with the passer.. but that's only applicable to that 1 instance.

Avatar
#11 A-Mc
October 18 2013, 12:54PM
Trash it!
10
trashes
Cheers
3
cheers
Jonathan Willis wrote:

You're putting a guy who treats the puck like a grenade ahead of a guy capable of moving it out of the zone.

As Dave Tippett put it once:

We had a player that was supposed to be a great, shut-down defenseman. He was supposedly the be-all, end-all of defensemen. But when you did a 10-game analysis of him, you found out he was defending all the time because he can’t move the puck. Then we had another guy, who supposedly couldn’t defend a lick. Well, he was defending only 20 percent of the time because he’s making good plays out of our end. He may not be the strongest defender, but he’s only doing it 20 percent of the time. So the equation works out better the other way. I ended up trading the other defenseman.

I'll take the guy who gets the play out of the zone over the guy who can't move the puck.

Yea Smid is a flubber for sure, but that's why he should be with someone who can move it once he's separated the puck from the opposition. Hence why Petry and Smid were a decent duo.

The first stage of of defensive zone play should be to regain possession. This stage is the most important and IMO Petry is very ineffective at this. As previously stated, i would have Ference #1 for this stage and i would put Smid as #2 for this stage. Now the 2nd stage is to get the puck out via chip or pass. Petry is pretty good at this but i still think there are others better at it (JSchultz). For second stage i would rank #1 JSchultz and #2 Petry.

Because Stage #2 is more of an offensive skill, even if you say these 2 i mentioned are a wash in the defensive zone, in the offensive zone i would definitely give the edge to JSchultz. He is more dangerous on a consistent basis.

This is how i conclude my top 3 to be #1: Ference #2: Smid #3: Jschultz

If Smid looks out of place as a #2 for this team, i would also remind people that he's the first guy into a scrum and the last guy pulled out of it. He's also an instigator more often than any other defensive option. This is something the oilers lack almost entirely, and so i put big value on that.

Call me crazy but i think we'll have to agree to disagree!

Avatar
#12 madjam
October 18 2013, 01:37PM
Trash it!
10
trashes
Cheers
1
cheers

Great Captain Gagner back with Harry Potter . now if we can just inject exhibition phenom Brad Hunt back on team to use in transition game . A new improved Grebs to boot . Wow, we can sure use Sam's 8 points a game about now . They might have to call us the runaway kids with all the victories we are going to pile up . What , me worry - as Alfred E. Neuman would say in Mad magazine ?

Avatar
#13 Ari Gold
October 18 2013, 05:36PM
Trash it!
8
trashes
Cheers
6
cheers

I think Belov has been the best Dman. Petry looks like a kid with a single mother: he has no idea how to be out there.

I'd roll 3 scoring lines with a true checking line with Gordo. Arco deserves better than a 4th line role.

Perhaps lacking size, the Oilers forwards are excellent. The needs help but isn't the worst in the league. Goaltending could use an upgrade but isn't the worst either.

This team needs an upgrade in head office. Don't just fire Lowe, send him to purgatory.

Avatar
#14 westcoastoil
October 18 2013, 12:07PM
Trash it!
6
trashes
Cheers
32
cheers

The way Arco's been playing, if (ha ha) all the forwards get healthy, maybe it makes the most sense to leave him where he is having success and slide Gagner over to the wing to start.

Hall-RNH-Ebs Perron-Arco-Hemsky Gagner-Gordon-Yak Joensuu/Smyth-Acton-Brown/Gazdic

Avatar
#15 Oil4Life
October 18 2013, 12:08PM
Trash it!
6
trashes
Cheers
11
cheers

I really like the look of those mock lines. with gagner and yak on the 3rd line. so sick. maybe if we can pull together a full 60min we can go on a bit of a tear and stack some "W"s together.

Avatar
#16 GriffCity
October 18 2013, 12:20PM
Trash it!
6
trashes
Cheers
9
cheers

How come no one is talking about the horrible play of Smid? don't get me wrong I want Smid to do well as much as the next guy but he has had 3 or 4 awful games in a row now including last night being our worst defenceman. Whats worse is that Smid is supposed to be the sand paper on the back end? We have ZERO grit back there and as a result our d zone is bad right now as opposition players are able to free wheel into the slot for goal after goal unchecked. We have no toughness back there, other teams laugh at Smid when he tries to push back but whats worse is that no one else does it.

Yak played another brutal game, albeit better than vs PIT, he was still awfully bad. Im hoping he can find his game amidst the trade rumors. Hopefully someone can pull him aside and let him know that its just part of being a pro and he can get back to scoring.

Dubnyk played well and will need to keep it up for the oilers to have a shot at winning as they will need a huge run of wins to get back into the hunt. Its crazy that they could be buried by Halloween.

Lastly, Arcobello has proven he can pass and Arcobello has proven he cannot shoot worth a damn. This kid muffs the puck a ton and even when he has all day to shoot it he scares no goalie as they make every save look routine.

With Gags back, here are my line combo's as I would run them:

Hall - Arco - Eberle Perron - Nuge - Yakupov Joesnuu/Smtyh - Gagner - Hemsky Jones - Gordon - Gazdic/Brown

On the back end:

J.Schultz - Ferrence Belov - N.Schultz Petry - Smid/Grebeshkov

Avatar
#17 Acumen
October 18 2013, 12:10PM
Trash it!
5
trashes
Cheers
8
cheers

Your bottom 5 is exactly the way I would set it up when Gagner returns (potential offensive output from the 4th line!), and I've been wanting them to pair up Smid and Justin since the beginning of last season.

I approve of this message.

Avatar
#18 Alex Mathis
October 18 2013, 12:10PM
Trash it!
4
trashes
Cheers
21
cheers

Jonathan, I wonder why everybody is so high on Grebs. His camp was not really good, IMO. Does he really improve the defense?

Why not giving Larsson, who played well, or Fedun a chance on the backend?

Dallas Eakins is not walking the talk regarding the defense. He benched Smyth and Yak but stayed passive after Smith or the Schultzes played badly.

Avatar
#19 Tikkanese
October 18 2013, 01:26PM
Trash it!
4
trashes
Cheers
5
cheers

@Ryan2

I almost agree with most things.

First, Ference was 2nd pairing on Boston, not 3rd pairing. Boston is also not a good team, they are a very good team.

I do agree that Smid has been overrated. I disagree that Petry is our best. Ference currently is our best.

I've been saying for awhile now that Smid and Petry would be a bottom pairing tandem on a good team. So we almost agree there.

Avatar
#21 GriffCity
October 18 2013, 12:22PM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Well that sure didn't come out how I meant it lol. Try to figure out the line combinations in 3's up front and pairs on the back end obviously. Whoops, my bad

Avatar
#22 tileguy
October 18 2013, 12:47PM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Cheers
13
cheers

Hall - Arc - Ebbs

Perron - RNH - Yak

Smitty - Gags - Hemmer

Joensu - Gordon - Jones/omark/brown/eager/gazdic

Avatar
#23 Tikkanese
October 18 2013, 12:55PM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Cheers
4
cheers
Jonathan Willis wrote:

That's interesting. I couldn't disagree more.

Jeff Petry is absolutely the only guy on the team who combines defensive responsibility with a high-end ability to get the puck out of his own end. Ference has one but isn't nearly the puck-mover, Justin Schultz is constantly cheating for offence, Smid and Nick Schultz can't handle the puck at all, and Belov's raw.

It's not even a matter of stats - though the shot numbers back up the view that Petry is number one with a bullet. Just watching these guys play I don't know how anybody else gets slotted in front of Petry right now.

And look at it this way: how has Smid looked with Petry vs. anybody else?

I couldn't disagree more either, but with you JW not A-Mc.

Petry is not the worst on the team, but I've witnessed him making a plethora of defensive mistakes and has had some bad turnovers this year. I wouldn't call anything Petry does "high-end". He's "Joe Average" at best at everything.

Also pairing Grebeshkov with Belov, I believe, is a nightmare waiting to happen. I'm thinking the likes of the 90's duo of Slegr and Kravchuk. Both of them would pinch at the same time amounting to many breakaways for the opposition. Belov, even though is technically to old to be a rookie, is still an NHL rookie, learning the North American game and the smaller ice. Grebeshkov, it could be argued has never learned the North American game.

Avatar
#24 Ryan2
October 18 2013, 01:16PM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Cheers
9
cheers
A-Mc wrote:

Yea Smid is a flubber for sure, but that's why he should be with someone who can move it once he's separated the puck from the opposition. Hence why Petry and Smid were a decent duo.

The first stage of of defensive zone play should be to regain possession. This stage is the most important and IMO Petry is very ineffective at this. As previously stated, i would have Ference #1 for this stage and i would put Smid as #2 for this stage. Now the 2nd stage is to get the puck out via chip or pass. Petry is pretty good at this but i still think there are others better at it (JSchultz). For second stage i would rank #1 JSchultz and #2 Petry.

Because Stage #2 is more of an offensive skill, even if you say these 2 i mentioned are a wash in the defensive zone, in the offensive zone i would definitely give the edge to JSchultz. He is more dangerous on a consistent basis.

This is how i conclude my top 3 to be #1: Ference #2: Smid #3: Jschultz

If Smid looks out of place as a #2 for this team, i would also remind people that he's the first guy into a scrum and the last guy pulled out of it. He's also an instigator more often than any other defensive option. This is something the oilers lack almost entirely, and so i put big value on that.

Call me crazy but i think we'll have to agree to disagree!

You are crazy. ;)

Seriously, though, Ference is a bottom pairing d-man on a good team, and a second pairing d-man on the Oilers. He reminds me of Jason Smith, Vandermeer, Staios, etc. (insert any other downside of their career d-men that the Oilers have brought in over the past decade and a half as a stop-gap). Isn't his role what Nick Schultz was supposed to provide two years ago (even though he was the #6 ot #7 d-man on the Wild)?

Right now Petry is the best d-man on the team by a wide margin. I have said it before and I will say it again - Smid is overrated/valued by Oiler fans for the single reason that he tries to play physical. Don't get me wrong, he has the tools to be a solid #4 or #5 d-man, but his lack of hockey sense has been apparent all along. This is why MacT has never been a big fan - watch how often he makes the wrong read or is out of position due to his limited hockey sense.

Justin Schultz as #3 on your list is hilarious. He needs to either sit a game or two and watch how the opponent's D plays, or, better yet, go down to OKC for a stint to work on his defensive game. He makes a nice pass and is always jumping up in the play, but he is lost in his own end and cannot win puck battles (unless he poke checks the opponent into submission). If you can't win the puck battle, it does not matter how fast you skate or how pretty your passes are.......

On a good team, Petry is a #4 second pairing d-man. Right now, he is the best the team has which is an indictment of the drafting and development of the team during the Prendergast years...........

Avatar
#25 Uks ya!
October 18 2013, 01:33PM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Cheers
1
cheers

Hall-RNH-Ebz** Perron-Gags-Yak** Smyth-Gordon-Hemsky** Joensuu-Arcobello-Jones**

Ference-Shultz** Petry-Smid** Belov-Grebeshkov**

With Gazdic & Brown both out Jones, Joensuu have to play a little tougher and meaner then usual...the D pairings are all pretty equal with slight question marks with the rusky's ...I would like to see Gazdic instead of Smyth but you must rewards smyths play around the net !!

Avatar
#26 etownman
October 18 2013, 01:53PM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Cheers
15
cheers

No way Arco comes out, the man is in the running for the Calder :-) He is playing a very steady heads up game & seems to be a tough little SOB!

Avatar
#27 steve oh
October 18 2013, 01:53PM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Cheers
7
cheers

Oh wow!! Corey Potter!! yeah that pylon will help. thanks for wasting my bandwidth with that news.

Avatar
#28 Patrick Miranda
October 18 2013, 04:50PM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Cheers
2
cheers

Because it hasn't been said:

Jones -- Nuge -- Eberle

Perron -- Gagner -- Yaupov

Hall -- Arcobello -- Hemsky

Joensu -- Gordon -- Smyth

Gazdik, Acton, Brown = Extras

Petry -- J. Shultz

Ferrence -- Larson

Belov -- Fedun / Grebeshkov

Smid, N.Shultz = Extras

Backman

Dubnyk

Avatar
#29 judgedrude
October 18 2013, 12:28PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
19
cheers

Really JW?!

I have a hard time relegating the current points and +/- leader (whose also killing it in the FO circle) on the 4th line.

Keep him with 4 and 14.

Avatar
#31 K_Mart
October 18 2013, 12:39PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
8
cheers

If Arco keeps this up, there's no way he goes back down.

Nuge, Gags,Gordon,Arco could end up being a decent mix of centres, but my goodness are they tiny, and easily pushed over.

Avatar
#33 Wohin gehst du?
October 18 2013, 12:52PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
8
cheers

Why not shift Gagner over to the wing? Is there actually any legit reason? The position would play to his strengths and as far as I know, he has never been a faceoff man.

Hall-Arco-Eberle Gagner-RNH-Yakupov Perron-Gordon-Hemsky Joensuu-Acton-Jones/Smyth

Tell me the problem with this.

Avatar
#34 Ron Burgundy
October 18 2013, 01:12PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
20
cheers

"Gagner, meanwhile, sounded eager to get on the ice in a Joanne Ireland piece yesterday; there seems little doubt that he’ll slot in at the NHL level as soon as he possibly can"

No doubt he sounded eager - he sees Arcobello doing his job, doing it better, and doing it more cheaply. The US manufacturing sector also sounded eager to get back after they realized China was kicking their ass...

Avatar
#35 **
October 18 2013, 01:33PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
6
cheers

The Oilers are off to their worse 10 game start since the 2005-2006 season. That season they went 3-6-1. Right now the best they can hope for in that same game span is to tie that record. they currently sit at 1-6-1.

05-06 is the last season they made the playoffs, they were doing some good things stats wise but they weren't getting the wins. Sound familiar?. That season though there was a Chris Pronger on the team, and Lowe traded for exceptional goaltending in march. In other words, there were bold moves that season.

This season there is Justin Schultz, who may or may not find his defensive game this campaign. There is a rookie NHL coach, who may or may not find his form this campaign. There is an average NHL goaltender in Dubnyk, who may or may not find his game this campaign. But the top nine I think is more talented than the top 9 of 05-06 and the fourth line continues to hold its ground in terms of goals against.

So there is hope Oilers fans, but I think management needs to make at least one substantial move during the season if this team is to see the playoffs in May. Either a legit top 2 Dman or a Solid, proven starting goalie. Easier said than done, but that's what the team needs, even more so than a top 6 big power forward.

Avatar
#36 Randaman
October 18 2013, 01:44PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
2
cheers
Jonathan Willis wrote:

I actually do get the concern. It's not so much that I'm high on Grebeshkov as I want to see the Oilers make some changes on the blue line - and like it or not, the contract situation means that Grebeshkov is the option right now.

The Oilers have tons of options if injury hits - in order right now I'd probably say Larsen, Fedun, Klefbom, Davidson, Marincin - and I particularly like the idea of slotting Larsen in on the third pairing. It's just a matter of NHL contracts and waiver eligibility.

Mr. Willis, If you would like to see some changes on the back end then what about sitting Smid and Schultz as they have both played beyond poor, especially Smid. Call up Fedun and give him a shot. He deserves it. We need someone that can skate and pass and Smid fails in both those categories. He does excel at giving the puck away and taking stupid penalties though.

Avatar
#37 jamng
October 18 2013, 01:48PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
4
cheers

I think yak need to be thrown on the left wing. where he had success last year.

hall arc ebs perron nuge ganger yak Gordon hemky joensu acton smyth

Avatar
#38 Rama Lama
October 18 2013, 04:25PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
2
cheers

I have no reason to believe that there is any critical thinking going into line combinations, line matchups, wh plays PP's and who plays PK.

I would say the evidence suggests our coach like the blender approach.......nothing tactical here just a plain arbitrary approach to personnel.

Avatar
#39 Dan 1919
October 18 2013, 06:44PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
2
cheers
Ari Gold wrote:

I think Belov has been the best Dman. Petry looks like a kid with a single mother: he has no idea how to be out there.

I'd roll 3 scoring lines with a true checking line with Gordo. Arco deserves better than a 4th line role.

Perhaps lacking size, the Oilers forwards are excellent. The needs help but isn't the worst in the league. Goaltending could use an upgrade but isn't the worst either.

This team needs an upgrade in head office. Don't just fire Lowe, send him to purgatory.

I agree Belov looks the best. In a world where Petry can be mistaken for the best defencemen, it is clear that the Oilers desperately need to upgrade the back end, and they need to do it last year.

It may take a "Bold" move, but it is necessary. It will appear high risk at first but pay huge dividends, not only because of the top talent D that immediately helps, but also the help he'd provide in developing the young talent already here on the blue line... Shultz, Klefbom, and Nurse.

It's time MacT, go for it. Yours truly,

Avatar
#40 jmang
October 18 2013, 07:13PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
3
cheers

grebeshcov doesn't deserve a chance up here. h left for the khl. Larson looked outstanding. fedun looked solid. I would like to see either of them try out in an nhl game. if they look better than Shultz id keep them in and scratch Shultz. maybe let him learn to play d in okc

Avatar
#41 wiseguy
October 18 2013, 12:31PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
16
cheers
Oilergirlincowtown wrote:

I've said this before and I"ll say it again. The Oilers made a big mistake sending Nurse down without the 9 game audition. Belov has been bad, Schultz(es) makes a ton of mistakes, why not give a shot to Nurse, or Fedun or Klefbom who they've been so hot on for a couple of years? We throw our 18 year old forwards in there, at some point we have to get one of these young D-men in there. I think Nurse could have done really well this year. That said, glad to see Gagner back. I would keep Arco up with Hall and Ebs and slide RNH down but we will only get better with Gagner back in the lineup and dressing room.

Even if he was the 2nd coming of Weber, I would play him this year. Why burn a year of ELC on the Shi!tshow of a season.

Avatar
#42 Reality Check to the head
October 18 2013, 12:42PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
6
cheers

I really liked the preseason combination of Perron and Gagner, they seemed to have some chemistry. Arco seems to have played himself on the team, and I wouldnt mind seeing him play with Yak. Arco seems to think pass first, this might workout well for Yak.

Defensively, the team has to work as whole to improve. The effort seems to have been there the last two games. The breakdowns seem to be the lack of understanding of positional responsibilities. It will be interesting to see Grebs coming back into the fold.

Avatar
#43 OilCanFan
October 18 2013, 12:50PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
4
cheers

One thing I noticed with Yakupov is that he seems to always cut back when his own zone, then stop and stand still looking for an outlet pass. It appears to me that he is over thinking things now trying to what all the coaches are telling him rather than to go with his instincts. I think that is hurting him right now until he can figure it out.

I think Arcobello should continue playing with the top line guys when Gagner comes back and that for the first few games Gagner should play the wing until he is fulling game ready. I wonder what Arcobello would look like on the wing; would he get hammered too much out there?

Avatar
#44 Oiler63
October 18 2013, 01:48PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
4
cheers

@Jonathan Willis

Petry does have the skills. Just wish he could be more gritty and play more aggressive in his zone, like Duncan Keith. Never saw Petry throwing a bad ass play toward opponent. Sometimes you have to do that to deliver the message and set the ground rule. Last oiler player throwing a nasty borderline play was Andy Sutton. Haven't seen any since, not even from Smid.

Avatar
#45 Oiler Al
October 18 2013, 02:00PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
1
cheers

@Jonathan Willis

No doubt Petry has been the best D,but unfortunately, Oilers don't have a legit 1-2 D-combo in their line up at this time.Most of these guys are 3-4 at best on a good team.Smid has been terrible this year, call him a 5 depth on a good team. But I guess you got a dance with whom you brought.

Anyone think that once there is some upgrading and prospect maturing, that J. Schultz could be converted to a forward, ala. Burns in SJ.?

Avatar
#46 Dman09
October 18 2013, 02:29PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
1
cheers

@Jonathan Willis

I Agree with you for the most part JW. However with the way Arcobello plays(he plays like hes 6'1") and how he is currently doing there is no way I move him at all. I like the idea of three scoring lines so

Hall - Acro - Eberle

Perron - RNH - Yakupov

Gagner - Gordon - Hemsky

Smyth/Jones/Brown - Acton - Gazdic

I have more concern about the Defense, I have always thought that Smid shouldn't be anything more than a 5th defenseman and I think this team will continue to struggle with him in the top 4. Petry has been good from what I've seen but if Petry and Ference are your top pairing your in trouble. Ference should only be a #4 on a good team and that shows just how weak the Edmonton defense is.

They have Smid, N.Schultz, Belov, Grebs,and Potter all bottom pairing guys (Belov will likely be a top 4 with some more experience). I would have Ference and J. Schultz as the second pairing and Petry needs to have another all around Dman to be on the top pairing.

Goaltending I think will be fine I have confidence in Dubnyk

I see Yakupov, Hesmky, and any number of the bottom defenseman, likely Smid or N Schultz, as trade bait to try getting some more size, grit and offensive ability in the top 6 as well as looking for a more physical all around defenseman for the top pairing. I have a feeling Nurse is going to force his way onto this team next season as I get the feeling he could end up being a Pronger type player with more nasty and a little less offense.

Avatar
#47 bdiddy18
October 18 2013, 02:56PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
2
cheers

Why not ease Gagner back into the lineup by letting him play wing and leave Arcobello in the middle.

The D is atrocious, mixing it up might work but clearly the personnel does not exist. A trade is needed badly.

Avatar
#48 Romanus
October 18 2013, 03:48PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
pkam wrote:

Acrobello is doing great with Eberle and Hall now, and he was doing great with Eberle and Perron in the preseason. So why would we move our smallest player and top point producer Acrobello to the 4th line?

Since Hall and Hemsky seem to have some chemistry, I will put them together with RNH, and put Acrobello between Eberle and Perron.

I like the idea of trying Gagner with Yak and Joensuu and see how it works out.

So move Gordon to the 4th line instead of Acrobello, I think Gordon will be a better fit in the 4th line than Acrobello.

And pairing Smid and J. Schultz? Didn't we already try it once? If I remember correctly, it is a mess, isn't it?

You mean move 2 of the Oiler's top 3 goal scorers to the 4th line? BOYD GORDON 8 4 1 5 TAYLOR HALL 8 3 5 8 RYAN SMYTH 7 3 1 4

Avatar
#49 pkam
October 18 2013, 05:02PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
1
cheers
Romanus wrote:

You mean move 2 of the Oiler's top 3 goal scorers to the 4th line? BOYD GORDON 8 4 1 5 TAYLOR HALL 8 3 5 8 RYAN SMYTH 7 3 1 4

Honestly, Gordon has cool down in the last 3 games but Acrobello just keeps going. And consider his size, I really don't see any reason to put him in the 4th line. If you really don't want to move Gordon to the 4th line, then put Gagner or RNH there. You choose. My point is bad choice to put Acrobello in the 4th line.

JW put Smyth in 4th line, I didn't. But I have no problem with it. If you don't like Smyth in the 4th line, I have no problem switching Joensuu to the 4th line.

Avatar
#50 michael
October 18 2013, 06:51PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
10
cheers

What fresh hell is this? Good land we have options? Is that allowed?

As far as who plays where? Gagner is going to be cold as ice coming off an injury. Makes no sense slotting him in the top 2 lines. Boyd Gordon slots in the fourth line only because it makes the most sense. His need to win draws on the PP will and is being reduced due to Arcobello's skill on the dot. Gordon's minutes are needed more on the PK than on the PP.

I leave Arcobello with Hall and Eberle. RNH with Perron and Yakupov Gagner with Hemsky and Smyth Gordon with Jones and Acton/Brown or Gazdic.

My rotational guys are Smyth,Jonnesu,Acton,Brown and Gazdic.

I do not like Smyth playing more than 3 games in a row. Max. I think Brown may become a waiver wire guy. Maybe.

The nice thing is that we have options.

Comments are closed for this article.