GDB 18.0: MORNING MADNESS

Jason Gregor
November 09 2013 09:06AM

Yesterday at 4:45 p.m. news broke that the Oilers had traded Ladislav Smid to Calgary, and a half hour later the Ilya Bryzgalov signing became official. Some wondered if the two deals were connected. I believe they were, but not just for financial reasons.

Trading Smid freed up $2.786 million in cap space for the remainder of the season, and $3.5 mill cap hit for the following three years, while Ilya Bryzgalov was signed for $1.75 million, which starting today is $1.393 million in actual cap space. The Oilers could have signed Bryzgalov to that deal without moving Smid; however, I do see a connection between the moves.

The Oilers aren't making the playoffs this season. The coaches and players won't think that way, as they should, but in making these moves I believe Craig MacTavish recognizes the disappointing reality that the Oilers are already 12 points out of a playoff spot.

I expect the Oilers to be better in their final 65 games, but they won't go 38-17-6 in their final 65 (which would give them 92 points).

An hour after making the deal, MacTavish stated that he felt the Oilers had more depth on the blueline, and he expected Oscar Klefbom or Darnell Nurse to be two possibilities to replace Smid's size. Klefbom is 6'3" while Nurse is 6'4", but neither will replace Smid right now. Both of them will push for a roster spot next season, although Klefbom likely will get some games near the end of this season.

MacTavish made this move with the long-term future in mind, more than the short term, and I believe the Bryzgalov move was also made with the bigger picture in mind.

MacTavish is hoping Bryzgalov can come in and either out perform Devan Dubnyk, or push him to play better. That helps right now, but more importantly he needs solid goaltending so his players can taste some success. I don't see the Bryzgalov signing as a big risk. He can't be worse than what they have, and despite some of his past comments, I doubt he will be a bad influence in the dressing room.

The Oilers are finally starting to get comfortable with Dallas Eakins system, and if they can get some victories they are more likely to buy in even more and should enter next season more comfortable in their overall game. For that to happen they need better goaltending.

The Oilers outplayed Tampa Bay on Thursday, one of the better teams in the league, but they lost. We all saw the need to try and improve the goaltending right away, but I feel that MacTavish also did it with an eye on next season.

Eakins isn't getting fired, and next year will be the first time in four seasons that the Oilers won't have to learn a new system. They will enter a season with some actual continuity and understanding of their system. They won't need 10, 15 or 50 games to get comfortable with their new coach.

The Oilers need to have a strong second half. They will get more comfortable in the system, and if they can win some games down the stretch, at least they will end the season with some confidence.

These trades were about the big picture, and the Smid move also gave MacTavish some cap flexibility so he can make even more moves leading up to the trade deadline.

SMID TRADE...

The Oilers lose this trade today; because Roman Horak and Laurent Brossoit are both prospects and there is no guarantee either one of them will ever play. They won't help the Oilers today. It is fair to question why MacTavish made the move, but I believe he made it to get some cap flexibility short term and long term, and he felt Smid was expendable.

Smid was their best shot blocker and most physical defender. He will be missed. Despite his offensive shortcomings, no one ever questioned his willingness and desire. He competed, and he was sick of losing. He was well-liked in the dressing room, and he really enjoyed living in Edmonton. I know being a good guy off the ice, doesn't always coincide with victories on the ice, but the community will miss him. I

On a personal note, I enjoyed interacting with Smid. He was always throwing out barbs and chirps. He would chirp anyone and he was always smiling, even when he was pissed off. A part of me feels bad for Smid, because he is leaving one rebuild for another. I don't see him racking up a lot of wins in Calgary and being on a losing team for that long must start to wear on a guy.

At the same time I don't think Smid's departure is a major blow to the Oilers. They will miss his competitiveness and shot-blocking abilities, but Andrew Ference plays the same game, and if Klefbom is ready next season he has more overall upside.

I also don't think Taylor Fedun's play led to the Smid trade. Craig MacTavish said he had been discussing this deal with the Flames for a few weeks. Smid's puck moving ability was a concern for the team, especially in Dallas Eakins' new system.

TODAY'S GAME....

The Oilers and Flyers are the poster boys for underachieving so far this season. The Oilers sit in the basement of the western conference, while the Flyers are a disappointing 2nd last in the east. The Flyers only have nine points.

Claude Giroux has 0 goals in 15 games. Scott Hartnell has 1 point in 11 games. Wayne Simmonds and Jacob Voracek each have 1 goal in 15 games.

Giroux had 41 goals and 140 points in his previous 125 games.
Hartnell had 45 goals and 75 points in his previous 114 games.
Simmonds had 43 goals and 81 points in his previous 127 games.
Voracek had 40 goals and 85 points in his previous 126 games.

The Flyers are struggling because their best forwards can't produce.

Flyers analyst Steve Coates told me yesterday that the Flyers are an extremely fragile team right now. When something goes wrong in a game they unravel, and they haven't been able to overcome adversity.

Despite below average goaltending and some five-star giveaways the Oilers haven't folded their tents, except for the brutal Detroit game, so far this season. The Oilers have at least battled throughout the majority of their games.

The Oilers need to attack the Flyers right away. Score first and see if the Flyers will wilt. Eventually Giroux, Hartnell, Simmonds and Voracek are going to start scoring, the Oilers have to try and delay that inevitability for at least one more game.

LINEUP...

Perron-Nugent-Hopkins-Eberle
Hall-Gagner-Hemsky
Joensuu-Gordon-Arcobello
Gazdic-Smyth-Yakupov

The fourth line could also include Ryan Jones or Wil Acton. Those players rotated in and out during yesterday's practice.

David Perron and Jesse Joensuu will return to the lineup, and the Oilers will dress their healthiest forward group of the season. If you switched Yakupov for Arcobello, the top three lines would be what most projected them to be, but Arcobello has earned the right to stay in the top-nine.

If the Oilers can stay healthy, Eakins will finally have the option to move guys in and out, or up and down the lineup based on performance.

Ference-Petry
Belov-Larsen
N.Schultz-Fedun

Dubnyk

The D pairs could also change with Anton Belov replacing Smid. The Oilers backend isn't very big or physical, but the Oilers feel they can move the puck quickly, and that should allow their fast, skilled forwards to generate offence.

MORNING GLORY....

GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Flyers and Oilers will each get a point. This one ends in a SO, and the Oilers get the bonus point in a 4-3 win.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Wanye and many others miss the first period. Wanye slept in because he spent three hours talking to babes on line after returning home from the bar. Unlike Chip from Napolean Dynamite, none of Wanye's babes lived in the same country, however, so there will be no nuptials in his immediate future. But he will SQUEEEEEEEE when Eberle scores in the 2nd period.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Fedun scores for the third consecutive game. His comeback story just gets better and better as he becomes the first D-man in the expansion era to score a goal in his first three NHL games. Fedun was the first D-man to score in his first two games since, Marcus Ragnarsson in 1995/1996. (Thanks to Elias Sports Bureau for getting me that answer.)

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR 

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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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#351 Quicksilver ballet
November 09 2013, 03:27PM
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@Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)

Mmmmmmmmm Face Titious with D cups...

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Suddenly a weight has been lifted off my shoulders...

What were we talking about again?

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#352 Alsker
November 09 2013, 03:30PM
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Ok, there is no stat to judge a persons heart, willingness,character,desire or will to win and since that is what we appear to have none of on the Oil it only leaves drunken conspiracy theories: kBlowe in fear of losing his "great" winning reputation desides it is time for he and his wife to spend more time doing community work instead. The Smid deal is to make Feaster look good so we can lure Burke out of the city of cows to take over this craplot and turn it around.

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#353 Alsker
November 09 2013, 03:32PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Mmmmmmmmm Face Titious with D cups...

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Suddenly a weight has been lifted off my shoulders...

What were we talking about again?

and dropped on your cheeks, hey do you know my xwife?

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#354 Chris.
November 09 2013, 03:33PM
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Today I could not force myself to watch the game all the way through without using the fast forward. I keep selling more and more of my seasons tickets to total strangers. I no longer visit Oilersnation, Copper and Blue, Lowetide, Black Dog, MC79, Cult Of Hockey, Hockey Buzz, or the Oilogosphere on a daily basis. I now rarely comment on any of the content written. (Once a favorite past time of mine) I'm listening to more and more music on the radio. I haven't bothered to watch the first episode of Oil Change Season 4 because I no longer care to have a behind the scenes look at yet another coaching change, high draft selection, and rhetoric filled training camp...

Honest reader; before you hit Trash it; please understand that I didn't jump off the bandwagon... The bandwagon itself has finally disintegrated to the point that I, like many others, have been unwillingly thrown clear; left standing on the side of the road, badly wounded, unable to help those still trapped on the smoldering wreckage as it wildly plummets toward certain disaster.

I think I'll take up jogging.

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#355 Ari Gold
November 09 2013, 03:36PM
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Sad to say, the Nuck fans here predicting Dubnyk's demise and the constant turbulence in management destroying the cohesiveness of our team may have been right. I hate them more than Hitler, but they were right.

I hate it when Canuck fans are right.

Given that this current management group has only been together for a few months, it would only set us back by a few months if we chuck'em. We've got a rookie owner, president, GM and coach. That's not a recipe for winning. Chuck em all but Katz because he's not replaceable. Bring in a few people that've done the bloody job before.

No more rookies in management!

And please start coaching Yak. He needs some direction.

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#356 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
November 09 2013, 03:38PM
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Chris. wrote:

Today I could not force myself to watch the game all the way through without using the fast forward. I keep selling more and more of my seasons tickets to total strangers. I no longer visit Oilersnation, Copper and Blue, Lowetide, Black Dog, MC79, Cult Of Hockey, Hockey Buzz, or the Oilogosphere on a daily basis. I now rarely comment on any of the content written. (Once a favorite past time of mine) I'm listening to more and more music on the radio. I haven't bothered to watch the first episode of Oil Change Season 4 because I no longer care to have a behind the scenes look at yet another coaching change, high draft selection, and rhetoric filled training camp...

Honest reader; before you hit Trash it; please understand that I didn't jump off the bandwagon... The bandwagon itself has finally disintegrated to the point that I, like many others, have been unwillingly thrown clear; left standing on the side of the road, badly wounded, unable to help those still trapped on the smoldering wreckage as it wildly plummets toward certain disaster.

I think I'll take up jogging.

Join team "Get Rid of Dubnyk"....you can have up to 10 beers on one membership............(sweet part is memberships are free)

And I get ya....I used to really look forward to Oil Change....now I don't watch it...........but jogging?....really?....does a brisk walk to the liquor barn count?

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#357 Stash
November 09 2013, 03:40PM
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Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty) wrote:

Join team "Get Rid of Dubnyk"....you can have up to 10 beers on one membership............(sweet part is memberships are free)

And I get ya....I used to really look forward to Oil Change....now I don't watch it...........but jogging?....really?....does a brisk walk to the liquor barn count?

Or join Lowe for Mayor of Toronto. Both good choices

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#358 mlcselli
November 09 2013, 03:44PM
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I have finally figured out why the team loses all the time. Nobody wants to wear the inspirational jacket that Eakins has. That's it!!!!

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#359 Quicksilver ballet
November 09 2013, 03:52PM
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Alsker wrote:

and dropped on your cheeks, hey do you know my xwife?

Didn't see much at all of her from the waist up, if it was her. She's one spirited gal fo sho. Didn't notice till later, but she broke my nose in two places. Glazed donuts are the best...

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#360 PO'D oilers fan
November 09 2013, 03:52PM
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What I don't get about the smid trade is what they got in return ... could they not have traded the two goalies then smid for a first if not a second round draft pick??? I'm upset it was smid to go but even more upset of what they got in return...

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#361 PO'D oilers fan
November 09 2013, 04:04PM
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Why does Ryan Smyth play.. as a season ticket holder for the past 15 years its extremely disappointing that they play Smyth....he's slow, can't shoot, dosent block shots, and kills offensive attacks repeatidly yeet today he played more than 17 minutes. He's the worst player in the NHL and its frusterating not only to play him but to play him that much....

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#362 Alsker
November 09 2013, 04:05PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Didn't see much at all of her from the waist up, if it was her. She's one spirited gal fo sho. Didn't notice till later, but she broke my nose in two places. Glazed donuts are the best...

So true so true, hmm almost drunk nuf to give her a buzz and c whats shes up to...NOT(there is not nuf rye/vodka/rum in the world) But those D's hmmmm

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#363 Alsker
November 09 2013, 04:08PM
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PO'D oilers fan wrote:

Why does Ryan Smyth play.. as a season ticket holder for the past 15 years its extremely disappointing that they play Smyth....he's slow, can't shoot, dosent block shots, and kills offensive attacks repeatidly yeet today he played more than 17 minutes. He's the worst player in the NHL and its frusterating not only to play him but to play him that much....

No, frustrating is that Smitty is not the worst player under contract by the morons running this sh*tshow!!!

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#364 Bryzarro World
November 09 2013, 04:27PM
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Bob wrote:

Do you really think we need another offensive defenceman? Do you really think he's worth our best player?

Where are these defencemen you speak of?

Do we have any that won a Norris? That can score? No? Ok... stfu Our best player hasn't done jack... I wouldn't trade him but only an idiot would respond the way you did.

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#365 bob
November 09 2013, 04:32PM
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Bryzarro World wrote:

Where are these defencemen you speak of?

Do we have any that won a Norris? That can score? No? Ok... stfu Our best player hasn't done jack... I wouldn't trade him but only an idiot would respond the way you did.

wanna fight?

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#366 Spydyr
November 09 2013, 04:32PM
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bob wrote:

wanna fight?

Monkey bars after school.

Or do you prefer the bike racks?

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#367 nick
November 09 2013, 08:20PM
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BuckNegged wrote:

Hey Gregor - how are these great puck-moving Dmen going to move the puck if they can't get it from the other team? Puck-moving = SOFT. One thing Smid could do, along with clearing the front of the net. GREAT MOVE for the future!

Gregor heard that "puck moving" phrase from his boyfriend Eakins. Not every defenceman has to be a puck mover. Someone has to do the dirty work and as you saw today we do not have that here now. This was a horrible trade and it is amazing how the Oiler media fall in love with prospects or players and think they are the second coming, Peckham, Whitney, and on and on.

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#368 Albertaboy19
November 09 2013, 08:47PM
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Things I want to see happen via trade. Seeing as this team has given up on any hope of the playoffs, I'd like to see Gagner, Hemsky, Nick Schultz, Jones, Eager, Dubnyk, Labarbera all moved out. Get what you can seeing as we are still going for a top 3 pick as it sits currently.

Add the following pieces somehow with the above mentioned players or combination of picks/prospects:

Simmonds and Coburn Zac Smith Derek Engellynd

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#369 Hangin@Bangin
November 12 2013, 11:07AM
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Nice work Jason, time and time you prove to be a total phoney. It's time you man up and call the oilers as they are and stop sugarcoating it and being such a pushover optimist this team is so far down the gutters the great one himself circa 1987 couldn't save this abomination. (How much are the oilers paying you?)

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