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 James
November 09 2013, 03:03PM
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Can you imagine if Kevin Lowe's job depended on good results.

That would be funny.

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#352 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
November 09 2013, 03:04PM
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Jerod wrote:

You posters will never see another Stanley Cup with the Oilers in it.

I've heard of 20 college kids in a Volkswagen......but how do you get all the Oilers in a Cup??.....that's just silly.........(11 beers in)

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#353 Daryl
November 09 2013, 03:06PM
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@Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)

You could only fit one because of Kevin Lowe's big head.

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#354 Spydyr
November 09 2013, 03:07PM
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Daryl wrote:

You could only fit one because of Kevin Lowe's big head.

And all those rings.

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#355 Alsker
November 09 2013, 03:11PM
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Spaz wrote:

It does look bad but if there is a team we seem to get improbably lopsided wins from it's the hawks, but seriously we're going to get destroyed. Eakins that kid was right, you suck.

Was watching SNs plays of the week, 4 or 5 were Hawks goals(Dubbys not gonna last 30 min). It was almost 30 yrs ago a buddy came over to celeb my b-day with a 40oz Alta springs. A shot per goal we agreed, it was empty by the 3rd period(final edm12-chi9), have a feeling if I take a double for each tom prob faceplant in the hallway b4 the games done.

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#356 Spydyr
November 09 2013, 03:12PM
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Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty) wrote:

I've heard of 20 college kids in a Volkswagen......but how do you get all the Oilers in a Cup??.....that's just silly.........(11 beers in)

Nothing wrong with one being in their cups.I was last night.You are working on it today.We are Oilers fans we have to drink.

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#357 Quicksilver ballet
November 09 2013, 03:13PM
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Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty) wrote:

Face Titious?.......mmmmmm...I love face titious ...........(10 beers in.)

Good thing the liquor stores are open late. The HNIC double header doesn't start for 2 hrs yet.

2nd wind usually "activates" (to coin a phrase from cheds yankee broadcaster) around 7'ish.

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#358 Spydyr
November 09 2013, 03:15PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Good thing the liquor stores are open late. The HNIC double header doesn't start for 2 hrs yet.

2nd wind usually "activates" (to coin a phrase from cheds yankee broadcaster) around 7'ish.

Good thing Edmonton has a jar store on every third corner.No one has to drink and drive to re-stock.

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#359 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
November 09 2013, 03:17PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Nothing wrong with one being in their cups.I was last night.You are working on it today.We are Oilers fans we have to drink.

Mmmmmmmmm Face Titious with D cups......now that's Tier One......

The theory has been floated that the Katz GROUP. Includes majority shares in Molsons......he wants us on pills or booze....and he's doing a damn fine job of it!.....it's a hell of a business plan.

(12beers in)......heard ya QSB...thanks.....back in twenty.....

*edit disclaimer.....ORG does not drink and drive. seriously.*

AND....ever since I had my left lung removed....I've cut my smoking in half...

Gotta walk...back in forty five....

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#360 Spydyr
November 09 2013, 03:20PM
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Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty) wrote:

Mmmmmmmmm Face Titious with D cups......now that's Tier One......

The theory has been floated that the Katz GROUP. Includes majority shares in Molsons......he wants us on pills or booze....and he's doing a damn fine job of it!.....it's a hell of a business plan.

(12beers in)......heard ya QSB...thanks.....back in twenty.....

*edit disclaimer.....ORG does not drink and drive. seriously.*

AND....ever since I had my left lung removed....I've cut my smoking in half...

Gotta walk...back in forty five....

Ahhhh now it makes sense.You get it coming and going.Paying for the booze today and the Aspirin tomorrow.Diabolically smart.

No wonder he is a billionaire.

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#361 BuckNegged
November 09 2013, 03:22PM
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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!

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#362 LoweBlow
November 09 2013, 03:23PM
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Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty) wrote:

I would pay good money to hear.......(to the beat of "derr--ick....clap clap ...clap clap clap ....Jet--er...clap clap...clap clap clap.....)

Fi-re!...clap clap ...clap clap clap ...Six Rings!....clap clap....clap clap clap....

I'll be clapping from Van. And no, I'll never be a Nuck fan.

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#363 Gerald
November 09 2013, 03:24PM
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I think the Oilers should trade for Smid. Perhaps Gagner or draft picks

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#364 Spydyr
November 09 2013, 03:25PM
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Gerald wrote:

I think the Oilers should trade for Smid. Perhaps Gagner or draft picks

Too funny.Sad but funny.

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#365 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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#366 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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#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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