BUILDING A WINNER

Jason Gregor
December 16 2013 11:36AM

The Oilers, and specifically GM Craig MacTavish, must devise a plan on how to build a winner. It is clear the Oilers aren't any closer to winning now than they were last year or the year before. The coaching carousel has led to instability and new systems which hasn't helped, but the current roster is not built to win. I'm curious to know how MacTavish plans to build this team, so that eventually they become competitive sometime this decade.

There is no guaranteed path to success, but every successful franchise maintains some core values and a solid foundation.
Do the Oilers know what their foundation is?
Do they have core values?

MacTavish has only been in charge for eight months, so it is too early to say if his plan is working, but he has shown a willingness to share parts of his plan with his fan base. He wanted to make bold moves this past summer, and while some of his moves were solid, none of them registered very high on the "Bold" scale.

I believe the biggest challenge for MacTavish is to create an identity for the Oilers. They don't have one, and they haven't had one for years.

Teams like Red Wings, Penguins, Blackhawks and Sharks are skilled and responsible defensively.

The Kings and Ducks are built on size.
The Canucks have skill, but they are chippy, chirpy and aggravating.
The Bruins are big, tough, rugged and skilled.

The great teams all possess different qualities of course, but most of them have one obvious trait.

Right now the Oilers identity seems to be based on youth, and that is not a recipe for success.

CHIARELLI....

I had the chance to speak with Boston Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli when the Bruins were in town last week, and we started off asking him about his philosophy on how to build a winning team? (my thoughts will be in italics)

Chiarelli: For me it’s about finding character guys and sometimes you have to sacrifice in other areas, other playing attributes, even skill. You can’t ignore skill; it’s a very important component of building a hockey team. I like to say to our scouts, ‘find character in skilled guys, they express their character in other ways, not traditionally, like a huge puck battle or a huge hit or those kinds of traditional ways you’re used to seeing.  

That’s really the common denominator. A sometimes guys that don’t buy in, you have to move guys like that and sometimes you have to sacrifice some skill for character. So that’s kind of what we try to do. Sometimes as a result of that we lose a little bit of speed and I always seem to be trying to find more speed, either in how we play or in personnel. So, we don’t have a magic formula, we just get good guys that want to play and compete hard, and have a good goalie. [Laughs]  

***He mentioned sometimes you have to sacrifice skill for character. You wonder if he was referring to Tyler Seguin, however, that philosophy is exactly what MacTavish will need to emulate in the not to distant future. It is evident that having a lot of offensive skill is great, but if you don't have a good blueline or complementary players surrounding your skill, it is extremely difficult to win.***

Gregor: When you came over from Ottawa and took over, you signed free agent Zdeno Chara. You guys didn’t have instant success right away, but was your plan to build around him?  

Chiarelli: I wanted a defensive pillar more or less. A dominant defensive player and then we were fortunate in Boston, and that certainly was no plan of mine, was that when [Tim] Thomas started hitting his peak later in his career. That gave us two significant defensive players, but following the first year I had to fire Dave Lewis, a very good defensive coach.

I was fortunate that Tim was hitting his peak, that Claude (Julien) was available and that we had one of the best defensive players in the league in Chara. So you have a large part of your team and concept already in place. Those were kind of our stepping stones. [Patrice] Bergeron was already there, a terrific two way player and so the two-way component, the character component was largely in place, or at least the majority of it was in place in the beginning years.

***Chiarelli is being very humble. Bringing in Chara solidified the foundation for this team. Without him, I doubt the Bruins become the dominant team we see today.***  

Gregor: The Bruins have drafted many of your core guys in Bergeron, [Milan] Lucic, [Brad] Marchand and [David] Krejci,  but interestingly enough on your back end, aside from Dougie Hamilton, you built through trades and free agency. Was that by design, or is that just how it worked out. How come you seem to build your team forwards within the draft, but build your blueline through trades and free agency?  

Chiarelli: You have to draft well and use those pieces as either pieces in your team or pieces to acquire other pieces. I think when they dissect our team; you see a lot of the trades that we’ve made. A lot of the trades that we’ve made, we’ve either used draft picks or drafted players. We’ve had to draft well so that those players have some value.  

On the defensive side, I’m just going back over my head acquisitions after… [Dennis] Seidenberg is a player that we really tracked and wanted because of his hardness. And [Adam] McQuaid was an earlier trade, but you can say that we drafted him because he was still in junior when we got him.  

I don’t know if it was planned out, but maybe we didn’t have those defensive players and out of necessity we had to look harder to find those types of players. You make due with what you have, you work hard and where you think you can find those players. Traditionally drafting and keeping those players is the ideal way, and every GM wants to do that, but sometimes it doesn’t work out that way.

***Chiarelli has moved Phil Kessel and Tyler Seguin out of Boston. Those are two very skilled players, but the Bruins are still one of the best teams in the league. He isn't afraid to make tough decisions.***  

Brownlee: I’m wondering in the case of Chara was there some cross over between your time in Ottawa and Boston where you knew something specific about him, and were you feeling pretty good that he would become the dominant force he is?  

Chiarelli: I always go by the rule that, maybe I don’t always apply it, but I try to, that if you are going to sign guys to long terms and big amounts of money you want to know him. I worked in Ottawa and I was a part of the group that acquired Chara in a trade, so I know him very, very well, so certainly I felt comfortable recommending that we sign him. It turned out to be the right move.

***He had the luxury of knowing Chara personally before signing him, and I think it is fair to say that Steve Tambellini's free agent track record was awful. MacTavish's has been better, Ference and Gordon, but not perfect, and I think the Oilers need to do a better job when it comes to acquiring NHL veterans. 

Do the Oilers have an organizational philosophy? Do they know what type of players and people they want to bring in? Prior to MacTavish's hiring it looked like they didn't. I'm curious to see if MacTavish and Eakins will move out some players this season/summer who don't fit with their plans. They will need to make some tough decisions, and start building a foundation, because right now there doesn't seem to be one in place.***
 

Gregor: Jay Feaster being fired in Calgary might impact Boston because a lot of people are speculating about one of your right hand men, Jim Benning, Give us some insight on him. I know that you wouldn’t want to lose him, but most great organizations usually lose guys in those positions to other organizations. What’s his best asset in a management role? What has he done to help you guys out the most in Boston?  

Chiarlelli: I’ll address is the first part of your question, and I think that’s a very accurate statement. It’s a compliment to us that they are calling on these guys and we have another one in Don Sweeney who is entirely capable of being a manager in this league. It attracts better younger people to our group. Specifically on Jim, it’s been a lot about gaining experience. He’s obviously an Edmonton boy and I went to school with his brother Mark, I know the Bennings very well.

He has an uncanny book of players. He sees players in a very good way for team building. He understands character, he understands projections, he’s spent a lot of time amateur scouting, he played a significant role in helping us to build our team, he understands how players fit, he understands that you’re not always going to get a perfect player.

That’s the most important thing that most managers know is that you are not ever going to get a perfect player. So you have to see where those assets are going to fit into your group. He is a very trusted component of our management group; I have a lot of respect for Jim. He’d be a good addition anywhere.

***Winning teams usually provide good people for other franchises. Many people believe Benning is ready to be a GM, and I won't be surprised if he is a finalist for the next few jobs that become available.***  

Brownlee: Peter, curious about what you would consider the kind of resume that makes for a successful GM. We have former players that go on and become GM. Some are successful, some are not. You have a law background, and with Ottawa you were an assistant GM for two years and spent five years as part of the front office. What part of your background do you feel has served you the best during your tenure as General Manager?  

Chiarelli: I think just the ability to have experience in all facets of the game. Obviously I have a certain skill set that not every GM does, but I know a lot of GMs that can do what I do just as well by the legal side of it, meaning the problem solving we can see and all of that stuff.

My experience has just been contracts, arbitration, scouting and free agent signing and all of those things have given me the ability to have gain experience. I think that is very important. There is not one specific model that’s good. I know a lot of GMs that never had the education that I had, that are smarter than me. These guys have experience and they just have street smarts. I think you need to recognize your weakness, recognize your strength and work hard. For me the experience I’ve learned breaths patience, because you see things in history repeat themselves. 

WRAP UP...

It is obvious that Chiarelli likes big, heavy, skilled players, but he also wants guys who are strong two-way players. He admitted he'd like to inject some more speed into his lineup so expect him to do that before the trade deadline. As he said there is no perfect formula, but Chiarelli has built his team around Chara, and he brings in players who fit their style.

MacTavish won't be able to build the Oilers to mirror the Bruins size and truculence, but he needs to have a vision and plan for the future and stick with it.

The Oilers need some stability within their organization. They need to find an identity, and they need to find players that fit what they want for the future. They can't continue to build their team solely around small, skilled forwards. You obviously need skill within your lineup, but the Oilers need to recognize that no team wins with just skill, and the harsh reality is that the Oilers skilled players aren't significantly better than the skilled players on the elite teams.

The Oilers need more than just skill to win; they need to create an identity.

DAY 12...MONTH OF GIVING...

Big thanks to Larry for bidding and to the Eskimos for supplying Friday's VIP package.

Today we have three packages up for grabs.

Package #1:

  • An XBox One...Courtesy of Etelligent Solutions.
    It comes with: Console, Kinect sensor, wireless controller, one chat headset and wireless networking capability.

Package #2:

  • A $500 prepaid American Express gift card
  • A pair of Club seats (section 134, row 13) to the Oiler/Flames game on March 2nd.
  • Courtesy of the good people at Etelligent Solutions.

 PACKAGE #3

  • Four tickets in the Crystal Glass suite (main concourse) on January 21st.
  • Includes two parking passes and complimentary food and beverages.

You can bid by calling 780.444.1260 or 1.800.243.1945 between 2-6 p.m. today.

Thanks in advance. All proceeds go to Santas Anonymous.

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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#51 DollyParton
December 16 2013, 03:02PM
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Gagner, Hemsky, and our First Overall for Coburn and Couturier...Crazy? Possibly. Over Priced? Definitely. Necessary? Yes...anything. Please.

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#52 michael
December 16 2013, 03:02PM
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The ISS ranking came out today and Sam Rheinhart is listed number 1. He 6 feet and 185 lbs. Too small? How about Ekblad? 6'3.

If the Oilers finish in the 29/30 position and they somehow win the lottery and pick first what in your mind is the right move to make.

1. Make the pick 2.Trade the pick for a proven player 3.Trade the pick and a combination of players for the big fish.

I for one would not trade the pick.

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#53 They're $hittie
December 16 2013, 03:08PM
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michael wrote:

The ISS ranking came out today and Sam Rheinhart is listed number 1. He 6 feet and 185 lbs. Too small? How about Ekblad? 6'3.

If the Oilers finish in the 29/30 position and they somehow win the lottery and pick first what in your mind is the right move to make.

1. Make the pick 2.Trade the pick for a proven player 3.Trade the pick and a combination of players for the big fish.

I for one would not trade the pick.

What should oilers do with their pick

Props for Reinhart,

Trash for Ekblad,

Respond for trade and propose the trade

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#54 Spoils
December 16 2013, 03:19PM
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we live in a bubble. We got first round picks, but we didn't get a Sydney Crosby or a Wayne Gretzky.

The guys are good and are going to be great, but we have SOOOOO much work to do.

Can't stop thinking about what a Pronger was able to deliver for us.

Which #1D can we pluck from a team that needs scoring. We need someone who is 23-25, young but a true #1.

Not really sure who I wouldn't trade for that.

Nurse and Klefbom are 2-4yrs away from dominating, if they make it. That is A LOT of losing.

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#55 Jason
December 16 2013, 03:20PM
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DollyParton wrote:

Gagner, Hemsky, and our First Overall for Coburn and Couturier...Crazy? Possibly. Over Priced? Definitely. Necessary? Yes...anything. Please.

Eberle for Couturier. I make that trade.

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#56 Zarny
December 16 2013, 03:21PM
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Good article. The problem with the Oilers rebuild is they are stuck on square 1 - draft skilled players.

Regarding team identity it's a bit of chicken and egg thing. You can have a vision in mind but I think Chiarelli nailed it...you have to work with what you have and what's available.

Bos are big, tough and skilled partly because Chara happened to be available that year. If Chara wasn't available Bos might have a much different identity.

Likewise, Anh and LA are built on size because that is what their core players like Getzlaf, Perry, Brown, Kopitar, etc are suited for. You can't really build a team based on size with a core of Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Crosby, Malkin, Toews and Kane.

I think the key is that all contenders have the right mix of players. What your core group lacks you go out and get.

I think MacT's path forward is two-fold:

1) Bold moves - the Oilers lack a couple of big pieces: a top pairing D or two, a 50-60 pt power F and an elite G.

That's literally 3-4 players and won't be easy. The Oilers overall identity depends on who is available.

2) Depth moves - In parallel to the bold moves, MacT needs to go out get what the Oilers lack: size, strength, experience and two-way playing ability. Basic NHL depth at all positions.

The kids are young so get some NHL vets with solid 2-way games for the 3-4th line. Get a blueline that isn't less experienced than the #1 draft picks.

Gordon and Ference were good additions. Go get 8 more like them.

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#57 S cottV
December 16 2013, 03:21PM
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I really think the organization is haunted by it's success in the 80's, can't let it go and will never be able to replicate it.

Wayne - Mark and the "boys on the bus" were a special group of guys at a very different and long ago time.

This gets in the way of picking an identity, that may be very different from its past, in order to win consistently and to be a contender.

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#58 Jason
December 16 2013, 03:26PM
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Oilers first rd pick 2014 for Adam Larsson

Eberle for Sean Couturier

That makes Oilers a better team.

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#59 He Who Knows
December 16 2013, 03:35PM
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Hall is not a leader type, nor the franchise player. He is best suited as the compliment. Eberle should be traded because his value is high and the guy is a more individual player than a team player. Nuge is a franchise player, he needs more time. Yak needs time. Schultz junior has no balls. He also pretends to be a d-man. Definitely use him as trade bait. The Oil should flip next years pick and get a no. 1 d-man or a big 2nd line center who is a 2 way player with a mean streak. Also see how Bryz plays overall and go from there. Then again Kevin Lowe still has a job with this team so I just wasted a few minutes of my life. BTW great article Gregor.

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#60 Mo Playoffs Mo Problems
December 16 2013, 03:43PM
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DollyParton wrote:

Gagner, Hemsky, and our First Overall for Coburn and Couturier...Crazy? Possibly. Over Priced? Definitely. Necessary? Yes...anything. Please.

Why would Philly do this?

Coburn has a modified NTC so he may not even want to come to Edmonton and with that deal Philly would be taking on about $5 million in salary.

They'd be swapping about $5.5 million per year with Coburn and Couturier for about $9.5 million per year for Hemsky and Gags. Sure, a lottery pick (and maybe 1st overall) is a nice sweetener, but for a team that's up against the cap, I don't see how it makes sense unless Edmonton retained significant amounts of Gagner and/or Hemsky's salaries.

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#61 Rheal1
December 16 2013, 03:45PM
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Rubbish. Look no further than to fire the two assclown assistant coaches. Then you'll see a world of positives. The solution is sometimes so simple. Can't do much about Lowe. I guess he won't go...

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#62 Ducey
December 16 2013, 03:48PM
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Jason wrote:

Eberle for Couturier. I make that trade.

One guy has 16 pts (he is on pace for 39 over 82 games). The other has 29 (he is on pace for 68).

One guy has a had a career high of 27 pts one season. The other's highest point total in a season was 76.

I sure hope your real name isn't MacTavish.

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#63 Mo Playoffs Mo Problems
December 16 2013, 04:08PM
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Ducey wrote:

One guy has 16 pts (he is on pace for 39 over 82 games). The other has 29 (he is on pace for 68).

One guy has a had a career high of 27 pts one season. The other's highest point total in a season was 76.

I sure hope your real name isn't MacTavish.

I hate to speak out of turn, but if I could hazard a guess:

One guy is a solid, defensively responsible, big, strong, affordable center. The Oilers desperately need depth at center and need bigger/defensively competent players.

The other guy is a $6 million/year, undersized winger with sick hands but no grit or defensive awareness to his game. The Oilers already have too many of this type of player.

That being said, and even if Eberle is a better player than Couturier, I honestly doubt that Philly would make this deal as they'd need help to get under the cap with Eberle's $6 million salary.

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#64 freelancer
December 16 2013, 04:13PM
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Spoils wrote:

we live in a bubble. We got first round picks, but we didn't get a Sydney Crosby or a Wayne Gretzky.

The guys are good and are going to be great, but we have SOOOOO much work to do.

Can't stop thinking about what a Pronger was able to deliver for us.

Which #1D can we pluck from a team that needs scoring. We need someone who is 23-25, young but a true #1.

Not really sure who I wouldn't trade for that.

Nurse and Klefbom are 2-4yrs away from dominating, if they make it. That is A LOT of losing.

Shattenkirk is a player I would be very interested in targeting, or even better Pietrangelo. Eberle is a solid two way player and under the Blues system could probably excel as a responsible two way player. A package cetnered around Eberle for Pietrangelo. I do it in a heartbeat.

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#65 reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan)
December 16 2013, 04:17PM
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S cottV wrote:

I really think the organization is haunted by it's success in the 80's, can't let it go and will never be able to replicate it.

Wayne - Mark and the "boys on the bus" were a special group of guys at a very different and long ago time.

This gets in the way of picking an identity, that may be very different from its past, in order to win consistently and to be a contender.

Need to clear out the glory days completely I think. A true new start. Other than Tambo all management of hockey has been directly tied to the 80's. And I never got the impression that Tambo was anything but a puppet for lowe to hide behind.

The glory days are completely irrelevant to this century and we need a whole new mindset at the top.

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#66 Fresh Mess
December 16 2013, 04:21PM
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michael wrote:

The ISS ranking came out today and Sam Rheinhart is listed number 1. He 6 feet and 185 lbs. Too small? How about Ekblad? 6'3.

If the Oilers finish in the 29/30 position and they somehow win the lottery and pick first what in your mind is the right move to make.

1. Make the pick 2.Trade the pick for a proven player 3.Trade the pick and a combination of players for the big fish.

I for one would not trade the pick.

4. Make the pick and trade Weird Nail Yankovich

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#67 Jason
December 16 2013, 04:21PM
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Fans overestimate the value of their players.

Eberle for Sean C is a realistic trade for players , money and cap another issue

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#68 LOIL99
December 16 2013, 04:45PM
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freelancer wrote:

Shattenkirk is a player I would be very interested in targeting, or even better Pietrangelo. Eberle is a solid two way player and under the Blues system could probably excel as a responsible two way player. A package cetnered around Eberle for Pietrangelo. I do it in a heartbeat.

"Eberle is a solid two way player..."

Did I just read that right? WOW. Turn on the TV and watch a few games. He is the laziest guy on the ice most night when it comes to back-checking. Its usually either him or Yak.

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#69 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
December 16 2013, 04:46PM
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Potter gets two games.

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#70 Slats
December 16 2013, 04:47PM
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Ducey wrote:

The Bruins can have all the character, size and truculance they want, but if they don't have Chara playing 30 minutes a night, they wouldn't be nearly as successful.

If fact, you plunk Chara on the Oilers, and they are a playoff team.

and a top Vezina goalie candidate - Tada!!! You are in the Top 6 Teams in your conference.

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#71 Smokey
December 16 2013, 04:48PM
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DollyParton wrote:

Gagner, Hemsky, and our First Overall for Coburn and Couturier...Crazy? Possibly. Over Priced? Definitely. Necessary? Yes...anything. Please.

WTF...really

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#72 Ducey
December 16 2013, 04:51PM
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Mo Playoffs Mo Problems wrote:

I hate to speak out of turn, but if I could hazard a guess:

One guy is a solid, defensively responsible, big, strong, affordable center. The Oilers desperately need depth at center and need bigger/defensively competent players.

The other guy is a $6 million/year, undersized winger with sick hands but no grit or defensive awareness to his game. The Oilers already have too many of this type of player.

That being said, and even if Eberle is a better player than Couturier, I honestly doubt that Philly would make this deal as they'd need help to get under the cap with Eberle's $6 million salary.

Couturier is as you say. But he is more Boyd Gordon than an elite player.

You don't trade elite players for defensive players.

Anyway, the notion that "the Oilers already have too many of this type of player" ignores the alternatives.

Hemsky likely will be gone in 2 months. Gagner likely will not be around in 2 years.

That leaves Eberle, Hall, Nuge and Yak. Even assuming they are the same (they are not). Thats hardly too many.

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#73 Rama Lama
December 16 2013, 05:01PM
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Gregor those are excellent questions, I would love to hear Mac T's responses??

I will say that the vision articulated by Klowe are well documented and he stated some years ago, that the new rules of the NHL ( interference, clutching, grabbing) were going to usher in smaller, faster, players. He has mentioned that large hockey players will no longer command the attention at draft time.

Fast forward to today, and it seems that skill/speed is something that we still follow, whereas Stanely Cup contending teams have gone after skill/size. There are very few hockey players that have all three skill/speed/size.

In my mind we are still fixated on smaller faster players and until this focus changes.........no amount of core values/vision will change things.

These clowns will never admit to a vision, because they have none! In spite of the fact most people like Mac T, ( myself included) he is still learning on the job.

Talk about vision ( and not afraid to state it clearly) ask Brian Burke, like him or not that man has a vision!!

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#74 Smokey
December 16 2013, 05:14PM
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Jason wrote:

Eberle for Couturier. I make that trade.

The same Sean Couturier that's on pace for 13 goals and 40 points.

Straight across its not even.

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#75 Smokey
December 16 2013, 05:19PM
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michael wrote:

The ISS ranking came out today and Sam Rheinhart is listed number 1. He 6 feet and 185 lbs. Too small? How about Ekblad? 6'3.

If the Oilers finish in the 29/30 position and they somehow win the lottery and pick first what in your mind is the right move to make.

1. Make the pick 2.Trade the pick for a proven player 3.Trade the pick and a combination of players for the big fish.

I for one would not trade the pick.

We won`t get number one unless we channel the spirit of Tambellini`s necktie...

I want Eckblad, but Reinhardt would be sweet.

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#76 DAVE
December 16 2013, 05:29PM
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Does anybody remember how the attitude on the Avalanche changed when Wendel Clark was acquired?

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#77 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
December 16 2013, 05:34PM
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Breaking bad for Ekblad...

Kinda wish they held off for another year so we could bomb 'er for Connor.

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#78 Alsker
December 16 2013, 05:48PM
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Jordan Nugent-Hallkins wrote:

Breaking bad for Ekblad...

Kinda wish they held off for another year so we could bomb 'er for Connor.

What makes you think next year will be any different? MacT has stated the core group are not up for trade, Gags has his NMC, so what changes? Free agency will bring us midlevel over paid NHLers here for the coin only. "To infibuild and beyond"!!

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#79 Consultant
December 16 2013, 05:51PM
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Step away from the ledge folks. We need three things: a number 1 d-man, some top 6 grit and better goaltending.

So trade the top 10 pick we have this year for the best availble d-man, get the top 6 vet grit via best available UFA.

Bottom 6 grit can be signed or traded for fairly easily, don't trade a potenital 40 goal scorer for a guy cause he's tall.

Resign Bryz, or look for other best available UFA. Scout Europe like mad for some 1b goalies.

If all else fails trade Yakupov next fall for a #1 dman or a goalie package.

Our first line is 5-8 years away from their prime, so either be patient or go crazy...

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#80 Ed in PV
December 16 2013, 06:09PM
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Gregor

I would love to see a similar article with MAcT as the interview-ee. It's interesting and disturbing that you can get an in depth interview with the Boston GM, but we never get anything of substance from the Oil brass.

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#81 Kevin
December 16 2013, 06:13PM
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@michael

Can you believe we are even talking 1st pick over all-AGAIN. This organization has got to rank as worst in history of NHL. This for sure has to be a barometer of Management. Really, until it changes from the top we will continue to be toilet bowl dwellers. Quite honestly I'm getting sick and tired of talking about this knowing nothing will change. Klowe will change coaches and managers but in fact he is the real cancer. He and current management can not asses and show any knowledge of assembling the right pieces for a winning team. Instead they throw huge dallars at players and then make them untradeable. Management has made such a mess of assembling the right mix and to compound the problem they over valuate and over pay their players. They really need to stop the insanity !

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#82 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
December 16 2013, 06:16PM
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@Alsker

Well I expect (desperately hope?) MacT will make some moves in the off season to acquire some actual NHL players. Which would hopefully move them out of the bottom 3, which would eliminate any chance of winning the lottery, thereby eliminating them from the McDavid sweepstakes. I don't expect a massive leap forward, but just enough to screw themselves out of the wunderkid.

Kinda like what happened with Mackinnon.

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#83 Spydyr
December 16 2013, 06:24PM
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Consultant wrote:

Step away from the ledge folks. We need three things: a number 1 d-man, some top 6 grit and better goaltending.

So trade the top 10 pick we have this year for the best availble d-man, get the top 6 vet grit via best available UFA.

Bottom 6 grit can be signed or traded for fairly easily, don't trade a potenital 40 goal scorer for a guy cause he's tall.

Resign Bryz, or look for other best available UFA. Scout Europe like mad for some 1b goalies.

If all else fails trade Yakupov next fall for a #1 dman or a goalie package.

Our first line is 5-8 years away from their prime, so either be patient or go crazy...

"Our first line is 5-8 years away from their prime, so either be patient or go crazy..."

Teows won his first cup at 22 Crosby was younger.Your argument for waiting eight more years is asinine.

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#84 Mo Playoffs Mo Problems
December 16 2013, 06:39PM
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@Ducey

I think we're mostly on the same page. I agree that Hemsky's gone at the deadline and if Gag's play doesn't turn around, then he shouldn't be in the long term plans either. For the record, I do think that Couturier is more "elite player" then he is Boyd Gordon. I expect that as his career progresses, he'll show more of the talent that had many scouts ranking him 1st overall early in his draft year. It's still too soon to tell if his offensive game will round into form, but at some point the Oilers will have to trade elite skill for elite 2-way play to build a winner. In my opinion, acquiring size, functional toughness, and defensive ability exclusively via free-agency and the draft just isn't feasible.

Anyhow, as someone said above, I think a lot of Edmontonians overestimate their players. The point I was mainly trying to get at is that Eberle's trade value as a 1-2nd line dangling winger who makes $6 million/year without having much of a 2 way game may not get the return that a lot of fans want right now. In a couple years when the cap goes up, Ebs might look like a hell of a bargain compared to a guy like Phil Kessel though...

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#85 I tried it at home
December 16 2013, 07:18PM
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Im sitting watching the Detroit Lions on MNF. It occured to me that I had been working with some Detroit travel cards when Matt Millen was announced as fired as their GM. I still remember how they acted like Santa hsd just dropped by. God knows its such a better team now.It would be ironic if anyone from Detroit was around if/when Ol' 6 rings get cut. Hey, how many rings did Millen have?

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#86 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
December 16 2013, 07:40PM
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michael wrote:

The ISS ranking came out today and Sam Rheinhart is listed number 1. He 6 feet and 185 lbs. Too small? How about Ekblad? 6'3.

If the Oilers finish in the 29/30 position and they somehow win the lottery and pick first what in your mind is the right move to make.

1. Make the pick 2.Trade the pick for a proven player 3.Trade the pick and a combination of players for the big fish.

I for one would not trade the pick.

It's a mistake to speak in absolutes....."would not trade the pick".....

You wouldn't trade that pick for Sidney Crosby.....?

All Oilers players ARE up for trade.....if the price is right!

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#87 reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan)
December 16 2013, 07:40PM
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I tried it at home wrote:

Im sitting watching the Detroit Lions on MNF. It occured to me that I had been working with some Detroit travel cards when Matt Millen was announced as fired as their GM. I still remember how they acted like Santa hsd just dropped by. God knows its such a better team now.It would be ironic if anyone from Detroit was around if/when Ol' 6 rings get cut. Hey, how many rings did Millen have?

he has 4. twice in oakland once in San Fran and he was on the redskins roster but was deactivated for the super bowl

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#88 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
December 16 2013, 07:47PM
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Jordan Nugent-Hallkins wrote:

Breaking bad for Ekblad...

Kinda wish they held off for another year so we could bomb 'er for Connor.

We're still on pace to have a shot at both of them.

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#89 RexHolez
December 16 2013, 07:56PM
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What worries me the most is MacT's comment about J Schultz being as good as anyone on this team!! I already watched Marc-Andre Bergeron play, and i wasnt impressed

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#90 Manfly
December 16 2013, 08:46PM
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Spoils wrote:

we live in a bubble. We got first round picks, but we didn't get a Sydney Crosby or a Wayne Gretzky.

The guys are good and are going to be great, but we have SOOOOO much work to do.

Can't stop thinking about what a Pronger was able to deliver for us.

Which #1D can we pluck from a team that needs scoring. We need someone who is 23-25, young but a true #1.

Not really sure who I wouldn't trade for that.

Nurse and Klefbom are 2-4yrs away from dominating, if they make it. That is A LOT of losing.

Shattenkirk? Blues already have JayBo and Pietrangelo. maybe they could use Eberle? they might be losing UFA Steen at the end of the season and would need to replace him.

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#93 Brian
December 16 2013, 09:06PM
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Rheal1 wrote:

Rubbish. Look no further than to fire the two assclown assistant coaches. Then you'll see a world of positives. The solution is sometimes so simple. Can't do much about Lowe. I guess he won't go...

Bang on . Funny how Tambi was allowed to fire the training staff but Eakins can't pick is own assistants because they are 6 Rings and MacT 's boys. Maybe I'm wrong but isn't it the role of assistants to help implement systems , to teach and develop . Dumb and Dumber must be so good at their jobs they outlast numerous head coaches . And it's always their names front and Center when other teams need a head coach .

Pair of charity cases. Give Eakins the tools to succeed not a pair of Tools. And get some NHL players in here.

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#94 madjam
December 16 2013, 09:28PM
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Is having a new GM and Coach just another excuse for our cellar dweller club ? Yes, I.m afraid it is . We have had enough results to recognize this is another futile attempt for our club to become competitive in the new NHL Specifically , all the top 4 draftees along with Schultz , Gagner , Smyth and Hemsky . I don't buy that we will get upper NHL level with the fab4-5 as they think they will . Results say/show they won't . Over pays on Gordon and Ference look to be premature at this time , and Ference will likely be done before we get competitive .

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#95 Jake
December 16 2013, 09:29PM
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Most posters and Oiler management thinks you win with an All Star team.

That is why they cannot see Sean Couturier for Eberle is a worthwhile trade.

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#96 nick
December 16 2013, 09:32PM
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Consultant wrote:

Step away from the ledge folks. We need three things: a number 1 d-man, some top 6 grit and better goaltending.

So trade the top 10 pick we have this year for the best availble d-man, get the top 6 vet grit via best available UFA.

Bottom 6 grit can be signed or traded for fairly easily, don't trade a potenital 40 goal scorer for a guy cause he's tall.

Resign Bryz, or look for other best available UFA. Scout Europe like mad for some 1b goalies.

If all else fails trade Yakupov next fall for a #1 dman or a goalie package.

Our first line is 5-8 years away from their prime, so either be patient or go crazy...

People forget the main key in that UFA comment, the Oilers will get no quality UFA's to sign here. They will get the old fringe UFA's like Andrew Ference and that is all. The Oilers will be unable to improve their team via UFA so only way to do it is trade key pieces. Only two names that cannot be dealt are RNH and Taylor Hall, the rest are up for the right price. Oh ya that 34 year old fringe UFA Ference cant be moved either because some how he got a NTC

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#97 Dean
December 16 2013, 09:34PM
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Oilers have the worst D in the NHL and MacT tells us Klefbom is almost ready at the beginning of the season.

All of Oiler management are jokes.

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#98 Walter Sobchak
December 16 2013, 09:35PM
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I can't see the Oilers getting rid of any of the kids, as a GM of a franchise that has the worst 5x5 team offence is paramount, getting rid of offence for defence is just re-arranging the deck chairs.

I honestly cannot see the Oilers selling low on any of the kids. Looking around the league I can't see too many #1 defensemen that would be on the block ether.

It all leads me to believe the reason the Oilers have done only minor mid season dumps and deals is the obvious.

They may deal the 1st overall, but got a gut feeling the Oilers are going Whale hunting this year!

I honestly think the Oilers are going to be ultra aggressive during the opening hours of UFA season. If they don't get a # 1 goalie, a top pairing defensemen and tough hard skill players then you will see the Oilers start trading some of the kids.

Even after they secure some of these UFA's I would still wager some kids being shipped out.

Odds on favourite would be Gagner & Yakupov.

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#99 a lg dubl dubl
December 16 2013, 09:37PM
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I go hard after Subban, if Montreal feels they cant afford his 7 mil contract. He just reminds me of Pronger just not as tall.

1st pick, Shultz jr, and prospect for Subban

Eberle or Yak and a prospect for Kane(or somebody like him)

The Oilers have roughly 35mil going into next season, time to spend MacT.

I thought Gagner had a NMC after this season. does that kick in July 1 or at the beginning of next season? Anyone?

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#100 Jerry
December 16 2013, 09:40PM
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Your not getting young #1 pairing D man. Not even for Taylor Hall. People are crazy.

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