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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#101 Ron
December 16 2013, 09:43PM
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@a lg dubl dubl

Ill trade you Subban for the 1st round pick 2014, Justin Schultz and Darnell Nurse.

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#102 Rick Stroppel
December 16 2013, 09:45PM
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REALITY CHECK

The NHL record for missing the playoffs is ten years in a row. Happened in Florida, a city with zero hockey history and absolutely minimal fan support. Missing the playoffs this year makes eight years for Edmonton. We are currently 28 out of 30 teams with very little possibility of improving significantly, let alone making the playoffs.

This past summer some reporters had the temerity to ask Kevin Lowe a couple of hard questions. He responded with a hissy fit. One of the many dumb things he said was "half of the teams in the NHL would trade their roster for ours". If that is true, why are we third last?

I consider myself a loyal fan, but this whole situation is getting out of hand. McTavish is facing a terrible dilemma. If he makes the miracle trade for a proven #1 goalie or "stud" defenceman, he has to give up significant current (and possibly future) assets. Given the state of this team, probably all that does for this year is elevate us into the "twilight zone" ie no playoffs and no lottery pick either. On the other hand, I am sensing profound frustration from fans, and also from some of the more important players on this team. If this goes on much longer, Taylor Hall is going to ask for a trade faster than you can say "Rick Nash". Yakupov has the obvious option of the KHL. Free agents will avoid the "Islanders of the west" like the plague.

IMHO, for the sake of the fans, and for the long-term health of the franchise, McTavish has to start making the "bold moves" he so brashly promised not so long ago.

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#103 CMG30
December 16 2013, 09:57PM
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I have no issues with the Oilers drafting small skilled forwards if they are the best available at the time because they should have the best chance of delivering value in the future.

Having said that, I fully expect that you will move some or all of those guys for the players you really need.

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#104 Dave
December 16 2013, 10:21PM
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nick wrote:

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

If the price is right anyone can be traded. Even Gretzky got traded or sold if you prefer.

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#105 Randaman
December 16 2013, 10:32PM
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Ducey wrote:

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.

Not sure if this trade idea has been discussed but what about Eberle for Jordan Stall? Props for yes Give Stall some sick talent to play with and there's your second line center/penalty killer

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#106 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
December 16 2013, 10:33PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Savard never played in their Cup run, Seguin dressed for 13 of 25 games.

Please show me one player on the Oilers who plays hard like Marchand? He doesn't play small.

Seidenberg is extremely hard to play against. Stop focusing on height and weight. It is comical that you think the Bruins weren't a big team. No one said the Oilers need every player to be big, but then NEED SOME..IT is a fact. It is obvious when they play. If you don't see this, then I truly question what games you have been watching and how you assess a team.

Campbell plays aggressive. That is playing big. IT ISN'T JUST ABOUT SIZE.

And you forgot to mention that the Bruins had: Chara, Boychuk, McQuaid, Lucic, Horton, Bergeron, Thornton, Ryder...Big, heavy players. Some who played physical, and others who lean on you.

Please tell me how the Oilers could add those three players (Parise, Karlsson, Letang) and still maintain their core group? It wouldn't happen, so it isn't a realistic argument.

Your insistence to believe that the Oilers only need more skill to win is incorrect. All their players are the same, they don't need more of the same.

The teams that win have skill, but they have size and toughness. The Oilers have none of the latter, and their skill is not as good as the elite teams. The Oilers have no dominant two-way forwards in their top six. Cup winning teams do.

Keep believing the Oilers can win with just skill. It hasn't happened and it won't happen.

Jason....some fans will never be convinced that playing big matters.....they honestly believe that Sam Gagner plays big for his size. They don't get the difference between the physicality of Sam Gagner vs a Peter Foresberg. Samwise is 5'11" tall and 202 lbs.....Forsberg was 6' tall and 205 lbs......Forsberg was one of the hardest guys in the NHL to separate from the puck....Samwise rarely wins a puck battle and spends an inordinate amount of time on his knees or butt.

Forsberg played big.

There's the old saying in NHL circles....big and skilled beats small and skilled.

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#107 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
December 16 2013, 10:35PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Savard never played in their Cup run, Seguin dressed for 13 of 25 games.

Please show me one player on the Oilers who plays hard like Marchand? He doesn't play small.

Seidenberg is extremely hard to play against. Stop focusing on height and weight. It is comical that you think the Bruins weren't a big team. No one said the Oilers need every player to be big, but then NEED SOME..IT is a fact. It is obvious when they play. If you don't see this, then I truly question what games you have been watching and how you assess a team.

Campbell plays aggressive. That is playing big. IT ISN'T JUST ABOUT SIZE.

And you forgot to mention that the Bruins had: Chara, Boychuk, McQuaid, Lucic, Horton, Bergeron, Thornton, Ryder...Big, heavy players. Some who played physical, and others who lean on you.

Please tell me how the Oilers could add those three players (Parise, Karlsson, Letang) and still maintain their core group? It wouldn't happen, so it isn't a realistic argument.

Your insistence to believe that the Oilers only need more skill to win is incorrect. All their players are the same, they don't need more of the same.

The teams that win have skill, but they have size and toughness. The Oilers have none of the latter, and their skill is not as good as the elite teams. The Oilers have no dominant two-way forwards in their top six. Cup winning teams do.

Keep believing the Oilers can win with just skill. It hasn't happened and it won't happen.

One Oilers player who plays hard like Marchand is David Perron.

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#108 Gret99zky
December 16 2013, 10:37PM
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All this talk about winning the lottery?

Even the last place team only has a 1 in 4 chance of picking first overall.

I doubt very much the Oilers will be in a position to get the pick they want once this abortion of a season finally ends.

MacT is not going to be able to draft his way out of this mess.

The high end UFA's are not coming to join this **** show.

Trading for a more balanced roster is the only way.

Without a bonafide #1 dman this team is doomed for all eternity.

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#109 a lg dubl dubl
December 16 2013, 10:40PM
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Ron wrote:

Ill trade you Subban for the 1st round pick 2014, Justin Schultz and Darnell Nurse.

would you take Maricin? spelling is waay off lol.

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#110 reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan)
December 16 2013, 10:40PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Savard never played in their Cup run, Seguin dressed for 13 of 25 games.

Please show me one player on the Oilers who plays hard like Marchand? He doesn't play small.

Seidenberg is extremely hard to play against. Stop focusing on height and weight. It is comical that you think the Bruins weren't a big team. No one said the Oilers need every player to be big, but then NEED SOME..IT is a fact. It is obvious when they play. If you don't see this, then I truly question what games you have been watching and how you assess a team.

Campbell plays aggressive. That is playing big. IT ISN'T JUST ABOUT SIZE.

And you forgot to mention that the Bruins had: Chara, Boychuk, McQuaid, Lucic, Horton, Bergeron, Thornton, Ryder...Big, heavy players. Some who played physical, and others who lean on you.

Please tell me how the Oilers could add those three players (Parise, Karlsson, Letang) and still maintain their core group? It wouldn't happen, so it isn't a realistic argument.

Your insistence to believe that the Oilers only need more skill to win is incorrect. All their players are the same, they don't need more of the same.

The teams that win have skill, but they have size and toughness. The Oilers have none of the latter, and their skill is not as good as the elite teams. The Oilers have no dominant two-way forwards in their top six. Cup winning teams do.

Keep believing the Oilers can win with just skill. It hasn't happened and it won't happen.

Keep believing the Oilers can win with this management group. It hasn't happened and it won't happen.

Good point gregor just replace your last 2 sentences with my first 2.

EDIT Actually don't replace them just add mine

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#111 a lg dubl dubl
December 16 2013, 10:44PM
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Jerry wrote:

Your not getting young #1 pairing D man. Not even for Taylor Hall. People are crazy.

you wouldn't want a kid like Hall for Subban? Kool-Aid or not Id be hard pressed to say no.

Closest player the Canadiens have that plays like Hall is Gionta, he's 35

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#112 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
December 16 2013, 10:54PM
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Ron wrote:

Ill trade you Subban for the 1st round pick 2014, Justin Schultz and Darnell Nurse.

This idea got 8 trashes and no props......which is interesting because it shows just how much Oilers fans are prospect junkies like Lowetide is. We put more value in "potential" than we do in a young Norris Trophy winner.

This is very telling. I doubt that Montreal makes that deal today. It might come down to what spot/ number the pick is and who's available with that pick.

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#113 Webposter
December 16 2013, 11:07PM
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Philosophies are nice, but in the end, the Oilers need to improve their scouting, especially with later draft rounds or undrafted players.

Even if the players aren't pieces that fit into your philosophy, they can become valuable trade assets for players that are.

Players drafted in the first round aren't free - they cost the pick which is itself quite valuable. RNH is an asset today, but the 2011 #1 draft pick was a valuable asset then.

Using the Canucks as an example - Ryan Stanton, Chris Tanev, and Eddie Lack are all vital parts of this year's team - 2 young, reliable D-men and a good backup goaltender. Those are things that the Oilers hurt for - arguably Edmonton needs those players more than another high draft pick.

It's fine to talk about the qualities that the GM is looking for, but it's really about finding and developing good hockey players.

Speaking of development, is it a good idea for so many of these young players to skip the AHL and go straight from playing in the OHL or WHL to being crushed by the likes of the Kings or Sharks?

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#114 Rod from Viking
December 16 2013, 11:18PM
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The only trade that might work with the Flyers would be Eberle for the Schenn bros,it would cost the Flyers the $1.5m in cap difference but Braden in an RFA,Luke is not playing up to his paycheck but at least he is big & physical and could turn into a solid #3 shut down with some maturity.

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#115 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
December 16 2013, 11:21PM
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Jerry wrote:

Your not getting young #1 pairing D man. Not even for Taylor Hall. People are crazy.

This is utter nonsense. I'm not one of those guys that thinks Petry, Hemsky and Omark is an enticing package, but Taylor Hall will bring any team in the league to the table. It'd likely take Hall+, but he could get you a #1 D. The fact that this post has 7 likes is also nonsense.

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#116 dougtheslug
December 16 2013, 11:34PM
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On November 3, 2013, as we turned our clocks back from daylight savings time, @Fake Oilers GM tweeted:

"Attention fans: don't forget to turn your Edmonton Oilers rebuild clocks back 4 years."

I thought it was hilarious, but I wasn't taking it seriously at the time. I was still hopelessly deluded. I have now lost all hope, and now I realize that the above tweet is about right.

The Tambo years, aided and abetted of course by KLowe, are now being revealed as utterly disastrous. The Oilers braintrust clearly were operating under the assumption that because Pittsburgh and Chicago sucked for a few years, drafted elite players as a result, and then won Stanley cups, that all that was necessary was to tank, draft first overall, and voila, plan the parade. I'm convinced that is as far as they were looking. They forgot that Chicago was drafting and developing elite dmen, and Pittsburgh had a generational talent that wasn't going to be coming around every draft. And it takes more to build a winner than skilled forwards.

So here we are. Back to the beginning. Maybe an NHL dman in Nurse. But is he Duncan Keith? Brent Seabrook? We all know how unpredictable defensemen develop. Look at out great Swedish hope, Oscar Klefbom. 23 games in the AHL, 3 assists, -11. Not exactly looking like Kris Letang. Or even Marc Giordano.

I guess I should have known the Oilers brass had no plan, when I remember Tambo's spit-eating grin when the Oilers won the lottery 2 years ago. Brian Burke looked angry he was even there, like he was vowing he would never occupy that chair again. Tambo looked as happy as a pig in slop, like it had taken some kind of skill on his part.

Maybe MacT can do something over the next 5 years. Maybe not. But the rebuild didn't start 4 years ago or 6 or 2. It starts now.

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#117 Joel
December 16 2013, 11:48PM
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Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty) wrote:

Jason....some fans will never be convinced that playing big matters.....they honestly believe that Sam Gagner plays big for his size. They don't get the difference between the physicality of Sam Gagner vs a Peter Foresberg. Samwise is 5'11" tall and 202 lbs.....Forsberg was 6' tall and 205 lbs......Forsberg was one of the hardest guys in the NHL to separate from the puck....Samwise rarely wins a puck battle and spends an inordinate amount of time on his knees or butt.

Forsberg played big.

There's the old saying in NHL circles....big and skilled beats small and skilled.

Funny fact from the 2011 finals (since we are talking about the Bruins)...

The Canucks were actually the bigger team. (I know its counterintuitive based on how we all remember that series, but go back and check the lineup sheets if you don't believe me)

Only by a couple of pounds and half an inch on average, but keep in mind that Chara was skewing the Bruins' average all by himself, lol

Like you said, its not just BEING big, its PLAYING big.

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#118 Joel
December 16 2013, 11:54PM
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@Jordan Nugent-Hallkins

Realistically, Hall plus the expected lottery pick from this upcoming draft could get any Dman not already locked into a longterm NTC deal. (i.e. No Chara or Suter, but basically anyone else including Weber)

IMHO, from an outside perspective (Canucks fan), that trade *could* realistically happen in real life, not just on message boards... but only if there is a housecleaning in upper management as well.

Otherwise I can't see them essentially admitting that they screwed up the rebuild so bad that the need to trade the face of the franchise and start over.

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#119 6 ring circus
December 17 2013, 01:31AM
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I just hope Santa delivers all Oilers fans the one gift they all have been wishing for.

For Katz to fire Kevin Lowe!!!!

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#120 jay jay
December 17 2013, 01:44AM
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Zamboni Driver wrote:

...in completely unrelated news, Nail Yakupov has a five stroke lead in the race for the green jacket.

So there's that.

This is funny!!! who is chasing or helping him? May be 18 ladies.....

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#121 reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan)
December 17 2013, 02:14AM
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Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty) wrote:

This idea got 8 trashes and no props......which is interesting because it shows just how much Oilers fans are prospect junkies like Lowetide is. We put more value in "potential" than we do in a young Norris Trophy winner.

This is very telling. I doubt that Montreal makes that deal today. It might come down to what spot/ number the pick is and who's available with that pick.

Could be they dont like Subban perhaps due to his questionable locker room presence.

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#122 reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan)
December 17 2013, 02:17AM
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6 ring circus wrote:

I just hope Santa delivers all Oilers fans the one gift they all have been wishing for.

For Katz to fire Kevin Lowe!!!!

Double Christmas Props

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#123 Rheal1
December 17 2013, 04:45AM
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I have one question: WTF are everyone here chasing their collective oilers fan tail WHEN the problem lays right in front of them: KEITH ACTON, KELLY BUCHBERGER, STEVE SMITH & FREDERIC CHABOT. They are THE problem. Promote Todd Nelson and let Eakins hire his OWN guys. Also, PURGE upper management now: RICK CARRIERE Sr. Director of Player Development - a clear FAIL! SCOTT HOWSON Sr. Vice President, Hockey Operations, AND... KEVIN LOWE President, Hockey Operations.

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#124 Fresh Mess
December 17 2013, 05:12AM
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@Rheal1

It's the assistant coaches that are THE problem you say? Time for you to lay off the egg nog.

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#125 michael
December 17 2013, 05:49AM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

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.

Go look at the FA list of defensemen and tell me who you think we should sign. Beyond Phaneuf and Boyle(36years old). Both will be resigned. Who on that list would you sign. I see only one. Lovejoy from Anaheim.

Those who think some team out there is going to give up a 1-2 dman for Yakupov or Eberle are dearly mistaken.

This is a painful process folks and it is not going to improve until the Oilers draft the players they need to fill those roles.

Don't let Gregor fill your head with visions of trades for players that other teams need as badly as we do. This isn't Lets make a deal. The real world doesn't see a GM trade a NHL player with size and grit and scoring ability for one that does not have size and grit.

Until the Oilers can begin to identify and bring in those types of players we'll be spinning our wheels.

We had a shot at Courtier.We choose elsewise. The jury is still out. But when you look at the 2014 draft the number 1 rated player is comparable to RNH.6ft 185.Skilled. Is that the guy we want to draft? Or do we trade down to get a bigger less skilled player? Which has the bigger longterm value?

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#126 Rheal1
December 17 2013, 06:15AM
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Fresh Mess wrote:

It's the assistant coaches that are THE problem you say? Time for you to lay off the egg nog.

Well in that case, please do enlighten us on what exactly are THE problem(s), sir. Since everything has been attempted; as we can witness the lunacy of trading first picks for first picks, etc as seen on this blog AND considering that we are with coach #5 since year 8 of the rebuild, please go on and do tell us all in your infinite wisdom: WHAT IS THE PROBLEM?

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#127 Oiler Al
December 17 2013, 06:18AM
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If trades and UFA's were that easy to fetch, they would have been done last summer. The problem is decent and youngish players don't want to come to a loosing team, especially one that has been a cellar dweller for longer than one can recall.

The other point that the Fab Five have not made a big dent in the turn around of this franchise.. not yet anyway, at this rate maybe never.

Also, with Lowe at the helm, I would guess he has turned off a lot of agents and other GM's with his dumb demands.

One thing you can take to the bank though is if you come.. you will be handsomely overpaid.

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#128 Wintoon
December 17 2013, 06:19AM
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When you draft players you are drafting assets. Those assets can then be used by the team because they fill a glaring need on the roster or they can be used in a trade to acquire another type of asset(s) which the team needs. This is why teams try to draft the "best player available".

The Oilers have very limited draft success and yet they have made very few meaningful trades in the re-build era. I believe, as Gregor states that you need a masterplan for the type of team you are trying to create but - and this is a big but - the Oilers also seem to over value their players and prospects. Both the fan base and management fall in love with their prospects. Until this changes, the Oilers are destined to be a bottom dwelling team.

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#129 camdog
December 17 2013, 06:49AM
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Right now it is my belief that Oilers managment and some fans value elite offenisive talent higher than franchise type players. There is a difference, one helps your team win the other does not.

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#130 mayorblaine
December 17 2013, 06:52AM
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to those who reference the point differential between Couturier and Eberle as a reason for not making that trade, that mentality is part of the problem.

more points does not equate to being better. every team has different requirements and needs. the oilers have point producers we need the other.

i'd take Couturier for Eberle without question and i'd also bet we'd be a better team for it.

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#131 Rheal1
December 17 2013, 07:01AM
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mayorblaine wrote:

to those who reference the point differential between Couturier and Eberle as a reason for not making that trade, that mentality is part of the problem.

more points does not equate to being better. every team has different requirements and needs. the oilers have point producers we need the other.

i'd take Couturier for Eberle without question and i'd also bet we'd be a better team for it.

I doubt very much that making trades will solve the team's problems. Take the Oilers roster right now and morph it with Detroit's coaching staff and management. Or Anaheim's. Even Toronto's. Then you would see that the Oilers would be higher in the standings. With the same players. Just diffetent coaching staff and Mgnt...'nuf said. Boy can some Oilers fans read way, way too much into the "problem".

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#132 The Beaker
December 17 2013, 07:03AM
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Rheal1 wrote:

Well in that case, please do enlighten us on what exactly are THE problem(s), sir. Since everything has been attempted; as we can witness the lunacy of trading first picks for first picks, etc as seen on this blog AND considering that we are with coach #5 since year 8 of the rebuild, please go on and do tell us all in your infinite wisdom: WHAT IS THE PROBLEM?

ugh. I wasnt going to comment today but here goes.

Gregor literally just wrote an entire article on what the problem is. The problem is a team that doesnt have the right players.

What Fresh Mess meant was that the assistant coaches may be A problem but the best bloody assistant coaches in the league cant turn this team around to make this roster elite. If you believe they could then you need to stop sniffing things under your kitchen sink.

I dont agree with Fresh Mess often really but too many people are thinking with their hearts instead of their heads when it comes to this team.

Just like firing Kevin Lowe might feel good, and he may deserve it but it wont do a thing to change this team in the next few years.

*or at least thats what i think Fresh Mess meant to say. Sorry if i just put words in your mouth.

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#133 The Beaker
December 17 2013, 07:10AM
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@Rheal1

coaching staffs are great but they dont stop stupid giveaways at inopportune times. They dont increase our save percentage (btw if we has torontos goaltending we might be in a playoff spot... not their coaches)

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#134 The Beaker
December 17 2013, 07:10AM
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@Rheal1

double post

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#135 mayorblaine
December 17 2013, 07:21AM
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Rheal1 wrote:

I doubt very much that making trades will solve the team's problems. Take the Oilers roster right now and morph it with Detroit's coaching staff and management. Or Anaheim's. Even Toronto's. Then you would see that the Oilers would be higher in the standings. With the same players. Just diffetent coaching staff and Mgnt...'nuf said. Boy can some Oilers fans read way, way too much into the "problem".

changing the coaching staff, why haven't they thought of that before?

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#136 camdog
December 17 2013, 07:27AM
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Team is short 3 top 4 dman, a number one centre (RNH should be a number 2 right now), a few forwards who play with compete in the top 9, a couple of 4 line forwards and potetenially 2 new goalies.

That's before we can consider ourselves a playoff team. Problem is we have so much need, that trading away what talented players we do have just adds to a hole somewhere else. The reality is this rebuild is still another 2-3 years away from being close to finished.

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#137 Rheal1
December 17 2013, 07:28AM
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I give up. Oilers fans deserve the team they have. Enjoy your top 5 picks next June and next. And next after that.

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#138 Quicksilver ballet
December 17 2013, 07:37AM
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dougtheslug wrote:

On November 3, 2013, as we turned our clocks back from daylight savings time, @Fake Oilers GM tweeted:

"Attention fans: don't forget to turn your Edmonton Oilers rebuild clocks back 4 years."

I thought it was hilarious, but I wasn't taking it seriously at the time. I was still hopelessly deluded. I have now lost all hope, and now I realize that the above tweet is about right.

The Tambo years, aided and abetted of course by KLowe, are now being revealed as utterly disastrous. The Oilers braintrust clearly were operating under the assumption that because Pittsburgh and Chicago sucked for a few years, drafted elite players as a result, and then won Stanley cups, that all that was necessary was to tank, draft first overall, and voila, plan the parade. I'm convinced that is as far as they were looking. They forgot that Chicago was drafting and developing elite dmen, and Pittsburgh had a generational talent that wasn't going to be coming around every draft. And it takes more to build a winner than skilled forwards.

So here we are. Back to the beginning. Maybe an NHL dman in Nurse. But is he Duncan Keith? Brent Seabrook? We all know how unpredictable defensemen develop. Look at out great Swedish hope, Oscar Klefbom. 23 games in the AHL, 3 assists, -11. Not exactly looking like Kris Letang. Or even Marc Giordano.

I guess I should have known the Oilers brass had no plan, when I remember Tambo's spit-eating grin when the Oilers won the lottery 2 years ago. Brian Burke looked angry he was even there, like he was vowing he would never occupy that chair again. Tambo looked as happy as a pig in slop, like it had taken some kind of skill on his part.

Maybe MacT can do something over the next 5 years. Maybe not. But the rebuild didn't start 4 years ago or 6 or 2. It starts now.

Why now. Where was all this wisdom 3 yrs ago? You use to berate guys like me, and now you're one of us.

This just in......get out of Nortel!

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#139 Crackenbury
December 17 2013, 08:07AM
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Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty) wrote:

This idea got 8 trashes and no props......which is interesting because it shows just how much Oilers fans are prospect junkies like Lowetide is. We put more value in "potential" than we do in a young Norris Trophy winner.

This is very telling. I doubt that Montreal makes that deal today. It might come down to what spot/ number the pick is and who's available with that pick.

I make that trade if I'm in position to make a push for the cup. No way I make it today with the Oilers near the bottom. Giving up way too much for a good, but not franchise player that won't change much in the short term. By the time the Oilers are contenders Nurse is potentially as good as Subban, not to mention still having a top 3 pick from this years draft and J Shultz.

I'd rather see some of the current top 6 move out. The current mix will never work together and the returns should be equivalent skill players, only with a different skill set.

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#140 barry.moore23
December 17 2013, 08:09AM
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@Quicksilver ballet

QSB, Why, in the name of all that is holy, can i not stop caring ?? Is there something wrong with me ?? Can't wait to see my Oilers play in St. Louis early March. This time it will be different .......

Peace from Illinois.

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#141 mayorblaine
December 17 2013, 08:13AM
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Rheal1 wrote:

I give up. Oilers fans deserve the team they have. Enjoy your top 5 picks next June and next. And next after that.

without question Bucky and Smith need to go. if you think this is the sole reason for the Oiler woes and not at all the players, well i have some lovely swamp land to sell you.

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#142 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
December 17 2013, 08:16AM
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@Rheal1

Don't you put that evil on me, Ricky Bobby!

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#143 j
December 17 2013, 08:34AM
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I'd rather watch the 1996-97 Oilers grind out a passionate game than sit through some of the current displays of skilled shinny. There is no paint by numbers formula as all Stanley winners are different however high-end talent is only one ingredient for success. Every single team to hoist the Cup has found the right balance at the right time. The 2006 Oil are the perfect example of all the elements and reactants finally synthesizing. Do the 2013/14 Oilers have all the necessary substances? Doubtful - but some chemical reactions are just one element/electron/ reactant away from igniting. But which ones? Maybe we should fire Smith and Bucky and replace them with Robert Boyle and Isaac Newton?!

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#144 Oil Can
December 17 2013, 08:40AM
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@Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)

You take Nurse out and put in any other d-man or prospect and people would probably make that trade, but Nurse stays here.

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#145 hall the time
December 17 2013, 08:49AM
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The Oilers are playing against the whole league, teams players want to beat Edmonton because or our high draft picks.

There no better way to show your value then to beat players that were drafted way higher then you. Its not just a team thing, its a personal thing for these players.

Go ahead and thrash it, but its true in some respect.

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#146 Puck JammeR!
December 17 2013, 09:21AM
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hall the time wrote:

The Oilers are playing against the whole league, teams players want to beat Edmonton because or our high draft picks.

There no better way to show your value then to beat players that were drafted way higher then you. Its not just a team thing, its a personal thing for these players.

Go ahead and thrash it, but its true in some respect.

Teams want to beat the Oilers because it's worth 2 points and there's no excuse not to do it.

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#147 Oilfan
December 17 2013, 10:08AM
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Rheal1 wrote:

I give up. Oilers fans deserve the team they have. Enjoy your top 5 picks next June and next. And next after that.

Thats not true. Oilersfans all deserve a good team. Any other fanbase wouldve stopped caring years ago, its stunning its taken this long. Its a testament to Oilers fans that weve been able to cheer for such a putrid collection of losers that collect cheques for sucking. The fans could ice a better team than the oilers could.

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#148 Zarny
December 17 2013, 10:12AM
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Hayek wrote:

Jason, I hate to keep contradicting you because I really enjoy you as a writer, and value many of your opinions. To say certain teams are bigger than others, is simply just wrong though. I can find an article from January of 2013 listing average team weight by James Mirtle. http://mirtle.blogspot.ca/2013/01/2013-nhl-teams-by-weight-height-and-age.html

Anaheim 203.3 Boston 200.0 (26th) Buffalo 203.1 Calgary 195.5 Carolina 200.5 Chicago 203.0 (20th) Colorado 205.9 Columbus 204.5 Dallas 197.2 Detroit 201.2 Edmonton 203.8 (16th) Florida 201.2 Los Angeles 209.7 (2nd) Minnesota 199.7 Montreal 197.3 Nashville 205.4 New Jersey 204.5 NY Islanders 200.3 NY Rangers 206.1 Ottawa 206.8 Philadelphia 202.7 Phoenix 204.2 Pittsburgh 203.3 San Jose 210.7 (1st) St. Louis 205.8 Tampa Bay 206.2 Toronto 204.8 Vancouver 204.0 Washington 208.0 Winnipeg 207.3

Average 203.5 Some of your examples are right, SJ and BOS were the 2 heaviest teams in the league last year, and were successful. Teams 3,4,and 5 were WAS, WIN, and OTT which were unsuccessful. But I'm not going to come here and argue whether size means success as that is not the point.

As of last year in this compilation, Oilers were 16th in the league in size. We were an average sized team in the league, of this, is pretty impressive since we are such a young team (in which young players take time to put on weight).

You mention Chicago and Boston being big teams, but according to this, they are both a lighter team than the Oilers. I just find it interesting if a team has a couple big impactful players, that this heavily sway opinions of the entire team being an above average sized team.

You can't be serious? Average team weights? Good grief, you completely miss the point.

The game isn't played by 12 players of average weight and height. When it comes down to it the game is nothing but a series of 1 on 1 match-ups.

It's not about weight. "Size" is a euphemism. It's about diversity. It's about the ability to be effective in different ways. It's about being able to score in different ways.

The Oilers don't play an average weight of 200 lbs in Bos. They play Milan Lucic. He's 6'4" 220 lbs and if he doesn't have a step on the D he can say ph*ck it, drop his shoulder and go nuclear through the crease.

Anh, LA, Chi and SJ...they have guys like Getzlaf, Perry, Carter, Bickell, Thornton. They are all 6'3" or 6'4" 230 lbs. They can play physical against D like Chara and Weber. They can drive the slot and score goals in ways and in areas that not a single top 6 F Oiler can.

Every single top 6 F Oiler is smaller than the average NHL forward. They are literally the same type of player; all between 5'11"-6'1" and none weigh more than 205 lbs.

Sure some skate a bit faster, shoot a bit harder or have a niftier toe drag...whatever. They all play the same way. They all score the same type of goals on the same type of chances. They all get shutdown by the exact same game plan.

That alone necessitates swapping out 1-2 players in the top 6 F. The Oilers will never, ever play for the Stanley Cup with the current top 6 F because they'd never win 4 playoff series with them.

Add to it the fact that the Oilers are not going to get a top pairing D or elite G for middle of the road prospects and 1st round draft picks. One of the kids will need to be included and that's fine. We have 4 of them.

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#149 camdog
December 17 2013, 10:13AM
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Puck JammeR! wrote:

Teams want to beat the Oilers because it's worth 2 points and there's no excuse not to do it.

There are a number of teams that believe what the Oilers did by intentionally tanking was wrong. It's hurt the team in respect to our ability to trade with some GM's, hence certain GM's ask for more from Edmonton in trade talks then they ask from other organisations. From proof of the anger over Edmonton's rebuild, just look to Calgary and Bruian Burke. Of course they are the extreme in respect to the hate for Edmonton, they are not alone in their disrespect of the organisation.

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#150 Zarny
December 17 2013, 10:21AM
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Rheal1 wrote:

I doubt very much that making trades will solve the team's problems. Take the Oilers roster right now and morph it with Detroit's coaching staff and management. Or Anaheim's. Even Toronto's. Then you would see that the Oilers would be higher in the standings. With the same players. Just diffetent coaching staff and Mgnt...'nuf said. Boy can some Oilers fans read way, way too much into the "problem".

That is utterly ridiculous.

The Oilers problem is not the coaching staff. The players simply aren't good enough. Full stop.

On a contender, every single Oiler D would be 3rd or lower. Half of them don't even make the roster. Coaching isn't going to change that I'm afraid.

The entire 4th line are AHL caliber players. On the 3rd line, Boyd Gordon is flanked by Moses and Hemsky who plays the exact same soft game with the same defensive liabilities as the top 6 F.

Every top 6 F gets shutdown by the same game plan.

1st overall draft picks don't come with magical pixie dust from a land of rainbows and unicorns. Hall, Nuge, Eberle and Yakupov aren't going to score 140 pts and win with a supporting cast of below average players no matter who the coach is.

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