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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#1 Mark-LW
December 16 2013, 12:15PM
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Maybe we should see if Toronto will trade Clarkson for Yakupov

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#2 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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#3 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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#4 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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#5 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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#6 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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#7 Ducey
December 16 2013, 12:53PM
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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.

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#8 jamang
December 16 2013, 12:27PM
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I think trading yak for Clarkson would be an awful idea.id rather pursue a more affordable steve ott, id pick up Clarkson for a 3rd or 2nd but not yak.

I could see a trade like

liles, Clarkson for jones, hemsky, 4th

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#9 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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#10 Sean17
December 16 2013, 01:07PM
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I love watching him, but Eberle is the one that has to go. He will net the biggest return. Also, he has never been a "winner" like Hall. Those Regina teams he was on were awful but, had some talent that should have overcome the shortcomings. But instead Eberle and Weal enjoyed great personal success but no team success. It'll be the same as trading Kessel or Seguin. Not great on paper but, better on ice.

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#11 Hayek
December 16 2013, 12:36PM
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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.

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#12 Zamboni Driver
December 16 2013, 12:48PM
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...in completely unrelated news, Nail Yakupov has a five stroke lead in the race for the green jacket.

So there's that.

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#13 Ducey
December 16 2013, 12:58PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

The problem with that it takes the average of the team, and it might even include the goalies.

Look at the players who play the most in Edmonton, compared to LA, ST.L, SJ and Ana.

The Oilers top line is small compared to all of those teams key star forwards.

Look at the current Oilers blueline. Potter is the biggest, and he plays the smallest.

Watch the Oilers in both ends. Watch how easily they get knocked off the puck in O zone, and how rarely they do that to opposing forwards in the D zone.

I never said Chicago was big, I said they were skilled.

Boston is bigger than the Oilers, and even their shorter players, Marchand, play big and hard.

If you actually believe that size chart, then you should be even more annoyed at how soft the Oilers play, but to me that is a very misleading chart.

None of the Oilers main minute eaters are big, except Petry, and he doesn't play overly physical.

You need to dive deeper into that and it is clear to see the Oilers don't come close to matching up with SJ, LA, ST.L, Ana etc..

Gregor,

Not trying to be argumentative, but did the Oiler's lose last night because of a lack of size? The Ducks got three goals, all off bad reads defensively by the Oilers. Its not like some giant just plowed through the Oilers.

I expect that any of those goals could have been prevented by more experience and better defensive play.

Its the same story most games.

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#14 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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#15 Sean17
December 16 2013, 01:11PM
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And for everyone that craps on Gagner, let's remember he is one of the few guys who does give a damn IMO. Remember when he dropped the gloves with Beauchemin?! He will actually stand up for guys even though he knew he was gonna get a beat down. Once the jaw is 100% next year, you will see...

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#16 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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#17 reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan)
December 16 2013, 12:20PM
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DaveChamp wrote:

I'm quite sad to admit that I have a real fear that the Oilers are on the path of the Islanders or Thrashers and not the Penguins or Blackhawks. There is so much work to be done on this roster and so many gaping holes. That said, if Nurse and Klefbom develop to their potential, that could be a great first pairing and would solve the biggest problem on the team. Even still, it will take them a few years in the NHL to become great, and that really sucks.

You dont have to Fear it happening my friend. We are the Islanders and Thrashers. A team with no success over an extremely long perios of time amd clueless management inept GM and a lost in the woods coach. Overrated talent poor development.

6 years under Katz has to this point been an unmitigated disaster. The Oilers are now the laughing stock of the NHL. this isn't just my opinion either just look at the lack of repect from opposition

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#18 Hayek
December 16 2013, 01:20PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

The problem with that it takes the average of the team, and it might even include the goalies.

Look at the players who play the most in Edmonton, compared to LA, ST.L, SJ and Ana.

The Oilers top line is small compared to all of those teams key star forwards.

Look at the current Oilers blueline. Potter is the biggest, and he plays the smallest.

Watch the Oilers in both ends. Watch how easily they get knocked off the puck in O zone, and how rarely they do that to opposing forwards in the D zone.

I never said Chicago was big, I said they were skilled.

Boston is bigger than the Oilers, and even their shorter players, Marchand, play big and hard.

If you actually believe that size chart, then you should be even more annoyed at how soft the Oilers play, but to me that is a very misleading chart.

None of the Oilers main minute eaters are big, except Petry, and he doesn't play overly physical.

You need to dive deeper into that and it is clear to see the Oilers don't come close to matching up with SJ, LA, ST.L, Ana etc..

That is a fair enough point, but it would be nice if clarified when you were writing. You can't clarify the Oilers as a small team as that is simply wrong. If you want to say the Oilers top 6 is small, you probably have a point.

My question is, the Oilers top line, or top 3 players, let's just say it's Hopkins(180lbs), Hall(201lbs), Eberle(180lbs). So you are implying we need to get rid of one of these. Let's assume Eberle or RNH because they are undersized. So which one do we get rid of, and what kind of return are you expecting to get?

It's just people want to say let's get bigger without subtracting. Is it just not politically correct for you to come out in an article and say "WE NEED TO GET RID OF HOPKINS OR EBERLE TO WIN?" Is that not really possible for you to say being so close to the team?

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#19 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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#20 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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#21 reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan)
December 16 2013, 12:55PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

No, not at all.

His first few moves suggest to me he realizes he needs to add more competitive players. It won't be easy, but they also need to ensure some of the young kids develop into more competitive players every shift. That is where consistency from coaching comes in.

I think MacT gave Eakins a 4-year deal, because he understands the need for consistency from a coaching staff...

So he fired Krueger (A coach that he had said was not the problem) in an attempt to provide consistency in the coaching position....

fired a coach who, without a training camp, had the team playing slightly better so he could bring stability to the coaching position...

cant wrap my head around that logic

let alone giving a completely unproven coach a 4yr deal.

Well at least the winning this year is proving mact right

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#22 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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#23 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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#24 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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#25 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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#26 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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#27 spot
December 16 2013, 12:03PM
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With the salary cap going up yearly no one from anaheim, Chicago, penguins will be leaving, every team has money to spend and can lock up their players. Looks like oilers will have to win with what they have, help isn't coming.

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#28 TonyT
December 16 2013, 01:31PM
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@Ducey

Are you suggesting the Oilers are big enough?

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#29 TigerUnderGlass
December 16 2013, 01:56PM
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Spydyr wrote:

"It is obvious that Chiarelli likes big, heavy, skilled players, but he also wants guys who are strong two-way players"

Amen.....I have been preaching this for years and years.

The Stats guys don't agree.

Wonder who is right?

The stats guys don't want strong two-way players? Nonsense.

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#30 Randy
December 16 2013, 02:40PM
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How about Edmonton's First round pick 2014 for Adam Larsson

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#31 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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#32 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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#33 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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#34 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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#35 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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#36 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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#37 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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#38 Zamboni Driver
December 16 2013, 12:03PM
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Great interview (heard it live) Chiarelli is one of the best in the biznezz, I think.

As to the Oilers identity, I agree that one needs to be developed. I also think it's a travesty that they haven't figured that out STILL.

Sure, MacTavish is in the GM chair, now, but his bosses and his owner have been there for many years (many many many many many many (that's six, right?) for at least one them). The fact that they don't even have an IDEA as to what to do, a philosophy - or if they do, they're only figuring it out now is completely astounding.

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#41 ubermiguel
December 16 2013, 01:01PM
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I find teams take on the personality of their leaders. So the skilled but defensively responsible Red Wings, Penguins and Blackhawks take after Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Crosby and Toews.

Skilled, chippy, chirpy and aggravating sounds like the Sedins and Kesler to me

Big, tough, rugged and skilled is Chara.

Who is the Oilers' leader? Is Hall there yet? What kind of player is he? Skilled but reckless?

And if we aren't going to win puck battles due to size then we'd better learn to gain the zone with the puck and score on the rush. Work with the players you have, or get rid of the ones you can't work with.

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#42 Digger
December 16 2013, 01:53PM
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In my mind the root of the on-ice issues the Oilers have stumbled into this year all stem from a handful of gambles by MacT that either gave tepid returns or outright blew up in his face.

-The goaltending

The double-barrelled shotgun blast to this team's face came from their bet that Dubnyk would be a quality starting NHL tender and Labarbera could be his capable backup. Both decisions turned out to be disastrous, and pretty much disemboweled this team before they knew what hit them. The fact that Bryzgalov is now an Oiler only accentuates how desperate MacT was in trying to dig his way out of this mess.

-The d(?)men

Bringing in Grebeshkov for 1.5M? He may as well have taken that money and set it ablaze with gasoline, Joker-style. Belov - He's been OK, but nothing great. He's like a non-physical Souray who can't hit the net with his point shot. If he was the "best dman in the KHL", that league is worse than I thought. J. Schultz - I think the Oilers were really hoping he'd turn into a minute eating stud on the blue line, but he's had a ton of growing pains instead, with a smattering of offensive production. Ference - He's been decent, but like what happened to Staios during his "good" years, is being forced to bat higher in the order than he should, and he's finding out life without Chara isn't so great N. Schultz - Not MacT's acquisition, but still a guy that's not giving a good ROI given his salary. Klefbom - It really did seem like the Oilers were expecting him to make this team right away and give them a jolt of two way excellence...it never happened, and it turns out he may be a lot further away then we thought from making an NHL roster.

No outright catastrosphic moves, but in total they're enough to make this arguably the worst dman group in the entire 30 team NHL.

Not sure what else to say. The forward group still needs work (and still needs to learn how to play for the team and not for themselves), but IMO it's good enough for this team to at least be in the running for a playoff spot, if it hadn't been for the multitude of mistakes made on assets that ply their trade behind their blue line.

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#43 Sid
December 16 2013, 02:35PM
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Adam Larsson is a player that probably has under performed given the expectations of NJ.

I think NJ would ask for Eberle or Yakupov for Larsson.

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#44 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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#45 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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#46 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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#47 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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#48 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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