LOOKING AHEAD: CHANGING THE BLUELINE

Jason Gregor
December 18 2013 11:37AM

This is what the Oilers blueline and depth chart looked like at the start of the season. It looks even worse now with the trade of Ladislav Smid, but it is obvious that the Oilers D corps will look significantly different at the start of next season. Nick Schultz, Corey Potter, Anton Belov and Denis Grebeshkov are unrestricted free agents, and Belov is the only one they might re-sign.

Jeff Petry, Justin Schultz, Taylor Fedun and Philip Larsen are restricted free agents. The first three will likely be re-signed, while Larsen should be let go.

How will Craig MacTavish re-build his blueline, and who should he be looking to sign?

We can all agree the Oilers need a top-pairing D-man, but the only way to get one is through free agency, or by trading one of the four skilled forwards.

Here is the list of the top 45 pending UFAs. Many of these guys will sign with their teams before July, so the list will be shorter, but it will give you an idea of who is available in free agency. I listed them by age. 

Player  Team  Age  Cap Hit 
Bouillon, Francis  MTL  38 $1,500,000
Mitchell, Willie  LAK  36 $3,500,000
Robidas, Stephane  DAL  36 $3,300,000
Markov, Andrei  MTL  34 $5,750,000
Phillips, Chris  OTT  35 $3,083,333
Morris, Derek  PHX  35 $2,750,000
Sarich, Cory  COL  35 $2,000,000
Weaver, Mike  FLA  35 $1,100,000
Tallinder, Henrik   BUF  34 $3,375,000
Orpik, Brooks  PIT  33 $3,750,000
Hainsey, Ron  CAR  32 $2,000,000
Alberts, Andrew  VAN  32 $600,000
Klesla, Rostislav  PHX  31 $2,975,000
Komisarek, Mike  CAR  31 $700,000
Guenin, Nate  COL  31 $600,000
Engelland, Deryk  PIT  31 $566,667
Pitkanen, Joni  CAR  30 $4,500,000
Greene, Matt  LAK  30 $2,950,000
Gilbert, Tom  FLA  30 $900,000
Colaiacovo, Carlo  STL  30 $750,000
Girardi, Dan  NYR  29 $3,325,000
Stuart, Mark  WPG  29 $1,700,000
Ranger, Paul  TOR  29 $1,000,000
Benoit, Andre   COL  29 $900,000
Smith, Derek  CGY  29 $775,000
Sulzer, Alexander  BUF  29 $725,000
Strachan, Tyson  WAS  29 $550,000
Phaneuf, Dion  TOR  28 $6,500,000
Meszaros, Andrej   PHI  28 $4,000,000
Quincey, Kyle  DET  28 $3,775,000
Stoner, Clayton   MIN  28 $1,050,000
Kostka, Mike  CHI  28 $625,000
Niskanen, Matt  PIT  27 $2,300,000
Nikitin, Nikita  CLB  27 $2,150,000
Butler, Chris   CGY  27 $1,700,000
Stralman, Anton  NYR  27 $1,700,000
Fraser, Mark  TOR  27 $1,275,000
Diaz, Raphael  MTL  27 $1,225,000
Fistric, Mark  ANA  27 $900,000
Prosser, Nate  MIN  27 $825,000
Schultz, Jeff  LAK  27 $700,000
MacDonald, Andrew  NYI  27 $550,000
Russell, Kris   CGY  26 $1,500,000
Fayne, Mark   NJD  26 $1,300,000

The five players in bold are playing top pairing minutes currently, however Markov, Phaneuf and Girardi are the only three I'd consider top pairing D-men. Tom Gilbert and Andrew MacDonald play lots of minutes on bad teams just like Petry in Edmonton. The Oilers can't sign Gilbert when they already have J.Schultz and Petry on the right side. They are all similar players. The Oilers need to diversify their blueline. They won't win with three non-physical right-handed D-men.

Phaneuf is the best UFA option. If he doesn't re-sign in Toronto he will get at least $7 mill/year for seven years. Phaneuf isn't a top-10 D-man in the league, but he is a legitimate first pair defender. If he is available, the Oilers will try and sign him.

Girardi is a very good #2 D-man. He doesn't bring any offence, so he can't be a true #1, but he is solid in his own zone.

Markov is turns 35 on Friday, and if he tests the free agent waters, I'm sure he will sign with a contending team. He only has a few years left to win a Stanley Cup.

MacDonald plays 26:16/game, but many in New York feel is he likely a #3 on a good team. He isn't very big or physical, but he'd be a major upgrade on N.Schultz, Potter or Larsen. He likely will get a deal worth $3.5-$4.5 million if he chooses the free agent route.

The odds of landing a top-pair D-man via free agency are slim, considering Phaneuf and Girardi are the only options, so MacTavish likely has to look at a trade to facilitate that position.

The names that some feel might be available include Tyler Myers, Zach Bogosian and Alex Edler. There would be others, depending on what or who MacTavish offers up in a trade, but if they do acquire a top pairing defender it will cost them one of Jordan Eberle or Nail Yakupov and possibly something more. ( I don't see them moving Hall or RNH).

OTHER OPTIONS...

There are some other names on the aforementioned list that would help the Oilers. They desperately need a big, strong defender like Matt Greene or Brooks Orpik. I doubt those two make it to free agency, but if the Oilers need to find a player similar to those two. They need some size in their bottom two pairings.

The Oilers might look at signing a veteran for to a one or two year deal, just so they don't have to rush Darnell Nurse, Oscar Klefbom or Martin Marincin and play them more minutes than they are capable of handling.

Players like Derek Morris, Paul Ranger or Mark Stuart could be good stop gaps until those kids are ready to play more minutes.

You will notice that there are very few big, heavy D-men available. It is hard to find big D-men who are quick enough and savvy enough to play sound defensively and not get exposed by speedy forwards. The Oilers desperately need some size and strength on their backend, and while Nurse and Klefbom are big it would be asking a lot for a 19 and 20 year old to play significant minutes against men.

MacTavish needs to add a top-pairing D-man, but he'll also need to find at least three new D-men for next season. This isn't impossible. The Colorado Avalanche completely changed their blueline over the summer, and they are a much better team because of it.

Here is who they used last year, and who they are using this season.

2013 

Player  GP  G  A  P  +/-  TOI/G
Tyson Barrie 32 2 11 13 -11 21:34
Matt Hunwick 43 0 6 6 4 21:31
Erik Johnson 31 0 4 4 -3 20:45
Jan Hejda 46 1 9 10 -3 19:41
Greg Zanon 44 0 6 6 -16 19:19
Ryan O'Byrne 34 1 3 4 -8 18:51
Ryan Wilson 12 0 3 3 4 18:30
Stefan Elliott 18 1 3 4 -3 17:30
Shane O'Brien 28 0 4 4 0 15:30

2013/2014 

Player  GP  G  A  P  +/-  TOI/G
Erik Johnson 33 4 8 12 18 22:21
Jan Hejda 29 3 6 9 19 22:13
Andre Benoit 32 2 10 12 1 20:42
Nate Guenin 32 0 4 4 -2 18:31
Cory Sarich 31 1 8 9 7 17:49
Matt Hunwick 1 0 0 0 0 17:27
Tyson Barrie 19 1 4 5 2 17:25
Ryan Wilson 10 0 4 4 2 16:48
Nick Holden 13 2 3 5 -1 16:38

Johnson and Hejda are their top pair, which begs the question why Matt Hunwick and Tyson Barrie played more than them last season? Pretty easy to say Joe Sacco wasn't using the right guys.

The Avs have added Andre Benoit, Nate Guenin and Cory Sarich in place of Greg Zaone, Ryan O'Byrne and Hunwick. Barrie is now their #6 D-man, while Hunwick is in the American League.

The Avs weren't afraid to change their roster, and they didn't guarantee guys like Hunwick and Barrie jobs just because they played significant minutes last season. They went out and re-tooled their blueline. They didn't add big name players, but they got better players and their team is better because of if.

WRAP UP

It is painfully obvious that the Oilers need to improve their backend. Nick Schultz will be traded at the deadline, and the Oilers should say goodbye to Potter and Larsen. Belov's play has regressed and unless he has a solid second half, I wouldn't bring him back either.

MacTavish should be instructing his scouts to watch these UFAs closely, and find out which ones will help the Oilers improve. He has to improve his blueline over the summer, and the organization can't expect those spots to be filled with rookies. If they do, then the Oilers are in for another long season next year as well.

Do any of those name appeal to you? If so, who and why.

DAY 14...MONTH OF GIVING

Darrell bid $5,000 on our Eskimos dinner at Vons Steakhouse yesterday bringing our monthly total up to $53, 950. Awesome.

Today's packages include...

Package #1:

  •  A $1,000 Easton Hockey shopping spree at United Cycle.
  • Pair of club seats (sec 120, row 15) for Oilers vs. Canucks on January 21st.
     

Package #2:

Package #3:

  • A Party for 10 at the Druid Irish Pub. Includes food and four drinks for each person.
  • Two tickets to an exclusive Hot Stove with Jordan Eberle on January 22nd, hosted by ATB Financial. A great place to take your son or daughter to meet Eberle. Includes appetizers and food.

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 

 

Ddf3e2ba09069c465299f3c416e43eae
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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#151 hall the time
December 18 2013, 07:51PM
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bnr wrote:

Well Edmonton is certainly the murder capital of Canada, even the Edmonton Sun says as much, and the stats prove that.

http://www.edmontonsun.com/2012/01/01/edmonton-murder-capital-of-canada

So to claim a city is a step-up over another city is frankly, your worthless opinion.

I've lived in both cities and I preferred Winnipeg by far. Not only that, players will prefer the management of the Jets over the Oilers... Unless they like losing.

This isn't the 80's any more, NHL players aren't going to prefer Edmonton over Winnipeg, in fact the opposite is probably true due to Edmonton's recent history. The only dynasty Edmonton currently has is it's ability to draft first overall. Not gonna attract talent that way.

That's soooooo true.

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#152 DAVE
December 18 2013, 07:51PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Teams that alwasy keep losing losing trade proven NHL players for prospects and picks, but have no one ready to fill their void.

Moving Smid now made no sense. Had they moved him when Marincin or Nurse was ready to step in then I could see it...Those two aren't ready to step in today, and are only maybes for next season.

Ya, I still don't get the Smid trade, a NHL player for a ECHL player(Brossoit was sent there today). MacT said at the time the team needed organizational depth in goal, and that this trade would address that need. Did he mean depths of hell.

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#153 Saytalk
December 18 2013, 07:56PM
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This may be hard to believe, but Ference and N.Schultz were actually serviceable NHL defencemen when they played in Boston and Minnesota.

I'm not saying the defence is good or that there isn't a big need for improvement on defence, but they certainly wouldn't be as abysmal as everyone describes if the forwards back-checked and the goalies stopped the puck on a more consistent basis.

Defence is a team effort and the whole team has been a letdown this year.

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#154 TDSM31
December 18 2013, 08:06PM
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Bottom line is if we want the D man we're looking for it has to involve one of our top 3...my choice is Eberle. Obvious skills but he's the most one dimensional of our 'big guns'. Plus, we'll be getting a pretty skilled player to fill his spot in June. Let the Trashing commence!

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#155 Cynic
December 18 2013, 08:16PM
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Arguing over whether Edmonton or Winnipeg is the less-crappy city? That's funny.

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#156 Cynic
December 18 2013, 08:17PM
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Arguing over whether Edmonton or Winnipeg is the less-crappy city? That's funny.

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#157 Cynic
December 18 2013, 08:17PM
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Arguing over whether Edmonton or Winnipeg is the less-cra.ppy city? That's funny.

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#158 sfsresfsfsffsf@yahoo.ca
December 18 2013, 08:19PM
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/sorry

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#159 nick
December 18 2013, 08:20PM
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Freewheeling Freddie wrote:

How many free agents will want to come here? We will have to do massive overpays. .Players will take less to go to another team. The Oilers don't have the best reputation around the league. The new arena may help We are the new version of the Oakland Seals. People are starting to quit caring about this team. It is sad how this team is been run into the ground. Time to wake up Daryl.

EXACTLY, you will get no quality UFA's to sign in Edmonton unless they hugely overpay them. There will be no saviours coming via free agency. The players talk to each other and ask ex players what it is like to play in Edmonton, not many good reviews will be given with the most unintelligent management team in the NHL. Going to be a long process this 4th rebuild

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#160 nick
December 18 2013, 08:26PM
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Dan the Man wrote:

I kind of agree with you on Larsen. He's still pretty young for a defenseman and he definitely has skill. Ideally he would be playing in OKC this year but I think there is potential there.

Larsen is far from an NHL defenseman, way to small and cannot handle any forwards with size. He is a good AHL defenseman that can be used for emergency situations but that is it.

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#161 David S
December 18 2013, 08:58PM
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Saytalk wrote:

This may be hard to believe, but Ference and N.Schultz were actually serviceable NHL defencemen when they played in Boston and Minnesota.

I'm not saying the defence is good or that there isn't a big need for improvement on defence, but they certainly wouldn't be as abysmal as everyone describes if the forwards back-checked and the goalies stopped the puck on a more consistent basis.

Defence is a team effort and the whole team has been a letdown this year.

Both Ference and Schultz played down the batting order on teams that valued actual 1-2 line D-men. Here, those guys ARE 1-2 line D-men.

Think about that for a second.

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#162 OilDieHard
December 18 2013, 09:05PM
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hall the time wrote:

That's soooooo true.

no, it's not. now run along to bed.

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#163 reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan)
December 18 2013, 09:33PM
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** wrote:

I think anyone with a grain of intelligence will understand if Mac T goes back on his word given where the team is at. I actually believe Mac T will get more respect and credibility if he moves Gagner than if he keeps it. It would show he is committed to building a winner.

But if he goes back on his word isn't his credibility (what little he has) completely ruined to all other NHL players? Lowe has already helped make this place become unappealing (Bad team, he creates issues because of his ego re:Comrie for Perry)

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#164 S cottV
December 19 2013, 07:56AM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Why do you think the Oilers couldn't afford Brzy and Smid. They currently have $7 million in cap space. Smid was half of that.

Don't buy into the Oilers sell job of suggesting it was due to salary cap. It wasn't.

You can crunch any numbers, the Oilers did NOT need to trade Smid to afford Bryzgalov.

I would think that moving Smid had something to do with issues between him and Coach Eakins.

Perhaps Smid wasnt buying in fully to Eakins leadership.

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#165 BingBong
December 19 2013, 08:03AM
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I have no problem with the Smid trade; it was a basic salary dump. Smid has been the worst puck-mover we've had over the last two years; he seemed to be regressing every year. Every time he touched the puck it was either a giveaway within our zone or a turnover in the neutral zone.

That fact, combined with his overpriced contract over the next few years was why he was traded. MacT didn't wait because he was worried the chance to make the deal wouldn't come up again.

He was a good guy, good teammate, great shot blocker, but his physical play is overrated. Smid had trouble breaking up cycles just like everybody else on this team.

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#166 JB
December 19 2013, 08:38AM
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Gagner for Enstrom? Both struggling, both filling org needs?

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#167 Benhur
December 19 2013, 09:10AM
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One trade to sniff around at could be with Nashville. Yak for Jones. Two young players with loads of talent and pedigree. Nashville could use offense and we need defense. Jones would, in a few years be a #1 or 2.

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#168 bnr
December 19 2013, 09:12AM
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JB wrote:

Gagner for Enstrom? Both struggling, both filling org needs?

Again.. Enstrom has a NMC and there's little chance he'd waive it to go to Edmonton. Plus we don't want Gagner. keep him far away from Winnipeg! Hemsky I could see the Jets interested in but he's a FA after this season so it wouldn't get Enstrom.

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#169 2004Z06
December 19 2013, 09:23AM
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Tikkanese wrote:

Anyone else find it funny how everyone complained about the lack of goaltending depth and the abundance of #4-8 D on the Oilers. Then the Oilers trade the most overpaid #4-8 D which improved their goaltending depth in the system(broissoit vs roy), not to mention the salary dump enabled them to sign Bryz, also not to mention shored up a big need at center on the farm(horak), yet people complain about it still. Nothing pleases you guys.

Actually you are incorrect. The Oilers did not need to trade Smid to address the ability to sign Bryzgalov. Smid was the only legitimate shut down defender on the team. While I agree as a 5-7 guy he would have been expensive at 3 mil/yr, but he was a 3-4 on this current roster which makes him in the ballpark contract wise.

Almost every Oiler fan thinks it was a bad trade and perhaps in 3 yrs Broissoit becomes an NHL goalie, but I won't hold my breath.

No one seems to know the real reason why the trade was made, including the media, but I can only assume with Lady's personality, he said something to someone that he shouldn't have.

If I had to guess, he told Eakins what he thought of his new defensive systems and then was moved for "not buying in".

But that's JMO

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#170 GriffCity
December 19 2013, 09:55AM
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Petry stinks and should not be resigned unless its for peanuts. He's not good despite what some people think, he's just no good. Too inconsistent, too soft, too many bad plays with the puck, too many bad plays away from the puck. If he has any value, trade him right F*@#ing now!

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#171 DoubleJ
December 19 2013, 10:19AM
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The Coyotes are the team to deal with. Yandle is making 5 mill. I'd be throwing a package at them for him. Eberle could land Yandle and a pick probably. Maybe even another useful NHL player.

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#172 TigerUnderGlass
December 19 2013, 10:34AM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Your reading skills seem to be lacking. Show us where it said Greene would be in the first pair? Nice try though.

Late getting back to this - had to pay attention to work for a while.

Are you talking about that guy's comment where my response was directed? He wants to put him with Petry. Petry is our best defenseman so that makes his pairing the de facto first pair.

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#173 LOIL99
December 19 2013, 11:13AM
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crobar wrote:

big buff isn't worth a first overall pick?? are you nuts?? 26+ mins. a game, and nearly a point per game?? how do you replace that? which oiler is worth that?? none really .(maybe hall) the jets made this mistake when they let odouya go thinking he could be replaced. i don't see them making the same mistake again. and make no mistake about it. man for man, a defenceman is more valuable. This is the biggest problem with oiler management, as they over value their players. they MAY have been able to get value for hemsky 2 or 3 years ago, now everyone can see how useless he really is. you can't give him away. wasn't this guy a sure fire blue chipper?? gimme a break!! which of these first round picks will turn out to be hemsky? as is, this team is going no where. perron is by far the best player on the team this year. what does that say??

I will answer your questions in the order you asked them...

No buff is not worth a 1st overall pick. Not by any stretch.

I am not nuts that I know of.

Are you asking me if buff is a point per game? If so the answer is no, he has never been or even "nearly" been a point per game player.

Hall Nuge Yakupov are all worth Buff and more.

Hemsky is a top 6 forward and he has had a very good career for a mid-1st round pick. For his draft position he has done more than most other mid-1st round picks do. Not sure who called him "blue-chip". If so they don't know what that means.

I assume you mean which of these first *overall picks will turn out to be Hemsky? At this point, even at the ages of 22 and under, they are already better than Hemsky, or are trending better than Hemsky in Yaks case. So the answer to your questions is NONE will turn out to be Hemsky. Comparing 1st overall picks to mid-1st round picks is your mistake.

Perron has been the best player on this team for a short span this season. Sure. What it says is that Perron is 25 years old and in his prime. The first over all picks are still kids, learning the game. Why would we expect kids with

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#174 LOIL99
December 19 2013, 11:17AM
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@LOIL99

Perron has been the best player on this team for a short span this season. Sure. What it says is that Perron is 25 years old and in his prime. The first over all picks are still kids, learning the game. Why would we expect kids with less that 3 years experience to be better than a skilled 25 year old? This unrealistic expectation is likely the reason for your overactive trade everyone for "big buff" opinion.

Hope that help...

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#175 Rdubb
December 19 2013, 11:18AM
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Gregor, wouldn't Paul Ranger be a good fit on the Oil and should be had for a reasonable dollar, maybe even Fraser too? Wasn't Hunwick a good d-man the past few seasons & wouldn't he be a big upgrade to what we currently use on our back-end, plus, again, reasonable value? Now, you mentioned Martin Marincin, shouldn't the Oil now allow him to come this season and get his feet wet in a "lost season", thus, wouldn't this allow him to get accustomed to the NHL's speed and skill, and in the few games he played this season, I thought he played really good & didn't look out of place. The Oilers should bring him up, play him in the 3/4 or 5/6 role for the rest of the yr, what do you think? Now Nurse...he could have easily made this team this spring, and if he was a bit older, he would have. So, next spring the Oilers should allow him to play, if he makes the team, and see what he can do, and if needed, send him to OKC. Some guys don't do all that good in the minors but excel in the big's, in this happens in all sports. Nascars jimmy Johnson for 1 pops out...if I had more time to think I am sure I could mention a few more... I am interested to hear what you think???? Peck

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#176 Zarny
December 19 2013, 11:29AM
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Painfully obvious may actually be an understatement.

The time for half-measures is over. Teams that play for the Stanley Cup trade picks and prospects for proven NHL players. LA turned Schenn and Johnson into Richards and Carter.

That is how MacT needs to think. You can't support a young group of F with a younger group of D. MacT needs to target two top pairing D and push the projected bottom pair to be:

Ference - Petry Klefbom/ - Schultz Marincin

Maybe Belov and/or Fedun/Larsen (same thing) are around short term. Spare parts.

I don't see Phaneuf in Edm. Girardi would be the perfect 2D ahead of Petry.

Regardles, waiting on Nurse, Klefbom and Marincin isn't the answer. They are 4-5 years away and none of them may develop into a 1-2 D.

One of Klefbom or Marincin has to be packaged for an upgrade. If Girardi isn't available then Myers, Bogosian, Ehrhoff and Coburn are all candidates for a 2D.

Yak or Eberle will need to be packaged for a legit 1D. I don't see any of the top 10-11 "franchise" D being available. McDonagh in NYR would be next on my list. Yandle or Ekman-Larsson in Phx perhaps.

It's time to think big. With Hall, Nuge, Perron and one of Yak or Eberle the Oilers have all the skilled forwards they need. Fans have to wrap their heads around the fact we need someone that talented on the blueline and it can't be Nurse. He's half a decade away from being that guy.

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#177 Zarny
December 19 2013, 11:34AM
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Benhur wrote:

One trade to sniff around at could be with Nashville. Yak for Jones. Two young players with loads of talent and pedigree. Nashville could use offense and we need defense. Jones would, in a few years be a #1 or 2.

Zero chance Nashville trades Jones for Yakupov.

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#178 Zarny
December 19 2013, 12:36PM
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GriffCity wrote:

Petry stinks and should not be resigned unless its for peanuts. He's not good despite what some people think, he's just no good. Too inconsistent, too soft, too many bad plays with the puck, too many bad plays away from the puck. If he has any value, trade him right F*@#ing now!

What an absolutely idiotic statement. Petry doesn't stink; far from it.

What he is is a 3-4 pairing D that is being forced to play over his head. An epidemic up and down the Oiler's roster.

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#179 2004Z06
December 19 2013, 12:53PM
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Please stop with the Princess Phaneuf talk. He is the biggest coward in the NHL and even Toronto fans think he is already over paid and underperforming.

Don't believe me, go read the comments Toronto fans are posting on TSN.

All he would be here is another Shawn Horcoff type contract and the new whipping boy for the fans.

Of course Gagner would be happier.

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#180 john
December 19 2013, 12:58PM
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nick wrote:

Larsen is far from an NHL defenseman, way to small and cannot handle any forwards with size. He is a good AHL defenseman that can be used for emergency situations but that is it.

Agreed, there's a reason Larsen was looking like the odd man out in Dallas & why they hastily threw him in for Horcoff, knowing MacT had glazed over eyes for puck moving defencemen in the summer.

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#181 Will
December 19 2013, 01:27PM
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So it sounds like going forward next year we're looking at Ference, Petry, J Schultz, and maybe Belov?

I doubt we'll get a legit top D man, especially Phanuef. One, he likely resigns with the Leafs. Two, if he goes to free agency, why on earth would he sign in Edmonton of all places?

So, with that in mind, why not try and supplement our D with another guy like Ference. Orpik would be magic on our back end.

That would be Ference, Petry, Belov, Orpik, and Schultz. From there I would look at trading one of our guns and a 2nd round pick, or some form of package built around either Ebs or Yak that could land and actual top 2 d man. I will say Yandle till the cows come home, though that package might be a bit of an overpayment for Yandle.

Then graduate one of Klefbomb, Nurse, or Fedun for the 7 slot. Maybe give them all a taste at different times of the year and see who might stick.

So our depth chart would be, Yandle, Petry, Shultz, Ference, Orpik, Belov, and say Nurse. That to me is a good mix of size, grit, skill, experience, nastiness, and stay at home. Plus, with either Yak or Ebs gone, that would free up even more cap room to go land something that changes the dimension of our top 9. Like a Dwight King, or Willie Mitchell. Or Carter (just as examples I know that's a King's heavy base of picks).

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#182 LOIL99
December 20 2013, 01:16AM
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Zarny wrote:

Painfully obvious may actually be an understatement.

The time for half-measures is over. Teams that play for the Stanley Cup trade picks and prospects for proven NHL players. LA turned Schenn and Johnson into Richards and Carter.

That is how MacT needs to think. You can't support a young group of F with a younger group of D. MacT needs to target two top pairing D and push the projected bottom pair to be:

Ference - Petry Klefbom/ - Schultz Marincin

Maybe Belov and/or Fedun/Larsen (same thing) are around short term. Spare parts.

I don't see Phaneuf in Edm. Girardi would be the perfect 2D ahead of Petry.

Regardles, waiting on Nurse, Klefbom and Marincin isn't the answer. They are 4-5 years away and none of them may develop into a 1-2 D.

One of Klefbom or Marincin has to be packaged for an upgrade. If Girardi isn't available then Myers, Bogosian, Ehrhoff and Coburn are all candidates for a 2D.

Yak or Eberle will need to be packaged for a legit 1D. I don't see any of the top 10-11 "franchise" D being available. McDonagh in NYR would be next on my list. Yandle or Ekman-Larsson in Phx perhaps.

It's time to think big. With Hall, Nuge, Perron and one of Yak or Eberle the Oilers have all the skilled forwards they need. Fans have to wrap their heads around the fact we need someone that talented on the blueline and it can't be Nurse. He's half a decade away from being that guy.

If the Oilers got Ekman-Larsson that would be a huge win for the oilers. Not sure how that would happen but that would give them a guy who I think is already a top 10 dman in the NHL if not better.

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#183 beloch
December 20 2013, 05:42AM
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Flames fan here. I was initially pretty stoked about the Smid trade, but I've been watching him play for a while now and I don't really like him. He's got size and truculence galore (Burke must think he's dreamy!), but he's slow, doesn't move the puck well, and takes dumb penalties. The Flames' blue line is going to look a lot better once Wideman returns and Smid can be banished to the third pairing. If he was an impact player on the Oilers' blueline... that's just not a good sign.

If the plan to fix things is to sign multiple quality free agents to reasonable contracts this summer, you're doomed. It's time to trade some forwards.

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#184 Rdutch
December 20 2013, 08:14AM
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@hall the time

Simply put , the D lacks size as well as anticipation of the puck and player which means positioning . It is time to bring up Marincin , like Reilly in Toronto all he needs is an opportunity to show his talent . Klefbom is the other opportunity that can use the experience . Both have size and skill , Teach defensive positioning properly at the NHL Level , we have the coach and just get it done . Before any more trades are made MR Katz should trade away upper management with hockey sense from outside the organization brought in that can actually cause healthy nonpartisan changes to be made .

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#185 nick
December 23 2013, 10:04AM
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S cottV wrote:

I would think that moving Smid had something to do with issues between him and Coach Eakins.

Perhaps Smid wasnt buying in fully to Eakins leadership.

That is an absolutely ridiculous statement. Smid was the ultimate team guy and would do anything for the Oilers. The issue was Craig MacTavish. Ask MacTavish why he traded Smid and if wasn't such a stone cold lier you would hear that he never liked Smid from day one. So as a GM you make a trade that weakens an already abysmal team just for your own ego. Shows you where this team is going in the future

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