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 

 

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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 oilers2k10
December 18 2013, 11:43AM
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I wonder what kind of Defenceman Gagner, Hemsky + 2014 1st round pick would bring..or which team would give up a top pairing dman for that package. Maybe Winnipeg?

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#2 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
December 18 2013, 11:51AM
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The biggest concern I have with that depth chart is how bad Bunz must be if he's still behind Roy.

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#3 Puck_In_Throat
December 18 2013, 11:55AM
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@oilers2k10

Hemsky is a UFA- so not a huge return. Gagner has one year and $4.8M left on his deal before he is a UFA.

Neither of those two is worth much.

Seeing as our 1st rounder will be in the 1-3 range, that will have value. But not the value of a 1st pairing D man.

As always, put yourself in the other team's shoes. What would you accept in a trade for a top pair D-Man? My guess is the ask list is like this: 1. a dynamic 1st line scorer (eberle); 2. a young d man with upside who can play in the NHL right now (petry); and 3. a solid prospect (Klefbom? Marancin?).

The scorer provides the team trading the top D man with something that every team needs. Young D man with upside is a stop-gap but also may turn out well. The prospect is a shot at a home run. If I was a GM, all of those things would be required to even CONSIDER trading my top D man.

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#4 Chainsawz
December 18 2013, 11:56AM
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oilers2k10 wrote:

I wonder what kind of Defenceman Gagner, Hemsky + 2014 1st round pick would bring..or which team would give up a top pairing dman for that package. Maybe Winnipeg?

The 2014 pick is more valuable without Gagner and Hemsky. Sheesh, what a ridiculous suggestion.

You want a top pairing defenseman? The 2014 1st pick, Eberle, and J Schultz. At least the opposing GM would listen long enough to hammer out a deal.

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#5 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
December 18 2013, 11:58AM
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oilers2k10 wrote:

I wonder what kind of Defenceman Gagner, Hemsky + 2014 1st round pick would bring..or which team would give up a top pairing dman for that package. Maybe Winnipeg?

Based on the media coverage here in Winnipeg, Yakupov would be the starting point of that discussion. When you only have 2 players on the team (E. Kane and Setoguchi) who shoot the puck, a guy like Yakupov is worth a lot.

Edit: There's also no way they're parting with Byfuglien, so the top-end return from Winnipeg would be Toby Enstrom. Meh.

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#6 -30-
December 18 2013, 12:02PM
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Wouldn't it be smarter to follow the LA model and keep your draft picks?

You can always trade them away for needed pieces when you are close to contending.

-30-

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#7 blue31
December 18 2013, 12:03PM
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oilers2k10 wrote:

I wonder what kind of Defenceman Gagner, Hemsky + 2014 1st round pick would bring..or which team would give up a top pairing dman for that package. Maybe Winnipeg?

I think most teams would GIVE us their first round draft pick if they didn't have to take that package.

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#8 WhiskyBoy
December 18 2013, 12:08PM
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What this team really needs is a GM with brass cojones to make the tough trades.

Also, having a REAL NHL coach might help.

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#9 G-Unit
December 18 2013, 12:09PM
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Attention Management: There is no way that Fedun isn't at least as good as Larson or Belov, so why don't we bring him up and see before he becomes a FRA. The team could send either down and no other team would look at picking them up off the waiver wire. And if some sucker is out there to take them all the better. He might not be better, but lets find out

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#10 LOIL99
December 18 2013, 12:11PM
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Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things wrote:

Based on the media coverage here in Winnipeg, Yakupov would be the starting point of that discussion. When you only have 2 players on the team (E. Kane and Setoguchi) who shoot the puck, a guy like Yakupov is worth a lot.

Edit: There's also no way they're parting with Byfuglien, so the top-end return from Winnipeg would be Toby Enstrom. Meh.

Not single d-man on Winnipeg should a 19 yo 1st overall pick be traded for, let alone him being the "starting point". Not a chance.

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#11 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
December 18 2013, 12:14PM
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LOIL99 wrote:

Not single d-man on Winnipeg should a 19 yo 1st overall pick be traded for, let alone him being the "starting point". Not a chance.

That's exactly what I'm saying. Winnipeg doesn't have the defensive depth to unload a guy like Enstrom without hitting a home run that addresses a team need.

The return would be underwhelming, and Yakupov is likely the only NHL player they'd be interested in, so Winnipeg is not likely to be a trading partner for NHL-level deals in the near future.

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#12 JB
December 18 2013, 12:15PM
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Or trade? Gagner/prospect for Kulikov/Matthias?

Out of this list Girardi or Greene look like targets - Phaneuf will likely resign with the Leafs. Don't see a LD that looks suitable. McDonald would be an upgrade I guess.

Just hope they don't rush Nurse, Klefbom or Marincin... but this is the Oilers. Nurse next year I guess.

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#13 Dog Train
December 18 2013, 12:17PM
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I've always felt like Dan Girardi is the kind of nuts and bolts, solid Dman that we could use as part of a solid top pairing. Phaneuf is incredibly overrated if you ask me. He can skate and brings some offense but he chases the big hit and is out of position quite often. He will get paid and whoever pays him will live to regret it but that's just my opinion.

We definitely need to get better on the backend. We need better defenders and we also need Dmen who are willing and able to shoot the puck. Ference is pretty much the only guy we have who is not afraid to throw the puck at the net even when he doesn't really have a clear look at the net. All the other guys just put the puck back in the corner so that forward line x can fail miserably at cycling the puck.

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#14 Spydyr
December 18 2013, 12:20PM
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This rebuild was broken from the start when they built from the wing out instead of defense then center then wing.Don't even get me started on how they pooched goaltending.

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#16 freelancer
December 18 2013, 12:21PM
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Girardi and Macdonald make the most sense from that list to pursue. I still feel that as far as trading partners go that St. Louis would be an excellent target for some top end guys. Maybe have to toss in a bit more if they are still sore about Paajarvi.

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#18 Muji
December 18 2013, 12:24PM
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Girardi would be a good fit. Phaneuf would be great, but I can't see him and Elisha (and their dog Pearl) moving to Edmonton.

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#19 Ducey
December 18 2013, 12:29PM
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It's a little early to write off Belov. Dude has only played 35 games in a whole new world (new country, new language, new rink size, different game).

I think he has shown enough that he can play bottom pairing minutes pretty well - and he might move up the depth chart with more experience.

I'd sign him if I was MacT.

The Dion at $7 million x 7 years will be a mistake.

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#20 A-Mc
December 18 2013, 12:29PM
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Jason:

On that list, are you able to add Italics (or different color) to the UFA's which would clearly NOT help the Oilers at all (in your opinion)?

Sure there are maybe a couple #1/2 defensemen, but as you go on to explain (ie: Colorado), we might not need to land a home run; we might just need to have solid upgrades to 3 or 4 of our guys.

Returning to playoff contention for this team is going to take a few stages, and i think the next stage (Before we go whale hunting) is to do a series of solid upgrades to several personnel! (eg: Magnus for Perron. Ference Signing, etc)

I ask you to go through your list real quick because you can come to quick conclusions faster than any amount of research we can do.

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#21 A-Mc
December 18 2013, 12:30PM
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Ducey wrote:

It's a little early to write off Belov. Dude has only played 35 games in a whole new world (new country, new language, new rink size, different game).

I think he has shown enough that he can play bottom pairing minutes pretty well - and he might move up the depth chart with more experience.

I'd sign him if I was MacT.

The Dion at $7 million x 7 years will be a mistake.

I agree. Belov was one of the few guys i noticed stapling a few LA guys to the boards last night. Not board shaking hits, just solid defensive stapling.. And that's a big part of what we need.

I'd re-sign Belov for another year

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#22 Rama Lama
December 18 2013, 12:34PM
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I'm a little surprised that P Larsen is someone who you do not see us moving forward with. He may not have the defensive stats to say he is a solid defenseman.......but by the eye he seems to be the only one who can make a decent first pass.

If this guy was paired with someone who could defend and someone with size his stats would change drastically. I for one can't see any other current defenseman we have being able to move the puck as efficiently as P Larsen. Both Petry and J.Schultz look nothing like they did........neither one can make a play right now........or have been instructed to scale back their offence??

We have let too many defenseman go who end up on some other team playing good hockey.......just maybe it's the coaching these players are receiving?

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#23 Dan the Man
December 18 2013, 12:35PM
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Remember when the Oilers used to be able to trade for defensemen like Pronger, Spacek, Jason Smith, Hamrlik, etc? Yeah those were good times. The crazy thing is that we didn't have to give up a whole lot in any of those deals. Why won't some GM just trade us their top D-Man for our garbage????!!!!!????

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#24 Kyle
December 18 2013, 12:35PM
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The name that stands out to me in this list is Stephane Robidas. He plays big minutes, all three disciplines, and makes opposing forwards pay a price for carrying the puck into the zone. He would be a nice two year signing if he would come to Edmonton.

A good trade partner for the Oilers may be the Phoenix Coyotes. They have at least three defenders I'd like to see in blue, and would probably bite on a package including David Perron. That's right, I said it. I love the guy and what he has done for our team, but his value has never been higher. This would allow us to keep our core guys. Just don't be surprised, that's all.

I'd also really like to see Bryzgalov resigned in Edmonton. He wouldn't command a huge salary and that money can be better spent on a couple tough forwards. Think players along the lines of Brouwer and Clutterbuck who like to hit and can still shoot the puck.

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#25 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
December 18 2013, 12:36PM
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Who, in their right mind would even want to come here, let alone find two top pairing blue liners. Also need a second line center to go with these two blue liners. Ain't going to happen, sit tight for 5 yrs and maybe they can develop from within. Lowe has also shown he knows how to build a loser, to go with his vast knowledge of winning.

This is as good as it gets for fans here in Edmonton. Enjoy our young developing players, as soon as they're able to walk on their own, they'll be out the door onto bigger and better opportunities.

Even ourselves, as fans have to look at it objectively. Why Edmonton, what has management done to make it a desirable place to spend 125-150 days a year. What effort have they put forth to create a positive environment in that dressing room/build something other players may want to be part of. Most players already here would celebrate in silence on their way to the airport when the time comes. This is the house that Daryl Katz and Kevin Lowe built. The people who got us into this mess, aren't going anywhere for the foreseeable future.

On the other hand, it will be pretty cool to have a brand new half full arena in the near future. The facility will certainly surpass the product on the ice no doubt. Their plan to bring in a number of lotto picks to make them look like geniuses, has failed miserably. They got the tanking part down pat, but they failed miserably icing an actual NHL caliber team.

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#26 The Regent Hopkins Hotel
December 18 2013, 12:38PM
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Pick some older guys to fill in the 2-3 year gap from now till the farm talent develops. Forget about puck moving and offence for one minute.

There is too much emphasis on speed on the blueline. The Oilers have good skaters on defence, but forwards walk around guys like Petry all of the time because he misreads the play and gets caught flat footed. I would rather a forward blow past a big tough defenceman 1-2 times a year for goals than Philip Larsen toss pucks of defenders pads at the point.

The Defence corp is not very good, but can play much better than they are now. I don't see any improvement on Gap Control, which make me question the Defensive Coaching.

oh dread...

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#27 Ducey
December 18 2013, 12:40PM
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Rama Lama wrote:

I'm a little surprised that P Larsen is someone who you do not see us moving forward with. He may not have the defensive stats to say he is a solid defenseman.......but by the eye he seems to be the only one who can make a decent first pass.

If this guy was paired with someone who could defend and someone with size his stats would change drastically. I for one can't see any other current defenseman we have being able to move the puck as efficiently as P Larsen. Both Petry and J.Schultz look nothing like they did........neither one can make a play right now........or have been instructed to scale back their offence??

We have let too many defenseman go who end up on some other team playing good hockey.......just maybe it's the coaching these players are receiving?

You have it all wrong Rama.

We must make snap judgments on 24 yr old defenseman. Get rid of him NOW! I mean if he can't dominate after playing 110 NHL games he is garbage!

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#28 Dan the Man
December 18 2013, 12:40PM
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Rama Lama wrote:

I'm a little surprised that P Larsen is someone who you do not see us moving forward with. He may not have the defensive stats to say he is a solid defenseman.......but by the eye he seems to be the only one who can make a decent first pass.

If this guy was paired with someone who could defend and someone with size his stats would change drastically. I for one can't see any other current defenseman we have being able to move the puck as efficiently as P Larsen. Both Petry and J.Schultz look nothing like they did........neither one can make a play right now........or have been instructed to scale back their offence??

We have let too many defenseman go who end up on some other team playing good hockey.......just maybe it's the coaching these players are receiving?

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.

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#29 reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan)
December 18 2013, 12:41PM
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Next up, is Connor McJesus. wrote:

Who, in their right mind would even want to come here, let alone find two top pairing blue liners. Also need a second line center to go with these two blue liners. Ain't going to happen, sit tight for 5 yrs and maybe they can develop from within. Lowe has also shown he knows how to build a loser, to go with his vast knowledge of winning.

This is as good as it gets for fans here in Edmonton. Enjoy our young developing players, as soon as they're able to walk on their own, they'll be out the door onto bigger and better opportunities.

Even ourselves, as fans have to look at it objectively. Why Edmonton, what has management done to make it a desirable place to spend 125-150 days a year. What effort have they put forth to create a positive environment in that dressing room/build something other players may want to be part of. Most players already here would celebrate in silence on their way to the airport when the time comes. This is the house that Daryl Katz and Kevin Lowe built. The people who got us into this mess, aren't going anywhere for the foreseeable future.

On the other hand, it will be pretty cool to have a brand new half full arena in the near future. The facility will certainly surpass the product on the ice no doubt. Their plan to bring in a number of lotto picks to make them look like geniuses, has failed miserably. They got the tanking part down pat, but they failed miserably icing an actual NHL caliber team.

Develop from within HAHAHA good one

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#30 OilDieHard
December 18 2013, 12:43PM
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Phaneuf and Girardi would look damn fine on the Oilers blueline!

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#31 S cottV
December 18 2013, 12:44PM
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While you would sure like to hit a home run and get a legit first pairing d man and a legit 2nd pairing d man (or better 1A / 3A), if the d upgrade comes up a little shorter than desired, the Oilers can compensate with an upgrade in 2C.

Lets face it - Gagner in particular, is no help to present first or second pairing d men, trying to defend in a coordinated fashion, to push the play out and up ice with possession.

Oilers need to get RNH on the weights, replace Gagner in 2C with a talented tank, Gordon 3C for now but on a contending team he is an excellent 4C, and make sure whoever goes in 4C, for the time being - can play in his own end and preferably with some size.

Now - you can get away without quite the dream pair of defenders we would all love to see. Reasonable facsimile's would go a long way to turning things around, with the right compliments in the middle and we would contend for a playoff spot.

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#32 Romulus' Apotheosis
December 18 2013, 12:46PM
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@Jason Gregor

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.

This isn't the case. In fact, while is it very rare for top pairing D to switch teams, when it does happen, it almost never happens via a "hockey trade" (i.e., a straight swap of equivalent talent, or nearly thereof).

Far more common is the UFA route (as you mention), or a 2(and up) for 1 trade (i.e., a jumble of picks and/or prospects and/or marginal NHL players).

Trading one of the 4 skilled forwards would actually be pretty unprecedented. Which is not to say it won't happen, or that it wouldn't be advantageous to all involved.

But, if history is a guide… if/when the Oil land a top pairing D it will come from one of three sources:

1. internal development (this is where most top pairing D have ever come from)

2. UFA deal

3. packaged deal involving lesser pieces and magic beans for established talent

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#33 etownman
December 18 2013, 12:49PM
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Don't see the Oilers trading Hall, Nuge, Eberle or Perron but I could easily see Gagner & Yak being dealt! Those are good trading pieces to go along with this years 1st pick! I think the Oilers would be very happy to acquire two top 4 d-men with size & physicality! I don't believe they need to be a #1 or #2!

If Bryzgalov keeps playing the way he is it would be great if the Oil could get him under contract for 2 or 3 years! I like Bachman's game in the minors & when he was up here! I could see him being re-signed as well if he keeps it up for the rest of the year! Another quality tender signing wouldn't hurt as well to have that competition!

Center looks ok to me if they can get some physical wingers to replace Smyth, Jones & Hemsky! Hope Santa's watching cause I think my list is just about complete!

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#34 ubermiguel
December 18 2013, 12:56PM
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Niskanen is really interesting to me. He plays with an edge and he's defensively sound (leading the Pens in +/- right now). Not a huge guy, and he's only playing 2nd pairing minutes, but's he's a upgrade for sure.

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#35 freelancer
December 18 2013, 12:56PM
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@Romulus' Apotheosis

You make some good points. I agree with your 3rd point on the packaging of prospects and draft picks for talent. If you look at what most people will say our biggest needs are. 1.) Size in our top 6 2.) Top defenseman,

I think one of those trades can be made by that kind of package. But I don't see us being able to acquire both without having to give up a top piece (one of the Top 4).

I think some people need to be prepared for us to "lose a trade" in order to bring in some pieces we desperately need.

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#36 Old Timer
December 18 2013, 01:02PM
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I think I read somewhere, not all that long ago that it takes the average defenceman about 300 games of NHL experience to really reach their maximum potential.

We have a history of giving up on players much too early in their careers.

Belov needs at least 2 full seasons to even consider trading.

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#37 Nimrod
December 18 2013, 01:08PM
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The biggest difference for Colorado is a commitment to defense as a five man unit. It provides better support for the weaker defenders and enables the stronger defenders to excel.

Edmonton has fewer two-way forwards that can help out the defense. It's a lack of size, compete and physicality. That exposes defenders like Petry and Justin Schultz, who could be better protected on other teams.

Oilers aren't a team that is easily fixed. They need defenders and forwards. Not necessarily better players, but players that can provide something the current players can't.

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#38 michael
December 18 2013, 01:10PM
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I like Ben Lovejoy. Tough as nails. 29ish and if the Oilers could he would come cheap. Good 5-6 guy.

Greene as a partner for Petry would make me happy but we've fubarred DL so often that he thinks were out to get him.

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#39 Romulus' Apotheosis
December 18 2013, 01:10PM
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freelancer wrote:

You make some good points. I agree with your 3rd point on the packaging of prospects and draft picks for talent. If you look at what most people will say our biggest needs are. 1.) Size in our top 6 2.) Top defenseman,

I think one of those trades can be made by that kind of package. But I don't see us being able to acquire both without having to give up a top piece (one of the Top 4).

I think some people need to be prepared for us to "lose a trade" in order to bring in some pieces we desperately need.

There is no need for fatalism here.

It is not necessary to trade one of the 4 to acquire these things.

The next two first rounders are in play apparently and will be very, very valuable at the draft tables.

There are a number of interesting D prospects that can be packaged.

Other teams always sour on players with bad contracts or for some other reason and sell low.

The UFA market is a great place to find a Clarkson type and simply spend the cash not assets.

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#40 Hi, my name is ____ and I am an Oilers fan
December 18 2013, 01:12PM
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I know its been mentioned before, but in regards to trading Gagner I think we need to be concerned about the apparent verbal no-trade agreement MacT gave Gags. Its bloody hard enough to coax valuable UFA's to Edmonton without making it clear that the GM's word isn't worth the air he uses to give it. Which also doesn't include whatever honour MacT has in regards to upholding his word.

I like Gags, but unless we can sandwich him between two gritty, talented, and defensively responsible forwards (and on the second line - perhaps we could try to clone Perron) I don't see him as a fit on this team. I also tend to think he could be worth something in a trade with a team desperate for offence. However, the reported verbal no-trade really puts a damper on that IMO.

I wonder if there is some Perron-esque player we could target in a trade involving Eberle or Yak which could also net us a decent D (perhaps just a stop-gap until Nurse etc. arrive).

Thoughts?

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#41 Denny
December 18 2013, 01:17PM
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Here is some perspective on the

Defenseman (Western Conf) CHI Duncan Keith Brent Seabrook ANA Cam Fowler Francois Beauchemin LAK Drew Doughty Slava Voynov STL Alex PietranJay Bouwmeester SJ Dan Boyle Marc-Edouard Vlasic VAN Alexander Edler Kevin Bieksa COL Erik Johnson Jan Hejda MIN Ryan Suter Jonas Brodin PHX Oliver Ekman-L Keith Yandle DAL Alex Goligoski Brenden Dillon NAS Shea Weber Roman Josi WIN Dustin Byfug Tobias Enstrom CGY Dennis Wideman Mark Giordano EDM Justin Schultz Jeff Petry

Defenseman (Eastern Conf) PIT Paul Martin Kris Letang BOS Zdeno Chara Dennis Seidenberg MTL Andrei Markov P.K. Subban TBL Matthew Carle Victor Hedman WAS John Carlson Mike Green DET Niklas Kronwall Jonathan Ericsson TOR Dion Phaneuf Cody Franson CAR Justin Faulk Andrej Sekera PHI Braydon Coburn Kimmo Timonen OTT Erik Karlsson Marc Methot NYR Ryan McDonagh Dan Girardi NJD Andy Greene Marek Zidlicky CBL Jack Johnson Fedor Tyutin FLA Brian Campbell Tom Gilbert NYI Andrew MacDonald Travis Hamonic BUF Christian Ehrhoff Tyler Myers

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#42 GregJP99
December 18 2013, 01:22PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Hemsky is a UFA, Gagner is playing brutal...they won't have that much appeal at the moment.

Do you have any freaking clue of how to correctly use adverbs?

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#43 Curcro
December 18 2013, 01:24PM
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I wonder if you could get a Hemsky + Pick for Phaneuf deal at the deadline. Both UFAs. So relative value low. Of course the Oilers would want to make sure that they could resign him, before doing it.

But it is a possibility. Elisha Cuthbert is from Calgary & Phaneuf is from Edmonton. So there may actually be a reasonable chance to get him into Alberta.

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#44 **
December 18 2013, 01:24PM
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MAybe Elisha Cuthbert is feeling home sick and maybe Phaneuf wants to stick it to the flames. He's become the Shawn Horcoff of the leafs, so maybe he'll be willing to move. Other than him, no one in that list really catches my eye.

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#45 non descript
December 18 2013, 01:27PM
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the problem with the oilers blue line is not that they dont have a top pairing defender, its that they dont have any defencemen that should be playing above the third pairing.

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#46 **
December 18 2013, 01:28PM
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Hi, my name is ____ and I am an Oilers fan wrote:

I know its been mentioned before, but in regards to trading Gagner I think we need to be concerned about the apparent verbal no-trade agreement MacT gave Gags. Its bloody hard enough to coax valuable UFA's to Edmonton without making it clear that the GM's word isn't worth the air he uses to give it. Which also doesn't include whatever honour MacT has in regards to upholding his word.

I like Gags, but unless we can sandwich him between two gritty, talented, and defensively responsible forwards (and on the second line - perhaps we could try to clone Perron) I don't see him as a fit on this team. I also tend to think he could be worth something in a trade with a team desperate for offence. However, the reported verbal no-trade really puts a damper on that IMO.

I wonder if there is some Perron-esque player we could target in a trade involving Eberle or Yak which could also net us a decent D (perhaps just a stop-gap until Nurse etc. arrive).

Thoughts?

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.

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#47 Don W
December 18 2013, 01:29PM
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Hall, Petry and Marincin(or Klefbom) for Shea Weber. Still doubtful Nashville does it but it would look something like that.

As for Belov I feel like he will be like Hedja and have the Oilers give up on him way too soon.

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#48 **
December 18 2013, 01:30PM
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Old Timer wrote:

I think I read somewhere, not all that long ago that it takes the average defenceman about 300 games of NHL experience to really reach their maximum potential.

We have a history of giving up on players much too early in their careers.

Belov needs at least 2 full seasons to even consider trading.

I think this applies to younger d men. Belov is 28, he won't improve all that much. I would give him the rest of the season and that's about it.

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#49 crobar
December 18 2013, 01:34PM
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LOIL99 wrote:

Not single d-man on Winnipeg should a 19 yo 1st overall pick be traded for, let alone him being the "starting point". Not a chance.

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??

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#50 camdog
December 18 2013, 01:41PM
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Old Timer wrote:

I think I read somewhere, not all that long ago that it takes the average defenceman about 300 games of NHL experience to really reach their maximum potential.

We have a history of giving up on players much too early in their careers.

Belov needs at least 2 full seasons to even consider trading.

Yikes 300 games before we know where we sit with our yound drafted d-man. That would translate into another 3-4 years of no playoff hockey..

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