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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#51 TigerUnderGlass
December 18 2013, 01:41PM
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Examples of the type of thinking that will ensure Edmonton remains terrible for the foreseeable future:

-lose a trade on purpose to bring in a player type

-bring in the Kings #6 defender and toss him on our first pairing.

Let's hear some more "great" ideas!! I'm bored and could use the laugh.

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#52 Spydyr
December 18 2013, 01:43PM
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It took 47 comments for Weber's name to pop up.That must be some kind of a record.

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#53 Secret
December 18 2013, 01:44PM
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Better bring in BIG JOHN SCOTT before Calgary gets him. Burke is just waiting for Scott and/or Big Mac to be available. Size, toughness, fighting ability, TRUCULENCE!!! Burke almost had Big Mac with the Leafs/Marlies just before he left TO - ask Eakins to confirm this! Grats was very docile in Buffalo Sat afternoon - even after Big John Scott "accidently" crashed into him on the first shift, taking an interference penalty. BIG JOHN SCOTT would instantly solve all the OIL- CANUCKLEHEAD "issues"!!!

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#54 HardBoiledOil
December 18 2013, 01:44PM
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all this talk of Niskanen and Lovejoy....we need top pairing d-men not more middle and bottom pairing. with Justin Schultz hopefully re-signing, Ference here, Petry here and perhaps Belov signing? we need top end guys. i know i mentioned Girardi in my previous post, and if we signed him, we wouldn't need to sign Belov, but the guys we need are guys like Shattenkirk, Phaneuf, Shat through a trade perhaps? and going hard after Phaneuf as well would add tremendously, yes tremendously! to the Oilers "D". and if one of Klefbom or Nurse were to make it, bonus!

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#55 Hall of a Player
December 18 2013, 01:45PM
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Kyle wrote:

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.

IMO - Perron IS one of our core guys. Moving him out now would be a mistake.

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#56 Tikkanese
December 18 2013, 01:47PM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:
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

Gregor said for next season. The Oilers won't internally develop a top pairing defenseman, or two for that matter, by next season.

We all hope the Oilers can package up some magic beans for the top D.

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#57 HardBoiledOil
December 18 2013, 01:49PM
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Don W wrote:

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.

"Still doubtful Nashville does it". they would be INSANE not to! management should be fired if the Preds said no straight up Weber for Hall AND Petry AND one of Klefbom or Marincin! this is the kind of overpayment the Preds would be waiting for.

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#58 Smokey
December 18 2013, 01:51PM
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I won't begrudge Belov leaving. The guy would thrive in the right system. Oilers should be locking him up.

I don't have a problem with Nick Schultz as a 6/7. He at least is a NHL defender. The Oilers need to find three NHL defenders. Unfortunately we gave one to the Lames in a knee jerk move for a current ECHL goalie and a undersized tweener centerman. What do expect from a brash talking inexperienced GM trying to make bold moves.

I see next year starting with Petry, Ference, Schultz, and hopefully Belov. Then we need two or three experienced NHL defenseman.

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#59 Lochenzo
December 18 2013, 01:53PM
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I think the Oilers are looking at a Tyler Seguin scenario where you have to move a young potential superstar for something more established but with less upside. Seguin is an immense talent but he was not the right fit in Boston. This year Seguin has been mentioned in Team Canada talk. It's not going to happen, but the fact that he's in the conversation is kudos for Seguin.

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#60 camdog
December 18 2013, 01:53PM
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@TigerUnderGlass

There are a segment of the population that thinks that if you lose the best player in the trade you lose the trade, however sometimes it makes your team better. Case in point would be when the Ducks traded Bobby Ryan to the Senators. Many said they lost the trade, because they lost the best player, however as the results have shown Anaheim is the better "team" following the trade. Stanley Cup winning teams aren't comprised of an entire roster of All-Stars they are made up of components that lead to the best team.

That is one of the reasons that Team Canada stated Darnell Nurse didn't make the Junior squad. Same with the Olympic squad, Team Canada doesn't always pick the most talented players, they pick players that they believe will work good together as a team.

You can debate whether Team Canada is wrong all you want, but the best GM's in this country think this way.

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#61 Romulus' Apotheosis
December 18 2013, 01:56PM
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Tikkanese wrote:

Gregor said for next season. The Oilers won't internally develop a top pairing defenseman, or two for that matter, by next season.

We all hope the Oilers can package up some magic beans for the top D.

Can't disagree with that and never said otherwise. Nurse has a chance but he's realistically 4-5 years from getting a sniff of being a legit top pairing NHL player…

that list is simply noting where top pairing D typically come from.

They don't come from "hockey trades" typically.

Again, this isn't to say that one won't happen, won't help us, etc.

It is simply to note that if the history of these players' movements is a guide… The fatalism around "have to" "only way" etc. is ahistorical.

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#62 Romulus' Apotheosis
December 18 2013, 02:04PM
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camdog wrote:

There are a segment of the population that thinks that if you lose the best player in the trade you lose the trade, however sometimes it makes your team better. Case in point would be when the Ducks traded Bobby Ryan to the Senators. Many said they lost the trade, because they lost the best player, however as the results have shown Anaheim is the better "team" following the trade. Stanley Cup winning teams aren't comprised of an entire roster of All-Stars they are made up of components that lead to the best team.

That is one of the reasons that Team Canada stated Darnell Nurse didn't make the Junior squad. Same with the Olympic squad, Team Canada doesn't always pick the most talented players, they pick players that they believe will work good together as a team.

You can debate whether Team Canada is wrong all you want, but the best GM's in this country think this way.

I'm not sure the Ryan trade is the right trade to argue your point.

Are the Ducks a better team this year minus Ryan and plus Silfverberg (currently on the LTIR) and Noesen (playing in the OHL) and a 2014 pick?

Seems unlikely. I don't think 12 games of Silfverberg is what is making this year's Ducks so good.

Nor, does it make much sense to say that missing 12 games of Silfverberg is what is sinking the Sens.

Seems far more likely that a damn good team is still a damn good team. A team with such an embarrassment of riches that they traded top talent for a grab bag, which is (as I've noted) what typically happens.

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#63 TigerUnderGlass
December 18 2013, 02:05PM
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camdog wrote:

There are a segment of the population that thinks that if you lose the best player in the trade you lose the trade, however sometimes it makes your team better. Case in point would be when the Ducks traded Bobby Ryan to the Senators. Many said they lost the trade, because they lost the best player, however as the results have shown Anaheim is the better "team" following the trade. Stanley Cup winning teams aren't comprised of an entire roster of All-Stars they are made up of components that lead to the best team.

That is one of the reasons that Team Canada stated Darnell Nurse didn't make the Junior squad. Same with the Olympic squad, Team Canada doesn't always pick the most talented players, they pick players that they believe will work good together as a team.

You can debate whether Team Canada is wrong all you want, but the best GM's in this country think this way.

Perfect. Who's next.

Edit: I can't leave it at that.

You contend that Anaheim has a better record this year because of Silfverberg's 12 games? Is this correct? If not please reconsider your comment.

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#64 Quicksilver ballet
December 18 2013, 02:08PM
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Even with capable NHL goaltending from Bryzgalov, the Oilers still lose 8 out of 10 nights. Its the vacancy on those #1 and 2 spots on the blueline that's killing the Oilers.

Only an idiot couldn't see this coming last summer. Plugging holes with 4 thru 8 guys has predictably failed miserably.

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#65 Tikkanese
December 18 2013, 02:13PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Even with capable NHL goaltending from Bryzgalov, the Oilers still lose 8 out of 10 nights. Its the vacancy on those #1 and 2 spots on the blueline that's killing the Oilers.

Only an idiot couldn't see this coming last summer. Plugging holes with 4 thru 8 guys has predictably failed miserably.

But the Leafs did it with Komisarek, Finger etc. Oh, wait. They failed as well.

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#66 TigerUnderGlass
December 18 2013, 02:13PM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

I'm not sure the Ryan trade is the right trade to argue your point.

Are the Ducks a better team this year minus Ryan and plus Silfverberg (currently on the LTIR) and Noesen (playing in the OHL) and a 2014 pick?

Seems unlikely. I don't think 12 games of Silfverberg is what is making this year's Ducks so good.

Nor, does it make much sense to say that missing 12 games of Silfverberg is what is sinking the Sens.

Seems far more likely that a damn good team is still a damn good team. A team with such an embarrassment of riches that they traded top talent for a grab bag, which is (as I've noted) what typically happens.

Dammit Rom - now my timing looks messed up.

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#67 ?
December 18 2013, 02:13PM
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Phaneuf is an Edmonton kid, so maybe he would be open to joining the Oilers if he reaches free agency.

But that's just the thing. He has to reach free agency for the Oilers to get him. I consider the chances of Toronto not resigning him to be minuscule, so I don't expect him to open for the Oilers to negotiate with.

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#68 camdog
December 18 2013, 02:19PM
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@TigerUnderGlass

You also have to combine that with to whom they are now spending their budgeted dollars on. The money they redirected to other players has helped as well.

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#69 Quicksilver ballet
December 18 2013, 02:20PM
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Phanuef appears to have a shelf life. 5 yrs seems to be the benchmark where his teammates tire of his act. Phanuef and Ehrhoff are certainly plan B options.

The type of player the Oilers need isn't "available" to the "experts" on here.

Turn out the lights, it's over here in Edmonton. This is as good as it gets for the next decade. The current management group aren't the sharpest knives in the drawer. They still keep trying to pass off Sammy Gagner as a 2nd line center.

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#70 camdog
December 18 2013, 02:20PM
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@TigerUnderGlass

Do you disagree with Team Canada's selection process as well?

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#71 Tikkanese
December 18 2013, 02:21PM
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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.

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#72 TigerUnderGlass
December 18 2013, 02:23PM
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camdog wrote:

Do you disagree with Team Canada's selection process as well?

Pretty strongly yes. I'm not unusual in that regard.

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#73 TigerUnderGlass
December 18 2013, 02:26PM
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camdog wrote:

You also have to combine that with to whom they are now spending their budgeted dollars on. The money they redirected to other players has helped as well.

Sure lets look at that.

It's your argument - where did they spend Ryan's money to turn this team around?

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#74 camdog
December 18 2013, 02:27PM
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@Romulus' Apotheosis

Ya might not have been the best example, but at the same time it shows that trading away an elite goal scorer, hasn't reduced their ability to win hockey games. You can have all of the skill in the world, but that doesn't necessarily translate into wins.

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#75 ??
December 18 2013, 02:28PM
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? wrote:

Phaneuf is an Edmonton kid, so maybe he would be open to joining the Oilers if he reaches free agency.

But that's just the thing. He has to reach free agency for the Oilers to get him. I consider the chances of Toronto not resigning him to be minuscule, so I don't expect him to open for the Oilers to negotiate with.

So is BIG JOHN SCOTT!!!

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#76 ???
December 18 2013, 02:29PM
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?? wrote:

So is BIG JOHN SCOTT!!!

Brian Burke wants both Scott and Phaneuf in calgary! FACT!!!

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#77 TigerUnderGlass
December 18 2013, 02:29PM
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camdog wrote:

You also have to combine that with to whom they are now spending their budgeted dollars on. The money they redirected to other players has helped as well.

Maybe we can get a count.

Who believes the Ducks are a better team right now than they were last season because of the Bobby Ryan trade.

Please include some sort of explanation for your position.

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#78 TigerUnderGlass
December 18 2013, 02:32PM
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camdog wrote:

Ya might not have been the best example, but at the same time it shows that trading away an elite goal scorer, hasn't reduced their ability to win hockey games. You can have all of the skill in the world, but that doesn't necessarily translate into wins.

Do you have even the slightest pretense at a real justification for any of this Ducks nonsense or are you just seeing win/loss + Ryan traded = good trade?

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#79 40 Double D
December 18 2013, 02:37PM
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Knock knock. Who's there? Suck. Suck who? Suck is what the Oilers do night after night and there's no hope in sight for the foreseeable future. Man these are dark times.

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#80 Fresh Mess
December 18 2013, 02:40PM
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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.

Greg Hawgood part 2. I don't mean that derisively, because I really enjoyed watching Hawgood play, but....

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#81 BingBong
December 18 2013, 02:44PM
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Ugh, reading this was depressing. So the only d-man we have signed beyond this year is Ference, and he's basically a #4 guy. The only RFA/UFA's worth keeping are Petry and Schultz, a #4 and #5. I don't see any UFA's on that list who could reasonably fill our top-pairing void who won't sign with their respective teams (Phaneuf).

Like someone mentioned above, times are tough when Larson is your only d-man who can make an outlet pass.

Our goaltending situation is just as bad. We have no goalie worth keeping beyond this year, and the only UFA worth going after is Hiller, who we'll have to overpay and how good is he really?

Can't wait to see what MacT does this summer, but there's no way we come close to the playoffs next year.

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#82 Oilcan
December 18 2013, 02:45PM
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Gregor, why would you say let Larson go and resign fedun? Is it because fedun would have a two way contract or are you basing it off their play? I like fedun and would resign him but I would also resign Larson he will come cheap and is younger then fedun isn't he? He skates very well and I like him on the PP (alot more when yak is on the half wall) because he will actually make that one time pass and take relatively smart shots. I'd bring him back for sure but as a 8th defenseman and if he surprises then great if not then a solid AHL option that can be called up.

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#83 Big Cap
December 18 2013, 02:46PM
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Lets be honest here:

1. Does the Oiler management have the stones to make the block buster trade that would involve an Ebs, Yak or #1 pick?

2. More importantly, Do we as fans trust the Oiler management to make a trade that involves Ebs, Yak or #1 Pick.

Aside from Perron, practically every move we made this off season was below average to average at very best. They could not identify what skills we truly needed to fillout the roster. In fact we have taken a huge step backwards. MacT brought in Belov, Grebs, Ference,all wrong guys. Potter, N. Schultz should not have returned, and he traded away the heart and soul of the Blueline in Smid.

There is NO reason to believe that Oiler management and scouting can or will effectively make the correct trade to make us better.

But hey, the "rebuild" only started in "2010"...Just wait til next year!!

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#84 David S
December 18 2013, 02:46PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Even with capable NHL goaltending from Bryzgalov, the Oilers still lose 8 out of 10 nights. Its the vacancy on those #1 and 2 spots on the blueline that's killing the Oilers.

Only an idiot couldn't see this coming last summer. Plugging holes with 4 thru 8 guys has predictably failed miserably.

A fact that clearly has not been mentioned enough times either!

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#85 cubsfan
December 18 2013, 02:49PM
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Dan the Man wrote:

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????!!!!!????

i also remember when we traded those guys away for nothing of equal value.....and now the cupboard is empty

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#87 Romulus' Apotheosis
December 18 2013, 02:53PM
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camdog wrote:

Ya might not have been the best example, but at the same time it shows that trading away an elite goal scorer, hasn't reduced their ability to win hockey games. You can have all of the skill in the world, but that doesn't necessarily translate into wins.

Sure.

Many good teams have traded away good players and still won (whether they are "better" or "worse" is a separate question).

The Oilers aren't a team that wins. They aren't a team that can drop an impact player and not miss a step.

That doesn't mean they couldn't upgrade the team by trading away an impact player…

really, these are all separate questions that ought to be addressed separately.

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#88 Romulus' Apotheosis
December 18 2013, 03:07PM
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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.

Yea. Not sure what that is about.

I have a separate question on this topic for you though.

Matheson has suggested several times that the Oilers are looking for a gritty, tough, clear the front of the net, D man (3rd pairing). Here's an example:

http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2013/10/11/wanted-by-edmonton-oilers-tough-mean-third-pairing-defenceman/

http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2013/11/01/would-oilers-be-interested-in-la-defenceman-keaton-ellerby-off-waivers/

http://www2.canada.com/edmontonjournal/news/sports/story.html?id=8b411abe-23c8-407f-8e66-d1e16a448198

What's curious about this, however, is that MacT passed on Peckham and Fistric in the summer and numerous other UFAs or trade opportunities and traded Smid.

I'm seriously wondering if MacT/Eakins actually want this player type.

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#89 Trade Offer
December 18 2013, 03:12PM
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@Don W

Is MacT bringing a gun to these trade offers? That's the only way these will happen.

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#90 Sean17
December 18 2013, 03:13PM
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They should sign Nikita Nikitin, then I can play the "Nikita Nikitin Drinking Game". Ya know, every time Kevin Quinn says Nikita Nikitin - you drink (he never can just say Nikitin). At least I will be hammered for every game and not care who wins....

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#91 oilbaron
December 18 2013, 03:14PM
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Anyone else notice how crappy the LA ice was?

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#92 That Guy
December 18 2013, 03:18PM
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I know you need advertising, but please swap this guy ---------------> out ... it just looks wrong ...

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#93 Sean17
December 18 2013, 03:20PM
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That Guy wrote:

I know you need advertising, but please swap this guy ---------------> out ... it just looks wrong ...

I feel like I have to quickly minimize my screen whenever somebody walks by at work....

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#94 michael
December 18 2013, 03:21PM
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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.

He would be a great partner for a player/s like Klefbom or Nurse. I could see that.

Belov is a strong 4. Yet my issue with his game is 2 fold. Does not shoot enough. Not physical enough.

What I would like to see next season is this.

Petry-Ference J.Shultz-Del Zotto Nurse/Klefbom-Greene

It might be scary as hell but is it in the realm of possibility that the Oilers will do a deal to get Del Zotto. His stock/value is at a low price. I do not see Giradi going to FA. Sather needs to dump Brad Richards. That contract is an Albatross that is killing the Rangers ability to compete. The Oilers still have a buyout.

Greene I see as a definite target. LA capped out.

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#95 Dan the Man
December 18 2013, 03:22PM
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cubsfan wrote:

i also remember when we traded those guys away for nothing of equal value.....and now the cupboard is empty

Hamrlik was traded for Brewer, Josh Green and Brad Winchester and Brewer was part of the Pronger deal. They still have Eberle and Marincin from the Pronger deal. Nothing really left from the Smith trade and Spacek left as a UFA.

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#96 Walter Sobchak
December 18 2013, 03:22PM
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IIRC did Stauffer not mention that he had it on good authority that Phaneuf was a total cancer in the dressing room? That it would be a huge mistake to even bring a guy like that in?

I'm guessing his source might have been Ference, if this is correct I think the Oilers brain trust might keep away from a guy like that.

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#97 cmandev77
December 18 2013, 03:24PM
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I would love for Edmonton to trade for John Carlson in Washington or Victor Hedman in Tampa. We definetely have the resources for a trade like this without giving away the farm. Big, young kids who play tons of minutes and in every situation. Would be a big step in improving our blueline...

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#98 Walter Sobchak
December 18 2013, 03:28PM
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@Big Cap

This is my biggest worry as well, it seem they (MacTavish & company) completely over valued the guys they brought in while Undervalued the ones that left.

I'm being sceptical here, but I'm setting up for a bad 1-3 trade or just a terrible 1-1 trade.

I think once the Oilers figure this out they will have an amazing defense with no offence left.

Infinity build.

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#100 Walter Sobchak
December 18 2013, 03:41PM
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Just throwing this out there.

Would it not make sense to look what's out there as a possible 1-B option for the Oilers?

Del-Zoto

Gudbranson

Bogsian

Hamonic

Possible even Shattenkirk, point is maybe we are looking at this the wrong way? Do we need a "true number 1 defender" or can we have a balance?

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