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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#1 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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#3 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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#4 -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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#5 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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#6 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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#7 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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#8 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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#9 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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#10 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
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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#12 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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#13 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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#14 Sean17
December 18 2013, 03:56PM
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Suckiest bunch of sucks that ever sucked...

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#15 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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#16 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
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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#17 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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#18 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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#19 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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#20 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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#21 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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#22 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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#23 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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#24 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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#25 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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#26 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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#27 Taylor Gang
December 18 2013, 06:37PM
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Yandle? Top pairing defenseman, paid 5.3 million, can move the puck well, uses the body, winning culture? Just a thought.

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#28 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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#29 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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#30 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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#31 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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#32 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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#33 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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#35 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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#36 He Who Knows
December 18 2013, 04:07PM
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Rebuild 24 is on the way. Mac-T either gets values on the trades he is seeking or he blows up more than half the team and builds it right this time. Tambo that bastard and the lord of the rings had no clue. Ekblad is definitely a keeper. I guess we will see if a team will give max value for that pick. Either way this rebuild coming up should be shorter and probably has a better blueprint to follow on. And as always, screw you Kevin Lowe.

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#37 Bucknuck
December 18 2013, 04:12PM
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I look at Montreal, with Galchenyuk in their lineup, and wonder how much they would like to reunite him and Yakupov. Would they consider Yakupov, Klefbom and our 1st rounder in 2014 for Subban? Do you think it would even make them think about it before they said no.

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#38 Bucknuck
December 18 2013, 04:47PM
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You cannot win in this league when you have poor Goaltending. I am not saying that is the only thing wrong, but it's hard for the team to have "spark" and "compete" when the goalie is letting in softies on a regular basis.

If DD had only been average, the Oilers would have a lot more points IMO. Not playoff points, but not the embarrassing fiasco that they have now.

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#39 Johnnydapunk
December 18 2013, 05:31PM
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I'm prepared for a rain down of trashes but I wouldn't mind seeing the Oil try to see if they can get Byfuglien perhaps, he has a modified NTC and for once Edmonton is a step up from Winnipeg city wise so he could go for it. The Jets are also having a pretty crap season and seem like they could use a shakeup or two. They aren't really loaded on offence so they may be up for one of the kids. Byfuglien has size, plays big minutes, isn't too old (28) and has a 5-6 mill a season for the next 2.5 seasons so isn't crazy money.

I am a bit concerned that Belov is gonna be another Hejda and leave for greener pastures and turn into a solid number one or two Dman. He has been a pleasant surprise so far and done alright for himself so far. He can only get better I am thinking.

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#40 Johnnydapunk
December 18 2013, 05:44PM
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Oh I did forget to mention that Belov apparently has a thing for signing one year deals only. His reasoning is that it makes and motivates him to work hard for a new contract and allows him the freedom to move if he wished to. As he is rarely interviewed, I have no idea of his impressions of Edmonton or the Oilers. Perhaps he is the type of person who would consider the Oil taking a chance on him as a nice gesture and would stay. Again one can hope.

When I first read of that, my respect level for him jumped up as it is rare to hear that from a player. Fair play to him.

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#41 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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#42 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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#43 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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#44 A-Mc
December 18 2013, 04:10PM
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If this Ekblad guy is as good as people seem to think he is, i dont see how the Oilers can trade that first rounder..The return would have to blow our minds.

In all honesty, who isnt rooting for failure through next season! WE WANT MCDAVID

#PerpetualREBUILD

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#45 Low
December 18 2013, 04:11PM
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Jason! Once I want, you reporters come out say, "replace the cancer in this oilers management team (klow) rather than the players." please have the heart or ball to indicate who has been killing our beloved hockey team. You so called media members always duck the major issues knowingly, if you think that May affect your job security. Also, already looking or mentioning for UFA players for the summer seems to be losers mentality!!!

Klow=franchise killer

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#46 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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#47 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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#48 Johnnydapunk
December 18 2013, 06:06PM
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bnr wrote:

"for once Edmonton is a step up from Winnipeg city wise so he could go for it." Bwahahaha you keep telling yourself that.

Buff gets a call to waive his NTC, he says to where, and gets the response "Edmonton". Buff hangs up the phone. As will any other Jet with a NTC/NMC (Little, Wheeler, Ladd, Bogosian, Enstrom).

People like Buff take NTC's to prevent going to places like Edmonton. What's that crime rate again? Honestly under these circumstances, hearing the Albertan superiority complex is quite comical. No one wants to go there.

Wow, you shouldn't have done that, you could have pulled out some non objective stat like Winnipeg is prettier or better transport or just a more fun place to live, as then it would be an opinion and we could agree to disagree. But no, you pull out a fact that could be looked up, and thank you as you just made Edmonton look even better....

Crime rate by city

CBC article on Manitoba crime rate

Winnipeg's apparently won the award for 2nd highest rate of violent crime in Canada, Edmonton is 15th, that's just a start...

Anyways I had no intention of really saying anything overtly terrible Winnipeg as it was the place I was born, and I don't think saying that Edmonton is a step up is that wrong or horrible. It's an opinion and that's that.

PS don't look at your cities Wiki page, they are a bit merciless on your crime rate there...

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#49 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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#50 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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