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 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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#3 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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#4 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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#5 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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#6 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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#7 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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#8 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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#9 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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#10 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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#11 bnr
December 18 2013, 07:12PM
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Johnnydapunk wrote:

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...

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

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

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

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

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

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#12 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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#13 ???
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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#14 HOGGER
December 18 2013, 04:25PM
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Trade Gagner and our first round pick for Phaneuf and a contract extension. With Arcobello playing so well Ganger is expendable and the leafs are hurting up the middle. Gagner being from Toronto might also be an upside for the deal.

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

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

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

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

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

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

That's soooooo true.

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#16 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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#17 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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#18 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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#19 Sean17
December 18 2013, 03:44PM
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How about Pronger?

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#20 bnr
December 18 2013, 05:40PM
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Johnnydapunk wrote:

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.

"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.

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#21 aceglfr
December 18 2013, 06:20PM
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i keep hearing whisperings about trading Darnell Nurse to get something now. This is exactly the foolish path that the Oilers have made far too many times in the past and i hope they refrain that impulse. Darnell is exactly the kind of player we need and hopefuly he is playing here next season and could end up #1 defence man in the future. Trades Oilers have lost on: Ray Whitney, Glencross, Stoll, Brodziak, Matt Greene, Cleary, and on and on. I don't understand why we keep duds all the time and yet when we aquire something that we need he gets traded like Glencross, Stoll, all of the above and more. Gagner has had too many chances to up his game and yet he keeps making the same defensive mistakes costing us goals and we keep playing him, this guy should have been gone 3 years ago he is a liabity and does not deserve the minutes he is getting. Arco is far better and dependable player. I am hoping we have seen the last of Dubnyk another guy we stuck with for eight losing years. Bryz should defintely be signed long term. TO ALL OILER FANS STOP ASKING TO TRADE NURSE, HALL, NUGE, BRYZ, YAKS, or EBERLE. How come other teams have big behmoth noname defense men and we have our soft powder puff ones that we pay millions too?

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#22 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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#23 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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#24 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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#25 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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#26 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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#27 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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#28 Cynic
December 18 2013, 08:17PM
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Arguing over whether Edmonton or Winnipeg is the less-cra.ppy city? That's funny.

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

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

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#32 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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#33 -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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#34 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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#35 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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#36 nick
December 18 2013, 08:26PM
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Dan the Man wrote:

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

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

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#37 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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#38 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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#39 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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#40 **
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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#41 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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#42 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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#43 David S
December 18 2013, 02:46PM
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Next up, is Connor McJesus. 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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#44 Dan the Man
December 18 2013, 03:43PM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

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.

It doesn't seem like they do. MacT obviously places a lot of value in "puck movers" which is fine but then why keep Nick Schultz? I can't really think of anything he's good at? I'm guessing no one wanted him at is current salary but he will probably get moved at the trade deadline.

Trading Smid was dumb and I would rather have Fistric as my number 7 guy over Potter. Oilers also should have taken a chance on Gilbert instead of Grebeshkov.

Smid - Petry

Ference - Gilbert

Belov - J Schultz

Fistric

Larsen

Not perfect but better than what we have currently.

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#45 sec206
December 18 2013, 04:51PM
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oilbaron wrote:

Anyone else notice how crappy the LA ice was?

ever notice how crappy the ice at Rexall is?

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#46 Rama Lama
December 18 2013, 07:01PM
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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.

Moving Smid made total sense...........if you have totally overvalued the defensemen and new coaching staff that you have brought in.

He was also the odd man out with the Oilers. We do not like large , tough, stay at home defensemen.........we want small puck-moving offensive defensemen that never take a chance on offence.

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#47 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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#48 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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#49 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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#50 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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