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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#101 Romulus' Apotheosis
December 18 2013, 03:51PM
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Dan the Man wrote:

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.

N. Schultz is still here because they can't trade them all at the same time… but if he's here at the deadline, I'll eat my hat.

Trading Smid is fine in and of itself… but the timing, return and apparent rationale (cap room to sign Bryz we were told) don't make much sense.

It's not just MacT that prefers puck movers. Look at how Eakins deploys his D. He is having a love affair with Larsen.

Gilbert would have been a helluva bargain, but I don't think you'll find many around here welcoming him back.

With the logjam at D in the AHL I'd expect MacT to offer Grebs one of them unconditional waiver buyout things (like Rajala) so both can move on.

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#102 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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#103 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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#104 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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#105 Johnnydapunk
December 18 2013, 05:36PM
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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.

But his actress wife isn't. I don't know how receptive they would both be to a move. I could see him moving, but I think he would be looking at a Cup contender first and somewhere in that Northeast corridor of the states, and if nothing comes of that, then the Leafs. Though, who knows, stranger things have happened.

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#106 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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#107 Spoils
December 18 2013, 06:06PM
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@Ducey

Dion for $7M would be an unmitigated disaster.

The absolute sweet spot would be a true top D who is under 25 and will peak with the team.

How do you get Jonas Brodin, Seth Jones, Del Zotto (maybe), Roman Josi (maybe), or Ekman Larsson?

BOLD MOVE

Their choice of Yak or Eberle AND Gagner or Hemsky? Do we have to give more?

I love the idea of our D = Schultz, Klefbom, Nurse, Jones, and Petry at their primes

MacT then continues to make smooth moves like getting Perrons and Gordons, our remaining forwards hit peak age, and we add our final puzzle piece at the last moment - give up our next top draft pick (or two) for a true top goalie.

Bryz or whoever moves to backup and collects his ring for riding the pine.

BOOSH

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#108 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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#109 S cottV
December 19 2013, 07:56AM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

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

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

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

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

Perhaps Smid wasnt buying in fully to Eakins leadership.

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

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#111 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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#112 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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#113 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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#114 non descript
December 18 2013, 01:27PM
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the problem with the oilers blue line is not that they dont have a top pairing defender, its that they dont have any defencemen that should be playing above the third pairing.

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#115 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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#116 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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#117 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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#118 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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#119 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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#120 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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#121 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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#122 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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#124 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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#125 Romulus' Apotheosis
December 18 2013, 03:45PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Peckham was more about his dedication to team and fitness. They felt Fistric couldn't move puck well enough...Why they moved Smid, I honestly don't know. The timing of that trade made zero sense to me.

They seemingly want a guy who can clear the front of the net, but also move the puck. Great to want, harder to get.

I think you hit the nail on the head there with "but also move the puck"

I think that is probably what damned Smid… though, I completely agree the timing and return remain questions for me.

With bottom pairing guys you tend to see one flaw or another… usually they can't skate or pass very well, but they are physical… or they are Philip Larsen (great skater, decent passer… lost when the cycle hits in his own end, can't really play tough)

Once you dial up to being physical AND being about to move the puck… you usually aren't looking bottom pairing anymore.

The strategy -- as best I can tell -- seems to be to go for puck movement/possession first and look for a guy with those skills who can play tough…

I think they hoped Belov might fit this mold for one of their 4-7 spots (he's shown nice things in both departments in stretches).

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#126 Bucknuck
December 18 2013, 03:47PM
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If the Oilers keep sucking as bad as they have been, then it is not outside the realm of possibilities that their draft pick could have some excellent trade value. I think you would have to add a player to make it sweet enough to tempt a team to trade a #1 D, but if a team is rebuilding, that just might be possible.

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#127 Romulus' Apotheosis
December 18 2013, 03:54PM
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Bucknuck wrote:

If the Oilers keep sucking as bad as they have been, then it is not outside the realm of possibilities that their draft pick could have some excellent trade value. I think you would have to add a player to make it sweet enough to tempt a team to trade a #1 D, but if a team is rebuilding, that just might be possible.

Keep in mind the JBow return. That's a good comparable (if not perfect).

22nd OV and a pair of middling prospects.

JBow is not Weber. But he's damn good, he's still young and signed an extension long term at a reasonable rate with the Blues right away.

Our pick is going to be worth a lot more than that package the Blues offered. A lot more!

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#128 Sean17
December 18 2013, 03:56PM
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Suckiest bunch of sucks that ever sucked...

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#130 A-Mc
December 18 2013, 04:20PM
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Bucknuck wrote:

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.

Pk is an RFA but is up for renewal at the end of the season. He has a love affair with Montreal - he's said it many times that it's his favorite team since he was a boy.

Couldn't he just accept some absurd Offer sheet that the Oilers couldn't match, and buy his way off the team before he ever plays?

That does seem like a fair deal for both sides though. Yak/Klef and our 1st (top 3) is a huge payment. The salary deal for subban would be something like 7m/yr for 7 years likely, wouldnt it? Hmm i still think it's worth it!

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#131 Freewheeling Freddie
December 18 2013, 04:25PM
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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.

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#132 brewstir
December 18 2013, 04:29PM
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there were Keith Yandle rumors at last years draft, wouldn't that be too good to be true?

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#133 Romulus' Apotheosis
December 18 2013, 04:30PM
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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.

While I wouldn't raise this to a universal, I'd be happy to stand beside it as a general rule.

As I said before, the Smid trade (in terms of timing, return and rationale given) doesn't make a lot of sense…

Best case scenario for Smid (if they were set on trading him) would have been to sell high at the deadline for either an NHL player or picks and then sell high on the picks at the draft table.

Whether to trade him at all is another good question that demands a much better answer than the ones the team has given so far in the form of Larsen and co.

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#134 Romulus' Apotheosis
December 18 2013, 04:49PM
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michael wrote:

Made sense to me. DD sucked. Labarbera sucked. No cap space due to poor signings of Grebby and Belov. Add Larsen and Potters one way deals and you get a recipe for that leaves MacT little or no room to sign IB. Had DD not answered MacT's question so resoundingly this season he would not have been forced to trade Smid's contract for cap room. Its a mixture of DD and underperforming contracts.

The only way to make this rationate make sense is if the Oilers are convinced that the vast majority of available contract bonuses will be hit (which, at the time and now seems very unlikely) and that they are completely unwilling to bump into next year's cap.

http://www.capgeek.com/oilers/

Even in that scenario, however, trading 15 makes a lot more sense.

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#135 Doublee
December 18 2013, 05:03PM
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Jason; In view of the overwhelming consensus on the need for more abrasive players, what is the rationale for the baffling trade of Smid? Has anyone pushed Mctavish for a more complete explanation other than cap room. I'm beginning to wonder if the move was prompted by Eakin's biases and preferences.

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#136 Ed in PV
December 18 2013, 05:07PM
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Low wrote:

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

Amen brother. The media is this town refuse to address the real issue.

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#138 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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#139 David S
December 18 2013, 08:58PM
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Saytalk wrote:

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

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

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

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

Think about that for a second.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Zero chance Nashville trades Jones for Yakupov.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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#148 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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#149 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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#150 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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