SIMPLE, YET DIFFICULT...

Jason Gregor
December 09 2013 01:56PM

It is simple to see what Craig Mactavish needs to do, but it will be difficult to achieve; Get Better Players.

We can spend hours breaking down Dallas Eakins' system, goaltending, the powerplay or a plethora of other issues, but it always comes back to the same problem; a lineup lacking in NHL talent.

MacTavish didn't build this roster, but he is the man in charge moving forward and he needs to start adding players, especially defenceman, instead of shipping them out for future prospects. The Oilers can't afford to give away any more proven NHL players for another prospect or draft pick. They have enough young players, they need experience, size and most importantly some more talent on the blueline.

The harsh reality is that opposing forwards don't fear anyone on the Oilers blueline. Andrew Ference is the only one who is hard to play against. None of the remaining D-men will make a forward pay the price in front of the net or in the corner. The Oilers can't expect Martin Marincin, Oscar Klefbom or Darnell Nurse to be that type of D-man next season. If they do, then you can expect their playoff drought to extend to nine seasons.

The onus is on MacTavish to recognize this and do his best to rectify it. Find another trading partner like the St.Louis Blues, a team willing to part with an experienced veteran player for a younger, cheaper talent, and pull the trigger.

Everyone knows the Oilers aren't making the playoffs, but they currently have over $7 million in cap space so they can afford to take on some salary to make a deal work. MacTavish has already stated he'd be willing to move the 2014 first round pick, so we know he understands the need to inject experience rather than youth into his organization.

A team looking to acquire that pick will likely wait until the season is over and they know exactly what draft spot they are getting. If you traded the Oilers a solid player today for that pick, the value of the pick would decrease by June. I don't see that pick being moved until closer to the draft.

If MacTavish wants to improve his roster over the next few months, I see the following pieces as the most likely options to move:

Sam Gagner, Nail Yakupov and Ales Hemsky. They could move Jeff Petry, but they don't have much depth on the backend, so he wouldn't be my first choice.

Hemsky is a pending UFA, so he will garner the smallest return, however, he will have value at the deadline and his cap hit will be more manageable around the March 5th deadline.

Gagner needs to play better to increase his value. The Oilers and Gagner supposedly have an unofficial no-movement clause, however, this is a business and if a deal comes along that makes sense, I don't see why MacTavish wouldn't pull the trigger.

Yakupov will garner the most interest, and while there is some risk in moving a former #1 overall pick, there will also be significant interest in him because of his draft status. If you want a good player in return, you need to be willing to give up something.

I don't see Yakupov being a foundation piece of the Oilers; they already have forwards who will be that guy. They need to use him to try and acquire a solid piece to their blueline.

Regardless of who or when MacTavish makes a move, it is apparent this group of players simply isn't good enough to win. 

QUICK HITS....

  • I'm glad James Neal got suspended. His knee on Brad Marchand was incredibly cheap, and he deserved five games. Kneeing a guy in the head is gutless, not to mention idiotic.
     
  • Shawn Thornton has always been an honest player, prior to going after Orpik. What I found crazy about that play, is that we see guys punching one another with gloves on all the time and rarely do they get injured. It doesn't excuse Thornton for what he did, he deserves to be suspended, likely at least ten games, but every NHL player I spoke with regarding the incident was surprised Orpik was injured that bad from that gloved punch.
     
  • It is time Dallas Eakins sends a message to someone in his top-nine. The Oilers had way too many turnovers at the Flames blueline on Saturday, and many of them came from blind pass attempts, rather than putting the puck deep in the zone. The Oilers are entering game 32; the coach can't allow those types of plays to continue without consequences.
     
  • Martin Marincin has been good in his two games. He's averaged over 15 minutes a game, got some PP time and he's been sheltered properly. I'd play him again on Tuesday, but I'd be cautious of keeping him here all season. A small taste of the NHL should motivate him even more when he returns to the AHL, and especally during the off-season where he needs to work on getting stronger.
     
  • Bryzgalov practiced today as did Richard Bachman. Bachman will head to OKC the minute he is cleared to play, and it sounds like Bryzgalov is close to being cleared to play. Both Bryzgalov and Dubnyk are UFAs at the end of the year, and their play in the final 50 games should decide if either, both or none of them will be re-signed.
     
  • With three weeks remaining in the NFL season my Miami Dolphins are in the wild card mix. I'm surprised, considering their horrendous GM, but with games remaining against the Patriots, Bills and Jets, they have a very good chance of making it. 
     
  • Tyler Pitlick is heading back to OKC. He hasn't played a game since October 26th. Once he gets back in game shape, I wouldn't be surprised to see him recalled in January.
     
  • The OKC Barons have had 41 different players in their lineup, including 7 different goalies, yet the Barons are only one point out of the playoffs. With Bachman and LaBarbera close to being sent down, along with Pitlick's re-assignment today, the Barons should make a push for the playoffs over the next few months.

DAY SEVEN...MONTH OF GIVING...

On Friday we raised another $2,900 for our Derks Menswear package and the Oilers/Flames tickets. Thanks to Dan and Raja for their generous bids.

Today's package... THE VIP Experience...

  • Pair of Edmonton Rush season tickets. Gold seats, lower bowl.
  • A behind the scenes tour during one home game. You'll meet the coaches, players and the cheer team.
  • You and a friend will go on a road trip with the Rush to Calgary for a regular season game. You will travel with the team, stay at the team hotel, go to the game and have dinner with team owner, Bruce Urban. You will be invited to the after party as well.
  • You will get a meet and greet with UFC champion Georges St.Pierre on January 11th in Edmonton.

    You can bid today between 2-6 p.m. by calling 780.444.1260 or 1.800.243.1945. All the proceeds will go towards Santas Anonymous.
     

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR 

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#51 Young Oil
December 09 2013, 03:04PM
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To me, there's no way I'm trading the first round pick. It's very likely going to be top 5, and that's something that you can spend on getting a future quality two way 2nd line center (Draisaitl for example). If you trade it, you get pennies on the dollar.

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#53 oilerjed
December 09 2013, 03:49PM
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#ThereGoesTheOilers wrote:

I wonder if our 2014 first round and Eberle would net us the type of player our blueline so desprately needs.

Yes, it might be a bit of an overpay, but at this point with so much burgeoning talent up front and only a silver-lining on the horizon in Nurse, we can afford it.

I suggest Eberle simply because he's had longer to prove his trade value (unlike Yakupov), and I think you'd be hard pressed to say he has more upside than Hall or Nuge.

If you can get the kind of d-man we need back for less, then all the better.

I agree, while at the moment Yak is a bit of a train wreck. With some defensive coaching you could very realistically end up with a forward who hits skates with a rocket of a shot. We have yet to see what this kid can really do. Ebs, IMO, is what he is. Which is pretty damn good player but soft soft soft and we have that covered in spades. He should be able to get some GMs attention when his name is put out there.

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#54 pkam
December 09 2013, 03:52PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Please explain why you would move Eberle ahead of Yakupov, other than he has more value.

What does Yakupov do better than Eberle, that would help the Oilers win in the future. I don't see one area of Yakupov's game that is better.

If we want to win now, then I agree the obvious choice to trade Yak over Eberle.

If the plan is to win in a couple of years, then we have to determine who will be a better player in a couple of years, another factor is how much can we get from the trade now.

If we don't expect to win now or next year, and we believe Yak can be as good as, if not better than Eberle in 2 years, then the obvious choice is to trade Eberle now, because we will get better return for Eberle than Yak now.

Buy low sell high instead of buy high sell low. Of course, it assumes accurate projection from our pro-scouts and management.

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#55 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
December 09 2013, 04:03PM
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Zarny wrote:

There is zero chance Weber is on the move soon. Zero.

If you want to know why...go look at how much Nsh has paid him and how many games he has actually played under his new contract.

It's not going to happen.

The money he's been paid to date is in the past. Maybe that ownership group in Nashville would look favourably to getting out from underneath the remaining 82 million due over the remainder of that deal, no? Is there an echo in here, yes, 82 million dahlahs (a lot of cash to a small market team heavily dependant on revenue sharing) Zarny.

With Jossi, and now Seth Jones, maybe that's an option to help address their abysmal top 9 forward group.

If #99 can be traded, so can #6. Organizations often change their minds/direction, and rather quickly these days I'm sure. You're opinion is no different than the pre August 8th 1988 talk there Zarny. Some trades don't need to make sense. It could be just not wanting to be house poor anymore.

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#56 Knight
December 09 2013, 04:06PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Please explain why you would move Eberle ahead of Yakupov, other than he has more value.

What does Yakupov do better than Eberle, that would help the Oilers win in the future. I don't see one area of Yakupov's game that is better.

2 areas of his game that seem better are physicality, he is not afraid to throw the odd body check and stick up for himself now and then. I also think his compete level is higher, eberle plays beyond soft and is so one dimensional.

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#57 Lowe Expectations
December 09 2013, 04:36PM
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When I look at the other teams in the Oilers division, I can't figure out when this team will ever make the playoffs.

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#58 bazmagoo
December 09 2013, 04:57PM
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Personally I think MacT just needs to do whatever it takes to get a #1 d-man on the roster. I think it will likely take either Yakupov or Eberle, I think RNH and Hall are likely off limits due to their position. Eberle and Yakupov both play the same position, so it's probably a matter of how we get a #1 d-man for either of them.

I think the #1 pick will definitely be in play next draft or before, because it'll be high and a tradeable asset.

I'm thinking it's likely nothing happens until the end of the season, except for the inevitable sell off of assets at the trade deadline.

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#59 John
December 09 2013, 05:07PM
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Yes the Oilers and Gagne may have a unofficial agreement on a No Trade this year BUT Gagne has not lived up to side of the bargain his play has been abysmal .If I was Mac T I would not feel obligated to hold up my side of the deal based on Gagne's lack of effort and general poor play this year. He is taking advantage the organization.

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#60 bulldog12
December 09 2013, 06:11PM
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MacT knows and has been trying to get that #1 dman since he got the job. There's not many out there and there hard to acquire. The biggest problem with the Oilers is all there dmen are playing higher in the lineup than there capable of. Happened to Gilbert and now it's happening to Petry. Trade Yak Gagner Hemsky and the 1st round pick. What happens if you trade someone else keep Yak and he decides to go back to Russia because him and his agent decide he's not on the 1st line 1st power play unit or that hitting and back checking aren't part of his game. Let him go be someone else's problem.

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#61 BLAKPOO
December 09 2013, 06:54PM
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nick wrote:

Ask MacIdiot why he traded Smid. If he was honest, which he isn't. he would say because I don't like him. It was strictly personal with MacT and that is so sad. He gave away one of the true Oilers because he didn't like him. MacTavish is without a doubt the worst GM in the league. There is a very strong rumor within the NHL that there is a group of 12 to 15 GM's that will not deal with MacTavish and Lowe. Kind of makes sense seeing that trades cannot be made. As for the trading of Smid, shame on you MacTavish, making the team you are responsible for worse because of a personal issue.

You seem pretty confident here, but it sure sounds like "make-believe". Sit in on a lot of MacT/Smid arguments did you?

Strong rumors are just as pretend as weak rumors. Hence the 'rumors' part. There isn't one GM in the league that wouldn't do business with another GM if it improved his team. If Burke and the Flames can do business with Lowe and the Oilers, I don't think anyone else will have an issue.

Trades aren't happening because MacT wants a key defensive piece. Those are usually overvalued by their teams, and not easily parted with this time of year.

Smid was traded because of his contract, his diminishing ice-time, and our 3rd line blue depth.

Also, Brossoit.

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#62 S cottV
December 09 2013, 08:07PM
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The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33 wrote:

This is clearly Horcoff's fault. We could use that bastard right now. He was a good captain and the kids actually looked up to him. You suck Horcoff!

Yep - Horcoff, Smyth and Hemsky on the 3rd line would soon be the second line - maybe the first. They would do it on combined smarts, grit, character and some vintage skill. Also - to prove to the young guns that they have a lot of growing up to do. Oilers turned this team over too soon, to the young guys.

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#63 Oiler Al
December 10 2013, 06:17AM
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The team goes into "suckage" for 4 years so that enables them to draft high . The problem is that all these draft picks are regressing as they add a few years to their NHL experience.That is not a good thing.

Seems players come to the Oilers to die. When was the last time Oilers developed a Benn type from a No.5 pick to a star...they cant even develop NO.1 picks to become complete NHL players.

Coaching changes didn't help, but the Clowns behind the bench today are not going to change things either...very very sad situation.

Boys, uptop, the gig is up.. your BS and hype has come back to bite you in the rear.

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#64 rinbkrat Brown
December 10 2013, 09:13AM
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The argument for taking Yakupov first overall was that you always take the best available player at the draft (that is, the best PERCEIVED available player), thus increasing the value of your team. Yakupov has proved without doubt that he is very far from a fit on this team. Why is anyone in this town opposed to cashing the asset?

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#65 Kr55
December 10 2013, 10:14AM
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Articles like this are why Lowe should be fired. It's all well and good to make legit excuses for a GM about how the team is in shambles and it's almost impossible for him to improve it. However, the guy that heavily contributed to the team being destroyed has an office right next to the GM! And Lowe is without a doubt still heavily involved in any changes made.

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#66 Zarny
December 09 2013, 03:16PM
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Next up, is Connor McJesus. wrote:

Wandering in the desert.....still.

What goes around, comes around for Marchand and Orpik. Nice to see some player policing still in place. This is exactly the type of policing the Oilers need right now. Puck the code/rules, don't just sit and watch another one of your brothers go down, do something, take a suspension and earn a reputation, show you're a team/family for Christmas sake. If you think what happened last weekend was wrong, watch ping pong you bunch of sissies.

With Weber on the move soon, I'd back up the truck and see if there's anything Poile wants. If he's not available, hunker down for another difficult few years. Maybe the Oilers will grow one of their own in the next 5 yrs. Weber or bust. Yak, Gags, Hemsky, even throw in next summers first if you have to. That would surely beat sucking for another 3 years. Just like the Oilers will never go anywhere without a couple top pairing blueliners, The Preds will never go anywhere with that top 9 group of forwards.

There is zero chance Weber is on the move soon. Zero.

If you want to know why...go look at how much Nsh has paid him and how many games he has actually played under his new contract.

It's not going to happen.

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#67 etownman
December 09 2013, 03:25PM
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Disagree Gregor, the team has enough NHL talent it's just not the right mix! Finding teams to make trades for the type of players the Oilers need is the big problem! I also think the body of NHL work Gagner has performed at wouldn't be a hard sell to a lot of teams, but again, it's finding the right team with the pieces the Oilers need! I think Hemmer's contract gets moved a deadline!

Ference is snarly to play against but not overpowering! Belov is the guy who i thought was consistent all over the ice & fairly physical as well, who did he p--- off! Fistric would look awfully nice in this lineup?

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#69 2004Z06
December 09 2013, 03:45PM
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What ever happened to the Eberle to Philly rumor for Wayne Simmonds and Brayden Schenn?

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#70 Smokey
December 09 2013, 04:05PM
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The Gagner No trade verbal agreement means nothing. Oilers gotta do what they need to do. Gagner is making himself virtually untradeable anyways.

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#71 They're $hittie
December 09 2013, 04:12PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Who says Yakupov is considered to have a higher ceiling? Because he was drafted 1st overall? IMO That has no bearing now that both are in the NHL.

As for saying Eberle was protected and plays with great players, you do realize that Eberle, regardless of who he plays with, has produced chances and points.

I'm not opposed to trading Eberle, if the package is that good, but when I compare the two players Eberle is better in every facet, and I don't see Yakupov's hockey sense improving as much as it needs to be to be a better overall player than Eberle.

Time will tell.

His ceiling is considered higher yes because most scouts rated him as a number one overall pick. So the majority of men who make decisions in the NHL would probably consider him higher ceiling.

Eberle is at 90% his ceiling. He is at his offensive output with some experience rounding out his overall game.

I did agree with you that right now Eberle is better at all aspects of the game.

As for Eberle producing where ever he plays this is true, however he very very seldomly played without point producing players.

Taylor hall has been asked to carry tough minutes and sometimes with struggling players.

Nuge has somewhat been sheltered but has always been the defensive catalyst on the line.

Gagner has been up and down the line up playing with face punchers to raw rookies

Yak has been up and down also,

Eberle I have seen on the third line maybe a dozen times. He has had by far the most comforting introduction to the league and the most accomadating situations to play in out of all of our first round picks since 2007.

You are right time will tell, but seeing how eberle was given 5 years after draft before he was judged or criticized maybe would should extend the same courtesy to our youngest player. Part of this probably has to do with the fact that we excepted losing a few years back but we dont now.

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#72 Darren
December 09 2013, 04:18PM
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One reason that occurred to me why players don't often get injured from a gloved punch is that usually their heads are not pressed up against something solid, like the surface of the ice. The impact of the punches could not be diffused or absorbed by any movement of the head in this situation.

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#73 Oiler Al
December 09 2013, 05:12PM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

This I get! his history tells us he can score, what I would like to know, is how he can score last season and put himself in good position, but this year he seems to be all over the map?

I have to believe the kid is bloody confused, there has to be some kind of disconnect between Yakupov and Eakins because he sure wasn’t that awful with Ralph! (Same coaching staff) I agree he was out of position at times last season and wasn’t strong in his own end, but this year he just seemed to regress, I don’t believe it’s a maturity issue ether, I honestly believe he has no clue as to what the coaches expect, so you’re seeing a kid trying everything and anything out there and it just goes from bad to worse?

The kids try is on him, which from everything I read is top notch, the kid on the ice is the coaches, if he’s not thinking the game right and is out of position then coaches have to work with him to get him there.

From what I’m seeing there seems to be no corrective action taken on a lot of Oilers, not just Yakupov.

How about a disconnect with our illustrious assistant coaches ... Smith and Buchberger.

They do a lot of the on ice coaching...not a lot of success with this team since they been chewing gum behind the bench. Not a lot of destiny for anyone , with these two clowns on board.

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#74 AdamfromOilfans
December 09 2013, 11:10PM
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Gregor, you have a blind spot with Yakupov, and seemingly always have. You keep comparing him with Eberle, forgetting that Eberle wasn't even in the NHL at the age Yakupov is.

I'm more concerned with the flaws in Eberle's game at 23 than I am with Yakupov's at 19. Both have some great offensive weapons, but the skill set on Yakupov is a little deeper. Yes, he looks confused out there, but he's clearly afraid to make a mistake this year, as the second he does, he's riding the pine. Guy has no confidence at all right now (something that the Oilers have to be in big part responsible for, having allowed a lot of rumours to run rampant for a time, making him a high-profile scratch early in the season when he was getting lots of shots, throwing him to the media wolves after the Larionov affair...There's definitely been poor player management there.

Eberle probably gets you more in a trade than Yakupov, and moving someone like him serves as a wake-up call to the inner circle on this team. There's a clique there that seems to believe they're infallible (in part because management keeps saying "we don't have the right mix", letting the team off the hook for poor performance). It's fine for media to talk about what the team needs, but management should work behind the scenes to improve the team, while encouraging the team to get it done with what they have at the moment, not with some vague promise that at some point we might have a better supporting cast and a number one defenceman. And if that inner circle believes that it's the defence's fault or the goalie's fault or the third and fourth lines fault, then they definitely need to be shaken up. It's not enough for them to score goals. They have to take responsibility for the losses too or they're never going to lead the team anywhere. Right now, I don't think that's the case.

Examples? Eberle to Jack Michaels when asked "Why is the penalty kill doing better recently?" - "Well, it sure helps when your goalies are making the saves back there."

Hall to Bob Stauffer on Yakupov and Larionov-Gate - "We sure didn't expect him to come out and say what he did and he really brought the spotlight on himself there. It really became the sole focus of that whole practice and even in to the next game. I don't want to say that's the reason we lost, but..."

These guys are pointing fingers at their teammates right now, which is not leadership. There's a sense around this team that there's a group of cool kids who can do no wrong in the eyes of management, coaching and themselves, and there's a group on the outside who bear the brunt of the criticism from coaches, media and even in some cases their cool kid teammates. It's unhealthy and something has to give.

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#76 nick
December 10 2013, 02:54PM
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Zarny wrote:

LMAO!

Sorry but Smid was not a better skater than Ference, a better passer than Ference or a better puck handler than Ference.

That's ridiculous.

Do you actually watch hockey

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#77 @Oilanderp
December 09 2013, 03:09PM
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We are strongest at RW... if there is a trade it has to be one of them... doesn't it?

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#78 They're $hittie
December 09 2013, 03:25PM
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RexHolez wrote:

Why is it always yakupov as the kid to trade? He's the only one with a physical edge and that elusive 1 shot scorer, not to mention his current value is the lowest it will ever be in his career! I'd trade ebs first everyday of the week, I'd argue ebs value will never be higher

Agree 100% and his contract is already creating issues for us.

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#79 OilDieHard
December 09 2013, 03:44PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

He has four goals this year, and all of them are on the PP.

Watch Yakupov closely, he doesn't think the game great. He shoots the puck hard, but he is not as great a goal scorer as some think. IMO.

He doesn't put himself in great shooting positions often enough.

^if that's the case, we'd better package him up because other teams will notice this and we won't get diddly for him !

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#80 Wil
December 09 2013, 03:53PM
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I think it's nice the Oilers have acquired these assets, but I think that's how we as fans have to look at them. Tradable pieces in order to get an upgrade for the team.

The only question is what do you get back that makes this team better.

In that respect I think anyone is tradable on this team. It's nice to have some continuity and identity, but what I'd rather have more is a team that makes the playoffs.

I like Hall, I like Nuge, I really like Perron. After that, I'd certainly look to give up one of our right wings for either big returns on the blue line or down the middle.

As this article mentions, if Mac T can turn a project like Magnus into the immediate help that is Perron, then maybe there's a team out there willing to take Yak to save cap space, hopeful they can turn him into a star, and give up a big contract and big veteran talent in return.

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#81 They're $hittie
December 09 2013, 03:53PM
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2004Z06 wrote:

What ever happened to the Eberle to Philly rumor for Wayne Simmonds and Brayden Schenn?

Mac T killed it when they asked for Eberle. He wants to be bold but he will not trade 4, 14, 89, 93, or 64.

Dont see how anything else will be bold.

4 and 93 are untouchable. If you have anyone else on an untouchable list ask your self this; we havent won with this core, do you trade your best and most dominant player? do you trade a number one center you have been looking for for years?

Or do you trade the players who have value and are not the best at anything on the team. 14, 89, 83, 64, 26? That is how you maximize assets and mix it up.

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#82 pkam
December 09 2013, 04:14PM
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Next up, is Connor McJesus. wrote:

The money he's been paid to date is in the past. Maybe that ownership group in Nashville would look favourably to getting out from underneath the remaining 82 million due over the remainder of that deal, no? Is there an echo in here, yes, 82 million dahlahs (a lot of cash to a small market team heavily dependant on revenue sharing) Zarny.

With Jossi, and now Seth Jones, maybe that's an option to help address their abysmal top 9 forward group.

If #99 can be traded, so can #6. Organizations often change their minds/direction, and rather quickly these days I'm sure. You're opinion is no different than the pre August 8th 1988 talk there Zarny. Some trades don't need to make sense. It could be just not wanting to be house poor anymore.

The only time Nashville will trade Weber is offseason. They pay him 13M signing bonus and 1M salary.

If they trade him now, they will pay him about 13.4M to play about 40% of the regular season. And who will buy their tickets for the rest of the year with Weber gone?

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#83 They're $hittie
December 09 2013, 04:14PM
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@Next up, is Connor McJesus.

99 wasnt traded, he was SOLD!

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#84 Pouzar99
December 09 2013, 04:15PM
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Jason, you are certainly right, but the trouble is going to be getting fair value in exchange for players like Yak, Gagner or Hemsky, or for our first round pick. We desperately need solid veteran help on defence and size, experience and meanness in the Top 9.

Unfortunately the other GMs are smart. There are no more Mike Miburys or Phil Espositos to fleece. They know MacT and all of OIler management is under tremendous pressure. Surely Katz must be running out of patience with Lowe and company by now.

MacT deserves credit for the Perron trade, obviously, as well as the signings of Ference Gordon and Bryzgalov. Grebeshkov was a relatively cheap experiment that failed, same with Belov, although I am not ready to write him off yet. I will go to my grave trying to figure why we virtually gave Smid to the Flames. So far axing Krueger in favour of Eakins is the biggest question mark. He is obviously no strategic genius, but he may be able to motivate the players more. I think MacT and Eakins deserve another year but giving the lack of development of our D man surely Steve Smith has to go. It is tough to be an Oiler fan these days, although the 6-3-1 run has helped a bit.

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#85 S cottV
December 09 2013, 04:27PM
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I would agree anyone is tradeable if it addresses the problems.

Just some guys would be considered before others which is debatable, but - the reality is that MacT will probably be pressured to part with guys (in his opinion) that he would prefer not to - in order to get at solutions to the problems. My guess is that he will have his "big gulp" moments that will end up shock ing Oilersnation, as he agrees to future trades that will have to be made.

The problems,

Uncertain #1 goaltender

No legit 1st rotation d men

No legit veteran 2C - with leadership you can pin an "A" on, who represents 200 ft team oriented, take no prisoners - winning hockey.

General softness up front and in the back end.

Honestly - I cannot believe how soft this team is. Part of it is lack of leadership because some of our soft guys could be playing a lot less soft. Part - will never go away unless traded. Part you can live with, if in the vast minority.

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#86 Walter Sobchak
December 09 2013, 04:36PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

He has four goals this year, and all of them are on the PP.

Watch Yakupov closely, he doesn't think the game great. He shoots the puck hard, but he is not as great a goal scorer as some think. IMO.

He doesn't put himself in great shooting positions often enough.

This I get! his history tells us he can score, what I would like to know, is how he can score last season and put himself in good position, but this year he seems to be all over the map?

I have to believe the kid is bloody confused, there has to be some kind of disconnect between Yakupov and Eakins because he sure wasn’t that awful with Ralph! (Same coaching staff) I agree he was out of position at times last season and wasn’t strong in his own end, but this year he just seemed to regress, I don’t believe it’s a maturity issue ether, I honestly believe he has no clue as to what the coaches expect, so you’re seeing a kid trying everything and anything out there and it just goes from bad to worse?

The kids try is on him, which from everything I read is top notch, the kid on the ice is the coaches, if he’s not thinking the game right and is out of position then coaches have to work with him to get him there.

From what I’m seeing there seems to be no corrective action taken on a lot of Oilers, not just Yakupov.

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#87 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
December 09 2013, 04:48PM
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Am I ever glad the Oilers didn't trade Yakupov for Clarkson, as some suggested last season. Nail is blowing Clarkson out of the water as far as points go. 50% more points than ole Clarky boy.

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#88 boxman
December 09 2013, 05:07PM
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@Jason Gregor

Jason I so want to explain to you why your wrong but damn...... congratulations. You're going to be an outstanding dad.

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#89 2004Z06
December 09 2013, 05:09PM
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On another note....Anyone else think the trading of Smid was fishy? We didn't need the cap space to sign Bryzgalov as very few of the Oilers will hit their bonuses this year. He was one of only 2 of our so called "physical defensemen". Did Smid piss someone off? I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop as in a follow up deal but......crickets. Just seems odd to me.

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#90 oilerman53
December 09 2013, 05:49PM
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The Oilers will most definitely be sellers at the deadline this year. Gagner, Hemsky and maybe even Smyth can be playoff rentals and all the talk about Hemsky no garnering much of a return is all Eastern bias. There will be teams looking for a secondary scoring punch will be willing to part ways with a decent prospect or maybe even a first rounder at the eleventh hour. With talk of the salary cap going up to at least $70-72 million for next season. Hemskys contract, Smyths money and potentially Gagner off the books. The only substantial pay raise being the Nuge and maybe Petry if hes here. I see the Oilers trying to make a major splash during free agency.

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#91 westcoastoil
December 09 2013, 06:06PM
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jamang wrote:

taylor hall talking on nhl network about how they don't have a guy that brings everyone back down to earth, a gy that settles things down.

he talked about how they are forced to learn as they go because they don't know what it takes to make it to the playoffs and its a real process.

he mentions ference saying he is a good addition but they don't have that one guy in the locker room. especially not on forward.

FERENCE is the captain and he doesn't do his job. I am really surprised that you can have this kind of situation in your locker room and not make a huge move for phaneuf or weber.

an overpayment is definite.

but a deal of yakupov, hemsky, ganger, petry, 1st can fetch you quite the package. especially with as many draft picks added as you want essentially.

It takes more than one guy on D. I thought Gordon would have been able to bring some of that settling effect, but to me that still that seems like an excuse. Hall, Eberle & Gagner have played in the league long enough that need to take it upon themselves to step up and put their big boy pants on. Toews and Kane, Sid Geno, Jordan Stall - all young guys who took it to the next level.

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#92 Hockey Problems
December 09 2013, 08:05PM
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Yakupov has played more physical in the last couple games than Eberle has his whole career. Eberle won't engage in either the offensive or defensive zone. We need players that are more physical. Eberle will never be that guy, move him now while his value is high.

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#93 nick
December 09 2013, 08:42PM
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Batfink wrote:

Buzzzz! What is Florida? Queue Jeopardy music...

oh wow, Sorry your answer is wrong, Alex |Trebek just buzzed you out. Florida's blue line is head and shoulders better than the Oilers. They actually have a number one defenceman along with Gudbranson, Kulikov, Gilbert. Oilers have, well the Oilers have NOBODY. For god sakes they are playing a 5/6 guy in Ference as a number 2 Ha ha that in itself is a joke

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#94 BleedOil4Life
December 09 2013, 09:37PM
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@Toro

For the last time...they are not trading SHEA WEBER

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#97 Release the Hounds
December 09 2013, 11:46PM
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Jason, since J Schultz seems to be always cheating for offense and getting into trouble defensively, would it make any sense to try him at RW just for the hall of it? Perhaps he might be a more effective player. Bring up Fedun to take the spot on D?

Signed, Desperate in the Shuswap

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#98 **
December 10 2013, 12:46AM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Who said trade Yakupov for a 30+ D-man.

You trade him for a D-man who is 25-27.

You don't want to be like Philly?

You mean a team that usually is in the playoffs and contending? They traded away Richards and Carter, but you do realize they traded them for younger players, and bothRichards/Carter were in their prime at the time.

The Oilers would be like LA trading young players for an established NHL player. Smart trade.

Show me any proof or developmental scale that suggests accurately that the Oilers should be better than Ana, SJ or LA in 2-3 years?

You think the Oiler forwards are suddenly all going to grow 2 inches and put on 20-30 pounds?

Also, who is the Drew Doughty in Edmonton, or even Vlasic-like? Sorry man, Oilers won't improve that much in two years if you keep all the kids. It won't happen. Too small, too light and all too similar style of play.

I'd hope the Oilers don't wait two or three years for the kids to turn 25, because if they do, then that will be another 2-3 years without playoffs.

"You think the Oiler forwards are suddenly all going to grow 2 inches and put on 20-30 pounds?"

Well I got this email about this herbal pills that helps you grow 2-5 inches, it says it works for reals...

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#99 rinbkrat Brown
December 10 2013, 09:13AM
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The argument for taking Yakupov first overall was that you always take the best available player at the draft (that is, the best PERCEIVED available player), thus increasing the value of your team. Yakupov has proved without doubt that he is very far from a fit on this team. Why is anyone in this town opposed to cashing the asset?

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#100 Zarny
December 10 2013, 09:51AM
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Good article. NHL caliber players. Speaks to the crux of the problem.

Simply put it's time to actually start building. A few high draft picks a contender does not make.

I would classify the Oilers problems into two categories: simple and difficult.

The difficult are the bold moves. A top pairing D, 50-60 pt power F and an elite G.

These are difficult trades and not likely available until the deadline or draft.

They will likely involve moving one of the kids which is fine. The top 6 F are too much of the same and the reality is you have to give up something to get something.

The simple is what Gregor eludes to...basic NHL caliber depth.

Conventional wisdom is you pair young players prone to making mistakes with veterans. We've seen the value of guys like Perron and Gordon and how much the Oilers miss Horcoff.

Instead the Oilers throw all of their young players out together. Young players prone to making mistakes are supported by other young players prone to making mistakes, a below average D with very little experience and a 27 y/o G "prospect" that may or may not be good enough to make the playoffs.

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