Should the Oilers Trade for a Centre?

RexLibris
February 05 2013 04:42PM

This article could also be titled "The Value of Discovering a Weakness".

The Oilogosphere is awash with concern over the centre depth of the Oilers right now.

With Horcoff and Belanger both out with injury, and Gagner, Nugent-Hopkins and Lander getting schooled in the faceoff circle the other night against the Canucks, some discomfort with the present is understandable.

So should the Oilers look at moving a draft pick or middling prospect for a veteran centre?

Jonathan Willis recently posted an article asking if the Oilers should look at claiming Alexandre Bolduc off waivers from Phoenix.

This wouldn’t be a bad idea, necessarily. But the point was made moot a short while later when the Oilers recalled Mark Arcobello. So I’ll include a brief aside on Arcobello and the recall as opposed to claiming Bolduc off waivers.

Stress-Tests

Remember a few years back when the banks went belly up and the U.S. Treasury became a shareholder in corporations like Fanny Mae and Freddie Mac? Part of the bailout package included an agreement to conduct a government controlled re-introduction of credit and liquidity into the financial system. It was called a stress-test to see if the banks were capable of handling the load and that the new procedures put into place were up to the task.

Steve Tambellini and company have been rebuilding the NHL capacity of the Edmonton Oilers for several years now. A year ago, had these injuries occurred it is fairly likely that the Oilers would have claimed Bolduc. They have done so in the past by claiming players like Ryan Stone and Ryan Jones, and earlier this season they took Niko Holvinen off the waiver wire from the Flyers.

The Oilers’ reluctance to claim Bolduc doesn’t, in my opinion, come from some deep-seated desire to get high draft picks, but instead could be a kind of stress-test of the Oilers’ system depth. They obviously feel that Arcobello presents a better long-term prospect for the team than Alex Bolduc. They might also believe that a minor move here can help to illustrate the needs of the team right now and test whether the Oilers have something in Arcobello. As a result of the pressure and ice-time that will likely be extended to others on the farm like Ryan Martindale, it might also help determine whether they have something worth pursuing in the rest of their center prospects.

To Trade or Not To Trade

So, back to our original debate about whether the Oilers should look at a trade to help deal with the current injuries.

The Oilers are a young team with a lot of bourgeoning talent and are crippled down the middle with injuries to veteran players. That is blood in the water to other GMs. Acquiring a good centre is almost always a steep price, and the Oilers would look like ripe for the picking by other GMs. The appropriate response to this is to remain calm, look for deals that play into the long-term, and avoid the car-salesmen calls from some of the NHL management brethren out to skin you.

The Red Queen’s Hypothesis

(thanks again to Jonathan for bringing this up in relation to the NHL)

All teams are constantly improving. Spending too much time trying to maintain the status quo (Calgary), or running wildly after a dream that has an ever-diminishing chance of occurring (um, again, Calgary), results in a net loss. The Red Queen's Hypothesis is that, in a heavily compeitive environment, one has to constantly be improving in order just to try and stay competitive.

For the best teams in the league, the act of rebuilding never really stops. Pittsburgh has spent the entire length of Sydney Crosby’s still-young NHL career continually attempting to improve and address areas of organizational need, predominantly in defense. Sometimes they have subtracted from the roster to address need, such as trading Ryan Whitney for Chris Kunitz and Eric Tangradi, or Alex Goligoski for James Neal and Matt Niskanen. At the same time they have focused intently on drafting, rarely relinquishing draft picks for immediate roster help.

They tend not to trade draft picks, and instead prefer to continually collect good prospects, adding depth to a system that has the luxury of time afforded by a strong roster.

In my opinion, this is the state that this team needs to achieve, where needs are addressed without subtracting from the future of the team.

My recommendation is not to trade for short-term assets (players who will impact the team this year or next) when the cost is draft picks or prospects who appear to have the potential to address future needs (impact depth players and defensemen).

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#1 godot10
February 05 2013, 04:49PM
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The Oilers have to decide whether to offer Arcobello a contract this summer. Might as well find out what he can do before looking elsewhere.

He pretty much has passed every test in OKC. If the Oilers don't give him a shot when they are desparate, he will likely sign with a team who will give him an NHL shot next summer on a two way deal, rather than sign a similar two way deal with the Oilers.

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#2 Craig1981
February 05 2013, 04:50PM
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IMO there is no rush. The goal is to win a cup andwe most likely aren't there yet.

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#3 VK63
February 05 2013, 04:56PM
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Absolutely not!

~Seth Jones looks perfect for the Oilers centre woes~

Current guys can lose the draw.... he can retrieve it and all will be well. It fits all past fundamentals of a Tambo move. No brainer... IMO.

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#4 Mac962
February 05 2013, 05:07PM
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Bolduc will always be available if Mark fails, and fails is not fair to him, it is a big step. Stranger things have happened. Would it not be sweet if he just had a chemistry with Hall and Ebs. Wishful thinking i know but......

Sorry Mark, i should have said struggles or is overwhelmed.

I am pulling for you buddy !

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#5 Old Retired Guy
February 05 2013, 05:13PM
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For me the most interesting point is that Pittsburgh was willing to move both Whitney and Gologoski when they were still young and near peak value......that takes courage....it involves risk.........and risk taking and courage are at the core of good management.

Will we (Oilers brass) have the courage to move one of the 5 untouchables if the right deal comes along? Or, some of their highly ranked prospects for that matter?

On a similar note, will they even have the courage to move ANY players when those players are healthy and playing at a high level ( like Hemmer and Gagner are doing now)?

How much evaluation time is too much and at what point do we see the hard decisions get made?

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#6 The Soup Fascist
February 05 2013, 05:20PM
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Red Queen???

Now you have lost me.

Why are you writing on Oiler's nation about one of Flame's forwards?

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#8 eastcoastoil
February 05 2013, 05:28PM
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Great article, stay the course. This is not a cup year...

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#9 madjam
February 05 2013, 05:55PM
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Big forward progress shown by Dubbie , Petry , Gagner and J.Schultz ( above expectations ) . The rest are struggling to show much progress . At center we are thinner than necessary to become a playoff team .

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#10 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
February 05 2013, 06:13PM
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The boobie is a very underappreciated overlooked bird. Two together are even more beautiful than one.

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#11 Oiler Al
February 05 2013, 06:13PM
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This might be a wild idea, and outside the box at this point, but, what would need to happen for Oilers take a shot at aquiring O'Riley?

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#12 Reidja
February 05 2013, 06:33PM
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@Craig1981

Indeed... The obvious question is why don't the oilers just draft a centre?

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#13 Taylor Gang
February 05 2013, 06:45PM
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Oiler Al wrote:

This might be a wild idea, and outside the box at this point, but, what would need to happen for Oilers take a shot at aquiring O'Riley?

About 5 million in cap space for the next 5 years and a home for Gagner

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#14 Taylor Gang
February 05 2013, 06:46PM
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If they wanted to go for an RFA for 5 million for 5+ years, they would've gone for Subban

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#15 DSF
February 05 2013, 07:03PM
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Who could have seen this coming?

Now the opposition will find it even easier to key on Hopkins and Gagner.

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#16 DSF
February 05 2013, 07:08PM
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Reidja wrote:

Indeed... The obvious question is why don't the oilers just draft a centre?

You mean...why didn't they.

Galchenyuk anyone?

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#17 Taylor Gang
February 05 2013, 08:32PM
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DSF wrote:

You mean...why didn't they.

Galchenyuk anyone?

Most typical DSF, you never, lets just say that again, you NEVER address immediate needs at the draft. Why would they draft a player who is worse just because he's a center?

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#18 Walter Sobchak
February 05 2013, 08:39PM
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DSF wrote:

You mean...why didn't they.

Galchenyuk anyone?

Agreed, Yakupov is still the better player.

Galchenyuk is something the Oiler's left on the table.

For those that thought the Oiler's needed defensemen more than centers, this is a clear indication that the Oiler's need to draft a center in the upcoming draft.

The Oilers do nothing this year, stay the course draft a qaulity center this year. This will be a great learning oppertunity for the kids they might not otherwise get

trade for the defensmen.

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#19 Walter Sobchak
February 05 2013, 08:40PM
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Taylor Gang wrote:

Most typical DSF, you never, lets just say that again, you NEVER address immediate needs at the draft. Why would they draft a player who is worse just because he's a center?

Galchenyuk is a justifiable pick, his all round game is better then Yakupov's, however Yakupov is far more offensive.

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#20 DSF
February 05 2013, 08:54PM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

Galchenyuk is a justifiable pick, his all round game is better then Yakupov's, however Yakupov is far more offensive.

Is he?

Yakupov - 9GP 5G 2A 7P MINUS 6

Galchenyuk - 8GP 1G 6A 7P PLUS 6

Yakupov is a pretty shiny goal scorer but it appears Galchenyuk is an actual hockey player.

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#21 Butters
February 05 2013, 09:03PM
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Drafting for need(size) got the Oilers Mitch Moroz. BPA BPA BPA!

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#22 Butters
February 05 2013, 09:05PM
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@DSF Can't we blame Yakupov's minus 6 on Kyle Wellwood?

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#23 Walter Sobchak
February 05 2013, 09:07PM
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DSF wrote:

Is he?

Yakupov - 9GP 5G 2A 7P MINUS 6

Galchenyuk - 8GP 1G 6A 7P PLUS 6

Yakupov is a pretty shiny goal scorer but it appears Galchenyuk is an actual hockey player.

In the long run Yakupov will have more offense, but Galchenyuk would have been a good choice, no argument here.

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#24 spOILer
February 05 2013, 09:59PM
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With regards to the bank stress tests, I think along the same lines as what Obi-wan said to the Stormtrooper, "this is not the metaphor you're looking for."

I hope to god what the Oilers are doing is not the transparent propaganda exercise that was the stress tests. Otherwise things are a heckuva lot worse than anybody realizes.

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#25 geno
February 05 2013, 10:15PM
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Yak's stats 9 games in not good enough for you all? (face palm)

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#26 Yep
February 05 2013, 10:32PM
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If everyone is panicing about losing our 3/4 centers, what does that say about our 1/2 centers?

Trade for a #2 center, and get someone with size who can USE it.

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#27 JD1986
February 06 2013, 01:30AM
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Why not just sign jason arnott and give him a try? He once was an oiler you know. Plus he is a proven winner (having won stanley cups), and a great leader. Not a bade signing if you ask me, He can teach the young guns how to win. I mean he did play pretty decent with st louis, Imagine what a team like the oilers would bring out in this guy. One last cup perhaps????

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#28 ryanchett
February 06 2013, 07:07AM
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YES. THEY SHOULD

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#29 ryanchett
February 06 2013, 07:12AM
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The problem is, we were weak down the middle before Shawn broke his knuckle.

Nuge - ...NUGE! Gagner - Weak defensively, slow skater, soft Horcoff - I believe everyone is aware of what Horcoff can and cannot do Belanger - Quite possibly one of the worst offensive players in the league.

Now we look like this down the middle:

Nuge - ...NUGE! Gagner - Weak defensively, slow skater, soft Lander - Prospect/Callup Arcobello - Callup

We need a center.... and a D to replace what we thought Whitney was.

... and a backup tendy

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#30 ryanchett
February 06 2013, 07:24AM
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JD1986 wrote:

Why not just sign jason arnott and give him a try? He once was an oiler you know. Plus he is a proven winner (having won stanley cups), and a great leader. Not a bade signing if you ask me, He can teach the young guns how to win. I mean he did play pretty decent with st louis, Imagine what a team like the oilers would bring out in this guy. One last cup perhaps????

Arnott failed a physical with the Rangers a week or two ago. No thanks

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#31 smiliegirl15
February 06 2013, 12:12PM
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Hire Michael Peca for a faceoff clinic.

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#32 2004Z06
February 06 2013, 12:28PM
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RNH is out with a shoulder injury.....Does your opinion change now?

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#34 JD1986
February 06 2013, 01:39PM
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ryanchett wrote:

Arnott failed a physical with the Rangers a week or two ago. No thanks

Yeah he did ... But he barely failed it!!! And lets not forget, there was quite the lay off for a while there so a lot of players probably failed their physicals the first time around

I just don't see the big deal in offering up a 1 year deal at 1.5, Just to see what happens

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#35 spOILer
February 06 2013, 01:58PM
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Rex,

Well, if you had used an engineering stress test as your metaphor, I would have been fully onboard the land speeder!

However, the purpose of the Bank stress tests was not "a run-through to determine the approximate loads that system is capable of handling."

The purpose of the bank stress test was to produce sufficient propaganda to make banks, investors and the public believe that the banking system was solvent (it wasn't and still isn't). The stress tests that were applied were an utter joke, akin to testing the Verrezano Narrows bridge by placing apples on it. Several banks failed immediately after passing such "stress tests"! Some took a little longer.

And, as it is slowly turning out, some banks hid their solvency issues even deeper, through complex derivatives, as is the case with the world's oldest surviving bank, Monte dei Paschi di Siena.

My point was that I hope the Oil were using such a speculated stress test for the engineering reason, not the banking one... and if the latter was the case, the team is worse off than believed, as were the banks.

By the way, the true stress tests of the banking system are:

1) the interbank lending rates. There is no need for ZIRP policy from the central banks if the banking system is healthy

2) central bank buying of sovereign debt. Again, there is no need for the central banks to allow their primary dealers to front run them for guaranteed profits in a healthy system. There is no need to repair bank balance sheets.

Both 1 and 2 are ongoing today, despite the system passing the tests years ago now.

Sorry Rex, bad metaphor.

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#36 yugioh12
February 06 2013, 03:18PM
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the oilers aren't really in a need of getting a superstar. they have Jordan Eberle who will soon be on pace for a 40 goal season next year after this 48 games season is over. You have Taylor who is a future 35+ goal scorer and hopefully, its starting to look like Nail Yakupov will follow suit with Jordan Eberle. What the oilers need is a pair of two really good defensemen that can help Justin Schultz and Whitney or we can make a move for a goalie, but we will probably have to give up draft picks or give up Hopkins.

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#37 nunyour
February 06 2013, 04:41PM
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i heard on the radio that is was Arnot's knee that made him unfit.

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