SALE ON SAIL ON, SAILOR

Lowetide
March 10 2013 12:02PM

With the wrong-way Oilers securing 15th in the NW and the trade deadline just weeks away, we begin our annual parsing of the roster to find out who among the miserable will be sent away.

AGAIN???????? 

Yes, again. The Oilers have several expiring contracts and a few with an extra year tacked on the back, and that means there's 'savings down every aisle" for teams with hopes for the second season. Here's a quick look at what might be available:

  1. Ales Hemsky (UFA 2014): One year left at $5M, that won't be an issue. The Oilers were not getting strong offers for him a year ago (the rumored return was a 2nd and a 4th from Nashville) but if they're in the shopping mood this time I expect they'll get a 1st rd pick and a prospect back. If he's in play, Hemsky will bring a big return, and the Oilers can move Yakupov onto the 2line. I don't think it's a good idea, Yakupov and Eberle are unready to be stand alone's on the right side and Jones can't deliver like Hemsky.
  2. Ladislav Smid (UFA): Smid makes $2.25M per season and is in his walk year. Smid is on the tough minutes pairing with Jeff Petry. However, Edmonton hasn't signed him yet (I haven't heard anything about contract talks) and that might mean there's a gap between agent and team in terms of zero's on the contract. Smid is going to get paid, the Oilers have to figure out if they want to be the team to pay him. The crickets in contract talks suggest to me he is in play, and that means he'll move--Smid has extreme value as a rental. My guess is the trade talk starts at a 2nd round pick and goes up from there. Remember, the 2013 edition is considered to be a strong draft year.
  3. Ryan Whitney (UFA): He's been inconsistent all year but has shown flashes on this road trip and a team that "saw him good" might be willing to take a chance. Defensemen always have increased value at the deadline, Whitney is a veteran and a team with depth who could play him on the 3rd pairing plus PP might want him for that role. My guess is they surprise everyone and get a 3rd rd pick for the veteran.
  4. Mark Fistric (UFA): I think the Oilers sign him in the next few weeks, it is clear they like Fistric plenty. However, if a team came calling and management were of a mind to trade him I doubt the club would get less than the pick they gave up for him (3rd rd pick). Don't think it happens, though.
  5. Ryan Jones (UFA): He's coming off an eye injury, but his wheels are fine. An NHL team might want to increase their offense in the bottom 6F and have a guy who isn't afraid to get his hands dirty, either. The Oilers may also be looking to extend him, but if they get a 4th rd pick in return that's excellent value for a waiver pickup.
  6. Ben Eager (UFA 2014): One year left at $1.1M and the concussion issues are a concern. Eager is a veteran and does fill a need, so I expect there's interest if he's healthy. A coach might worry about his tendency to take penalties outside what we'd call "good" ones, but his performances in Chicago and San Jose have given him a good post-season reputation. I bet they get a 4th rd pick for him.
  7. Eric Belanger (UFA 2014): Makes $1.75M and might fill a need for a 4line C, faceoff guy and penalty killer. Belanger certainly played better this season, and did his best to fill in for Horcoff but that's a lot of lifting with not a lot of help. I think a team might see him as a solid fit for their playoff run. A 5th rd pick should be enough to get him.
  8. Nikolai Khabibulin (UFA): He's played well when healthy, but the problem is (as always) staying in the lineup. I can't imagine how many games he'd have to play in order for another team to feel safely covered in dealing for him as the backup/insurance. If someone deals for him, a 7th round pick gets it done.

WILL THEY GET ACTUAL PLAYERS BACK?

Draft picks are the deadline currency, there might be a useful AHL player available or a fringe guy. However, as it was when the team dealt Dustin Penner to Los Angeles, the pick (Klefbom) will have more value than the player (Teubert) acquired in return. Teams loading up don't want to deal anything that might help them--remember the Oilers sent Reasoner away in 2006 and then Pouliot got mono, forcing them to sign Rem Murray.

Hard to get players in return when you're offloading at the deadline.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

The good news is that the Oilers top 6 forwards, Petry-J Schultz and Dubnyk form an outstanding cluster to build on. The bad news is that the players who Edmonton is trying to unload include a long list of failed airlifts--and that's been a problem for a long time.

My hope is they keep Hemsky, sign Smid and deal any of Whitney, Jones, Belanger, Eager and Khabibulin.

Is there a market for these men? History suggests the answer is yes.

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Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at lowetide.ca. He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on TSN 1260.
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#51 a lg dubl dubl
March 10 2013, 01:58PM
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rob wrote:

I agree,put a first round pick package together with hemsky,mps and marcinin to get us someone good!they have to keep smid and fistric!say bye bye to eager,horcoff,belanger,smyth,peckham,whitney potter and keep jones and brown(put a good center there and you have a great 4th line!)get rid of Dubnyk or get us a starter and let dubbie be the backup,but it is what it is and he sucks!if managment does not pull a trade of two this time I will be wearing a hawks jersey from now

I agree with pretty much everything you said, except for MPS, the kid is just rounding into form, and who knew that actually putting him in the top 6 he'd actually score goals!! lol

MPS, imo can be the next Smytty without the mullet, he just needs to learm from 94 a bit more

Id even see what a package of the first pick and DD would get you back for a goalie say...Price or Fluery*.

*back to the koolaid lol

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#52 a lg dubl dubl
March 10 2013, 02:02PM
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DSF wrote:

Hemsky for Dubinsky would be a win-win.

But I'm not sure Columbus would want to take on Hemsky's inflated contract.

That might be a win for CBJ Hemmer has a year left at 5mil and Dubinsky has 3yrs left at 4.2.

Guess it depends if Dithers has the brass to do something like that.

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#53 GVBlackhawk
March 10 2013, 02:06PM
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Puritania wrote:

Trading Smid, Fistric, and Jones would be as stupid as it gets. These are the exact type of players this organization shouldn't be flushing. Get these boys signed.

Why is trading Jones a stupid idea? He is not a very good hockey player.

Have you heard the expression "the team bleeds scoring chances against when he is on the ice"? Well that applies to Ryan Jones.

He has been especially awful this year. His defensive zone play is terrible and he cheats for offense.

No thanks. If the Oilers can get a 2nd or 3rd rounder for him, they should take it.

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#54 Dangilitis
March 10 2013, 02:15PM
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DSF wrote:

No, I am not a Wild fan but I do note they could move into 1st in the NW and 3rd in the WC with a win over the Canucks tonight.

I've never been able to find a credible explanation of how the quality of defense is correlated with save percentage so I remain more or less convinced that save percentage is the best way assess a goaltender.

Considering that Jonathan Quick currently has a save percentage of .895, I would conclude he's not having a very good season rather than blame his team's defense for the lousy save percentage. (Bernier is .916 playing behind the identical D).

OK, then you must think Dubnyk is awesome then...

His save percentage is 14th amongst "qualified goalies" on TSN, but if you remove anyone who has faced less than 400 shots, he jumps to 9th. 450 shots - he jumps to 7th. Remove anyone who has faced less than 500 shots (Dubnyk has faced 617, so 500 is probably a reasonable benchmark), and Dubnyk slots in 4th in the league, behind Rinne, Lundqvist, Niemi, and ahead of Miller and Howard. Over 600 shots - he has the best save percentage in the league.

Pretty good company, because your argument was that Dubnyk can't shoulder the load of being a starting goaltender.

Also, your argument about Save Percentage being the best indicator of goaltending is countered by your own quote, as you note that Bernier is playing better than Quick behind the same defense. Obviously you must think defense matters if you are controlling for it by comparing 2 goaltenders with the same defense in front of them, otherwise you would have compared Jonathan Quick to Dubnyk, playing behind different D (in which case you would have concluded that Dubnyk is playing better than last year's Conn Smythe Winner, who was awarded a lengthy and expensive contract).

Surely defense matters, becuase it affects the quality of the shots and even the quality of the scoring chances. And if you want to take this a step further, of the 8 goalies who have faced 400 or more shots whose SPG is higher than Dubnyk, you have Anderson, Niemi, Lehtonen, Rask, Bobrovsky, Reimer, Lundqvist and Reimer. Of those goalies, Dallas and Columbus would be the only teams with even comparable defensive struggles (and even so, would argue that they're better than ours right now). So we have pretty much been maxing out Dubie's potential with what he's playing in front of.

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#55 GVBlackhawk
March 10 2013, 02:17PM
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DSF wrote:

No, I am not a Wild fan but I do note they could move into 1st in the NW and 3rd in the WC with a win over the Canucks tonight.

I've never been able to find a credible explanation of how the quality of defense is correlated with save percentage so I remain more or less convinced that save percentage is the best way assess a goaltender.

Considering that Jonathan Quick currently has a save percentage of .895, I would conclude he's not having a very good season rather than blame his team's defense for the lousy save percentage. (Bernier is .916 playing behind the identical D).

For the most part, you are correct about save %. However, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence to support the notion that team defense helps a goaltender's save %. For example, Ilya Bryzgalov is amazing in Phoenix, then is awful in Philly. Mike Smith is mediocre in Tampa, then is wonderful in Phoenix.

I know this is not considered concrete evidence but...there you have it. Save % is the only metric we have to consistently quantify goaltending performance.

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#56 Raine
March 10 2013, 02:20PM
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Lowetide wrote:

http://www.nhl.com/ice/playerstats.htm?season=20122013&gameType=2&team=&position=G&country=&status=&viewName=savePercentageLeaders#?navid=nav-sts-indiv

Dubnyk is tied for 15th in SP. The Oilers are tied for 26th in the NHL this afternoon.

Dubnyk isn't the problem.

That's probably because the Oilers don't get any offensive chances and opposing teams do not need to run up the score. 2-3 goals is all it takes against the lowly Oilers.

Combine that with the fact the Oilers receive a ton of shots against which increases save percentage. Many shots aren't chances as Oilers tend to collapse, and stay collapsed with no transitional game. This increases a high volume of shots against.

However, if the Oilers were scoring goals which means more offense which means less shots against than you can guarantee opposing teams would increase their pressure with the desire to score more goals.

My point is I out no stock in Dubnyks save percentage until this team is actually still in the games. Right now the Oilers aren't even competition and there is no teams taking them seriously.

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#57 nunyour
March 10 2013, 02:24PM
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Lowetide wrote:

http://www.nhl.com/ice/playerstats.htm?season=20122013&gameType=2&team=&position=G&country=&status=&viewName=savePercentageLeaders#?navid=nav-sts-indiv

Dubnyk is tied for 15th in SP. The Oilers are tied for 26th in the NHL this afternoon.

Dubnyk isn't the problem.

he's one of them!!! centre ice man,wake -up.

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#59 DSF
March 10 2013, 02:42PM
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Dangilitis wrote:

OK, then you must think Dubnyk is awesome then...

His save percentage is 14th amongst "qualified goalies" on TSN, but if you remove anyone who has faced less than 400 shots, he jumps to 9th. 450 shots - he jumps to 7th. Remove anyone who has faced less than 500 shots (Dubnyk has faced 617, so 500 is probably a reasonable benchmark), and Dubnyk slots in 4th in the league, behind Rinne, Lundqvist, Niemi, and ahead of Miller and Howard. Over 600 shots - he has the best save percentage in the league.

Pretty good company, because your argument was that Dubnyk can't shoulder the load of being a starting goaltender.

Also, your argument about Save Percentage being the best indicator of goaltending is countered by your own quote, as you note that Bernier is playing better than Quick behind the same defense. Obviously you must think defense matters if you are controlling for it by comparing 2 goaltenders with the same defense in front of them, otherwise you would have compared Jonathan Quick to Dubnyk, playing behind different D (in which case you would have concluded that Dubnyk is playing better than last year's Conn Smythe Winner, who was awarded a lengthy and expensive contract).

Surely defense matters, becuase it affects the quality of the shots and even the quality of the scoring chances. And if you want to take this a step further, of the 8 goalies who have faced 400 or more shots whose SPG is higher than Dubnyk, you have Anderson, Niemi, Lehtonen, Rask, Bobrovsky, Reimer, Lundqvist and Reimer. Of those goalies, Dallas and Columbus would be the only teams with even comparable defensive struggles (and even so, would argue that they're better than ours right now). So we have pretty much been maxing out Dubie's potential with what he's playing in front of.

If we use 60 games started as a yardstick for a starting goaltender, Dubnyk, has never done that.

Considering the decline in his play over his last 10 starts, we may be getting a better handle on his abilities.

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#60 106 and 106
March 10 2013, 02:43PM
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Bet you Tambo sits on his gold-mine evaluating and evaluating, waiting for the players to get better somehow (squeeze!). Like the management team said on July 1st on Oil Change, we feel like we got what we need (Schultz).

Complacency = 7 non-playoff years. I just hope they don't scape Kruger.

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#61 nunyour
March 10 2013, 03:03PM
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Lowetide wrote:

Dubnyk isn't the problem, and I understand it is frustrating to see a goal go in from center. However, the main problem this year has been 5x5 scoring combined with a tragically low shooting percentage.

Math tells us that it will return, and when it does the goals will start going in. Dubnyk has nothing to do with the Oilers offensive problems, and his goaltending save percentage is in the top half of the league.

we have been seeing this problem for a few years now,a weak goal like that will suck the energy out of any team,it doesn't matter when it is 3 or more goal lead,but when it is a tie game or a one or two goal difference it is huge and is magnified when the team is having trouble scoring.there are some very good goalies in the confrence, and if you want to play with the big boys you have to act like one.

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#62 David S
March 10 2013, 03:21PM
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Ambassador humantorch wrote:

I hate having to read this article every year. #firetambo #firekevin #fireTheMall

That damn mall sure takes a beating around here.

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#63 Hammers
March 10 2013, 03:24PM
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Totally agree on keeping Hemmer & resigning Smid. I would add Petrell and Potter to your other 5 , even Peckham . Lets face it potentially letting teams know you have players your willing to move may open more oportunities . One thing more is the rumour of Whitney & Omark to Detroit and maybe that gets you a 2nd round pick .They need a culture change as much as anything and there are like players that match or could be better than the group we need to move .Alas Smyth (buy out)????

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#64 Kevin
March 10 2013, 03:53PM
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The visual of watching Tambo at the draft lottery again is going to make me sick to my stomach. Maybe this year he and Klowe will play rock paper sissors to see who goes. Tambo wins but ends up going because Klowe said so and besides Tambo will have his lucky tie on for a number one pick. Can you believe we are still talking about this ??

Best case Katz- please do your organization a favour and get rid of the cancer. Skid Klowe and Tambo, MacT should go too. Bring in some fresh new hockey minds.

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#65 Jason
March 10 2013, 03:55PM
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Yeah, I agree with your assessment mostly.

For me, the question boils down to this: These pending free agents, do you see them in your plans moving forward. For me, I see Hemsky, Smid, Fistric, and Jones as Oilers heading into next year. And because of that I don't deal them. A fourth or fifth round pick has very little chance of making it to the NHL, much less being an impact player in the NHL, so I'd rather take my gamble on hanging onto those guys and signing them.

As for the rest? I don't see them as pieces of the puzzle and so I'd look to move them for the highest available offer. Again, a fourth round pick has long odds of reaching the NHL, but if these players aren't in the long-term picture anyways, you might as well take those lottery tickets and hope for the best.

Two other players I'd be shopping that aren't listed are Lennart Petrell and Corey Potter. Again, not a big picture players and Potter has easily been outplayed by Theo Peckham. Teemu Hartikainen and Nick Schultz should be available for the right price too, although I wouldn't be actively shopping them.

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#66 gcw_rocks
March 10 2013, 04:00PM
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The only way that Hemsky should be traded is in a hockey trade. I.e. NHL player for NHL player. The oilers have very limited assets that could be used to bring back a real NHL defender and he is one of them. Since very few hockey trades occur at the deadline, the team would be wise to wait until the summer to deal him, if dealing him is part of the plan. The only exception might be if someone like Pittsburgh offered Despres and a 1st for Hemsky. Despres might be close enough to an NHL player that you look at it.

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#67 Walter Sobchak
March 10 2013, 04:39PM
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eastcoastoil wrote:

The thought never occurred to me that he would do that. Here i was actually looking forward to next years D

Shultlz's

Klefblom/Jones

Whitney/Petry/Fistric/Peckham/Smid/Potter/Sutton/Davidson/Fedun

He did it to the Silvertips, said no thanks dont want to be a part of a rebuild.

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#68 Walter Sobchak
March 10 2013, 04:43PM
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DSF wrote:

Hemsky for Dubinsky would be a win-win.

But I'm not sure Columbus would want to take on Hemsky's inflated contract.

Gagner for Dubinsky is a Win - Win

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#69 Dangilitis
March 10 2013, 04:49PM
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DSF wrote:

If we use 60 games started as a yardstick for a starting goaltender, Dubnyk, has never done that.

Considering the decline in his play over his last 10 starts, we may be getting a better handle on his abilities.

Well no one is getting in 60 games this year, so what are you saying? Neither has Schneider. Anderson played OK last year for 60 games and great for 15 this year and suddenly they are the next messiahs.

"Considering the decline in his play over his last 10 starts, we may be getting a better handle on his abilities." - Could be, or could be he's hit a bit of a snag (he did play the last 30 or so last year, mostly uncontested starter, and did quite well). All I want is for you to admit that chalking up 10 games of average play to "he'll never be the starter", especially with 6 of those games in 9 nights on the road, with his team sucking hard, as being a tad premature. That's all I am saying and you seem to be missing those crucial points with every retort. That's like analyzing 10 games out of Crosby's season where he produces poorly and call him bad, or 10 games out of Eager's season where he doesn't fall on his face and calling him tough and dependable.

Also, you still have not addressed any of my previous arguments, which clearly punch holes in all of yours, and actually prove you to be a hypocrite in others. If you are using the 60 game yard stick as a reference, then you should not make predictions 25 games in on a guy whose coveted SPG is keeping up with all the major starters. Otherwise, when that juncture arrives, maybe, just maybe, you could look stupid...

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#70 Time Travelling Sean
March 10 2013, 05:51PM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

He did it to the Silvertips, said no thanks dont want to be a part of a rebuild.

This isn't Jr hockey, he can suck it up and play or have no career. If we don't sign him can he declare for next years draft? Or do we get him, and all his RFA years aswell? Even if he doesn't sign.

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#72 Woogie63
March 10 2013, 07:05PM
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Not sure the rebuild needs more draft picks. We would be giving up former high level first round pick for 2-3 round picks that sounds like we are going backwards. Who was the last 2-3 round draft that made a significant contribution to the Oilers?

I would bundle 2-3 of those player and OVER PAY TO GET A PLAYER WE CAN USE IN THE REBUILD

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#73 2004Z06
March 10 2013, 08:44PM
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Looks like Whitney is getting his confidence back. Another goal and an assist tonight. Why are we trading all of these guys for draft picks? Haven't we had enough draft picks? We need som solid NHL players. We continue with this draft pick crap and we ARE the Islanders of the west. Whitney, Hemsky, Gagner....these guys should get you some roster players. I would do Hemsky for Dubinsky in a heartbeat.

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#74 Walter Sobchak
March 10 2013, 11:35PM
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Time Travelling Sean wrote:

This isn't Jr hockey, he can suck it up and play or have no career. If we don't sign him can he declare for next years draft? Or do we get him, and all his RFA years aswell? Even if he doesn't sign.

He can re-enter the draft after two years I believe.

He's a kid with a smart head on his shoulders, he's got great representation and won't give a damn what the Oilers tell him.

He held out against the Silvertips.

He's a huge flight risk, but I'm guessing he tells the Oilers as much in the interview.

All this means nothing anyways the Oilers badly need centres.

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#75 Walter Sobchak
March 10 2013, 11:37PM
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2004Z06 wrote:

Looks like Whitney is getting his confidence back. Another goal and an assist tonight. Why are we trading all of these guys for draft picks? Haven't we had enough draft picks? We need som solid NHL players. We continue with this draft pick crap and we ARE the Islanders of the west. Whitney, Hemsky, Gagner....these guys should get you some roster players. I would do Hemsky for Dubinsky in a heartbeat.

Question,

Where have you been for the last twenty games?

Whitney is brutal.

If you could get a second round pick out of anyone, you take that pick and run!

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#76 Mr. sense Common
March 10 2013, 11:55PM
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a lg dubl dubl wrote:

That might be a win for CBJ Hemmer has a year left at 5mil and Dubinsky has 3yrs left at 4.2.

Guess it depends if Dithers has the brass to do something like that.

I like this idea, Dubinsky is a pesky, tough son of a ***, and can skate. Alice for Dubinsky sounds great t me

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#77 Flynn
March 11 2013, 01:02AM
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They will get offers for Smid Whitney Fistric Khabby and maybe Jones. Nobody wants Hemsky Belanger Eager Smyth. Take what u can get for jones whitney Khabby, they won't be back.

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#78 Quicksilver ballet
March 11 2013, 10:01AM
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Like to see a number of these guys moved. With a new GM in place next season it's good that Lowe will maybe prevent Tambellini from making another bonehead move.

Feel confident the Oilers will punch the accelerator next yr and take up residance in the top half of the league. Lowe/MacT make a wow move (Prongeresque) to help Craig MacTavish's time as GM get off on the right foot.

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