OILERS WEEKEND WRAP

Jason Gregor
March 18 2013 01:46PM

The Oilers are only two points out of a playoff spot and four points back of the division leading Minnesota Wild/Vancouver Canucks.

How is that possible? Ten days ago most had written them off, after back-to-back shut out losses in Detroit and Nashville, but since then they've picked up 7 of 8 points and suddenly they sit in 10th place in the ultra-tight western conference.

The Oilers play seven games before the April 3rd trade deadline, and those results should give us an indication if the Oilers will be buyers or sellers.

The Oilers need a few more experienced players. It will be hard to find them at the deadline, especially if the race in the west stays this tight. If a few teams drop out that should put a few more players on the market.

The Oilers have so much youth on this roster and prospects in the system they could afford to trade one or two of them. You can't have an entire team made up of players drafted in the last four or five years. It won't work, and if the right deal is there for a solid veteran, I'd pull the trigger.

CONTRACTS

 Ladislav Smid's contract expires at the end of the year. Smid is a solid defensive D-man who kills penalties, competes hard and blocks a lot of shots. He is limited offensively, but he understands his role on the team and, most importantly, he accepts his role.

The Oilers can't afford to lose him this summer, and they likely won't get more than prospects and picks for him at the deadline. They need to re-sign him. The Oilers can't lose a young, veteran player just as they are starting to show signs of improving, especially when they don't have much depth on the blueline.

Look at a four-year deal worth $3.3-$3.8 million/year and get the deal done.

Sam Gagner's contract status is much different.

He is having a career year and he's been consistent offensively all season. His line still surrenders more shots against than they produce, but overall Gagner's game is solid. His offensive numbers likely put him at the $5 million mark. That would only be a $1.8 million raise from his current deal, so it won't crush the Oilers cap wise.

His raise will come from Nikolai Khabibulin's $3.75 cap hit coming down. The Oilers will either sign Khabibulin or another goalie as the back up for around $1-$1.2 million. 

The Oilers could take Gagner to arbitration this summer. It would make sense because this is the last year he is eligible. I know some feel that filing for arbitration can lead to bitter feelings, but I don't always agree. Just because they file for arbitration doesn't mean they have to use the arbitrator. Gagner filed for arbitration last year, and they settled prior to the hearing and neither side has any bitterness.

The bigger question for Gagner will be the length of his deal. Do you sign him to a one, two, three, four or five year pact?

I don't see any urgency to sign Gagner before the season ends. The tough decision will come in the summer when both sides try to figure out what term works best.

How long would you sign Gagner for? 

GET READY

  Western DIV GP W L OT P ROW GF GA Diff Home Away S/O L10 Streak
1  * - Chicago CEN 28 23 2 3 49 19 95 60 +35 11-1-1 12-1-2 4-3 8-2-0 Won 2
2  * - Anaheim PAC 27 20 3 4 44 15 90 66 +24 11-1-0 9-2-4 5-3 7-0-3 OT 1
3  * - Minnesota NW 27 15 10 2 32 12 70 68 +2 10-3-1 5-7-1 3-1 7-3-0 Won 2
4  St. Louis CEN 28 16 10 2 34 14 85 80 +5 8-5-1 8-5-1 2-1 6-4-0 Won 3
5  Detroit CEN 29 14 10 5 33 12 78 75 +3 9-4-3 5-6-2 2-2 5-3-2 Won 2
6  Los Angeles PAC 27 15 10 2 32 14 81 71 +10 10-2-1 5-8-1 1-1 6-4-0 Won 1
7  Vancouver NW 27 13 8 6 32 10 77 77 E 7-4-3 6-4-3 3-5 3-5-2 Lost 1
8  San Jose PAC 27 12 9 6 30 8 64 69 -5 8-1-4 4-8-2 4-3 4-3-3 Lost 1
 
9  Phoenix PAC 28 13 11 4 30 10 77 78 -1 10-5-1 3-6-3 3-3 5-4-1 OT 1
10  Edmonton NW 28 11 11 6 28 9 69 81 -12 5-4-3 6-7-3 2-2 4-4-2 Won 1
11  Nashville CEN 29 11 12 6 28 9 67 77 -10 6-2-4 5-10-2 2-5 3-6-1 Lost 3
12  Columbus CEN 29 11 12 6 28 7 64 76 -12 8-4-5 3-8-1 4-3 6-0-4 Won 1
13  Dallas PAC 27 12 12 3 27 11 69 81 -12 5-6-2 7-6-1 1-1 4-4-2 Lost 1
14  Calgary NW 26 11 11 4 26 11 75 87 -12 8-5-2 3-6-2 0-3 5-4-1 Won 2
15  Colorado NW 27 10 13 4 24 9 69 84 -15 8-4-1 2-9-3 1-1 3-5-2 Lost 3

Finally, Oiler fans get to experience an actual playoff drive in Edmonton. Scoreboard watching begins tonight.

A victory by the Ducks over the Sharks will leave the Oilers two points behind 8th place San Jose with 20 games remaining for both teams. They play the Sharks on Wednesday.

The Oilers won't want to see 3-point game between Dal/Cgy or Van/Minn and ideally you want LA and Chicago to defeat Phoenix and Colorado respectively. Scoreboard watching requires a calculator and an excel spreadsheet to breakdown every scenario, which makes the next six weeks even more exciting, but clearly the Oilers need to go on a good run to stay in the hunt.

They've picked up seven points in their last four games, but a three-game losing streak will negate that quickly. The Oilers can't afford a losing skid, and they need to win in regulation time as often as possible.

They also need to be better at home. I know the Oilers have played the fewest home games in the west, but they also have they are also 14th in winning %. You can use actual wins (5 of 12) which I prefer, of you can calculate points taken (13 of possible 24) and either way they are 14th.

The Oilers have played 12 games at home which is the same as Anaheim and Nashville and one fewer than Chicago, San Jose, LA, Dallas and Colorado. Yes, other teams have played more home games, but the Oilers winning % is only better than the Stars.

Five of their next seven games are at home:

March 20th vs. San Jose
March 23rd vs. St. Louis
March 28th vs. Columbus
March 30th vs. Vancouver
April 1st vs. Calgary.

SJ, CBJ, VAN and CGY are within four points of the Oilers (+ or -), and I suspect they'll need to win four of five to be in the playoff hunt by the trade deadline.

The Oilers need to come out with more desperation and energy on Wednesday than they did vs. the Predators last night. They didn't have one shot in the first ten minutes. I credit them for being much better in the third period, but they need to get the fans behind them early. The Oilers have only outshot the visiting team five times this year.

They need to be hungrier at home.

QUICK HITS

  • It sounds like Eric Belanger could be ready for Wednesday. If so, I wonder who comes out of the lineup. I could see Krueger moving Smyth with Nugent-Hopkins and Eberle and slotting Belanger between Brown and Petrell. That would put Ryan Jones in the pressbox.
     
  • If they do activate Belanger I suspect Teemu Hartikainen goes to OKC. The only other option is to hide someone else on the IR.
     
  • Fun question. With back-to-back games coming up next Monday and Tuesday in Nashville and St. Louis, which game do you rest Dubnyk?
     
  • We have 38 spots remaining (out of 100) in the Gregor Charity poker classic. The winner wins flights, accommodations and a $10,000 seat at the WSOP main event in Vegas. Info is at bottom of article. Call 780.643.4060 to register. It will be sold out by Wednesday at the latest.
     
  • Andrew Cogliano has more goals (10) than Teemu Selanne, Bobby Ryan or Corey Perry. He's having a solid year with the 2nd place Anaheim Ducks.
     
  • Jason Spezza has missed 20 games, Erik Karlsson has been out for 15 and Craig Anderson has missed the last 11 games, yet the Ottawa Senators are still winning. Incredible.  

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#1 laughing pug
March 18 2013, 02:19PM
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Please, for the love of sweet baby Nuge sleeping in his manger, don't put Belanger back in the lineup. I know he's a veteran presence and can win faceoffs, but he brings ZERO emotion, ZERO intensity, and ZERO offensive potential. The guy might never score another goal in the NHL. Ryan Jones hauls ass every shift, and he's not a gifted scorer. But he works for his points. They aren't there yet, but they're coming, because he works for them. Belanger floats, is offensively inept, and is, frankly, frustrating to watch. Keep him out for a while longer.

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#2 TonyT
March 18 2013, 02:23PM
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I'm so torn... Winning = playoffs, but losing = bye Tambo (hopefully)

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#3 mike
March 18 2013, 05:05PM
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I would give gagner the maximum length (8 years) for a 10 percent discount on what he is worth now.

So say at 4 to 4.5 million. That would make him 32 at end of deal and would give the oilers stability for years to come.

He is durable and is getting better as his career progresses. in 4 years it will be a bargain deal for oilers.

In short term gagner gets dollars, term and stability.

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#4 DaveChamp
March 18 2013, 01:50PM
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For the fist time in a long time, the Oilers could actually make the playoffs. Here's hoping.

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#5 Phixieus666
March 18 2013, 02:05PM
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It amazing that they are so close but to make the push I think they need to make moves. Problem is with the current roster/contract situation and what they have to offer, I think their hands are mostly tied unless so teams suffer some injuries and get really desperate.

To many crap contracts killings the team flexibility.

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#6 Ducey
March 18 2013, 03:15PM
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TonyT wrote:

I'm so torn... Winning = playoffs, but losing = bye Tambo (hopefully)

If the Oilers finish 29th again, Tambo might lose his job.

But if they improve to 20th or so, he won't, nor should he. Thats a nice improvement.

Unlike most around here, I like his patience. Pulling the trigger on a few big deals doesn't make sense when your core has a lot of growing up to do. It will just shorten the window this team has to win.

Hopefully they will sign a few college free agents, have a good draft and go after a key freeagent or two.

Next year is when playoff expectations would be realistic.

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#7 Dennis
March 18 2013, 04:21PM
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They're $hittie wrote:

Gagner to arbitration does not buy UFA years. With his PK, and how much Eberle is making he has a strong case at arbitration. (especially if the oilers are stupid enough to re-up nuge to 6M first). Though he may play more or as many minutes as 14 and 4, he plays a lot of them in non scoring situations.

Give him a letter, and get the home team discount.

He has been on the ice for only one pp goal against but on for three short handed for.

According to Orr Hockey Group, who manages him, he hasn't been on for a single goal against. Still, those are pretty decent stats for his first year on the penalty kill. He's been consisently in the top minutes for forwards almost every night too, playing several minutes more than Eberle or Hall on some nights. You gotta think that ups his asking price for sure. I agree with giving him a letter. I see him as more of a leader out there than Eberle right now for sure. He's definitely got more fire/spark/jam or whatever you want to call it.

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#8 Old Retired Guy
March 18 2013, 05:00PM
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Crispy wrote:

I really wish the Oilers had signed Gagner long term before this career year he is having. Paying him 5 mil will make our cap situation pretty tight when Nuge, Yak and Schultz get extended.

I get ya......but maybe playing for a new contract is exactly what he needed to propel him to this next level.

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#9 Dawn
March 18 2013, 06:24PM
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Yeah let's trade Gagner 'cause 2nd line centres grow on trees and we have so much depth at centre.

After investing all that time in his development, it's finally starting to pay off. Why would ST pull the trigger on a trade unless it addresses a need and improves the club? Isn't it the Islanders modus operandi to develop players and let them go before it pays off? The perpetual rebuild is not a road I want to go down.

The only positions we have depth on are wingers and D prospects. A deal involving one of each for a decent upgrade on centre or D would be prudent. And nice 2 for 1 deal would give us an second available contract for free agent or college signings. ST seems to be nothing if not cautious and prudent.

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#10 NewAgeSys
March 19 2013, 03:24AM
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DrunkGuyTy wrote:

I feel like we've been watching him for years already - and to think an 8-yr deal at this point would only take him to age 32.... crazy man.

I'd love to lock him up but realistically, he and Nuge are after the same role - and Nuge is a better option. I think they could only co-exist and be fully effective if we had two other monster centres.

Now we are talking, let the top 6 solidify nd begin to build chemistry and build from the bottom up. I absolutely agree with your analysis, we need to upgrade Horcoff and Belagner, we can roll with them for now but ASAP we need to find two bigger centers at least 6"2 and 210+ lbs to break opponents down physically for our smaller top 6, we need to lean on teams with our major muscle mass which has to come from our bottom 6 players.

We want teams to go pale and say oh my god when they see our skilled top 6 and we want them to go pale and say oh my god when they look at the bench and see our huge, lanky, mobile, hardhitting and system simple bottom 6 who are itching to rub them out like bad stains.

We have as solid a core as can be assembled already, all we need are the complimentary players to fill out the bottom 6, our real issue has been defining the top 6 to start with.

Hall-Nuge-Ebbs

MPS-Gagner-Yakupov

That is our top 6 .

Any and everyone beneath that top 6 can and must be juggled and mixed and matched and we cannot waver and mess with players heads, they all need to know who our top 6 are and they need to deal with it, any malcontents will be leaving the team soon anyways via trades, we need to trade some bottom 6 skill and some prospects for some bottom six size straight across. We can afford to take a small hit in the talent and skillset offensive areas as long as the defense is solid.We want the bottom six to be able to lean on teams really hard physically for 60 mins, heavy players who are tall and lanky and hard to handle. Their main job is to soften up the opposition for our top 6 skillsets.

We cant afford a small guy like Bellanger, or even a guy like Horcoff who is passive. we need a specific template to be filled and its that simple its not personal.

Both Nuge and Gagner are 3-D thinkers who see the game on a completely different level than everyone else, its lucky that we have two guys like that never mind that we actually have more than two of them now. They are definately the tandem we need, if Nuges line just kicks it up a tiny notch further offensively we will see the real one-two punch that two 3-D thinkers can provide from the same roster.

The Oilers had their chance to shake down Gagner for this many years already, for gods sakes we need to give players some slack just for staying here and dealing with our managment group. I hope he gets his 5 million per year and we would be smart to tie him up for at least 5 years.

We need to develop a territorialistic attitude and once we do that as a team it will hurt to play against us, right now we arent sure what to defend or how to defend it, we need to learn more the old fashioned way and become seasoned or we need to find a resource and take a crash course it learning what territorialism is and how to engage and maintain it and what moments and degrees it can and should be projected in .

I think we all need to sit back and relax and enjoy the show because my intuition tells me that the team has a new and healthy group perspective and direction, that they have made an internal committment to themselves on some level , I can feel it. They have come together in some new way they have not yet found so far this year, they have found common ground somewhere and it is leading them into the right mindset at the perfect time. The recent results are a product of a group mindset and the team managment both on and off-ice has had a much more dynamic flow and sequence to it for some reason. From the lines to the ways we are making adjustments to the system, we are finding our groove, our personality.

I put us in 6th place at the beginning of the season and am sticking with it. We arent making the playoffs like lambs this year, no one is, so either we are on a roll and peaking at the perfect time or we arent getting at post season peek at all.

Teams will start to fall off the grid soon and passion will be a difference maker, we have the team to take advantage of this shortened season dynamic, if we can keep focused and keep our energy and passion high we will give ourselves a chance to make the Playoffs and everyone knows that once that happens ANYTHING can happen. Our system is almost ready, we are able to adjust quite efficiently now, this is a playoff system when it is dialed in at one team at a time, we dont get to see the best this system has to offer until it is pitted against the same opposition in a series. Hopefully we get to see it this year.

This is the Witching Hour and we all need to galvanise around this group and support their new perspective , I have even promised myself not to say I hate our system as much just to do my part.

The same post where i predicted our 6th place finish I predicted that Sam would either lead the team in points or be pushing for the lead and that he would be the team leader and catalyst, obviously he has done as projected, now we just need to see the rest of the equation materialise.

Watch MPS the Lion batteling his way through the lines into the top 6 where he has always belonged, and in the process maturing into the first true skilled power forward we have developed in decades from within our own system.

Watch Ebbs the Swordsman fighting back to lead this team in points showing his moxy, he is nowhere near out of that race, in fact he is recently back in it as it seems the 1st line has found its optimum dynamic managment strategy again, much as they had it last year.

Watch Nuge the Wizard hitting the 60% mark in FOs already and remember that he said he wanted to improve, and we dont know what the word improve means to him,maybe he going to turn into a FO monster, it is entirely possible.

Watch Hall the Beast as he diversifys his game already and experiments as a playmaker for the first time at the NHL level, and realises he is a better scoring winger than a playmaker, but it is darn close, his points are numericlly the same but he can catalyse an entire line and lead the team as a scoring winger, this is called evolving and maturing. He stretched his wings and made some noise, but now is back to being a serious transitional scoring threat as he has now developed an arsenal of zone entry tactics that go beyond pure speed.

More importantly watch the bench when games are tight and Gagner is on the ice, these core players have reacted to him and it is what it is, they are counting on him and he has delivered all year long.

One last note, just because, how about that 8 point night--to all you fools who questioned and doubted Silent Sam, ha ha ha ha, it seems as if a round of Humble Pie has been bought for all of you, dig in and enjoy!!! ha ha ha .

And to add more fuel to that fire i say he is ready to break out for a six or more pointer soon, his line is now dynamiclly close to perfect and the PP is coming back and the refs are finally calling more penaltys for us at last, things are looking dynamiclly right for an explosion within three or four games. The game where either MPS or yakupov record their first hattrick will be this eruption because Sammy knows how to build on his lines sucess and there is no ceiling for him as long as they produce and push he will produce and match them in their energy for a full 60 mins. Really its just a matter of who sparks things first because you can count on the line going all out for 60 full minutes.

Yakupov just needs to watch Sams puck pursuit and transition from puck pursuit to postional focus and then to back checking, in that order, once Sam loses the puck he immediatly fights for position with his body to get it back he doesnt puck chase with his stick, he moves his feet and his body, and then he uses his stick,and he is a dogged backchecker who more often than not can generate takebacks by his responsible backchecking that doesnt draw penaltys, this is because he is sound positionally and never reaching with his stick to much. He also hits holes and shooting lanes and forces the d-men to adjust to his sphere of influence without the puck, these are ALL things Nail needs to work on , these are the little details he needs to be looking at, he is very reactive when he is asked to do something.

I am confident that if Ralph leaves him with Sam and MPS Nail will find his way sooner than later. Sam and Magnus will give Nail some dynamic consistancy out on the ice that he should be able to key in on very very well once he gains confidence in them as linemates, Gagner will catalyse the line quickly and MPS will execute zone traverses and remove puck advancement pressure from Yakupov not to mention provide a defensive support for him. Great things are coming once Yak learns to tune his radar into the dynamic consistancy Gagner can give him, it is different than system consistancy it goes beyond that. Yakupov is an instinctive player and his instincts have no place to catalyse from to begin his NHL learning curve because he has been bounced around like a beachball which for a player and a learner like him is the WORST way to handle him, statisticlly as opposed to intuatively.

Sam can teach Nail to execute the system and then find his offense from outside system dynamics not from only inside them as the coaches are looking for, he will learn to project Sams double threat of offense from both within and without the system but the focus will always be on executeing the system responsibilitys first.

In case no one is taking note Sam is working his tail off every night to execute Ralphs system dead on the money and this is where he is finding his sucess, by first doing his job as required by the system and then using the time left over he has created with his hard work and accuracy of execution to create "moonlighting offense" if you will ,ha ha ha, you need to work extra hard and for real to find sucess within this system of Ralphs but it can be done, as long as you execute properly first. Do your job first then use your spare time how you like if you can find any ha ha ha.

Rally men, Rally, all is not lost , not by a longshot. We have much more havoc and damage to cause before this year is over.

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#11 Chaz
March 18 2013, 01:53PM
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Great hit by Fist-ric last night. Hey-O!!

Edit: Fail! Doh!!

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#12 Crispy
March 18 2013, 01:55PM
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I really wish the Oilers had signed Gagner long term before this career year he is having. Paying him 5 mil will make our cap situation pretty tight when Nuge, Yak and Schultz get extended.

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#13 They're $hittie
March 18 2013, 01:57PM
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Gagner to arbitration does not buy UFA years. With his PK, and how much Eberle is making he has a strong case at arbitration. (especially if the oilers are stupid enough to re-up nuge to 6M first). Though he may play more or as many minutes as 14 and 4, he plays a lot of them in non scoring situations.

Give him a letter, and get the home team discount.

He has been on the ice for only one pp goal against but on for three short handed for.

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#14 T__Bone88
March 18 2013, 02:01PM
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Filing for arbitration on Gagner would actually be a smart idea for the purpose that I believe no teams can make an offer sheet once arbitration is filed. This off season might see an increase in offer sheets due to the limited FA list and lowering of the cap.

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#15 yawto
March 18 2013, 02:04PM
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What would be nice is if this team negates the need for scoreboard watching. What I am saying is, keep on winning and racking up points and it will be the other teams that need to scoreboard watch. Middle of march and the playoff hopes rest in the hands of the kids. Hall has said how he has been looking for some meaningful nhl games, now he has them. Time to man up.

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#16 Will
March 18 2013, 02:12PM
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Incredibly, the Oilers get five out of a possible six points in their next three games. Continuing their slide, Vancouver only gets two out of a possible six. This sets up the game against Vancouver. If the Oilers win they edge out Van for one of the last playoff spots. If they lose, then Van stays in the hunt for number one in the division.

What is more impressive than the west being close, is how close the North West is. Three teams from any division in the playoffs is amazing. And it could be that only two from the Northwest make it. But it is just as likely that four teams from the North west end up in the playoffs.

This has been the most up and down year of Hockey I can remember.

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#17 Mac962
March 18 2013, 02:13PM
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Well, here we go again, depending on how things play out here, Hemsky goes..with whatever or whom ever for a piece we need. We cant keep them all guys and Hemmer has improved and is healthy. That makes it the perfect storm. He can bring a nice piece back. Gagner just brings more to the table. And you dont give up on Hall who is becoming beast like, Eberle, Nuge or Yak yet, he is still learning. Hemsky is not going to ever get better. He must go if anyone does.

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#18 Ducey
March 18 2013, 02:15PM
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Gagner is playing the easiest minutes of any Oiler C this year (besides Belanger). The Nuge and Horcoff are playing the toughs.

I expect that when opposing coaches are trying to decide who to try to shut down, its Nuge. When Krueger wants to shut down another team, he sends Horcoff.

There is nothing wrong with Gagner getting his points this way. But I would feel a lot better giving Gagner a long term contract if he was playing the toughs and putting up a point a game.

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#19 MAC962
March 18 2013, 02:17PM
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And...they need to find a way to make Rexall so painful to play in that visiting teams feel the pain and can get

a discount at one of Katz's beloved pharmacies on T-3's. The old barn Rexall needs to be hell. And its not.

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#20 Oilfred
March 18 2013, 02:29PM
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At the end of last season if I was told we would be 2 points out of the playoffs seven games before the trade deadline I would have said that's going to be an amazing turn around in one season and we would be headed in the right diection then.

I also would have checked your meds.

Its been about as good as it could have been so far. As advertized roller coaster ride of highs and lows that a talented but young team will give you.

This is the most fun I've had watching and most invested I've been since 06.

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#21 They're $hittie
March 18 2013, 02:31PM
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@Ducey

he isnt getting the easy minutes because of him, he is getting them because of who he is babysitting on his line, and the other teams giving him the easy minutes. (this is what other teams call depth, when you have enough players to actually have a threat).

Paajarvi is stepping up and if Yak rounds out trust me they would be getting the harder minutes. These three are much harder on the puck and fiestier than the nuge eberle line.

If we can get a good replacement for horc or him on a cheaper contract with a little more time we will be great.

We are getting better, cant expect it all at once..

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#22 Will
March 18 2013, 02:34PM
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TonyT wrote:

I'm so torn... Winning = playoffs, but losing = bye Tambo (hopefully)

Maybe it's just I've been an Oilers fan for a while, but is it wrong of me to want the team to just miss the playoffs so they get entered into the draft lottery again this year. I mean, sure they miss the playoffs, but this year it might be best to have a ball in the lottery rather than draft at 16th int he league.

Yes, no I think this is in fact a very wrong mentality to have. Actually scratch that. I want them in the playoffs, and Calgary out, and Vancouver out. That way I get to rub all my other friend's noses in it. Which is really the best thing about being a fan of any team.

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#23 TayLordBalls
March 18 2013, 02:35PM
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last night was entertaining and that's what it's about

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#24 BigE91
March 18 2013, 03:00PM
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"Scoreboard watching requires a calculator and an excel spreadsheet to breakdown every scenario, which makes the next six weeks even more exciting, but clearly the Oilers need to go on a good run to stay in the hunt."

Whoa, a playoff race and excel spreadsheets easy Jaason, Oilers fans and Wanye in particular may not be ready for this much excitement.

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#25 wiseguy
March 18 2013, 03:13PM
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yawto wrote:

What would be nice is if this team negates the need for scoreboard watching. What I am saying is, keep on winning and racking up points and it will be the other teams that need to scoreboard watch. Middle of march and the playoff hopes rest in the hands of the kids. Hall has said how he has been looking for some meaningful nhl games, now he has them. Time to man up.

This season is proof that a shorter season is much more exciting than a long one. Every team has a chance still with 20 games to go. That is a function of only being 28 games in as opposed to 62 games in. For example, Colorado is only 6 points out today which a 3 game win streak would have them right back in the race. Prorated, if this was 62 games in, they would be 14 points out with 20 games to go. They would be deadline sellers and their fans would have to watch the crappy death march to the end of the season, which we've had to endure the last few years.

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#26 Lochenzo
March 18 2013, 03:14PM
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Arbitration for Gagner is risky. If the arbitrator gives Gags something ridiculous, like year 2 of Ryan O'Reilly's contract, then you're stuck between signing Gagner and possibly screwing up your cap space or you have to walk away and let him go for nothing.

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#27 Lochenzo
March 18 2013, 03:17PM
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The good news for the Oil is that the Central has the Hawks mopping up and the Ducks killing in the Pacific. There's no real clear ace in the NW. If that trend continues, should be an easier road for a NW team to sneak into a playoff spot.

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#28 106 and 106
March 18 2013, 03:23PM
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@MAC962

I agree, bud. Something like the Madhouse in Madison where it feels crazy just entering the building...the "Protect This House" Under-Armour slogan the Oil walk out beside is like a sad joke.

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#29 The Oilers Shot Clock
March 18 2013, 03:34PM
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Is Gagner in threat of an offer sheet maybe if there is no arbitration? I wonder what a team would offer to scare us off. He's the kind of player that you cut your losses with if the money is too big.

I was in an argument with a friend whether or not Hall will play in Sochi. I said yes, and my friend just kept rattling off other players. I think he makes it.

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#30 Will
March 18 2013, 03:40PM
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@The Oilers Shot Clock

I kind of think anyone willing to offer sheet Gagner is a real desperate team. So I doubt they do so well and that likely means some good picks for us, which is more than we'd get for him in trade. It doesn't really help the team right now, but we get the best value for him this way.

Plus, if we draft a big 2 way centre with some skill this year, then do we really need a Gagner?

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#31 EHH Team
March 18 2013, 03:52PM
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The Oilers Shot Clock wrote:

Is Gagner in threat of an offer sheet maybe if there is no arbitration? I wonder what a team would offer to scare us off. He's the kind of player that you cut your losses with if the money is too big.

I was in an argument with a friend whether or not Hall will play in Sochi. I said yes, and my friend just kept rattling off other players. I think he makes it.

Hall has a realistic shot to make Team Canada. Hemsky might make the Czech team, while the others Oilers will likely have a nice break at the beach.

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#32 The Oilers Shot Clock
March 18 2013, 03:53PM
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@Will

Are you talking 3 years from now or next year?..If its next year then I'd say no center in the entire draft would adequately replace Gags next year. I want to win more next year than we did this year. Replacing Gags with another rookie doesnt do it. What center in the 5-10 range of the draft would you put out there before Gags for the next couple seasons? Whoever we draft this year, I truly hope we dont see them in an Oiler sweater for atleast a year and preferably two. We shouldnt have to do that anymore.

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#33 The Oilers Shot Clock
March 18 2013, 03:58PM
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Seriously, its funny because he's kinda down the depth chart but i bet MPS gets a serious look for Sweden.

Petry maybe as well?....maybe. Cant see them bringing back JJ.

Agree with Hemsky...he'll benefit from a lack of options.

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#34 vetinari
March 18 2013, 04:03PM
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Gags comes from a hockey pedigree and is now starting to hit his stride-- why would we think that he couldn't improve his faceoff win % over time as he's improved the other aspects of his game? I would say if you can keep him in the $4M to $4.5M annual range on a hometown discount, go for a long term deal of 5 years+. If he wants more, maybe go to the two to three year range.

As for Smid, lock him up for a similar term but in the $3.25M to $3.75M range. Shot blocking defencemen who are willing to drop the gloves and punish opposing forwards don't grow on trees.

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#35 Dennis
March 18 2013, 04:23PM
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The Oilers Shot Clock wrote:

Are you talking 3 years from now or next year?..If its next year then I'd say no center in the entire draft would adequately replace Gags next year. I want to win more next year than we did this year. Replacing Gags with another rookie doesnt do it. What center in the 5-10 range of the draft would you put out there before Gags for the next couple seasons? Whoever we draft this year, I truly hope we dont see them in an Oiler sweater for atleast a year and preferably two. We shouldnt have to do that anymore.

Agreed, we need to stop rushing people onto the team and let them develop. We were in a bad place for a couple years where we didn't have much of a choice but now that we have a bit of depth, it isn't necessary anymore. Let these kids take some time to season and come along slowly.

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#36 justDOit
March 18 2013, 05:00PM
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I'm betting we'll see plenty of 3 point games through the end of the season. This is going to be a crazy finish to the season.

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#37 Taylor Gang
March 18 2013, 05:03PM
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EHH Team wrote:

Hall has a realistic shot to make Team Canada. Hemsky might make the Czech team, while the others Oilers will likely have a nice break at the beach.

Depends if Hall can keep up his combination of physical play and ppg stats. If he did all the Hall haters can have a glass of haterade.

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#38 outdoorzguy
March 18 2013, 05:18PM
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@MAC962

Katz won't give a discount on anything. That means money not going into his pocket.

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#39 outdoorzguy
March 18 2013, 05:20PM
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What should the Oilers do? Unfortunately nothing. We have nothing to give up that anyone would need to get anything of significance, and the management morons have shown they don't have the skill to do anything personnel wise.

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#40 Will
March 18 2013, 05:21PM
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@The Oilers Shot Clock

True. That certainly leaves a hole in the line up, which we're essentially hoping is filled by a prospect who likely wouldn't be NHL ready. I mean Gregorenko (though believed to be a steal at 15) is not having near the season Gagner is having. However, do we really need this guy to play top minutes? With Nuge / Horcoff as our number one and two, this centre has the chance to play with skilled wingers, against weak competition.

In a year that will likely see Klefbomb developing into a top 4 defenceman, why not have our big centre with skill developing as well?

The question I was trying to ask, is if Gagner doesn't get resigned what is his trade value? Do you think we get his trade value before the deadline? Because any team looking to pick him up is not going to give up the piece the Oilers need (top 2 defence, or a number 2 centre with size and skill). So say they give up futures, that would mean either picks, or a rough prospect. That also will likely be an underpayment for Gagner. But a bunch of high picks, even though that doesn't address team need, still might be a better return then going through other avenues.

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#41 DrunkGuyTy
March 18 2013, 05:47PM
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@mike

I feel like we've been watching him for years already - and to think an 8-yr deal at this point would only take him to age 32.... crazy man.

I'd love to lock him up but realistically, he and Nuge are after the same role - and Nuge is a better option. I think they could only co-exist and be fully effective if we had two other monster centres.

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#42 DSF
March 18 2013, 06:36PM
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Ah, hopes springs eternal.

If Calgary beats Dallas tonight and it's a 3 point game, the Oilers drop to 12th.

Since San Jose, Phoenix, Los Angeles Minnesota and Vancouver are all playing and using games in hand, the Oilers will actually be in a worse position than they were yesterday because multiple teams will get points tonight.

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#43 Rama Lama
March 18 2013, 06:39PM
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laughing pug wrote:

Please, for the love of sweet baby Nuge sleeping in his manger, don't put Belanger back in the lineup. I know he's a veteran presence and can win faceoffs, but he brings ZERO emotion, ZERO intensity, and ZERO offensive potential. The guy might never score another goal in the NHL. Ryan Jones hauls ass every shift, and he's not a gifted scorer. But he works for his points. They aren't there yet, but they're coming, because he works for them. Belanger floats, is offensively inept, and is, frankly, frustrating to watch. Keep him out for a while longer.

I could not agree with you more.........the only thing more painful than watching this guy play is watching Horcoff trying to make an offensive play.

We are so desperate for a true top six leader as soon as Horcoff got back, Tamby announced him King and Captain. I suspect that Horcoff has generated all the points he is capable of since his return.......two.

This team is not designed to make the playoffs.......plain and simple. We will get close and once it mathematically impossible for us to make the playoffs, we will play our best hockey!

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#44 Citizen David
March 18 2013, 06:43PM
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I would want to get Smid signed to a three or four year deal at 3.5 a season. Gagner for four or five years at 4.25 a season.

We've stayed very healthy this year. If injures come our playoff hopes are done. However if they don't and Eberle, Nuge, and J Schultz get going again then we will make it.

Hall will make the Olympic team.

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#45 Matty
March 18 2013, 07:17PM
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@BigE91

http://www.sportsclubstats.com/NHL.html

You're welcome

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#46 Dog Train
March 18 2013, 08:05PM
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The only team that the Oilers can worry about is the Oilers. There will be plenty of frustrating 3-point games in the always tight western conference. It's up to the Oilers to put together a streak and get some clearance from the cluster of teams duking it out every night.

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#47 Serious Gord
March 18 2013, 09:14PM
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God, the mass hysteria on this site...

There is no realistic chance in heck that the oil make it to the playoffs

Assuming that history and the general consensus holds true the oil would need to amass a total of 55 to 56 PTs. Thus they would need 28 PTs in 20 games - record on order of 12 -4 -4. And they aren't going to do that with a so-so number one goalie and an AHL backup in such a compressed timeline to name just one of the flaws.

Trading between now and the deadline should be strictly for the purposes of making the team better next season and beyond.

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#48 HOZ
March 18 2013, 09:37PM
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Important to sign both Gagner and Smid to 4 years each. Hopefully Smid under 4 mil and Gagner only over 4 mil.

Oilers still have the training wheels on. need to see what kind of character the players we have have. Can they make the push? Or will they fold like a cheap tent? Patience is the optimum word here. Gagner is finally showing consistency and surprisingly GRIT. Magnus seems to have found the light and is dangerous, can he find consistency?

Off season we make signings and trades to fill the holes. Not this season. This season we toss bad contracts away.

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#49 Reg Dunlop
March 19 2013, 12:16AM
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DSF wrote:

Ah, hopes springs eternal.

If Calgary beats Dallas tonight and it's a 3 point game, the Oilers drop to 12th.

Since San Jose, Phoenix, Los Angeles Minnesota and Vancouver are all playing and using games in hand, the Oilers will actually be in a worse position than they were yesterday because multiple teams will get points tonight.

Lets see. SJ, Phoe, Van, not to mention Cal and Col ALL got zero points tonight. How exactly are the Oilers in a worse position?

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#50 gcw_rocks
March 19 2013, 07:56AM
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If they were planning to trade Smid, they should have done it last summer when they could have made a hockey trade to get a real NHL player back in return. Trading him for picks at the deadline is foolish and will set the "re-build" back a step.

For Gagner, they either need to sign him to a 3 year or longer deal, or trade him this summer, for the same reasons. If Gagner is not your guy, fine, trade him in a hockey trade for a real hockey player, and those deals generally done in the summer these days. If they move him they must get real hockey players in return. It needs to be a 1 for 1 or 2 for 1 deal where Edmonton is getting the "1".

The theme - this team needs real hockey players to go with the kids. No more hockey players for picks/prospect trades unless it is secondary players like Jones going the other way.

Sadly, I have NO faith in this management team to handle either Smid or Gagner well.

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