Edmonton Oilers trade for Mike Brown

Jonathan Willis
March 04 2013 09:17AM

 

Photo: Michael Miller/Wikimedia

On Monday morning, the Edmonton Oilers' official Twitter feed announced that the club had acquired forward Mike Brown from Toronto in exchange for a fourth-round draft pick in 2014.

Brown has played in 12 games with the Maple Leafs this year, picking up a single assist, but his ice-time and importance to the team had diminished sharply with the ascension of fellow tough guys Colton Orr and Frazer McLaren. After averaging more than 9:00 per game in 2011-12, he was down to 4:39 this season, and often spent time in the pressbox. So why are the Oilers interested in a player the Maple Leafs have identified as a spare part?

Pugilism

Brown is likely best known for his physical play - both fighting and hitting. He's had 15 fights since the start of 2011-12 season and hits everything that moves. His size isn't ideal to the role - Brown is listed at 5'11", 212 pounds - but he's very willing and judging by his fight card has had some success against bigger players in the past.

But can he do more than fight?

Can He Play?

The answer to this question is a qualified yes.

The big caveat is that Brown will not score; he's averaged roughly one point for every 10 games over his major-league career, and his career high in NHL points is eight. His career high in the AHL is 15 points, a total he achieved over 78 contests as a rookie professional.

On the other hand, Brown isn't a total liability as a defensive forward. His diminished role this year means he hasn't seen much time on the penalty kill, but NHL coaches in his recent past have used him there - he saw some time in 2011-12, and averaged a career-high 1:35 while shorthanded in 2010-11. It's probably worth noting that the penalty kills he has spent a lot of time on have typically been pretty bad; in significant minutes in 2009-10 with Anaheim and 2010-11 in Toronto, neither club managed to crack the 80% mark in terms of success killing off power plays. 

Brown also saw some success in 2011-12 on a checking line, playing mostly with Dave Steckel - despite a fairly heavy ratio of defensive zone starts, the line came close to holding its own in terms of shots for and against with Brown on the ice. Unfortunately, that's as good as it gets for Brown - in previous years, his line has been lit up despite offensive zone shifts in Anaheim and in defensive zone work in Toronto.

Is it a good move?

There are positives. Brown is likely more capable of playing a regular shift on the fourth line than his predecessor, Darcy Hordichuk, and he will add an edge to whichever line he finds himself on. A fourth-round draft pick is a pretty small price to pay, particularly since it isn't until 2014.

With a logjam of wingers already in the system, this will force the Oilers to move another player off the roster. Maybe that player is Lennart Petrell - a bigger forward who is better defensively and roughly equivalent offensively, but who doesn't fight. Maybe that forward is Magnus Paajarvi or Teemu Hartikainen, in which case the Oilers are sacrificing ability in order to bring in a fighter. Certainly one hopes that head coach Ralph Krueger was on-board with the move, given that his unwillingness to play a part-time guy in Hordichuk ultimately resulted in the veteran getting consigned to the minors.

Ultimately, how Brown responds to the chance to play will determine whether this was a solid move for the Oilers or not. He will upgrade the team's toughness on its bottom lines, but in terms of out-playing the opposition this looks like at best a 'treading water' move. 

Update: Bob McKenzie reports that the draft pick is conditional - if the Oilers make the playoffs this season, it becomes a third-round pick in 2014.

Leafs Nation also has a post up on this trade.

Recently by Jonathan Willis

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Jonathan Willis is Managing Editor of the Nation Network. He also currently writes for the Edmonton Journal's Cult of Hockey, Grantland, and Hockey Prospectus. His work has appeared at theScore, ESPN and Puck Daddy. He was previously founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue. Contact him at jonathan (dot) willis (at) live (dot) ca.
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#51 Jimmeh
March 04 2013, 11:54AM
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Spydyr wrote:

Henrik Zetterberg was drafted 210th overall in the seventh round

Daniel Alfredsson was chosen 133rd overall

Datsyuk 171st pick in 1998

Lidstrom 53rd pick

Pavel Bure 113th pick.

Milan Lucic 50 overall

Yah who cares about any of those guys

6 players out of the couple thousand drafted over over the last 23 years. (Lidstrom drafted in 1989) Real good odds.

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#52 Light, Sweet, Crude
March 04 2013, 11:54AM
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At first I was entirely unimpressed by this move - still feel the price was too high, even if the Oilers SOMEHOW manage to miss the play-offs this year and it stays a fourth round pick (ha). But, I must admit it might be good to have a guy with a mustache on the team. It' easy to forget while watching on the tube we are cheering for a handful of children against guys much manly than them in most cases.

I am not one of those Oil fans who would replace skill with size, so it will be interesting to see how they make room for Brown going forward. Neither am I one of those Oil fans who thinks everyone from the water-boy to Katz is stupid if they make a decision i wouldn't have made - I understand they are working with more inside information than I.

I hope this works out.

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#53 Hayek
March 04 2013, 12:14PM
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Hair bag wrote:

Rama Lama you don't see the value in anything. It is obvious with every post you put on this website that you know nothing about the dynamics of hockey, the dressing room, role players - I would say hockey in general other than being able to turn on your tv to the channel that has the game on. Then you bitch and complain on here like you're some kind of expert. I used to be annoyed when I read your dribble now I just have to laugh at you...if I didn't know any better I would swear you and DAF or DSF whatever his handle is were paid to be on here to stoke the flames of controversy with you asinine comments.

He actually offers an argument. You just berate others. When your main case is saying `dynamics of hockey, the dressing room, role players`... You offer nothing. You might as well copy paste main stream media cliches.

If you are going to criticize someone on their arguement, explain why.

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#54 PapaMike
March 04 2013, 12:16PM
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Brian McGratten looked good against Sestito. I still would have rather had him than Brown, but I think we should give Brown a chance. He seems like a gamer to me.

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#55 DigDeepNBleedBlue
March 04 2013, 12:28PM
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Good 1st and 2nd move this year. Both add toughness. Fistric has made this team harder to play against and Brown will too.

He is not a top six option. Good addition though. He's a hard, energy, tough as nails fourth liner.

Good job Tambo. Now someone to play with the skilled cats.

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#56 The Soup Fascist
March 04 2013, 01:13PM
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This is not a "game changer", but at the same time it is not the worst deal in history. Wounds are a little fresh after last nights debacle, I suppose.

Relax folks, let Brown get into town and play a game or two before we decide to put the run on him. Holy kneejerk reaction, Batman ........

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#57 Harlie
March 04 2013, 01:53PM
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haha nice handlebars Mike!

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#58 Phixieus666
March 04 2013, 02:06PM
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justDOit wrote:

Click on a video link - his mug is still on the background.

I thought that Whitney looked pretty decent last night. Now whether that was because the whole team had slowed down to his pace or not I don't know. One thing I did notice is Peckham passing the puck right on guys sticks. Very surprising and if he keeps it up maybe there is a place for him on this team.

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#59 hoil
March 04 2013, 02:39PM
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They couldn't hit Gretzky back in those days, he had eyes in the back of his head. He needed guys like Semenko/Brown/McSorely to protect him from the extra-curricular after the whistle stuff that would get you suspended now.

As for Dustin Brown, he would probably have ended up crippling himself trying to get a piece of Gretzky in his prime.

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#60 justDOit
March 04 2013, 02:56PM
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Again, from TSN:

"It's a big loss for our team," said captain Dion Phaneuf. "Brownie's a great teammate. He competes every night, you know that night in, night out he's going to do whatever he can physically.

"Get to the net, fighting, hitting, whatever, blocking shots. He's just a complete competitor, great guy in the room and we're going to miss him."

I honestly can't remember a trade where so many former team mates felt the need to pump the tires of the other team.

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#61 T__Bone88
March 04 2013, 07:57PM
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I can't believe that people think giving up a 4th rounder is the end of the world. If that player drafted ever makes it to the NHL and that's a big IF it won't for at minimum four years. From that timeline Hall and Eberle's contracts will almost be finished so relax on the trade. It's not a bad trade, it's a warm body that can maybe be a spark plug to get other guys going.

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#62 Citizen David
March 04 2013, 08:35PM
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Give Brown a chance. And cheer like crazy for him. And for the Oilers for that matter.

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#63 SmythsMullet
March 05 2013, 12:04AM
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Based on his facial hair. I support this move

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#64 pelhem grenville
March 05 2013, 06:51AM
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...McClelland was acquired waaay before the instigator rule too Mfdcap10...dunderheads(they were a good thing then) like he and others were all the rage back in the day and every contender had to have their 'skills' to get sh!t done...it was in fact Kevins' goal on the Island to beat the dreaded Islanders one nil in a playoff match that actually turned this franchise into the dynsty it became imo...yup a goal from secondary goonage... Mac, Marty and Sammy were all the ones who complimented the Linsmans Lowes Buchbergers and Donny Jacksons of our squad...a different era to be sure but if Mike Brown can upgrade the Hordichuk then so be it... but further... nobody should 'applaud' our GM for making this trade...it's one of the last ditch efforts of a lame duck walking dead GM.

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#65 MikeH
March 04 2013, 09:29AM
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Really? Really? Just what the Oilers need. Another 4th liner that's going to sit on the bench the majority of the time.

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#66 Dustin Terpstra
March 04 2013, 09:37AM
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This is a good move. Brown can play a regular shift and adds some toughness. He can play regular shifts. The only reason he got bumped down the depth chart is Colton Orr basically reinvented himself and has been a great player this year in his role. McLaren has been able to generate some offense this year as well putting him ahead. Brown can play 9min/game a far cry from hordis 49seconds. Solid move

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#67 blue31
March 04 2013, 09:40AM
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Zack Stortini part deux?

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#68 The Soup Fascist
March 04 2013, 09:43AM
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So who gets sent down?

Kind of a "meh" trade, IMO. Guy is ballsy for sure, but I am not sure this is the kind of thing that turns a season, let alone a team around. A less positive person than myself may say this is the equivalent of reshuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic.......

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#69 weeseany
March 04 2013, 09:45AM
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EXACTLY what we needed. Need some offensive grit on the forecheck to start getting some 5 v 5 goals! Guy is a good skater too.... Eager-esque.

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#70 GXL
March 04 2013, 09:46AM
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Ok, as frustrated as I am I need to remember what I tell staff (and my kids for that matter) that if they don't like something explain why and offer a solution.

Here's a reason why I don't like this deal: A 4th rounder for Mike Brown. That is like giving Reider (Oilers '11 4throunder) for Brown. Yuck! Mike Brown who comes to Edmonton after floating through several organizations (Vancouver, Anaheim and Toronto) never scoring more then 10 pts in 50+ games. I don't see him as a >Hordichcuk.

Here's a player Edmonton should try and trade for: Marcus Foligno. Oh and what's this... he was drafter by Buffalo in the 4th round of '09.

Now obviously with the draft its a crap shoot and Marcus Folignos don't grow on trees but EDM surely could find a better player then Mike Brown.

GXL

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#71 remlap
March 04 2013, 09:50AM
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Good job good effort Tambo!

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#72 CaptainLander
March 04 2013, 09:53AM
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Hearing from some Leaf Fans that this guy is a real heart and sole player, 2 things this team really needs. But for a fourth rounder?

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#73 OilersBrass
March 04 2013, 09:53AM
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This is laughable

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#74 Time Travelling Sean
March 04 2013, 09:55AM
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Hordi never really dropped the gloves though. It looks like he can play a regular shift and not be a complete embarrassment on the ice. I'd rather have some grit in the top 6 but w/e.

A 4th is too high btw, we took cap off of TOs hands, they should be giving us the pick.

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#75 Aitch
March 04 2013, 09:57AM
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The most interesting thing you wrote there Willis, was "More to Come."

I hope so. I don't know enough about this player to say if he'll help win more games or not, but given what I know about most NHL players, that tells me he's not the missing link between the team we've seen and the team we want to see.

This has to be a pre-cursor to another deal, doesn't it?

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#76 ScottieA
March 04 2013, 10:01AM
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I will call him Eagerchuk from now on. He fights more than Eager, but plays more than Hordichuk

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#77 TKB2677
March 04 2013, 10:02AM
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Here is the thing people are forgetting. Eager is the Oilers functional "tough guy" but he can't fight anymore because of concussions. Sure Eager can hit but he can't get into the occasional scrap (that is still required from time to time) because of his concussion problems. So the Oilers NEED a guy that can play and occasionally when called upon, fight.

The Oilers from top to bottom lack grit, physical play and guys that make like miserable to play against. They are WAY, WAY to easy to play against. Their bottom 6 is right now is Smyth, Belanger, Jones, Petrell, Vandervelde, Eager. Only Eager and Jones ever hit anyone.

Lots of people are going to bitch and moan about MPS getting potentially sent down but face facts. Is he better than Hall, Nuge, Eberle, Yakupov, Hemsky or Gagner? Not even close. So he has to play in the bottom 6. THe problem is he isn't gritty enough to play there right now based on who they have. Smyth is taking his spot right now and you can argue that Petrell is taking a spot for him too. I like Petrell, he is a hell of a penalty killer and shot blocker. But that is ALL he can do. If it was me, I would trade Petrell and give the spot to MPS. MPS has enough skill, the defensive smarts and especially the speed to take over Petrell.

Right now once Horcoff comes back I would like to see the Oilers bottom 6 as: Jones Horcoff Smyth Eager Belanger Brown. MPS goes back to the farm to play out the year. He is getting close to being waiver eligible so you don't want risk losing him. Then in the offseason, I tell Smyth it's time to retire. You "buy" Smyth out so he gets his money. Then sign him to a 1 day contract so he retires and Oiler.

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#78 Max Powers - Team HME Evans
March 04 2013, 10:05AM
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Kind of odd, seems like a Ben eager with no offense. Maybe he's in to push eager a bit? I have a feeling that Brown sees someone crunch RNH he's going to bee line right to them and destroy them. Eager doesn't do that. Although I've liked Eagers game this year.

The only person who it makes sense to replace is Eager IMO and he's been good lately.

Anyways, I'm excited. He's one of those "saw him good" players for me. Every time i hear someone talking about him, it's because he hurt someone or stood up blindly for his teammates. When i watch TO on HNIC he seems to stick out. Similar numbers to Hordi but a much more complete game from what I've seen.

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#79 Ambassador humantorch
March 04 2013, 10:07AM
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Bicepus Maximus - Peter, The Great. Potter, the Goat. wrote:

This deal is a sign of life from a management team that looks to be dead.

The day after this loser team (tell me they're not losers) craps out one of its worst performances, where they put up ZERO shots on net in an entire period, management steps up gets a guy who plays as hard as he can every shift.

He's not brought here to score or dominate the heavy weight class. He's here to help drive change. This team needs to pull up its socks in the effort and give-a-crap departments.

And if Brown can skate (and it sounds like he can), he's infinitely better than Sestito, Hordichuck, Stortini, etc.

Two reasons I like this deal:

1. It happens the day after the team completely ***** the bed. Management shows the team this type of play is not okay and that changes will be made.

2. Brown's play should rival Hallsy's for the level of effort a player puts into a game. This is a step in the right direction for this loser team.

I don't think you can take proximity to last nights' game into account since Tambicakes has probably been sitting on this deal for weeks, assessing Brown's poise.

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#80 Time Travelling Sean
March 04 2013, 10:09AM
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Brown isn't replacing anyone. He'll play 30-50 games a year, so someone might lose our 15 games to him, maybe.

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#81 Ales Hallsky
March 04 2013, 10:12AM
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Why is figuring out who to send down to the minors such a big deal? This team is playing brutal hockey right now. There are more guys who should be replaced than there are who should stay...

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#82 Fluxite
March 04 2013, 10:13AM
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As a Coach or Manager, it must be very difficult to look in the mirror and realize this team sucks and is at its peak.

Put some quality role models on the team so the younger guys have a direction !

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#83 ScottieA
March 04 2013, 10:13AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

That's hilarious.

I actually don't mind Mike Brown, but he's instantly the most incompetent scorer among the Oilers' forward corps. The idea that he'll magically generate goals through grit despite a long-established record of being a sinkhole offensively is ridiculous.

Thank you Jonathan, this is why this deal hurts my head so much at the moment. We acquire an offensive sinkhole the day after a game where we don't get a single shot on goal in the second period.

My guess is he will be swapping places with Ben Eager in the pressbox depending on the Oilers' opponents.

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#84 Ales Hallsky
March 04 2013, 10:14AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

That's hilarious.

I actually don't mind Mike Brown, but he's instantly the most incompetent scorer among the Oilers' forward corps. The idea that he'll magically generate goals through grit despite a long-established record of being a sinkhole offensively is ridiculous.

Then play him with Belanger

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#85 Mantastic
March 04 2013, 10:15AM
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hopefully he's a better version of Ben Eager. otherwise, it's not a lot to give up and if this magically gets us playing better, which i doubt very much, it's not a horrible trade.

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vetinari wrote:

Maybe Tambellini is confusing him with DUSTIN Brown! Unless Mike Brown is being brought in to punch slacking Oiler players in the head during intermissions, WHATTHEHELLTAMBELLINI????

I laughed pretty hard at this. Needless to say who the prop is from...

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#87 Eddie Shore
March 04 2013, 10:29AM
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Brown plays with lots of energy and will hopefully breathe some life into a team that plays flat way too often. I think its a good move.

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#89 Quicksilver ballet
March 04 2013, 10:35AM
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Positive move, anything that makes the Oilers more difficult to play against is a step in the right direction. Passion level stepped up a tad with this move.

Like to see this guy wear an Oilers jersey as well.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=NPzcRrFmz1U

Rinaldo is one fierce violent hombre.

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#90 BigE91
March 04 2013, 10:37AM
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This is what we can only hope is a precursor to a number of moves this team needs to make. Further to this we as fans may have to accept that one of the Hall, Eberle, RNH or Yakupov have to be expendable in the equation to getting better.

Schultz to me is the only untouchable Oiler on the roster right now and Gagner is a close second as the Oilers have a lot invested in the guy as he is coming into his own this year.

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#91 Spydyr
March 04 2013, 10:38AM
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Stop trading future assets for quick fixes. At this rate they won't have any late round draft picks. It goes to show no one wants anyone on the Oilers bottom six.

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#92 Hayek
March 04 2013, 10:40AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

I wouldn't put much weight in his shot metrics this year - shots are more frequent than goals, but given how few minutes Brown has played there simply isn't enough data there for a good judgment.

His numbers from last year are much better, though I sort of suspect he was more complementary player on that line than driving force.

Fair enough, and I realize shot metrics are not everything.

But last year for Toronto, Corsi Rel QoC which adjusts for relative corsi and quality of competition he was ranked 15th out of 19 Toronto forwards. Just looking at corsi relative, he was 15th out of 19 Toronto forwards.

This guy cannot play hockey.

And we gave up a 4th round pick for him...

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#93 Hayek
March 04 2013, 10:44AM
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Spydyr wrote:

Stop trading future assets for quick fixes. At this rate they won't have any late round draft picks. It goes to show no one wants anyone on the Oilers bottom six.

It's nice to see that there are some people here with some intelligent thought into the future of the team.

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#94 Phixieus666
March 04 2013, 10:45AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

That's hilarious.

I actually don't mind Mike Brown, but he's instantly the most incompetent scorer among the Oilers' forward corps. The idea that he'll magically generate goals through grit despite a long-established record of being a sinkhole offensively is ridiculous.

I want to argue, I think Belanger is most incompetent scorer. Brown will be second. But I like what he brings and this opens up the option of moving eager. Maybe a Hemsky, Eager, Whitney to the Islanders for Nino and Vishnofsky. Why do the players need to have such hard a$$ names to spell?

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#95 MooseMess
March 04 2013, 10:46AM
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Excellent acquisition for the Oil. Hope it doesn't result in MPS getting sent down, but either Petrell being waived or Eager traded.

Statheads will write this off as an overpay for a 'coke machine' which ironically reveals their own tightly held bias.

Anyone who's ever played competitive hockey knows otherwise. The effort Brown brings will have a big influence on this team's work ethic and the young guns will all grow a foot taller with this guy in the lineup.

Yes, functional toughness in the Top 6 would be preferable. But no team's giving away the David Clarkson's and Dustin Brown's of the world. You have to draft and develop those guys, hence Moroz.

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#96 thebiggestmanintheworld
March 04 2013, 10:50AM
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We need someone to teach these kids to shave in four, five years when they attempt a playoff push.........right?

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#98 Hayek
March 04 2013, 10:51AM
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Eddie Shore wrote:

You do realize that the odds of a 4th rounder turning out to be anything are slim to none right?

I do, but you realize Mike Brown turning out to be a productive NHLer is non-existent right?

I'm okay with trading late picks, but how about for someone that could help the team. Trading away assets (even realitively less valuable assets) for no return is poor management. Mike Brown is no return (in my opinion)

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#100 common sense
March 04 2013, 10:53AM
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The reason this puts egg on management is because these kinds of moves should've been before the need arose. Most everyone knew what this team lacked. Tambo et.al. are a joke. We need someone, anyone who will act proactively.

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