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 a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#1 GXL
March 04 2013, 09:21AM
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Fist! Way to go Tabellini!!! Lots of fight in life "minor-leafer"... Man this team sucks in the procurement department.

GXL

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#2 Rama Lama
March 04 2013, 09:27AM
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Yea a saviour is born! The season is finally saved........way to go Tamby, what a courageous, creative, and well-thought out deal!

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#3 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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#4 Jaw17
March 04 2013, 09:32AM
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Wow now we're taking the leafs cast offs, that'a a sure sign of a successful franchise! Good greif!

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#5 CaptainLander
March 04 2013, 09:32AM
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Can't recall seeing him play, how does he differ from Hordichuck?

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#6 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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#7 Reg Dunlop
March 04 2013, 09:38AM
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This is just a practice trade, Tambo getting a feel for dealing. We need some top 6 forwards with nuts, another press box plug does nothing.

A fourth round pick is nothing to give up and you get nothing for nothing.

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#8 DSF
March 04 2013, 09:40AM
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Puzzling.

Could have plucked Sestito off waivers for nothing but to then go and use a pick to acquire a player with lesser value is baffling.

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

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#10 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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#11 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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#12 Along For The Ride
March 04 2013, 09:45AM
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Steve, please pick a direction on the 'tough guy' thing. In effect, we gave up Hordichuk and a 4th for Mike Brown??? Ugh.

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#13 vetinari
March 04 2013, 09:45AM
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This is a great move! Without moves like this, Tambellini may accidently improve the team and allow us to move up the standings and receive a lesser quality draft pick in 2013! This way, we keep our string of (near) last place finishes alive!

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#14 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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#15 remlap
March 04 2013, 09:50AM
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Good job good effort Tambo!

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#16 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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#17 OilersBrass
March 04 2013, 09:53AM
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This is laughable

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#18 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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#19 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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#20 Zamboni Driver
March 04 2013, 10:01AM
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Wow.

I would think they pay pro scouts to be 'creative', eh?

And they come up with a guy named

Mike Brown.

Who is also less than 6 feet tall.

Problem solved.

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#21 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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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.

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#23 2004Z06
March 04 2013, 10:02AM
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I have no issues with this move. We need these types of players. I just hope this is a pre cursor to something bigger involving the top 6.

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#24 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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#25 Shaun
March 04 2013, 10:03AM
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Bad trade. He will just fill the press box

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#26 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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#28 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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#29 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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#30 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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#32 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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Ambassador humantorch wrote:

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.

I bet Tambellini was still eating cereal and watching morning cartoons when Lowe and MacT did this.

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#34 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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#35 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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#36 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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Who goes through waivers is a good question. Maybe it's Potter........

Dare to dream.........

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#39 vetinari
March 04 2013, 10:19AM
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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????

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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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#41 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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#42 Hayek
March 04 2013, 10:29AM
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What a terrible trade. We give up a 4th rounder for a useless goon who can't play. He has one of the worst corsi on Toronto, and gets outshot like crazy. What, do the Oilers need more players on the team that will have us outshot even more now?

But hey, let's please the retarded masses and give them a goon in the lineup once again. First we waste a 3rd rounder for Fistric, who can't play defence, but can hit. Now we waste a 4th on Mike Brown who can't play hockey, but can fight.

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Hayek wrote:

What a terrible trade. We give up a 4th rounder for a useless goon who can't play. He has one of the worst corsi on Toronto, and gets outshot like crazy. What, do the Oilers need more players on the team that will have us outshot even more now?

But hey, let's please the retarded masses and give them a goon in the lineup once again. First we waste a 3rd rounder for Fistric, who can't play defence, but can hit. Now we waste a 4th on Mike Brown who can't play hockey, but can fight.

Are you whiskey drunk at 10 am?

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#45 Spydyr
March 04 2013, 10:35AM
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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.

Now that is some funny stuff. LOL on that one.

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#46 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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#47 Ales Hallsky
March 04 2013, 10:37AM
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Also, is about time we had a good Moustache on the team

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#48 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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#49 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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#50 TKB2677
March 04 2013, 10:38AM
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Facts are the Oilers top to bottom are a wussy team. Addressing the problems in the top 6 is a major issue but one that is extremely hard to do. Every single team wants a Lucic. Very few exist and if you have them you sure as hell aren't going to give them away.

To address the Oilers 6 top problem, the average Oiler fan is unable to handle what it would take. Teams don't give these guy up. To get a player with size, grit that can play on your second line, it is going to take what many would call an "overpayment". I'm taking like say a Hemsky, MPS (at the very least) for player X. Might even take a draft pick as well. OR the Oilers have to take a chance on a player that is on another teams 3rd line. Stauffer keeps mentioning Bryan Bickell from the Hawks. But to get him would take what many would call and "overpayment".

For now, until the Oilers can somehow address the top 6 problems. If you are going to have a top 6 of smaller, less physical guys, you better have a bottom 6 full of miserable, SOB's to play against.

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