Chicago and Pittsburgh and Edmonton

Jonathan Willis
April 11 2013 01:40PM

Photo: Andy/Wikimedia

With the Oilers all but eliminated from the post-season - their fourth consecutive regulation loss dropped their chances to 1-in-40 - and the outcome of this campaign nearly in the books, it seemed a good time to compare the progress of the Oilers’ rebuild to successful ones in Pittsburgh and Chicago

A lot goes into building a team beyond selecting early in the draft; these are by necessity abbreviated timelines.

Chicago

  • 2005-06: Finished 14th in the West. Drafted Jonathan Toews
  • 2006-07: Finished 13th in the West, won draft lottery. Selected Patrick Kane.
  • 2007-08: Rookie seasons for Toews and Kane. Chicago finishes in a three-way tie for ninth in the West.
  • 2008-09: Second year of Kane/Toews deals. Chicago goes to the Conference Finals. General manager Dale Tallon demoted.
  • 2009-10: Final year of Kane/Toews entry-level deals. Chicago wins the Stanley Cup.
  • Summer 2010: Entry-level deals of Kane/Toews end; Chicago dumps a bunch of talent and the franchise regresses. Still a power in the West, but has lost in the first round each of the past two seasons.

Thanks to some poor management decisions along the way, new contracts for Kane and Toews triggered a series of trades that saw talent and money sent out of town – significant players like Andrew Ladd, Dustin Byfuglien, Brian Campbell and others would be purged from the roster and it’s taken two years for the team to recover.

Pittsburgh

  • 2002-03: Finished 14th in the West. Drafted Marc-Andre Fleury 1st overall.
  • 2003-04: First year of Fleury’s entry-level deal. Pittsburgh finishes 15th in the East, drafts Evgeni Malkin second overall.
  • 2004-05: Lockout. A year of Fleury’s entry-level deal burned. Pittsburgh wins lottery, drafts Sidney Crosby first overall.
  • 2005-06: Final year of Fleury’s entry-level deal, Crosby’s starts. Pittsburgh finishes 15th in the East, drafts Jordan Staal. General manager Craig Patrick replaced. Fleury signs a two-year deal with a $1.295 million cap hit.
  • 2006-07: Second year of Crosby’s entry-level deal, first year of Malkin’s, first year of Fleury’s cheap two-year contract. Pittsburgh eliminated in the first round of the playoffs.
  • 2007-08: Final year of Crosby’s entry-level deal and Fleury’s cheap two-year contract. Second year of Malkin’s entry-level deal. Pittsburgh eliminated in the Stanley cup Finals.
  • 2008-09: Pittsburgh wins the Stanley Cup.

Pittsburgh remains a power in the East, though shaky goaltending and defence has been a problem the last two years in first-round exits.

Edmonton

  • 2009-10: Finished 15th in the West. Drafted Taylor Hall first overall.
  • 2010-11: First year of Hall’s entry-level deal. Oilers finish 15th in the West, draft Ryan Nugent-Hopkins first overall.
  • 2011-12: Second year of Hall’s entry-level deal, first of Nugent-Hopkins’. Oilers finish 14th in the West, draft Nail Yakupov first overall.
  • 2013: Present day. Final year of Hall’s entry-level deal, second of Nugent-Hopkins’, first of Yakupov’s.

Where are the Oilers – in terms of on-ice performance – today? Somewhere shy of Chicago in 2007-08, somewhere north of Pittsburgh in 2005-06? Chicago was two seasons out from the Stanley Cup in 2007-08, Pittsburgh two from a finals appearance.

One thing both Pittsburgh and Chicago had in common was that neither paid big money for their key pieces until they’d had some playoff success – Chicago’s top picks were still on entry-level deals when they won the Cup, Crosby and Malkin were both still on entry-level deals when Pittsburgh went to the Finals and Fleury was on a cheap bridge contract. The Oilers, on the other hand, are about to see Taylor Hall (and Jordan Eberle) graduate to the ranks of paid NHL stars.

Another thing Pittsburgh and Chicago had in common around this time was a change at the top. Craig Patrick, owing to the failures of his team, was dismissed around this time. Dale Tallon, owing less to failures of the team and more to salary problems (including that famous RFA incident), had just a year left in the top job at this point in the Chicago timeline. The safety of the Oilers’ management group is an unknown, though nothing in the team’s on-ice performance should make Kevin Lowe, Steve Tambellini and the rest feel comfortable.

As Pittsburgh shows, a lack of playoff hockey at this point doesn’t necessarily mean that the rebuild has failed or will fail – the Penguins recovered nicely in the years following their miserable 2005-06 campaign. Whether similar progression lies in the Oilers’ future remains to be seen.

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, 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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#51 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
April 11 2013, 04:10PM
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I'm almost afraid to find out what managements agenda is for next yr. Is it going to be Blind Eye management yet again, or are they finally going to make an effort to give the fans their moneys worth.

It's inappropriate to compare whats happened in Edmonton to Chicago or Pittsburgh. With Taylor Hall locking in his income for the next 7 yrs. I'm starting to wonder if he's frustrated to the point where he may want to earn most of that wearing a different jersey. That would add some discomfort to the chairs management are seated in.

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#52 Will
April 11 2013, 04:22PM
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Next up, is Connor McJesus. wrote:

I'm almost afraid to find out what managements agenda is for next yr. Is it going to be Blind Eye management yet again, or are they finally going to make an effort to give the fans their moneys worth.

It's inappropriate to compare whats happened in Edmonton to Chicago or Pittsburgh. With Taylor Hall locking in his income for the next 7 yrs. I'm starting to wonder if he's frustrated to the point where he may want to earn most of that wearing a different jersey. That would add some discomfort to the chairs management are seated in.

If Taylor Hall asks for a trade, so am I.

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#53 DSF
April 11 2013, 04:41PM
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Will wrote:

I suppose I would ask who had trade value last year? Hemsky was not high on the value list, and Gagner would have left a big hole at centre.

Dubnyk was in my mind as well, and though I really like Smid and Petry, I don't think they are in the same area as Keith and Seebrook.

How did Chicago get Sharp? Was that another draft choice as well?

It could be that Magnus and Harti and Klefbomb work out and become our "key pieces", but who's to say right now.

I suppose what I'm getting at is I think we had a different situation in Edmonton that required a different approach. It would be hard to look at our forward talent and say we didn't accomplish anything.

Like I said, I think we have something incredibly special to build around, we even have enough players that could be traded to build around the talent in town, but it remains to be seen whether or not we'll do that. I could see them drafting a decent centre with some size and skill, then saying, once this player develops, we'll have it. I mean, have any of the above mentioned rebuilds hinged so much on so many players developing?

Dubnyk, Hall, Ebs, Nuge, Yak, J Schultz, Gagner... and to a lesser extent, Klefbomb, Harti, Magnus, Lander, maybe even another D prospect ? That seems like a lot.

By the time your suggested approach could work out, all of Hall, Eberle, Hopkins, Yakupov and Schultz will have burned through their ELC's and the Oilers won't be able to keep them all.

As JW points out in his article, the key to being able to win is to do it with important pieces on affordable contracts otherwise you don't have the cap room to add the other pieces you need to win a cup.

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#54 Oilfred
April 11 2013, 04:47PM
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I don't buy these comparisons at all. They both had superior assets when you the process began IMO.

As for it taking Chicago taking two years to recover they have been a very good team that came within a whisker beating the Vancouver team that very nearly won the cup.

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#55 Will
April 11 2013, 04:52PM
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DSF wrote:

By the time your suggested approach could work out, all of Hall, Eberle, Hopkins, Yakupov and Schultz will have burned through their ELC's and the Oilers won't be able to keep them all.

As JW points out in his article, the key to being able to win is to do it with important pieces on affordable contracts otherwise you don't have the cap room to add the other pieces you need to win a cup.

I'm not really proposing anything, just answering two of Willis' comments and questions about one of my earlier posts.

I understand one of the main points in getting to the cup during a rebuild is to have your emerging stars still in their ELC, that way you can buy some more expensive players to help make the run. I agree with that. Having Hall and Ebs off their ELC is not so bad considering the rest of the salary we have coming off next year, and hopefully a buy out or two.

I think the trouble is going to be having all the wunderkids off their entry level deals. But maybe by then they will be so dominant it won't really matter. I mean, just look at the Burgh, or Chicago. All those guys are off their ELC and they are still powerhouses in the league.

More than any other Whitney's injury hurt this team so much. If he was in top 2 form, everyone else on our depth chart would have been pushed down one. Whose to say if we would have gotten the pieces we have now, but still getting a top 2 guy this summer is going to be really hard.

I still say see what it takes to get Coutier and Yandle. Combine that with a Klefbomb, and one year older Shultz, Yak, Hall, Ebs, and Nuge, and maybe that's enough.

I would think our fourth line is what any fourth line should be (can win a draw, has some energy players that can play a little hockey, and maybe even contribute every once in a blue moon). Our third line is a real mess though. I really don't know, it's all just speculation which is really fun to discuss, but not very productive I guess.

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#56 Smokey
April 11 2013, 04:53PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

How often do you expect me to write it?

I've made my assessment on management plain. Doubtless I'll do so again in the summer. But it's pointless to write "fire management" every time the team goes into the tank.

I guess Im lookong for more fire and brimstone. Keep up the good work.

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#57 Yep
April 11 2013, 04:58PM
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You know what analysis I would like to see? A breakdown of the non-draft personel moves (Trades, UFA's) that the rebuilding teams made in during their rebuilds. Compare PIT, CHI, CBJ, NYI, ATL and EDM. It is obvious that you cannot build through the draft alone, but I want to see the other moves these teams made and what leads to success of failure.

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#58 Saytalk
April 11 2013, 06:30PM
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The key difference is in player POSITION.

A lot of teams have experienced several years of consecutive lottery picks. Pittsburgh and Chicago eventually built themselves into contenders, but teams like Columbus, NYI and Florida have not. What differentiates the Pitt and Chi rebuilds is that their best forwards were their centers: Crosby/Malkin/Staal and Toews/Sharp/Bolland (yes Sharp played center that year). You can make a finicky point about Kane, but Toews/Sharp are better when you actually look past the stats and watch the games at both ends of the ice.

This should be no surprise when the perennial contenders over the past 30 years had 2 elite centers and a solid checking center. Gretzky/Messier/MacTavish, Lemieux/Francis/Trottier, Sakic/Forsberg/Ricci, Yzerman/Fedorov/Draper, Modano/Nieuwendyk/Carbonneau, Datsyuk/Zetterberg/Draper... So there are some exceptions to this (NJD) but there's definitely a trend there.

I have too many doubts thinking that a team building around wingers can seriously contend for the Cup, especially when teams now have to operate under a salary cap and devote limited cap space to the most important positions. I think that's why so many fans are critical of Sam Gagner; he's nowhere close to being a contending 2C.

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#59 Dog Train
April 11 2013, 06:38PM
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I don't believe that the current management team has the guts to make the moves that this team needs to make in order to take the next step. They will likely use this close-but-no-cigar run as a crutch. If and when Tambellini is finally fired, it will probably be Lowe or MacT taking over anyways. The old boys club never leaves town. Too much buddy buddy between the owner and management if you ask me.

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#60 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
April 11 2013, 06:45PM
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Dave #3 wrote:

All I know is that I have two tickets for a really boring game at the end of the season in a dump , DUMP of an arena to watch it in.

Good thing Gretzky,Messier,Coffey,Fuhr and Kurri didn't know they were playing in a dump back then. They could've had it so much better somewhere else.

When the hockey team is this bad, for this long, I guess it's only natural for the sheep to get distracted and turn their focus to the building. Katz makes nearly 20 million in profits a year in the current facility. If that's inadequate, let him pay for the new building without taxpayer dollars. He'd have every cent of his money back inside of 10 yrs. I'm sure the city would make good use of the projected 50 million in profits per yr if this new facility gets built.

Starting to look like time is running out on this project. It's about to become a make or break issue in the upcoming election. I'd laugh if they wasted millions to get things started and then shipcanned the whole thing with a new city council and mayor. The building isn't even started yet and the roads in Edmonton have the look of a 3rd world country already.

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#61 DSF
April 11 2013, 06:54PM
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Saytalk wrote:

The key difference is in player POSITION.

A lot of teams have experienced several years of consecutive lottery picks. Pittsburgh and Chicago eventually built themselves into contenders, but teams like Columbus, NYI and Florida have not. What differentiates the Pitt and Chi rebuilds is that their best forwards were their centers: Crosby/Malkin/Staal and Toews/Sharp/Bolland (yes Sharp played center that year). You can make a finicky point about Kane, but Toews/Sharp are better when you actually look past the stats and watch the games at both ends of the ice.

This should be no surprise when the perennial contenders over the past 30 years had 2 elite centers and a solid checking center. Gretzky/Messier/MacTavish, Lemieux/Francis/Trottier, Sakic/Forsberg/Ricci, Yzerman/Fedorov/Draper, Modano/Nieuwendyk/Carbonneau, Datsyuk/Zetterberg/Draper... So there are some exceptions to this (NJD) but there's definitely a trend there.

I have too many doubts thinking that a team building around wingers can seriously contend for the Cup, especially when teams now have to operate under a salary cap and devote limited cap space to the most important positions. I think that's why so many fans are critical of Sam Gagner; he's nowhere close to being a contending 2C.

This.

All day long.

Also worth noting that virtually every cup winner has a dominant #1D and an above average goaltender.

Not only do the Oilers have glaring weaknesses as centre, they don't have even one top pairing defenseman and Dubnyk is NOT above average.

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#62 DSF
April 11 2013, 06:58PM
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Lochenzo wrote:

Good point about Seabrook and Keith. But Dmen are more difficult to project which is why it's very rare you see a Dman taken 1st overall. Chicago got it right with Seabrook and hit a home run with Keith, but they also drafted Cam Barker 3rd overall.

Would you rather that the Oilers have Thomas Hickey rather than Sam Gagner?

Strawman.

Keaton Ellerby, Ryan McDonagh, Kevin Shattenkirk, Ian Cole and P.K. Subban were all available after Gagner was selected.

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#63 DSF
April 11 2013, 07:18PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

You really think Marc-Andre Fleury is a big upgrade on Devan Dubnyk?

He certainly wouldn't be my choice to backstop a cup winning team but Pittsburgh has the fire power to overcome that weakness most of the time.

You could make the argument that Fleury is the main reason the Penguins haven't won a cup since 08/09.

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#64 MarcusBillius
April 11 2013, 07:33PM
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@Jonathan Willis

I don't know about Dubnyk vs Fleury (IMO Dubey is better), but I wonder why you didn't start the Oilers rebuild years with the Gagner draft. Seems like a logical starting point - if disagreeable from Kevin Lowe's perspective, and if anything you're more logical than most and not particularly known to be a management lapdog.

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#65 toprightcorner
April 11 2013, 07:51PM
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One other slight difference is that Toews spent an additional year in junior developing and Malkin developed for 3 years before playing in the NHL. That additional maturing time does make a difference that is not measurable.

Hall, Nuge and Yak all played in the year after they were drafted. Not that they were not capable of making the jump but being the first overall pick forced their hand. If Yak and Nuge were a number 2 picks, they may have played one more year of junior for more development and to grow physically.

I would suggest that if by game 40 next season, if significant pieces are not put in place to address weaknesses like top 4 D and top six with size that there definitely needs to be a change in management.

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#66 DSF
April 11 2013, 08:05PM
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toprightcorner wrote:

One other slight difference is that Toews spent an additional year in junior developing and Malkin developed for 3 years before playing in the NHL. That additional maturing time does make a difference that is not measurable.

Hall, Nuge and Yak all played in the year after they were drafted. Not that they were not capable of making the jump but being the first overall pick forced their hand. If Yak and Nuge were a number 2 picks, they may have played one more year of junior for more development and to grow physically.

I would suggest that if by game 40 next season, if significant pieces are not put in place to address weaknesses like top 4 D and top six with size that there definitely needs to be a change in management.

Why would you give them until game 40?

Those pieces need to be added in the offseason.

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#67 Cowbell_Feva
April 11 2013, 08:24PM
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Game 40?? With the team they are icing they could be out of the race and another season would be lost!! The draft and/or July 1st is when Tambi and company have to make a tough decision and move a young gun for either a top 2 defenseman or a big body with skill to play top 6.

This whole Omark for Crosby mentality is ridiculous. You have to sacrifice something good to get something back. There are prospects aplenty, and lots of time to feel out who they want and who is going the other way. Hemsky and Whitney are the obvious names, but to truly make this team a playoff contender someone from 89,93,14,4,91, or 64 will need to be included.

Hope the Oiler brass has the balls to pull the trigger, otherwise this could end up being the Islanders sooner than one might think.

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#68 madjam
April 11 2013, 08:34PM
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Do we add stars like Weber and Vanek to next years acquisitions , or do we add lesser talents for bottom 3-4th line ? Combination of both plausible ? I do not seeing us stay put like prior years .

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#69 DSF
April 11 2013, 08:43PM
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madjam wrote:

Do we add stars like Weber and Vanek to next years acquisitions , or do we add lesser talents for bottom 3-4th line ? Combination of both plausible ? I do not seeing us stay put like prior years .

Weber is not going anywhere and it's likely Vanek, who played at the U of Minnesota and whose wife is from Minnesota, ends up with the Wild.

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#70 Walter Sobchak
April 11 2013, 08:50PM
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This is why the Oilers and all there PR men have to get the hell off Lazar.

This honestly scares the sh!t out of me! Mostly because I think the Oilers are inept at honestly assessing talent, despite that many people consider Stu Macgregor as magnificent, I don't, I also think the pro and amature scouting is just a step up from horrific.

The only way the Oilers get that 2nd elite center is by drafting him, there are elite centers in this draft to be had.

If the Oilers can make a deal with the Hurricanes, Flyers or N.J being a prime target they could get another bullet to use on the much need size and skill.

The Oilers could draft an elite center the go after a big LW.

These players should all be available to trade

Gagner - Petry - Smid - Schultz sr. - Hemsky - Paajarvi - Hartikinanen - any Jr hockey player plus, two 2nd round picks.

I have very little faith the Oilers can be aggressive enough to make this happen

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#71 RexLibris
April 11 2013, 08:52PM
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@John Chambers

Maybe lets not have Paajarvi, Hartikainen or Klefbom become Byfuglien, okay.

;-)

I get where you are coming from and agree. Patience is needed, but also the expectation that smart decisions will be made.

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#72 RexLibris
April 11 2013, 09:06PM
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There are some themes that I found common in studying rebuilds.

1. It has to start with management and be a long-term process to have a chance at success.

The Oilers have.

2. It needs to focus on drafting and development.

Again, done. Not expertly, but a wide margin from where it was when this process began (which was roughly January 2010).

3. Intelligent decisions need to be made with draft picks and an avoidance of focusing on a particular type of player to the exclusion of all-around talent.

Fail. They have been obsessed with adding the scoring-with-size type for so long they have wasted several years' draft picks on the Abneys, Jacques', and others in that same vein.

4. Every rebuild is different and no two are alike.

The Oilers' rebuild is a hybrid of many different approaches tailored to suit their own circumstances.

This isn't to suggest that it is necessarily the correct one, or that a correct one even exists, but rather that the Oilers had to restock on high-end talent, the injury bug gave them a great opportunity, and the years in which they were drafting were more or less dominated by a single talent choice at the top.

The Flames are starting their rebuild and have entirely different circumstances. They have a serviceable bottom-six, two good defensive options, and a boatload of goaltending prospects that can be tried out before any elite talent arrives. They also have virtually no real prospect depth that is NHL-ready and a management group that seems to lack a grasp of reality.

Look for the Oilers to make improvements in the details of the game: special teams, goal differential, the advanced analytics of Hall, Eberle and Nugent-Hopkins.

We're all getting hung up on where we're going to put the patio when the foundation is just drying.

That being said, let's fire Tambellini and replace him with Bob Green. ;-)

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#73 DSF
April 11 2013, 09:13PM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

I don't care what anybody says, Weber WILL be available, not only that teams can now buy back salary, even bonus salary.

If Poile can get a center, a useful 2nd pairing defensmen, a daft pick and a prospect he will move Weber

This makes Nashville stronger.

The only centre the Oilers have that the Predators would want is Hopkins.

Ready to ship him out?

The only "useful" 2nd pairing defenseman the Oilers have that the Predators would want is Justin Schultz.

Ready to move him out?

And lets not even discuss Nashville wanting Gagner or Petry.

The Preds already have Legwand, Fischer and Colin Wilson who are all better than Gagner and they have three very good young defensemen in Josi, Blum and Ellis.

The Oilers don't have anything the Predators need except perhaps Hemsky and he's not going to get you anywhere near Weber.

Can you imagine the package Philadelphia could put together for Weber?

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#74 DSF
April 11 2013, 09:15PM
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RexLibris wrote:

There are some themes that I found common in studying rebuilds.

1. It has to start with management and be a long-term process to have a chance at success.

The Oilers have.

2. It needs to focus on drafting and development.

Again, done. Not expertly, but a wide margin from where it was when this process began (which was roughly January 2010).

3. Intelligent decisions need to be made with draft picks and an avoidance of focusing on a particular type of player to the exclusion of all-around talent.

Fail. They have been obsessed with adding the scoring-with-size type for so long they have wasted several years' draft picks on the Abneys, Jacques', and others in that same vein.

4. Every rebuild is different and no two are alike.

The Oilers' rebuild is a hybrid of many different approaches tailored to suit their own circumstances.

This isn't to suggest that it is necessarily the correct one, or that a correct one even exists, but rather that the Oilers had to restock on high-end talent, the injury bug gave them a great opportunity, and the years in which they were drafting were more or less dominated by a single talent choice at the top.

The Flames are starting their rebuild and have entirely different circumstances. They have a serviceable bottom-six, two good defensive options, and a boatload of goaltending prospects that can be tried out before any elite talent arrives. They also have virtually no real prospect depth that is NHL-ready and a management group that seems to lack a grasp of reality.

Look for the Oilers to make improvements in the details of the game: special teams, goal differential, the advanced analytics of Hall, Eberle and Nugent-Hopkins.

We're all getting hung up on where we're going to put the patio when the foundation is just drying.

That being said, let's fire Tambellini and replace him with Bob Green. ;-)

As stated earlier, any successful team is built from the back end out and down the middle.

The Oilers have an average starting goaltender, the defense is a mess without even ONE top pairing D and among the worst centre depth in the league.

Some foundation.

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#75 Natedogg
April 11 2013, 09:24PM
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Wouldn't Nuge and Hall be considered a decent 1-2 punch at center?

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#76 DSF
April 11 2013, 09:32PM
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Natedogg wrote:

Wouldn't Nuge and Hall be considered a decent 1-2 punch at center?

If Hall was a centre...but he isn't.

And Hopkins has regressed and can't win a faceoff to save his life.

When you look at the centres they'll be facing in the new Pacific division, they are dreadful.

Vancouver can run out Sedin, Kesler and Roy...all of whom are better than Hopkins.

LA has Kopitar, Carter, Richards and Stoll.

SJ has Thornton, Couture and Pavelski

Anaheim has Getzlaf, Koivu and Winnik

That's like taking a knife to a gunfight.

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#77 Oiler Al
April 11 2013, 09:39PM
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DSF wrote:

If Hall was a centre...but he isn't.

And Hopkins has regressed and can't win a faceoff to save his life.

When you look at the centres they'll be facing in the new Pacific division, they are dreadful.

Vancouver can run out Sedin, Kesler and Roy...all of whom are better than Hopkins.

LA has Kopitar, Carter, Richards and Stoll.

SJ has Thornton, Couture and Pavelski

Anaheim has Getzlaf, Koivu and Winnik

That's like taking a knife to a gunfight.

Ya, but we have Smithson!!!

Oilers should have gone after Ott last year. Would have killed two birds with one stone.. He's a Rat and darn good face off guy.

Friend of mine has this Chrome bulls ball to cover the trailer hitch on his 150... should send some of these down to the Oilers Ivory Tower, they can strap them on and make some calls.

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#78 DSF
April 11 2013, 09:43PM
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Oiler Al wrote:

Ya, but we have Smithson!!!

Oilers should have gone after Ott last year. Would have killed two birds with one stone.. He's a Rat and darn good face off guy.

Friend of mine has this Chrome bulls ball to cover the trailer hitch on his 150... should send some of these down to the Oilers Ivory Tower, they can strap them on and make some calls.

It's very interesting to compare what the Canucks and Oilers did at the deadline.

While the Oilers have been drafting top 10 for eons and the Canucks have been drafting in the bottom 5, the Canucks had the assets to acquire Derek Roy who was Buffalo's first line centre last year.

While Gills was able to pull that off, all Tambellini could come up with is Smithson.

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#79 Time Travelling Sean
April 11 2013, 09:48PM
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@DSF

Nucks will move Roy to the wing, one would think, Carter isn't a C anymore, Couts doesn't play C either, and Koivu is going to retire in a year or 2, so most of those teams have a 1/2 punch at C, RNH and Gags seem to compare well, if not favourably.

RNH hasn't regressed, he's played through an injury, and last game, from what I saw, RNH was pretty competent in the dot. From everything everyone has been saying about face-offs anyway, is that you get better with experience, and RNH is a 2nd year pro.

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#80 Time Travelling Sean
April 11 2013, 09:49PM
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@DSF

Why would we want Roy? Smalled and skilled? And terribly inconsistent.

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#81 Walter Sobchak
April 11 2013, 09:49PM
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@DSF

Yes, the Flyers have to shed salary too, however, I don't think the Predators will be in a position to take on a lot of salary.

Gagner does serve a purpose to the Predators, young, offensive and will come relatively cheap.

Paajarvi - Smid, plus a prospect, a second round pick and a first round next year.

That would do it.

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#82 DSF
April 11 2013, 10:01PM
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Time Travelling Sean wrote:

Nucks will move Roy to the wing, one would think, Carter isn't a C anymore, Couts doesn't play C either, and Koivu is going to retire in a year or 2, so most of those teams have a 1/2 punch at C, RNH and Gags seem to compare well, if not favourably.

RNH hasn't regressed, he's played through an injury, and last game, from what I saw, RNH was pretty competent in the dot. From everything everyone has been saying about face-offs anyway, is that you get better with experience, and RNH is a 2nd year pro.

The Canucks won't move Roy to wing...he's the perfect 3rd line centre for them.

And I realize Carter isn't playing centre...doesn't mean he can't.

Anaheim already has a replacement for Koivu in the organization....Peter Holland...6'2" 195.

Hopkins has been dreadful this season.

He's currently the 54th ranked centre in the league in points and, by the way. his FO% last night was 42%.

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#83 Natedogg
April 11 2013, 10:01PM
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@DSF

Maybe you should wait until you see what VAN looks like heading into training camp next year before heaping too much praise on Gillis. $1.4M in cap space with 15 players signed is quite the pickle...

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#84 DSF
April 11 2013, 10:04PM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

Yes, the Flyers have to shed salary too, however, I don't think the Predators will be in a position to take on a lot of salary.

Gagner does serve a purpose to the Predators, young, offensive and will come relatively cheap.

Paajarvi - Smid, plus a prospect, a second round pick and a first round next year.

That would do it.

Gagner will not be cheap next season and would play 3rd line for the Preds...not happening.

Paajarvi has almost zero value...he's on pace for a 23 point season.

Smid? Give me a break...he'd be third pairing in Nashville.

That kind of junk doesn't get you a Weber.

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#85 DSF
April 11 2013, 10:05PM
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Natedogg wrote:

Maybe you should wait until you see what VAN looks like heading into training camp next year before heaping too much praise on Gillis. $1.4M in cap space with 15 players signed is quite the pickle...

Luongo and Ballard will be gone.

$10 million in cap space right there.

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#86 Natedogg
April 11 2013, 10:11PM
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DSF wrote:

Luongo and Ballard will be gone.

$10 million in cap space right there.

Given that Roberto is still a Canuck, I assume Gillis wants something in return for the asset. That something will most likely have an equally (or close) ugly cap hit. The buyout of Lu would be a PR disaster after a 1st round playoff exit ;)

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#87 Ryan2
April 11 2013, 10:13PM
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DSF wrote:

If Hall was a centre...but he isn't.

And Hopkins has regressed and can't win a faceoff to save his life.

When you look at the centres they'll be facing in the new Pacific division, they are dreadful.

Vancouver can run out Sedin, Kesler and Roy...all of whom are better than Hopkins.

LA has Kopitar, Carter, Richards and Stoll.

SJ has Thornton, Couture and Pavelski

Anaheim has Getzlaf, Koivu and Winnik

That's like taking a knife to a gunfight.

DSF, I think you are underrating Nuge. Is he struggling on the dot? Definitely. Do I have my doubts about his ceiling? Definitely. He was the #1 pick in a weak draft year.

That being said, he will improve with age and in a couple of seasons will be better than the majority of the pivots you listed here.

Vancouver - Sedin is better now, but will not be in two years. I like Kesler, but when you play only 9 games in a season you can't be compared to anyone - he is at the age where the wear and tear is starting to take its toll. Roy being better - ROTFLMAO. Did you have too much BC bud today already?

LA - All are better on the dot, but only Kopitar and Carter (when he plays center) bring more offence. As much as I love what Stoll brings to the table, his best days are behind him. FWIW, Nuge is likely better defensively than Carter and Richards already. Surprises the heck out of me as well, but neither of the Philly boys had a rep for their defence anyway.

SJ - Again, all are better on the dot. That being said, Jumbo Joe is slwoing noticeably in his old age, and Pavelski is as good as he will get. Couture is an interesting one, but since he is a few years older it is tough to say who will be better in the end between him and Nuge.

Anaheim - Getzlaf is better no questions asked, but Koivu and Winnick? Come on DSF, you have to let the blinders of hatred towards anything Oilers go at some point.

FWIW, the common denominator on all of those teams is a much stronger defensive corps than what the Oilers have (and likely will next year, unfortunately). That helps a centreman immensely with both d-zone responsibilities and the fast transition that leads to more scoring opportunities. While I am not sold on Nuge ever being one of top 5 first line centers, he will develop into a solid top line pivot.

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#88 DSF
April 11 2013, 10:18PM
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Natedogg wrote:

Given that Roberto is still a Canuck, I assume Gillis wants something in return for the asset. That something will most likely have an equally (or close) ugly cap hit. The buyout of Lu would be a PR disaster after a 1st round playoff exit ;)

Vancouver has all sorts of flexibility and a very smart GM.

They'll be fine.

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#89 Showerhead
April 11 2013, 10:23PM
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http://capgeek.com/penguins/archive/?year_id=2008

Crosby is listed at an $8.7M cap hit that year. Pittsburgh still won the Cup with a middling overall cap #, but with Crosby at $8.7M, and all of Whitney, Guerin, Gonchar, Satan, Kunitz, Orpik, Fleury, and even Malkin's cap hits at >$3.5M, many of their players were getting paid real dollars. Malkin remains a bargain at his rookie max cap hit and there are a handful of useful players making

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#90 Natedogg
April 11 2013, 10:26PM
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DSF wrote:

Vancouver has all sorts of flexibility and a very smart GM.

They'll be fine.

How do you drink Koolaid on the coast with no cups? No caproom = no flexibility. A "very smart GM" doesn't put an obviously devastated player in front of a microphone 10 minutes after his trade out of town falls apart. The cap next year is going to have a major impact on that roster. It's now or never....

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#91 DSF
April 11 2013, 10:32PM
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Ryan2 wrote:

DSF, I think you are underrating Nuge. Is he struggling on the dot? Definitely. Do I have my doubts about his ceiling? Definitely. He was the #1 pick in a weak draft year.

That being said, he will improve with age and in a couple of seasons will be better than the majority of the pivots you listed here.

Vancouver - Sedin is better now, but will not be in two years. I like Kesler, but when you play only 9 games in a season you can't be compared to anyone - he is at the age where the wear and tear is starting to take its toll. Roy being better - ROTFLMAO. Did you have too much BC bud today already?

LA - All are better on the dot, but only Kopitar and Carter (when he plays center) bring more offence. As much as I love what Stoll brings to the table, his best days are behind him. FWIW, Nuge is likely better defensively than Carter and Richards already. Surprises the heck out of me as well, but neither of the Philly boys had a rep for their defence anyway.

SJ - Again, all are better on the dot. That being said, Jumbo Joe is slwoing noticeably in his old age, and Pavelski is as good as he will get. Couture is an interesting one, but since he is a few years older it is tough to say who will be better in the end between him and Nuge.

Anaheim - Getzlaf is better no questions asked, but Koivu and Winnick? Come on DSF, you have to let the blinders of hatred towards anything Oilers go at some point.

FWIW, the common denominator on all of those teams is a much stronger defensive corps than what the Oilers have (and likely will next year, unfortunately). That helps a centreman immensely with both d-zone responsibilities and the fast transition that leads to more scoring opportunities. While I am not sold on Nuge ever being one of top 5 first line centers, he will develop into a solid top line pivot.

You expect Hopkins will be a better in a couple of years and I don't disagree.

What you're assuming is the GM's of competing teams will sit on their hands like Lowe and Co. and wait for that to happen while not doing anything to improve their teams.

That is NOT going to happen.

Gillis, Lombardi and Wilson are very good at their jobs and, if there is a weakness in their teams, they address it immediately.

You assume Hopkins will be better than Sedin in 2 years with absolutely no evidence to back it up.

You assume Hopkins is better than Carter and Richards with no evidence to back it up.

I agree SJ needs a renewal but don't assume Wilson won't do anything to keep his team in the hunt. He always does.

Saku Koivu IS a better player right now than Hopkins and anyone who can't see that doesn't know much about hockey.

Considering Getzlaf isn't going anywhere, all Anaheim has to do is come up with a second line centre who is better than Gagner...shouldn't be too hard.

Winnik is a great 3rd line centre and I expect he'll be much better than Horcoff as the years pass.

Blaming everything on the Oilers D is a convenient excuse so perhaps you can explain to me how a centre who is younger than Hopkins and playing on a horrible team in Florida is outscoring Hopkins 27-22?

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#92 DSF
April 11 2013, 10:33PM
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Natedogg wrote:

How do you drink Koolaid on the coast with no cups? No caproom = no flexibility. A "very smart GM" doesn't put an obviously devastated player in front of a microphone 10 minutes after his trade out of town falls apart. The cap next year is going to have a major impact on that roster. It's now or never....

Nonsense.

The Canucks have 2 compliance buyouts and a Luongo trade at their disposal.

Easy peasy.

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#93 Natedogg
April 11 2013, 10:35PM
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@DSF

You explain RNH's performance this year by pointing to an obvious shoulder injury that's been hampering him since the WJ's.

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#94 Time Travelling Sean
April 11 2013, 10:36PM
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@DSF

They had a trade at the deadline? What happened. Every year Lu ages makes him extremely unatrractive.

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#95 Time Travelling Sean
April 11 2013, 10:38PM
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@DSF

Re that last bit, RNH was playing through an injury, and isn't getting sheltered minutes, and is focusing more on defense, considering he's +1 on a team with a -GD, while Hubby is -12? or -13 now and seems to be drying up recently anyway.

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#96 Citizen David
April 11 2013, 10:47PM
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DSF wrote:

Weber is not going anywhere and it's likely Vanek, who played at the U of Minnesota and whose wife is from Minnesota, ends up with the Wild.

Will they be able to afford Vanek? I don't see them making a play for him.

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#97 DSF
April 11 2013, 10:53PM
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Citizen David wrote:

Will they be able to afford Vanek? I don't see them making a play for him.

Danny Heatley will be bought out ($7.5M) and Vanek would replace Matt Cullen who is UFA ($3.5M)

Also, with the emergence of Jonas Brodin as a top pairing D, I would not be surprised if they trade or buyout Tom Gilbert ($4M) who is in the dog house.

Nick Backstrom is also a UFA and I would be shocked if gets another contract for $6M.

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#98 DSF
April 11 2013, 10:56PM
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Natedogg wrote:

You explain RNH's performance this year by pointing to an obvious shoulder injury that's been hampering him since the WJ's.

If it's serious, why is he playing?

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#99 DSF
April 11 2013, 10:58PM
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Time Travelling Sean wrote:

They had a trade at the deadline? What happened. Every year Lu ages makes him extremely unatrractive.

Toronto wanted the Canucks to take on some of Luongo's salary and Gillis told them to piss off.

Luongo will still end up in Florida.

Book it.

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#100 DSF
April 11 2013, 11:03PM
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Time Travelling Sean wrote:

What flexibility? They apparently have 1.4M in cap space with 15 players signed.

Smart GM? He was the idiot who signed Ballard and Lu in the first place.

Re you saying Carter doesn't play center but could, well so could Hall.

Holland is a blue chipper, but who knows, maybe injuries kill his career, maybe he never translates his AHL game to the NHL. He isn't established so he isn't really a concrete option.

Hopkins was playing through an injury, and if you look at his last 20 games he has 15 points and is +3 on a team with a -GD, all while playing unsheltered minutes against toughs, and is still a teenager...

Maybe.

Maybe.

Maybe.

Do you know how many points Hopkins has this season against playoff teams?

9.

Yes, that's right 9.

He's easy for a good team to shut down.

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