YAK CITY EXIT?

Lowetide
April 16 2013 06:48PM

With a new GM on the hot seat, you know this Edmonton Oiler roster will not stay the same. Who goes? Hall? Uh, no. Ebs? Get real. The Nuge? Sure--center's a strong spot on the roster---NOT! Not Hall, not Nuge, not Ebs not Schultz not........YAK CITY?

Elliotte Friedman's 30 Thoughts are a "must read" this week for Oiler fans--there's a lot of things to think about for the fanbase in Friedman's article--and it's likely that some of the verbal laid down is actually being mulled over in Oiler offices where the big chairs sit.

  • Friedman: One stat the organization is very concerned about: Their average shot differential (minus-5.8) is worst in the NHL.

We've talked about this through the winter--especially in regard to that 2nd line led by Sam Gagner and Ales Hemsky. The LW's on that line have been Nail Yakupov and Magnus Paajarvi, and I think the exit ramp this summer probably involves one of those 4 names.

HANDICAPPING THE FOUR

If we're betting on which of these men are likely to be sent away, I'll suggest the chances are as follows:

  • 40% Sam Gagner. Smaller skill center with tons of talent, Oilers decision to give him a one year deal last year makes him a tough signing this year (they will be buying free agent seasons).
  • 25% Nail Yakupov. I don't see it, trading a #1 overall this early means you have to be absolutely certain he isn't going to turn into a franchise player. I don't think we know yet.
  • 25% Ales Hemsky. A very skilled winger with excellent skill could be the cornerstone for a deal with a team willing to take on a player with an expiring contract. The value will be less due to the contract, though. 
  • 10% Magnus Paajarvi. He's this low because I don't think his value is enough to bring back what Edmonton needs. Besides, he could end up being that very effective forward Edmonton is looking for right now.

WHAT DOES FRIEDMAN SAY?

The headliner from Friedman is this item:

3. Yakupov: This is purely my opinion, but I think Edmonton would listen to a massive offer.
It's nothing against the player, it's more about circumstance. To get quality, you have to give up quality. If MacTavish really wants to make a bold, aggressive move, this is the name on the roster that fits. But the trade would have to be spectacular.

At some level it makes sense--the Oilers were apparently a house divided when it came to choosing Yak City number one, but in another way it's pure scandal. Trading a number one overall pick means MacT is very likely trading the best player in the deal, and that is not a good way to step into a relationship with a rabid fanbase.

  • Friedman on Gagner: My belief is the Oilers would like to sign Gagner, but their past reluctance to do it gives him the leverage. He's a talented centre one year away from unrestricted free agency at age 24. Here is what the Oilers could do, though. He becomes a restricted free agent this summer. Other teams can talk to him. If one can work out a new contract, is there a trade to be made? If not, Edmonton matches and controls him. Gagner's value provides incentive for a willing partner to work out something. What mix of players/picks/prospects would a team be interested in dealing for a signed Gagner?

I am very much a fan of Gagner, but not this contract situation (not signing him long term last summer, clearly a mistake) and they've boxed themselves in a little. It doesn't mean they will trade him, but it's an option that would not be in the mix had the club signed him long term and reasonable.

ALTERNATIVES?

Friedman's points are well taken and I do understand there's a sense of urgency to get better. However, there's also a little concern about a new GM sending out first overall picks, and I think Craig MacTavish framed that issue beautifully in the PC yesterday.

There ARE alternatives. A low risk option like Viktor Stalberg might fit, or perhaps Raffi Torres (who remains an effective player) could come in and help the group. Should the Oilers choose, the might also take a run at Nathan Horton.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

I expect that old phrase "it's lonely at the top" is true, and that Craig MacTavish--despite his stated impatience--will find a lot of GMs offering 50 cents on the dollar for his gifted Jacks and Kings. A smart bet would be a secondary signing like Torres, a defenseman like Streit and a solid backup goaltender. It might not look sexy in summer, but smart, smaller additions are the route to take with this roster.

Steve Tambellini didn't get fired because of Hall, Nuge, Eberle, Yak City or Schultz the younger. He got fired because the role players were so bad they gave back all of the good things done by the kids.

Craig MacTavish found role players with top picks (Dan Cleary), guys picked at the draft after the suits went home (Pisani, Brodziak) and guys who had experienced waivers (Marty Reasoner).

I have faith he can find those players again without moving Yak City.

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Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at lowetide.ca. He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on Team 1260.
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#51 RexLibris
April 16 2013, 09:13PM
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@DSF

I like Franson, but I don't think that he is worth Gagner and ____.

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#52 Spydyr
April 16 2013, 09:14PM
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DSF wrote:

Do the Oilers need some secondary scoring from their D?

Yes they do,

Do they have any?

Junior, who is already -2 tonight (and counting) has 1G and 7P in his last 20GP.

And 3 of those points came against the Abbotsford Heat,

Hey, the Heat are a good team.They just beat the Oilers.

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#53 RexLibris
April 16 2013, 09:15PM
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I'd like to see Krueger go back to the Hall/Yakupov combination.

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#54 clyde
April 16 2013, 09:15PM
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French Toast Mafia wrote:

Of all the young fellas the oilers have why would you want to trade Yak? The guy with the most grit behind Hall. Competes and has some fire, is that not the exact player the Oilers want?

Wait he isn't 6 foot 4...

I don't think any player is untradable for the right price, but Yak is a part of the long term solution, not the problem.

Hall has grit?

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#55 RexLibris
April 16 2013, 09:15PM
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@Spydyr

And they'll make the playoffs next year. None of this post-apex stuff anymore. Nosirreebob.

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#56 Spydyr
April 16 2013, 09:17PM
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RexLibris wrote:

And they'll make the playoffs next year. None of this post-apex stuff anymore. Nosirreebob.

Next year might be a bit soon.They are still in flux from Messier leaving.

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#57 DSF
April 16 2013, 09:28PM
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RexLibris wrote:

I like Franson, but I don't think that he is worth Gagner and ____.

You get what you pay for.

Franson would be the Oilers best D.

As sad as that is

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#58 RexLibris
April 16 2013, 09:29PM
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Seriously? Three periods, three goals in the first minute and change.

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#59 Spydyr
April 16 2013, 09:29PM
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3 periods 3 goals in the first couple minutes of each.

Do they do shooters before they come out?

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#60 keilan
April 16 2013, 09:29PM
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Watching Gagner in an Oiler uniform is tough. Two years ago I posted that our core veterans were the worst in the league and they should be moved of as quickly as possible.

To suggest moving Yak is about the stupidest comment I've heard in along time. There are so many players that should be gone but lowtide wants to have a discussion about moving one of two top 19yo's in the world.

MacT has lots of work ahead and I wish him the best. He's one of the good guys!

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#61 Spydyr
April 16 2013, 09:30PM
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Great minds and all that...

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#62 DSF
April 16 2013, 09:33PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Next year might be a bit soon.They are still in flux from Messier leaving.

Lol.

Have to overcome the Adam Graves defection next.

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#63 RexLibris
April 16 2013, 09:35PM
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I don't think LT is saying they should trade Yakupov, just that it might be the only piece that the Oilers have to use to address some of their glaring needs.

I don't want to see Nail traded, and would rather that they move Hemsky and Gagner, but the topic is worth bringing up.

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#64 RexLibris
April 16 2013, 09:37PM
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Had to be Brodziak.

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#65 clyde
April 16 2013, 09:37PM
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keilan wrote:

Watching Gagner in an Oiler uniform is tough. Two years ago I posted that our core veterans were the worst in the league and they should be moved of as quickly as possible.

To suggest moving Yak is about the stupidest comment I've heard in along time. There are so many players that should be gone but lowtide wants to have a discussion about moving one of two top 19yo's in the world.

MacT has lots of work ahead and I wish him the best. He's one of the good guys!

Must be a weak crop then if this guy is one of the top 2 nineteen yearvolds.

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#66 Walter Sobchak
April 16 2013, 09:38PM
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Hello, paging Mike Milbury.

Trading Yakupov over Gagner, Hemsky, Paajarvi is just pure nonsense.

The only player with any type of passion left on the team and you want to trade this guy over Frodo!! Butter soft Paajarvi and a guy who's played less then 50% of hockey games over the last 4 years.

Brilliant idea.

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#67 Spydyr
April 16 2013, 09:39PM
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Tell me again who was in charge when they gave Kyle Brodziak away for a bag of pucks?

Yeah,thats right the three amigos.

Facepalm.

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#68 RexLibris
April 16 2013, 09:39PM
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Brodziak scores on a thread discussing the Oilers needing depth, size and defense. Does Gilbert get one next?

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#69 DSF
April 16 2013, 09:41PM
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Justin Schultz...-3 on the night.

Going for the Green Jacket.

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#70 RexLibris
April 16 2013, 09:41PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Tell me again who was in charge when they gave Kyle Brodziak away for a bag of pucks?

Yeah,thats right the three amigos.

Facepalm.

He's playing with Parise, another "oops" by the Oilers.

sigh

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#71 Spydyr
April 16 2013, 09:44PM
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DSF wrote:

Justin Schultz...-3 on the night.

Going for the Green Jacket.

Well hope he hits the flag bounces into the water.Takes a bad drop and gets penalized 2 strokes.Goes from a Birdie shot to a 8.

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#72 Walter Sobchak
April 16 2013, 09:49PM
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DSF wrote:

Justin Schultz...-3 on the night.

Going for the Green Jacket.

I still think he's going to be a real good player, I don't blame this kid, he's paired with substandard players playing way out of position.

I just hope they don't pull this crap with Klefbom.

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#73 Spydyr
April 16 2013, 09:51PM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

I still think he's going to be a real good player, I don't blame this kid, he's paired with substandard players playing way out of position.

I just hope they don't pull this crap with Klefbom.

He was also played way too much.Coming out of college being a rookie.Talk about being thrown for the wolves.

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#74 RexLibris
April 16 2013, 09:54PM
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Which had me worried about Klefbom next season. Hopefully they acquire some insurance for Klefbom this summer and let him play 3rd pairing.

Rob Scuderi is a FA this summer. He'd be a nice depth signing to pair with a puck-mover.

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#75 DSF
April 16 2013, 09:56PM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

I still think he's going to be a real good player, I don't blame this kid, he's paired with substandard players playing way out of position.

I just hope they don't pull this crap with Klefbom.

He can't play defense to save his life.

Should be in theAHL.

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#76 Serious Gord
April 16 2013, 09:56PM
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There are four - maybe five potential hall of famers on the current roster.

You don't trade potential HOFs unless your back is completely against the wall for some reason - and the oil isn't.

And hemsky and gagner are clearly not in that group. Buy down hemsky and trade them both - maybe together to add some of the high end talent that's needed.

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#77 Walter Sobchak
April 16 2013, 09:56PM
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Spydyr wrote:

He was also played way too much.Coming out of college being a rookie.Talk about being thrown for the wolves.

Exactly, no frickin learning curve in the NHL.....jeez.

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#78 Walter Sobchak
April 16 2013, 09:58PM
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DSF wrote:

He can't play defense to save his life.

Should be in theAHL.

Ya, cause he did nothing there! Is he still leading scorer!

He needed sheltered minutes in the NHL to learn the game at a higher level.

He absolutely dominated the AHL.

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#79 The Soup Fascist
April 16 2013, 10:00PM
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DSF wrote:

He can't play defense to save his life.

Should be in theAHL.

Would you be saying the same thing if he signed with the Canucks?

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#80 Spydyr
April 16 2013, 10:02PM
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8 straight for the Wild against the Oilers.Ouch.

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#81 Walter Sobchak
April 16 2013, 10:03PM
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The Soup Fascist wrote:

Would you be saying the same thing if he signed with the Canucks?

That's rhetorical right.....

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#82 DSF
April 16 2013, 10:03PM
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The Soup Fascist wrote:

Would you be saying the same thing if he signed with the Canucks?

Yes.

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#83 DSF
April 16 2013, 10:04PM
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Spydyr wrote:

8 straight for the Wild against the Oilers.Ouch.

If the Oilers played the Wild 100 times they would lose 95 games.

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#84 The Soup Fascist
April 16 2013, 10:06PM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

That's rhetorical right.....

Sorry, HAD he signed with the Canucks. I am the victim of a poor school system.

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#85 Spydyr
April 16 2013, 10:06PM
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DSF wrote:

If the Oilers played the Wild 100 times they would lose 95 games.

No way, Lowe has 6 rings.He knows a little bit about winning.

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#86 clyde
April 16 2013, 10:06PM
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Spydyr wrote:

He was also played way too much.Coming out of college being a rookie.Talk about being thrown for the wolves.

he isnsoft as butter and has no idea to play in hisnown end. He chose the Oil because they guaranteed him top 4 minutes no matter what. This leads often tona feeling of entitlement and makes many players tough toncoach.

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#87 clyde
April 16 2013, 10:07PM
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Spydyr wrote:

No way, Lowe has 6 rings.He knows a little bit about winning.

lol

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#88 Spydyr
April 16 2013, 10:08PM
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clyde wrote:

he isnsoft as butter and has no idea to play in hisnown end. He chose the Oil because they guaranteed him top 4 minutes no matter what. This leads often tona feeling of entitlement and makes many players tough toncoach.

What is wrong with your space button first it was b's now it is n's.

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#89 Walter Sobchak
April 16 2013, 10:13PM
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The Soup Fascist wrote:

Sorry, HAD he signed with the Canucks. I am the victim of a poor school system.

Kid had a tough night though, but so did a lot of Oilers.

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#90 common sense
April 16 2013, 10:15PM
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RexLibris wrote:

He's playing with Parise, another "oops" by the Oilers.

sigh

Didn't resign Glencross, refused the quacking duck Perry from Burko to spite Hilary Comrie, gave away Stolly and Greene, gave away Brodziak and frittered away Souray. Lots of mistakes boys. Hate to reiterate whats been said already.

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#91 clyde
April 16 2013, 10:15PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

There are four - maybe five potential hall of famers on the current roster.

You don't trade potential HOFs unless your back is completely against the wall for some reason - and the oil isn't.

And hemsky and gagner are clearly not in that group. Buy down hemsky and trade them both - maybe together to add some of the high end talent that's needed.

Did you say 4-5 Hallnof Famers? Are you drunk?

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#92 Walter Sobchak
April 16 2013, 10:15PM
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clyde wrote:

he isnsoft as butter and has no idea to play in hisnown end. He chose the Oil because they guaranteed him top 4 minutes no matter what. This leads often tona feeling of entitlement and makes many players tough toncoach.

3/4 of the team is butter soft, your not telling me something everyone doesn't already know.

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#93 Spydyr
April 16 2013, 10:16PM
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Sportsnet connected right now are joking about Lowe's rings.The Oilers have become the joke of the NHL.

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#94 clyde
April 16 2013, 10:16PM
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Spydyr wrote:

What is wrong with your space button first it was b's now it is n's.

iPad issues

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#95 DSF
April 16 2013, 10:19PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Sportsnet connected right now are joking about Lowe's rings.The Oilers have become the joke of the NHL.

They have been for years.

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#96 Spydyr
April 16 2013, 10:22PM
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DSF wrote:

They have been for years.

That press conference was surreal.It was legendary and will be remembered for years.

Wonder if the MSM would have had the guts to ask the tough questions without blogs like this.Never seen the MSM call Oiler management out like that before.

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#97 The Soup Fascist
April 16 2013, 10:25PM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

Kid had a tough night though, but so did a lot of Oilers.

Your comment above was correct. The AHL was absolute fodder for the kid. The NHL was where he belonged, but he also needed a suitable mentor and less minutes. The Oil failed in that regard.

Kid will be fine, but there are some ugly plays out there. He will never be a Shea Weber but he will be better than a Mike Green, IMO. Bringing in a legitimate # 1 would serve two purposes. 1) help the on ice product and 2) aid in Schultz Jr.s development.

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#98 Serious Gord
April 16 2013, 10:26PM
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clyde wrote:

Did you say 4-5 Hallnof Famers? Are you drunk?

Dead serious.

Hall Nuge, Yak maybe eberle, maybe Shultz all have the upside POTENTIAL to be HOFers. It is simply to early to say for certain if any or all will ultimately develop to that level. Hemsky and gagner the jury is already in on both of those players in that regard.

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#99 The Soup Fascist
April 16 2013, 10:30PM
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DSF wrote:

They have been for years.

As uproariously funny as being in a league for 43 years with ZERO championships and another window perilously close to shutting?

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#100 Walter Sobchak
April 16 2013, 10:33PM
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The Soup Fascist wrote:

Your comment above was correct. The AHL was absolute fodder for the kid. The NHL was where he belonged, but he also needed a suitable mentor and less minutes. The Oil failed in that regard.

Kid will be fine, but there are some ugly plays out there. He will never be a Shea Weber but he will be better than a Mike Green, IMO. Bringing in a legitimate # 1 would serve two purposes. 1) help the on ice product and 2) aid in Schultz Jr.s development.

Agreed, should have been a priority this summer but so should have a lot of decision that should have been proactive instead of reactive.

I got to believe Mac-T will find a suitable partner to help the young man out this summer.

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