THE MADNESS BEGINS....

Jason Gregor
June 18 2013 04:13PM

The free agent frenzy officially began yesterday with reports the Flyers had signed Mark Streit to a four-year, $21 million contract. The Flyers can't officially announce the signing until they shed some salary, which should happen when they buyout Daniel Briere and Ilya Bryzgalov.

Briere is an easy buyout. His cap hit is $6.5 million for the next two seasons, but he's only owed $5 million in cash over both years. The Flyers can buy him out for only $3.33 million, while Brzgalov is a much larger hit at $23 million. Despite the massive payment to Bryzgalov you can expect the Flyers to eat that since they desperately need some cap space.

Briere will garner a lot of interest, but will Bryzgalov get another NHL deal?

I think a lot of teams will give Briere a two-year deal, and if Mike Smith doesn't re-sign in Phoenix I could see Bryzgalov return to the desert.

Prior to his entertaining and not overly productive seasons in Philly, Bryzgalov was very good for the Coyotes. His SV% in his four seasons was .921, .906, .920 and .921. Bryzgalov is only 32, and while a KHL team could offer him more money, I suspect he feels he has something to prove in the NHL.

If Smith leaves Phoenix and Mikka Kiprusoff officially retires, would the Flames or Coyotes offer him a contract? The Flames are high on Kari Rammo, but would they enter the season with Rammo and Joey Macdonald?

QUICK HITS

  • Streit is 35 years old and not a great defender, but he can move the puck and his contract illustrates that free agents will still get paid this summer. I suspect the most sought after guys will still get large contracts, but I'm curious to see if teams can show some restraint/patience and sign lesser-lights to more reasonalbe contracts?
     
  • With Teemu Hartikainen signing in the KHL would the Oilers re-sign Ryan Jones? The two sides are expected to talk again next week, but at this point it seems like the Oilers will look elsewhere. The Oilers will be hard-pressed to find a guy who will score 17/18 goals for the same price point as Jones.
     
  •  Could Jones turn out to be the next Curtis Glencross? Glencross signed for $1.3 million/year for three years while the Oilers failed to sway Marian Hossa to sign in Edmonton. I'm not saying Jones will score 25, but considering the solid 3rd line players the Oilers have let leave Edmonton (or traded away) in the past five years it is a concern.
     
  • David Krejci is one of the most underrated passers in the NHL. Watch him closely, his passing skills are incredible.
     
  • Solid deal for the LA Kings. They signed Slava Voynov for $25 million over six years. Would you rather have Streit for the next four years at $5.25 or the 23-year-old Voynov. The Voynov and Roman Josi ($28 million over 7 years) could be good comparables for the Oilers and Justin Schultz.
     
  • I don't see any reason that Schultz should get much more than Voynov, unless Schultz has a huge season. Voynov's two-way game is better than Schultz's at this point.
     
  • The Oilers need at least two significant upgrades on their blueline if they want to compete next year. At this point I wouldn't put Oscar Klefbom in the "significant" category, mainly because it would be a big risk to have two players in your top-four with fewer than 50 combined NHL games.
     
  • The Oilers haven't had any luck landing UFA goalies. They've tried to sign Eric Hartzell (signed with Penguins), Antti Raanta (Chicago) and Joacim Eriksson (Vancouver), but couldn't land one. They are looking to sign a #2 and #3 to build some organizational depth. Anton Khudobin, Tukka Rask's backup is unrestricted and he'd be a great fit for the Oilers.
     
  • Dallas Eakins wanted to spend last week talking with Steve Smith and Kelly Buchberger to get a sense of their strengths and weaknesses and decide if they would be part of his staff. I'd be surprised if both were on his staff. He will add an associate coach with NHL experience, and most likely one assistant. It would make sense to announce the staff before the draft and especially free agency. I keep hearing Paul Maurice is a strong candidate.

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR

 

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#1 Vaclav
June 19 2013, 09:31AM
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Twoskidoos wrote:

I don't agree.

Letang isn't that good. He's the beneficiary of being on a team with the 2 best players in the world...

He's not that good defensively. We already have this player, and his name is Justin Schultz.

So by your logic Paul Coffey and Nick Lidstrom were not very good either by virtue of playing with 2 of the best players in the world?

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#2 Daryl
June 18 2013, 04:41PM
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I hope Eakins starts with a clean slate. Smith and Buchberger should be let go. They created no waves when they should have taken a stand. No Guts no Glory.

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#3 Butters
June 18 2013, 05:25PM
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I think it will be funny watching teams use compliance buyouts and then overpay other team's compliance buyouts.

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#5 Prudham's
June 18 2013, 07:23PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Voynov signed his after 45 points in 102 NHL games. Are you saying that Schultz won't be close to that at the end of next season?

If you think he will be great, why wouldn't you sign him for 6 years at a decent cap hit?

I'm not 'saying' anything. I'm asking, and giving reasons why my question arose.

Schultz might hit those numbers, but he hasn't done it yet. I've seen teams in the past assert that they won't pay a player for something they haven't done before and is only projection. But I guess with his skillset, he enters into a category of player where you just pay him so you can secure him. Is that a sure strategy with someone like him? Is there no element of 'we want to see a bit more success before we pay out big long contracts'?

Again... just asking.

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#6 Butters
June 18 2013, 09:08PM
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@ Citizen David Agree 100% about picking Lindholm. If he is on the board and the Oilers pass him up, that will provide ON with conversation fodder for years.

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#7 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
June 18 2013, 10:38PM
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Interesting that Joe Sakic came out today in the Denver Post and claims the Avalanche are focusing in on the 3 forwards. We could see Seth Jones fall to that 3rd spot with Florida perhaps grabbing Druoin.

Difficult not to be impressed by the Mem Cup Nathan MacKinnon had. Not much doubt now he'll be the first overall.

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#8 Eddie Shore
June 18 2013, 11:30PM
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Next up, is Connor McJesus. wrote:

So, 209pts, spread over 6 seasons, and Kris Letang figures he's worth 7 million per year?

That's a whole new level of stupid if you ask me. Furk no!

Norris finalist.. Yea, I think he deserves some cake.

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#9 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
June 18 2013, 11:41PM
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Eddie Shore wrote:

Norris finalist.. Yea, I think he deserves some cake.

Have to wonder how much of it is Kris Letang, and how much of it is playing with 2 of the worlds finest players. Tom Gilbert could get 30pts a season playing with those guys.

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#10 SrCain
June 19 2013, 07:58AM
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DSF wrote:

Look.

Schultz is a great prospect but paying him now for things you think might happen next season is just silly.

And suggesting he is a slam dunk to be a better player than Voynov is equally as silly.

Bear in mind that Voynov and Schultz are the same age.

Also bear in mind that Voynov , when we was 20 years old, scored 15G and 51P in the AHL.

When he was 20.

Schultz had a nice run in the AHL but in the NHL last season Schultz only had 2 more points and was -17.

Voynov was +14.

One of these is not like the other.

One of these also played on the defending cup champs, with arguably the best goalie on the planet and a bore me to death style of defense while the other played for my beloved (though terrible) oilers. one if these is not like the other.

Cherry picking +- now. Typical DSF.

You know buddy, it's ok to be wrong sometimes. The fact you've never admitted to it is a big sign of insecurity.

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#11 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
June 19 2013, 10:52AM
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Kris Letang is smoking crack if he thinks he's worth anywhere near what Shea Weber is getting. Weber's twice the D'man Letang is.

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#12 Gaz
June 19 2013, 11:11AM
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@Next up, is Connor McJesus.

I'll take one of the most connected reporters in the City over you any day of the week, thanks.

You think TJ's articles come out by accident? That all of his prescient timing has been by luck?

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#13 mr common sense
June 19 2013, 11:15AM
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Twoskidoos wrote:

All I'm saying is that his numbers are likely inflated because of those players. I didn't say anything about Lidstrom or Coffey being average players, they're two of the best to ever play.

What I'm saying (without saying it) is that Letang likely wouldn't be as good on the Oilers for a myriad of reasons.

One of those is that his partner won't likely be that great and his team isn't as good, generally speaking.

i hear you....what im saying is, the true peak of Hall, Yak and Nuge can be met by having an ace like Letang on the back end. Anyone who plays hockey knows the importance of a Brian Leetch to rush the puck and control the play from the back end. The oil are hoping J. Schultz becomes Letang....why not just get the real one.

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#14 Gaz
June 19 2013, 11:46AM
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@Next up, is Connor McJesus.

I totally get that you are trying to be clever and edgy and whatnot, but try to avoid sacrificing good grammar.

TJ has made plenty of calls that are well-timed. I wouldn't call him yesterday's news guy myself, but whatever floats your boat!

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#15 Rama Lama
June 18 2013, 04:22PM
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The Flyers look in a mess right now as well as the Wild and the Rangers........each year teams overpay for UFA's and invariably this never seems to turn out.

I'm so happy that the Oilers have not been able to land overpriced/overhyped UFA's ........how would have Heatly helped us right now? Same goes for Streit.

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#16 Fantheoilman
June 18 2013, 04:23PM
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Just hope Boston wins the next two games and then the off season can begin. Oil transformation to begin.

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#17 T__Bone88
June 18 2013, 04:33PM
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I thought with a compliance buy out which I assume Philidelphia would use on Bryzgalov and Briere that the team would have to pay the entire amount left owing to the player and not a percentage.

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#18 Buke
June 18 2013, 04:37PM
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Thank god LA did the Voynov deal and Nashville did Roman Yosi. The Gonchar and Streit deals were scaring me!

I would be elated if the Oilers could sign Schultz to a long term value contract around $4M-4.5M per.

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#19 David S
June 18 2013, 04:38PM
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I've always had a soft spot for Jones, but he isn't even in the same universe as Glencross. On top of which it looks like his eye injury has pretty much ended whatever effectiveness he had.

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#20 David S
June 18 2013, 04:42PM
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At this point I wouldn't put Oscar Klefbom in the "significant" category, mainly because it would be a big risk to have two players in your top-four with fewer than 50 combined NHL games.

Just wanted to make sure this part of Jason's article comes down to the hallowed comments thread. I know there's some guys out there that think Klefbom is an auto-replacement, but there's just no way. Ray.

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#21 David S
June 18 2013, 04:44PM
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BTW. There's some serious nerd porn on that Tynon link. PHEW!

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#22 Sloppy joe
June 18 2013, 04:52PM
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David S wrote:

I've always had a soft spot for Jones, but he isn't even in the same universe as Glencross. On top of which it looks like his eye injury has pretty much ended whatever effectiveness he had.

I agree 100 percent.

He invariably cheated for offense too. If Eakins put a stop to that (and given his comments, I suspect he would), then the 17-18 goal level would be a lot harder for Jones to achieve, even without his injury concerns.

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#23 The Soup Fascist
June 18 2013, 04:57PM
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David S wrote:
At this point I wouldn't put Oscar Klefbom in the "significant" category, mainly because it would be a big risk to have two players in your top-four with fewer than 50 combined NHL games.

Just wanted to make sure this part of Jason's article comes down to the hallowed comments thread. I know there's some guys out there that think Klefbom is an auto-replacement, but there's just no way. Ray.

You can get away with rushing forwards into the pros, for the most part. Not typically a good idea to rush D-men. The Drew Doughty types are the exception rather than the rule. Let's get Justin Schultz's defensive legs under him before we bring in another newbie.

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#24 Thinker
June 18 2013, 05:00PM
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Not much attention has been paid to the resigning of schultz and rnh. After a poor season from the latter, and the voynov contract, we might be able to haggle on the precedent set by the hall/eberle contracts. Just less than 5 apiece?

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#25 dawgtoy
June 18 2013, 05:00PM
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I completely agree with your opinion on Jones. Coming off a short season without the benefit of a training camp due to a freak eye injury, I'd say he deserves an opportunity to bounce back and contribute. He's shown that he can be a solid depth player in the past, and has contributed with astute secondary scoring from almost anywhere in the lineup, and he's cheap. Worth the risk IMO.

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#26 Oil Can
June 18 2013, 05:00PM
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@David S

Jones does not compete hard or play with passion. He basically says excuse me ,sorry when he bumps people along the boards. The third and fourth lines need people who will make the opposition feel their presence, and not for someone to feel bad for hitting them hard. You want the defence looking out for you, not looking for the break out pass. If the Oil cannot do better than Jones, then they will still have a long ways to go. Get someone who is serious, and will do what ever he has to, to win the game, to take Jone's spot in the line up.

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#27 Prudham's
June 18 2013, 05:05PM
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Voynov's 4.2 million/year contract is a comparable for Justin Schultz?!

I know Schultz is highly touted, but he only has one year of experience and he's still early in his development. His year was nothing like that of an established defender with holes in his defensive game for much of the season.

I'm super pleased he's on the team and I think he'll be a great player, but I don't understand why he'd already be anywhere near the cost of Voynov.

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#28 DigDeepNBleedBlue
June 18 2013, 05:12PM
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Not sure Bryz is a lock for a buyout. If the Flyers don't get someone to fill the void they can still retain him for one more season. Compliance Buyout him next offseason. With Holmgren, however, who knows.

I'm not sold on Jones. Eye injury and all. Plus, there could be better options.

48hrs after the finals wrap, the draft and FA should be fun.

I wonder if some teams will wait until after the draft to use one or both of their comp. buyouts. See how things shake out first.

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#29 Smokey
June 18 2013, 05:15PM
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Buke wrote:

Thank god LA did the Voynov deal and Nashville did Roman Yosi. The Gonchar and Streit deals were scaring me!

I would be elated if the Oilers could sign Schultz to a long term value contract around $4M-4.5M per.

I find all the deals scary. 7 years for Yosi who's proved hes arrived with one good year, and Voynov done a bit more to earn the contract.

Still contracts are being handed out on the basis of potential rather then actual accomplishment hoping the player plays to expectation.

Gonchar and Streit's contract are pure stupid, one way offensive defensive on the tale end of their career with huge holes in their game.

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#30 Rama Lama
June 18 2013, 05:16PM
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@Oil Can

Totally agree with your assesment of Jones.........not sure what happened to him except he had a coach that really did not believe in him or give him quality minutes like Renny did.

He is a good all around third line player, but since his visor wearing days began, he totally stopped hitting. TIme for a change........a total change.

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#31 Curcro
June 18 2013, 05:21PM
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MacT announced that they really like Darnell Nurse today as reported by the Oilers website.

Are the Oilers showing their hand?

Or is MacT being clever and trying to get some team ahead of them to pick Nurse so they can pick up one of the Top 6?

Telling who you want defeats the point of trading down.

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#32 madjam
June 18 2013, 06:06PM
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Curcro wrote:

MacT announced that they really like Darnell Nurse today as reported by the Oilers website.

Are the Oilers showing their hand?

Or is MacT being clever and trying to get some team ahead of them to pick Nurse so they can pick up one of the Top 6?

Telling who you want defeats the point of trading down.

Nurse does not seem to fit the MacT. need for offensive production , seeing as his shot makes Smid look like Weber . A ploy perhaps .

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#33 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
June 18 2013, 06:09PM
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You'd think with it being 2013, they'd have an easier to use phone invented by now. These rotary phones aren't at all friendly to people with Turrets Syndrome. Anyone with a 7, 8, 9 or a 0, I just say screw that, that's too much like work. I'm afraid of what dial up internet would entail.

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#34 Butters
June 18 2013, 06:11PM
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I would love to see the Oilers sign Schultz the younger to Voynov money tomorrow if possible.

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#35 Rocket
June 18 2013, 06:18PM
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I wonder how much MacT really believes in the priority of a puck moving defenceman. I remember watching him coach teams that were defensibly responsible. That meant good shut down defencemen that were good in their own end.

Maybe the game has changed too much since then but We should not IMO overlook defensively solid D men.

Guys like Chara and Weber are great in their own end. Of course, so was Pronger when he played for MacT.

I wonder if the transition game is that much more important now than 5 years ago. MacT knows more about it than me so I guess my glass is half full today.

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#36 Rocket
June 18 2013, 06:19PM
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@Next up, is Connor McJesus.

I can't even remember the last time I used a rotary phone. Sad really. #Nostalgia

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#37 HugThePost
June 18 2013, 06:50PM
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The thought of signing the big somewhat shiny bauble Streit to that kind of money and term made me break out in a cold sweat. Just as we get rid of one crippled, aging, incompetent defenceman (Whitney), it looked like we were about to usher in Whitney v. 2.0. I'm glad he will be someone else's headache.

As for Jones....I'm not convinced he is part of the solution here. Sure, this season was short and he was injured, etc. etc. But, I've never seen someone cheat so much for offence and points while at the same time convince everyone he was working hard and was "difficult to play against". All he was for his linemates was a complete defensive anchor. I think we can do better, if MacT really wants to move forward.

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#38 michael
June 18 2013, 07:19PM
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Jones compete ent to the toilet after his eye injury. I lost my lefy eye when I was really young to a puck. It is not easy to play after such an injury. Let alone drop the gloves. Jones if he wishes to be a player again will need to bring more grit to his game. Something I do not believe he has or will have. Part in part due to last years injury. A man reevaluates his priorities after that kind of injury and perhaps what Jones is new team and situation to encourage that compete level to return.

Ilya finds a home in the desert. Mike Smith in Calgary. Philly just says god riddance to the man in the moon. Ilya would have lived well in the 60's. Horcoff in Dallas? send us a draft pick and were good. Perhaps that 3rd we gave up for Fistric?Hemsky to Pheonix. For a pick. Another 3rd perhaps. they need offence and he would suite thier lineup. Could hook up with a guy like Brier in Phoenix and do well.

Add in depth at the wing by trade. If Nicky is available at 7 we take him. wait and see. Perhaps if all goes well Monahan drops. Buffalo at 8. Would you trade Gagner for the 8 th pick overall? If you get the 5th for the 7th and take Barkov?

My concern is the dollars and cents moving forward. Gagner is primed to make 4.5-5 million.Can we afford that? JS needs to get paid. Would you trade Tyler Myers for Laddy Smid straight up? Would you do Yakupov for the number 2 pick? RNH and Mckinnon?

Draft day is going to be so much fun. A one day palooza from the great state of New Joisy. Have fun Gregor in de swamp.

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#39 etownman
June 18 2013, 07:59PM
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Glencross is not a good comparison for Jones! Glencross has much more bite in his game! We need more bite, Hallsy, Ebs, Hopkins, Yak & Gagner will supply the scoring! Paajarvi will chip in the 15 to 20 goals Jones 'might' score!

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#40 Citizen David
June 18 2013, 08:18PM
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The team that would be a perfect fit for Horcoff would be St. Louis. They don't care about offense there, just shutdown. There would be absolutely no pressure on Horcoff, he could just play his third line mins. He'd be on a contender which he wants and St. Louis is nowhere near the cap. And Horcoff costs less than his cap hit. We could get a defenseman in return

Either that or New York. Del Zotto was discussed over on Lowetide's blog. I recognize he's not perfect but he would be an upgrade to our D and improve puck movement from the back end. He's young and has room to grow still. New York isn't pushing him out the door but I think they would listen to offers. We'd have to retain half of Horcoff's salary and add a piece but I would like to see it happen.

Then try to swing a deal with Columbus for Jack Johnson.

Johnson-J. Schultz Del Zotto-Petry Belov-Smid Fistric Potter Klefbom

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#41 DSF
June 18 2013, 08:25PM
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Prudham's wrote:

Voynov's 4.2 million/year contract is a comparable for Justin Schultz?!

I know Schultz is highly touted, but he only has one year of experience and he's still early in his development. His year was nothing like that of an established defender with holes in his defensive game for much of the season.

I'm super pleased he's on the team and I think he'll be a great player, but I don't understand why he'd already be anywhere near the cost of Voynov.

Exactly.

A this point, Voynov is an exceptional 2 way top pairing defenseman.

Schultz is a PP specialist who needs to learn how to play defense.

A couple of teams have already learned that overpaying for PP production while ignoring the rest of the game is a huge mistake.

See Jack Johnson for reference.

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#42 DSF
June 18 2013, 08:29PM
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Citizen David wrote:

The team that would be a perfect fit for Horcoff would be St. Louis. They don't care about offense there, just shutdown. There would be absolutely no pressure on Horcoff, he could just play his third line mins. He'd be on a contender which he wants and St. Louis is nowhere near the cap. And Horcoff costs less than his cap hit. We could get a defenseman in return

Either that or New York. Del Zotto was discussed over on Lowetide's blog. I recognize he's not perfect but he would be an upgrade to our D and improve puck movement from the back end. He's young and has room to grow still. New York isn't pushing him out the door but I think they would listen to offers. We'd have to retain half of Horcoff's salary and add a piece but I would like to see it happen.

Then try to swing a deal with Columbus for Jack Johnson.

Johnson-J. Schultz Del Zotto-Petry Belov-Smid Fistric Potter Klefbom

A Jack Johnson-Justin Schultz top pairing would be hilarious to watch.

Like having 5 forwards on the ice.

And STL already has 3 centres that are better than Horcoff.

Backes

Berglund

Sobotka.

They need Horcoff like a fish needs a bicycle.

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#43 WhattaMike
June 18 2013, 08:40PM
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On the goalie front end....LA is advertising the trading of Bernier or lose him to getting just a 2nd rounder only wuth an offer sheet in the 3 million range.

MacT should be looking at getting him or Khudobin from Boston first before seeking european dudes who have yet to show they are ready for the NHL.

Jones....is not the same this year and his injury relegated him to a soft type playere more so than before. For finding 3rd to 4th line wingers with grit...there are many out there to get thru trades or UFA's/buyouts...

Nurse is a very good prospect that I like but for the Oil now...established type #3/#4 players are needed along with Klefbom being brought up right after he shows what he can do for say 25 games with the Barons at least.

The Oil could keep him if he blows everyone away with his playing during all of training camp.

Now, the Oilers need centres most of all, after trading for a very good defenceman or signing at least one from the UFA/buyout pool.

IMO, the Oil has to go for the kids of say... Barkov, Nichushkin(C/W), Monahan, Lindholm or even Horvat.

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#44 WhattaMike
June 18 2013, 08:45PM
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About Horcoff too is that he apparently lives off season in Detroit or Michigan area so I think that to go there is his #1 preference so maybe the Oilers try a deal with the Wings somehow...and if not I would think he would want to get to the Rangers or even maybe he likes the NYI...

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#45 Butters
June 18 2013, 08:59PM
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@DSF, Schultz is a PP specialist who needs to learn how to play defense.

I think the only guarantee is the price of players is going to go up. 7 million per for Streit is ridiculous.

I think the Oilers should be preparing Schultz JR extension as soon as it is possible(some time next year I believe) If they have to overpay in the short term, it may be worth it, PP specialist or no.

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#46 Citizen David
June 18 2013, 09:00PM
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Didn't know much about Nichushkin. I went to YouTube and watched his world junior highlights... Not very pretty. If I was to rank him solely on the WJC ( which I don't it's just one tournament) I would have him in the late first round to early second.

If Lindholm is availiable at 7 we would be making a huge mistake to pass over him.

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#47 Citizen David
June 18 2013, 09:08PM
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Pierre Lebrun saying it's possible Pittsburgh trades Letang. Would you offer Eberle, the 7th, and Petry?

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#48 Citizen David
June 18 2013, 09:10PM
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Provided Letang would sign long term of course.

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#49 Butters
June 18 2013, 09:17PM
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@Citizen David Pierre Lebrun saying it's possible Pittsburgh trades Letang

Would you want to see the Oilers pay him 7 mill a season? Speculation is that is what he will ask for.

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#50 Citizen David
June 18 2013, 09:18PM
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I'm not even sure if I would do it. Just a suggestion. I wouldn't be against paying him 7 million for 5-6 years. It's the super long contracts that are scary. I've always been a huge fan of Letang. If Pittsburgh would do a deal similar to that I think I would pull the trigger. Gives Edmonton a legitimate number one defenseman.

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