Six minutes per game

Jonathan Willis
June 23 2013 08:06AM

There's a theory out there - and it's one I'm often reminded of by readers - that the ultimate fourth line in the NHL is a crash-and-bang group. The idea is to load it up with guys who can skate and hit (and ideally fight) and let them skate around for six minutes or so causing mayhem to help tilt the physical scale, and not have them worry so much about anything else.

Personally, I think it's a terrible idea, but I've never really explained why.

The Trouble With Hitting

A hit statistic records more information than is always realized. Hits are generally seen as a measure of physical aggression, but they're also a measure of puck possession - when a hit is thrown, it means that the player making the hit doesn't have the puck. In other words, a team that hits a lot typically does so because a) they're physical (which is good) but also b) they don't have puck possession (which is bad, since having the puck is almost always better than not having the puck). Tyler Dellow talked about this in relation to the Boston Bruins the other day:

One of the things that we talked about was the idea that the Bruins are a big, bad team. I’m kind of skeptical. When I looked at hitting and getting out-hit earlier this year, the B’s weren’t a team that really tended to out-hit their opposition last year – if you don’t want to get hit a lot, play a really good team that has the puck more than you.

Of course, everybody is going to not have the puck for a portion of the game - and when the other team has the puck, hammering them is a good way to go. Boston's good at it - but Boston only ranked 16th in road hits this season because they generally also have the puck a lot more than the other team does. So being a top team in hits, as a general rule, suggests the team probably isn't very good.

The Fourth Line

When we take that information and apply it to the fourth line, the results are obvious: putting together a line composed entirely of players like Ben Eager and Mike Brown and Theo Peckham (when people suggest moving him to forward, they often have this concept in mind) and the like means ceding puck possession to the other team. There's a reason that Zack Stortini's best games in Edmonton generally happened when he was the least talented player on his line - there's a place on almost any team for a guy that can hit and will fight as long as he can play a regular shift, but there aren't generally places for three of them.

It's a black and blue and red line: the other team's fourth line and third defence pairing may be bruised and battered, but the goal light is only going to be triggered in the Oilers' end of the ice. (Incidentally, that's another problem with the concept: a player like Jonathan Toews doesn't run scared from a physical fourth line because, if by some chance he happened to take the ice against them they'd spend the whole shift running around in their own end. Mostly though, the guys they're hammering on the other team are guys that play on depth lines.)

The flip side is the 'that's why they only play six minutes a night' argument. But there's trouble there, too.

Margins

Six minutes represents 10 percent of the hockey game. Last year, the Oilers averaged 2.56 goals per game and 2.73 goals against per game. The two numbers aren't directly comparable because special teams ice-time leads to more goals than even-strength ice-time, but what would a 10 percent boost in goal scoring done for the Oilers? Aside from the far ends of the NHL scale - the really good and the brutally bad - parity means there isn't a lot of gap between the 20 or so teams in the middle. People like to say 'if you're trying to fix the fourth line, you probably have a pretty good team' but it isn't really true because at a team level winning or losing comes in the margins. Being just a little bit better matters a lot - and building a fourth line that bleeds goals and takes penalties, even only for six minutes per night means the team is just digging itself a hole they need to make up somewhere else.

That's before even getting into other apsects of the idea - that you might need that fourth line to play hockey at some point. The idea that Boston has the best fourth line in hockey is often raised by hockey commentators, but when Jonathan Toews went down in game five of the Stanley Cup Final, look who Chicago had on the ice in the final minutes with a one goal lead on the line:

Fourth-liners like Michael Frolik and Viktor Stalberg and Marcus Kruger all played in the dying moments of one of the most important games of the year. Is it even possible to imagine a coach willingly plugging Mike Brown or Ben Eager in those minutes if injury intervened? It's an extreme example, but that kind of depth can matter a lot at critical moments.

The point basically boils down to this: winning is very hard in the NHL, and it's a foolish team that intentionally puts itself in a hole for the sake of adding toughness at the bottom end of the roster.

Recently around the Nation Network

The Toronto Maple Leafs are rumoured to be chasing Jonathan Bernier, and at Leafs Nation Cam Charron thinks that's a bad idea:

That said, if the Leafs want him to be a starter and Bernier will only play if he's a starter, that makes no sense. The Leafs have a guy who can capably start, and there's no objective evidence that exists that suggests Bernier would be better at this point. He may be, but there is a long list of teams who made huge deals for a big-name goaltender and it came back to bite them down the road.

Click the link to read more, or alternately, feel free check out some of my other pieces here:

74b7cedc5d8bfbe88cf071309e98d2c3
Jonathan Willis is Managing Editor of the Nation Network. He also currently writes for the Edmonton Journal's Cult of Hockey, Grantland, and Hockey Prospectus. His work has appeared at theScore, ESPN and Puck Daddy. He was previously founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue. Contact him at jonathan (dot) willis (at) live (dot) ca.
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#1 Rod from Viking
June 23 2013, 09:03AM
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Johnathan,I am not sure to what level of hockey you played or coached but statistics are sometimes deceiving. Where are the stats on lost pucks due to looking over your shoulder in fear or the face off being won but possession lost due to the winger more worried about who is lined up beside him and what is being said to him. You need players on every line that can deliver a timely hit and will defend themselves or team mates. A good 4th line will get 8-10 minutes in the regular season and if they are good penalty killers possibly more.You have to get to the play offs and a bottom six and at least 2 defense men that can play physical smart hockey can be the difference in a hand full of games that get you into the playoffs,This is especially true with a young team.If you do not have a player or two that can play hockey and be a deterrent you may not make the playoffs.

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#2 magisterrex
June 23 2013, 09:24AM
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I'd like to see the 4th line taken directly from the Oil Barons. Reward them for performance in the AHL by giving them 4th line duties in the NHL. Provides incentive and reward for everyone and I bet a line with Rajala and Arcobello would skate circles around a knuckle-dragger line...as well as being a constant threat to score. Good teams win by icing better players than they play against!

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#3 OILERSORDEATH
June 23 2013, 11:02AM
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Taylor Gang wrote:

Bernier got traded to the leafs for frattin, scrivens and either a 2014 or 2015 2nd. Thoughts?

Wow, pretty good deal for LA I must say.

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#4 Citizen David
June 23 2013, 01:43PM
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I don't see 28-29 other teams making tons of noise and the Oilers doing nothing. I've seen a small handful of teams sign back-up goalies and depth players. Which the Oilers did before any of them - Belov.

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#5 Walter Sobchak
June 23 2013, 01:43PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Appears, so far, to be more smoke and mirrors for Oiler fans. 28 teams open for business, and the Oilers still remain seated by the side of the road, watching life go by.

Hemsky for Smith, 53 career points in over 200 games played. When did expectations fall this low for a third line center. Guess that's MacTavishs wow move out of the way. Hope this falls through/isn't true, we don't need two Smithsons in the lineup.

Naw, Zack Smith is an upgrade to Smithson or Horcoff, he fights hits and is hard on the puck, does a lot of the little thing right that you haven't seen done in years here IMO.

However, if this trade goes through for a Hemsky for Smith then we just got ripped off.

I have to think at the very least a second coming back.

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#6 djc
June 23 2013, 03:10PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Appears, so far, to be more smoke and mirrors for Oiler fans. 28 teams open for business, and the Oilers still remain seated by the side of the road, watching life go by.

Hemsky for Smith, 53 career points in over 200 games played. When did expectations fall this low for a third line center. Guess that's MacTavishs wow move out of the way. Hope this falls through/isn't true, we don't need two Smithsons in the lineup.

Clearly the Oilers and now even the fans will never meet your high standards and expectations. You should probably save yourself some grief and find another team worthy to cheer for.

I would suggest LA or Toronto since they are making hundreds of trades while all the other GMs are still on the side of the road or Nashville because they have Weber, which probably explains why they win the Cup year after year.

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#7 Thumby
June 23 2013, 08:10AM
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Yay f!st!

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#8 Quicksilver ballet
June 23 2013, 08:55AM
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See Ben more as a top 9 forward, than a 4th line Jack Reacher type. What we've seen from this relationship in this last year, is the result of the Oilers expecting too little from Eager. Letting him toil in the little to no impact zone 4th line.

Hopefully Eakins has a closer look at him before they cut him loose. Hoping he's one of a few players rejuvenated with this fresh start the players will have coming into this coming season.

Don't tase me bros....

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#9 nuge2nail
June 23 2013, 12:07PM
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Oiler Domination To Follow

Stauffer reports Hemsky on the move shortly with Ottawa the most likely destination.

Travis Yost reports Hemsky for Zach Smith pretty much a done deal.

Hemsky, Alfie, Spezza, Karlson Michalek make for an improved pp unit. 0.75 ppg for Hemsky since 08-09 so the Sens get a talented player who if stays healthy will be a steal for them.

Oilers get a 25 year old, solid 3rd line center. He hits, wins face offs an opens the way for the Horcoff Buyout.

Oilers will have tons of cap space this year, wonder who they will spend it on

Hemsky, Horcoff, Khabibulan, Whitney = 18+ mil in cap space. Plus entry level deals are restructured, and guys like sutton an souray are off the books.

I calculate that to be about 25 million in newly found cap space, with no real players to spend it on.

Thoughts? Should I mention how I like luongos leadership, winning culture, low cost acquisition, create a trade chip in Dubnyk point.

I honestly don't care which defenseman or goalies we spend the Cap space on, as long as we keep our core 7(in order) Hall, RNH, Yakupov, Shultz, Eberle, Klefbom, Petry.

With that kind of cap room we should all be hoping for some star power to come In and help the kids out. Huge opportunity to create some real change.

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#10 rob
June 23 2013, 12:19PM
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hate to say it oilers nation(I am a huge oil fan and will watch another losing season)but MacT will be all smoke and mirrors,watch as other teams trade,sign and wheel and deal while the good old oil do nothing.All i hear is wait till this,wait till that,I hope I am wrong but I got a feeling this bus stays on course and we can all expect the same this season as last!good old old boys club keep gettin rich off false promises and the fans keep getting same old lame hockey,how long till hall,ebs,yak and nuge want out?

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#11 nuge2nail
June 23 2013, 12:24PM
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@jw

Oiler Domination To Follow

Can you write an article about our cap space for next year, with the removals of Horcoff and Hemsky. I have read different reports that the bonuses on elcs will no longer count against the cap. We have 3 (Yak, Nuge,Shultz) who currently receive max elcs, so this change creates possibly 3-6 million in cap space. (That's a star player).

Also thoughts on a Belanger, with the potential addition of Zach Smith does that create a role change for Belanger and is he suitable for a fourth line role in your opinion?

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#12 Citizen David
June 23 2013, 12:26PM
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rob wrote:

hate to say it oilers nation(I am a huge oil fan and will watch another losing season)but MacT will be all smoke and mirrors,watch as other teams trade,sign and wheel and deal while the good old oil do nothing.All i hear is wait till this,wait till that,I hope I am wrong but I got a feeling this bus stays on course and we can all expect the same this season as last!good old old boys club keep gettin rich off false promises and the fans keep getting same old lame hockey,how long till hall,ebs,yak and nuge want out?

Why do you say this? He signed Andrew Miller, and Anton Belov already. Reports are he's got Hemsky out the door and soon he'll ship out Horcoff. The Oilers have been rumored to be in every hunt for virtually every free agent sometimes in the front runners ex. DeKeyser, Knight. Whitney's gone, Khabby's gone, Belanger will be gone. I think MacT will shake things up quite a bit.

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#13 washed up
June 23 2013, 12:45PM
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rob wrote:

I REALLY hope you are right,as I am a huge oil fan since the time I could watch,I just have real reservations about what will be done,and the signings he has done does not make us better,the guys rumoured to be gone have been for 3 summers,watching bernier go,other teams make tweaks makes me nervous that we will be in same boat as always,I truly hope I am wrong and the oil get a huge revamp,so i am on your side,just hesitant from last 3 or 4 summers

I wouldn't be surprise if we get the same old, " they were asking to much or the price was to high" after the draft and free agency. I can easily see this team starting next season with mostly the same guys. Yes Horcoff and Hemsky will be gone, but the players coming in to replace when will be a wash.

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#14 Smokey
June 23 2013, 12:46PM
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John Chambers wrote:

Thought: goalies are relatively cheap to acquire. Bernier will likely turn into a #1 at some point soon - he was acquired for piece parts.

Bad overpay. Too much. Lambardi must be thrilled.

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#15 Citizen David
June 23 2013, 01:23PM
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WhattaMike wrote:

I am in agreement with several persons here that other teams are making splashes and tweaks already to their teams and yet...we don't hear anything bold player-wise so far.

The latest rumour of Hemsky to Ottawa for Zack Smith sounds like something could be happening..but...the Oilers should have a 3rd round pick also coming back too...IMO..on top of Smith. I just read of this 25 yr old and as a 3rd line centre for Ottawa he will be a welcome addition over such guys like Belanger of Smithson.

Getting Belov was decent and having a new tough coach as Eakins sounds very promising.

But...I am starting more to worry about the goaltending situation as it seems the better type choices are already going elsewhere. MacT cannot allow that he will get Mike Smith or Khudobin type guys for sure come UFA time and I am not interested in Emery, Theodore, etc, type guys either

What are all these other teams and what are all these other splashes? MacT was in on every European Goalie free agent and lost out. But finding a number two goalie is much lower on the list than improving the D and bottom six. I don't understand why everyone is turning on MacT already. Give him more than a month!

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#16 Citizen David
June 23 2013, 01:41PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Appears, so far, to be more smoke and mirrors for Oiler fans. 28 teams open for business, and the Oilers still remain seated by the side of the road, watching life go by.

Hemsky for Smith, 53 career points in over 200 games played. When did expectations fall this low for a third line center. Guess that's MacTavishs wow move out of the way. Hope this falls through/isn't true, we don't need two Smithsons in the lineup.

Wow bitter much? Wait till september to see what our roster looks like. Then wait till at least January to make judgments on our GM's work.

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#17 chuck biscuits
June 23 2013, 03:24PM
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@hfp I can confirm it's a legitimate rumour.

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#18 washed up
June 23 2013, 03:36PM
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Zack Smith would be a downgrade from Horcoff as a third line center. If there's nothing else coming back edmontons way. MacT's first trade = Fail

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#19 Taylor Gang
June 23 2013, 05:07PM
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chuck biscuits wrote:

@hfp I can confirm it's a legitimate rumour.

Lol

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#20 voom04
June 23 2013, 10:04PM
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Phaneuf is a a bad idea, seriously, a washed up ex flame. who is zach smith, I would be totally disapointed in these choices. if true i hope im wrong, but this stinks of desperation.

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#21 CDean
June 23 2013, 08:33AM
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I have always believed that if a player is not good enough to crack the top 6 then they should be able to change their game and play in the bottom 6. You don't need to be 6'2" to be able to hit somebody or be an energy guy, but it helps. I like MacT's comment at the start of reign, "you have to be a threat to score." A player like Marc Arcobello might not have what it takes to be a top 6 guy due to point production, but if he can become defensively aware while still being able to cash in on chances then he could be a bottom 6 forward. The Oilers should be looking for or developing those types of players

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#22 Edsez
June 23 2013, 08:38AM
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Ben Eager, with his size and skating, should be the guy that that a hard-crashing, cycle the puck in their end, solid 6-minute 4th line is built around ........ it's too bad he lacks the focus because he has all the skills.

Who do we have in the system that can channel the George Laracque of old ? While his hands turned to stone at times, I can't think of many that could keep the puck deep in the opposition end like he could (granted it mostly pinned against the endboards)

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#23 madjam
June 23 2013, 08:56AM
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Initiate , intimidate and defensively sound to shut down opponents .

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#24 Yakman
June 23 2013, 09:08AM
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I think oilers fans always want the crash bang fourth line because they are hearkening back to the 97-98 oilers... We were one if the best hitting teams in hockey and all it got us was to the second round of the playoffs (and that was because of goaltending not hitting).

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#25 Romulus' Apotheosis
June 23 2013, 09:27AM
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The same counter-intuitive truth about hitting applies to blocked shots at evens.

If you are blocking a lot of shots at evens you don't have possession of the puck and you aren't attacking the offensive zone.

A lot of the stats we use to describe "tough" "gritty" etc players actually just describe players who are at best limited in their play.

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#26 106 and 106
June 23 2013, 09:31AM
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@Rod from Viking

JW - one day you advocate for Eager and than the next you hose him - what say you, man?

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#27 Romulus' Apotheosis
June 23 2013, 09:40AM
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106 and 106 wrote:

JW - one day you advocate for Eager and than the next you hose him - what say you, man?

I think he said Eager should be given a shot to prove himself in TC and that if he makes the team the 4th line ought to only have one of his kind.

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#28 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
June 23 2013, 09:50AM
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Rod from Viking wrote:

Johnathan,I am not sure to what level of hockey you played or coached but statistics are sometimes deceiving. Where are the stats on lost pucks due to looking over your shoulder in fear or the face off being won but possession lost due to the winger more worried about who is lined up beside him and what is being said to him. You need players on every line that can deliver a timely hit and will defend themselves or team mates. A good 4th line will get 8-10 minutes in the regular season and if they are good penalty killers possibly more.You have to get to the play offs and a bottom six and at least 2 defense men that can play physical smart hockey can be the difference in a hand full of games that get you into the playoffs,This is especially true with a young team.If you do not have a player or two that can play hockey and be a deterrent you may not make the playoffs.

YyyyyUuuuuuPppppp!!!

I think Don Cherry (and the Sutter brothers) would rake JW over the coals on this one....

Now....it may be that Cherry represents the past and JW represents the future...

But give me Old Time Hockey over Euro Style every day of the week and twice on Sundays!............( said the dinosaur to the caveman)....

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#29 madjam
June 23 2013, 09:59AM
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What we are looking for is upgrades, not more failed reruns . You can almost sense those we get to replace Hemsky and Horcoff are likely to be more downgrades or inferior fillins . We got to start winning trades by getting the best player , and that includes the fourth liners and specialists .I don't see any indication of that as yet .

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#30 WhattaMike
June 23 2013, 10:26AM
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Any team can put a 4th line together that would scare up other teams' lines with issues of big hoits and fighting, etc, etc,...but...to what extent...are the Oilers wanting to keep going into next season (or more) with fishing pucks out their own net continuously while not scoring back once in awhile????

The next chosen type Oilers' 4th line needs to be a skating line, a tough hitting line...(that I completely agree on with the masses)...but I also say the Oilers need to have some offence on that type line as well...with decent puck possession abilities.

Eager...for one...has to be a great soldier for Eakins/Oilers this year...and every game in and out...for me to be sold on him to stay.

If not, and we can't find the new big tough skating guys (????)this summer to come to the Oilers...then use a young Arcobello at center with Ryan Smyth and Rajala.

I would rather see Oilers' puck possession and scoring enough.......during those 6 to 8 to 10 minutes per game...than to always be scored on 1 to 3 times a game regularly.

The Oiles do have quite a few girtty player type bigger kids coming into the future...Kelsy, Zarkov, Moroz, Ewanyk, Pitlick, Khaira, McCarron, etc... but...these kids are not here yet.

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#31 Taylor Gang
June 23 2013, 10:56AM
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Bernier got traded to the leafs for frattin, scrivens and either a 2014 or 2015 2nd. Thoughts?

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#32 John Chambers
June 23 2013, 11:07AM
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Taylor Gang wrote:

Bernier got traded to the leafs for frattin, scrivens and either a 2014 or 2015 2nd. Thoughts?

Thought: goalies are relatively cheap to acquire. Bernier will likely turn into a #1 at some point soon - he was acquired for piece parts.

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#33 Pharmkid
June 23 2013, 11:09AM
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Taylor Gang wrote:

Bernier got traded to the leafs for frattin, scrivens and either a 2014 or 2015 2nd. Thoughts?

Leafs overpaid as usual. The throw in of a 2nd round pick in addition to scrivens/frattin was overpay. He is Rfa too, not even signed to a contract extension yet. In my opinion, Scrivens + 4th round should be the going rate.

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#34 DSF
June 23 2013, 11:09AM
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Frattin, while inconsistent, has some serious upside.

Good cheap pickup for the Kings and the Leafs now have a decent goaltending tandem.

Win-win.

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#35 John Chambers
June 23 2013, 11:12AM
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@Taylor Gang

Also, good on Nonis for accomplishing that 3 for 1 swap that Oiler fans are eager to see.

Unfortunaly though we get to hear TSN drone on about a goalie controversy from now until whenever James Reimer is traded - which hopefully happens this week to Philadelphia.

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#36 RyanCoke
June 23 2013, 11:18AM
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Its not about hitting to increase your hits per game number its about getting someone who can hit and seperate the other team from the puck. using boston as the example again I would say they are a great physical hitting team even though they are 16th in hits in the season. No one suggested sending out a guy who hits but cant do anything else.

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#37 nuge2nail
June 23 2013, 11:36AM
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Oiler Domination To Follow

Good pickup by the leafs, second rounder from 2015 won't have an impact until 2019, and frattin is easily replaceable.

Hopefully MacT is looking for a proven option to create a real tandem here, rather than bringing in a career backup.

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#38 a lg dubl dubl
June 23 2013, 12:03PM
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IMO the leafs over paid for bernier, hes on the same level as Khudobin in Boston in terms of not playing that much over the last cuple yrs.

Im glad MacT didn't give up that much, Bernier seems solid but for all that no thanks.

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#39 Taylor Gang
June 23 2013, 12:15PM
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nuge2nail wrote:

Oiler Domination To Follow

Stauffer reports Hemsky on the move shortly with Ottawa the most likely destination.

Travis Yost reports Hemsky for Zach Smith pretty much a done deal.

Hemsky, Alfie, Spezza, Karlson Michalek make for an improved pp unit. 0.75 ppg for Hemsky since 08-09 so the Sens get a talented player who if stays healthy will be a steal for them.

Oilers get a 25 year old, solid 3rd line center. He hits, wins face offs an opens the way for the Horcoff Buyout.

Oilers will have tons of cap space this year, wonder who they will spend it on

Hemsky, Horcoff, Khabibulan, Whitney = 18+ mil in cap space. Plus entry level deals are restructured, and guys like sutton an souray are off the books.

I calculate that to be about 25 million in newly found cap space, with no real players to spend it on.

Thoughts? Should I mention how I like luongos leadership, winning culture, low cost acquisition, create a trade chip in Dubnyk point.

I honestly don't care which defenseman or goalies we spend the Cap space on, as long as we keep our core 7(in order) Hall, RNH, Yakupov, Shultz, Eberle, Klefbom, Petry.

With that kind of cap room we should all be hoping for some star power to come In and help the kids out. Huge opportunity to create some real change.

I for one would be extremely happy with that deal. It's also good that Hemmer would go to a good team. Ottawa would love him.

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#40 Edsez
June 23 2013, 12:29PM
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Taylor Gang wrote:

Bernier got traded to the leafs for frattin, scrivens and either a 2014 or 2015 2nd. Thoughts?

realistically Quick's $5.8 mil contract meant they weren't going to match the 2.5-3 mil offer sheets he was likely to receive

they took the best of what they could get ...... this trade is listed (with the draft pick being a third) in a trade-scenario article on bleacherreport from July 2012 ..... it's been brewing for a while

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#41 rob
June 23 2013, 12:35PM
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Citizen David wrote:

Why do you say this? He signed Andrew Miller, and Anton Belov already. Reports are he's got Hemsky out the door and soon he'll ship out Horcoff. The Oilers have been rumored to be in every hunt for virtually every free agent sometimes in the front runners ex. DeKeyser, Knight. Whitney's gone, Khabby's gone, Belanger will be gone. I think MacT will shake things up quite a bit.

I REALLY hope you are right,as I am a huge oil fan since the time I could watch,I just have real reservations about what will be done,and the signings he has done does not make us better,the guys rumoured to be gone have been for 3 summers,watching bernier go,other teams make tweaks makes me nervous that we will be in same boat as always,I truly hope I am wrong and the oil get a huge revamp,so i am on your side,just hesitant from last 3 or 4 summers

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#42 John Chambers
June 23 2013, 01:10PM
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@Smokey

I dunno. Would you trade Paajarvi, Bunz, and a 2nd for a young, cheap (probable) starter?

Toronto trades piece parts and now has a trade chip, maybe selling high on Reimer to get a piece they need at C. Think Philly would trade Schenn and change for Reimer and Gardiner?

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#43 WhattaMike
June 23 2013, 01:11PM
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I am in agreement with several persons here that other teams are making splashes and tweaks already to their teams and yet...we don't hear anything bold player-wise so far.

The latest rumour of Hemsky to Ottawa for Zack Smith sounds like something could be happening..but...the Oilers should have a 3rd round pick also coming back too...IMO..on top of Smith. I just read of this 25 yr old and as a 3rd line centre for Ottawa he will be a welcome addition over such guys like Belanger of Smithson.

Getting Belov was decent and having a new tough coach as Eakins sounds very promising.

But...I am starting more to worry about the goaltending situation as it seems the better type choices are already going elsewhere. MacT cannot allow that he will get Mike Smith or Khudobin type guys for sure come UFA time and I am not interested in Emery, Theodore, etc, type guys either

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#44 WhattaMike
June 23 2013, 01:35PM
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@Citizen David... I am not talking of type big hyped deals that the Oilers have lost or not made....I am just talking...as a huge fan...of that things are getting done more so elsewhere lately.

The Oilers have been looking into several goalie deals lately and yet they have not acquired anything. Not saying the Oilers are not trying hard enough there but...just the same..other teams got some deals done...like Chicago, Vancouver, and now Toronto.

The Oilers have not been able to get good kid prospects like Dekeyser, or Corban Knight,but they also lost Hartikainen, and ...then so tragically of course, they lost a great kid and prospect (Pelss...RIP), etc.

Maybe I am being a bit impatient right now...not sure..but it would be nice to see a good deal done soon rather than another Tambellini type signing or deal.

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#45 horndog77
June 23 2013, 01:37PM
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Just wait, once playoffs are over teams will trade players for either others or draft picks. I hope MacT pulls off some trades to make this team nasty. Too many small skilled forwards. I'm sure once Horcoff and Hemsky and Bulin are off the payroll they'll have some serious cash for freeagents.

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#46 Quicksilver ballet
June 23 2013, 01:37PM
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Appears, so far, to be more smoke and mirrors for Oiler fans. 28 teams open for business, and the Oilers still remain seated by the side of the road, watching life go by.

Hemsky for Smith, 53 career points in over 200 games played. When did expectations fall this low for a third line center. Guess that's MacTavishs wow move out of the way. Hope this falls through/isn't true, we don't need two Smithsons in the lineup.

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#47 Citizen David
June 23 2013, 01:50PM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

Naw, Zack Smith is an upgrade to Smithson or Horcoff, he fights hits and is hard on the puck, does a lot of the little thing right that you haven't seen done in years here IMO.

However, if this trade goes through for a Hemsky for Smith then we just got ripped off.

I have to think at the very least a second coming back.

There a too many question marks hanging on Hemsky. Injuries, offensive ceiling, age, contract length. It's a deal that could go either way. Hemsky could crash and burn or even just sizzle and then leave and the Oilers could have a great 25 year old 3rd line center locked in for four years. Or Hemsky could light it up and Smith could be a fourth liner.

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#48 DigDeepNBleedBlue
June 23 2013, 01:54PM
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Would Bean-town's fourth be outplaying Chicago's if Campbell wasn't injured? We'll never know.

My point: Chicago does play with a lighter fourth line (though they all throw their bodies around), while Boston, with Campbell, runs a heavier one. Who would win that matchup? Tough to say without seeing it play out, but I'd lean towards Boston.

This is good hockey to watch.

Right now I see Lander, Smyth, Eager and Brown as the ideal choices for the Oil. My hope is that Pitlick can up his game and get a few call ups. I think even without any scoring right now (I agree it needs to improve markedly) the energy and speed he brings can and will be effective.

My early thought for a fourth line barring no roster additions:

Eager-Lander-Pitlick.

Smyth and Brown would fill in as needed. Brown for Pitlick when you need a little more pugnaciousness in the lineup and so forth.

I do agree with the notion that you need to earn your spot. Training camp should be fun under a new coach.

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#49 rob
June 23 2013, 02:11PM
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Citizen David wrote:

Wow bitter much? Wait till september to see what our roster looks like. Then wait till at least January to make judgments on our GM's work.

new GM but old coach,wait till september?that sounds just like Tamellini type talk!NO MORE WAITING WE HAVE BEEN DOING THAT SINCE 06!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!get some trades happening and get us competetive.

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#50 Citizen David
June 23 2013, 02:19PM
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rob wrote:

new GM but old coach,wait till september?that sounds just like Tamellini type talk!NO MORE WAITING WE HAVE BEEN DOING THAT SINCE 06!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!get some trades happening and get us competetive.

Now you're just being unreasonable. It's been the down time. Things will get rolling soon.

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