ALONE IN A COLD DAY DAWNING

Lowetide
June 30 2013 04:42AM

Asked to turn around a franchise buried deep in the second division for a generation, Craig MacTavish looks to make bold steps on his first draft day. Oilers Nation--tired of losing and watching the brilliant youth acclimate to it--awaits the turnaround. Based on yesterday's rumors, this is one of the few days in organization history where "expect the unexpected" doesn't quite cover it.

BEAUTY IS IN THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER

This is Lake Louise. In my 50+ years on the planet, I have not seen anything more beautiful in nature. I love to walk around the lake, and afterward grab a hot chocolate and a blanket and then watch the world watch Lake Louise. I've met people from Germany, Japan, America, hell you name it folks have come to Lake Louise to see this view. In my view, it's perfect.

Craig MacTavish is about to put his stamp on the Edmonton Oilers, create his ideal, his version of what a winning team should look like when it's complete. Based on his conversations with the fanbase, and based on yesterday's explosive news about Cory Schneider, I think we know a few things:

  • MacT is as aggressive as we thought he might be
  • MacT is as devoted to keeping the puck out of the net as we thought he might be
  • MacT will leave no stone unturned
  • MacT will pursue players in their mid-20s to complete the roster
  • There a no mid-20s players available in this draft
  • The scouting department may have a lot of time on their hands today
  • We could see as many as five Oiler trades today
  • The Oilers are about to get a makeover
  • The only calm scene for Oiler fans today is the photo of Lake Louise

A DIFFERENT VIEW

I had planned on giving you a list of possible Oilers at the draft today, but with the top three Oiler picks in play that seems pointless. What we can talk about is MacT's vision of this team, why he believes they've failed in the past and how he plans to get them to the second season as soon as possible.

  1. BUILDING CHAMPIONSHIP TEAMS UP THE MIDDLE: In every sport, the mantra 'strength up the middle' holds sway, and for good reason. As good as the Oilers teams of the early 1980s were, they didn't win any Stanley's until the defensive side of the game received more attention, and until Mark Messier moved to center. At the same time, a young blue arrived as established NHLers and the good times began to roll. I think the idea of acquiring Cory Schneider and Braydon Coburn this weekend speaks to this desire, and perhaps we'll see the Oilers tell us Taylor Hall is moving to the middle (and Sam Gagner to the wing) as early as this week.
  2. EXPERIENCE IS VITAL: Importing Cory Schneider and Coburn is likely just the beginning of a large group of players who will be 25-30 years of age and have 200+ NHL games experience. We can add names like Cal Clutterbuck, Boyd Gordon, Paul Ranger, Viktor Stalberg, Andrew Cogliano, Scott Hartnell, Keith Yandle, Dustin Penner and Tom Gilbert into the mix as well: experienced men who are also young enough to hang around for a few years and help contribute to a brand new thing: winning hockey games.
  3. A LOT OF SAIL ON: Today, we may be saying goodbye to Shawn Horcoff, an Oiler since 2000 fall; Ales Hemsky, who wasn't much behind him; the 7th, 37th and 56th overall picks, which not so long ago represented ultimate value for the Oilers and the fanbase; and a plethora of other spare parts and assets of varying degree. Today could be one of the truly historic days of player movement in NHL history based on what we've been told--and the Oilers are front and center.
  4. A PERIOD OF TRANSITION: When you have enormous turnover, there's a time (often an entire season) of adjustment.  Expecting a quick turnaround is a bad idea no matter how many imports of value arrive. The new players will have to develop chemistry with the current Oilers deemed good enough to stay, and Oiler fans will have to adjust to their calendar being turned upside down: the biggest day of the year will no longer be draft day. That lesson may be learned in one day--today!

VALUE DEALS

Based on what I've read, Craig MacTavish is so determined to create the current team in his own image that he is willing to overpay, to lose some deals, in an effort to improve areas he believes are badly in need of help. His vision is not our vision necessarily, and that fact is driven home by the Schneider deal (as rumored last night). It is entirely possible we'll walk away from today believing the Oilers got less than 100 cents on the dollar, and it's also possible they'll be a better team as a matter of fact.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

I think we have to acknowledge that what we're hearing from New Jersey this weekend is a half bubble off plumb compared to expectations. This happens when a powerful personality enters a situation and goes about the business of improving it. Remember when Jacques Lemaire arrived in Montreal as coach? Guy Lafleur was the established on ice power for the Habs, but Lemaire shuffled the roster and a more defensive strategy was used, effectively ending Lafleur's career in Montreal in about 20 games.

Craig MacTavish is doing some things we may find out of line with our own vision--it appears Devan Dubnyk is not the 'goalie of the future', and Nick Schultz is apparently about to get a teammate who does exactly what he does, and that checking line is going to be far more physical if Clutterbuck comes over from Minnesota.

This draft day will not be similar to the last ones. The impressive first round string that began with Sam Gagner and continued through Jordan Eberle, Magnus Paajarvi, Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Nail Yakupov is very likely to be broken this afternoon--the Oilers are poised to trade their pick at #7 overall.

The Oilers have a unique draft strategy--acquire actual NHL players this afternoon. Expect the unexpected? More like "make sure your seat backs and tray tables are in their full upright position. Also make sure your seat belt is correctly fastened."

And there may be some turbulence.

C2a6955161684b5e3189319acfa5ebe4
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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#1 geoilersgist
June 30 2013, 04:51AM
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As long as it is for the betterment of the team I will raise my FISTS in the air in support of MacT!!

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#2 HOFFFF
June 30 2013, 05:09AM
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Good Morning. Go get'em MacT.

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#3 hemi
June 30 2013, 05:19AM
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I have faith in Mac-T to improve this team. I would be completely speculating as to how much though. I have been happy so far as to what our new GM has done and can only believe that he will continue to garner the pieces as needed. Good luck Mac-T.....go get em!

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#4 eastcoastoil
June 30 2013, 05:27AM
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Good morning

It seemed like every second story on tsn last night had Mact's name in it.

LT, i understand the need for bold moves, especially after coming out and saying it so often, but isn't Valeri Nichushkin exactly what the team is looking for.

What do you think that the odds are that everything stays the same to some degree on the top end...

RNH(arco)-Hall-Ebs

Gagner- Valeri Nichushkin- Yak

Horcoff- (clutterbug/penner/stalberg/pajarvi)- Hemsky

(smithison/lander)- smyth- brown

The reason I ask is because of the third line. I do not see anyone better than Horcoff or Hemsky out there. Yeah the cap hit but couldn't we afford it?

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#5 Walter Sobchak
June 30 2013, 05:39AM
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Trading our 7th overall...++ for a goalie in the same division with two years to UFA status is grounds for immediate termination.

This is not smart nor is it in any way shape or form a good draft strategy.

Imagine Nichushkin, Monahan or lindholm coming down on a two on one and blowing it by an unnamed goalie in the third year of there ELC cause Schneider is already gone!.

Congratulations MacTavish you just gave Vancouver a stud for two years of service from a goalie who's unproven.......Pass!

Teams like this MacTavish just has to wait out, let those teams panic today.

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#6 vetinari
June 30 2013, 05:39AM
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In the last few years, the only excitement at the draft as an Oiler fan was who would we take at #1. This year, I can't wait to fire up tsn and see what happens with MacT at the helm. If the team had to be remade in either MacT's or Tambellini's image, I vote for MacT!

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#7 CDean
June 30 2013, 05:47AM
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I really don't like the Schneider rumor, I don't think that he has come close to proving himself and that was demonstrated this year when he couldn't wrestle the reins from Luongo. The position was more like a tandem of shared responsibility. I don't want this blowing up in our face.

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#8 The Soup Fascist
June 30 2013, 05:55AM
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LT, Lyrics from a great song by an underrated talent in Steve Winwood. Might want to keep his songbook handy if the Oilers happen to pick Nichushkin with "Valeri(e)" or "Arc of a Diver" if they chose to sign Lapierre.

It sounds like you think MacT should adopt the "while you see a chance take it" strategy vs Tambo's ineffective "roll with it" model. As long as the Oilers end up "back in the high life again" by acquiring some of the "finer things" available during the off season, I will be happy.

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#9 Bryan in SK
June 30 2013, 06:00AM
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Well, I turn 40 today! MacT... gimme a gift, ok? And not one of those jack-in-the-box things that fill you with momentary terror, and then gets cast aside with the rest of the junk.

No, something of real and lasting value, please!

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#10 madjam
June 30 2013, 06:09AM
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So it should make good theater today I take it ? Can MacT. turn into MacT. The Magician -sequel 2 of "Now YOU SEE ME "? How does he do it . or is it just an allusion ? PRESTO -ABRA CADABRA !

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#12 John Chambers
June 30 2013, 06:23AM
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This is the perfect storm. A lot of teams will be unloading salaried talent and I bet the Silver Fox is figuring out the best way to spend his pennies.

I've been waiting for today since Dec, 2009.

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#13 cam
June 30 2013, 06:24AM
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Why do I feel like a crazy person. I may be remembering this wrong but wasn't Clutterbuck the guy Hall destroyed? And hasn't there been chirping and animosity there every time we have played his since then? For some reason I think the room chemistry may be a little hurt by a Clutterbuck move. I distinctly remember seeing video of Clutterbuck telling Hall he was joke on ice. Not exactly the guy I would think to fall in line behind our future captain. Maybe I am thinking of the wrong person. I don't want to do the research but that is just what I am thinking. Am I wrong LT?

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#14 non descript
June 30 2013, 06:24AM
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prepare to be disappointed and/or bewildered oiler fan

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#16 Colin
June 30 2013, 06:28AM
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MacT bold? Easy to say. Harder to do. I truly believe that the media love in can come crashing down this summer.

A customer once said to me "all I Hear is what I See".

MacT would have been wise to be the "strong silent" type

I do hope he's able o add: depth in goal, top 4 D, 6 bottom 6 forwards and 1 top 6 forward. Likely? No.

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#17 Time Travelling Sean
June 30 2013, 06:29AM
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SOMETHING is gonna happen, that's exciting, no more Belanger or Smithson deals.

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#18 rob
June 30 2013, 06:33AM
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Oil add clutterbuck,luongo and seguin today and hemsky,pajarrvi,ganger are gone along with our first pick.

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#19 Professor Q
June 30 2013, 06:34AM
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cam wrote:

Why do I feel like a crazy person. I may be remembering this wrong but wasn't Clutterbuck the guy Hall destroyed? And hasn't there been chirping and animosity there every time we have played his since then? For some reason I think the room chemistry may be a little hurt by a Clutterbuck move. I distinctly remember seeing video of Clutterbuck telling Hall he was joke on ice. Not exactly the guy I would think to fall in line behind our future captain. Maybe I am thinking of the wrong person. I don't want to do the research but that is just what I am thinking. Am I wrong LT?

Hall has made a few enemies already. It's interesting.

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#21 Colin
June 30 2013, 06:38AM
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Trading with Vancouver is a foolish move. They have less than $50,000 of cap space (cap geek) to sign 6 players. Gillis is desperate late round draft pick and "B of C" prospects only.

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#22 Walter Sobchak
June 30 2013, 06:42AM
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Colin wrote:

Trading with Vancouver is a foolish move. They have less than $50,000 of cap space (cap geek) to sign 6 players. Gillis is desperate late round draft pick and "B of C" prospects only.

This ^

Let Vancouver squirm, until Gillis blurts out ok! "I will give you Schneider for that second and Paajarvi"!

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#23 Walter Sobchak
June 30 2013, 06:45AM
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In all seriousness, I don't care if Schneider had the best save %.

I still wouldn't deal for a goalie who ripped the Oilers organization and has two years left on his contract.

Does anyone not remember Curtis Joesph leaving for squat after two years.

smell pretty funky.

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#24 non descript
June 30 2013, 06:50AM
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Lowetide wrote:

Yesterday did the trick for me. I expect the Oilers to deal their top 3 picks and acquire several NHL players. They might trade Horcoff and get another pick but for me the draft will be a lot about the trades and where these young men we've followed this season are drafted.

For me, Monahan, Lazar, Nichushkin, Jarry, etc are a fascinating group.

good morning lowetide. i am probably as excited as you are, but i am a realist. years of ineptitude at the management level with this organization only breeds disappointment when one raises their expectations. thank you for all your excellent work.

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#25 rob
June 30 2013, 06:52AM
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ok we are all up and waiting,mact get something started and make this a great day for oil fans!!!!!I have a feeling the oilers next season look nothing like the oil of last season!!!!!

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#26 magisterrex
June 30 2013, 06:58AM
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That lakeside view pic is inspiring me to approach the day with serenity. The truth is that the no one knows what rumors are true, which ones are wildly inaccurate, or what MacT's will be able to accomplish today. I doubt he will overpay for anyone, as he possesses a keen intellect. He is also capable of changing strategies based on changing circumstances, and I imagine some of these rumors come from that. You have to kick a lot of tires to uncover the best deals, especially the well-hidden ones.

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#27 Reagan
June 30 2013, 07:05AM
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What every deal not go through. Cold feet Sunday.

Everyone is hoping for deal crazy Sunday. Curious to find out why nothing has happened?

I'm hoping for the best....

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#28 rob
June 30 2013, 07:09AM
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Reagan wrote:

What every deal not go through. Cold feet Sunday.

Everyone is hoping for deal crazy Sunday. Curious to find out why nothing has happened?

I'm hoping for the best....

remember dominos?everyone is taking there time getting things in a row,once one tips they all go,im nervous but i think mact makes 3 trades today

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#29 Spydyr
June 30 2013, 07:22AM
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Dubbie was not been the goalie of the future for me for a couple years now. That being said Schneider is not the answer.

The trick to winning is not trading for the Lucics and Letangs. The trick is finding the next one. If you remember correctly Lucic was chosen by Boston with a draft pick the Oilers traded away.

After suffering for this long why trade the future for two years?

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#30 Rod from Viking
June 30 2013, 07:35AM
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I hope the Oil keep the # 7 pick because I don't think we will be drafting in the top 10 again for a long time. The best opportunity will be teams in cap trouble, It has gone really quiet on the Chris Stewart availability and if one of him, Nathon Horton or my choice David Clarkson could be added that would be enough in the top six. Adding at least one and hopefully two defence men will have to be done by trade and fixing the bottom six will be done by a combination of FA, trades and promotion from OKC. Go for it Mac T.

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#31 DonDon
June 30 2013, 07:40AM
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non descript wrote:

prepare to be disappointed and/or bewildered oiler fan

This is my sense too. I believe in the art of the possible, not so much miracles, and too many of us are onboard to expect miracles today.

This is understandable due to the ineptitude of the Oilers' hockey ops since Katz purchased the franchise from the Edmonton Investors Group and brought about financial sustainability. The fans are overdue to cheer for a team that competes on a game-by-game basis and makes us proud, not a perennial loser.

The easy part for MacT is to cull the many under-performers and those players that really don't fit into the future of the roster. The difficult part is replacing them with real NHLers that can complement the core and strategically live within the cap. To accomplish this in one short period of time is really impossible. In today's NHL, it will take a transition period of at least two seasons.

We'll all be focused on what MacT does with the 7th overall pick, particularly if an impactful player is still on the board. No pressure MacT, just don't screw up.

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#32 Jonathan Willis
June 30 2013, 07:41AM
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What Schneider actually said was, "Nobody cares about Edmonton so nobody hates them. It’s that simple."

I've seen much the same sentiment, from Oilers fans, in this comments section. Probably because there's some truth to it.

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#34 Spydyr
June 30 2013, 07:44AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

What Schneider actually said was, "Nobody cares about Edmonton so nobody hates them. It’s that simple."

I've seen much the same sentiment, from Oilers fans, in this comments section. Probably because there's some truth to it.

You have to hit and beat other teams for the "hate" to happen. The Oilers have not hit or beat many teams for a long while.

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#35 madjam
June 30 2013, 07:45AM
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FEAR: The great motivator . You want to stay the way we are now and continue being a repeat bottom dweller , or do you want to go into the brave new world and deal a hand to turn your fortunes ? Face it Oiler fans , Mact. certainly can't do much worse than what we already are . Why hang on to all those personnel that keep us constantly in the basement of league . He couldn't do much more damage even if he gave a lot of them away for nothing .

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#36 Jonathan Willis
June 30 2013, 07:48AM
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@Spydyr

Schneider actually referenced Eager and Hordichuk right before the comment.

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#37 oliveoilers
June 30 2013, 07:50AM
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got a question guys. It seems is if the coyotes are done, so how can they negotiate in good faith on deals (smith, tippett etc). Couldn't they just chose to srcew the franchise in a blaze of glory?

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#39 Alex Mathis
June 30 2013, 08:19AM
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Lowetide, as excited I am about the whealing and dealing, two things to consider:

1. We shouldn't be dissapointed if less is going to happen at the trade front than we are expecting. For weeks now there is talk, but no walk.

2. If there will be some movements, I wouldn't be surprised if there were names/players included that never have been discussed before (no Schneiders, Letangs or Clutterbucks).

Looking forward to an exciting afternoon.

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#40 NewAgeSys
June 30 2013, 08:20AM
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rob wrote:

Oil add clutterbuck,luongo and seguin today and hemsky,pajarrvi,ganger are gone along with our first pick.

I must say that I have seriously considered all of these guys, but never together in one breath.

I would not give up the players you listed.

I dont believe Seguin will equal Gagners career numbers or longevity. Since Sam has been surrounded by quality players he has made a significant jump offensively. We waited for this jump to come from Hemsky, but it didnt materialise when the new skill was brought in for him like it did for Gagner. That is telling.

I see why people like Clutterbuck, but he isnt a full buck anymore after Taylor Hall took his fifty-cents out of him last year, we have Hall and he is the superior version of that type of Player. Hall earned that title by being dominant when the chips were down.

MPS is one of our key zone transition players, he has shown Gagner like evolution in an upwards direction, and he is doing so in the Big mans arena, sorry folks but the MPS questions ended last year when he went toe to toe with the Big Boys head on. He did that as requested and didnt become a defensive sieve to do so either, some games he was a dominant force opponents had to adjust their systems to cover, we cant deny him unless we goddam lie.

MPSs upside is still huge and untapped, he has sick hands for a big man and speed to burn and is a defensive minded zone entry player, other teams are salivating because a few Trolls have spent a lot of time online repeating the same anti-MPS and anit-Gagner propoganda, co-incidentally these are two players I identify as being key pieces of the puzzle here. That is not fluke.

On that note, power to mac-T, I await his decisions with 100% support. I just want to make my valuations of these players clear so I can accurately assess Mac-Ts productivity today from solid ground.

Anyone but the Nuge is available today as far as I am concerned, but some good-byes would be harder than others for sure.

Lets rock and roll man.

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#41 Quicksilver ballet
June 30 2013, 08:24AM
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(Bettman walks to the podium}

Welcome to New Jersey and the 2013 National Hockey League Entry Draft. Before we get started, we have 14 trades to announce.

Gary could help salvage this weekend by muttering those words.

The opportunity for unprecedented change has eluded us. Grab us a Lindholm/Nichushkin or Nurse, and come home boys.

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#42 Spydyr
June 30 2013, 08:27AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Schneider actually referenced Eager and Hordichuk right before the comment.

I'm lost. What do Eager and Hordichuk have to do with hitting and winning? Neither did their jobs and where they ended showed it.

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#43 Freewheeling Freddie
June 30 2013, 08:28AM
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Yak and a seventh overall for Schneider if Mac were to make that trade I would completely lose my mind. That would not be a significant upgrade IN GOAL.Would love to see Nurse as a Oiler.With Lowe whispering in Macs ear I am kind of nervous what may happen.SW coming from Nashville would make it a very happy Canada day.One can only dream

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#44 Quicksilver ballet
June 30 2013, 08:36AM
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rob wrote:

Oil add clutterbuck,luongo and seguin today and hemsky,pajarrvi,ganger are gone along with our first pick.

I like you sir, I like you a lot. You forgot to mention the Clarkson signing on July fif, but hey, that's okay man.

Had you pegged for a Dos Equis beer drinker all along.

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#45 oliveoilers
June 30 2013, 08:40AM
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@Lowetide

Got ya, thanks! But presumably somebody has to 'inheret' these contracts. If there is a dispersal draft, are these honoured? Imagine if not, and edm is dispersed with some of our contracts. And we're not even the worst overpay offenders! Can of legal worms comes to mind.

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#46 fig pucker
June 30 2013, 08:41AM
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the future is now ladies. if the oilers actually draft anyone before the third round today i'll be pissed. these draft picks + under performing current players + prospects = need to equal players that are going to get the oilers into the playoffs next year. make it so mac t.

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#47 oliveoilers
June 30 2013, 08:43AM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

I like you sir, I like you a lot. You forgot to mention the Clarkson signing on July fif, but hey, that's okay man.

Had you pegged for a Dos Equis beer drinker all along.

i would do this in a thrice! Fingers crossed, already on edge of couch, kids kicked outside, laptop next to me!

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#48 Quicksilver ballet
June 30 2013, 08:44AM
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Will be a little disappointed to see Lowe, seated within an earshot of MacTavish at the Oilers table. Doesn't he have other stuff he can be doing, like Presidential duties, serving drinks at the ON draft party at the Pint today?

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#49 Bucknuck
June 30 2013, 08:50AM
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Yep. I bet Hall Hates playing against Clutterbuck. That's exactly why he should be on our team.

Schneider may have made more saves than Dubnyk, but I would bet that the shot quality on those saves was not the "alone in the slot" or "breakaway" variety nearly as often as Dubnyk. The Oil have been terrible on Defense and Dubnyk still managed to give the team the ability to win. I am not convinced Schneider is an upgrade.

Letang - Nobody on the team should earn more than Hall. That said... he's tempting, but at what cost. Would prefer Yandle.

Cobourn - The guys a rock. Jason Smith with more offence. I cannot believe he's in play, but since he is, get him... please.

If the oilers don't make a pick, but add players like Cobourn, Clutterbuck, and Yandle. I would consider it a good day.

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#50 Bucknuck
June 30 2013, 08:50AM
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I hate double posts. Katz is there, of course he'll sit next to his buddy.

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