LAST ONE OUT, TURN OFF THE LIGHTS

Robin Brownlee
June 06 2013 11:02PM

If GM Craig MacTavish makes good on the suggestion he's looking to move Shawn Horcoff and Ales Hemsky, Ryan Smyth, assuming he's still around when next season begins, will be the lone player remaining from the playoff run that took the Edmonton Oilers to Game 7 of the 2006 Stanley Cup final.

Seven seasons – without a single playoff game to show for them -- after the MacTavish-coached Oilers snuck into eighth place in the Western Conference and knocked off Detroit, San Jose and Anaheim on the way to a showdown with Carolina, every player from that team is gone, except Smyth, Hemsky and Horcoff, with the latter two officially having one foot out the door.

If that doesn’t drive home the transitory nature of today's NHL, at least for a team that has struggled mightily as the Oilers have to rebuild and return to contention, then nothing does. And, as we already know, Smyth also headed for city limits during that span before returning for a second tour of duty.

Flying home from Raleigh in June of 2006 after Game 7 seems like the blink of an eye for an old scribe like me. Looking ahead, it makes me wonder, as I pondered a while back, how many players who were on the roster last season will even be around by the time the new downtown arena complex opens.

Time flies.

I'LL SAY THIS ABOUT THAT

. . . There's not a chance, none, MacTavish opened up about moving Hemsky and Horcoff on the Mark Spector Show today without having already run the scenario past the players and their agents and I'd be willing to bet he's had, at the very least, preliminary talks with other teams about both of them.

MacTavish would be a fool to paint himself into a corner by saying anything on a radio show he hadn’t already expressed to the parties involved and other GMs around the league, and MacT is no fool. I'm not saying he's got a deal in his hip pocket for either of them right now – I'm certainly not inside enough anymore to know of one – but I can’t see this dragging on into training camp.

. . . As for what the destinations for Hemsky and Horcoff might be, and what the Oilers can reasonably expect in return, I'll leave the crystal ball stuff and the deals that see MacTavish hose another gullible GM – the rights to Omark and Horcoff for insert-name-of-second-line-centre -- to those so inclined. I'd resist the urge, however, to expect a windfall return for either of them.

. . . Maybe I missed it if somebody else mentioned it, but I hadn’t heard anything about Horcoff selling his house until Jason Gregor told me about it today. Given the dough Horcoff put into that joint, a For Sale sign should have been a big tip-off MacTavish's revelation has been in the works awhile.

AND . . .

. . . So, with Horcoff on the way out, who will Oiler fans anoint as the next whipping boy on the team? History shows you must have one, so who will it be? Sam Gagner seems like the favorite to me because he'll get a fat raise and a long-term deal from MacTavish.

Way too many people whine about what Gagner isn't, instead of appreciating what he brings to the table as it is. Wait until Sam gets that big stack.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

Aceb4a1816f5fa09879a023b07d1a9b4
A sports writer since 1983, including stints at The Edmonton Journal and The Sun 1989-2007, I happily co-host the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260 twice a week and write when so inclined. Have the best damn lawn on the internet. Most important, I am Sam's dad. Follow me on Twitter at Robin_Brownlee. Or don't.
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#1 Crispy
June 06 2013, 11:36PM
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At least Nail can get number 10 now.

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#2 Rich in the Park
June 06 2013, 11:10PM
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So true about Gagner being the goat for years to come. Sad to not see Hemsky play with true talent until recent seasons. Oh well, all the best to him wherever he ends up. Hope he stays healthy cuz he's a treat to watch.

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#3 Taylor Gang
June 06 2013, 11:49PM
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Part of me wants Hemsky to give us a taste of what we'll be missing by having a huge year next year.

And then the kids lighting his team up.

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#4 Naky
June 06 2013, 11:57PM
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Dubnyk's already a whipping boy for the uneducated Oilers fans which is most of them, it seems, or maybe it's just the casual ones who don't actually watch the games and just check the scores on their iPhones while in line at Starbucks. These are the ones who only cry when he lets in one of his softies but are never quick to give him credit when he stands on his head to win a game that didn't deserve to be won. Dubnyk's stats don't lie - he's been a pretty damned good and consistent goalie on a pretty damned bad team with a pretty damned worse defense corps in front of him but the average uneducated fan likes to think that the goalie's the sole reason why we lost.

I never wanted to turn the radio off more when the Oilers got shutout and stupid callers would call in saying about that Dubnyk guy all the while ignoring the fact that scored no freaking goals until the hosts point it out to them. Our lack of 5x5 scoring was a massive, major problem last season but goaltending never really was.

So yeah. My money's on Dubnyk too.

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#5 Racki
June 07 2013, 12:14AM
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@Naky

But don't you know? When Dubnyk allows a goal, then the players get sad. And they go to the bench, and they sit there... sad. And then the sadness spreads. So next thing you know, the FANS are sad too. And because they're sad, they're not cheering, and when they're not cheering, the players can't break out of their sadness, and therefore they can't score any goals.

Oh, and then they spend time on Twitter during the intermissions rather than listening to the coach, because they are so sad.

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#6 John Chambers
June 07 2013, 07:22AM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

I see a package deal with Horcoff and Hemsky.

Alone they might not fetch as much, but packaged with other players and buying back salary they become more attractive.

So that someone can take on $10.5M in salary for two thirds of a bad 3rd line?

I think we could expect Bryzgalov or Dipietro as a return for our enticing package.

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#7 vetinari
June 07 2013, 07:56AM
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Can't we all just get along and continue to hate Pronger, as The Hockey Gods intended?

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#8 Quicksilver ballet
June 07 2013, 12:36AM
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Who in the H, E double hockey sticks is going to replace those 32 points, if both these guys are gonzo!!!!

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#9 Robin Brownlee
June 07 2013, 01:10PM
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steve1982 wrote:

I want the Oilers to go out and get Bickel and Horton this offseason. Throw a 3 year 3.5 mil at Bickel, 4 year 22.5 at Horton, offer Gagner, N. Schultz and 7th overall for Couturier, Hartnell and Coburn. Buyout Horcoff and trade Hemsky for Dubinsky. Sign the Russian backup from Boston, Scuderi and Lapierre, roll with these lines....

Hall RNH Yakupov Horton Couturier Eberle Bickel Dubinsky Hartnell Smyth Lapierre Paajarvi

Coburn Schultz Smid Petry Belov Scuderi

Dubnyk Khubodin

This weed you have, it's expensive, no?

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#10 vetinari
June 07 2013, 01:55PM
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We seem to have too many armchair GM's who think that if a trade works in an EA Sports video game, it should work in real life, no?

I love the Eastside Hockey Manager video game/simulator and was able to move Hemsky for Ben Bishop, a second round pick, a fourth round pick and a couple of AHL prospects (one defenceman and one centre) but guess what, that ain't gonna happen in real life!!!

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#11 Tim S
June 07 2013, 12:26AM
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As a huge Hemsky fan I have come to peace with the likely hood of him being traded. My main concern in hearing MacT's comments today is that those 2 players he plans on moving are actual NHL calibre players. Who replaces them? Horcoff is unlikely to get much return. The Oilers were a team that employed a number of players last year who were lucky to be in the league- Jones, Pettrell, Smyth, Belanger, and Potter. If the answer is Lander and Hartikanen then we are getting further away from being a playoff team.

The holes just keep getting bigger.

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#12 Geoff
June 07 2013, 12:33AM
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Sad to see the possibility of hemsky gone. Still have my Hemsky jersey. Gonna miss hemsky just making people look like fools with his dangling ability lol.

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#13 Spydyr
June 07 2013, 07:26AM
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Naky wrote:

Dubnyk's already a whipping boy for the uneducated Oilers fans which is most of them, it seems, or maybe it's just the casual ones who don't actually watch the games and just check the scores on their iPhones while in line at Starbucks. These are the ones who only cry when he lets in one of his softies but are never quick to give him credit when he stands on his head to win a game that didn't deserve to be won. Dubnyk's stats don't lie - he's been a pretty damned good and consistent goalie on a pretty damned bad team with a pretty damned worse defense corps in front of him but the average uneducated fan likes to think that the goalie's the sole reason why we lost.

I never wanted to turn the radio off more when the Oilers got shutout and stupid callers would call in saying about that Dubnyk guy all the while ignoring the fact that scored no freaking goals until the hosts point it out to them. Our lack of 5x5 scoring was a massive, major problem last season but goaltending never really was.

So yeah. My money's on Dubnyk too.

Guess Mac-T is an uneducated Oilers fan. He isn't sold on Dubnyk .Me either.

For every game he stood on his head he had three games he let in weak goals.You don't win in the playoffs giving up weak goals every second game.You just don't.

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#14 @Oilanderp
June 07 2013, 09:15AM
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@Spydyr

You think he will out score Nuge, Hall and Ebs most years?

Ok you've convinced me. TRADE GAGS NOW! BOOO GAGS! BOOOOOOO!

I hate everybody! Booo! Booo to myself! Booooo! *impales self on his own sword*

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#15 bazmagoo
June 07 2013, 11:44AM
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Horcoff for Scottie Upshall from Florida makes pretty good sense to me. Exact same dollar amount left on their contracts, both guys could use a fresh start. Horcoff comes with a higher cap hit, maybe that is appealing to Florida?

Haven't been able to think of anything for Hemmer yet.

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#16 OilersBrass
June 07 2013, 01:16PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

This weed you have, it's expensive, no?

LMFAO!!!!!! Funny the writers even think these signings, and trade requests are getting out of hand

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#17 madjam
June 07 2013, 03:20PM
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OFF TOPIC > NEW PROPOSAL FOR THE NHL ; Add 1-2 additional exhibition games to be played in communities outside their city . Example : Oilers play 1 or 2 exhibition games in Ft.McMurray /Red Deer / Grande Prairie/Lloydminster , etc.. Good or bad idea ?

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#18 Racki
June 06 2013, 11:26PM
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Only a matter of time until people start rip on our next captain, Taylor Hall. Maybe he won't be the NEXT whipping boy though, but I don't think anyone really seems safe here under the microscope.

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#19 Quicksilver ballet
June 06 2013, 11:38PM
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I'll put my 2 bits on the Dubvious one as the whipping boy next season. Hemmer,Horc and Gagner all gone this summer. MacT will leave little doubt this team values winning moreso than lotto picks going forward. Either Dubnyk, or the plan B top pairing blueliner brought in (enter Mark Streit type here) will be the chosen one.

Instead of maybe taking a bath on one or two of these players exiting, maybe Craig could cut a better deal bringing 2015 draft picks in return instead of focusing on just 2014 d/p's.

Finally, these long needed changes will soon happen. I just love it when i'm right.

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#20 Mr common sense
June 06 2013, 11:40PM
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Good article RB, I like what MacT is doing. Projecting a strong, clear and confident image of the team, don't remember that since the Slats days....any chance to pry Steve Ott out of Buff? Also Pascal Dupuis and Brandon Dubinsky are perfect sandpaper players that probably wouldn't cost much. Ott led the league in hits (again) and plays 20min, pk, pp and is a perfect fit. Collecting picks is a useless and unwise direction at this stage if the oil development process, I sense MacT understands all of this, can't wait to see the results

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#21 Captain Obvious
June 07 2013, 12:07AM
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After the interview with MacTavish, Mark Spector talked to Steven Brunt of Sportsnet(?) They discussed whether MacT could continue to be so candid in future.

The consensus was that it likely won't continue. I'm sure that when discussions are on-going with player agents and other GM's keeping confidences has to be the first commandment.

What is a vast improvement imo is that MacT talks about what he can but must keep his cards somewhat close to the vest.

His predecessor spoke gibberish when he did talk. He not only said nothing he did nothing. I'm content to know Mac is working at the process of team building. I don't see the mentioning of player names lasting. Given the above I for one am okay with that.

It's an issue of trust and respect between both parties.

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#22 WhattaMike
June 07 2013, 12:39AM
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Hey Robin...another great enjoyable read. I want to say that if MacT stated the prospective to move was based on talks from both players in trades/deals...then I am not believing this is premature to write of.

I first will say that I have enjoyed both Hemsky and Horcoff for many yrs, and if this is now their time to go out of town, then I sincerely say thanks for a lot of moments of the good and also, I say it is too bad the good times never continued or paid off from since 2006.

I do remember that excellent 2006 playuoff run very well and if some Oiler fans cannot say thanks to Hemsky/Horcoff and the others for that year or even... would now try to say that it was not a great time back then as Oilers fans... then they are doorknobs.

Now it is definitely time to say hi and congrats to the next captain...Taylor Hall and now time for a new team regime to get out of the bottom of the league once and for all.

After July 1, when he has a no trade deal waived....I don't know why it is in my mind...but I see Horcoff going east in a trade deal(Columbus/NYI/NYR) or south (Tampa Bay/Florida).

I see Hemsky... in a trade package...going to Washington, Buffalo or Carolina.

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#23 Reg Dunlop
June 07 2013, 01:29AM
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While Craig says the team will welcome the boys back next year if a suitable return isn't forthcoming, I seriously doubt that we will have Hemmer and Horc to kick around under any circumstances. It would take a miracle to get anything worthwhile for Horc so I smell a buy-out. Hemsky might bring back a 2nd rounder. I don't see any OKC grads stepping in to fill these vacancies with success so I guess it's either free agency Russian roulette or 2014 lotto. At least it beats standing pat with our 2013 roster.

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#24 Walter Sobchak
June 07 2013, 02:27AM
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I see a package deal with Horcoff and Hemsky.

Alone they might not fetch as much, but packaged with other players and buying back salary they become more attractive.

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#25 Norm
June 07 2013, 02:47AM
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Regarding the next whipping boy I have to think it will be first overpaid under-performer to step forward.

Since MacT commented on the 'circus' in the Oiler dressing room over the last several years it would lead me to believe he intends to try and solve that problem. Hopefully there will be enough character people in that room in the future to avoid the restlessness of the fan base and things will gradually move forward.

Horc and Hemmer have to go to make way for new leadership.

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#26 madjam
June 07 2013, 07:45AM
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With Horcoff on the outs perhaps , who becomes teams union rep .? Is Smyth contemplating a coaching move ? Generational gap closing .

Could a Canuck deal be in the works , and Luongo part of it ?

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#27 NewAgeSys
June 07 2013, 07:51AM
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Naky wrote:

Dubnyk's already a whipping boy for the uneducated Oilers fans which is most of them, it seems, or maybe it's just the casual ones who don't actually watch the games and just check the scores on their iPhones while in line at Starbucks. These are the ones who only cry when he lets in one of his softies but are never quick to give him credit when he stands on his head to win a game that didn't deserve to be won. Dubnyk's stats don't lie - he's been a pretty damned good and consistent goalie on a pretty damned bad team with a pretty damned worse defense corps in front of him but the average uneducated fan likes to think that the goalie's the sole reason why we lost.

I never wanted to turn the radio off more when the Oilers got shutout and stupid callers would call in saying about that Dubnyk guy all the while ignoring the fact that scored no freaking goals until the hosts point it out to them. Our lack of 5x5 scoring was a massive, major problem last season but goaltending never really was.

So yeah. My money's on Dubnyk too.

Take away the minimum of six gamebreaking goals scored with fast release shots as soon as the blueline is breached up high from the exact same spot in the middle,and Dubby looks a lot better.

Freddy Chabot wasnt exactly on the ball there last year,although to his credit he did address the issue for a while,opponents were using systemic mechanics to repeatedly use that shot dynamic sucessfully.It was as much systemiclly induced as it was Dubby being down and out to much.Teams are using tactical shooting programs today ,ala the NHS.It is what it is.Defend it or fall prey to it.Or keep denying there is an influence there.

I am alright with Dubby,but wouldnt make a bad hockey decision based on misplaced loyaltys.Neither will Mac-T.

Lets just say an upgrade better be huge,because I see Dubbys quirks last year going away when our defense develops a way to protect that middleground.Stand-up defense might help a little.The mini-season wasnt enough to say where we are with Devan right now.He gets the benefit of the doubt.If we plan on keeping the same defensive posture from last year then we need to consider the goaltending position for sure,that issue hasnt gone away so lets just see how it is addressed.Systemic changes or personell changes.Mac-T is developing a solid organisational template ,properly solidified from the bottom up,clear sequential decisions,whats not to like?

I like the earlier post by Captain Obvious, who said to trust Mac-T and managment,that it is a stakeholder dynamic between both parties ,we are seeing changes and we are seeing transparancy,these are very good indicators we are going in the right direction. Gotta give a little back now and then even as fans.

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#28 Spydyr
June 07 2013, 07:52AM
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madjam wrote:

With Horcoff on the outs perhaps , who becomes teams union rep .? Is Smyth contemplating a coaching move ? Generational gap closing .

Could a Canuck deal be in the works , and Luongo part of it ?

Luongo ?

Why because the team has a albatross contract quota?

If they trade Horcoff the team needs another awful contract.Is that it?

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#29 Jackson
June 07 2013, 08:15AM
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I don't have a problem with Sam Gagner per se, but to compete for a cup you need a two way rugged center in your top 2 centers. Since RNH is #1 there is no room for Gagner unless he can fit on the wing.

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#30 Harlie
June 07 2013, 08:21AM
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I shudder thinking about Sam Gagner in the playoffs as our second line centre going up against teams the size of Boston and LA in the playoffs. No doubt the kid is crafty and he has heart and can post points, but size does matter and this years playoffs has shown that immensely once again.

My preference would be that Sam is included in the list of guys to ship out. Sorry Sam.

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#31 madjam
June 07 2013, 08:25AM
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Spydyr wrote:

Luongo ?

Why because the team has a albatross contract quota?

If they trade Horcoff the team needs another awful contract.Is that it?

Contacts could be bad if you weren't able to buy them out with no cap hit. I believe the new buyout structure allows for that . Horcoff and Hemsky have only 1-2 years left at a high cap hit , which is miniscule considering others . Luongo's contract cap hit for a player of his caliber is pretty good (around 5.5 M ). Buyout later ,because of length of contract could probably be done once his services are no longer required . His value later might even be enough of a bargain to trade in 4-5 years time . It was only an example .

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#32 Truth
June 07 2013, 08:48AM
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Maybe Horcoff and Hemsky have asked for a trade? MacT would definitely be putting the right spin on it.

My money is MactT will attempt to move Hemsky at at the draft as a "throw-in" to try to move up or acquire another high pick. If they don't get any bites they better use Hemsky + to acquire a replacement for Horcoff.

Horcoff will be traded after July 1, with his NMC terms. No bites there, or a deal that doesn't make sense and he should be bought out. It's a shame he was signed to such a horrible deal. If he had been the $2.5M center that was Smyth's running mate as a hard working community guy he would be perceived differently by fans in Edmonton.

I can't see the Oilers being successful moving up in the draft. Everyone and their dog will be trying to grab one of the top 4 picks. The requirement will be a serious overpay, just as all Oiler fans were dreaming up in compensation for the first overall picks the last 3 years.

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#33 @Oilanderp
June 07 2013, 08:48AM
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Gagner won't be the next goat for long. Once moved to the wing and freed from his defensive responsibilities at C, he will become a fan favorite and perennial top 3 point getter in Edmonton.

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#34 madjam
June 07 2013, 08:53AM
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Any chance Oilers go after Malhotra ?

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#35 I am the Liquor
June 07 2013, 09:00AM
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Why dont you enlighten us all what Gagner "brings to the table" Robin?

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#36 Spydyr
June 07 2013, 09:02AM
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@Oilanderp wrote:

Gagner won't be the next goat for long. Once moved to the wing and freed from his defensive responsibilities at C, he will become a fan favorite and perennial top 3 point getter in Edmonton.

You think he will out score Nuge, Hall and Ebs most years?

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#37 Mikey
June 07 2013, 09:03AM
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Spydyr wrote:

Guess Mac-T is an uneducated Oilers fan. He isn't sold on Dubnyk .Me either.

For every game he stood on his head he had three games he let in weak goals.You don't win in the playoffs giving up weak goals every second game.You just don't.

Lets worry about making the playoffs before we start thinking about winning in the playoffs.

Maybe with some better support Dubnyk would fair much better.

I think MacT was using head games talking about Dubnyk. By implaying he may not be a starter in the NHL, it is giving him ammo to push himself to prove he is.

Also I would bet a deal is already done and made for both Horc and Hemmer.

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#38 Spydyr
June 07 2013, 09:04AM
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madjam wrote:

Any chance Oilers go after Malhotra ?

Sure if they want a blind in one eye player his previous team felt so sorry for they sat him for his own protection.Malhotra is done.The trick is finding the next Malhotra.

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#39 NewAgeSys
June 07 2013, 09:08AM
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@Oilanderp wrote:

Gagner won't be the next goat for long. Once moved to the wing and freed from his defensive responsibilities at C, he will become a fan favorite and perennial top 3 point getter in Edmonton.

Bank on it.

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#40 Spydyr
June 07 2013, 09:10AM
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Mikey wrote:

Lets worry about making the playoffs before we start thinking about winning in the playoffs.

Maybe with some better support Dubnyk would fair much better.

I think MacT was using head games talking about Dubnyk. By implaying he may not be a starter in the NHL, it is giving him ammo to push himself to prove he is.

Also I would bet a deal is already done and made for both Horc and Hemmer.

I'm old and remember the Cup years.Making the playoffs means nothing.Winning the Cup is my one and only goal.

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#41 Al77
June 07 2013, 09:10AM
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Harlie wrote:

I shudder thinking about Sam Gagner in the playoffs as our second line centre going up against teams the size of Boston and LA in the playoffs. No doubt the kid is crafty and he has heart and can post points, but size does matter and this years playoffs has shown that immensely once again.

My preference would be that Sam is included in the list of guys to ship out. Sorry Sam.

So since Horcoff,belanger,and smithson wont or shouldn't be back fhen you trade sam who the hell plays centre after nuge? lander 2nd vandevelde 3rd and 30th place, 1st overall here we come again, it just wasn't the same finishing 23rd for a season so lets get back to our normal league spot!

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#42 madjam
June 07 2013, 09:12AM
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HYPOTHETICAL : Do you think Gagner could get us a 3rd and 4th round pick this year ,plus or minus a usable 3rd - 4th line player ?

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#43 I am the Liquor
June 07 2013, 09:15AM
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Al77 wrote:

So since Horcoff,belanger,and smithson wont or shouldn't be back fhen you trade sam who the hell plays centre after nuge? lander 2nd vandevelde 3rd and 30th place, 1st overall here we come again, it just wasn't the same finishing 23rd for a season so lets get back to our normal league spot!

They are pushing all in with Gagner.

He will be the new Horcoff. Something that Robin has already alluded to.

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#44 Spydyr
June 07 2013, 09:21AM
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@Oilanderp wrote:
You think he will out score Nuge, Hall and Ebs most years?

Ok you've convinced me. TRADE GAGS NOW! BOOO GAGS! BOOOOOOO!

I hate everybody! Booo! Booo to myself! Booooo! *impales self on his own sword*

Some people can't handle the truth.

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#45 Spydyr
June 07 2013, 09:28AM
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madjam wrote:

HYPOTHETICAL : Do you think Gagner could get us a 3rd and 4th round pick this year ,plus or minus a usable 3rd - 4th line player ?

IMO he is worth more then that.

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#46 Al77
June 07 2013, 09:29AM
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I am the Liquor wrote:

They are pushing all in with Gagner.

He will be the new Horcoff. Something that Robin has already alluded to.

I'm not saying i want that either but until a legit replacement for sam is found and not some 18yr kid right from jr who will need 3-4yrs to truly be ready we do not have many options and come on people don't throw pie in the sky trade proposal for our crap players that no one is dumb enough to take except our managment team!

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#47 The Beaker
June 07 2013, 09:36AM
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Al77 wrote:

I'm not saying i want that either but until a legit replacement for sam is found and not some 18yr kid right from jr who will need 3-4yrs to truly be ready we do not have many options and come on people don't throw pie in the sky trade proposal for our crap players that no one is dumb enough to take except our managment team!

Omark, and Hemsky for Malkin? Makes sense right?

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#48 David S
June 07 2013, 09:41AM
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Spydyr wrote:

Guess Mac-T is an uneducated Oilers fan. He isn't sold on Dubnyk .Me either.

For every game he stood on his head he had three games he let in weak goals.You don't win in the playoffs giving up weak goals every second game.You just don't.

^ THIS.

"If you have to ask, you already know the answer."

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#49 Al77
June 07 2013, 09:42AM
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@The Beaker

No Malkins not enough, throw in letang,neal and maybe we can talk!

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#50 David S
June 07 2013, 09:44AM
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madjam wrote:

HYPOTHETICAL : Do you think Gagner could get us a 3rd and 4th round pick this year ,plus or minus a usable 3rd - 4th line player ?

*SLAP*

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