LET ME SAY THIS ABOUT THAT

Robin Brownlee
July 16 2013 04:48PM

I'm not crazy about the length of the contract that'll take Andrew Ference within a couple of years of having 40 candles on his birthday cake, but there's not much doubt in my mind Edmonton Oilers GM Craig MacTavish has found himself a player who'll fit into his dressing room seamlessly.

Ference, 34, a veteran of 760 NHL games who won a Stanley Cup with the Boston Bruins in 2011, signed for $13 million over four years to play in his hometown with the Oilers on July 5.

While Ference definitely isn't the big-bang addition the Oilers still need on their blue line, he's the kind of honest, veteran second-pairing defenseman who'll bring dimensions coach Dallas Eakins wants and needs. Hard-nosed. Nothing flashy – save for the, ahem, salute he offered fans of the Montreal Canadiens during the first round of the 2011 playoffs.

Just as important when it's still a bit of a sales pitch to convince UFAs to come to Edmonton, Ference seems genuinely happy to be coming home. So far, Ference has said all the right things, his latest address to the media coming at Servus Place in St. Albert Tuesday.

WHAT HE SAID

Ference talked about what he learned during his time with the Bruins, a tenure that included the Cup win in 2011 and another trip to the finals this spring.

"Everybody talks now about Boston being so battle-tested and having all this playoff experience, but when I went there, there was a bunch of guys with no playoff experience, guys who hadn’t been in the playoffs for a number of years," said Ference, who joined Boston by way of trade in 2007.

"You wouldn’t even see Bruins hats around town, so I realize how easy it is to have the tide turn fairly quickly. "It’s really neat to be part of that, especially in a city like this that cares."

Ference, who has 120 playoff games on his resume, knows full well he be expected to provide leadership to the young core here. That's something, if he picked up anything from playing with Mario Lemieux in Pittsburgh and Jarome Iginla during his days with the Calgary Flames, he's capable of.

"I’ve played with a lot of Hall of Fame guys," he said. "At the end of the day, the most impactful players are the guys who have those qualities but are themselves. They’re not trying too hard. It’s not forced. Nobody is coming in with a script. People operate best when they can be themselves and they can be in a positive atmosphere and contribute to a team. That’s probably biggest thing I’ve learned from all those guys.

"Of course, I come in feeling a huge responsibility, just like every guy on the team probably should. That’s the only way to take the next step forward."

It's time to take that step. Ference will help.

WHILE I'M AT IT

With Ilya Kovalchuk walking away from $77 million and his contract with the New Jersey Devils for a boatload of cash back in the KHL, there's been a fair amount of buzz about the possibility of other Russian players doing likewise – notably in these parts, Nail Yakupov.

Bob Stauffer of 630 CHED had connected correspondent Dmitry Chesnokov on his Oilers Now show his afternoon and he addressed the relationship, or lack of same, between Kovalchuk's decision and other Russian players. It's much the same take Jason Gregor offered earlier this week.

"He's committed," Chesnokov said of Yakupov's ties to Edmonton. "I understand the panic and the doubt that can set in. If you ask me, in my honest opinion, Kovalchuk is a one-off.

"It's not the floodgates opening and all of a sudden and Yakupov is buying a ticket on the way to Siberia or something like that. No. He came to North America to play junior hockey, you know? To learn, to be preparing, to hit the ground running when he's drafted.

"He played and felt what it's like to be, you know, with the Oilers, this young organization, sort of on the cusp of being this very, very, very good team. He's not going anywhere."

AND . . .

. . . I expect a bounce back year from Ryan Jones, who has fallen out of favor with some Oilers fans after a sub-par season in which he struggled to come back from a serious eye injury. Jones didn't garner a lot of interest during his short time in the free agent market – the contract he got from the Oilers was better than anything else out there. He's got something to prove.

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 messyEH!
July 16 2013, 05:01PM
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The first sign that N64 may be bailing should lead to him being traded.

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#2 messyEH!
July 16 2013, 05:03PM
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If I post two times in a row do I look twice as dim?.

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#3 Tyler
July 16 2013, 05:11PM
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@messyEH!

AND comments like that will not help endear him to this city. I vote you off the island. YAK CITY unite!!!!

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#4 Rama Lama
July 16 2013, 05:12PM
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I like Ference too, but we all know that past 37 to 38 he will become a " has been", but that is not his fault. This will buy us time to develop our abundance of upcoming defenceman.

On the "Russian Front", the NHL has never really experienced competition.........the Russians have long ago tired of seeing their talent ply their trade in greener pastures. In my humble opinion, they will try to convince every Russian to come back home, Kovy is not a one off.........there will be more to follow.

As far as your assesment of Yukapov starting a new life and wanting to stay here, we all hope for this. I fear the other Russians we drafted will have a hard time commiting to coming over.

Robin any news to pass on the Nuge and how he is coming along?

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#5 Oiler Al
July 16 2013, 05:18PM
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MacT should have attempted to lure Boychuck out of Boston. He and Ference were a solid tandem in Bean town. Ference is fairly gritty but Boychuck looked after the heavy hitting and incoming forecheckers. It was heads up hockey all the way and all the time.

With Sutton retired, there is no fear factor on the back end at present.

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#6 Manfly
July 16 2013, 05:20PM
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unfortunately, not only do we have to see Jones back again, but the turtle race that is the Hemsky trade may also result is all of us seeing Hemmer back again next season as well.

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#7 messyEH!
July 16 2013, 05:22PM
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I love an underdog. It makes for great drama. I really hope Jones rebounds. Unfortunately he doesn't have the tools this team needs. If only Penner had Jones heart and work ethic.

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#8 admiralmark
July 16 2013, 05:25PM
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I feel this Ference signing although a slight overpay due mostly to term was necessary. No it does not bring the boost of a definitive 1st pairing D man... But in lieu of that it brings a fair amount of stability throughout all 3 pairings. Smid, Petry, Shultz(Jr), Shultz(Sr), and now Ference are all what i would call quality 2nd pairing D men. I think this is a Team D by committee that could hold enough ground to get in a playoff spot. Having said that I do not believe the bottom 6 forwards is a playoff caliber group at this time. And i dont believe the top 6 or D improvements are quite enough to push the team into the playoffs as of yet... Close.. but not quite there.

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#9 messyEH!
July 16 2013, 05:25PM
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Oiler Al wrote:

MacT should have attempted to lure Boychuck out of Boston. He and Ference were a solid tandem in Bean town. Ference is fairly gritty but Boychuck looked after the heavy hitting and incoming forecheckers. It was heads up hockey all the way and all the time.

With Sutton retired, there is no fear factor on the back end at present.

I felt Fistric brought that dynamic to the team. I never understood Kruegers love affair with Potter.

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#11 messyEH!
July 16 2013, 05:29PM
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Can I say Fistric, Brownlee? Being a simpleton, I'm on my third post of this crusade.

EDIT: Yes. Yes, you can say Fistric. You cannot, however, say FIST-ric or call me names, as you did in the part of your comment I removed. Got it? Good.

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#12 StHenriOilBomb
July 16 2013, 05:47PM
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Brownlee, your forum moderation is genius!

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#13 D
July 16 2013, 05:48PM
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Big Jones fan here - so glad to see him back. I like the incremental improvements made by MacT - including the Ference signing.

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#14 messyEH!
July 16 2013, 05:56PM
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I get it. But, it would appear that, you are the one on a crusade. As much as I appreciate your hockey knowledge, I think you are way off base with your handling of "first" posters here. It suits the logo, and lightens the mood.

You show a real lack of respect for your readership and the culture of this site. Best of luck with your future endeavors.

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#16 Walter Sobchak
July 16 2013, 06:04PM
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Oiler Al wrote:

MacT should have attempted to lure Boychuck out of Boston. He and Ference were a solid tandem in Bean town. Ference is fairly gritty but Boychuck looked after the heavy hitting and incoming forecheckers. It was heads up hockey all the way and all the time.

With Sutton retired, there is no fear factor on the back end at present.

On the back end? Um......try the team

The Oilers have to go after Clifford! Make an overpayment for the guy.

Ah, I see Mr.Brownlee beat me too it...Well played.

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#17 Mikey
July 16 2013, 06:08PM
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messyEH! wrote:

I get it. But, it would appear that, you are the one on a crusade. As much as I appreciate your hockey knowledge, I think you are way off base with your handling of "first" posters here. It suits the logo, and lightens the mood.

You show a real lack of respect for your readership and the culture of this site. Best of luck with your future endeavors.

99% of them are unoriginal and not funny. The fistric one has been done to death. You show poor taste in humour. Best of luck with your future endeavors

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#18 toprightcorner
July 16 2013, 06:21PM
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messyEH! wrote:

I get it. But, it would appear that, you are the one on a crusade. As much as I appreciate your hockey knowledge, I think you are way off base with your handling of "first" posters here. It suits the logo, and lightens the mood.

You show a real lack of respect for your readership and the culture of this site. Best of luck with your future endeavors.

What's up with you? I don't get why you get all wound up over not being able to write a comment with "first" in it? Like a child who can't play with his toy.

Brownlee is not showing a lack of respect to the readership, he is showing respect to them by removing dribble that doesn't add to the conversation. The culture of this site is for intelligent discussion and debates about hockey and the Oilers, not allowing guys to write irrelevant messages and like to be "fisted".

Now as far as Ference, The Oilers did not have any dman that knows what it is like or what it takes to win games, much less in the playoffs. A guy with his resume of playoff experience and with a team who definitely knows what it takes to win is invaluable. If he is a non-factor in the las year of his contract but teaches the young core of players on the blueline and up front what it takes to succeed and can do some mentoring, mission accomplished and money well spent.

Would like to see a top pairing guy, preferably with an edge but those guys don't grow on trees and would take a genius move from MacT to acquire one with 15 other GM's looking for the same thing

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#19 D
July 16 2013, 06:35PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

Jones has proven he can be a useful player in a rhird-line role. He's got to be an energy guy who mixes things up and brings a physical element -- he has not done that consistently enough.

If he does that, and scores 12-15 goals, it's a plus.

Agreed RB. He is going to have to play with a chip on his shoulder (consistently) this year. Will be cheering for him to succeed.

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#20 michael
July 16 2013, 06:45PM
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D wrote:

Agreed RB. He is going to have to play with a chip on his shoulder (consistently) this year. Will be cheering for him to succeed.

If that chip does not return Jones will find himself out of the NHL pretty darn quick. He needs to be hungry. Like he was when he first arrived here off of waivers from Nashville. I lost my left eye as a kid playing hockey. Crushed the eye. That was back in the day. I know the feeling of reluctance to engage. I grew up still wanting and desiring to play sports but I always had it in the back of my head what if I damage my other eye. Its mentally not easy to come back from that kind of injury. Its not like a shoulder or a foot or a jaw. Eye injuries wake you up big time. I hope he plays with a visor as I hope all players would. bring that tenacity back that he had before and drive to the net and he'll be that 12-18 goal guy again. Hopefully.

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#21 dawgtoy
July 16 2013, 06:48PM
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I hope Jones is able to SIUTBOHC. Go Jonesy Go!

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#22 RexLibris
July 16 2013, 06:51PM
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Hi Robin, question for you...

Putting yourself in MacTavish's shoes, if the Oilers are six points out of a playoff spot at the trade deadline, and with Jones, Hemsky and Nick Schultz all presumably on the roster as expiring UFAs, do you trade them for picks?

My response since the Curtis Joseph/Luke Richardson days has been an unequivocal "yes", but I wonder if someone who has a lot of hockey and been around the teams has a different perspective.

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#23 Rocket
July 16 2013, 07:03PM
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Ference seems like a good character guy in the room & it's a small step in improving the D.

But what really grinds my gears is his contract gives The Oilers very little wiggle room if they need to move him later. The deal is too long, it's not front loaded, & a NTC is thrown in.

I'm not writing MacT off yet but what was he thinking? Hopefully this will all be moot & Ference will play well.

I'm cautiously optimistic.

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#25 Spydyr
July 16 2013, 07:10PM
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The bottom six has not improved near enough.Not even close.Another year outside the big dance in the spring.

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#26 SteveO
July 16 2013, 07:16PM
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If this is MacT's starting roster come October it's going to be another long, boring non playoff season! He needs another dman that can play top 4 (coburn) and some size or physicality on the 3rd line. Clifford is probably available so why not be offering up something reasonable to land him? A line of him, Gordon and Jones would be ideal. And for god sakes sign a Center to play the 4th line! Steckle, Malholtra or someone else Jonathon Willis talked about. Smyth, Steckle and Brown would be solid as well.

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#27 nuge2nail
July 16 2013, 07:19PM
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Oiler Domination To Follow

Ference, Perron, Gordan, and to some extent Belov(fight with Yashin is awesome) seem to have one characteristic In common- they have an intense compete level.

They seem to be the hardest working guys on the ice every shift, which is exactly what this team needs. Clutterbuck would have been perfect for the third line, and since we didnt sign Clarkson we could spend that cash on Grabovksi and secure the center position.

Imagine..... things are going well and the oilers start 5-2-1. Momentum is building and the team is looking to end the longest playoff drought in the NHL.

Than Gordan takes a blocked shot to the wrist and requires 6-8 weeks to heal. Hopkins is still out, who would be our 2nd, 3rd and 4th line centers. Would our first line center(Gagner) have to carry the team.... Umm I don't think he's big enough player to "carry" the team- sorry.

Without Grabovski - sorry this team has no chance. As oiler fans we should know this above all... Injuries Happen!!

What if Gordan and Gagner are out at the same time? Gagner and Hopkins?

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#28 madjam
July 16 2013, 07:20PM
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We could use a tough defenseman like D.Murray a Clifford and prospect centerman M.A.Cliche . At this point i'd even settle for Grabowski . Is MacT. even still looking or is lineup set ? I see Penner back in Anaheim , and Carcillo gone to L.A..

We could end up with a team tough to play against , but not very tough physically .

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#29 Harlie
July 16 2013, 07:28PM
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You know what's semi half bold?

Getting Mike Fisher for 3rd line C that can spot in to second line C as needed. Getting Cam Ward to tandem with Dubs. And I like Ference but I'd like to see Boychuk here as well.

And call me selfish, call me crazy, hell call me both, but I'd sign DP on a value deal for a year ala Bertuzzi/Detroit style and just see how it goes. I mean, wasn't MacT a project at one time as well?.....DP has 2 rings and that ain't too Shaba Daba doo-too.

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#30 nuge2nail
July 16 2013, 07:29PM
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Oiler Domination To Follow

If Gordan were to be injured in the first couple games this would be our lineup:

Hall - Gagner - Eberle

Perron - Lander - Yakupov

Jones - Arcobello - Hemsky

Eager - Smyth - Brown

OilersNation I ask you, Brownlee I ask you... Is this a playoff roster?

If you were the GM of the Oilers, a team developing a culture of Losing, and running the longest NHL playoff Drought in the league.. Would you be ok with this center depth?

We have no depth and Injuries happen, I don't think any one of us would be ok with the depth of this teams centers.

Why is it ok for management to not adress this obvious concern.

Gordans offense is horrific, and he cannot be a top 6 center and kill yakupovs confidence when ONE injury occurs to one of our small centers. We play in a division with huge Centers and big Power forwards.

Makes no sense to me- SIGN Grabovksi, play Gagner on the third or trade him for a two way center like Dubinsky.

Gagner will be public enemy number one when he gets a big Contract.

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#31 michael
July 16 2013, 07:35PM
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Is Marty Reasoner a viable option do you think as 12-13 forward. His experience and face off and PK are what we need. It would give Lander to develop in OKC.

If RNH is not ready for the start of camp and he misses a few games is Marc Arcobello a viable option at center on the second line? Short term.

Anybody know what Arcobello's PP numbers were for last season?

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#32 Rocket
July 16 2013, 07:41PM
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@nuge2nail

I've been repeating myself on here for a long time about The Oilers lack of centre depth. I thought good centres were a key to winning games. Oilers management apparently think otherwise.

Surely there are centres in the league that could sign in Edmonton right? I wonder why MacT isn't addressing this? Maybe he's trying & we just don't know about it.

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#33 nuge2nail
July 16 2013, 07:53PM
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Rocket wrote:

I've been repeating myself on here for a long time about The Oilers lack of centre depth. I thought good centres were a key to winning games. Oilers management apparently think otherwise.

Surely there are centres in the league that could sign in Edmonton right? I wonder why MacT isn't addressing this? Maybe he's trying & we just don't know about it.

Oiler Domination To Follow

You would at least think to sign a center like Nik Antropov as an insurance policy, if he can't find a better option.

I'm hoping he's trying to sign Grabovski and that's why he hasn't signed a viable third line center with some offense who can move up the lineup. Imagine history repeats itself from last year where 3 of our centers were injured at the same time... I can't even imagine what our lineup would look like if that happens again.

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#34 J Savage
July 16 2013, 07:58PM
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I've just joined the site (been an Oiler fan forever though). I'm only asking this because i haven't seen this player discussed anywhere. Peter Mueller, former #8 overall pick, 6ft.2in. 204 lbs. and decent offensive numbers...but he hasn't stuck with any team so far...is there a character problem with him ? or no heart ? does he play smaller than his size? On the outside looking in he would seem to be a reasonable (and cheap) LW for 3rd line with maybe some upward mobility in case of injuries. A lot of his points appear to come on the powerplay.

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#35 Bucknuck
July 16 2013, 08:04PM
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I don't think MacTavish is done. I think he has an opening night roster that is a bit better than last year, but I am not convinced that is enough what with RNH having a wonky shoulder. If they think Lander is ready, then that's fine, but they better not bank on it too heavily.

I think Hemsky will be dealt, and what returns will be playing on the team in October (not in Oklahoma), so I won't dust off my pitchfork just yet.

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#36 J savage
July 16 2013, 08:11PM
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Grabovski has skills but is smaller than Gagner. The Leaf's experiment of moving him down to third line centre was a miserable failure resulting in his buyout. Hard to see him being a fit here unless we fail to sign Gagner long term.

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#37 TeddyTurnbuckle
July 16 2013, 08:13PM
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I really hope Hemsky doesn't come back. I like the guy but he is not a fit on the third line. Why did we give Jones 1.5 million? I'm sure he would have taken 1 million. Give Sam Ganger that extra money and sign him. The Oilers are going to suck again if MacT is done changing the roster. We need two more tough guys in the bottom 6. We have zero tough guys on the back end who fight. We are almost a softer team without Peckam and Sutton.

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#38 Bucknuck
July 16 2013, 08:16PM
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TeddyTurnbuckle wrote:

I really hope Hemsky doesn't come back. I like the guy but he is not a fit on the third line. Why did we give Jones 1.5 million? I'm sure he would have taken 1 million. Give Sam Ganger that extra money and sign him. The Oilers are going to suck again if MacT is done changing the roster. We need two more tough guys in the bottom 6. We have zero tough guys on the back end who fight. We are almost a softer team without Peckam and Sutton.

Brown is still in the bottom six and he's no softie. That's one more than zero... but not good enough I agree.

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#39 toprightcorner
July 16 2013, 08:21PM
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Harlie wrote:

You know what's semi half bold?

Getting Mike Fisher for 3rd line C that can spot in to second line C as needed. Getting Cam Ward to tandem with Dubs. And I like Ference but I'd like to see Boychuk here as well.

And call me selfish, call me crazy, hell call me both, but I'd sign DP on a value deal for a year ala Bertuzzi/Detroit style and just see how it goes. I mean, wasn't MacT a project at one time as well?.....DP has 2 rings and that ain't too Shaba Daba doo-too.

Fisher has a NMC and not a chance will he leave Nashville married to Carrie Underwood.

Ward will not get traded and you don't add a $6.3 mill cap hit to tandem. Or trade your franchise goalie.

Dustin Penner signed with Anaheim today so no go there.

That's not semi bold that impossible bordering on delusional.

Any other suggestions?

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#40 Hair bag
July 16 2013, 08:24PM
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J savage wrote:

Grabovski has skills but is smaller than Gagner. The Leaf's experiment of moving him down to third line centre was a miserable failure resulting in his buyout. Hard to see him being a fit here unless we fail to sign Gagner long term.

I think Gagner is the focus right now and then maybe seeing who might be available thru trade once the arbitration period is over. Can't get to far ahead of themselves in case things go sideways with Gagner and they need to trade him

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#41 Ales Hallsky
July 16 2013, 08:46PM
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I wonder if Ference has more playoff games under his belt than the rest of the team combined...

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#42 toprightcorner
July 16 2013, 08:57PM
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nuge2nail wrote:

Oiler Domination To Follow

You would at least think to sign a center like Nik Antropov as an insurance policy, if he can't find a better option.

I'm hoping he's trying to sign Grabovski and that's why he hasn't signed a viable third line center with some offense who can move up the lineup. Imagine history repeats itself from last year where 3 of our centers were injured at the same time... I can't even imagine what our lineup would look like if that happens again.

Nik Antropov as an insurance policy, sure he is a big body but he doesn't use it, 42% on the dot, doesn't kill penalties. Ryan Smyth is a better insurance policy.

Sure there are lots of UFA centre's out there but when you look at them in detail they are either small, terrible on the dot, don't kill penalties, way past their prime or don't even take faceoffs on the team.

There are only a couple decent options out there, Grabovski is one who can play but might be a bit pricey. I would only give him a 1 year contract to see if he can turn it around.

I would love to seem him pick up a veteran guy who won't get lost on the ice but can simply win faceoffs and sign him for $600k and have him spend most of the time in the press box. Guys like Scott Nichol, Zenon Konopka, Jeff Halpern, Marty Reasoner or even Keep Smithson. Any of these guys would be a good backup plan if we get injuries.

Another guy I would like is David Steckel as a 4th line centre. I would also take a chance on Brian Boyle as I would expect him to rebound this season and the Rangers may want to clear the cap space with some big RFA's still to sign.

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#44 toprightcorner
July 16 2013, 09:10PM
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J Savage wrote:

I've just joined the site (been an Oiler fan forever though). I'm only asking this because i haven't seen this player discussed anywhere. Peter Mueller, former #8 overall pick, 6ft.2in. 204 lbs. and decent offensive numbers...but he hasn't stuck with any team so far...is there a character problem with him ? or no heart ? does he play smaller than his size? On the outside looking in he would seem to be a reasonable (and cheap) LW for 3rd line with maybe some upward mobility in case of injuries. A lot of his points appear to come on the powerplay.

Welcome aboard, and never be afraid to ask legitimate questions. Sure some guys may harass you but I would rather have someone ask a question or for an opinion than just making statements or giving opinions without doing research or that are in accurate.

In regards to your question, the biggest issue with Peter Mueller is that he has had concussion problems as well as other injuries. He has missed 10 games in the last 3 full seasons. He has had consistency issues but probably due to rust. He definitly doesn not use his size averaging a hit every 2-3 games or so.

54 pts as a rookie and then 20 pts in 15 games when he was traded to Colorado tells me he has some game but is a huge risk. lack of playing could definitely have affected his growth and development.

Hope that helps

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#45 toprightcorner
July 16 2013, 09:16PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

No, he doesn't.

Smyth has 93 Smid has 16 N Schultz has 24 Hemsky has 30 Eager has 47

It is definitely not a runaway though. I don't count Eager until he gets back in the lineup, so the "team" only has about a 40 game lead!!

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#46 J Savage
July 16 2013, 09:46PM
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Toprightcorner Thanks for the reply. It helps.

I'm glad to see the emphasis on centres here. I think we're about 30 seconds away from needing life support in that position and it should be our priority -at least for now- to sign Gagner long-term and chase a reliable 3/4 line centre and some beef with two-way abilities on the bottom 6 wingers. I've read other forums that would like us to trade half the team (slight exaggeration) for Phaneuf. While we have an obvious need for a top 2 d man that can eat up big minutes, it wouldn't do us any good if we have no forwards that can cycle at both ends and there seem to be some of those available now.

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#47 tapdog
July 16 2013, 10:25PM
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admiralmark wrote:

I feel this Ference signing although a slight overpay due mostly to term was necessary. No it does not bring the boost of a definitive 1st pairing D man... But in lieu of that it brings a fair amount of stability throughout all 3 pairings. Smid, Petry, Shultz(Jr), Shultz(Sr), and now Ference are all what i would call quality 2nd pairing D men. I think this is a Team D by committee that could hold enough ground to get in a playoff spot. Having said that I do not believe the bottom 6 forwards is a playoff caliber group at this time. And i dont believe the top 6 or D improvements are quite enough to push the team into the playoffs as of yet... Close.. but not quite there.

Yes I would agree on a slight over pay for Ference but I do not get why we continually read about the 4 years being such a big thing.

It is not a 35+ contract so if Ference loses the wheels, he could pull the pin and retire, no harm no foul!

I see the flexability Ference brings as a huge plus for this team, he can play either side and would probably be a fair running mate for Shultz jr. Solid 2nd paring for sure.

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#48 madjam
July 16 2013, 10:34PM
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Without good centers we have little chance of being a possession team . Trying to be a possession team without size and grit is also a monumental task .Frankly , we were better off last year with Horcoff ,than now without him . We used Landers ,Smyth and Smithson to no avail basically . Landers and Brown were a possession disasters . In weak areas that needed upgrading still little has been done . Addition of Perron and Gordon help lessen the blow at least . Having Gagner and Hemsky situations up the air doesn't help . If we replace either or both lets hope it is an upgrade in a needed area . MacT. seems to know whom he'd like to add , but procuring them has become to difficult . Better hope some of our prospects make a monumental jump by the looks of it.

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#49 Oilcruzer
July 16 2013, 10:58PM
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nuge2nail wrote:

Oiler Domination To Follow

If Gordan were to be injured in the first couple games this would be our lineup:

Hall - Gagner - Eberle

Perron - Lander - Yakupov

Jones - Arcobello - Hemsky

Eager - Smyth - Brown

OilersNation I ask you, Brownlee I ask you... Is this a playoff roster?

If you were the GM of the Oilers, a team developing a culture of Losing, and running the longest NHL playoff Drought in the league.. Would you be ok with this center depth?

We have no depth and Injuries happen, I don't think any one of us would be ok with the depth of this teams centers.

Why is it ok for management to not adress this obvious concern.

Gordans offense is horrific, and he cannot be a top 6 center and kill yakupovs confidence when ONE injury occurs to one of our small centers. We play in a division with huge Centers and big Power forwards.

Makes no sense to me- SIGN Grabovksi, play Gagner on the third or trade him for a two way center like Dubinsky.

Gagner will be public enemy number one when he gets a big Contract.

If if if. If my aunt had a pair she would be my uncle.

Gosh, what if all three goalies shared a pop and got mono?

In the worst case scenario, you roll three centres through four lines with spot duty to your AHL player.

Once again, there is also a guy named Pitlick.

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#50 Maggie the Monkey
July 16 2013, 11:11PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

No, he doesn't.

Smyth has 93 Smid has 16 N Schultz has 24 Hemsky has 30 Eager has 47

If Smid's 16 games in the AHL count, shouldn't Petry's 6 and Lander's 14 be considered, too?

And what about Perron's 19 games or Gordon's 52 in the NHL?

(Yeah, I hate nit-picky commentators, too.)

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